Here it is then. A steaming stream of consciousness about the little goals that are going to change my life. My idea is to implement them all IMMEDIATELY, see, so even though they’re all minor, in a month’s time I am going to be a brand new me. I’m going to go all-out because I’m the sort of person that uses “satisfaction with progress” as an excuse for everything grinding to a halt.
At the end of the month, hopefully my maxim of aut omnia aut nihil (“all or nothing”) will prove to have been a glorious success, or not. I’ll be disappointed if I have to adopt parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus instead (“all that work and nothing to show for it”; or, literally, “mountains will be in labour, and an absurd mouse will be born”). Who made up that shit, by the way? Caesar, I guess, or Tiberius. Good one, idiot(u)s.
Right, now that I’ve given this thing an obnoxious preamble and insulted two of the greatest generals in the history of suzerainty, I feel in a pretty solid position to get this thing started.
Things I want to fix this month:
The prime concern here is sleep. The past two years have got me so used to not sleeping that, despite being constantly exhausted, I have taught myself to basically function on five hours’ sleep a night. So if the opportunity is there for an early night, I don’t take it. I can’t think of the last time I went to bed before midnight. When I set my alarm and it says “the alarm is set for XX hours for now”, if it’s over five hours, I get excited about how alert and refreshed I’m going to be the next day. Five hours should not be the benchmark for a good night’s sleep.
This clearly results from the above, with contributions from my extremely stressful and long-houred job. I’m constantly frustrated by my low patience threshold with the kids. If I admonish them or snap at them, inevitably I regret it later because I react disproportionately as a result of something that has nothing to do with them, i.e. work, or my inability to stop reading about Queen Victoria at 1.22am on a work night. Though my life can be stressful, I am lucky that it’s nearly constantly really happy, and easy enough. Usually any stress I experience is created or at least amplified by me.
I’m 30 now, innit. I should have a skincare routine. I’ve daily worn a full face of makeup for the past 12 years, and that can’t be good (obviously it’s preferable to going bare-faced though. Imagine what I have to front up to first thing in the morning in the mirror in light of the five-hours-sleep-a-night-being-a-good-night admission above). But the accumulating kilos of makeup must have a bad effect down the line. I should use a cleanser and/or toner, and get a facemask sometimes. Or some shit. I should definitely take my mascara off more thoroughly at night, and clean my brushes and applicators. This is all just basic adult stuff right here!
I drink Coke – normal, Diet, Light, Zero, whatever – in some form every day. I go through a 500ml bottle every two days, which isn’t the worst “pop addiction” I’ve heard of by any stretch, but it’s obviously still hardly appropriate. Often it’s just habitual. I only REALLY like normal Coke, which is probably only about 20% of my consumption. So all the Diets, Lights and Zeros can go. And what’s the point of doing that without chucking out the Fat Coke.
My diet in general could be cleaned up. We’re about to get Rufus off processed foods and I want to try that too.
It’s been ages since I’ve applied myself to learning something, and my brain is a bit itchy. As long as I can remember, I’ve yearned to learn other languages. Well now I’m 30 and the only one I’ve succeeded at is steno, and to be honest I never run into other native steno speakers on the street and have a quick chat in Phoenix Theory. So, while I’m here, I am going to really try and learn Mandarin. It will be a wasted opportunity if I don’t. Even though Cantonese is the official language here and it’s surprising (to me) how few people speak Mando. Importantly though, my dad is fluent; and Rufus is learning it at kinder. He does 45 minutes a day there and I am truly astonished by how quickly he is picking it up. Just saying kids’ lingual brains are sponges and actually observing quite how absorbent they are is a lesson in the inadequacy of platitudes. He responds to English questions around the home in Chinese now. So, I’ve decided to learn Mandarin so when we go back to Australia, I can attempt to keep his interest in it alive. This will be at the detriment of the sleep goal, because I’ll pretty much have to study four hours a night if I want my brittle dried-out Jex to keep pace with his springy spongy Scotch Brite.
In fact I’ve already started “teaching myself”, which is only ludicrous when you consider I know nothing at all about it… Anyway I’ve grabbed some textbooks off Dad and I’ve commenced copying them out into a notebook, which has always been the quickest way for me to learn something. I’ve got another notebook of vocabulary. I figure I can learn as many words and as much of the “theory” as I can on my own, and then get lessons on that minor element of tones. And any other stuff I may have missed in my diligent self-tutelage. That’s unlikely though, what… 😉
Also, I want to write more. I have so many ideas for posts in a draft at the top of my other blog, I might as well just publish it as a post. Behind a cut. It’s that long. I often intend to write here at night but I get trapped with the never-ending whittling down of my blogroll. I want to see if just making myself write something every night helps. (But not like “I said I’d write something every day but I’ve got nothing. Here’s a picture of Zadie leaning to use the potty). I mean proper stuff.
Often attributed to exhaustion and brittle brain, the true culprit is lack of time (sometimes), the heat (always) and laziness (sometimes). All these things self-prophesise. Except the heat, not much I can do about that. Before it was summer, Joel and I were hiking as much as time allowed, often two hours a day. Hard, steep hill hikes. When the heat came, we stopped, hopefully only for a short time until it subsided. Well it hasn’t, and now I see that it’s really only cool here for two weeks in January and a few tricksy days in April. So I’ve bought me a treadmill that will be delivered sometime in the middle of this month. Being Hong Kong, it’s a small foldable one and doesn’t have an adjustable incline, so it won’t be as good a work-out. Plus side is there’s no room for Joel on there so I won’t have to chase him up peaks as he strides off motivationally with both water bottles.
I don’t know what I do at night. I know I stay awake for, usually, about four hours after the kids go to bed. Watching movies with Joel, doing prep for work, doing stuff online – but it’s just unplanned shambolism that leaves me neither relaxed or well-prepared. I often don’t get really tired until quite late, especially on those one/two/three days a week when I get home from work between 8pm-9pm. I think if I defined my night-time activities more clearly I’d get more out of them, and get to bed earlier.
DETERIORATION OF SKILLS
This is for a lengthier post, but I am having some steno issues. I’ve been working on this new element of theory that I believe I’ve invented, which will ultimately be a fabulous speed-enhancing tool, but as I implement I am noticing a certain sloppiness creeping in. This is an extremely undesirable trait in a realtime stenographer. There are a few other work-related things I want to concentrate on too, but…see later post which I will hopefully write.
So, here are my Goals for October:
* Be IN BED every work night by 11.30 pm. This allows for the fact that no matter what time I decide to go to bed, I stuff around for another hour before getting there, and then read until I fall asleep asleep with my chin tucked into my neck, slack-jawed, book dangling from my hand over the edge of the bed.
* Try to be in a zen-like state of calm as often as possible. Let things that don’t matter really not matter. Be aware of when I sound like my own mum and for the love of God, desist.
* Develop some sort of daily skincare routine beyond sunscreen and moisturiser. Implement it. Suffocate myself with any pillow that has mascara streaks on it in the morning.
* Get off the Cokes. Do not drink a single Coke until November. This is easily going to be the hardest goal to get into because there’s no reward, unlike the other ones which will result in me having a bigger brain, glowier skin, smaller waistline, more outstanding professionalism etc. This no-Coke thing will only give me the shits. However.
* Limit processed foods to times of necessity (i.e. at someone’s house for dinner or something). I include all white-flour products in this.
* Upload the Pimsleur Mandarin course to my mobile phone and listen to the lessons.
* While exercising. For at least 30 minutes a day.
* Write for an hour as many nights as I can. Unlike the rest of my life, I’m not good with a writing schedule. That’s why I often don’t write anything for two weeks and then put up three posts in one day (some private). But when I don’t write for some days, I find I get more frustrated and irritable than usual. So I want to try to force myself to produce something most days. You know what this means don’t you. My next post will be on 16 October and it will be about how good Coke tastes when you’re a mountain giving birth to a mouse.
* Adopt a schedule for my own time on week nights. For a start, make sure the kids are in bed by 8.30 instead of 8.39 or 8.52 etc, depending on how many times Rufus can convince us to reread the same goddamn book or pretend he needs to do another wee. Tighten that shit up. And then, considering I will be in bed by 11.30, break the remaining time into three separate hourly blocks. That is surely enough time for anyone. I would like to spend an hour with Joel, or on personal stuff (i.e. watching a movie together, or me lovingly watching him watching a movie while blogging on the couch). Another hour will be spent on my exercise/Mandarin double-shot. And the last hour can be for prep for the next day (Ima have to be quick!), and all the other stuff that usually stretches my night into the early hours of the morning – showering, picking my clothes and earrings for the next day, arranging my handbag, emailing.
* Make a list of all my new steno shortforms and write them every day, on my writer or just on the desk or in my head.
Wish me luck. I think I might be overreaching myself. Also it’s 2am on 1 October so obviously I’m starting all this from tomorrow. May I not go on how I’ve started!
Do you have any October goals? Is one of them introducing “Octogoals” (“Octoals”?) into the popular lexicon?