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Goals Reflection: May 2019
[any identifying names and locations will be changed for protection and privacy.]
Month's almost over, so it's time for another one of these.
GOALS REFLECTION - May 2019
This is no longer a priority, to make a long story short. I still have an active penpal, and have made conscious strides in being a friendlier, more approachable person. Efforts to be more extroverted have been a mixed bag. I've been thinking that having better friendships is a more worthwhile goal at the moment, and I've moved ahead with that, in several ways. From attending a "bingo night" (hint: bingo, as a game, is absolutely, mind-numbingly dreadful), to penpal writing, to birthday celebrations and a game designer's retreat, my social calendar has definitely bubbled with some life this past month. However, I've not been looking for a romantic partner during that time.
I've shifted more energy and efforts into my mental health. More regarding this below. But I suspect I'll be adjusting this particular goal to something else by the time the next monthly review rolls around. The most likely candidate is environmental efforts and initiatives, and/or some kind of food-growing/gardening project.
There was a regional game designer's retreat earlier this month, and it was a wonderful, restful time. There were about a dozen and a half of us who pooled our money together, and rented an estate house about a two-hour drive from where I live. It was relatively remote, definitely removed from any bustling urban environment. I stayed there Thursday evening through Sunday morning. I started off Friday and Saturday mornings with a kayak ride... Had I mentioned the house had a frickin' private lake?!?! Oh yeah. It was nice. My roommate was a great guy, and the mattress I slept on was comfortable.
At the retreat, I had two designs hit the table, both twice. Serious progress was made with my drafting and pattern-making game, and the other was a study in, "let's try a whole bunch of things and see what -doesn't- work." Even then, I was elated with the results in general. Additionally I had a chance to relax with a bunch of fellow nerds and offer some decent, hopefully-useful feedback on their designs as well. I chipped in with making a big pot of vegan chili in my slow-cooker, which was a verifiable hit while it lasted.
In other news, I missed a deadline for a game design contest. There was a weekend I was laid low with some kind of illness (I basically slept Friday evening after work, and most of the following Saturday), so that was easily 8 hours of productivity lost due to illness. Not sure what that was, really. But I definitely caught up on sleep.
Regarding video game design: At the end of this month, I started learning how to use TyranoBuilder, a software program that allows you to create "visual novel" games. The easiest way to describe it would be using a computer to make those "choose your own adventure" books from my youth. For my first project, I'm expanding on a short story sketch I came up with at one of the writing meetups I'd attended earlier this year. It's been a considerable amount of work but the learning curve isn't onerous. For a first project, it'll be decent (if possessed of some creepy and violent subject matter, but I hear there's a market for it).
Just today I received a notice and a dollar amount from the attorney working on my settlement. To say I'm underwhelmed would be accurate. It is exponentially lower than the amount initially quoted in the demand letter (that initial amount is never settled on of course - my attorney and I acknowledged as much - but this is nowhere close). But then I'm reminded of the old adage, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch," and all that. So it goes. This is only a one-time infusion of cash anyway, and doesn't represent efforts at increasing my income. Well... -Some- people may be interested in jumping in front of motorists in an effort to claim insurance money, but I'm not one of them.
When asked my opinion on the state of the settlement, I lamented to a friend of mine this month over dinner or lunch or something: "I would have rather died than go through all of this." I think I was being truthful, if a bit morbid. I'm of the opinion right now that if given the choice, I may as well have just been struck and killed instead of mentally and physically scarred. Only time will tell if I'm just in a phase or whatnot. Thankfully, I think the collection of this settlement will represent a sort of closure on all the wounds opened up when I was hit by the car. Or at least, there will be no unfinished business remaining. I'll have no choice but to move on.
As for real substantive moves to increase my income? Nope, nothing yet. However, I have been asked to officiate another wedding. So this will be a second one. If there's a third down the line (and I'm open to that), then I will investigate it as a future side gig.
I visited relatives frequently this past month. The daughter of one of my stepsisters (so "step-niece," right?) had her 16th birthday, and I attended that. These visits didn't feel too much like obligations this time round. My stepsister's family is quite friendly and open, and seem to have interesting lives.
I have an aunt at least 80 years old that lives an eight-hour drive away. Time to write her a letter. It's been too long since I'd contacted her.
FITNESS & HEALTH
Cycling on the exercise bike has persisted. Crunches and push-ups at the start of every day has persisted.
I'm gradually changing my diet to make healthier choices, particularly in terms of over-eating. One of the books I've read recently, -Atomic Habits- by James Clear, describes a tactic where you stay objective and test yourself to see if you match your own expectations.
For example, I want to consider myself as someone who is striving to be healthier, even a little bit, each day. When I'm in the grocery and I'm considering picking up a pastry or box of cookies or whatever, I ask myself, "Well, is this something that someone striving to be healthier would buy at the grocery?" Obviously, the answer is no, so I use that to motivate me to keep moving, looking for something with a bit more nutritional density.
Beyond habits, I discussed with my regular doctor my bout(s) with depression and anxiety. He casually diagnosed me with PTSD related to being hit by the car. I've started a low-dose antidepressant prescription, and Melatonin to help me sleep at night. I also decided to finally invest in a weighted blanket, again to help me with sleep.
My monthly bicycle ride is happening this Friday. I've encouraged a guy from my writing group to join me this time. He also encouraged me to look into a local psychiatric hospital for counseling and therapy.
TO SUM UP
A new normal is approaching. I'm looking more into self-improvement and putting my own life in order before I deliberately look for someone to become an intimate part of it.