In the month of April I realized how I want to organize and possibly simplify my life. I have been staying up too late, getting 6 hours of sleep on average, feeling exhausted and not exercising enough. Sometimes, even though they are my own self created goals, I feel too overwhelmed or tired to do them or feel guilty when I don’t keep up with them. To give you an idea, here are all the things I try to self-impose:
- Work journal
- Doodle journal
- Color journal
- 7-minute workout
- Monkey stretch
- Structured rest
- Moment diary
- Read book
- Read CEU
- Read OT magazine
- Coursera comic course
- Record expenses
- Practice samba
- Wash lunch containers
- Bed at 10:30pm
On average I probably do 5-10 of those things a day, which is pretty good considering the days when my phone turns into a lamp and sucks me in like a genie or a bug.
By the time April was coming to a close, a new era of priorities had rose to the surface. In the coming months I hope to focus on:
- Going to bed at 10:30pm
- Exercising for 30 minutes a day (specifically dance because that’s my favorite form of exercise)
- Learning about pediatric OT
- Reading comics
- Practicing drawing from life
- Turning off my phone when I get home
- Getting in touch with my spirituality through non-screened activities
This means I will need to step away and let go of some other things for a little bit perhaps like ASL and improv. I’m going to keep writing poems and doing many of the things I usually do but I’ll have a basic foundation to provide a way to simplify my options and guide me toward being more specialized.
I was pretty consistent with my doodle journal this month. I started getting more flexible in terms of what I drew. Sometimes I drew things I didn’t necessarily observe but were more like exercises where I practice interpreting an emotion through various expressions. It was inspired by my indecision of what expression would best portray the emotion of the person I was trying to draw. It also has been challenging trying to find the extra time to color these doodles in so many of these doodles are still left in black and white. That’s why I made it a separate task in my daily to-do list.
I also joined the making comics Coursera course. We’ll see how that goes. Often I sign up for Coursera courses but then come back to it to realize I’ve missed half of it. Either way it doesn’t hurt to join!
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Toward the end of this month I started using a to-do list app called Any.do and a fitness app called MyFitnessPal. They both have been motivating me to accomplish my goals to get down to the basics and to prioritize my health. Marking things off and seeing my numbers rise when I exercise or walk makes the things I need to do for myself a rewarding game. I already feel the difference in my energy, muscle tone and sleep quality. I learned that I probably feel best when I eat two 500 calorie meals, one 600-800 calorie meal, and then burn off 400-600 calories doing at least one of the following; Zumba for 60 minutes, running for 30 minutes, hooping for 60 minutes, and doing the 7-minute work out (which is actually 9 minutes for me).
SAN FRANCISCO ADVENTURES
In the beginning of April, I made three attempts to go to deaf events to practice my ASL but two of them didn’t work out either because I thought it was held on the wrong day or because it was a no show. The one I was able to make was a open mic night at Haus Coffee. I was definitely lost and had trouble following everyone. It didn’t help that I was exhausted from the bad sleep habits that I was mentioning earlier. I have learned recently that when I go to bed late all week Friday nights are my prime time for napping. Even though I was tired and having difficulty following it’s always good to be exposed to the language.
In the last day of April I performed a hula hoop dance at my Samba troupe’s fundraiser for the first time ever! I at first was stressed out about it because I didn’t have a choreography prepared and would be relying on improvising. I also was having difficulty deciding on a song. Finally once I chose a song I had technical difficulties with my iPod. After all this concern and worry about trying to prepare a song and some moves, at the party I decided to hoop to the live drummers who were there. The music was right and any song ideas I had would clash and not be as festive or in key with the theme. However, at the last minute I had my doubts about everyone watching me. I don’t like the feeling of a crowd waiting and expecting to be impressed. I was thinking maybe I could just sneak in and hoop dance along with the other people dancing. But nope! My friend who was hosting the party announced my name and I was hooping on a small platform doing my best to avoid the hot tub, beer bottles and planters. I thought I would have more space since the house owner said it was fine to stand on the closed tub, but the audience warned me not to so instead I sent beer bottles flying with the indefinable rhythmic drumming, not knowing when I should end my cyclone. But I did my best to observe the audience and feel when they were ready for something else and smoothly transition into a final bow. Overall, it was exciting and fun. The audience seemed to enjoy it.
Other adventures are I bought something from Craigslist for the first time (an iPod shuffle from a really friendly lady who hugged me with gratitude for taking it off her hands), had a hilariously bad restaurant experience with my mom at an Italian restaurant in Davis, swam two miles at my mom’s gym, helped a girl who knocked on my door find a dog owner for a dog she found, saw a dad in the park dance around and play the harmonica for his daughter as she swung on a swing, walked two hours from the Sunset to the Mission, and revisited my favorite childhood park (Mountain Lake Park) to briefly celebrate my friend’s daughter’s 2nd birthday.
PEOPLE IN MY LIFE
Many of my friend’s had birthdays in April, including my dad. I reconnected with friends from high school and college and visited my mom. I met my blogging friend for the first time offline and walked around Alamo Square and introduced her to bubble tea as she introduced me to the MyFitnessPal app. At my friend’s birthday party I met someone who lives near me and went to Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers with him. I spent some one-on-one time with a friend from work for the first time exploring a crystal store, a comic store, a local clothing store, a taxidermy store, and a toy store in the Mission.
One of these friends had a birthday party where she did a white elephant book exchange game that was a lot of fun. I was able to clear out a lot of space by giving away a lot of books. At the party we watched a video montage of all her friends and family talking about how much they love her and why. It was really touching. I met some cool people there who I later met up with. We met the national beard champion and talked about volunteering to help adults with disabilities go white water rafting, doing improv in the forest, being a sign language interpreter in a drama class, and Camp Grounded. Earlier that day I was trying to figure out a vacation and after hearing people’s experiences it convinced me that Camp Grounded would be easiest, cheapest and most fun trip! So I’m going in May!
TV SHOWS, BOOKS, MOVIES
This month I read and took notes on Music Groups For Adults With Developmental Disabilities and So Good They Can’t Ignore You. They were useful and practical books that act as good resources. The latter one taught me a lot and resolved a lot of my confusion about my pursuits. I’ll explain more about this in the education section of this blog.
In terms of shows I started watching Season 2 of The Legend of Korra. I enjoyed the different art style that was introduced in the flashbacks and mythological stories that explained why the world around Korra was the way it was. Season 2 was highly spiritual and other worldly. It seemed to really complement the first season where connecting with her spiritual side and learning to airbend was one of Korra’s biggest struggles. Once Korra was able to learn the lesson of what really makes the avatar magical and powerful she was able to use her latent and hidden abilities in the second season to self-actualize into the avatar she was meant to be.
Restaurants I went to were Boba Guys, Curry Up Now, Mateo’s, Street Juice, Devil’s Teeth, and this Brazilian store on Valencia. Many of these places have fun and hip atmospheres and very creative ways of interpreting classic foods. For example Curry Up Now has Indian burritos which are really good. After going to the Brazilian store I was drinking a couple of ounces of Active every morning which was a good experience. It’s a strong fruit drink that has medicinal qualities because of the dense amount of vitamins it contains. It woke me up.
In cooking class, we made ratatouille, chicken fried rice, and fudge brownies!
At work my client and I learned about registering a pet as a service animal, celebrated her cat’s half birthday, and managed a new and rewarding schedule that balances her desire for screen time but motivates her to do chores along with things that benefit her body and spirit. With the groups we explored Chinatown, Embarcadero, the Hyatt, and Dolores Park. We worked on how to read the face of a non-digital clock and knowing what time it is. We also played ASL bingo to increase our knowledge of ASL numbers and letters.
Another new thing worth mentioning is that when I walk to my client’s house and when I walk back to the bus stop a cat often follows me! I find it so endearing how he gives me company. He’s my new friend!
The writer of So Good They Can’t Ignore You said that the main thing about having a great career that you love and being good at it is to let go of the speculation of what your true calling is and to jump and plug away at whatever you are already doing. However, you need to feel that what you are currently doing can connect you to people you like, make you feel you are doing something positive and useful for the world, and provide you with opportunities to develop valuable and unique skills.
It was really good to reinforce the idea of sticking to what you are doing and not getting derailed because I know that shiny new pursuits often attract and distract me. This made me wonder which interests I have given most of my time to and have had the most formal training in. Unsurprisingly and surprisingly it was occupational therapy, writing and guitar. Second to that was adults with developmental disabilities, kids, and psychology along with the informal experience of dance, photography, drawing, and hula hooping. The book inspired me to get so good at OT that I can find connections in the adjacent possible to my other hobbies.
I learned that diving into that dedication is its own reward, as well as the difference between being productivity-centric and craft-centric. One is the busy work to get things done and the other is the mental strain of learning, researching, exploring, experimenting and testing. I have spent way too much time being busy trying to grow but feeling like a hamster in a hamster wheel and never getting anywhere. Furthering my growth through learning means not focusing on getting things done but getting new things known and understood. This was seemingly obvious but very clarifying.
April was a month of encounters, doodles and cats! My samba and ASL adventures are coming to a close and I’m letting go of new endeavors I was daydreaming about last month, like the online journal store, until a time where I will give them more deserving attention. I hope to be like Korra and get in touch with what’s already fundamental to me. I look forward to being disciplined and focused in developing my strengths in such a way that I find myself in my element and actualizing my full potential and watching my exploration unfold.