I made myself a promise, this year, to take better care of myself. Sometimes, I’ve let myself down in that regard. Thankfully, Lent arrived just in time to sort that out. A few days into the affair, I decided this year to make Lent a self-care, work-for-self period of time. 40 days of making my life a little bit better. (Actually, 46 – you’re not supposed to include Sundays. But hey, 40 sounds better for a title!)
I began with the self-care/development equivalent of Pre-Production: I took stock of what I had, and what needed to be done.
What I Had
Two pages, double-columned. That’s the length of the list I drew up of every skill required to complete the projects, assignments and tasks set for and/or by me/myself since (roughly) 2009. First year of college, all the way to present day. (It’s scary to think of it that way, so let’s not mention that again.) This covered every production module in my Masters, my thesis, both jobs, my writing, my teaching, and extra-curricular activities that required some development of skill or talent (such as Drama in college, or the Writers’ Soc magazine that I ran when I was in third year.)
Additionally, a budget. It’s rough, and I typically don’t stick to it, but it’s more of a guideline for expenses against income. Thankfully, given my current state of employment and housing (still living with my parents, because no-thank-you-rental-market), the latter outweighs the former by quite a bit. I’m considering that an opportunity and obligation to save. (And, of course, permission to actually go on a holiday, which I couldn’t afford to do while on minimum wage for those eight years in retail.)
What Needed to be Done
My list gave me information that I desperately needed – more to force myself to pay attention to old promises. It became clear that, despite all the time I spend online, I haven’t developed a social media marketing strategy. (Rather, I haven’t implemented anything.) So, given that it’s lacking from my current activities, I decided that Lent is the perfect time to begin implementing my plans.
There’s also more writing activity required, which is hopefully something I’ll be able to have good news about in the coming months. (This isn’t me keeping a secret, by the way – this is literally me saying that I hope something comes of my good intentions.) My list – a large reflection on my life so far – is exactly the kick up the arse I need to get myself going properly.
I spent the first four days of Lent putting together my preparations. Day five, everything gets a little more work-heavy. Aside from seriously addressing my neglected writing and video work, I’ve got a whole bunch of professional development stuff I’ve been ignoring. For just this once, I’ll be using the excuse of having had a tiring work-week. Taking in my journey to and from work, my days were about ten hours long, on my feet for most of it.
But now it’s the weekend, so we’re past that. No more excuses about that. I made a big to-do list (and I mean big) for the next couple of days (including today) to get done before I head back to work on Tuesday. It involves writing an awful lot, and doing a fair bit of multimedia work with regard to video production and photography, which feels like it’ll be a distractingly large amount of work and I’ll forget to eat because I’m enjoying it so much.
Right now I’m focusing a lot on the teachings found in the book I’m currently reading – Business Creativity – which is part of my reading list for the year. I’ve been calling that my Resolution Towards Revolutions. In an intentionally selfish move, I’m making this year all about me. I don’t feel bad about that, either – typically, I’m happiest when all my friends are happy, so I’m planning on doing a lot of stuff with them, too. I spent a long time doing things I thought other people wanted me to, which didn’t do well for my mental health. So, 2016, you’re mine. I’ve got a lot of really interesting books to get through, and by May/June, I’ll be sharing “book reports” on them through my YouTube channel. (I’m giving myself time to read a few of them before I start doing that, for when I reach a longer book on the list and need a bit longer to read it than the others. Smart, eh?)
Lent is my period of self-care. It’s the beginning of it, anyway. I’m going to be busy, and hopefully productive at the same time (despite how much fun it is playing Dragon Age: Inquisition). While I’ll be writing here every week, anyway, I’ll keep track of the results of all this activity for an Easter Sunday special to see how it all turned out. Everyone loves a special, right?