Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Legwork and Life, week of 1/3/17

Happy New Year. 

I'm afraid I've never really been one for New Year's resolutions. My mother tended to preach that if you wanted something changed, you should start immediately rather than waiting for an excuse.  Psychology, as it turns out, agrees with her wholeheartedly. 

There are definitely things I'd like to change this year.  I could list them, and it'd seem like I'm making resolutions.  But honestly, I get the sense that as soon as those resolutions are broken, you've failed for the year and it's not worth starting over.  I don't really like that mentality.  I make a lot of mistakes in life.  If I never got do-overs, I'd never manage anything. 

This year, I would like to:
  1. Rebuild and keep a buffer for this blog.  
  2. Exercise 3 days a week.
  3. Make some progress (any progress, really) on launching a career as an autism expert/speaker/writer.
  4. Start the arduous and exhausting job of house-hunting.  Chris and I would like a condominium, since we both kind of hate lawn care and chores.  

Reasoning in brief...

1.  The Blog.  I think everyone can agree that some weeks are just more difficult than others.  I struggle with having relevant, meaningful, intelligent entries for Fridays.  I experimented (successfully) with having a buffer in November and part of December.  That was because this blog is important to my self-worth.  It sometimes helps people, or at least that's what people sometimes tell me, so even though I'm not making money and not going out into the community that much, I'm at least having some positive effects.  It really tanks my self-esteem and stability as a person when I think I'm going to miss an update or I don't have one ready and it's the night before it's due.  If I rebuild the buffer, I have some peace of mind on that count.  I also, unfortunately, have less anxiety to channel into keeping up the buffer, so that's going to need work.  My LENS doctor suggests setting aside several hours in the week to work on Friday entries.  The idea annoys me, but it's unfortunately probably what I'll need to do.  Anyway, better annoyed than panicky. 

2.  Exercise.  This probably doesn't need explanation, since the benefits of exercise are well-documented.  I don't have as obvious positive effects from exercise as my mother does, but I have noticed that exercise tends to burn off some of the energy I'd otherwise use for being anxious.  I imagine if I exercised more regularly I'd probably see other bonus effects, such as weight loss.  3 days a week is about the minimum for actual positive, lasting effects, as I understand it, and I'm a realistic-to-pessimistic person, so I'm aiming low.  If I succeed at low, I can work up to medium and high. 

3.  Career Progress.  Back when I was still trying to write a book, I was informed very emphatically by someone that has way more clues about it than me, that I should be focusing on a blog first, and building my identity as a speaker and writer, and then maybe worry about the book.  I took his advice, and proceeded to create this blog and run it for... I guess almost two years now.  In that time, my life has changed a bit.  Maybe my Friday entry this week should be another "Taking Stock of Things"...  

In any case, I've served on a couple panel discussions related to autism topics, been on a couple boards of autism and developmental disorders organizations, and read up a lot since then, but I'm not being asked to write for newspapers, speak at conventions, or anything like that.  In part, that's because I haven't been focusing on networking.  And in part, I suspect, that's because I haven't really set myself apart from other autism personalities.  My coach from back in the beginning called it the Axis of Awesome, I think.  You pick three major things that set you apart from others, and put them together to make a career.  I think I have two so far: autism and introspective perspectives in writing.  Not really sure what the third is.  I don't really want to market myself on my low-grade depression, or cynicism, or sarcasm...  I'll give it some thought. 

So I need to keep an eye out for opportunities, and be more active about networking.  It's just kind of how it goes that networking would have to be miserably hard for me, being autistic and all... 

4.  House/Condo.  This will hopefully happen this year, but I'm not going to consider myself a horrible failure if it doesn't.  House hunting is hard, and the market here is... topsy-turvy.  Houses get put up for sale and are bought in less than a week.  Chris and I would like a condo, but we also need to look into FHA loans for first time house buyers.  And mortgages.  And... ugh.  Adulting is hard.  Then, too, we also need to actually find a place we both like.  Finding this apartment we're in was hard enough.  Now it's got a roach infestation (which is thankfully clearing up) and we're kind of tired of the shoddy maintenance, high electric bill, and lazy snow-removal service.  I haven't a clue where to start with all this, other than to ask my dad nicely.  He's overseen buying and selling at least 5 houses, in my childhood alone.  So, y'know, reasonably decent at it by now.  He and my mother are moving to this city around the middle of this year, but I think Chris might want to start hunting sooner than that.  Wish us luck... 

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