Archive for the Personally Category


All Or Nothing

Posted by Jen in Personally |
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In my pursuit to add new activities and hobbies to my life, I have decided that I need to do a little preparation.   Why?  Well, because I seriously don’t want this new venture to end up like most of the others: unfinished and abandoned.  While I might call those projects “on-going,” the truth is that most will never be touched again.   It’s all or nothing for me.  I start something new and I go into it…full speed ahead.  All I need, though, is just one distraction… a few days of something new and the project is no more.

Example:  I started running last year…I’d ran almost daily for a few months.  Then it will rain for 3 or 4 days in a row…well, that’s it for my running schedule.  It’s all over.
Look at my blogging history, too.  Daily posts for a nice solid month…then nothing for a year.  Then I’m back again for another month.  Check back here in December.  I’ll be gone.  It’s inevitable.  There must be something I can change that will prevent this from happening.

First, I think I need to make sure I set a realistic pace for myself.  Just because I can devote 6 hours a day to Projects A, B and C this week, I am pretty sure that I won’t be able to keep that up forever.  I  need to set up an alternate schedule for the weeks when I can only spend 1 hour a day on those projects.  No one can go full-speed all the time.  I need to make a plan for the times when I can only go at half-speed.  The plan is to slow it down, but not completely stop.

Example: I have been taking online classes for the past 5 years.  The only deadline for those classes is that I need to complete the course within a year.  I can send in my homework and take my midterm and finals at my own pace.  I always start my classes off with a bang.  I spend a good month or so working every single day – hours upon hours at a time.  Then…something changes.  Sometimes it’s because of the holidays.  Christmas rolls around and I put away my books and I don’t pull them out again until March or April.  It’s like the spell gets broken.  It’s all or nothing.  Why is that?  I get all obsessive and energized about a project and then suddenly it’s like “meh.”

This leads me to a second solution.  Clearly define a project’s goals and give myself deadlines. I think I sometimes get overwhelmed by a project and it’s easier to just drop it…and when I drop it, I REALLY drop it.  I mean it’s gone, packed away, erased from my mind…never thought of again.  If I break it down into little doable goals, that might help a lot.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been testing that theory lately with my Google Tasks application.   I currently  have about 8 To Do Lists set up.  Six of them are for my various web site projects.  Some of them have deadline dates attached, which are then synced with my Google calendar, which are then sent to my cell phone as reminders.  (I’m in heaven with all this gadgety goodness!)  The other two lists are my “Daily aJENda” and my “Week of —-” List.  (Week of 10/4/09, Week of 10/12/09, etc.)   If I am sensing a busy week, I might put “Write 1 paragraph of my health article” and if I see that my week is going to be free, I’ll make it “Write a complete health article.”

The main point is that instead of “All or Nothing” I will start changing it to “A Little Bit of Something.”

As a final thought, I think I like the rush and the high of starting something new…which is great, except I can’t keep dropping a project or a task when something more exciting comes along.  My friendships run the same way.  I am known for going into “relationship hibernation.”  I come out of my cave for a few months, catch up with old friends, etc.  Then, I just disappear for months and months at a time.   I don’t think I want to work like that anymore.

It’s about keeping balance and steadiness to my life.  It’s about being reliable and following through on my endeavors.  It’s about not zooming ahead so fast that I burn out in a matter of weeks.  I am truly missing out on a lot because I only barely scratch the surface of a new endeavor before I completely abandon it.  The “new task high” is a great feeling, but I it’s not a great feeling to always stop just short of my goal.  This is a bad habit of mine that I am definitely going to work on.  The time is definitely now.  :-D

How To Be Interesting

Posted by Jen in Personally |
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I am feeling inspired today.  After a couple of days of dealing with financial stress, I decided to take the day off and just relax and tap into my creative side.  To be honest, I don’t think I have a very fascinating creative side.  I can’t really draw.  I’m not very good at arts and crafts.  I can play a little piano – I can only play slow songs.  I like to sing, but I never do.  I like to write, but I am out of practice.  I like to take pictures, but I’m not sure I have a good eye for that sort of thing.

I think I am dull.

So, I started searching for hobbies and I found this site: russell davies: how to be interesting.  I dare you to read that blog entry and not feel inspired in some way.

When I was younger, I used to like picking a random topic and just learning about it.  I would actually write reports over the summer just for myself.  (Nerd!)  I love to learn and I am known for getting passionate about the things I like, but I haven’t felt that way in a really long time.  I think it’s time I started to explore a little bit.

I’ll start taking pictures, reading more, taking notes and observing the world around me.  Maybe I’ll stumble upon a new interest or a new hobby for myself.  It will be nice to have my life revolve around more than just parenting, college, and my health.

Living In The Now

Posted by Jen in Personally, Spiritual Life |
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When was the last time I actually sat still and did nothing? I honestly can’t remember.

A few months ago my car had a  flat tire.   I brought my car to the repair shop and they told me the wait was going to be about a half an hour.   I seriously didn’t think I could last that long in the waiting area.   I wanted to call someone to pick me up and bring me home.   I figured I could just return later to get the car.   The idea of sitting there not doing anything actually felt torturous to me.

I used to love having quiet time….being able to sit and just sort out my thoughts.   I can’t seem to do that anymore.   I can’t even watch TV without having a book next to me or my laptop in front of me.   My browser currently had 10 tabs opened and I have six windows opened on the bottom, too.

Has technology done this to me?  Have I become so accustomed to being able to do multiple things at once that I never really thought about whether I should be doing multiple things at once?  All I know is that something needs to change.

It’s so easy to say that I am just going to spend some quite time each day, but what isn’t easy is knowing HOW to do that.   How does one actually have “quiet time” or “meditation time?”  Should I think?  Do I hum?  Do I not think?  Should I go outside? Should I kneel?  Do I pray?  Do I write in a journal?  I tried doing a variety of those things and found myself thinking of something that I needed to do or wanted to do and within moments my “quiet time” was over.   I got antsy and distracted.

So,  I am making this my goal.   I am going to try to limit my multi-tasking activities.  I need to train myself to do one thing at a time and really focus on it.   Really pay attention to the task.   I think that is where the problem really lies.  I am so used to having a ton of things running through my head at any given moment.  Time flies so quickly and I feel like I am barely experiencing any of it.

I need to learn how to live in the now.  The “now” being the one task I am currently attending to.  If my mind drifts to thoughts about another task, I will just push those thoughts aside and allow myself to spend a good solid amount of time on the first task before I move on to the next.  Maybe this will finally train me to actually sit outside on the deck and just enjoy the pretty day…without jumping up after 2 minutes because I suddenly thought of a million other things to do.

So, how does everyone else do this?  Does anyone else have the problem with living in the now?  How do you focus?  I can’t be the only one who sometimes feels like life is rushing past them and they aren’t really getting everything they can out of their life experiences.  There has to be a better way to do things.  I’m going to work really hard to figure that out.

Jen knows music

Posted by Jen in Personally |
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Okay – anyone who knows me well, knows that I am clueless when it comes to the music world. Years ago, I knew practically nothing about artists or bands or the top hits or MTV, etc. I used to play in the Yahoo Trivia Chat rooms about 5 years ago and I never…EVER knew a single trivia answer if it had to do with music.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like music. I did like it, but I didn’t really concern myself with anything other than the fact that I liked the song currently playing on the radio…and that was that.

It became a source of slight discomfort when I would meet new people and they would ask what music I listened to. My answer “whatever is on the radio” was truly accurate. And, which of those songs did I like? Well, I couldn’t tell you unless I actually heard it playing. That is when I could say “Yep, that is a song I like”.

Ever since my daughter was born and as she has gotten older (she’s 10 now), I find myself becoming much more acquainted with the music world. I actually have tastes. I even know the names of those tastes. I actually like artists and music groups and know the names of them, too.

This morning I was in heaven as I played around with Launchcast from Yahoo! It plays streaming music which you can rate, which, in turn, affects which music it plays for you on your personalized station. You can also watch videos and play particular artists and tell it to never play a particular artist or song ever again.
I also use this in conjunction with MusicMatch Jukebox. I know people are particular and quite loyal to their music players, but I love MusicMatch. I have been using their player for over 3 years now. They now have a way to preview tracks and purchase 99 cent tracks and their ripping and burning features are awesome.

Thanks to motherhood…and to the approach of my daughter’s pre-teen years, I am embracing the opportunity to acquaint myself with a whole new world. Quite fun, indeed!

Birthday Number 29

Posted by Jen in Happy Holidays, Personally |
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Well, I’m 29 years old today. Eech. Can I really be this old??
It was a pretty okay day for me. Mom is in sort of a funky mood…so I have been avoiding her all day. And, I didn’t get an official “Happy Birthday” from anyone until around noon. Even Meghan forgot, which bummed me out a little bit. But she did make it up to me by making me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. All by herself…so, that was sweet. As for my gifts…well, I actually only got one this year, but it was a big one….my JVC GRDVL720U MiniDV Digital Camcorder . I am in love with it already.
Plus I got a bunch of money from the other family members, so I can buy some extras for myself when I head to the mall this weekend.

Well, I suppose I’ll just end this day by spending some time with Meg and then heading to bed. I can’t remember having a more disappointing birthday, to tell you the truth. I mean, I know that as you get older, the excitement of birthdays will dwindle, but….I just kind of expected to have this day be a little more special than every other day. Well, Happy Birthday to me. (And Christian Slater, Patrick Swayze, Edward Norton, Robert Redford, and anyone else out there)

My family

Posted by Jen in Friends & Family, Personally |
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Since I still live at home with dear old mom and dad, I will probably be spending a lot of time talking about my family. So, I thought I’d give a little run-down of exactly my family is and who lives at home with us.

Setting: A large L-shaped ranch in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Characters: Nikolaus (father), Josephine (mother), Jennifer (me…born in 1974), Meghan (my daughter…born in 1994), Brian (my brother…born in 1978), Christopher (my brother…born in 1982), and my grandmother whom I call Oma.

Background: My parents (Nikolaus and Josephine) have been happily married for nearly 30 years and raised their children in a middle to upper-middle class household with traditional, Christian values.

School facts: Christopher is in college at Penn State and Brian is still at home, finishing his business degree at a local university. I am also in college to finish my second degree in legal/psychology studies. I intend to go to graduate school to get my teaching degree and then hopefully find a nice little house for Meghan and myself.

Personal Notes: Good Christian values aside, I am a single mom and have never been married. *shrugs* I tend to do things a little backwards sometimes. I think everyone probably has a few big “oops…did I do that?” moments in their lives. But, I don’t think I ever see Meghan as an “oops”…she is a joy and I am very lucky to be her mom.

Single motherhood is tough…but I’m getting better at it, I think.  I hope! :)