Looking back at October, looking forward to November

Well, happiness-wise, October was a bust.

Or wast it? I was happy during the month, mostly. It’s just the month got so busy work-wise (it’s by far the busiest month of Canada’s book world), that I didn’t have any time to focus on my commandments or work on my monthly goals. But that’s okay. I was extremely social (thanks, IFOA), lost some weight (not intentionally, though, it’s the IFOA diet), and was creative, both at work and at home (I made a pillow, it is beautiful). On the fitness front, I tried Piloxing for the first time ever and played squash for the first time since grad school. So even though I didn’t really accomplish any of my goals I’m deeming the month a success.

I also had a happiness epiphany. Gretchen is all about “thinking about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.” I haven’t felt the “Growth” part, especially at work, in a really long time. I love my job, but I’ve felt stunted and bored. But then I went and talked to a group of aspiring publishing students and told them they need to make their own opportunities, like I did once: I started a fancy Twitter account, co-founded a successful unconference, started a fun video series and it all led to a great job, where I was challenged and grew a lot in the first two years.


This is the pillow I made. How impressed are you right now?


If I want to reclaim that energy and positivity  I need to create my own opportunities for growth. I need to create my own challenges.

It seems simple, really. I loved my industry the most when I was hustling for opportunities. I love working, I’d rather be working than doing anything else. So I need to create my own opportunities for growth. I need to create my own challenges.

I’ve made several strides with that in October: I pitched a few ideas to senior managers; I applied (and didn’t get) a senior position; I joined a digital pitch committee — and plan to submit an idea to every single meeting. I’m working on a special summer project. I produced a recent reading series myself, instead of assigning it to someone with better radio skills.

And outside the 9-5, I’m developing projects again. I’m working on an event series and planning a mentorship program.

Fitness-wise, I signed up for my first marathon.

I’m making sure I’m creating my own opportunities for growth and creating my own challenges.

After two months, I’m not sure if the concrete goal thing is for me. I never truly accomplished any of them and found working on them and focusing on them took away from other things that made me happy. Which is not the point of this exercise. At all.

So for November, I plan to re-focus on my commandments. Simple, abstract. But I also plan to do things that fulfill these commandments. I need to up my base running in preparation for the marathon (Be Fit), I’m going to be hosting a vegan American Thanksgiving dinner party (Show Up, Be Thankful), I’ll continue to play squash (Be Fit), I’ll make another pillow (Make Good, Do Good, Feel Good). I want to focus on me, bettering myself and bettering the world around me. So, with that in mind, here are my November goals:

1) Host a kick-ass grown up dinner party.

Invites were sent. The meal is being planned. It’s going to be awesome.

2) Be active every day.

This includes biking to work. As long as my move my butt for 30 minutes each and every day, it will be a success. Obviously, the intent behind this goal is to do more running and more yoga than I did in October (because I didn’t do very much!). But the more abstract notion of this goal, as opposed to “do yoga X times per week” should lead to more success.

3) Give back.

I feel this is something lacking in my life, but the event series, publishing mentorship and Sandy relief donation (if you haven’t given yet, DO SO NOW. People are suffering. People lost their homes. People lost loved ones. Every bit counts.) are steps in the right direction.

4) Read more, write more & create more.

Pretty self explanatory, eh? I live in a weird paradox: the more book things I have happening in my life, the less I actually read. There’s only so much time I have left in the day, I know. But why aimlessly surf the internet when I can at least start that novel on my shelf?

I also want to start reading one book about betterment, whether it’s personal or social. And start building that into my happiness plans.

5) Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Or, at least, be more mindful of what I eat. I’m the kind of person who eats endlessly at book launches and can consume an entire bag of chips without thinking. That needs to end. I’m going to keep Michael Pollan’s 7 Rules for Eating front and centre this month.

We’ll see how this goes.



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