Habits (are hard)

So far so good this year. We no longer have a Tyrannical Orange Nightmare Clown in charge and even avoided civil war – barely. I read an article this morning stating had social media sites not kicked the TONC’s accounts to the curb we’d probably be facing a very different country right now and I’m inclined to agree. It’s rather scary to think about.

I also got good news from my mom (finally). She’s been acquitted on almost every charge and the remaining ones were kicked back to the lower courts to duke out. Since those were based off a lot of information in the other charges she was acquitted from, which can no longer be used, prosecution has a wet paper to work with for rebuilding a case. Also, the head prosecutor is no longer working so their main bulldog is out of the picture as well. While this may sound like smooth sailing, we are still holding our breaths. This has been going on for 12+ years and everything that had gone wrong – did. So while this seems like the light at the end of the tunnel and the heavens opening up and shining down – we’re still only looking through clouds at a speck of light. That speck may flicker for another couple years as well since we don’t know what the DOJ will try pulling out of their sleeves, let alone how long they’ll take to do it.

So 2021 is… hopeful. That’s about all. I saw a meme of a crop duster plane with a caption of what people in 2021 need. The white powder coming from the plane was captioned “Xanax”. So true.

For now, I’m enjoying WFH again. I’ve been doing so pretty much since Thanksgiving. We had a spike in covid cases at work, so I flat out NOPE’d going back into the office anytime soon and my boss is ok with that. While he gets on my nerves about a LOT of things, I’ve always been grateful for how lenient he is when it comes to personal life and doing what is comfortable for people around him. He checks in with me, but otherwise lets me work at my pace and do my own thing.

It’s been really nice being able to take breaks and walk in the (frigid) cold around the neighborhood. I also take “bake breaks” and will whip up something quickly in between conference calls.

I know this won’t last forever, so I need to soak it all in now. Savor every moment of it until the old-fashioned corporate world says: “Get back here now!” I foresee many annoying cross country business trips in my future already.

Like many others, I’ve been treating 2021 as a sort of “new start”, although it feels more like the steamed towelette fancy restaurants give to patrons before a big meal. It’s warm and nice at first, but it’s just a formality and in order to keep the momentum of that good mood is going to take a lot of personal effort. Here is my list of personal efforts:

  • I’ve started a BuJo. I’ll admit, I had no idea what a real bujo was until I properly looked it up. I thought it was a fancy art journal because a lot of people have turned bujo-ing into a lucrative art form and/or popularity contest via ‘gram and/or youtube. Once I understood there truly is a practical purpose behind it, I figured I’d give it a try. I’d been using a Hobonichi Techo for 2020, which I greatly liked, but wanted to start anew. Creating my own planner format was daunting, but I’m really liking it now. I’ve already gone through a few certified bujo methods, but am realizing I’m making up my own more and more to suit my needs. I have my weekly sections and then use the rest for my long-form journal writing and then will start over each month. I thought I’d miss using a pre-laid-out planner, but I hardly miss it at all. I’m also using a rather unorthodox journal – it’s completely blank. No lines. No dots. No grids. I’ve not gone crazy using a ruler either. I know my writing slants a certain way and it’ll be messy, but having my bujo be so free-form – literally – has been the best way for me to start. It’s been emotionally liberating to see my slanted, sloppy entries and think: This is how I am and that’s ok. I think using a bujo will be the easiest habit for me this year.
  • I’m really doing a No-Buy year. No really. It’s for real this time. I won’t forget. I’ve made a page in my bujo specifically for tracking any errant purchases with monthly totals and even wrote out the rules of what’s acceptable or not on that page. I have already broken it, but I think the purchases I made will be my Best Purchases of the Year and it’s only January. That’s because they have nothing to do with frivolity and everything to do with improving my standard of living. I bought a 3″ foam topper to replace the flimsy 1.5″ egg create style one we’d been using. I also got a padded cotton mattress cover to go over the topper. I now sleep on a marshmallow and it is wonderful. (The new, thicker linen sheets I bought in 2020 add to the luxury aspect.) I’m not sweating like a pig anymore with the old “waterproof” mattress cover I grabbed without thinking at Target years ago. It’s crinkly and polyester and it slid all over so the sheets were always bunched under me. That doesn’t happen now and I feel much more supported. Last November I caved into the rampant advertising on my social media sites and bought Italeau boots that were on backorder. I finally got them in 2021 and didn’t like them at all. So I returned those and then bought the bed items. The boots alone were over $200 (even with a lot of sale coupons) and the bed items cost $130. I think I’m still in the clear for my No-Buy year if I look at it purely from a numbers side because with the return I’ve got more money coming in than out for 2021. Any other little items I’ve wanted that are under my No-Buy rules have been bought under gift cards I’ve received, so that’s an exception. I’m also now scrutinizing my purchases quite heavily so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my gift cards.
  • I’m running again. Right now it’s just on the treadmill, which I hate, but I’m making more of an effort. I have a mini Midori habit tracker and mark off each day I exercise and each day I run. The goal is to run at least 3 miles per week. So far, I’ve averaged 4 miles per week, but this is only week 3 of the year. Some days I’ll run 2 miles and then run one more day to get my 3 done for the week and sometimes I’m motivated to run as much as possible each day. The first week I ran 7+ miles. My current total distance for the year is 16.2 miles.
  • I’m also making an effort to use my NuFace device at least 5 times a week. I don’t expect to see dramatic results because after all the research I’ve done on it, it’s really not too much in the grand scheme of things. That being said, I do like the tightening I feel in my skin afterwards. It’s not a dry tightening, but more like a bouncy muscle kind if that makes sense. I know that at the least it’ll improve the natural contours of my face, which is what I’m after. I don’t expect wrinkles to disappear or to suddenly look 10 years younger. It’s clearly a routine you have to do consistently – for life – to reap benefits from. It’s like brushing your teeth. You may not always like to do it, but you do because you need to in order to keep your mouth in good shape. You also don’t see the benefits of brushing your teeth per se, but they are there. (I treat exercise the same way. If I can spend 2 minutes brushing my teeth for mouth maintenance then I can spend at least 30 minutes exercising my full body for maintenance.) One immediate plus I’ve noticed is the little bumps/blackheads that always plagued my chin area are gone already. I’ve read the gel is fantastic for skin and some people nix the device and just use the gel, which I can understand. I’m not sure if I’d get the same results without the device, but I’m not going to try experimenting with that anytime soon. The goal is to use the damn expensive device I purchased over a year ago that pretty much sat idle for most of 2020. A lot of people also complain about how expensive the gel is, which makes me laugh a little when people are willing to spend $200 on a 3 oz jar of some popular cream that lasts 6 months, but spending $200 on a year’s worth of 2.5 oz gels is considered highway robbery. (I don’t know the exact numbers, so I’m guessing there.) I’ve not had to get a new bottle since I started yet and I think I use less than recommended amount, but I plan on buying more and tracking those purchases. They will not count against my No-Buy because they are for personal maintenance. That being said, I will look at how many I buy at the end of the year to determine if the maintenance is worth the cost.

All of the above are dependent upon my current lifestyle of WFH. I won’t deny the convenience of everything I’m capable of up keeping right now due to that fact. Once I’m dragged kicking and screaming (again) back to the office I’m sure productivity on these things (and a few other little ones I’ve not listed) will tank to some degree. Having to get up earlier in the mornings to get ready and travel time will make me feel the pinch of my days slipping out of my grasp. I noticed it the last time I went from WFH 5 months last year to going back into the office only part time towards the end of the year. The pain of going back will most likely hit me again. I’m hoping to turn these habits in more muscle memory type of things I do so that when the transition hits I won’t be hating life.

The above photo is one of the first ones I’ve taken in 2021. All the others above were from 2020. For breakfast on NYD I made apple cinnamon rolls. Prep was all done the day before so we just had to do the final rise/bake that morning. I used the Alton Brown cinnamon roll recipe I’ve always used. For the apples, I used a corer/slicer that give up to 16 slices and then I sliced them all again. I used two apples and then put them in a pan with cinnamon, butter, and maple syrup until they were tender and flimsy. This made layering them and rolling them in the dough much easier. Plus I have to make sure the apples are fully cooked through because of Zach’s allergy to most fruits.

Happy New Year everyone.