2018 Revisited and Looking Toward 2019

I’m not sure where to start with summarizing this year, to be honest. It’s easy to look back at my original 2018 goals and revisit those. When I do that, this year looks disappointing on paper. I fell 11 books short of reading 80 books and decided to stop there. I didn’t rewrite a book. I didn’t start training for a marathon or a 50k (the running kind, not the writing kind).

What did I do? That’s a good question, one I’m struggling to answer.

As I’m leaving the prime of my life (and won’t get to make that joke again for six more years), the main lesson I took away from this year was that even I need a break. I found myself working my day job, then doing freelance work and taking part in assorted social stuff and generally saying yes to everything, when all I wanted was to do nothing for awhile. The burnout was creeping in by late August, but I couldn’t take a break then; my coworker at my day job had suddenly quit and left a lot of work in her wake for me to pick up on top of my own. Then I had friends from out of town visiting for DragonCon and was attending myself, and somehow managed to have a decent time despite wanting to hide and sob into nothingness for much of the weekend.

After that I returned to the rat race of working in some form seven days a week, keeping up with Pokemon Go and NaNo Prep and everything else going on in my life, then feeling bad whenever I did take a break to see friends or simply zone out. My brain’s Check Engine light started flashing more stubbornly around mid-October but I made myself keep going because NaNoWriMo was around the corner and I had to figure out a plot and figure out my sprinting schedule and my write-ins and the little details for my San Francisco trip.

Then in December, I crashed. I had anticipated this crash for months, but nothing prepared me for the mental and emotional lethargy that came along with that crash. I tried to hide this, and those who know me well may have spotted signs like being less chatty online than usual–something NaNo could have easily disguised thanks to working on my novels.

Despite the crash, I still haven’t been idling too much. I finished my freelance work for the month so I could have a proper week off for the holidays, something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. I read three works of fiction outside of book club selections, something I hadn’t done in about six months. I watched a few movies alone, something that happens rarely enough that its occurrence in itself is worth noting (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Groundhog Day).

This month has also given me time to reflect on what I’ve done with this short time of mine on this planet and what time there is remaining. I’m still working my way through a lot of those things, some of which will earn their own posts here. One thing has become abundantly clear.

I don’t like the person I’m becoming.

That was a hard sentence to write.

I’ve been chasing that high on life feeling for so long, and at some point I’ve settled for good enough without stretching to explore new things. I’m chasing that feeling of doing something, anything for the sake of crossing things off my to-do list, whether that’s for work, the wiki, or any number of other things I’ve been working on. And yet, just as we associate older people with getting settled in their ways, I’ve done the same thing, only in a different way. I’m doing the same thing I once actively avoided for fear of becoming the people in that tiny town I grew up in, sticking to my patterns of work and reading and sometimes writing and simply existing at the expense of building friendships and experiencing the feeling of being and satisfaction.

How do I solve that problem, though? I spent this year trying to juggle all of the above and failing. Running fell to the wayside by October. So did non-NaNo writing. I’ve found myself feeling less connected to my friends and acquaintances lately, although whether that’s due to drowning in work or my own mental health issues (some patterns of which are creeping back into my life) is another question. Even around Wrimos, the people I find myself most connected to, I’ve found myself feeling more out of place than usual. But I’ve also found myself not being as good a friend as I would like, possibly due to aforementioned issues.

So instead of setting goals like “rewrite a novel” or “train for a marathon” that get carried over from year to year, I’m going to stick to one simple, yet difficult, goal: Be a better person.

I wish I had more concrete goals than this; the lack of what my teachers called SMART goals is driving me up the wall. How do you become a better person in a year? How do I measure that and compare to what I was at the beginning at the year? How do I know if the improvements I’ve made are sustainable for years to come?

All valid questions, none with good answers. I’ve never liked uncertainity in any area of my life. This is even worse, and I’m not sure what to do.

It’s time to find out.

State of the Sushi, June 2018

I haven’t been here in awhile. I wish there was a good reason, but this year so far has been full of striving to build a better future for myself–mostly on the financial front–while trying to keep up with the finicky flow of life. Here’s what’s happening.

Work. Work is still going strong, and I’m still doing the same work as mentioned in my last State of the Sushi post. However, I’m in the physical office only three days a week for the moment, which gives me a chance to work on a well-paying short-term project. The end result is that I’m making about the same amount of money in the same amount of time (although I do need to be careful about fun things like taxes), but my commute time is halved. I’m also managing to save money and even put some aside for retirement, both of which I hadn’t been able to do much of for the first half of last year.

NaNo. I barely won April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session and have no idea what to work on for July’s camp. My half-lifeaversary is next month, bringing both amazement that I’ve been doing NaNo for half my life and awe that a lifetime has passed since starting NaNo. I’m also going to this year’s Night of Writing Dangerously! Will you be there too?

Non-NaNo writing. Hahahahahahahaha… what non-NaNo writing? Or rather, what writing in general? This blog post and a few journal entries are all I’ve written since I don’t even remember when. It feels good to be writing this post, shallow as the contents may be.

Reading. Compared to last year, I’m way behind on my 80-book goal for this year, and I’m falling even more behind after taking NaNo season into account. So far this year I’ve read 34 books, which is just over a book a week and nowhere near where I want to be right now. Nonfiction audiobooks have made up the bulk of my books read so far, followed by short and fast YA reads. Those YA reads are great, but I miss sinking my teeth into longer fiction that take more than a lazy Sunday afternoon to read. I’m also making the executive decision not to go back and review all the books read this year; if you’re curious about my ratings, here’s my Goodreads profile.

Running. Hahahahahahaha… I haven’t done much of this in ages, either. The problem with run commuting is that I regularly go to other places after leaving the office, and I take my laptop to those places. There’s no way I’m running with a laptop. But I did run the three miles to the office last Wednesday for the first time in a few months and was still feeling the aftereffects on Friday night. I do need to get back into this, but it’ll be a challenge with all the laptop-carrying I do these days.

Pokemon Go. Yes, this gets its own section now. I reached level 39 over the weekend at Community Day, which clearly means a max level increase is coming soon. I also have a shiny Kyogre, my very first shiny legendary! And yes, I finally caught Mew (and Mewtwo).

Travel. 2018 hasn’t been much of a traveling year so far, but I did go to Oklahoma for the first time over Easter weekend for the American Atheists conference. Oklahoma City was surprisingly fun, though I’m not sure what I originally had in mind. If you find yourself there, try out Tapwerks, Max’s Magic Theatre, and the Museum of Osteology.

Social. Pokemon Go and getting a roommate have helped a little bit on the social front when I’m not hosting friends from out of town. If nothing else, these things ensure I see another human on a daily basis.

Things that don’t fit anywhere else. I SAW HAMILTON! And Carbon Leaf! And… look, this feels like one of those conversation with a friend I haven’t seen in years when they ask me how I’ve been. I don’t know, I don’t know because I don’t know where to begin.

What’s new with you?

2017 Goals Revisited and 2018 Goals

Last December I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish over the course of being 30. I turn 31 during the first week of January (the 7th for anyone who likes bestowing good wishes). Despite 2017 being even more of a dumpster fire than many people anticipated, this year was a very good one on a personal level. But according to The Goals, how did I do? Let’s find out.

Read 100 books. Check. Easy check, actually: I completed this goal before starting my new job (uh, spoilers?) in July. I read nowhere near a hundred more books over the course of the second half of the year, though; I’m at 133 books as of this post’s writing.

Start editing a book. This can include a rewrite of an existing book. It’s a stretch to say that I actually edited a book in 2017. However, I did spend both Camp NaNoWriMo sessions planning and doing character development for the two novels I’ve been working on most intensely: Anxiety Girl novel and the Parallel Worlds and Photography novel. I’ve reached a standstill for both of these things, though. Unfortunately my main solution to both of these problems is writing yet another draft. That seems like overkill since this would be the third draft for each novel, though.

Publish something. Uhhhh. *looks around* I made no progress toward this goal.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. Check! It was amazing, as usual. I won a word sprint. One of my fellow @NaNoWordSprints leaders had made me a sushi hat (seriously!). I visited the NaNo office once again and rolled up all the posters for the event. I went to a couple of write-ins, saw some old friends, made some new ones, and finally put names to faces for people I’ve known on the NaNo site for almost a decade. (And occasionally had a few people recognize me, which is still weird.) I talk more about NaNo in this year’s NaNoWriMo summary post.

Travel somewhere new. I went on a trip to Asheville in February, but that’s it in terms of new places. I did return to several previously visited places: Charleston in August for the total eclipse (where clouds blocked our view just minutes before totality), that cabin in western North Carolina for NaNoGiving, and of course San Francisco and Berkeley for Night of Writing Dangerously. Still, this goal was technically fulfilled.

Learn basic Korean. Uhhh, I thought about it? And looked up a couple of sites? Duolingo came out with a Korean course just before NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t had a chance to explore that yet.

Stay employed and decrease debt. This should have been two separate goals, but I didn’t think of that during this time last year. The first half of this year was a financial challenge due to a decrease of freelance work and my roommates moving out. The situation was dire enough that I started looking for an “actual job” and started one in July. I talk about that more in the pre-NaNo State of the Sushi post, and most of the content there is still the same. As for decreasing debt, well, remember barely getting by during the first half of the year? Well, I’m still paying off my 2016 taxes for this reason; when the choice is “pay your rent” or “pay last year’s taxes when you can get an installment plan”, then the first one usually wins.

Begin training for a marathon. Hahahahahahaha I’ve barely thought about this one.

The lack of achieving goals aside, this year was a pretty good year, despite the bumps in the road. That financial groove I mentioned at the end of last year went away in early 2017, when business got really slow, and I was struggling for awhile until starting a full-time job mid-year. But now it’s safe to say that I’m in a good spot, financial and otherwise.

One other thing of note: Remember when I added “Take a class” to my goals in 2016? Despite not doing this in 2016, I did take a class during the first half of 2017 when the freelance business was slow. That class was a course in logic and set theory at my alma mater. I knew the professor and he invited me to sit in on the class. It was a great time and if my schedule were more flexible, I’d sit in on another class in a heartbeat.

Let’s start thinking about 2018 goals, shall we?

Sushi’s 2018 Goals

Read 80 books. “But Sushi,” I hear you say. “You’ve read over 100 books per year for the past four years. Why lower this goal?” Simple: I have less time on my hands than I did when reading a book every two days last year. It took nearly two weeks after starting the new job to finish reading a book. After taking into account the fact that I barely read in October and November, 80 books comes out to eight books a month over the course of ten months. That’s still attainable, especially with audiobooks, but it’s a challenge all the same. Of course, my dream goal will be to reach triple digits again, but we’ll see about that.

Rewrite a book. Whether that’s the third draft of one of the books mentioned above or the roomba novel from November (which people actually want to read for some reason), I hope to write something that isn’t a first draft, something that will take me toward a version I’m happy with.

Travel somewhere new. As I’ve mentioned over the past few years, I’m not especially well-traveled, so this one stays on the list.

Go back to Night of Writing Dangerously. This one is gonna stay here forever.

Stay employed. Yes, this one stays on the list. As long as I don’t screw things up too much, I should be fine here.

Decrease debt. If I keep letting autopay do its thing, two of my student loans will be paid off this year. Woo! I’ll re-evaluate them in the spring and see if I have enough extra cash to pay them off early. Sure, those two small loans won’t make a huge difference in interest in the long run, but I’ll take that psychological win to keep going (and the extra money to dump toward bigger debts).

Begin training for a marathon. Yes, this one stays too. I hope to use this winter’s run commutes as a way to warm up to running in the cold (or what qualifies as cold for someone used to southern weather). And since the real goal is a 50k race (gee, wonder why), the marathon is a good start at around 42k.

State of the Sushi, Pre-NaNo 2017

Wow, how on Earth is August almost over? I swear I was just cursing Rump’s position in the White House… wait. I’m still doing that. Then how has so much time passed? I don’t know, but here’s a general update on what has been going on in my life, partially swiped from my phone on my way home from the eclipse.

tl;dr Things are good overall (minus the world being what it is right now) and no really how on Earth is Nano so close? Cue screaming.

Work. This is the part that people care about when they ask what’s new. But I got a new full-time job! One where I have to work in an office and everything! I started in mid-July and like it so far. It’s a very small company with only two other people working full-time (and that includes the founder), and the environment is casual, so it’s a good fit overall so far. I’m still doing occasional freelance work, but I am not working 60-hour weeks. I do find myself doing a lot of the freelance work on weekends, which can be exhausting and which cuts into the time spent doing well, everything else. I’m definitely giving up the extra work in November because I have to sleep sometime. (Trust me. I’ve done 300k while working full-time and the result is not pretty in any way.)

NaNo. Cue my freaking out over how NaNo is two months away. NaNo stuff deserves its own post, but the short version is I won Camp NaNo in April and July, have more ideas for my third drafts, and started fundraising for this year’s Night of Writing Dangerously. (That’s a link to my fundraising page if you’re so inclined.) I’m also updating Wikiwrimo in preparation for the site relaunch, and there is a lot to update and not much time to do it. Hey, at least I finished the biggest project early–2016 region and ML updates.

Non-NaNo writing. Hoooo boy, I definitely haven’t done much of this. Even my paper journal has suffered, which is a problem when I have more going on and rely on the journal as stress relief. Unfortunately there’s not much I can do to use my time more efficiently here.

Reading. I reached my 2017 goal of 100 books read just before starting the new job and it’s a good thing I did. My listening has declined only a little since starting the new job, but my reading has taken a huge hit. To give you an idea, I didn’t finish reading an entire book for two weeks after starting the new job. Considering my fiction TBR list is longer and I have a really hard time listening to nonfiction, this is a problem.

Running. This one took a hit for a few weeks after starting the new job. Once I got a running pack, I started running to work a few days a week. Three miles, only a few minutes longer to run than to take the bus, and a shower in the building? Yes, please. Unintended consequences of run commuting: I use the work shower almost as much as I use the shower at home, and thanks to being out of town for the eclipse there was a space of over a week where I didn’t use my home shower at all. Whoops.

Travel. I’ve been to a few new places this year: Asheville, NC (for a VIP beer tour at New Belgium), Athens, GA (okay, this isn’t new, but I hadn’t been there in years, so I’m counting it), and Charleston, SC (for the eclipse). I got to see almost all of the partial eclipse, but a storm and clouds rolled in just as totality was about to happen. Even funnier: this was at an atheist convention. I’m also planning to go to San Francisco for NOWD in November and nudge nudge my fundraising link is here.

Social. Hahahahaha. I went to Momocon and a fountain pen social group sometime in the spring but besides that I haven’t been too great at socializing.

Anything else? I think that covers the big stuff, but ask away!

Creating My Own Social Life

I’ve previously discussed how hard it is to make friends as an adult, and I’ve even asked the Internet for advice on making friends as an adult. Besides the usual “how?”, there are a couple of challenges in making friends as an adult: one, I have to get up, get dressed and leave the house, which can be hard to do when it’s cold outside and I might be walking to my destination. And two, some of these meetup groups are established groups where everyone knows each other, which is one of my major sources of social anxiety.

Let’s do something about this. I made a declaration on Twitter last month:

That’s roughly once every two weeks. I can manage that, right? That still gives me every other weekend to be lazy or do things that other people initiate.

So what counts? A social event meets the conditions of the declaration if it meets at least one of the following conditions:

  • I attend a meetup or event where social interaction is a primary focus. This can include (but is not limited to) meetups for anything from board games to science, group running events, and more. Going to events like festivals or concerts where social interaction is nice but not essential does not count unless the second condition is met. Howerer, I may make an exception if I find myself socializing with someone else at the event beyond small talk.
  • I invite them (and not the other way around) or attend alone. I added this condition because I am horrible at inviting people to do things with me. This is in part because I don’t have a car and many of my local friends live in the suburbs, so impromptu get-togethers are less likely to happen.

There’s a lot of room for what ifs and figuring out if something counts under these conditions. What if someone invites me to something I was going to go to anyway? What if I like a meetup group so much that it finds its way to my regular social calendar? What about NaNoWriMo events? I don’t have solid answers to the first two questions yet; if they come up, I’ll figure out an answer then. As for NaNo events and write-ins, I probably won’t count them, but that could change. Besides, I’m usually more social than usual during NaNo’s main event season. Funny how that works.

I’ve completed this challenge for April (and for March as well, come to think of it). Among other things, I invited a friend to an author event and chatted with people for awhile after a free yoga event. I’ve also attended social events where I didn’t do the inviting. As for May, I’m not sure what I’m going to yet, but there are a few game groups nearby I haven’t checked out yet and plenty of stuff happening in this city. I’ll figure out something.

Anyone else want in on this challenge?


Well, here we are. Thirty years ago I entered this world. My parents had no idea what they were getting into.

I was going to write some kind of deep post on ambition and existence, but I got all my freakouts over turning thirty out of the way before turning 29 last year, so there’s not much use in repeating that. Just think, in a few years the infamous midlife crisis is going to happen, so you may get to read even more of the same! Won’t that be exciting? (Not really.)

Cheers, y’all. Here’s to another thirty years (and beyond!) of making the world suck less.

My First Half Marathon

One of the many things on my bucket list is to run a marathon. I’m not alone in this respect; many people list this as a bucket list item, but very few actually go on to do it. But when I started taking running seriously, I started realizing this goal could eventually become a reality. Then I started doing some work on a website devoted to half marathons, and come on, working on a half marathon website was kind of silly when I had never actually run one.

So I signed up for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Half Marathon, a walker-friendly half marathon right here in Atlanta. Last Sunday morning, I found myself willingly standing in the cold, bundled up and waiting to run thirteen miles outdoors in December. Hey, it sounded like a good idea back in (much warmer) May when I signed up. Continue reading

State of the Sushi, June 2016

So I bet you’re wondering: what on earth have I been up to lately? If you guessed “an awful lot of things that aren’t writing”, you would be correct. Add in the fact that I’ve had only one weekend free of social plans since mid-April, and I am so ready for some kind of break.

Since 2016 is almost halfway over and I was going to write a life update post anyway, let’s take a look at my original goals for this year and see how I’ve been faring on those goals.

(Fun fact: I originally wrote this post last Friday morning, when I had no plans that weekend. That changed by noon, when an impromptu trip to Washington D.C.–yes, over nine hours from Atlanta–started to brew. Well, that escalated quickly.)

Read 250 books. While I’m technically on track for this goal after taking twelve months into consideration, once we take out October and November, I’m already behind on my book goal despite already reading 117 books so far this year. Yes, I realize this is like whining about being behind on NaNo with a 300k word goal, but at least I’m aware of my whining. This is particularly concerning at the moment not just because of the number (although I still have plenty of BSC books to read and catch up on) but because of my foot-high pile of books to read with deadlines. I currently have six books checked out, as well as one more at the library awaiting pickup today. That stack is about a foot high and all due back in the next month, and since most of these requests are wildly popular, someone else is on the hold list behind me and I can’t just renew the book. This is where some hypothetical weekend free of plans comes in. Read all the things!

Write 500k words. Um, about that… The truth is I haven’t done as much writing as I had anticipated so far this year. My original plan was to write 250,000 words in November, with the other 250k coming from 25k per month for ten months. This gives me some wiggle room, especially with my self-imposed break from writing in February. But considering I’ve reached 25k only twice all year long, and those months were a struggle, I’m still pretty behind on this goal. Fortunately I have plenty to write about in June, both in my paper journal and in here. See, having a social life does help sometimes! (As long as you can write about it later.) While I worked on Wikiwrimo for Camp NaNoWriMo and added 50,000 more characters to the wiki, I’m not sure what to work on for July camp.

Continue running/staying in shape. Okay, so I haven’t been working out all the time, and there are definitely some weeks where I’ve fallen off the running wagon, especially with summer making its way to the south. (I was working up a sweat walking to the coffee shop where I’m writing this. It’s 9am on June 3. That’s not cool, weather. Literally.) I’ve done a 5-miler, an obstacle course 5K, and two regular 5K races so far this year and it’s only June. I even finished third in my age bracket for a couple of those runs and did a 5k under 30 minutes (29m48.8s)! I also registered for my very first half marathon in December, something that really should have happened sooner considering one of my work clients is a running website. The real challenge will be training for that half marathon in November on top of writing 250k, especially with three of my November weekends already booked five months before NaNo. Gulp.

Stay employed. Decrease my debt. Check! It’s a good thing I did include these. You can never be too sure, especially being between clients early on in the year. But for the moment I’m pretty confident in maintaining these goals.

Go back to the Night of Writing Dangerously. Barring any major money issues, I’m still planning to attend NaNoWriMo’s Night of Writing Dangerously this year. It’ll be my 15th NaNo! What better way to celebrate than with a bunch of fancily dressed writers and laptops in San Francisco?

Travel somewhere new. Check! I technically traveled somewhere new with Trail Magic, which counts. But then I went to Washington D.C. on a whim last week, which definitely counts.

Take a class of some kind? Be awesome? I haven’t taken a class despite my desire to do so. As for being awesome, well…

So what else have I been up to? This is one of those questions where you know everything you want to say in response and then answer with “not much” when finally asked. I won Camp NaNoWriMo with a last-minute rush to the finish line. I’m also planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo in July but have no idea what to work on yet. I showed one of my past college professor how Facebook worked. I went on an impromptu trip to Washington D.C. with a friend last weekend. I also attended Momocon for the first time thanks to a friend with an extra pass. Despite not being a super anime or comic nerd, I still enjoyed myself. (And @tiakall won a game! True story: we went to check out the gaming area and next thing we knew, we heard her name announced… by a Wrimo we both knew.) A lot has been happening and I’m barely keeping up with it all. That’s how life goes sometimes, right?

Up sometime in the near future: What I’ve been reading over the past month or so.

Trail Magic 2016

One of my friends hiked the full Appalachian Trail in 2013 and has been doing trail magic (kindness with no expectation of anything in return on the trail) for a weekend ever since. He’s tried to get me to come along in the past, but I always had plans that weekend and couldn’t go. That changed this year, so I packed my stuff and we set up camp and magic at Dicks Creek Gap, in northeast Georgia near Hiawassee.

Dicks Creek Gap sign

Dicks Creek Gap is about a week into the northbound trail experience, so we were meeting some of the hikers who had left on the early side of the traditional departure date. For many hikers, this is also their first break from hiking. Quite a few of them were planning to take zeros the next day to resupply in town and avoid the predicted rain for Sunday.

We arrived on Saturday morning and had plenty of food on hand for the hikers: grab-and-go items like bananas, oranges, honey buns, Blast’s chocolate bar stuff that is somewhat healthy yet tastes very unhealthy and delicious, assorted candies, and a few other things I’m not thinking of. Plenty of sodas, beers, and bottled water stocked the coolers. Make-your-own chicken and veggie kabobs and salad made up the lunch and dinner food. Breakfast burritos and pancakes happened in the morning (with beercakes on Monday), all on MacGyver’s barrel grill. Both nights concluded with a hobo campfire and roasting marshmallows on the grill, along with lots of talk about materials that went over my head since my chemistry knowledge ends at high school chemistry. We made smores out of Thin Mints on Sunday night, which you should do immediately if you like Thin Mints and marshmallows.

MacGyver brought a bluetooth boom box, and since the area had no mobile connection, we were limited to music on our phone. And since I was the only person with more than a few songs on their phone, I got to subject everyone to a selection of my musical tastes. This also meant listening to the occasional Hamilton track. I may or may not have skipped “It’s Quiet Uptown” to save myself from crying in front of everyone. This also meant I couldn’t take too many pictures because the music stopped whenever my phone was more than a few feet away from the boom box.

Blast brought a big charger so hikers could recharge their devices, along with a projector and sheet for movies after the sun set. No one else stayed with us on Saturday night, so we watched 180º South, a documentary about climbing a mountain in Patagonia and probably some stuff about surfing too. (Not kidding there–there were so many random shots of this old guy surfing.) And on Saturday night, Soup and Daniel stayed with us and we watched Easy A.

We also brought a lot of games and played several of them with various groups of hikers. Two rounds of Cards Against Humanity happened, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. We also played some Spyfall, and I was never the spy. Most of the entertainment was simply sitting around and talking about everything and anything.




We woke up to rain on Sunday morning and were tempted to pack up and leave, even if that meant packing everything up in the rain. But we stuck it out, and I’m glad we did; the weather cleared up for the rest of the trip, and Blast, MacGyver, and I wound up staying an extra day, both to get rid of all the food and to stay in the mountains a little longer. It involved a ten-minute trip down the road for me to change a Monday appointment with Comcast, but staying the extra day was worth that to me. (Even if they’re now not coming over until Friday and the intermittent Internet problems have gotten worse. But that’s another story.)

On Sunday evening Blast, MacGyver, and I corrected the fact that we were on the trail and hadn’t hiked any of it, so we hiked a mile or two up the mountain, taking in the view before getting to a campground. One of the hikers we met was camped there, so we stopped and chatted with him for awhile before heading back down.


Another idea that came out of the weekend: a hiker version of Cards Against Humanity. Black cards like “How am I upholding my trail reputation?” and white cards like “Pink blazing” and “23 hikers in a U-Haul”. There would also be a PCT conversion kit, like the Canadian conversion kit for the regular game. This is going to happen.

But now I’m home, showered, and enjoying flush toilets and running water again. (Not enjoying my intermittent Internet connection, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Sarah, Jetta the black lab, Astro, Soup, Daniel, Hans, B Hiker, and everyone else we met this weekend (sorry, I’m bad at learning lots of names at once), meeting you was a lot fo fun and I hope your thru-hike is everything you wanted to get out of the experience. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to join your ranks in a few years.

Am I stuck in a life rut?

When I was thinking up my goals for 2016, I couldn’t help but notice how similar the goals were to my 2015 goal list. This is partly intentional: I want to continue reading and writing and running and who knows what else. While these are all admirable goals, one thing that crossed my mind was whether I was stuck in a rut.

The case for it is clear. My typical day looks like this: get up, eat breakfast, do work, grab lunch, more work, eat dinner, do whatever for the evening, shower, bed. Almost the same thing, day after day, with little variation during the week. Occasionally I go to a write-in during NaNo or a board game group or an evening run when the weather isn’t miserable. The weekends are reserved for recuperating from the week of work: more focused writing, catching up on reading, cleaning, and whatever else comes up, then getting bored on Sunday night because how can I relax even more. It’s easy to do this, week in, week out.

Keeping up the same weekly routine makes getting stuck in a rut even easier, doing the same things over and over until they become second nature and then, well, not do much else. Even between jobs, I maintained a routine similar to the one mentioned above, but more than that, I’ve been making habits out of some things. I’ve been making reading a habit over the past couple of years, and considering I read zero books in 2013 (yes, zero), this is one habit I’m rather proud of now. I’m trying, time and time again, to make writing a habit that I don’t have to think about before doing. And now I’m trying to make running a habit, although this habit may not stick through the winter.

But now what? I find myself thinking on a regular basis. I pride myself on being interested in many things, and even though that interest list isn’t quite as extensive as some people I know, there’s still a decent amount of variety. There are also many other things I’d love to dabble in but haven’t for one reason or another: knitting (although I’ve probably forgotten how to knit), programming, exploring new places, traveling, dabbling in various historical eras and civilizations, watching the many well-known movies I’ve never watched, expanding my social circles,… and the list goes on and on.

While some of these things are dependencies (can’t travel without the money to do so, for instance), I can do many of these items on their own. I don’t need any extra resources beyond time and energy to improve my programming skills, nor do I need to spend much money to get back into knitting. Unfortunately, none of these things can be combined as an attempt at multitasking. (Knitting and movies can in theory, but I’ve tried. I stopped knitting ten minutes into the movie.)

In the grand scheme of the universe, my life isn’t even a blip on the radar. Life is short, so I’m going to get out of this rut and make the most of it. Let’s do more.