Sunday, January 31, 2021

2021 Goals and January

I still love making goals each month.  I know the general consensus is that this is foolish during a time like now when there's so little we can control and so much stress, anxiety, and fear in the world.  But, I think if you don't make a plan of some sort, you tend to just drift along with no real vision, and I don't like that.  

I tend to make broad goals for the year, and then more concrete and manageable goals for the month.  With school in full swing, I've been even more gentle with those monthly goals.  But here are some of the things I'm aiming for in 2021.

For the year, I have more a dream list/  Most of these things I can't really cross off as done, but they're more ideals to strive towards:
-Travel more.  Even if I can't be flying across the country or to Europe, there's still plenty to see that I can drive to, that is outdoors, and that is nearby.
- Send letters and spend quality with people important to me, and encourage those around me.
- Ignore the news and celebrities.  I don't want to live under a rock, but I really don't need to spend time determining who the Kardashians are dating, which celebrity is canceled for saying what, and to some extent even following politics is annoying because this side says this, that side says that, they're fighting.  It really doesn't matter what my view on an issue is.  I'm not going to make my representative feel better if I agree or make them change their mind if I disagree.  This probably sounds a little jaded.  But if I am wasting time choosing sides when I could be spending that time loving those around me and giving them support and care, what's the good in that?  In some sense I feel I have a duty to stay up to date on the issues, but honestly when they're causing strife in my friendships and family, it's easier to just focus on the things right in front of me that I can change.  This isn't the right choice for everyone, but right now I feel like this is what I need to focus on.
- Use what I have: read the books I already own, try to not waste the food I buy, and get rid of those things I don't need.  I've been using a capsule wardrobe since September, which is not very hard when most of your time is spent in video conferencing or wearing a uniform, but I have a lot of clothes packed up that I need to decide if I need to keep or need to let go.
- Fix up things that I can around the house- replace the worn out carpet, fix the flowerbeds, stuff like that.
- Take care of my physical, spiritual, and mental health: get enough sleep, exercise, be joyful and kind and don't lose my cool (which kind of goes back to ignoring the news).  I've also been listening to a ton of good podcasts lately, which really helps.
- Find a nursing job, which really can't happen until I graduate and pass the state exam, but it's a goal for the year.

January Goals
- Exercise five times a week.
- Daily devotions.
- Get outside for an extended period of time at least once a week.
- Read 4 books.
- Read 15 minutes a day for fun (not textbooks).
- Blog four times.
- No buying anything besides groceries.

I did okayish on most of these.  The month started out good, but then once school started, my compliance rate when down.  I got outside a couple times to cross country ski.  I only got through one book.  I exercised most days.  I didn't buy much besides groceries.  I did get some Valentine treats and stock up on greeting cards.  My devotional time got done most days but last week wasn't very good.  I won't bore you with specifics, but I'd say I did better than if I hadn't actually wrote the thing out as a goal.  So by being intentional about it, I did better than just letting myself float along. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2021 Word: Community

I LOVE the new year.  A fresh start.  New planners full of promise.  The allure of possibility that this, this could be the year that I get everything together.  I always set resolutions, goals, and track progress.  But I don't usually pick a word for the year.  However, this year, with all that has been going on, and due to the fact that it keeps popping up over and over in things I read, I have a word in mind: Community.

Everyone talks about how America is so divided and it's true.  We're divided on so many things, whether Covid 19 response, law enforcement's role, the economy, immigration, even religion.  Christians can't agree with each other about issues.  And I'm speaking as a Christian, who's very frustrated.  But, no one wants to try and bridge a gap or listen to anyone who does not fall entirely in their circle.  This year I want to do better.

And, I want to be a better friend.  2020 brought arguments about politics, social justice, and Covid 19 within my own circle of friends.  Instead of focusing on what we do agree on, I think we get so narrow sighted and only see what we don't agree on.  And I feel there's more common ground than I thought, so I want to try to work to repair some of those friendships.  I want to listen more than I talk, I want to think before I speak, and I want to encourage everyone I come into contact with, whether it's friends, coworkers, or patients.

I've been reading a lot of Henri Nouwen lately.  He's a Catholic priest who died in 1996, but his words are just as relevant as ever.  He writes a lot about how everyone wants love, and we feel isolated, alone, and rejected.  But really, God loves each of us, regardless of age, race, political affiliation, past wrongs, present short comings.  He loves us.  And, if God feels that way about me and everyone I meet, then I need to treat everyone I meet as if I truly believe that it.  

God loves that patient that shows up in the ER every week for the same problem, God loves that patient with dementia who has forgotten where they are.  God loves that coworker who is always humble bragging.  God loves that friend who you watch make bad decisions over and over.  God loves people you know are liars.  God loves everyone on death row.  I think we have a hard time believing God could love us unconditionally and that his love doesn't change based on how we act.  But, we have no problem believing we're more deserving of love than those we think are "worse" than us.  This year, I am really trying to focus on the fact that we are all loved by God.  So many people just want someone to listen to them.  They want to feel important and that they matter.  So that's what I'm trying to focus on in 2021- listening, loving, and building that community where people feel safe to open up and really share.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Slow Down and Breathe

I've learned a few things for sure over the past few years.  I am most definitely a morning person.  I do best if I have a routine, even if it's not rigid.  I need to exercise for my mental health just as much as my physical health.  I need to get outside, regardless of the weather here in Wisconsin, at least a couple days a week.  Seems simple enough- set up a daily routine, get outside once in a while, exercise, and all is good.  Well, just because I know what I need to do doesn't mean that I always do it.

When you're in nursing school you have clinicals, which are days when you go to a hospital and actually work as a student nurse, you know, so you know what you're doing when you become a real nurse.  You assess patients, administer medications, monitor vitals, and just work on your communication skills with patients.  You do all this under your instructor's supervision and with a real nurse that you report to.  So you're also supposed to be fluent with what medications your patient is taking, how they are administered, what the med is for, and any side effects to watch for or special things you need to know.  So that means staying up late the night before, drilling yourself on all their meds, and then getting up early to get ready and get to the clinical site.  Then, by the time you get done with your shift, you drive home, and at least in my case, you feel exhausted and maybe do some of your shift journal, scarf down some leftovers, and go to sleep.  Consequently, the first things to get cut are devotions and journallng, reading for fun, and exercise.   Not fun.  For a while, I manage to maintain these on the other days, when I don't have clinicals, but then slowly and surely there's big papers to write, or an exam to study for, and gradually, all these safeguards to keep me happy and healthy fall away and I'm just taking my vitamins and trying to eat a salad once in a while.  Doesn't really cut it.

This is part of the reason why I love winter break (and summer break).  I go back and reestablish my healthy routines.  I look at what's working, what I like, and what I don't. Even if you don't have a midwinter break, you can still do this, and I encourage you to.  Take an afternoon and just be still.  Put on some music that you like, drink some coffee, and figure out what you need to do to feel ready to tackle life.  This isn't about making goals and plans.  It's just about making sure you have the groundwork in place to keep you calm and ready for life.  And we all could do with feeling a little more calm and relaxed.  Do you need to start getting up half an hour earlier so you aren't running late every morning?  Do you need to go to bed earlier?  Exercise even though you hate it?  Figure out what things would help you feel better and then come up with a plan to make it happen. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Reintroducing Myself

 So, it's been a good two years since my last post. :)  I had let my domain expire, and then of course someone snapped it up right away, thinking they'd flip it or get me to buy it back at a crazy high price or something.  Which I had no intention of doing.  I actually had thought about deleting the whole blog, but I didn't for some reason.  And then I noticed earlier this week that the domain was back available at the normal price.  So I bought it back on a whim of sorts.  I had been thinking of starting a new blog, but I wasn't really sure about if I'd be posting regularly or not and was really just looking for a place to get my thoughts down, so this seemed as good as any.

I'm still Kaylee. I'm still married- going on fourteen years this year.  That doesn't seem possible.  Sometimes I feel like it's only been a couple years.  Other times I feel as though it's been decades.  I think that's how married life seems to most people though.  I still have the same two cats.  Still live in Wisconsin.  A lot of things are the same.  My love of books, coffee, sewing, traveling, setting goals- all still intact.

The last two years have been fairly busy.  I've been working on getting my associate's degree for nursing.  My last semester starts this month.  Once I successfully finish that (fingers crossed), in May, I can take the NCLEX, which is the exam to become an official, for real, RN.  The first semester felt like a roller coaster of emotions, mostly anxiety and stress.  The second was interrupted due to COVID, so it felt like I was just writing one paper after another.  This past semester was better and I felt like it went pretty smooth for the most part.

I'm still working a little, but school definitely takes up most of my time.  I'm only listed as casual at work, so they just call me if they need someone.  It's definitely given me more free time over winter break than I thought I'd have, but that's okay.  I finally made a valance for my kitchen window- after 14 years.  I've gotten out cross country skiing twice already, which is two more times than I did last year.  I've been cleaning, organizing, realizing how much stuff I still have.  Just trying to get everything in order before the last semester begins.