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When I was building up my planner, I would pore over the layouts that others had. I tried hard to use premade planners because that’s obviously less work you have to do as a person who will be using planners on the regular. Just plug your data in as needed. But the things I wanted to track weren’t easy to do with the premade ones.
So I made my own. It’s working out well so far.
I like looking at my schedule in weeks. I prepare them three months in advance. I do this because I also carry a lot of bullet journal-type lists and notes behind my weekly schedule.
One of the things that I liked about premade planners was their having spaces to acknowledge gratitude. The idea was kind of put into my head by Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” book (affiliate link). I remember reading a column of hers on Slate, and I liked the journey she put herself on.
I ask myself to come up with at least three things that I’m grateful for during that week. I write them down so that they physically exist on paper. I then have a separate task list that I built with a stencil and fill in with a highlighter every day. Examining that gratitude list is something that I do.
Some wellness advocates ask you to come up with your gratitude list EVERY DAY, and I’m like, that’s too much. Let me do it weekly and see if that works.
And it has thus far.
That’s the thing with journals and tracking moods and exercise and all that crap. Do what works for you. Just because someone’s advocating for you to do that but you already know it’s not going to work, find a new way to approach it. Don’t be afraid to go off that beaten path. What worked for that person may not work for you but you can still gain something positive from it if you decide to take it on.
So, the five things that I’m grateful for will be more fleshed out than in my weekly list:
- Walking away when a job became professionally untenable. Maybe I am a statistic of the Great Resignation but I realize I did the right thing by doing so. Knowing when to say no is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal as a human being. It’s just as well, my father’s health has taken a turn for the worst, so my being at home is taking some pressure off my mother’s shoulders.
- A well-curated music library. I’m not a fan of streaming music on Spotify and such because there’s albums that have literally followed me from my first computer that I digitized a long time ago and I refuse to give them up. But Apple is really pushing Apple Music and I fucking hate it. Windows 11 and iTunes don’t play well together. I use MusicBee to maintain my library until I can find another way to listen to my songs that I’ve acquired over the years through iTunes. I barely started buying MP3s through Amazon Music so I’ve been using their app to listen to the music I purchased there. It’s fine for now. I’ve been spreading my wings and listening to podcasts more often too.
- Home-cooked food. Between my chef boyfriend and my Ma, I never go hungry! I can cook and fend for myself in the kitchen just fine; I prefer to have someone else make food for me. It tastes better, I can’t explain it.
- Fresh air. When my asthma ramped up in the last ten years or so, the things that I used to enjoy became triggers for me. Cold air is one and it aggravates my asthma. But I learned that there’s a fine line of killing my lungs and being able to enjoy cool air on a quiet evening walk. When I can find it, I thrive.
- Finding a new path. I’m at a professional crossroads in my life. I was recently awarded a scholarship to attend The New School’s Media Writing Essentials course. I feel like it’s time to pivot and accept that writing for the media is where I can get steady work if I want to continue being a writer and editor. I was brash in my thinking that I wouldn’t need journalism classes for undergrad so I didn’t do any. I acknowledge that writing for media is far different than writing short fiction or poetry. I’m hoping that by undertaking this course that I can combine what I already know and love and become even more well-rounded and marketable. Wish me luck!
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