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She blinked as she woke up. She reached for her glasses on the nightstand...good god, it's covered with stuff. What happened to the sleek modern nightstand with a couple magazines and a fancy ipad that controlled the lights? This place is a wreck.

 

She finds her phone...it's 7 am. She never wakes up that early without an alarm.  

 

Slowly she begins to remember. She's not in London anymore. The view outside her window is no longer the impenetrable Tower of London, it's...a two-story 1960s LA apartment building.  She can see the smog in the distance, and it's already pushing 85 degrees.  

 

The mission was a success. She ran through the tasks: the dry suit diving at the Churchill Barriers to get the keys to the Tower.  The coded message from the shepherd in the highlands, delivered in morse via sheep shears.  The unexpected rendezvous with an agent she'd known since childhood. The coordinates, hidden in plain sight at Westminster.  And finally, the disaster thwarted when she returned the missing treasure to its spot in the Tower.  

 

It had been a great success, and no one would ever hear about it. 

 

And now she was back at home, awaiting the next gig.  Maybe this time she'd try to settle down.  Work a regular job, that kind of thing. It seemed impossible, but who knows? Stranger things have happened. 

 

----

 

Well, I'm back from a 3 week vacation in Scotland & London and I barely know what real life is anymore.  I'm crashing hard from the long time away from work, all the walking, the good food, the time outdoors, and of course, all the people and problems I ignored while I was gone! 

 

I'm trying a gentle re-entry challenge to get my head back in the regular day-to-day, with a little bit of travel inspiration thrown in.  What I love about traveling: 

  • I don't worry about anything that isn't actually important. 
  • I see lots of cool new stuff and have a lot of time to think. 
  • I have far fewer possessions to deal with and all of my possessions get used regularly.  I intentionally use things up rather than saving them for a just-in-case scenario.

 

What I don't love about travelling: 

  • I don't take care of my body as well (eat bad food, don't work out, don't hydrate)
  • I spend too much money

 

My quest for this challenge:

  • To retain the magical spirit of vacation but also 
  • To rebuild the habits that support me

 

(It's also the one-year anniversary of my last re-spawn, as well as 

 

QUEST #1: Work out 2x per week.

Although I'm behind on my yearly workout goal by 9 workouts, now is not the time to go crazy on adding workouts! Before the trip I was solidly at 2x/week and I am sure I can achieve that again. 

 

QUEST #2: Eat vegetables every day.

I have a lot of support here from my partner who is also lamenting the large quantities of potatoes we ate in the UK.

 

QUEST #3: Get to bed by 10 pm every work night. 

I will sleep minimum 8 hours per night, and get to bed before 10 pm each night. 

 

QUEST #4: Write and post a poem every day. 

I'd really like to do more here (like get my Patreon page set up) but for now I want to just keep up the momentum I had on this project while I was travelling. 

 

I'm also trying some new strategies for managing my day-to-day life that I'd like to record here without making them part of the official challenge:

  • Don't fill up your to-do list just because you have things to do. In fact, if you fill it up, you're doing it wrong.  To-do list should be reserved for things that are actually going to get done, not things you are idly considering. 
  • Clothing diet: this is something I've done after trips before, where I wear the same clothes I wore on my trip for about a month after I return.  Often the things I packed for the trip are among my favorite clothing and it reminds me that I can get rid of clothes I'm not wearing AND I can get by with fewer clothes. 
  • One fun thing, one work thing: I gotta keep doing laundry and stuff but I don't have to only do laundry. I will prioritize one fun activity every day.  
  • Save money wherever possible. Stay in, eat in, prep lunches. 

 

Okay, it's about 3 am according to my body so off I go to bed. I'm excited for the challenge ahead and really trying not to overstuff it. 

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Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Checking in: 

QUEST #1: Work out 2x per week. Haven't worked out yet this week, but that's okay--they are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. 

 

QUEST #2: Eat vegetables every day. 3/3 No problem here. This quest almost feels like a cheat because it's so easy, but I want to give it a week before upping the difficulty.  Today I had some farmer's market tomatoes I marinated in oil and vinegar and herbs (also garlic) as well as a salad.  Yesterday I had salad and snack of veggies at work (plus all my lunches and breakfasts involve freggies in some sense). 

 

QUEST #3: Get to bed by 10 pm every work night. 2/3. Last night I was in bed at 10:15 pm because of a surprise Amazon shipment problem, but without that I would have been just fine. In general this is going really well. I'm still having to mentally adjust my "it's bed time" clock a little bit earlier than I'm used to, so I think having a month to focus on this will be great.

 

QUEST #4: Write and post a poem every day. 2/2 so far. I wrote a bunch today but haven't posted one yet.  I will get something together though. (If anybody wants to follow along it's on instagram). 

 

 

Non-challenge strategies: 

  • Don't fill up your to-do list just because you have things to do: This has been so so hard, but I've been making it work.  I have this whole to-do list system where I parcel out all the different goals I have so I can make regular progress on them.  I've been keeping up with that but not actually filling it out--just adding things when they seem truly necessary. 
  • Clothing diet: I remembered the Project 333 website yesterday and have been considering doing their whole thing. I've made my list of clothing items (follow-up post for that) and yesterday I put some items in a "probably doing to get rid of" pile which feels good. I think I could cut even more aggressively but frankly, I'm a bit drained.
  • One fun thing every day: Killing it! Using this frame work really makes me consider if an activity feels like fun or like work and then I try a little harder to make sure it's fun or to be productive and then move on.  
  • Save money wherever possible: Other than grocery shopping (which helps save money on eating out) I haven't spent any money at all. Go team!
  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Clothing diet items: 

BOTTOMS Black skinny jeans
  Blue Chinos
  Black circle skirt
  Jean shorts
  Zebra skirt
  Jeans
TOPS Floral blouse
  Grey wrap top
  Black loose blouse
  Black v-neck shirt
  Black & white tank
  GIO tank
  London t-shirt
  White & black jumper
  Black blouse
  Louis XIV T-shirt
OUTERWEAR Scapa flow hoodie
  Blue leopard/floral scarf
  Navy cardigan
  Blazer?
ACCESSORIES Amber necklace & earrings
  Black cuff
  Labradorite necklace & earrings
  Sunglasses
  Broncos hat
  Bowtie?
  Black skinny belt
SHOES Gold sandals
  Blue oxfords
  Boots?
  Tevas
SPECIAL Camping? Gray pants?

 

That's 32 items, so I still have space for one more.  The items with the ? are not committed yet. I'm not sure, for example, if I'll want to wear boots over the next few (very warm) months.  I don't own some of them, either (bowtie or blazer).  I think this list is a pretty great starting point for my clothing diet, so any more work I do in going through my clothes will be gravy. 

 

The other thing I forgot about doing this is that when you don't really love an item and you have to wear it as much as I will be doing over the next three months...well, it becomes really easy to get rid of it.  Those little bothersome things about a garment really become magnified.  

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Welcome back! How was the trip? Sounds like you had a great time and got plenty of exercise (we'll ignore the food; one could argue that eating good things is the epitome of travel). The clothing diet seems like an interesting idea. I'm a minimalist, but there are several people I will pass this idea on to. :) Keep it up, you've got a solid challenge here!

Manarelle the Level 55 Amazon Assassin

Gryffindarling and Sith Acolyte, somehow.

Challenges: 1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50, 51-60, Current

 

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4 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Welcome back! How was the trip? Sounds like you had a great time and got plenty of exercise (we'll ignore the food; one could argue that eating good things is the epitome of travel). The clothing diet seems like an interesting idea. I'm a minimalist, but there are several people I will pass this idea on to. :) Keep it up, you've got a solid challenge here!

Thanks, Manarelle!


The trip was amazing. Saw lots of beautiful places, ate delicious food, learned lots of history, met nice people.  Overall a great vacation! 

 

I hope it helps anybody you pass it along to. I did my first clothing diet a few years ago after a different vacation and it really helped me see how I owned WAY too much clothing. I found the amount of clothing I owned was creeping up higher and higher, so it seemed time for a reset. 

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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WEEK ONE CHECK-IN: 

 

QUEST #1: Work out 2x per week: 2/2 (A+)

 

QUEST #2: Eat vegetables every day. 6/7 (B+)

I hit every day except Sunday, when I was way too tired after my birthday party on Saturday. 

 

QUEST #3: Get to bed by 10 pm every work night. 3/5 (C-)

I got 8 hours of sleep each work night, but two nights I did not get to bed by 10. As always this is proving to be the hardest part of the challenge. 

 

QUEST #4: Write and post a poem every day. (6/7) (B+)

 

Non-challenge strategies: 

  • Light-weight to do list: Doing really well on this. Sometimes I feel my old habits stepping in ("Just write down all the things you know you have to do!") but I'm able to keep my actual to-do list achievable every day.  I'm learning to let things slide a bit and to focus on what seems most important/interesting right this moment.  I feel a tiny bit anxious about letting things slide tooooo far but I think I'll be okay. 
  • Clothing diet: I've stuck to it and put *some* of the clothes that aren't in the diet away, as well as making some breakthroughs on giving things away altogether (the real goal).  I'd like to get through the rest of the clothes that aren't in the clothing diet.  I am not feeling as much impact from this as the first time, but that's sort of to be expected.  I learned a lot of lessons the first time I did it and have retained them--so I won't be learning those same lessons! I already have a much smaller set of clothing and I like most of it more than before, so there's less "low hanging fruit", if you will. It's still valuable and if I can be rigorous, I think I'll feel really good about where my wardrobe is. 
  • One fun thing every day: Still doing really well at this, and it is making life seem way better.   
  • Save money wherever possible: We had a really big grocery trip for my party, but there is a lot leftover that we can still use (e.g. soda & beer).  Also I bought myself three birthday presents: a lipstick called Unicorn Tears, a rainbow-striped zebra suit, and a video game.  But I'm done with that. My only big purchases I can think of coming up are that I might be buying a kilt and some accessories as my souvenir from my trip...and maybe a mid-level bottle of scotch.  I have been restraining myself from impulse purchases and going out.

For this week, I want to get a higher score on quest 3!  That's all. Because I don't want to overload my to-do list. :)

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Okay, I've been doing great at everything but bedtime. Still. 

 

Last night I intentionally missed my bedtime because I was having SO MUCH FUN (kinda serious there) archiving my emails....I had almost 1000 and I manage to let go of some serious guilt and finally archive some really old stuff in there.  I'm not the person who has 1000 emails and just can't be bothered to archive, I'm the person with 1000 emails and 1000 anxious feelings about them. SO anyway, it may have been a bad choice but I still feel good about it.

 

I think I need to connect more with why I want to go to bed earlier: 

  • It helps me get enough sleep
  • My life in general works better when I don't sleep late
  • My life also works better when I have a reliable wake-up time
  • It helps me workout before I get to work
    • Which makes it more likely I'll work out at all
    • Which makes me feel better emotionally and physically
  • It helps me stay on a better schedule with my partner
  • I love to stay up late but I tend to get moody/sad/depressed if I do it too much

I am realizing those reasons are not NEARLY as compelling as whatever I'm doing right before bed.  My partner has been super supportive (almost pushy) about me getting enough sleep and that has helped a lot.  

 

So, I am basically hosed on hitting my goal for the third quest, because I'm fresh outta work days. But I'm going to bed early tonight (yay Friday nigh party).  

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Well, team, I'm guessing you understand as well as I do that I fell off the wagon.  Week two went pretty well--then my mom, her boyfriend & his two kids came to visit. It was great to see them but really wrecked my sleep/food/workout habits. 

 

WEEK THREE CHECK-IN: 

 

QUEST #1: Work out 2x per week: 0/2 (F)

QUEST #2: Eat vegetables every day. 5/7? (C)

QUEST #3: Get to bed by 10 pm every work night. 2/5 (D)

QUEST #4: Write and post a poem every day. (6/7) (B+)

 

Non-challenge strategies: 

  • Light-weight to do list: This has slipped only because I haven't been getting ANYTHING done so now I feel a pressure to make up some of my backlog. But you know, I didn't check in with NF and I'm still alive. I didn't do a lot of things and I'm still alive. 
  • Clothing diet: Still going pretty well. 
  • One fun thing every day: This was great because we had people around who are on vacation.
  • Save money wherever possible: I'm really bad at this when we have guests over. 

Then....our car broke down and we got stranded at my sister's house for a few days while we waited for the part to come in.  We're back home now and all is okay--I was able to work remotely.  But this week feels like it's just getting started and it's already Wednesday!  We need to figure out a plan for a new car so money concerns are weighing on me.  But we'll do this!

 

My goal for this last week of the challenge is to finish strong. I'm going to workout tomorrow, then go to the grocery store to buy veggies and lunches since my whole routine is just out of whack. 

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Life happens. Sounds like you're determined to get back on the wagon as soon as possible, though. That shows solid determination to your goals. Keep up the good work! 

 

My two cents - don't sweat the "backlog." There will always be things you don't get done, but don't let them pull you down. If there are things that you really want to do, re-add them to the list and keep going. I tried making a goal to finish all my half-started sewing projects before starting another one when I got back into sewing, and it ended up being so discouraging that I quit again. Finally just threw away all the old ones and started new with a promise to finish NEW projects before starting another, and it worked much better. Sorry to hear about the car, that is a pretty big money weight. Good luck!

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Manarelle the Level 55 Amazon Assassin

Gryffindarling and Sith Acolyte, somehow.

Challenges: 1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50, 51-60, Current

 

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5 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Life happens. Sounds like you're determined to get back on the wagon as soon as possible, though. That shows solid determination to your goals. Keep up the good work! 

 

My two cents - don't sweat the "backlog." There will always be things you don't get done, but don't let them pull you down. If there are things that you really want to do, re-add them to the list and keep going. I tried making a goal to finish all my half-started sewing projects before starting another one when I got back into sewing, and it ended up being so discouraging that I quit again. Finally just threw away all the old ones and started new with a promise to finish NEW projects before starting another, and it worked much better. Sorry to hear about the car, that is a pretty big money weight. Good luck!

Thanks, Manarelle! I have a few projects that are commitments to other people that I feel I need to finish, but maybe it's time to let anything else go and just start anew. Hmm. 

 

Good news--I worked out this morning! Things are already getting back on track. 

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Worked out again this morning! And I've eaten veggies every day this week--made a point to go buy baby carrots and keep them at work. 


I'm realizing the poetry project and going to bed early are kind of at odds with one another--I tend to stay up late to finish a poem.  I'm not sure how to resolve this tension but I'm going to keep focusing on it for this challenge & probably will keep them both in my next challenge. 

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Here's my formal challenge retrospective:

 

Goal One
 
Work out 2x per week

 

What did you do to help your success?
 
I kept the goal small and within easy reach. I didn't beat myself up if my workouts weren't THE HARDEST; I just gave myself credit for doing it at all as I'm in a rebuilding phase on this habit.

 

What would you do differently next challenge?
 
I would commit to scheduling workouts closely--in particular given the houseguests and travel we had this month.

 

Goal One Grade
 
C+

 

Continue this goal next challenge?
  •  Other: 

 

Goal Two
 
Eat vegetables every day.

 

What did you do to help your success?
 
I bought big bags of baby carrots to munch on at work.

 

What would you do differently next challenge?
 
I feel like I pretty much ruled at this challenge. It's just default that I keep veggies at work.

 

Goal Two Grade
 
A+

 

Continue this goal next challenge?
 
 No, this goal is complete!

 

Goal Three
 
Get to bed by 10 pm every work night

 

What did you do to help your success?
 
Pretty much nothing. This was such a dismal failure. I tried setting an alarm at 9:20 but then ignored it.

 

What would you do differently next challenge?
 
I think there was a major conflict between goals 3 & 4--I stayed up late working on goal 4. I've talked to my partner about it and we're both in agreement on this so that will help.

 

Goal Three Grade
 
F-

 

Continue this goal next challenge?
  •  Yes

 

Goal Four
 
Write and post a poem every day.

 

What did you do to help your success?
 
I have good momentum and feedback on instagram which really helps.

 

What would you do differently next challenge?
 
I'm going to keep this one with an attempt to get it written and posted before 9 pm

 

Goal Four Grade
 
A-

 

Continue this goal next challenge?
  •  Other: 

 

Final Overall Challenge Grade
 
B-

 

Any other notes / comments / things to remember
 
Light-weight to do list: I have been getting better at not letting the burden of All The Things that need doing weigh on me. I do what I can and try to let the rest slide. I'm not as good as I was at the start of the challenge but I feel like I have shifted my baseline. Clothing diet: Going well! I need to pack away the last parts of the clothes I'm not wearing. I'm getting a Bombfell box this week which might change things somewhat. One fun thing every day: Pretty good! Save money wherever possible: Eh....I need to get into my money practice again.
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Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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Sounds like it was a good learning challenge for you. Grats on the successes! I need to get back into keeping healthy snacks at work, it really does make a huge difference. 

Good luck with the next challenge!

Manarelle the Level 55 Amazon Assassin

Gryffindarling and Sith Acolyte, somehow.

Challenges: 1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50, 51-60, Current

 

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3 hours ago, Manarelle said:

Sounds like it was a good learning challenge for you. Grats on the successes! I need to get back into keeping healthy snacks at work, it really does make a huge difference. 

Good luck with the next challenge!

Thanks!  And good luck with your next challenge!

 

Keeping healthy snacks around is so good for me. I will eat so many veggies if they're right there, but not if there's also something unhealthy.

  • Like 1

Traaki, Level 23 Half-Orc Assassin 

Current challenge: traaki gets some sun. Just a little. * Respawned on June 25, 2018

Previous: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Epic QuestBattlelog

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