Today I feel like each octagonal cell of my body is beating, pulsing to some autumn songs I will not remember in ten years. I feel yellow and mustard and ochre and marigold and canary and amber. A little burnt, but not badly. Cooler weather is here.
Tonight’s writing session will be short and sweet—it’s technically already November, although I’ll backdate this post so that it doesn’t look like I was up past midnight. I haven’t slept all the way through October yet, so I’ll take tonight as an opportunity to do some goal setting for this next month.
But first, a story:
I got a little kick in the pants this afternoon when I checked my personal email and found a newsletter from a poetry website that I never remember subscribing to (or even visiting). It was a call for contest submissions from new and emerging poets—with a deadline of the last day in November. I can’t help but feel like this is one of the loudest signs that I’m heading in the right direction.
So, at the end of the month, I am going to submit at least one poem to a literary magazine, with no expectations of outcomes or attachments to results. I’m just excited to do the thing that I’ve said, for years, that I was going to do.
Now onto my goals for the month. I’ve decided to batch them out into different facets of my life, not because I want to have a million goals, but because I want to stay balanced this month in all of these areas: mind, body, spirit, and relationships.
I really want to work on feeding myself healthy mental food. In November, I will finish reading This Side Of Paradise, and proceed to start reading a collection of poetry, maybe a collection of new American poetry.
I will also begin to limit my social media consumption without participation. That means that I can’t just scroll—I want to be posting, to be working a little bit for the rush. Stretching myself to take interesting photos or writing thoughtful captions will at least be a small step towards forming a more healthy relationship with Instagram. I know it sounds crazy, but my totally mindless consumption needs to chill out, and forcing my involvement will help me limit my time on the app.
Yoga every damn day, as usual.
But I also want to work on my other physical activity. Other than my little walk to and from the studio and my commute to work, I don’t usually get out in the world. I want to remedy that with a handful of destinationless walks each week. My goal for November is two walks a week, outside of work and yoga. Totally doable.
And, to my body’s delight, I would like to also set the intention of drinking more water. I’ll work on drinking a full water bottle before I arrive at work (I found it’s easy for me to grab a few sips at each stop light on my commute), one at work, and one more in the evening. I usually drink a full bottle after my yoga practice, and am okay about drinking one other full bottle somewhere in the day, so I’m ⅔ of the way there. Just need to be drinking one more bottle’s worth of water. Again, doable.
After a bit of thought, I believe this is the proper category for my writing challenge. I’ve found that my daily writing habit has certainly helped my mind, but it’s done even more for my heart. I’ve felt such a drive and regained a sense of self control throughout the past several weeks, even on nights where I write begrudgingly. At the end of this month, as I mentioned, I'll take the new and terrifying leap of submitting a poem for publishing consideration.
Other than writing a poem each day for 30 days, I want to work on discovering new ways to love myself. I’ve been so okay with disliking myself for so long (don’t we all do this?) that it’s definitely time for me to drop it all and just friggin’ love the crap out of me. This isn’t really a tangible goal, but I just wanted to share it out into the world so I can read this in a few weeks and remember to check in on myself. Maybe this is a reminder for you, too: you don’t have to hate yourself so much. In fact (and it is a fact), you don’t have to hate yourself at all—give yourself a little hug, because you’ve come all this way in life and I mean, come on, just look at you. You’re cool.
This one has been on my mind all summer and fall—I want to cultivate my relationship with my husband a little better, especially with the colder, darker months coming up. In November, I will spend one evening each week playing a few board or card games (I should probably tell him this). I feel like we’ve just been two ships passing in the night all summer long, and it’s time for us to drop anchor and chill for a bit. More yoga together, more board games, more coffee dates.
I want to touch base with all of my closest friends in November as well. It’s tough to keep in touch, and I’ve had much greater success with slow, sustainable communication versus a forced schedule. So I’ll set a goal to speak to one friend each week for an hour. This is a typical cadence for me, but I want to work a little harder to initiate calls and texts, since I could actually go for months without saying hello to some of my dearest people. That’s bad, I know. But I never stop loving them like crazy!