December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
As we prepared to move this summer I got rid of a lot of stuff, books, clothes, etc. It was easy. However, it's a lot more difficult to let go of the mental and emotional things that hold me back and some of those things are tied to "stuff" like magazine subscriptions and those blank journals and unfinished posts Matt talks about. Others are just bad habits and/or ways of thinking. So, here are 11 things I don't need in 2011:
1. Doubt: As I mentioned before in an earlier reverb post, insecurity holds me back in many ways. I have tendency to second guess my decisions, to doubt my own abilities and worth. I could definitely do without the doubt in 2011. I found this great quote attributed to football coach Joe Paterno, using the wallpaper app on my phone. The quote is: "Believe deep down in your heart that you are destined to great things." If I could make that a daily mantra, perhaps I could begin believing it.
2. Debt: M and I are working on sticking to a budget and eliminating debt. This seems like a common thread among the reverb posts, common I'm sure among most Americans today.
3. Digital Clutter: This includes RSS feeds and email subscriptions. I have an insane amount of email on a daily basis, from students, and colleagues that I need to wade through and respond to. I certainly don't also need a bunch of extra information that I'm no longer connected to: listservs I joined as a graduate student, marketing from places I shop online, and RSS feeds I no longer read. To clear some of this digital clutter out of my life would make my days easier, my mind clearer. I've already begun the process of unsubscribing and clearing some of this away. Also, I need to stop checking my email 40 times a day and instead give myself a certain amount of time to read and respond to emails before moving on to something else productive.
4. Doing things last minute: I'd like to do a better job of organizing & keeping my calendar so that I don't forget due dates or meting times. I'd like to procrastinate less and do more. I've done a pretty good job at working at coffee shops and using office hours and tricking myself by just opening up documents and starting typing. I've always been really bad about putting things off or not prioritizing certain tasks just because I don't want to do them.
5. Saying yes to everything: I've talked about this numerous times before but I think it's important to really participate in committees, charities, initiatives, courses that drive me, about which I feel passionately, that are part of who I am or who I want to be. This means I can't say yes to everything just because I've been asked. I need to concentrate my energies on things that matter to me.
6. Unrealistic Expectations: I put a lot of pressure on myself and others to do things a certain way; to hold themselves to certain standards. As an Aquarian, this trait goes hand in hand with our forthrightness and dependability. Being driven is not a bad thing in and of itself but to expect perfection or some kind of idealized version of life or success only leads to never being satisfied with what is. And I know that what is, is pretty great.
7. Unused Rooms: I have rooms in my house that are mostly serving the purpose of storing stuff right now and though one is kind of a guest room and the other is kind of an office, I'd like to make better use of them. My goal for the Christmas break is to go through my book boxes once again and determine what I need, what I can bring to campus and what I can live without. I culled the books already when we moved but I think it can be done again.
8. Worry: I wish I could eliminate worry from my daily routine. Some days, of course, are better than others but there are days I exhaust myself with worry. I have a tendency to wait for the shoe drop and run this insane internal dialogue in my mind. It serves no purpose for me; it isn't healthy and it doesn't help in any way, shape or form. It's funny because M says the things I should worry about, I don't and all the rest of the stuff takes up way too much mental energy. It's true. If I worried about whether I had the materials I need or set things out ahead of time or paid more attention to my calendar and schedule, much of my anxiety could be eliminated.
9. SHOULD: I would love to eliminate all that is wrapped up in this word: the guilt, the doubt, the stress of being and doing things I SHOULD according to whomever. I know this is also connected to unrealistic expectations and in some ways, to saying yes to things. In the first reverb post I wrote about wanting 2011 to be a year where I thrive and I can't do that weighed down by shoulds. I have to be driven by something deeper than should, something like want, something like stalking my calling. There is no should there, only necessity, survival, soul survival.
10. Drama: Yeah, this is a bit difficult to eliminate as my job is academia with its political drama and bullshit. However, I can control my reaction and responses to what swirls around me. I am tired of trying to beat someone to the punch or stake out some kind of territory. You know, I'm still trying to figure things out and it seems like you can't really do that in higher ed. We're supposed to be the experts and you make yourself vulnerable when you admit you don't know or that you have reservations about something. I'm telling you right now, I hate the drama of this job, the student drama, the faculty drama. It's repetitive and vindictive and I won't participate in it any more. I've already allowed myself to get dragged in and behaved in ways I'm not entirely proud of but no longer. I can only do so much, only be so much. Again, drama sucks out my mental energy and I would like to concentrate on the reasons I wanted to teach and research and share and create knowledge instead of wasting time being petty and small minded.
11. Assuming the worst: This ties in with worry and while I don't let myself go there all the time, when I do, it's really difficult to get back. I'd like to concentrate on positive things happening; assuming the best case scenarios. I'm just tired of being consumed by negative emotions, feelings and suspicions. I'd like to be full of generosity, helpfulness and hope.
December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
So, I don't want the previous list to be just one of ideas but rather one of actions. So my next step is to follow through on eliminating those things that waste my mental energy. Finish unsunscribing from those lists, weed out my rss subscriptions, taking a hard look at my priorities, being kind to myself by using a gift card to buy my favorite latte and kind to others by also buying the guy behind me's order; finishing grading.