Friday, April 3, 2009

April snow showers bring...April indignation...which begets April motivation

Yes, the forecast does say snow on Monday. For a girl like me who has lived in hot, humid Houston for most of her life, that is more than a little mind-boggling.

When our first Chicago winter approached last fall, I was prepared and had been well-versed on the importance of layering, warm boots, and windshield wiper fluid. "You can forget about the cute little wool pea coats," I was warned. Instead, I was to prepare myself for floor-length puffer coats and Chewbacca boots.

To be honest, I actually welcomed a change of climate and scenery. I enjoyed the novelty of watching the leaves change to golden hues of orange and red and seeing my first real snowfall. I reveled at this opportunity to wear coats, scarves, and boots that had been hibernating for years, waiting for this occasion. But now, as April is upon us, I feel that things have gotten a little out of control.

I am tired of being cold. I am tired of coats and furry boots. I am tired of the snow/sleet/rain. I just want some warmth and sunshine. I want to wear sundresses and open-toe shoes.

I think I now officially know why last summer, when we first arrived to Chicago, everyone in the city seemed so happy and alive. Someone explained to us that Chicagoans don't take the summer for granted. Every warm and sunny day is exploited to its full potential: Cubs games at Wrigley Field, volleyball by the lake, outdoor barbecues, hundreds of outdoor festivals covering every art form under the sun, etc. I didn't completely get the city's rapture with summer at the time (everyday was summer in Houston), but now, I SO get it.

So, anyway, I just had to get that out of my system.

Moving on...

In my last post, I revealed that I have woefully discovered that I have not been as productive as I would have liked these past eleven months. Shouldn't I have something tangible to show for all this...time?

My first step to a "new, better you," I mean "me," is to write a schedule. Hopefully that will get me to do at least one productive thing daily. Of course, that begs the question: what, exactly, constitutes productive?

Ok, productive for me will mean trying to do the following:

1. Something remotely physical: walking up and down the stairs to check the mail WILL NOT count. Maybe I can run around my neighborhood when it starts to warm up. Until then, I will have to rely on Fit TV and its awful 80's inspired workout shows.

2. Write something every day: It doesn't matter what. Just write.

3. Read a book every week.

4. Try not to be such a hermit. Winter in this city tends to make hibernators out of people that aren't hibernators by nature. I'm going to have to break out of this rut soon, especially since I moved here not knowing a single soul other than my dear husband. I need to make more of an effort to meet girlfriends. I plan on joining a few meetup groups and see where that takes me.

5. Sleep less. I have been unapologetic and super indulgent with my hours of sleep (mainly because I have been frightened by horror stories of sleep deprivation from all of my friends who are moms. I have been trying to take advantage of this glorious, uninterrupted sleep while it's still a viable option for me). However, it's time to be a little less indulgent. My goal now is to wake up with Brandon in the morning and NOT crawl back into bed after he leaves. But the soft, fluffy comforter is an evil we'll see how this turns out.

6. Be more spontaneous and say "yes" more often: Brandon will often call me from work and ask me to join him for a drink or to watch a soccer game at a downtown bar. I am a sucker for routine and, not wanting to make the effort to get on the train and journey downtown, I usually decline. I plan my dinners a week before, and God forbid that anything get in the way of sticking to the plan. This sad adherence to routine has got to change. I took my first step a few nights ago when Brandon called me and convinced me to go out to a Korean restaurant with him and a co-worker of his. We never go out to dinner on a Wednesday night, so this was a small way for me to break out of my routine and say yes more often.

7. Try something new, step outside of my comfort zone every week: I have already embarked on this goal with little baby steps like taking a sewing class and teaching myself how to cook.

8. Explore Chicago. I live in such an amazing city with so much to offer but we seem to do the same thing every weekend (go out to dinner, have friends over to our place, stay in the same neighborhoods). My goal is to branch out more: visit the art museums, take an architectural boat cruise, go to Chinatown, etc.

9. Become more involved and tap into more creative outlets: I am planning on auditioning for a choral ensemble or choir, I want to take a random pottery or jewelry making class, I want to volunteer more.

10. Think long term and make decisions about what my next career path may be. Full-time mother? Event planner? Freelance writer?

11. Just relax and enjoy my time off. This, as you can clearly see, is actually going to be the hardest goal to accomplish.

I have to stop blaming the weather for my lack of motivation/inspiration. Hopefully, my muse will be invoked soon.

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Hellish Kitty

Hellish Kitty
My beloved childhood diary