28 things before 29

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Last year, prompted by an article in Bella Grace magazine, I wrote a list of 27 things I wanted to do before turning 28. I didn’t get the satisfaction of crossing much off the list because I’ve been concussed as hell this entire year, which I hadn’t been anticipating when I put that list together. Getting and riding a bike, paying for a tattoo of Cassiopeia and finishing my book just weren’t in the cards for me in my 27th year.

But, it was fun to think of the things I could do in my life and I enjoyed having a list tacked above my desk. It reminded me of all the adventure that’s waiting for me when (although, it’s starting to feel like if) my brain heals. So, for my 28th year, I’m making another list. This time, it’s going to be 28 things I can conceivably do even if I stay in this concussion fog until I’m 29.

  1. Finish writing my book.
  2. Start my next book.
  3. Learn to make vegan cheeses well.
  4. Run outside, alone (well, without another human. Miles will go!).
  5. Learn to sew.
  6. Sew curtains for the house.
  7. Sew reusable cloth gift wrapping.
  8. Increase how much I’m putting away for retirement monthly.
  9. Get published in a hardcopy of BUST magazine.
  10. Create a cozy reading nook in my house.
  11. Repurpose my grandma’s broken wedding dishes.
  12. Plant hollyhocks in the yard.
  13. Draw frequently-ish.
  14. Run a craft sale in Montana.
  15. Go to a yoga with kittens class.
  16. Make a vegan ice cream cake.
  17. Make a terrarium for our home.
  18. Go rock climbing with Lucas.
  19. Hug my nephews Leo and Rueben.
  20. Make a zine for Leo and a zine for Rueben.
  21. Make a large braided rug.
  22. Make cards that look nice.
  23. Start a journal of funny and sweet things that happen with Lucas and I so we’ll have the memories forever.
  24. Put photos of friends and family up in the house.
  25. Get a garden gnome (or 80).
  26. Get a scoby to make kombucha again.
  27. Find actual strange things for my Cabinet of Oddities.
  28. Make the yard more comfortable to chill in.
  29. Get a table at the Helena Farmers’ Market.

My brain is still a rotten mess, so blogging is hard. If you’re interested in guest posting about your struggles as an anxious creative, tips for dealing with anxiety or the science behind anxiety and its treatments, email me at megjcrane@gmail.com.

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My 2018 goals

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My great pal and brilliant freelancer Jenna Anderson and I did our annual goal planning together this year.

It looks a little different for me this year, compared to past years. After 10 months of recovery–during which time I could barely read, write or venture far from home on my own–I now have a radically different perspective on my life. At the time of sitting down for the goal planning, I also didn’t have a work permit and was unable to earn money in my new home country of the US, so making financial and work related goals could have been setting myself up for failure.

Instead, my goals focus heavily on my top three values: relationships, passion, adventure.

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2018:

Health

  • Do something active five days a week
  • Quit drinking
  • Try one new breakfast food per month
  • Get back on anti-anxiety meds
  • Start therapy again
  • Increase the amount I’m putting towards retirement savings

Relationships

  • Do one, big kind thing for a friend each month
  • Send birthday cards to everyone I love
  • Check out one different group in Helena each month until I find one I like
  • Find a way to stay in touch with all my family as a group

Adventures

  • Try one new things each month
  • Go on three non-work related weekend trips in Montana, each to a different place
  • Go on five day trips in Montana
  • Drive a car again

Passion projects

  • Run a Vegan Handmade Market in Montana
  • Finish writing my memoir
  • Come up with a short-term work place
  • Start selling knitting online

 

My goal planning doesn’t stop at a list. I’ve got an entire day planner committed to this. The larger goals are broken down into steps. All have either deadlines or points along the way where, if I’ve been successful up until that point, I’ll reward myself with a gift.

If things go as planned, I’ll be buying myself Mikyoko’s cheese, an indoor lavender plant and a treadmill.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see how I do throughout the year.

Painful changes

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I’ve had to give myself a bit of a reality check over the past week.

My anxiety isn’t going to go away because I make small changes. Turning down work here and there, taking a couple hours a week to do something I enjoy and going on meds aren’t the solution. Years of anxiety has left me with debilitating joint pain, constant digestive issues and an inability to take a satisfying breath. That’s not going to be solved by consuming less sugar and more vegetables. I’m going to have to make some huge changes. And it’s going to hurt.

In the past week, I’ve made some major strides.

1. Goodbye coffee 😥

My dear ol’ pal over at Real Swanky is so cool. She’s straight edge and doesn’t consume caffeine. What?? So impressive. I mentioned to her that I wanted to quit coffee and she recommended a hickory root-based coffee substitute.

I’ve been drinking it for a few weeks to cut back on my morning coffee intake, but over the past week I completely stopped drinking coffee and only had two or three cups of caffeinated tea.

And, you know what? My anxiety levels are so much lower. Lower enough, that it’s not all that hard to turn down a cup of joe when I think of how much it harms me. (As I say with a small coffee next to me… But I’m working from a hospital cafeteria, so I’ll cut myself a break!)

2. Find a roommate

I’ve been loving living alone. I leave the door open while I shower so my cat Stella will come visit. As soon as I walk in the door, I take off my pants. Music is almost always playing throughout the apartment and I have frequent solo dance parties in the kitchen.

But rent is $950 per month.

Should I give that a minute to sink in? $950 per month paid by a newbie freelance writer starting her own business. Yeah, it doesn’t really make sense.

I was waiting for a specific person to move in, but I really shouldn’t have had any period of time without a roomie because I’m always stressed about money. So, I’ve started asking around. I bought a smaller desk so my office can move into my bedroom and a bed frame with space for storage underneath. The larger bedroom has been cleared out so I can get a few extra bucks than if I gave up the small room and I’m almost ready to welcome a semi-permanent, paying house guest.

As soon as the room is set, I’ll post it on VegVisits and AirBNB as well. Just in case it takes a while to find someone to live there.

3. Push, push, push

I get so stressed because my home isn’t as tidy and clean as I’d like it. The level of stress this causes me makes it near impossible to get anything done. I’ve got extreme joint pain, caused by anxiety. Somedays, walking is hard because my knees just don’t wanna be knees. Other days, I can’t bend my wrists and pain shoots up into my elbows.

Imagine scooting a vacuum around like that. I don’t have to imagine because it’s something I’ve done. Pain, nausea and panic fucking suck, but they’re not going to get better if I don’t do anything. Over the past week, I’ve made myself carry a heavy desk up my three-storey walk-up when I was exhausted, taken care of my scoby while feeling like I might vomit and dragged a huge bin of laundry down to my car at 5:45 a.m.

 

Life has been so far from what I want it to be for so long, that I just wanted to have things that I want, now. I wanted to drink my cups of coffee alone in my own, clean apartment. I wanted to save up money for a house in the country, then move in and become an animal foster parent again. Maybe get a dog and a pig. Perhaps a little cabin outback where I could set up a writers’ retreat.

In the process of immediatley taking what I want, I sabotaged this dream by wasting money on rent. I had some saved for a home, then invested it into Cockroach and am waiting until early 2017 for the return. The stress of this all heightened my anxiety so much that it’s been difficult to deal with life. I feel like I’ve been on the edge, slipping and losing grasp for a while.

I’ll get what I want. One day. For now, I just need to take care of present day Meg.