Making Progress and Making New Goals

Me sitting by my pool smiling at the camera

I’m the kind of person that
could drive you nuts.

I get that. I try to tame my crazy as much as possible for the outside world. 🙂 But I can’t help it. There are just so many things I need TO DO!

I have BIG Dreams and Big Plans. I am all kinds of EXTRA, and at 48, I’ve learned that if you don’t like my brand of extra, that is okay, move along.

But I’m not going to hide it anymore. And more than that, I will not apologize for it anymore.

What a relief. I’m permitting myself just to be me.

So anyway. With the work on my Ph.D. winding down and my brain working on what is next, I’ve been reflecting and considering the next steps. The next achievement. (This is when my amazing husband, Doug, starts sweating a little.)


But let me take a minute and explain something about creative achievers like myself. It isn’t necessarily about beating you; it’s about doing something challenging and proving that we can do it. It’s about paving the way, finding something new, mastering it, and then finding another thing and starting the process over. It can overwhelm people created to be more stable in their interests and pursuits.


So here I am, ready for the next challenge. I’m not sure what exactly that means for my career. Right now, I’m finishing the last chapter of my dissertation while the rest of it sits at Quality Control. Then my dissertation committee members 2 and 3 will require edits and additions. I’ll do those and then defend! Such exciting times.

I’m also working full time and teaching 6 hours this fall. That puts me at a 150% load (which Doug said was about right for me…).

All that to say, it’s time to start planning the next challenge. I think I’m ready to shift back into running goals. After the last few years of research and writing, I need a physical challenge to shake the dust off.

I downloaded a training plan for running a faster 1/2 marathon.

I start tomorrow.

And for you parents out there with Creative Achievers..

Give your kids something to accomplish. Make it hard, but make it attainable.

Here are some things that I have loved:

  • Legos and building sets.
  • Puzzles. Progressively harder with more pieces.
  • Rubik’s Cube. Teach them that it isn’t a mystery, but an algorithm to learn and use.
  • Physics challenges. Like building paper bridges and egg drops.
  • Physical challenges. Running, plank hold, burpees, swimming. Anything that is timed and an individual time/number to beat.

Why am I saying this now? Because if you don’t give us something to focus on, to fix, to figure out.. we will DRIVE you crazy. I get up at 4:30am to run, so that I can be worn out before I go to work. I know myself. But it has taken a lot of years to get to this point.

In the in-betweens and finding myself in the wildflowers

The In-Betweens

I’m sitting in the in-betweens. It’s not an easy place for me. I like strategy and goals and things to accomplish. The in-betweens is really hard. It’s an important place to sit and ponder, but by no means is it a comfortable place for me.

What is the in-betweens for me? It’s that messy middle where things seem to plod along like a toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed but isn’t outright defying you. This child makes a 5-minute process take 2 hours and everyone is in misery for it. Well, that’s my mental state right now. Life is the toddler and I’m in misery and just want to go to bed.

Why? Well…

I’m writing my dissertation for my Ph.D. Chapters 1-3 are complete and turned in. But I can’t move on to Chapter 4 until I get my data collected. I can’t do anything but wait.

I’m waiting for responses to my survey. If any of the world out there reads this and is a current or former Texas high school UIL One-Act play director, I DESPERATELY need your feedback.

Here is the link to the form.

Image of Consent and link
Image of Consent and link
Image of Consent and link
Image of Consent and link

Finding Myself in the Wildflowers

I have always loved wildflowers. I love the scrappy flowers that come up between cracks in the pavement. I love the flowers that bloom despite being forgotten. I love the thorny, prickly, rough around the-edges flowers that live in pastures and on the side of the road.

This is how I see myself. I’ve never been polished, nor do I expect to be so. I’ve always felt a little too this or too that or too something else. I realize that we all feel that way. I’m just willing to say it out loud.

Anyway, our team at work is doing a book study called “What I wish I knew before becoming an instructional designer” by Dr. Luke Hobson. As part of the study, we created our visual journey of how we arrived at the team. The artwork below is my representation. I wrote my story that went with it, but for the sake of this post, I’ll spare you. 🙂

Bottom line, I’m holding wildflowers that I have gathered along the way. Different flowers represent different points in my life. As do the clouds, water, and valley in the background.

So there you have it. I’m living and learning within the in-betweens.

I can’t wait to get those survey results in and move forward.

Don’t Give Up On Yourself

Over the years, I’ve realized that one of my best traits is that I don’t give up. I don’t give up on others, and I don’t give up on myself. I don’t expect things to be easy or fast. Instead, I keep on at it. If slow and steady wins the race, then I will be right there in front of the pack when the finish line comes in sight.

Me in a bathing suit on the beach.

As the early days of June have already slipped by and my Facebook memories show me that I didn’t do my almost annual “this is where I am at” update, I figure it is time. Just so I can see next year where I was this year! So here it is.

I’m still a work in progress. I don’t expect to stop working on healthy eating choices, keeping active, and finding balance in life. I’m quite happy that I can say that I’m mentally and physically in a better place this June than last June.

From June 2020 to today, I logged just over 700 miles of activity. This is low for me, but I’m getting my sea legs back. I’ve learned over the last year and a half that I can’t run two days back to back anymore and that walking on non-running days still helps me mentally prepare for the day, so I need to just get out there and do it!

One of the things I am most proud of is that today, June 9, 2021 I ran 3.5 miles at a 10:48 pace. I have STRUGGLED to get back to under eleven minutes a mile. I like to beat myself up for not being able to run consistent ten minute miles anymore. I have to remind myself that I’m older, have had more than a handful of stress fractures in my left foot and have had left hip surgery. I am human. But giving myself grace has never been my strong suit.

Anyway.

My prayer for this next calendar year is to embrace where I am more freely.

I want to log 1000 miles of activity. I need to add cycling and rowing back into my workouts. I’m hopeful to be able to swim laps in the near future. I enjoy all types of activity. I just need to do them!

And as for food. It’s a constant battle. I gain and lose the same ten (or 20 pounds) over and over again. But I’m not giving up. I would rather fight the same pounds than give up and start a new fight. 🙂

The difference this June is that I don’t have a target weight. My goals have changed from a certain number on the scale to feeling comfortable in my skin. I want to eat well so that I feel well.

I also want to be able to wear the clothes that I own and like the way I look in them. That was a huge motivator for me back in January when I realized that I had allowed Dr. Pepper and fast food to once again begin the takeover of my closet and hips. No more.

Well.. the Dr. Pepper is a current battle. I went for a decade without one. Then in June of 2019, I had one and the addiction came back strong. I kept it at bay with a soda just here and there for months. Then it became a couple a week, and then it was like hell, we are living through a pandemic, just drink the Dr. Pepper if it makes you happy.

And so, now I’m back to having to reframe my mind about sodas again.

UGH.

Finally, if you weren’t around in 2012 when I decided that my health and state of mind had to be priorities, here is a glimpse into the last almost decade of Emily.

That is pretty motivating to me.

I can’t wait to see what June 2022 brings.