Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016 and 2017

It's that time of the year again - how many books will you read this year? 
Can you beat last year's goal?

Last January I joined the GoodReads Reading Challenge for 2016.   It is simple, really.  Just pick a number of books you want to read in a given year, plug it into the Good Reads website, log your completed books, and see if you reach goal.

I had no idea how many book I read in a year.  Last year I picked a random number - 25!  Silly me.  I passed that number very early on.  The final 2016 total was 43 books.  The total was probably more since I don't think I logged every book.  And I know I started about 10 others that I lost interest in and abandoned without finishing.  My reading is a mix of Kindle and Audio.  It has been a few years since I have read an actual book.  I should give that a try once again.  I used to adore reading non-electronic books.

My total of 43 for 2016 is really pretty low compared to some readers on GoodReads.  It is not unusual to see a goal of 75 or 100 books for the year.  I find that reading level pretty amazing.  That is about 2 books a week!!

GoodReads sent out invitations again for 2017 and I signed up.  I think I picked a total a little closer to my reading history. This year -  45 books.  I probably should have picked a higher number because last year I had a gap in time (summer moving) when I wasn't reading much.  But I will go with 45 - you never know what the future may hold - and I do love reaching a goal!

Have you ever joined a reading challenge?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reflections on 2016

Hello all and Happy New Year.

I know - gone again from blogging.  Not going to make excuses.  The spirit just didn't move me to sit in front of the computer and type.  But I still follow several blogs - one by my blog friend Paula inspired me to check in once again.  She reflected on the year 2016 - and I got to thinking - yep! 2016 is worth summarizing.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you have never done before?

My husband and I moved this year.  I orchestrated the entire process (downsizing 30 years of stuff, purchase of the condo, contracting the move, packing and unpacking, townhouse sale).  My husband's disability has severely limited his ability to assist.  There were times during those months when I thought the effort would kill me - but just like with previous challenges, I put one foot in front of the other and came out on the other side reaching the goal.  I kept reminding myself, if I was single I would be doing this same thing anyway.  I did have the support of family and friends towards the end when my health took a hit, but I survived the experience on pure stubborn-ness for sure!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions? Will you make more for 2017?

I don't think I had a New Year's Resolution.  Obviously if I did the answer to this question would be No - I didn't keep it if I can't remember it.  I did have a word for 2016.  It was MOVE.  Ha!  I meant for that word to reflect more physical movement and improved health.  I didn't achieve that - but I certainly did MOVE this year.

For 2017 I have picked another word.  I wanted it to reflect what was lacking in 2016.  My new word for 2017 is CONSISTENCY.  I want better consistency in the key areas of my life:  exercise, improved diet/health, and, alas, blogging.  At times this past year I have considered closing down this blog.  I never seemed to do it.  So I am hoping to be more consistent in posting.

These are not Resolutions, however.  I think the word 'resolution' dooms the effort for me!  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.  But we certainly would welcome new life in our family. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.  Sadly, my dear dear grand-dog Grimace died early in the year.  No pet (including all the other cats and dogs that have graced our lives) has found such a deep caring place in my heart as that sweet Pug, Grimace.  He is so so missed.

5. What countries or cities did you visit?

None. We don't travel much any more and I do miss doing that.  Maybe someday but it is doubtful I will travel out of the country. There are too many places in this country I would like to see first.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Consistency.  Really.  2016 was consistently inconsistent.  In fact, the pattern of inconsistency started back in 2014.  In 2014 mom's health was failing.  Every week was a struggle and a sadness - and she died just after Christmas.  2015 was not much better.  The stability of my role as caregiver was gone and I didn't feel like I had another focus to anchor my life.  2016 was the height of inconsistency!  Uprooting our lives to improve them was extremely difficult and filled with many misgivings.  We are passed all that now.  2017 - looking for consistency.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

We moved after 30 years in one place.  Nothing else comes close.

8. What was your biggest failure?

I didn't move - at least not the way I intended to move.  Striving for exercise activity in 2017.

9. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Generally my health is pretty good - although I do feel that as I approach 70 years of age (April of this year), my strength is lagging.  I did fall ill with a few colds and GI complaints - and I did spend one night slumped over the kitchen table because that was the only comfortable position my spasmed back would allow.  But all in all - I can't complain.  

That said - I think it is time to focus on boosting my health with better food choices and exercise.  You can't keep leaning on generally good health without putting in some effort - at some point that naturally God-given luck will give out and you better have put some effort into staying strong on your own.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

The condo.  Hands down - this was the best purchase we have made in years.  Although we lost about 1000 square feet of living space, we gained a hugh amount of convenience and freed up a decent amount of cash and time. I will finish the blog 'tour' of our condo in January.

11. Where did most of your money go?

This year the greatest expenditures were related to moving.  When the dust settled our bottom line financially had improved.  But money was spent and shifted at a enormous rate - all of it related to moving.   

12. What did you get really, really, really excited about in 2016?

It has been a long time since I got really really excited about anything.  I think I lost that ability during my caregiving years.  I worry that the experience may have altered my normally outgoing sunny outlook on life.  It certainly changed me.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a)happier or sadder b)thinner or fatter c)richer or poorer?

I guess I am a bit richer.  I am pretty much the same with regards to emotion and weight.

14. What do you wish you had done more of?

Exercise.  And I have to stop thinking in terms of 'wishing' when it comes to exercise!  Wishing gets you no where.

15. What do you wish you had done less of?

Worry.  Second guessing.  Doubting.  The last few years have been filled with too much of that.

16. What is the best book you read?

Well, I read (or listened to) 43 books this year (thank you Goodreads for keeping track).  The count is actually higher if you count the books I started and quit because they just weren't worth my time. I can honestly say that none of them would be described as 'best.'  I look for escapism in reading.  So I pick books that are pretty similar (apocalypse, zombies, weird themed mysteries, unusual life styles.)  My current book is about a female doctorate level psychopath who is an expert in medieval torture devices who works for a special CIA/FBI unit to hunt down criminal psychopaths. See what I mean?  Odd stuff.  None of it would count as 'best.'

17. What did you want and get?

I wanted to find a condo that would make our lives easier and safer.  Got that.

18. What did you want and not get?

I wanted a more flexible and energetic body.  I didn't get that because all I did was wish for it.  Nothing is ever gotten by wishing.

19. What kept you sane?

Knitting is my sanity pill.  Something about the repetitive and creative nature of this activity feeds my soul. 

20. Who did you miss?

My mom and my grand-dog, Grimace.

Happy New Year Blog Friends!