July 24, 2013

Challenge Update #3: Good Goth Keeping, Summer Reading, and Health

Good Goth Keeping

Rather than focus on these in order, I'll post as complete a list as I have complied and annotate each of them.

1. Assess your physical baggage and the psychological will follow.

My room is nearing the point of sustainable cleanliness. Most of the messy points have been organized to some sort of order and it feels pleasant to be in my room rather than overwhelming.  I have solved my shoe dilemma by taking out my most popular pairs of shoes and lining those up along a wall of my room rather than in a jumble at the bottom of my closet. The biggest thing was to organize my bookshelf though.

However, in addition to physical clutter and baggage, I have also spent some time this month going through my electronic baggage. I've gone through my phone and deleted all the contacts who I don't recognize, gone through my bookmarks on the computer to categorize, remove, and rediscover some great sites. Electronic clutter can be just as frustrating as anything else.

2. Write something everyday

My letter writing plan is going well insofar as though I have not reduced the number of letters in my basket, I have kept them growing larger. Newly sent letters have been given a quick turn about and I am nearly caught up with emails. I'm working on turning a few things into daily practices and letter writing will continue to be part of that.

3. Self-forgiveness

4. Read your label.

Having just finished a week of posts about refocusing on what a Neo-Aristocrat is, I have realized that it is sometimes helpful to not just go through, analyze and possibly discard your labels, but it is also important to add some of your own.

5. Ask for Help

No major revelations in this department, unfortunately. I've been thinking a bit about the flip side of asking for help which is giving help when asked. Perhaps it is because we are all so hesitant to ask for help, but I can't think of the last time someone asked me for help. So, while I would love to help my fellow people, I am bad at actually seeing a need without being directed towards it and thus end up not being a very helpful person. Can you think of any ways to change this?

6. Go and do something

I've recently had the urge to cross stitch after being reunited with my embroidery floss. I've purchased enough of a linen-esque cloth to make a small tablecloth with a swedish inspired border. It's been fun deciding on a project and seeing the steps so clearly that I need to take to complete it. 

7. Sleep, Eat, Rest

Stress has not damaged my ability to do any of these things! Huzzah!

Alas, I must report another month of not living up to my challenge. Though a great deal has been read (my library book total is finally down to a mere 11!) and my best beloved and I have begun to re-read "Atlas Shrugged" again, actual reading has continued to decrease, especially as school has taken a turn from learning to reviewing. Still, August hangs like a beacon of hope on the horizon for long, lazy days filled with reading.

 An Aristocrat's Health

At first, with the help of Beeminder, this challenge was going beautifully. The pounds were being slowly shed, my diet was improving, and I was trying to add little bits of exercise to each day (climbing the stairs instead of the elevator, etc).

Then the fourth of July break came and destroyed my progress.  Between sitting in the car for days on end, eating junk food and then the delicious platters of food at my family's, all the weight has come straight back. Alas, I need to improve my self control over holidays. An important thing to remember when at a fancy meal or with friends, is not to have the mental idea "oh, this only happens once, so I better enjoy." This just leads to rampant over eating of unhealthy foods. 

I'm back to working it off slowly and to help myself along the way, I've dedicated myself to doing Blogilates 4 week beginner pilates workout.

Is the instructor ridiculously upbeat, preppy, and cheerful? Yes.

Is the feel and aesthetics of everything from the music, to the encouragement, to workout names grating to a darker and more reserved Neo-Aristocrat as myself? Oh yes.

Is it nice to have a schedule that I don't have to plan and that has already taken into account a rotating work out routine and provides all the necessary videos? Yes.

Do the workouts leave me sore, but not exhausted? Energized while still feeling like I accomplished something? Yes.

The two final questions trump the previous and so for the past three mornings,  I have laid down my folded blanket and cue the chirpy voice of the instructor.  What will be interesting to watch is when in this cycle, my initial interest begins to fade. So as I chart the ease with which I complete roll ups and burpees (I mean, no one could think of a better name?) I'll also be looking for the point where my interest flags and I have to dig into my resolve to keep going.


  1. Electronic baggage is something I hadn't thought of. That's something I just save to the hard drive and forget it's there... Something for me to think about.

    "...but I can't think of the last time someone asked me for help."

    Ah, but you help me all the time. I'm sure it isn't the first time, and it won't be the last: your blog reminds me to rest, relax, wander about and think of the whole world as a garden. It's all a part of the Aristocrat image I think. Your goal, and ability I think, to move more slowly and enjoy the beauty around you is inspiring.

    People also ask for help without saying, "Help," often. Friends stay a little longer than anticipated; dinner lasts late into the night; a mid-day conversation makes one late. It's all help. Even general polite responses to servers or cashiers helps strangers sometimes.

    1. I do the same thing with my hard drive. On the surface, it doesn't seem to be taking up space, so how is it clutter. But do I really need to be saving papers from five years ago- even in electronic form? Do I really need a half composed list of songs that a friend sent me but I never got around to reading?

      Another thing about physical clutter is that when it builds up and you are forced to sort through it, you become reacquainted with books or shoes you had forgotten about while they were out of sight. But when you don't need to clean up electronic clutter, all sorts of useful websites, friends you haven't contacted in a while, or old story ideas pop up again. It is very invigorating.

      Thank you so much for your very, very kind comment. I have to admit that reading it made me smile for the rest of the day.

      I absolutely adore the idea of viewing the world as a garden. It encapsulates my idea of life almost perfectly. What is a garden? It is beautiful, varied, cyclical and ever growing. What do you do in a garden? You appreciate it, cultivate it, and study its lessons through observation and reflection? I think this is exactly what I want from life and how I want to interact with it. After thinking about it a little longer, I may use the phrase as an inspiration for a later blog post.

      And you are absolutely right. Help can be given unconsciously and the smallest actions can mean so much to someone else. In that way, I think it is essential to move through life with as much grace and poise as possible.