I've been busy over the last month. The bottom dropped out of a relationship I had high hopes for... and after I hit the ground pretty hard and lay there dazed and confused for a bit... I shook myself out, got back up, and got back to where I was heading before I got really distracted. Which is, as ever (despite occasional downfalls or detours): onward and upward.
Ways I've improved my life over the last few weeks:
Started reading to James every day again. We took a break for a little while because he just wasn't interested but that's changed and now he even brings me books and says, "B'uh! B'uh!"
Got internet at home.
Got an awesome friend's old laptop that she didn't need/ want anymore and started writing again.
Thoroughly cleaned and organized the apartment/ got things together for charity donation/ sale.
Have gotten my ACC admission status updated and am waiting for assessment test results so that I can register for class (the first of several pre-reqs for UT grad school).
Have talked to UT about their Alternative Entry Master's of Nursing program and have a little over a year long plan for how to get accepted so that I can join their program Summer 2012.
Started going to work early.
Started keeping a daily record of all the things I do at work.
Have taken on more responsibilities at work.
Scheduled appointments for various things I've been just living with instead of dealing with.
Stopped buying concert tickets and also have stopped buying extraneous things. I went through a bad spate of purchasing. Done with that now. Have turned inward... and also toward buying used.
Started bringing my breakfast and lunch to work almost every day and using reusable containers instead of plastic bags for the most part. Ideally I'd bring my own food in every day, but sometimes, I'm just too tired at night to do more than pack James' lunch.
Started listening to Spanish and French language tapes at work. I'm hoping to be conversational-ish in a few more months.
Ways I need/want to improve my life that I have either barely started on or am still in the process of getting started on:
Buy new socket covers and rework the child proofing in the apartment because James has figured out how to take the cheap ones out of the wall since my outlets are all loose.
Start going to bed earlier. I'm getting there every few days, but not regularly... and this may be a pipe dream. After all, who has time to sleep?
Register to take the GRE and a prep course.
Get a new phone. The screen on mine is scratched all to hell and every time I drop it it comes apart. I should be eligible for the iPhone 4 in October or so... but I saw this video the other day talking about the Evo phone and, even though I hate Sprint more than bad lettuce, I actually started thinking about other phones as an alternative to the iPhone. Of course, the only real concern with the iPhone and continuing with AT&T is that the plan is more expensive than the one I've got now... but I've really cut down on the texting so I could probably do without unlimited now and with my UT discount, maybe it wouldn't be unreasonable.
I need to actually get rid of the culled items from my apartment (they're living in my outdoor closet which is currently piled high and deep). I should get rid of even more than the stuff in there, too. (It'd help if I had someone not-emotionally attached to any of my stuff to help me do the getting rid of it part... I'm not a hoarder... but I do have some crap that I've carted around for a while for only emotional reasons.)
I have shelves (in pieces) that I need to put up. (I suck at straight lines... and I don't have a level. It's also hard for me to do projects like that when James is running around like a tiny madman. Again I wish for a second pair of hands/ arms/ eyes.) The two shelves that are up from the set of several are heavily used.
New furniture: My mattress/ bed is so old you can feel the springs. James will soon outgrow his crib. There's a particular problem with being a single mother and trying to date while living in a one bedroom apartment with a child. I believe that this can be, if not remedied, at least ameliorated, with a pull-out couch or a futon in the living room. I want to get rid of my computer desk (which is falling apart) and replace it with a dining table so that I can teach my child good table manners. Recap: two beds, a table/chairs, and a new couch. I have no idea how I'll be able to afford such things... but I'll find a way. I'm trying to make my apartment into my safe sanctuary. I've always looked to other people to provide that feeling of safety and security for me... but that's just not really realistic anymore.
Improved work out regimen. I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, but it feels better again, so it's time to ramp things back up. Prior to the sprain I was running a few days a week, biking to/ from the daycare/ work, and playing soccer whenever I could get the time and a sitter or a playdate for James on the weekends. I have a 7 week training schedule to help me be ready to run 5k races by this fall taped to the wall by my door and I bought running shoes recently. I think since I'm going back to school, I'm going to have to give up soccer after this season and just start running. I'll miss the social aspects and the competitiveness and chasing/kicking things and... well... pretty much everything about soccer, but it's too hard to get to practices or games now. With just running, at the worst, I can do it almost anywhere and I can take James with me in the jogging stroller. I need to add yoga back in and ankle strengthening exercises too. Maybe I'll join a running group for real this fall. I wasn't ready to commit to one this summer. A group would help me socially. I need to meet people... I miss the rush of meeting new people even if they don't stick around... hell, I miss keeping up with friends socially... and I'm cut off from social networking at work now... so I'm at a bit of a loss here.
I need to work on my inner self so that when I'm done fixing my circumstances, I'll be as good on the inside as I am on the outside. I'm tired of being fragile and broken and full of spikes and sharp pieces. I just want to be... whole and round and smooth and fine, completely fine, on my own... and I'm getting there. I guess I mostly just really miss having someone there to sleep next to me, someone to share things with and do things for and with... who is an adult and can reciprocate... but I guess I'm not ready... that's what I've started to believe... I wasn't ready for a relationship when I tried to get into one... and so I acted completely not myself because I still don't know who I am right now... which is what I've been trying to figure out for the last many months. I'm so used to adapting to my circumstances... to being a chameleon and changing to fit where I am (I've done it for years and years and years... not in all ways... just in many) that a question I finally had to ask myself recently was... "do I really like [thing] or did I just like it because [person] liked it"... and that probably means I'm still not ready... no matter how much I wish I were.
Getting out of debt. I'm trying to adjust my spending. I still want to and will make goal-oriented purchases, but I'm eliminating, as much as possible, random expenditures.
Improved interactions with the Child's Father (the CF) while maintaining my personal integrity and keeping my child's safety and mental health as the top priority. I honestly don't know how I can hold my ground and still improve things with the CF. It may not be possible.
Improved relations with my family.
I need to pay more attention to the world around me... I've had a light, but I felt, succinct, handle on politics for a long time, but it's becoming more and more important for me to try to get things right for my son in as many ways as I can, and that includes politics, from the local all the way up.
I also need to figure out some volunteering opportunities. My graduate program application requires them but, even before I knew that, I knew I needed to get my hands dirty in a medical/ emotional sense to really know if I have what it takes to be a professional in this field or not. If anyone has any advice on or recommendations of medically related volunteer ops, please let me know.
Ways my life will improve in the next six months that aren't on the above list:
My car will be paid off in November.
I will be on my way to getting into graduate school.
If I make the above changes I know that my circumstances will change. I want James and I to be so very happy. I want to be the best mother possible and to provide the best things I can for my son. I also want to be the person someone wants to come home to and I want to be the someone a person wants to come home to them. I want to like coming home to myself. :)
It may take longer than six months for true and deep changes to happen... but I'm working toward a defined higher purpose and that's helpful... I have goals and dreams and I'm being as realistic about it all as I can without tipping over into pessimism.