Retrospective: Mar-Aug

On music, Spanish language learning, reading, rock climbing, overworking, adjusting to a new house.

My last one was in mid-March.

What’s compelled me to start another retro? I have realized that my routine has drastically changed in these past few months, and I’ve started to feel guilty about that.

Here is what has changed:

  1. I no longer play violin or take lessons regularly
  2. I no longer practice Spanish regularly
  3. I spend at least some time every day taking care of the house in some way
  4. I go rock climbing on average at least 3 days a week
  5. I am not finishing 2-3 books a month; more like 1 a month
  6. I spend decent time watching videos or reading about rock climbing
  7. I run at least twice a week, longer distances now to prepare for an upcoming ten-miler
  8. I used to run 3-4 times a week, though shorter distances, plus do weight training
  9. I have been watching a lot of Battlestar Galactica with my husband
  10. I think I hang out with friends more often
  11. I’m better at spending time with my husband doing things together (like #9, or playing boardgames)
  12. I’m becoming a better pescatarian

(and what should’ve changed but hasn’t)

  1. Overworking still sometimes
  2. Not getting enough sleep sometimes

The greatest factor in this change of lifestyle is of course our move to our new house. Planning the move and doing the move were ordeals in themselves. Before that, we were, for 60 days, in a state of cramped limbo in our apartment. Immediately after, it was constant hard work in unboxing and organizing everything.

Anyway, now that I’ve written this list out, what is bothering me? Definitely #1 and #2. But I also need to consider this: do I value them? Are they worth putting back in my routine? Definitely #2 because of an upcoming trip to Spain. #1… Maybe. I would like to play either violin or piano regularly. I also feel a little bad about #5. But I think this was due to me rock climbing more vs. running/weight training in a quieter gym, and there was a few days in which I was kinda locked out of my digital library card.

What am I proud of? Definitely the workout changes. I like this new hobby of mine, rock climbing. It is incredibly hard but also quite fun. It motivates me to be in overall better shape, and the positive imagery in being surrounded by a diverse group of climbers (young, old, brown, black, white, male, female, buff, skinny, short, tall) is awesome. I was hesitant to buy my first gym membership (at the time I joined, $89/month) since I’ve always been able to work out for free before now, but the membership’s been well worth the price so far.

What do I have to forgive myself for? House stuff eating up a lot of time and energy. Maintaining a house, especially when you first move in, is a lot of work. When you first move in to your first house, you likely have at least a few things you need to fix right away, and when you do, you’re likely to make mistakes. You’re also still settling in, so you have to figure out layout and styling for rooms, plus all the new things you need (and don’t need just yet) since you’ve upsized from an apartment. You also likely have lots of excited loved ones who want to visit you and see your new house, so hosting them takes time. Then there is the exciting exploration of the new area you’re in. So, sigh.

What can I list that we have accomplished in 2 months so I can better forgive myself?

  • replaced our water heater before it was too late
  • set up a dehumidifier in the basement immediately so it’s always comfortable and mold-free
  • set up a new bed frame immediately so our mattress was no longer right on the floor, accumulating moisture
  • got a lawn mower (gift) and trimmer
  • learned how to mow the lawn and trim the edges
  • learned a little bit of how to take care of plants, lawn, and garden
  • bought some houseplants and haven’t killed any of them yet
  • installed bidets in all the toilets
  • fixed a drywall patch from when one of the pipes connected to a bidet started leaking; made some mistakes…
  • bought things for drywall patching and painting
  • bought and installed kitchen organizers
  • replaced a hard-to-reach lightbulb with our new 17-foot ladder
  • made the office more presentable with a new shelf
  • made the guest room presentable with things we already had
  • managed to still put away $500 each month in savings, and $500 one time in Roth; not including extra dough in checking
  • made a deposit to get chimney fixed; still waiting on it to actually get fixed
  • bought support braces for basement shelves; still need to install them
  • bought another bookcase for other books in basement; will be delivered tomorrow
  • donated a lot of stuff
  • for the most part, kept costs reasonably down…

Things we really didn’t need:

  • all the mini dehumidifiers that are just a pain to recharge
  • a couple of plant pots, though I could use them for others later
  • this nice outdoor bistro table
  • a second pair of nice running shoes (right away)

What can I take away from this reflection? My lifestyle hasn’t changed for the worse, overall. I have a lot of things to be proud of, and I love living in our house. Things that have dropped out or changed had to happen to make room for more immediate concerns. It’s worth reevaluating those things’ value, now, anyway. Especially now that we’ve mostly settled in, can I afford to re-add #1 and/or #2? With #2, I simply must. With #1, perhaps I can try to do a little at a time. I don’t need to sign up for lessons still; anyway, that takes more money and a more stable schedule.  With #3, I’m already getting better at since I’m doing longer runs and can listen to an audiobook that way; I also should get more sleep so I have time to read my Kindle during my commute.

new goals for the next few months

  1. Practice Spanish every day again! even just a little
  2. Get more sleep so I can read in the morning again
  3. A couple times a week, play an instrument
  4. Be more careful with what I am buying for the house: do I really need it now, or can it wait until later?