Habits and projects

Now that I’ve been able to start working (yay!), I’ve said goodbye to my “practice retirement.” That’s what I’m calling the period of time where I wasn’t legally allowed to work and was running out of things to do. I took walks. I hand-sewed a skirt (I am a beginner at this and would like to pass on that chiffon is evil if you’re sewing by hand). (I’m actually not quite finished with the skirt since I cut the chiffon a tad too short and need to attach some sort of entity (or hem the lining shorter) to the bottom. That can be an ongoing project. Since I am in Germany and they don’t do Christmas stockings, I plan to make my own. That will be another project, but I don’t plan to start that until the fall. I also started a pleated skirt project. I’d finished a whole half of it before it occurred to me that maybe you’re supposed to stitch down the pleats on the inside of the skirt, not on the outside. Oh well, I learned something… I’ll probably finish it “wrong” (creatively) anyway and find some sort of workaround. (Picture of the chiffon skirt thus far. I don’t have any more of the stuff I used for the lining, so I need another solution for the bottom as I said.)

  Hand-sewn skirt project

The one really good habit I did get out of the period of limbo in the last two weeks is a ten minute fitness program (courtesy of Pinterest). I can do ten minutes between breakfast and leaving for work easily. Also, if time permits, I could fit in another round in the evenings. Between that and taking walks, I should be able to get my thirty minutes of exercise in each day.

“Das wichtigste Motiv für die Arbeit des Menschen ist die Freude an ihrem Ergebnis und die Erkenntnis ihres Wertes für die Gemeinschaft.“ ₪ Albert Einstein

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Pausing to reflect

In an InDesign file, a style-driven workflow means that you take the time to set styles for each part of your document upfront. Then, later, you can simply put it together by assigning the pre-defined styles to the different parts of the document. This is instead of laboriously inserting some text and formatting it afterwards, inserting more text and formatting it again to match the previous bit. Once you have a set style, you can simply set this before you put anything in the box. Once you do put this in, your text will automatically be formatted.

In line with the geeky analogy, I think it might stretch to planning a way of life. Some things can, of course, be adjusted over time, but for many situations, it might work better to set some ground rules before you do them. Financial planning both for the near term and for the longer term is one of those things that you want to have the big picture on. How much do I have? Can I break it down monthly or weekly? What are expenses that recur? What sort of extra expenses do I have that I could limit or eliminate entirely? The month of July will be a somewhat irregular month of spending for me because of startup costs – a deposit in addition to the rent, acquiring sheets and blankets, and getting the basics for first cooking then baking.

As I adjust to having work be the thing that I spend the most time on, I’ll also need to plan what to get into the habit of doing regularly during the rest of my time. Not just planning what times I can go grocery shopping or take care of administrative things, but also planning in activities that are enriching. I have my flute with me (though I somehow managed to stick all of my music in the book box that won’t have shipped yet!) and I have previously sung in choirs or choruses. I’ll need to find a church near here since the once I regularly attended a couple of years ago is too far away. (I still plan to go back there periodically at least, so that I can stay in contact with the friends I made there.) I do plan to leave some time (and money, budget-permitting) to have some fun. I now live close enough to the river to be able to take some nice walks (or maybe actually go jogging, though I’ve never seriously gotten into the habit of doing that) and close to a couple of parks. I also plan to spend some of this week getting lost in my new neighborhood.

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Interesting quote to ponder: “Thinking about the role of delay is a profound and fundamental part of being human. Questions about delay are existential: the amount of time we take to reflect on decisions will define who we are. Is our mission simply to be another animal, responding to whatever stimulations we encounter? Or are we here for something more? Life might be a race against time but it is enriched when we rise above our instincts and stop the clock to process and understand what we are doing and why. A wise decision requires reflection, and reflection requires a pause.” Financial Times, 24 June 2012, ‘Waiting Game’, pg. 19

I especially like the phrase “reflection requires a pause.” It is a much different way to think about ‘delay’, a word that I have a rather negative association with.Image