Happy New Year!

It is finished.

While it wasn’t a perfect year, I mostly tried to complete my 52 mini goals. And that was the point.

Now I can reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and why. I won’t bore you all with a lengthy diary entry for each week, but I’ll share what goals left the biggest impact:

  • So who knew my first goal of flossing would be my favorite? Not me. I actually still floss nearly every night before bed. My teeth have never felt better, they feel cleaner, and my morning retainer breath isn’t nearly as bad as it was just over a year ago. I’m proud to say my dentist said the only thing I can do better with my overall dental hygiene is to try harder to get between and around my back teeth, but otherwise my teeth are great! It’s the little things, guys.
  • A lot of the morning and bedtime goals didn’t turn out well this year. I think that’s because I already have a pretty set morning and bedtime routine that works for me at this point in my life. I know I’ll reflect on some of these after I graduate college and have a different daily schedule. I did like writing down three good things at the end of each day, starting the day with a jam session, and making my bed each morning right after I wake up. I’ve actually been making my bed here at my parents’ house during my semester break and it’s weird…
  • A lot of the food and health related goals sucked because I like to eat and not move.
  • I’m disappointed that I didn’t do better on my reading and art goals, so even though I’m not renewing my 52 Things for 2018, I have a reading list that I hope to get through in the next couple of years, and I hope post-grad I’ll be able to take some community art classes so that time is built more solidly into my schedule.
  • I really like sitting in silence for 10 minutes and I’m going to keep doing it. Seriously, so relaxing!
  • I felt like I actually tried a little harder to connect with others outside of my small circle of people I talk to on a regular basis and it was nice, but still tiring. What really brought my spirits up was when I got an email response from one of the thank you letters I emailed to some past teachers. It was amazing!
  • Finally, I feel like a lot of these goals helped me learn about myself and become more aware of what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I do wish I would have pushed myself to do more things directly related to my faith, but I think these 52 Things definitely opened some doors for me to do so. I know 2018 will hold a lot of these opportunities for me.

I’m really looking forward to continuing to grow this year. I know there’s a lot of change ahead for me since I’m graduating from Grand Valley in April and I’m pursuing some jobs and careers right now. You might see this blog resurface in a few years, but for now, I’m switching to a physical journal and focusing the energy I put into these goals and this blog last year into finishing college.

I hope you all had a fantastic 2017 and have a Happy New Year!

 

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I tried accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog!

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An Uncharacteristically Personal Blog Post

Straight up truth time.

This penultimate blog post isn’t late because I’m lazy. It’s late because God was teaching me and my family what is important. My sister and my aunt and keeping my commitments to things like my jobs and family are more important than these goals or this blog.

I don’t often share this type of information so publicly since I’m a more private person, but here it goes.

After several days of abdomen and chest pain, my sister was in the hospital for the few days leading up to Christmas. The night before Christmas Eve, she was finally taken into surgery to have an emergency gallbladder removal. She’s home now, with her newborn, husband, and in-laws, but we’re still praying for no more complications.

I love my sister a lot, so even though I knew it wasn’t necessarily life threatening, it was really hard to go to Old Navy to work, do my online job, work on making Christmas presents, and generally not try to go sit with her in the hospital the entire time she was waiting in pain.

It honestly still doesn’t feel like Christmas since I haven’t had a night to just sit on couches and talk with my family like we do every year.

It’s not over…

My mom’s sister is also in the hospital. She’s been there for much longer than my sister was, and it doesn’t look like she’s leaving anytime soon. My aunt is in need of a heart transplant, as well as possible gallbladder and liver surgery (based on my last update of her). We’ve known for some time she’s had heart problems, but this all feels like a punch in the gut to our family. Currently, my parents are on a mini adventure to take my grandparents down to Indiana to see her in the hospital. According to my dad, the roads aren’t always great on their route, which is not surprising but adds even more stress to an already stressed family.

All of these happenings are also giving me and my family flashbacks to four years ago when my grandma had a stroke a few days before Christmas, which led to the last four years of massive changes for our family. Traditions thrown out the window, a house recently sold, freedom lost, and everyone growing up and getting old.

I was only 18 years old, a senior in high school, and a dinky youngest sister without her brother or sister in the state/country that holiday season. I spent my Christmas morning with my aunt driving my grandpa up to the hospital to open presents with his wife. With the massive ice storms that had caused large parts of Michigan to lose power, I never knew where I was gonna sleep that night or eat or just sit or if it would be warm or in a hospital. I learned that McLaren hospital in Flint has really good chicken wraps.

Looking back, I was worried about really stupid things, but I was also only 18 with no real life experiences expect a year in retail.

Now, as I’m getting ready to graduate from college, my siblings’ families are growing, and we’re all just generally getting to be who we are as people at this point in life, I can’t help but wonder what the next four years will hold.

Probably a lot of sad stuff.

Probably a lot of happy stuff.

Probably a lot of stuff I’ll never see coming.

But for now, I’m gonna post this blog, check in on my sister, and hope that in the next week and a half my family will get some good news on my aunt, have safe travels, and be able to spend a few hours together here and there before I go back to school.

So, that’s why my blog is late. It’s not as important as sitting with my family and checking in with each other. I’ll wrap up this blog really pretty with a digital bow and everything next week, but for now, I’m gonna go take a shower and not worry about the fact that I didn’t learn winged eyeliner last week. There are more important things right now.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Wear makeup every day. Learn how to do eyeliner, dang it!

This week: Relax.

Next week: A new year begins… And one last blog post!

Exam Week Doesn’t Count

New rule: Doubling up the week after failing is allowed.

So, yeah… didn’t complete my goal. I’m not even gonna bore you with the the tales of my exam woes… because compared to other college students, I have it easy…

Anyway, I have two hiccups to address.

  1. Since I didn’t complete my artsy goal, I now have no Christmas presents finished and a lot of things like work, work, and sleep to get in my way. So I gotta make up for that and spread Christmas cheer to my family.
  2. My goal this week is to wear makeup every day… and I forgot all my makeup back at school like a dumb butt. So even though I really shouldn’t (lol) I’m gonna by a makeup kit and crap from Ulta tomorrow.

Okay, but seriously guys. I only have two weeks of my goal left.

So weird.

I’ll let you know how the whole throwing-together-a-makeup-kit week goes…

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Try drawing one thing from your how-to-draw book each day (Or work on Christmas gifts… kill two birds with one stone).

This week: Wear makeup every day. Learn how to do eyeliner, dang it!

Next week: Relax.

ZZZZZZZZ…

I like this whole sleepin’ more thing.

While I didn’t necessarily get eight hours of sleep each night, I did get more than if I didn’t have my goal.

Some nights, I was up later than normal due to picking up extra hours at the Writing Center for pre-exam week. Other nights, I was struggling to stay awake at 8pm, so I finished up what I had to do and hit the hay.

This upcoming week will probably be hard for me to keep with the standard of sleep since my schedule will be completely different for exam week, but I’m hoping and pushing myself to give my body and mind the rest it needs.

On a different, more festive note – I’m gettin’ artsy and Christmasy this week! Tomorrow starts my big push to get some progress done on the Christmas presents I’m making for my family. I’m also excited because I know it’ll be the perfect stress relief from exams and work and people and the cold.

So, have a good night, friends. Study hard if you’re a student, work hard if you’re not. And drink some hot coco to keep this cold weather at bay.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Get eight hours of sleep each night. Don’t worry about the homework you need to do, the shower you didn’t take, or the dishes left out. Just. go. to. sleep.

This week: Try drawing one thing from your how-to-draw book each day (Or work on Christmas gifts… kill two birds with one stone).

Next week: Wear makeup every day. Learn how to do eyeliner, dang it!

“We’re All Just Tryin’ to Turn Hard Work Into Chicken Nuggets” – Matt Bellassai

I almost made it without eating meat this week.

And then on Thursday, the chicken nuggets in my freezer called my name and I answered and it all went downhill from there.

But, okay, honestly? I missed chicken.

A lot.

I’ve accidentally gone several days without meat before, but knowing it was off limits this time made me want it and that sucked.

I made my favorite guacamole and bought really good chips thinking that would make me so excited to eat that I’d forget about chicken for a few days, but obviously I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did… Which isn’t that shocking.

Anyway, my love affair with chicken nuggets reminded me of that awesome Buzzfeed video where a guy gets drunk and tells it like it is. So click here to hear my unwitting hero say one of my favorite lines about both food and work.

On another note, I should really be working on a research paper since, you know, my semester is almost over and I’m about three seconds from people treating me like a certified adult…

So I’m gonna go do that now that I’ve written this blog and eaten Chinese food and stared at my candle flickering in my dark room for the past twenty minutes.

Check in next week to make sure I’m alive as I go into exam week!

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Go vegetarian. Still eat eggs if you feel like it, though.

This week: Get eight hours of sleep each night. Don’t worry about the homework you need to do, the shower you didn’t take, or the dishes left out. Just. go. to. sleep.

Next week: Try drawing one thing from your how-to-draw book each day (Or work on Christmas gifts… kill two birds with one stone).

Still Recovering From Black Friday

Holy 2am, Batman!

I never want to work a shift that starts at 2 in the morning ever again. Ever. Again.

While I don’t have any crazy customer stories to share, the customers probably have a crazy sales associate story to share. I’m pretty sure I asked each customer to repeat themselves five times once 5am hit. My brain was not functioning.

Also, what are numbers? That’s what my brain decided to forget once 6am hit.

Somehow, I wasn’t able to fall asleep, though, when I got home at 11am. That is, until my dad decided to vacuum the whole house once I finally started to drift off. We both apologized for things done and said…

Other than that craziness, I had a nice Thanksgiving and a decent break. I got to see my mom’s family and cuddle my sister’s dog.

And best of all, I got my five year freakin’ plaque from Old Navy! And a freakin’ free gift!

And, no, I’m not quitting yet. I still need some money over my Christmas break and I really like that employee discount. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a ten year gift one day…

So, you may be wondering, “But, Gwen. Isn’t this blog about your 52 goals?”

Yes. Yes, it is.

My schedule was so out of whack, though, that I didn’t even try to keep track of what I was doing when, as long as I was at work when I was supposed to be. Let’s just say I did drink lots of water, but who knows when that was…

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving and got to see friends and family. Check in next week to see how I do with going meatless this week. I already miss chicken.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Drink half of a whole water bottle before 9am each day. Yes, you’re going to have to pee really bad probably right after class starts. Deal with it.

This week: Go vegetarian. Still eat eggs if you feel like it, though.

Next week: Get eight hours of sleep each night. Don’t worry about the homework you need to do, the shower you didn’t take, or the dishes left out. Just. go. to. sleep.

PenGwen

Two out of seven isn’t bad, right?

Well friends, I tried. By the time I realized I still hadn’t completed my goal most days, it was late, I was tired, and I read a book (highly recommend Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: 10/10).

I will say, the two times I did sit in silence for 10 minutes was the calmest I’ve been in a long time. It was nice to sit with my eyes closed and let my mind wander without the stress of knowing my mind shouldn’t be wandering – like when I’m in class or working.

I’m hoping to incorporate this into my daily life more often, which you’ll read more about in my final blog post.

On a different, more festive note, have your holidays started yet? Mine have!

My coworkers and I from the GVSU Writing Center had our annual SNAPSgiving Friday night. Why the weird title? Because year round we celebrate our coworkers by writing them SNAPS. It stands for “Super nifty and particularly special.” So each year we have a mega-SNAPS gathering with Thanksgiving food and make it a big coworker love-fest! It’s really sappy and really great.

This year, someone pointed out in a SNAPS to me that if you add the first initial of my last name to the end of my first name, it sounds somewhat like a penguin noise (*Gwenp*), which funnily enough is the second penguin-related realization to come from my name. I don’t remember who, but someone last year came up with the nickname PenGwen – aptly derived since I am both named Gwen and am a Writing Consultant and spend a lot of time writing with students. It is now one of my usernames (Twitter, I think??).

I hope your holidays start off nice over the next week! Check in next week to see how badly I had to pee each morning after drinking a crap ton of water.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Sit in silence for 10 minutes each day. You might have to kick your roommate out for a little bit or do it at 1am. That’s okay.

This week: Drink half of a whole water bottle before 9am each day. Yes, you’re going to have to pee really bad probably right after class starts. Deal with it.

Next week: Go vegetarian. Still eat eggs if you feel like it, though.

It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas

We’re only counting business days this week… Because those are the only days I completed my goal.

I’m counting this week as a success for only listening to instrumental or electronic music. I did listen to my regular tunes on Sunday – while I was driving back to GVSU from home. Two hours without singing along loudly to my favorite songs would have been tortue. I know this from experience because that’s what’s it’s like when I have to share a car with other people who want to listen to not my music for that long.

I’m a car ride snob. Deal with it.

I also listened to my usual Saturday oldies stations (with a splash of a Christmas station thrown in there) while I was grocery shopping this morning since that’s my routine. It gets me going and I feel in harmony with all of the other old souls who wake up at 8am on a Saturday to pick through the fresh produce and avoid the hungover college students – ahem, friends.

I did manage to only listen to instrumental or electronic music the rest of the week, though. Not surprisingly, this goal made me think twice about why I was even listening to music in the first place. I gave up trying to find something to listen to for my drive to and from school since it literally takes me about five minutes to drive each way and it sometimes takes me twice as long to find music I want to listen to. Other times, I listened to instrumental Christmas music loudly – like while I was sweeping and mopping the floors in my house while none of my roommates were home.

I can’t say that I’ll continue listening to instrumental music exclusively for any long period of time, but I did enjoy some of the silence or calmer moments because of this goal.

I also friggin’ came across the song “Dawn” from Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and I used to listen to that beautiful piano song over and over again in high school when I needed to calm down. When I heard it this week, it was like a breath of fresh air and it was the calmest – and shortly after the most excited – I’ve been in a while.

Anywho, thanks for checking in with me again this week, folks. There’s just under two months worth of mini-goals to complete. It’s weird to think that this year is almost over and then I’ll be off trying to do other things with my life. So, until then, please click back next week and stay in touch while I wind down my 52 Things.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Only listen to instrumental or electronic music.

This week: Sit in silence for 10 minutes each day. You might have to kick your roommate out for a little bit or do it at 1am. That’s okay.

Next week: Drink half of a whole water bottle before 9am each day. Yes, you’re going to have to pee really bad probably right after class starts. Deal with it.

Switcheroo

You may have guessed from the title of this particular blog that I did not, in fact, complete my goal of only checking Facebook once each day.

That is because I should have completed this goal earlier in the year, when I wasn’t in charge of GV Writing Center’s social media accounts and my sister hadn’t just given birth to her first child (7 lbs 1 oz, 19 in long, and a full head of hair = the cutest baby niece a gal could ask for <3).

So I pulled a switcheroo and decided I completed my goal of not wearing makeup. Truth be told, I’ve hardly worn makeup for about seven months, but I did pull out my bag last week to apply some goop since my acne decided to say hello for the first time in a while. I put the bag back, though! And I really didn’t notice the zits most of the time, so I’d say this switcheroo goal was a success.

I won’t be attempting the social media semi-hiatus again, though. I added a new goal of wearing makeup every day – sounds counterproductive, I know, but hear me out. I am a senior in college, I will have job interviews coming up, and I still don’t know how to apply eyeliner.

Thus, a new goal was born!

So, that means I can do my job of checking Facebook for personal and professional reasons, and I can land a job because my face is on point. Boom.

With that, I’m gonna go read for class now, but I do hope you guys have a great week. Wish me luck in only listening to instrumental music for the next six days. I’m gonna miss my Switchfoot and Colony House.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Only check Facebook once each day (not including Messenger). No makeup. Make sure to choose a week where your hormones won’t screw you over, though.

This week: Only listen to instrumental or electronic music.

Next week: Sit in silence for 10 minutes each day. You might have to kick your roommate out for a little bit or do it at 1am. That’s okay.

Squeaky Clean

Except for Sunday and Friday nights, I completed my goal, and I’m still going to count it as a complete success. That’s because Sunday was meal prep day, which started later than I’m used to, so I focused on other things and only washed – didn’t dry – the dishes. I took care of them the next day, though, so I deserve a gold freakin’ star! I have no excuse for Friday. I’m lazy on Fridays and that’s something I’m okay with.

While I can’t say this goal changed my whole life, I did notice more how many dishes I was using each day, which wasn’t anything incredible – just interesting. I usually use the same few dishes each day because of the way I meal prep, so I think I could totally live with only two of each major kitchen utensil, plates, etc.

In other news, I started rewatching Stranger Things because I’m one of those weirdos who put it off until Stranger Things 2 already came out… So now I’m behind. I’m okay with that though. I’ll probably fall asleep finishing season 1 and drift into a frightful slumber – just like last year.

Well, I hope you guys have a great Halloweekend and don’t let this cold Michigan rain get ya down! Be a true Michigander and wear a costume that looks just as great with a coat over it lol.

 

If you’d like to see the complete list of 52 things I’m accomplishing this year, click here to check out my first blog! For now, here’s what I’ve done and what’s to come in the next few weeks:

Last week: Leave no dirty or drying dishes out at the end of each day.

This week: Only check Facebook once each day (not including Messenger).

Next week: Only listen to instrumental or electronic music.