I Wish


I wish I could say tonight was different.  I wish I could say that I came home, went for a run, made dinner, broke down The Closet Project into four mini-projects, completed the first leg of the project, blogged about it, did a load of laundry, read a book chapter, and fell asleep by 10pm.

Instead, I'm going to tell you the truth.  I went to happy hour with my two new (fabulous, amazing, kind, intelligent) colleagues, came home, changed into pj's, chatted with my sister, washed my face (woot woot good habit!), and now I'm crawling into bed.  Looks like I'll be asleep by 9:30!

But I don't feel guilty.  I'm going to tackle The Closet Project tomorrow!  I am; really

(Well, as long as my sister doesn't convince me to go to trivia with her...)

*Beautiful watercolor by Trees and Stitchery

Weekday Evenings


I am stuck in a cycle.

Every day at work, when I sit down to make my morning to-do list, I think of a dozen things that I need to do when I get home.  Find stamps, scan documents, hang pictures, do laundry.  I write these items down on my list, I feel a momentary burst of hopefulness, and then I dive into my work day. 

8am ... 11am ... 1pm ...  Patients, seminars, supervision.  Reading notes, writing notes, editing notes.  3pm ... 5pm ... I cannot think for another second.  Do I have enough energy to walk to my car?  Could I just stay at my desk and look at shoes on Zappos for a moment?  My mind is slowly shutting down...

Each morning, I sincerely believe that I will accomplish something when I get home from work.  I know that my daily to-do lists are too lofty.  I'm not going to work out, do laundry, clean my bathroom, pay the bills, and analyze dissertation data each night - but I really wish I could! (And maybe the problem is that I really, truly believe that I could - and thus I feel guilty each night when I don't.)

Since work began on July 1st, most of my rest days I've come home from Thailand Detox Retreat, changed into more comfortable clothes, made dinner, and disappeared into TV, blogs, books, conversations with my sister, a combination of all of the above - and before I know it, it is 10pm.  My body is officially crashing and I need to go to bed so that I can wake up at 6:20am and start the day again.

Am I the only one that cannot accomplish a single task on workday evenings?  What happens when I have children - can they just skip baths on weekdays?!

I had 1 goal for this week - squeeze my condo's 100 sqft den into my new apartment's hall closet.  (I also had a second goal of taking pictures and blogging about the process).  Monday night has come and gone - where will I find the energy and motivation to complete this project by Friday.  (And if I'm being completely honest, I also wanted to run twice this week and go to the gym once this week - could I really do that?!).

How do you find the energy and motivation to accomplish chores and to-do list items on weekday nights?  I've been told that my energy will return once the newness of internship wears off.  We'll see - I have a sad feeling my weekday-evening-laziness isn't situation specific.

I am stuck in a cycle.  A cycle of (lofty?) self-expectations, exhaustion, laziness, and guilt.  Advice always appreciated!

**Blocked print by Ren Adams.
***Brandi is amazing!  I tweeted that I wanted to find someone to design me a logo - and voila! she emails me the awesome post-it graphic that is now my profile pic.  I may continue to tweek my blog design (and switch to wordpress) in the coming weeks - another common way that I spend my weekday evenings on my sofa!

Sunday Sayings


Every Sunday, I post a new saying that helps to inspire me to create new habits, finish my projects, and reach my goals.

This week, Not-So-Anonymous (probably my writer friend K - who is a published author, my biggest blog cheerleader, and an all around fabulous person) left me a comment that contained this snippet from Eat-Pray-Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert:
The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness. The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows...
I really needed to read that.  Writing was initially cathartic, and I somehow turned it in to a source of anxiety, fear, and guilt.  "I never promised the universe I would write brilliantly."  Maybe the problem is that I promised that to myself.  Maybe not a promise, but a demand.  Something that was fun became anxiety provoking because I demanded each post be perfect.  Now I'm fairly certain the 4th sentence is not grammatically correct, but I'm going to hit "Publish Post" and explore my new city with my husband.

Parking Karma


I have only lived in Internshipville for three weeks and I am just starting to make friends.  As I was leaving work yesterday, a new friend texted me to see if I wanted to meet her out for dinner.  A spontaneous dinner invitation!!  I accepted, hopped into my car, programmed my nav, and started to make my way to the restaurant.

As I approached the restaurant I got nervous - it looked like a busy neighborhood - how would I ever find parking?!  I didn't want to be late to meet my new friend.  It was only our second date!

And then, as though the gods were awarding me for my new found punctuality, a parking spot appeared less than a block from the restaurant!!!  It was official - I had traded in my Time Karma for Parking Karma!  (Unfortunately I've completely forgotten how to parallel park, but my joy over the awesome parking spot prevented me from sweating profusely while I spent 5 minutes getting my car into the space.)

I am going to work hard to keep this new habit.  There is so much stress when there is so much newness (new city, new apt, new job, new hospital, new patients, new coworkers...), it is nice to remove the stress of always running late.

*Next week I need to tackle turning a closet into a den and I need to resume exercising.  And of course my hundred item to-do list is beckoning.
**I used to drive a yellow car - but it didn't have red leather interior!  Beautiful photo by Jen Zahigian.

Being On Time Is Awesome


I have been late. I have been accidentally on time. And I've shown up when my arrival time doesn't matter. But I have never been chronically on time.

And being on time is incredibly awesome!

Before starting internship, 90% of the time, it did not matter when I arrived somewhere. I could get to lab at 7am or 10:30am - no one cared. I should have been elated with all of that freedom, but instead, I only felt guilt. I would arbitrarily decide that I would go into lab at a certain time the next day. And though arbitrary, I'd always choose a ridiculously early time - 7am, maybe 7:15am. I would inevitably fail. Who would go to work at 7am if it were okay to arrive at 10am?! (Do you work-from/at-homers do this?)  As a result, I was never "in trouble" for being late - no one cared when I arrived - but I always, always felt guilty about arriving "late".  I set myself up for failure on a regular basis.  (I should note that there wasn't necessarily anything for me to do at lab at 7am - but I'd set these ridiculous goals...)

But now I have my internship.  We are supposed to be at work every day at 8am.  No one checks in on us.  We don't clock in.  We don't even have something that we necessarily need to be doing at 8am - but we are supposed to be there.  And so I have been.  Every single day for the 9 days I've had of internship, I've arrived at or before 8am.  I am often the first person there.  And I love it!

It feels so amazing to not be rushing, scrambling, panicking, sweating, panting, excuse making, and guilt feeling... all of the things that go with being late.  Instead, I sing along with the radio on my way to work, I admire the cute shops and the gorgeous bridge, and I enjoy 10, 15, sometimes even 20 quiet minutes at my desk before the day officially begins.  Being on time is truly awesome!

**He looks like a therapist - and those are clocks; could there be a more perfect collage?!  Le Petit Monstre has summarized my initial thoughts on internship.

I'm Never On Time, But I'm Never Late


I've been thinking a lot lately about who I am and who I want to become.

I would like to be a dependable and reliable person.

A few months ago I said to my best friend, "I'm never on time, but I'm never late."  She didn't understand - "Erin, if you are never on time, then you are always late."

But the way some people have excellent Parking Karma (you city dwellers know those people who never have to circle the block for 20 minutes looking for parking), I have amazing Time Karma.  I'm not sure how I generated this good fortune, but the result is that I'm never on time and yet I'm never late.

An example - say my lab meeting starts at 9:00am.  I arrive at 9:08am.  I'm out of breath because I've sprinted up the stairs, I'm panicked because my boss hates when people are late - but then I walk into the conference room and find everyone twiddling their thumbs - by some magic (my Time Karma!) our boss is late for the first time ever.  So though I was not on time for the meeting - I also wasn't late for the meeting.  The meeting ended up starting at 9:10am.

This situation has happened to me again and again and again and again.  I'm not on time for a doctor's appointment, a lunch with a friend, an interview (yes this has happened!), a meeting - and miraculously the other person is running late, has had to cancel, or is otherwise engaged and thus they are never aware of my tardiness.

But I don't want to be someone who is never on time, even if I am never late.  A reliable and dependable person does not need Time Karma.  And when (with the help of my friend) I was really honest with myself, I realized that while I've had some great luck, my friends and family see me as someone who is always late and never on time.  I want to be a reliable and dependable person, and I haven't been.  And so I am trading in my Time Karma; hopefully for Parking Karma!

*I've updated my Gold Stars.  Since July 1st, the only habit that I've been tracking is being on time.
**Print by 2ndComing, reminding me that it's not too late to be who I want to be.

Procrastinating Sleep


On July 1st, I started my internship. While in graduate school, particularly in my fourth and fifth years, I had a very flexible schedule. I arrived at lab when I wanted and I left when I wanted. I had marathon lunches with my best friend and I could procrastinate my little heart out!

But now I have a schedule. I must be at the hospital by 8am. That means I need to leave the apartment at 7:20am. That means I need to be out of bed by 6:30am. Which means I need to be in bed, with the lights out, at 10pm.

This used to be easier - but for the past 3 nights, I've been up until 11:30pm. I feel as though I blink and it is already after 10, at which point I begin procrastinating going to bed.

Procrastinating going to bed? Procrastinating sleep? It makes no sense! I love to sleep. LOVE it! Why do I linger on facebook when I should close the laptop and go to sleep?!

Good night!