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  1. Hello! DISCLAIMER! I used to be Stribs, but last challenge I went through a huge mental shift so I changed everything, including my name in order to leave that person and all that negative energy behind. I have a terrifying verbosity that knows no bounds, and you are under no obligation to read all that shit written below because DAMN... it's a lot. Two things: I highlighted for easy skimming AND my goals are highlighted in red for those of you who just want to skip everything else. I will NOT care, ha. So, last challenge changed like 17 times, but so did my life. It was a crucial time when a lot of things finally clicked in my brain and I was able to own a lot of my own shit that had been weighing down both myself and my relationship unnecessarily for a long time. If you’re feeling anxious and hopeless and overwhelmed about life, I cannot suggest ENOUGH The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson. It’s been on my shelf since January and I’m so disappointed that I only read it last challenge So, what does this all mean for my challenges? It means I’m starting fresh. While I don’t want to just dismiss all the progress I made, most of it was temporary, like a bandaid, and now we have to commit to the actual brain surgery. I changed my BIG WHY and really focused the fucks I have to give on things that are important to me and chose to work toward constant improvement instead of meeting an arbitrary goal, and my goals will reflect this new outlook that I’ve chosen What really makes this go round different is I have three key pieces of information that I didn’t have 6 weeks ago: 1. My anxiety is not my fault, but it is my responsibility I can stop placing blame on myself for my anxiety hijacking my life the last decade or so, but I’m not off the hook about managing it the best I can going forward either. 2. AVERAGE IS OKAY, and also totally normal, as long as I am always working to improve I have spent years thinking my life wasn’t EXCITING enough. I didn’t feel unique or special, or exemplary at anything, and to me that was a failure. This is now a mindset I can work to let go of in order to be the best version of who I am right now. 3. You always get to choose the metric by which to measure your experiences All too often I base my self worth on the perceptions of others. I need the metric to always be sometime I can control. I need to be in charge of my own goals and improvements. Armed with these three things, I am read to transition from Stribs to Novaurora (and yes, it can be roughly translated to new new, but I liked how it sounded ). Here’s to new beginnings and a better life moving forward. So, now to my theme. While waiting for Hurricane Dorian to strike, I binge watched season one of The News Room by Aaron Sorkin. I love Aaron Sorkin and think everything he touches is genius, and these character’s lives were about as trainwrecky as mine, so there’s that too. If you have Amazon prime, give it a watch! Start my career as a writer: Neal Neal has the drive I wish I had. He wants to be a producer, so he is always pitching stories, even if they seem insane (he spends a whole episode on bigfoot). He never flinches when he gets rejected and he just keeps trying again. Me on the other hand, I’ve spent 10 years trying to (for lack of a better word) hatch “Cucumbers” (a story that I wrote in a creative writing class in COLLEGE 9 years ago) and keep coming up with different excuses not to pursue publishing it, but that’s the fear talking. That’s me deciding no one will want my story before I even submit it anywhere, and that negative ass bullshit can see itself to the door. Goals: Meet or exceed all deadlines for Cucumbers, Gwendolyn and the CATastrophe, and Evelyn story Write for at least 30 minutes a day (x5 a week) Habit Building: Sloane Sabbath I chose Sloane for this one because the girl is an economics GENIUS with two PhDs who, out of everyone on the show so far, seems to have her shit the most together. You don’t have 2 PhDs without some decent habits, that’s all I’m saying. As for me, this is where the whole “outside perception” was really at the core of my failures. I wasn’t making these improvements to better myself. I either thought they were what other people (namely hubs) wanted of me, or it would make other people like me more. I chose an arbitrary number on the scale, told myself that if I cleaned the house I could fix our marriage, and tried to cook to help with both these things. But I did learn a few things along the way: I enjoy lifting, I feel better when I eat food I cooked at home, and I am less anxious when my house is clean. If I do better for me, I can be the better me for everyone else. Goals: Stronglifts MWF House dailies Cook dinner x3 a week Manage anxiety: Maggie Jordan I chose Maggie for this one because she has all sorts of shit going on and she doesn’t handle it well. Where we are in the storyline, she let her anxiety grab hold of her for a minute and it is not ending well for her currently. She probably could use some of the strategies I’m using, because I was her just a few months ago. The difference here from the past is the reflection piece, and taking responsibility for how I react when my anxiety is fighting for control in my brain, and minimizing that control as much as possible. Goals: Daily/weekly journaling Take meds every day Practice mindfulness daily Attend therapy Read Everything is Fucked, a Book about Hope, by Mark Manson Work/Life balance: Jim This is another “what not to do” choice. Jim is always working, whether he’s actually at work, or he’s at a party, he’s working. He loves his job and he is passionate, just like me, but we both need some space from it. I don’t have much for this one this go round because previously when I choose a time to leave my house or leave school, it never ends up working because life happens some days. I get chatting with a co worker, a parent calls, meeting, the dogs puke everywhere, etc. I can only control what I do at school everyday, so that’s what I will focus on. Goals: School dailies Make planning time about grading one day a week Relationship: Mack and Will This relationship makes me feel better about mine sometimes. They aren’t together in season 1 (they WERE before, but DRAMAAAAA), but I have a sneaking suspicion that they might be back together before the end of season 3...so there’s that. HOWEVER, even when they are at odds (which is a lot) they have to work together because Will is the anchor and Mack is his executive producer, so communication is key, just like communication is key for myself and hubs, and somehow they make it work and so can we. Goals: Don’t eat dinner in front of the TV x3 a week Work on fostering intimacy through multiple avenues (I know this is vague...but do you REALLY want more detail??) Go to therapy Congrats. You made it to the end! Happy challenge!