Thinking about how to plan the remainder of the year was brought into sharp focus recently when I was asked by my supervisor “what now?” and I had no real response. I felt like a recently beached (but enormous) goldfish. All lips, surprised expression and air-gulping. So as a result this blog post is a bit of a goal-seeking exercise. It’s also a listicle. To be divided between family and friends, home, physical health goals, personal achievements, and career. Something for me to read back on and laugh hollowly about at its complete lack of completion in 2016. These ideas and lists are not New Year’s Resolutions. They can’t be: it’s February already.
Family and friends
Stay connected to and communicate more with my immediate family, my children and my friends. Call them regularly. Have dinner parties. That sort of thing. On a side note, I am currently at home spending time with DH who is doing both the laundry and the lawn while I try to pay the bills. Bless him. I hope it makes his grumpy pants less so.
Plan weekend activities that do NOT involve going to my workplace to watch yet another undergraduate production.
Plan and make happen the first renovation plans and build. This year. Oh GOD YES. SO overdue. Anyhoo, we’ve said YES to an architectural designer and his fees look completely reasonable as it’s by the hour, and we’re doing the whole lot at once to save time later down the track. Also, to have an integrated reno plan seems, well, sensible. It will mean less money for the first bit though.
Upgrade the family bathroom, replace all the old plumbing, replace the electricity and circuit board and upgrade some of the lighting and electrical points. Yes, this is to make the house safe. The previous owner was an electrician so it’s not actually too bad but there are some tricky moments. Perhaps also plan some hard landscaping to deal with the usual run off under the house whenever there’s a big rain. (*in QLD a big rain means the heavens have opened and raindrops the size of your head come rushing down like the heaviest, most violent shower you have ever had in your life. It’s actually scary to be caught IN THE RAIN. There might be other things lurking in them there clouds. Like cricket-ball sized HAILSTONES that – I kid you not – break cars. Luckily one can usually tell when there’s going to be hail because the sky turns GREEN. When the sky is purple you just hope to high heaven there’s not a cyclone as well.)
Paint the kitchen and the second coat of paint on the fence. Perhaps build us a proper wardrobe? I’m sick of cockroaches making nests in my coats. OMG you shriek. Yes, they really seem to love living the life of Reilly in one of my old coats. It’s a bit ugh.
Physical Health goals
Lose the 10kgs I gained over 2014 (luckily not the 15 kgs I had previously lost because I didn’t quite get there yet). Again.
Get me to the gym four times a week PLUS my PT sessions. Weirdly, this is not as hard as it sounds at the moment – I’ll see how I feel in a month when my uni teaching load resumes. Down side to all this exercising is I’ve run out of exercise clothes – at least, they are all so old and skanky that I’m actually embarrassed to be wearing them now, and it’s nearly impossible to lose the old gym sock smell. Time for an update to some sexy new designer threads, maybe some Lorna Jane exxie stuff. So I can sweat in style.
Maintain a careful diet regime and perhaps buy a set of scales so I can weigh myself weekly. Get a fitbit or Apple Watch for health measurement (I can feel a birthday gift coming on!). Yes, well, I may not go the whole hog with the scales, because ouch, but I am doing well with the diet mostly. Sure, it’s only a week, but my stomach has stopped eating itself.
Reduce suspect drinking behaviours at functions. Ok, ok, stop drinking 5 glasses of champagne at every function. The worst part of this drinking thing is at my best I can drink substantial amounts of booze and it only marginally registers. Even my non-drinking DH thinks so. At an event last year we noticed a number of people getting really hammered, yet, it must be said, I kind of kept up. 2 Mojitos and about 3 glasses of Champagne and I was still basically normal, while these good folk were slurring words and stumbling. I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have drunk much more than me – the function was only 3 hours long!
So, sadly, drink less. It has to be said, September through January was a real lush-fest. I drank my way through an indecent amount of Pinot Noir and Champagne (yes, the real stuff), and it has shown on my hips. Gah. I hate to think what my liver looks like. I’m hoping the FebFast thing I’m doing will make up for the other months: Medicinal-brandy March, Alcoholic April, Mojito May, Jello Shots June, Jaundiced July and Appletini August. Never mind about Sloshed September, Out-of-it October and Nobbled November. Plus I think Drinky-poos December will be a bit of a disaster.
Right, now these goals pertain to my need to do something now that the PhD is OVAH. And by OVAH I mean most of the box-ticking has been done bar the last little one. 2 weeks, people!
Perform more. That’s a big tick because I’m actually doing this. I sang at a gig last night although as I’d not sung for 3 months it was a laughable horrible mess. I’m happy though with my first song which was an ethereal little meditation. And I loved the dress I wore, which is the most successful dress I’ve ever bought to date. It’s an Anthea Crawford LBD, and it gives me the most amazing looking figure as it’s full of lycra and hugs just so, but also has structure and some clever ruching around the midriff. I feel a million bucks when I’m wearing it, even at my slightly heavier side of happy.
Other goals include writing a novel (complete first draft in November during NaNoWriMo) and creating a cabaret. For the first idea I’m thinking either stories about transgender communities and people, or a young adult novel with the unreliable narrator theme. And for the second idea I’ve already got some old songs written but I need to find my mojo for this. I’m not a great pianist so it takes me longer than other musicians to formulate song feel and chord patterns. However, I DO have good pianist friends to make life a bit easier. They can do the feel thing. Once again, cabaret is best done about one’s life, so I’ve a bunch of songs about transitions ready to go, and some regular funny songs (probs not that funny, because I am far too serious and lack a sense of humour about myself. It’s being the eldest in the family. The clown is usually a younger child.)
This one’s the doozy. What do I really want to do with my life? Do I want to be a kick-arse singing teacher and have on my gravestone: she came, she saw, she taught? Or do I want to expand my repertoire of skills and develop other things?
Oh, there’s no doubt I want to develop other things!
One of those things is to develop my PhD into a book. I already have my preferred publisher in sight, and I will need to expand on my work with a few more stories about singers etc. I think my book will be good and I know how to write for a less arcane audience.
Another thing I’d like to do is apply for a Churchill Fellowship. This fellowship (apart from looking good on the CV) is a great way to foster OS networks and develop further skills in my domain. I’ve been threatening to do this for years, maybe 2015 is the year.
Then DH put me onto the Australia Arts Council website for grants and applications for Arts professionals. There are any number of development grants I could be going for including skills development; conference and workshop attendance; mentorship and other things. Very exciting and I’ll need to chat with some other folk about how to write a successful grant application to the AC. I have some great ideas I want to put into action. So this last thing is a way to develop my business further, and enable me to actually pay staff and me too. Wowsers.
So, I’m feeling rather more positive than I did four months ago after my PhD submission, when I fell apart and felt miserable and sad because I hadn’t a job to go to. There are things I can do in the meantime. Maybe a DECRA? Or a Post-Doc.
So, that’s it for now. I’b better get me to the gym for a yoga session so I don’t feel guilty about missing the HIIT session at 8.30…