Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sights of Home & Goal Setting

I read an interview with an author yesterday, and she mentioned a sight that lets her know she's home. For her it's a bridge. For me, it's Pikes Peak, the mountain that towers above our town. When we're able to see it, we know we're getting close, and it always rejuvenates us enough to get the rest of the way home after a long trip.

It got me wondering what that sight (or smell, or sound) is for other people. What is the sure sign that you're home, the thing that makes you feel at peace?

Now, that has nothing to do with writing for me. Not really. Although I do have a slight view of Pikes Peak out my office window, above the roof of the house across the street. I love that view.

Man Distressed Clip Art,
As far as writing, I've been trying to tackle some goals on a month-by-month basis. You see, I've mentioned the chronic migraines before, though I try not to do that much. The short version is that I've had a migraine for about three years now (yes, non-stop--even in my sleep). In fact, a little over. They did a two hour MRI on me to be sure I didn't have any brain tumors (I didn't), referred me around to various specialists, tried me on a few kinds of drugs, and I finally branched out on my own to find answers, because their drugs were only making things worse for me (not only in the lack of help for the migraines, but in the side effects that came with them).

During this same time, I've also suffered chronic fatigue, vertigo, depression, and anxiety. And the worse the migraines and fatigue got (because they're probably related), the worse everything else got. And the more useless I became. I stopped exercising, stopped getting things done, stopped doing as many fun things with the kiddos, etc. I've found improvement by juggling a variety of things that each help a little bit, and by adapting coping strategies, but it's still an uphill climb. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I crawled out of bed each day, but I did, and I forced myself to get dressed each and every single day.

Busy Mom with Child and Pets, courtesy of OCAL,

Now, with this improvement, I want to get back to being a real human being again. The common recommendation is that you shouldn't try to change too many things at once or you will fail at them all. Thus, my choosing one thing to focus on at a time. Last month, it was fitness. I worked out every single day.

Dancing Lady by OCAL,

As of today, it's a new month! So what am I working on this month? I'd like to continue working out every week day (down from 7 days per week, though I also intend to do something with the family that involves hiking or walking on at least one weekend day) still, continuing with my goal of physical fitness, but I'd now like to get into the habit of sitting down at my desk to work each day after I workout. So this month I aim to sit at my desk to write for twenty minutes each day (minimum) and to read a craft book. I'll be figuring out which craft book to read later on today. I've narrowed it down to two for the month, and I'll try to keep everyone updated. If I finish the craft book, I'll play catch up on the Writer's Digest mags I haven't read yet.

Computer by OCAL,

I'm also going to sit down and see if I can document the migraine journey in order to write some articles about it, perhaps. Migraines aren't uncommon, and I'd like to provide folks with an alternate view on how to approach them when other means are failing them or making them more miserable. Maybe something will come out of it, and maybe something won't. Perhaps it will just be cathartic to write it out.

One final thing on the writing, I've been updating my submissions status on IWSG  days, so I'll continue to do that. It will bother me to admit if I haven't submitted ANYthing since my last update, so it will keep me honest if I start to slack, which I did in the last couple weeks (though I've submitted to things this week.) That's not what the IWSG is for, really, but those details certainly tie in with my insecurities, and I like the accountability.

Summary of goals:
August-Exercise every day throughout the month. Done!
September-Sit down to write for at least 20 minutes each day on my desktop and read a craft book. Pending.

How do you know you're home (home being wherever you feel safe and happy, whether that's a house or elsewhere)? Is it a sight, a sound, a taste, a scent, or something else? How do you go about goal setting? Are you working on changing anything right now or establishing any habits? What have you found to be a successful way to change yourself when it comes to goals?

May you find your Muse.


  1. I'm terrible at goal setting. One of the world's worst. However in answer to your question about home for me home is my corner of the sofa with a book and tea.

  2. You've really worked at putting your health back on track. Here's a huge pat on the back for that. One thing I know, if I don't work out regularly, that old emotional slump can turn ugly. You're doing something wonderful for you and for those who love you.

    Keep it up!

  3. I didn't know that Kraft published books. Are they about things like cheese or how to bring water to a boil?

    Not that this is necessarily the solution to everything, but have you tried cutting sugar and processed carbs out of your diet?

  4. I set goals, but I try to work toward them a little at a time. A page a day or a few pages an hour, if I'm on a deadline! That keeps me honest.

  5. That's awesome how well you did with your goal! My goals at this time correspond to my deadlines with my editor. Write, write, and revise!

    As for the sight that lets me know I'm home, it's the hilly and woodsy stretch of highway just before town. Nowhere else in the state is there one like it.

  6. I feel like I'm home when I see my boyfriend. Anywhere we are. It's the one thing that gets me to really relax. (Sappy, I know.)0

  7. I feel home when I see the downtown Albany skyline, with The Egg, the Capitol Building, the Corning Tower, and the high-rise buildings near the Empire State Plaza. When visiting my late paternal grandparents in Latrobe, PA, I felt like I were at that home when we got to a nearby bridge about 10-15 minutes away. I'm going to miss seeing that, now that both of my paternal grandparents have left the material world.

  8. It sounds like you are doing so well, not only with achieving the goals but also with setting the goals themselves. As long as you're moving forward - and you are! - that's what's important. :)

    Good luck!

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  9. There is a certain hill we go over on the freeway, and I feel home.

    Good work with the small steps. I hope it all works out. Migraines are such an interference in life.

  10. Becca, that sounds nice.

    Lee, thank you for the encouragement!

    Andrew, I've cut a variety of things, but not those two. Well, I have cut sugar, and it did nothing for me, but I haven't cut processed carbs.

    Stephanie, those sound like good goals.

    Christine, I love when there's something distinctive to come home to. Good luck with your goals!

    Rachel, that's wonderful!

    Carrie-Anne, I know that feeling. One grandmother lived on a cliff over the sea, another in the mountains of central Oregon, and another in farm land. Each had a distinctive approach route that told me I was almost there. I deeply miss each of those places.

    Madeline, thank you!

    Donna, they are. Love that there's a hill that tells you you're home.