November Wrap-Up and December Goals
Once again, November has come and gone, and I’m left confused and dismayed about how it passed by so quickly. Like, seriously – I swear it was just the beginning of October the other day. How did this happen? How is Thanksgiving over already? How are we almost two weeks into December already and I’m JUST NOW posting my November update?
Well, I know how that one happened… my photoshop updated and it took me until now to figure out how to get it to work properly again… but anyway…
I guess time marches onwards, and while I haven’t been super active on the blog here, that’s not to say that November didn’t end up being a productive month. So let’s see what got done.
Things Accomplished This November
1) Finished Outlander, and read five more books.
I went on a bit of a reading binge this month. After working my way through grading papers at the end of October, I was a little starved for fun fiction, so after finishing Outlander I just sped right through a whole bunch of stuff, including books 2 and 3 of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (which ended up being a lot more fun than I thought it would be).
Overall, I really enjoyed all of them with the exception of Outlander (and I’m POSITIVE that those of you on Twitter will be thankful once I finally post that review and thus stop talking about it), and it occurred to me this month that integrating “for fun” fiction reading back into my habits has really been an amazing thing for me in general. It’s been relaxing and stabilizing in a way that leaves me feeling productive as opposed to lazy (which unwinding with video games tends to leave me feeling after I’ve beat them for the first time).
2) Got the house mostly sorted.
I’ve still got some tidying to do in my office, but with the exception of dressers for the bedroom, we finally have the general living spaces of the house sorted enough to be able to decorate for Christmas. Which to me, is a very big deal. The past few years I haven’t been able to put up a full-size Christmas tree because of the apartmentmate’s cat’s affinity for tree climbing and it’s had a big impact on my ability to get “in the Christmas mood.” So I’m super duper excited to once again be able to put up my full-size tree, with all my lights and ornaments.
3) Survived Hell-Month of the Semester without a significant anxiety incident.
I know I’ve only spoken obliquely about my struggles with an anxiety disorder on here, but trust me – this is a big deal for me. It’s a signifier of really significant progress. The last couple years, when my anxiety was a little out of control, I would essentially disappear from life beyond work and video games during the really stressful parts of the semester as a matter of self-preservation, and would often have at least one or two REALLY bad nights.
But this year I was able to weather the storm with only some mild moments of uneasiness, while maintaining relatively normal relationships and activity patterns – and that speaks volumes of the progress I’ve made in the last year. As I’ve said several times before, my struggles with anxiety have been a long, winding thing – something that eventually I’ll talk about in more detail here, but not just yet.
4) Successfully did my first real baking in my new kitchen, including four pumpkin pies (the process of which has provided some of the photos seen here) which I also roasted the pumpkin for myself.
I’m hoping to get a separate post up about my pie baking escapades at some point in the future, but long story short, every Thanksgiving the Pumpkin Pie is my responsibility. It’s my favorite, and I personally think I make a damn fine one. By god is it a ton of work though, particularly because I didn’t used canned pumpkin this year.
Goals Not Hit
So overall, I feel like November was pretty productive. But most of what I accomplished weren’t actually the goals I set for myself in the last Wrap-Up post. So what didn’t I do this November? Well, a decent amount of the original goals for this month didn’t get accomplished, including knitting and sewing something (anything, really). Nor did I make any progress on Christmas gifts. But I did get back on track with my instagram, and make some headway purging my book collection (although the books I’m getting rid of are still in boxes in my house).
So What’s Ahead For December?
1) Christmas Everything.
I have SO MUCH TO DO to prepare for Christmas – from decorating the house, to buying and putting up outdoor lights, to buying literally ALL the presents for EVERYONE. It’s going to be no small task, but honestly I’m pretty excited about it.
2) Send Christmas Cards.
This is something that as an adult I feel like I should be doing already, but honestly this is the first year I’ve felt settled enough that it might actually happen. We’ll see though, because holy crap, stamps got expensive. Lol.
3) Get my diet a bit more in check now that the stress of the semester is mostly winding down.
I stress-eat. In a big big way. It is what it is, and I’m not super duper concerned about it but for the fact that I’ve been spending more than usual on take-out, and I’d really like to not be spending that money so that I have it for Christmas stuff. I should also probably, occasionally, maybe, eat a vegetable or two. So I’m going to try to focus on eating slightly more balanced, reasonable meals going forward this month. Also, once the semester ends, I’ll have some time to really experiment a little in the kitchen, and I’m looking forward to being able to cook more.
4) Pamper myself a little.
The nature of my jobs are very cyclical. My busy times are BUSY with all capital letters and a few exclamation points for good measure. I rarely spend time at home beyond sleeping, there’s no time for beauty routines beyond the utilitarian, and the little time I can take for myself is literally only because I have to make that time for the sake of my own mental health. But once the chaos of the semester ends, my lulls are good and truly lulls. I still have plenty of work to do, but I can generally do it at my own pace, on my own schedule, and that allows me some time for some of the little self-indulgent things that I can’t allow myself when I’m busy. Things like manicures, complicated knitting, coloring books, baking for no reason beyond wanting to, and long soaks in a bath with a book and a glass of wine. So I’m going to make a point this year to take that time. With my anxiety problem in check, I think I’ll really be able to enjoy it this year for the first time in a while.
So here’s to a happy, cheerful, and productive December!
What were your goals for this November, and what are you planning for next month?
Courtney A. Casto
Time is going by SO FAST. It’s crazy. After Thanksgiving I thought, “Well, we have 4 weeks until Christmas. That’s a lot of weeks.” And now we’re down to one!
I hope your shopping is going well! I rely heavily on Amazon this time of year. Oh Christmas cards…I stopped sending them after most people started sending photo cards. I was single for so long and getting all of the photo cards every year depressed me. Plus, I figured people didn’t want just a photo of me. 🙂
I likewise never did it before because I felt silly sending them from just me, but I figure I better buckle down and start sending my own now that Jim and I are living together. It’s so daunting though! That said, when I first started thinking about it, I figured I’d have way more than a week to get them all done and sent! Lol Hope your shopping is going well too!
Let me be yet another person who says that TIME IS GOING SO FAST. It’s true.
Your goals hit/not hit remind me of my own life. I’m happy to hear that you survived the most challenging parts of your semester without huge anxiety surges; that’s something to be so grateful for. I just submitted my final grades, and I have lots of goals ahead — more fiction reading (you’re way ahead of me!), some self-care (haven’t cut my hair since May), and yes, those Christmas cards. That task always looms heavily for some reason.
Congrats on having another semester in the books!
I feel like time seriously speeds up when school is in session too, making it so much worse. Lol. And congrats on submitting final grades and another semester in the books yourself! I always find it really bittersweet – I feel like such a weight has lifted, but I always feel guilty about it because I really do love working with these kids! (side note – it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who lets their hair go during the rush. My ends look like straw when I hold them up to the light, they’re so split.)