Category Archives: The Year Plus

Sit-Up-Straight September

I miss having month-long goals. I feel like they did mold me, in some weird way. I’m always the most open to evolving when I’m depressed or I’ve been through something awful, which right now is both. I’m trying to do nice things for other people and ask them about their day, which always makes me feel better in general, but I need to work on me, too.

I mentioned before that I’ve been re-watching this show called Orphan Black. The lead actress, Tatiana Maslany, plays clones–seven so far. You forget that each character is played by the same person. It’s astonishing, and it’s especially great when one clone pretends to be another clone. You know exactly who that person is, even if they are dressed up as someone else. Hell, there is one episode where the clone with dreads, Cosima, isn’t wearing her glasses–and my first reaction was, “She looks so weird without her glasses!” even though that face is everywhere, in every episode.


One reason Maslany pulls this off so wonderfully is that her background is dance. So she doesn’t just get into a character mentally–she puts thought and work into what moves them. Allison has this little high-strung tick with her hand that I love, Helena is like a feral animal, Rachel moves with entitlement, etc. It isn’t just the way they talk or dress, it’s the air about them.

I was thinking about this yesterday–the way you feel inside can define the way you carry yourself, and vice versa. You look the way you live. I was also thinking about my Grandma’s favorite mantra: Fake it til you make it.

So for September, my goal is to carry myself with confidence and strength that I don’t exactly have right now. Time to sit up straight. Throw those shoulders back. Engage the core.

And get that fucking chin up. For good.

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Parenthetically Speaking

Nothing important to say, really. The problem with living and working downtown–living on the best street and working at the best (but busiest) place– is that I never leave anymore. The weeks all bleed together and I only hang with my coworkers (who are amazing, but I miss my friends). I’ve also really been slacking in terms of working out and what I eat. Before, I was searching for monotony. Now that the wedding and all my other obligations are over, I’ve found it, but it’s nothing worth writing about.

I took a couple months off of The Year Plus (at least once a year, I have a complete nervous breakdown, you know how it is), and that was a huge mistake. So, to make up for it: I’m running 100 miles in 3 weeks! It’s been 5 days and I’ve knocked out 28 so far. Next month, I plan on hanging out with at least one non-work friend a week and doing crunches every day.

Media wise, here’s the disgusting amount of things I’ve read/watched/heard lately and loved:

  • The Hunger Games trilogy
  • The Help (the book–so good, as soon as I finished it, I started reading it again)
  • Willpower (which Erin F. will be happy to know kicks off with an Amanda Palmer story)
  • Doctor Who (up to season 6 and OBSESSED)
  • All my CW stories
  • Parks and Rec
  • Revenge (I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I love it already.)
  • Modern Family (my awesome bosses have converted me)
  • Fringe (this makes me the happiest of all)
  • Six Feet Under (the latest show Justin and I are watching together)
  • Mountaintops by Mates of State (yes Captain, I love it)

After a summer of only watching 2 shows at a time, I feel a little grossed out by the amount of TV I wanted to watch this week. So, I might just keep up my current pace, and just catch up on one show a week. And whatever I do: no cable!

So … see? This is why I haven’t written in a while; I’m caught up in my own world with my own goals and I love it, but it’s not worth reading. And while I used to just use all my brainpower to blog all day at an easy job that I hated, now I come home with most of my energy depleted. However, I’ve had a couple people bug me to write, so I here you go (and I’m sure they’re regretting it now).

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July Plus: World War Fat

So … right after I declared The War On Fat, the Y decided to SHUT DOWN THE WEIGHT ROOM – with ALL THE TREADMILLS – for the rest of the month.

I could still run at the other downtown location, but I have to pay to park and it’s closed on weekends. It’s too hot to run outside, and too unsafe when you live downtown, anyway. I hate the idea of driving 15 – 20 minutes one way just to run, ‘specially in this heat.

Besides, after my two (PAINFUL!) procedures yesterday for two separate biopsies? I plan on spending all weekend laying on the couch.

I’m still going to work out–I’ve missed you, Insanity!–but this means my goal of a 1,000 calorie deficit is nearly impossible. So, I’ve decided the War on Fat is my goal for July. Just in time, I might add. Just in motherf%*^ing time.

The War on Fat has gone nuclear, my friends:

Oh, a free Qdoba nacho bar in the lobby at work? SKIPPED IT.

A lunch meeting at Rosalita’s, which has the best chimichangas in the world and where this has been known to happen? Veggie-only salad, while staring down guacamole and queso.

Justin just went on a couponing binge and bought 2 bags of tortilla chips, 10 boxes of cereal and s’mores fixins. What an asshole. My goal for the weekend? Ignoring all that shit all up in my kitchen. Can I do it? (Can I? I really don’t know about this.)

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July Plus: Minus

I have a few different ways to add a minus to July.

I’m still a little concerned about that bridesmaid dress that I ordered in a size too small, so the first involves my BodyBugg. Usually I aim for a calorie deficit (the difference of calories I burn vs. calories I eat) of 750, but this month I’m going for 1,000.  Usually I hit 1,000 about 10 times a month. It would be impossible for me to hit 1,000 every day and still have a life, so I’m aiming f0r 20 days. (You do realize that in order to do this, I’ll probably have to run 100 miles again? I hope so; that was fun!)

The second is speed. I usually focus on how long I can run, now I’m going to see how fast I can do it. Today I ran 6 miles in 65 minutes; let’s see if I can run comfortably at 6.0 by the end of the month!

The third was going to be kicking my debt’s ass, but with upcoming oral surgery, a biopsy, and four weddings (one that I’m in, one where Justin is Best Man), I can’t do that any more. However, I can attempt to at least break even, and that involves the same method I had before – a budget! A strict one.

All of this means I won’t be much fun this month, but it’s totally gross outside as usual–I’m always lame in July.

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And If I Haver

I ran 100 miles in a month!

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Live, From The Bathtub

My Napa coverage has once again been preempted to tell you that I just completed a decade-long goal:

I ran 10 straight miles!

Even crazier: I ran all 10 at a 5.2 pace! Do you have any idea how short my legs are? Is this real life?

I should also note that my iPod battery was on red for the last hour, which is like the modern day equivalent of an Old Testament miracle.

(Fourfour gif, duh)

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Wheezy Breezy

I ran 20 miles this weekend, bringing my June mile tally to 25. Yup.

Today, I’m taking a break. I deserve nonstop Friday Night Lights and ice cream sandwiches tonight, right? Besides, I’m currently buried under a cat blanket and will be consumed by wheezy hives in about 30 seconds. Worth it.

Other fun stuff: I finally saw Bridesmaids (with Jen! Yay!), had a 5-hour Happy Hour at Atomic Cowboy (where I bumped into awesome Adrienne from college!), ate at Mizo with friends from work (’bout time I start exploring the 6,000 incredible restaurants on my street), AND my partner at work gave me FREE Mumford & Sons tickets. I saw them last night (and Jane!) and they rocked!

Okay, I’m tired of typing one-handed; time to rub some Benadryl on my nose.

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June Plus: 100 Miles

I’m going to run 100 miles this month. I really want to run a marathon every week (you know, over the course of 7 days), but with Napa in the picture, 131 miles is a stretch. Maybe next month or August. 100 miles is sadly all that I have time for, but again, with Napa in the picture that’s what I need the most. My short little legs can finally handle a 5.5 pace, so I’m psyched to see what I can do.

I know most of these goals have been fitness related, but these days it’s what makes me the happiest and I have to fit into a fuchsia dress in 3 months (and as an ex 14-year smoker and chubby kid who skipped gym, it totally cracks me up).

5 miles down, 95  to go. I have a Happy Hour in my honor (and awesome Liz’s honor) tonight, but I’ll try to knock out at least 15 over the weekend.

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May Plus Methodicalness

I’ve been pretty bummed out for the last few weeks. I don’t have a real reason to be (if anything, I have a billion reasons to be happy), which means that it’s most likely physical. I haven’t been very disciplined about sleep or exercise, and my new office (while awesome, full of awesome people, etc.) is very dimly lit – something that, for someone with DSPS, can be very dangerous, both for my sleep habits and my overall mood.

Plus, I’m about to say goodbye to my dad – again. I’ve been crying about him a lot for the past few weeks, much more than usual. Is it because I’m now walking the same grounds he did for 40 hours a week? Is it because of the trip? Am I sad about him because I’m sad in general, or the other way around?

By age 30, I’ve learned that I am susceptible to depression, and all the tiny elements of it can grow into a storm if I’m not careful. I also know that I’m tough enough to attack this now while I can still see daylight.

So I guess what I’m saying is, rather than doing something new for a month or something silly and crazy, I need to just focus on routine. Sleep. Run. Fruit. Veggies. Light. Discipline. Get used to my new environment, new people and a new daily drill.

I bought a Happy Light. I’m going to the Y tomorrow. I’ve reprogrammed my BodyBugg for a fresh start. I’m going to bed late tonight, but that’s just because I marathoned season one of Fringe this weekend and I’m on the last episode. (I may be depressed, but I’m still me.)

This week will still be uncharacteristically nuts, what with Hurricane Puppet destroying our loft and the trip on Thursday, but for the rest of May, methodical is the drill. If I come out of it feeling more like myself, with less tears, less pounds, and less poof under the eyes, then I did it right.

P.S. Somewhere in the middle of typing this, Osama Bin Laden died?

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April Plus: Saying “I Guess” To The Dress

So I’ve been on this weight loss kick for a while, but in March I really slacked off. Mostly because I weigh less than I’ve weighed in almost three years, so I have this newfound confidence and I feel amazing. I’ve been much less apprehensive about eating/drinking great stuff.

AND, in the process of revealing my new job to everyone I know one by one, I’ve been in celebration mode for over two weeks. Everybody wants to take me out to lunch! Everyone wants to buy me a drink! People are driving me to wineries! A 600-calorie tequila slurpie? Yes please!

So while I haven’t gained any weight, I’ve been balancing between a 15 and 17 lb. loss, and I really want to get my ass in gear.

What’s the dress about? Well, I’m not going to be Mrs. Tolliver any time soon (and when that happens, I’m wearing green). I’m going to be a bridesmaid for my cousin in September. I have to wear a strapless hot pink dress and have my make-up done by the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders’ cosmotolagist, so I am going to look like a drag queen no matter what, I think.

But I have to get fitted for the dress by the end of this month, and after that I won’t be able to lose more than 10 pounds without the dress no longer fitting. So I want to get within 15 pounds of my goal by then. I can lose 10 more over the summer. (I can handle being 5 pounds over my goal til September … I don’t remember ever weighing that little in my life, so I may even stop there.)

SOOO, as of today, I need to lose 9 more pounds. I’m not expecting to lose all of it, but I took a month off and I can’t afford to do that again.

I’ll still celebrate and enjoy good food, but rather than just taking a “day off” with the BodyBugg, I’m going to attempt to make up every extra calorie at the Y. It’s going to be hard, but I went a month without cheese! I threw a concert! I scored my dream job! I do what I want!

I should add that I just want to weigh within the range that every doctor and healthy chart suggests (my priorities are now in their thirties, too), so I’m aiming for the number in the middle. If you’re doing the math above, I wanted to lose 40 pounds, though losing 35 will still keep me in the healthy range. I might look weird if I lose any more, anyway.

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March Plus: A New Job!

YUP! For the 2 readers who didn’t hear it directly from me, I got a new job! More specifically, my dream job. I’ve known about it for a few weeks, but I had to wait for all the paperwork, background checks, and everything else before I could put in my two weeks. Which I just did. WOO!

Back in December and January,  I was literally crying about my current work situation every day and it was taking such a toll on me. One night when I was still at my mom’s house, I was having trouble sleeping (which hadn’t happened in months, surprisingly). I was full of stress and anxiety and anger and I couldn’t relax. I decided to check this company’s website on a whim (they rarely have openings because no one wants to leave) and there it was.

And while I haven’t really believed it until this very second, the tiny optimist that lives inside my pinky toe said, “You got this.” I stayed up two more hours updating my resume and cover letter. It was 3:35 am when I finally hit  “submit”.

It’s for one of the biggest companies in the world, so it would probably be really dumb to say the name of the company or get too detailed here. (Oh, and whatever I write here will never reflect the views of my employer and all that jazz.) But I will list a few (of the million) awesome things about this place.

1. It’s downtown like me, so I no longer have to drive across the entire city and county of St. Louis every day. I will save millions in gas and get an hour of my life back. Justin suggested taking popular downtown transportation like a bike rickshaw or a horse-drawn carriage. (Realistically, on nice days he will drop me off in the morning and I’ll walk home.)

2. I will no longer be the only copywriter at my work, which means I will no longer be the only person forced to explain why something is terribly written, why this apostrophe goes here, what semicolons are for, etc. I feel like the Bee Girl at the end of the “No Rain” video.

3. I can take dogs to work. There is a dogpark. This means I have to get a dog, right?

4. It is voted one of the best places to work in St. Louis every single year, and often it’s among the best in the country.

5. The people there are hilarious and brilliant and amazing. Plus, I’ll have a Creative Director! My agency friends may be groaning, but trust me, having one is better than having … what I currently have. It will be awesome to work for someone who really encourages me to grow and think and challenge myself. It’s all the best parts of an agency, plus the job security and benefits of, you know, other jobs.

6. NO MORE PR. They have people for that.

7. My dad worked at this company for 25 years. Here he is at some parade thing that they used to throw in the seventies:

I put that picture on my cover letter, which I’m sure is 60% of the reason I landed the job.

(If you’ve guessed where, please don’t type it in the comments. The less googleable I am, the better.)(God bless that actress with the same name as me.)

So, I’m aware that this was painfully obvious and I’ve “announced” it like 6,000 times already, but it ain’t complete until I say it here:



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Meletonin Is One Hell Of A Drug

Once again, I had an insane dream that was hilarious to me, but would be totally boring for you to read about (PEOPLE: WE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR DREAMS).

AND much like before, there’s a situation I am dying to tell you about (though I’ve told most of you in real life already) and my dream was packed full of symbols that relate directly to it. So rather than tell you the situation, I’ll tell you about the symbols in the dream.

Important to Note: I have recently resolved a very bad situation – one that I wrote about the same way here. It’s really awesome to read that entry (particularly the section about the woods) and then read about the symbols below. Dream Dictionaries may be cheesy, but they are beyond accurate; I will never doubt that. I get all my definitions from the Dream Moods Dictionary.

Dream in 50 words or less: I was walking somewhere, and a baby elephant appeared out of nowhere. I rode him to where I was going. Also, at one point I was trapped in a creepy hoarder house with walls covered in paintings.

Symbol: A Baby Elephant

To see a baby in your dream, signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings.  If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential.

To dream that you are riding an elephant, indicates that you are in control of your unconscious and aspects that you were once afraid of. The elephant is also a symbol of power, strength, faithfulness and intellect.

Symbol: Paintings

To see a painting in your dream, represents creativity and your need for self-expression. The painting is symbolic of your intuition and inner realizations.

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I can’t tell you about my Top Secret Mission just yet, but I can tell you:



Just to give you an idea of how awesome this is, my mom cried, my grandma cried, and my brother said, “Dad would be so proud of you,” and then I cried.

(I am not engaged and/or pregnant.)

I will write more about it in a week! But you can totally IM my ass!


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Feelings Update

Not quite here yet:

But so far my top secret mission (which you can totally call/email/IM me and ask about) is going amazing. Thursday and Friday were pretty:

Oh, my March Year Plus goal is the Top Secret Mission. So … I can’t really write about it until it’s over. I should have more news this week.


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February Plus: Writing (and Downtown Lametown)

It was strange to see my street so dead at 5pm (this is where most downtown folks come for happy hour and games), but other than that, this “historic” blizzard has been a bunch of BS. We were promised 20+ inches of snow, and nothing. (Well, ice … but nothing remarkable.) I can’t believe I wasted a good “Ask To Work From Home And Piss Off My Boss” for this.

I had an über-productive day (I always do when I work from home) and now I’m kicking back with some Pig Radio for some fun writing and relaxation. I’ve got a good view (and s’mores. I have s’mores):


So I had wanted my February Plus to be Religion, for reasons I’ll (briefly) explain next month, but –

v. raising elle


Grovesnor is covering “With Every Heartbeat” on Pig Radio right now. I die.


– but I’m busy every Sunday next month (family visits, Superbowl, a ski trip, etc.), and I want to go to (gay friendly) church every Sunday whenever I do it. So next month, probably.

This month, I’m going to write creatively every day for at least 20 minutes. (I’d say 30, but I’m still trying to work out every day, too, and I don’t know if it’s possible to do both when my workouts are usually an hour.) I’m going to bust out this monthly box of moleskines that Justin got me (shutit) and fill up as many as I can. I’m also going to finally finish my gorgeous copy of What It Is (a writing workbook written by my hero Lynda Barry, based on her workshops) and try to do as many exercises in the book as possible.

As you can probably tell, lately I’ve been so discouraged about writing during my day job that I’ve almost forgotten why I loved it in the first place. It’s gotten to the point where I have trouble writing here, too. I want that fire back. So here we go.

P.S. This is what I’ll be surrounded by while I do it … positivity and productivity.  Virtual Loft Tour coming soon!



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Get My Head Back On

I WAS all excited to tell you that I’ve lost 8 pounds in 3 weeks (that’s 20% of my goal!) but then Erin decided to have a belated festivus party and served up all sorts of mouthwatering bullcrap like bacon-wrapped dates and Amish blue cheese. And then Graham wouldn’t let me leave without a fresh-from-the-oven cookie. Dagnammit, you delicious-food-cooking assholes.

So … I’ve lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks. Not bad.

To make up for all the weekend parties and celebrations – Justin and I realized we’re booked until mid-March – I’ve added in some of the shorter Insanity workouts along with my free weights. I forgot how much I love those! I can’t join the Y until I get my W-2 but I toured it the other day – it’s such a gorgeous old building. My mom told me she used to go to that Y decades ago when she worked downtown!

I finished Skins season 4. Booooo. If you plan on watching it, I only recommend it through Season 3. Good thing it was only 8 episodes.

I’ve pushed past the depression regarding certain aspects of my life and have summoned up enough energy to turn this into something positive. That’s all I can really say, but I’m excited for everything I have planned for the next few weeks. Even my shrink was like, “Damn, girl.”

I’m going to try really hard to lose 3 more pounds by next week … or at least before my Grilled Cheese Party (where I’m guaranteed to gain it all back).

Cohabitation is still amazing … I love Justin so much and I can’t believe I get to wake up with him every day. Between domestic bliss, a change of scenery and all the endorphins, I feel like a new person.

Remember when I used to be funny?

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I’m Sure I Wasn’t The First, But …

The Year Without and The Year Plus sound pretty close to this Lifehacker post, so I’ve decided to take full credit. You’re welcome, Lifehacker! You’re welcome, America!

Somewhat related, I’ve worked out 7 days in a row … for at least a half hour at a time, but usually an hour if you count hula-hooping. Easy peasy.

I’m thisclose to changing my religious views on Facebook to “BodyBugg”, because I’ve lost 5 pounds in 2-1/2 weeks! That’s 12.5% toward my goal! (I like to use the most impressive-sounding stats.) Greatest invention ever? I think totally.

2011 is going to be this year of huge changes in my life (living with my boyfriend, traveling for the first time in ages, new career goals, new hang out buddies, possible physical fitness, life without Dad) and it made me realize that my thirties are going to be completely different than my twenties, and it’s starting right away – a few weeks early, in fact. I thought I could ease into this stuff?

Anyway, I had a late-night panic attack about it and I took one Ativan. I don’t count that as a sleeping pill because I take one Ativan for rare panic attacks and two if I’m taking it to sleep.

It’s weird how I had said that the one resolution I would love to keep last year was figuring out how to sleep, but that would never happen so I’d try 12 other ones. Then out of the 12 resolutions, only one had a major lasting effect on me (and it was the no drinking one, for crying out loud), and then I managed to get a handle on my sleep habits out of nowhere. Next week will mark 5 months without prescription sleeping pills. I’ve only had trouble sleeping on two nights since then. I’m more proud of this than quitting smoking.

2011 is going to be interesting. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’ve spent so much time and energy worrying about my dad, drinking beers, crushing on boys and pontificating about heartbreak that I’m sort of at a loss. How am I supposed to spend my braintime now? What do I do with my life? Who am I? WHAT IS HAPPENING?


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January Plus – Fitness! (And Skins)

I know, I know, not original, especially since this was my goal last year.

But dudes! This BodyBugg is SO FUN! I managed to lose 4 POUNDS over the holidays, amidst several lunch dates, a pizza party, actual parties, a weekend of London Tea Room breakfasts and the consumption of at least 3 bottles of wine and 2 port wine cheeseballs.* Yup.

In addition to squeezing in some sort of fitness every day, I’m going to the Y with Justin next week to check it out and, unless I hate it, join.

I’m moving this week, so that’s a workout in itself. I might even try to carry all my boxes up several flights of stairs.

ALSO I  joined the Biggest Loser competition at my work so I can keep myself accountable AND possibly win cash money.

Last month I managed to work out 24 out of 31 days, so this shouldn’t be hard.


I started watching Skins yesterday and I love it! What is it with me and British teens (or shows about teens in general)?

I haven’t heard too much about the show, aside from the fact that people love it, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid it would be like a British Undressed which, surprisingly, even I couldn’t stomach. But it turns out that Skins is really sweet. Ironically my favorite character so far is the anorexic girl. UK seasons are really short so I’ll probably finish Season 1 tonight. Hell, I’ll probably finish the whole series this month, and then it’s on to new Gossip Girl and 90210 eee eee eee. It should be noted that I’m always working out while I watch this crap. I’m practically in my thirties, people.

(I should add that I am READING like an ADULT too – just finished The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (loved it) and I’m starting The Girl Who Played With Fire tonight.)

*I’m glad I can eat better this week – soon I will be as happy as these ladies!

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2011 – The Year Plus

I was kicking around the idea of altering The Year Without for 2011, partially inspired by both Jane and some of Dave Holmes’ “My Year of Everything” observations, and then Jaime suggested it to me too, so at least 80% credit goes to those three.

In 2011, rather than eliminating something from my life every month, I’m going to add something to it. Jane has been doing this and she’s getting awesome results. Dave Holmes has remarked that people who do something as opposed to avoid something tend to fare better (and it’s more interesting to read about). And as Jaime put it,”that way you’re turning something negative into a positive.”

I’m not going to list every monthly goal up front, but they’re all going to center around my 4 main goals for the year:

1. Lose 30 pounds (yes, the same ones I’ve been trying to kill since I gained them back over the last 2 years, shut up)

2. Write something that makes me proud of myself

3. Eliminate my debt by at least 1/3

4. Become a nicer, better, happier person

Some of the monthly “Plus” goals I want to try are writing fiction daily, using cash/debit only, complimenting someone (sincerely) every day, going out of town every weekend, working out regularly, attending church (the gay-friendly kind) networking professionally, cooking all my lunches and dinners, etc.

I’ve already done several things to put my big goals in motion:

Goal 1: Purchased a BodyBugg and made plans to join the downtown Y (I will probably get rapemugged in an alley on the walk over, but it’s worth a shot)

Goal 2: Reading before bed, bought a computer and a big notebook (writing freehand is much better for your brain)

Goal 3: Switched all paypal/Amazon/monthly fees to debit instead of credit (I have plans to buy pre-paid gas cards, too)

Goal 4: Planning two vacations, biting my tongue more than usual, re-reading The Happiness Workbook

I know that New Years Resolutions are dumb, and that’s why I decided to do monthly resolutions to begin with, but you guys … I’m about to turn 30. This is the decade where shit gets real. I’ve got stuff to pack up before I hop on the wife/mother/homeowner/possible breadwinner train. I’m pretty confident that if all my little goals add up to big ones, I can knock these aspirations out of the park.

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