As the Summer Draws to an End

It’s been no secret my summer is unusually short this year, and as such, it’s been no secret how hard I’ve had to push myself to complete not only my manageable goals for the year but also my stretch goals for the summer.

Although it’s hard to realize (and harder to say), this is my last monthly goal report before my summer shrivels up and leaves me in the midst of an extraordinarily busy semester.

Health and Wellness

This goal has been largely two-fold of late: First, to establish stronger (and healthier) sleeping habits and, second, to begin actively journalling again.

As far as the latter point is concerned, I’ve excelled–and I’ve met each of my goals for bringing myself up to date, except for the last. However, I failed not on account of not writing enough, but on account of writing too much–despite writing almost every other night last week, I’ve barely dented the events from February through the end of the semester. So much happened, so much life-changing and man-shaping experiences, that to write less of them would belittle the experiences and fail to allow myself to grow and heal and reflect properly upon them.

So I press forward. It’s all I’ve ever done; it’s all I can ever do.

My sleeping habits recently faltered. When I moved things up to being in bed at midnight and asleep by one, I didn’t realize how much my family’s late-night lifestyle and my own body would reject the idea. I’d lie awake at night, tossing and turning for hours, and this restless sleep in turn made it impossible to wake up early. Finally I just seemed to give up–but I also unintentionally picked up the habit of using my iPad in bed.

I’m cutting that out again. It’s not helpful or healthy.

Instead I’m moving back to my previous standards, which in this time and place worked. Once I’m back at school and getting up at seven or so each morning to make classes, I’ll be able to get to bed sooner. I’ve gained the awareness to know how to best adjust my sleeping habits, so I’m not concerned about moving forward.

Fitness

In addition to changing other habits, I’ve also been pushing myself to exercise as much as I can. I developed my own “cardio + strength” workout combining elements and tips from other programs I found in books and splattered across the Internet, and it’s working well. I’ve gained somewhere between five to ten pounds in muscle mass, but my eating habits and lack of sustainable aerobic exercise hasn’t cut down on the areas I’d like to tone up. I’ve got a six-pack somewhere…you just can’t see it yet. And for that matter, neither can I.

I also want to incorporate some daily yoga into my life, specifically in the form of a few poses in the morning and before I go to bed. Certain sequences–such as the sun salutation series–are apt for increasing blood-flow and thereby helping to awaken the body, while others–especially forward bends–help calm the body and have an incredibly sedative effect. In addition to keeping limber and helping to prevent injuries, I’m hoping this new habit will help me wake up and fall asleep more efficiently.

As I continue exercising at home, I’m also beginning to plan what I’ll do once I’m back at school. On the one hand, my exercise program is working, and I want to continue it, but on the other hand, I also want to exploit the resources I have on campus–the group fitness classes, the track and pool, and the weight room. I’m a mutable person, though, so once I’m back on campus in two weeks, I’ll be able to start adjusting my habits to meet my campus lifestyle and continue strengthening myself–mind and body alike.

Blogging

Part of my blogging goals for the year is to increase my readership, but I’m somewhat low on new ideas to accomplish this, so for the time being I’m placing it on the back-burner for brainstorming (or reevaluation of how far I want to push my reach this year) while I continue focusing on content–both on Words and Wonders and Silent Soliloquy as well as my Facebook page. I’m hoping to write a larger fiction series before school begins to post regularly, and I recently reorganized my poetry, so I can now more easily find old-yet-good poems to share.

One of the reasons my semester will be unusually busy is because I exchanged one of my planned-to-be-dropped courses for a poetry workshop–which now means I won’t be dropping a course from my schedule as initially planned. However, with this course in hand, I’m certain my poetry skills will reach new levels I can’t even imagine.

Writing and Reading

I’ve got a lot of these goals, and probably they’ll be my Achilles heel if something falls.

First, I’m currently learning a new Torah portion to read right before I go back to school, and although I enjoy daily reading the words and remembering these amazing melodies, it does detract my attention from other projects.

Second, I’m currently proofreading and revising my NaNoWriMo novel–the first major book of my mythology. It’s not perfect, and it could use a number of structural changes, but for now I’m solidifying the story more than anything else so I can finish this particular tale–or at least its next chapter–when November comes around. I’ve also been compiling copious character, culture, and location notes, so although–if things go as planned–I’ll finish reading it tomorrow, I might still have some residual work to finish before it’s done.

Next, I’m continuing to work on the Belize book I’ll be sending out as a thank-you gift to all the people who donated to my fundraiser that helped me get to Belize over spring break. The bulk of the project is complete, but I still have a few additional sections to compose before it’s finished and I can perform my final proofreading.

Penultimately, I have an abundance of old photographs to post on Facebook, which happened to fall under this category because I originally intended to caption each picture when I uploaded them. Now? I’ll be satisfied if they just make it to my profile. A few albums I might even share here to accompany some posts I’ve got planned, if I can get all the parts and pieces coordinated in time to do that.

Finally–and this might be the hardest goal yet–I’m decluttering my room before I pack it up, and that means reading through more than a year’s worth of collected publications I have piled up on literally every horizontal surface of my room.

It’s tiresome work, but I want it done, so do it I shall?

Something like that.

How do you plow through clutter? I could use the advice.

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