Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 Top Nine. Goals.

Firstly, I hope youse had a good exmas. Judging by the blogs, it looked marvellous. Even if it wasn't hunky dory, congrats, you survived. Also, George Michael and Carrie....bloody hell...

I had considered 2016 a bit of a fail, and recent blog post have been a bit on the bleh woe is me side. 

Today, I did the #2016topnine whatsy on Instagram.

I had a couple of comments on this pic above. One was saying that it was a very accomplished year. The other said it was the best top nine they'd seen.

Those kind comments really snapped back things into perspective for me. This top 9 shows a few good things that have come out of the year.

I got my PhD printed up and the degree conferred (left 3 squares)

I tried my best at my sport and this got recognised (right middle)

I spent some time in some very great tropical places (Bali, Thailand (top middle), Bali again (top right)

I take pleasure in the small cool things (bottom right)

I have made friends with my thick (powerful) thighs (bottom middle)

And I continue to be delightfully inappropriate and disgraceful on a regular basis (middle).

I have not squeezed a baby out, nor do I have one in the oven. That has been farking hard. Motherhood is, in some ways, revered and getting pregnant is an accomplishment. A feeling of failure and some dread about the processes has been present for much of the latter part of the year. However, there have been wins. I am a bigger (weight wise about the same size, but you know what I mean) person compared with this time last year.

I had been looking on 2017 as a bit problematic. For various reasons (job application, impending IVF) it's been a bit hard to plan things, hence I found it hard to look forward to things. This led to a need to take the grind one day at a time. Still, I do well with some goals, and the end of the year is a good time to consider them. In setting these goals, I have taken some inspiration from this article.

Aims for 2017 and beyond. They are "SMART" goals mostly.


  • The novelty of working in 3 different workplaces is wearing off, and the work details are also getting tiring. I have been successful in shedding some roles that have not worked for me, and in their place I have temporary roles. I have asked for some changes in my current positions but things have not fallen into place. What I would like is to consolidate my work into 1-2 different places. To do this, I may need to be more assertive with certain people, as, in retrospect, I have missed out on things for not being this way.
  • Research wise, I need to finish what I started. I have one or two more PhD proceeds papers to get published. I need to grit my teeth and finish this research project I started, even though it is not going well at the moment. I have a few other side projects that I am collaborating on. Now is probably not the time to take on anything "big", research wise.
  • aim to start IVF between March and May, at a time when I have relatively less going on. Commit to doing that first cycle and seeing where I am after that.  
  • Overseas travel is a huge thing for me, but for various reasons it's hard to plan grand adventures. I think that now is a good time to explore Australia, as I have been neglectful of this. To go on weekend trips with friends and my partner. I have never been to Wilson's Prom, or Broome, or the Barossa.
  • I have a local conference in mind.
  • It's been hard this year, particularly in the latter part. I need to keep things light and polite with them. Regular but superficial contact. Keep the boundaries firm. Step back when it gets too much. 
  • My partner has been working hard and I have been disinclined to bother him with things, and as a result I have withdrawn into myself a bit. We both need to talk with each other more. This is sound advice for most couples but it is true for us. 
  • Depending on where I am with IVF, I would like to master the following
    • Box jump, 20"
    • Pull up, unsupported (even just one)
    • Rope climb (I actually managed to shimmy up a rope about 10 cm today, woooohoo)
    • Double-unders (maybe 5 in a row)
    • >100kg deadlift, 45kg clean and jerk, back squat loaded with body weight on barbell (either by increasing lift weight or decreasing body weight, or a combination)
    • 5km run in under 33 minutes (that's fast for me, my best ever time was 31:30
  • Continuing to exercise at least 3-4 times per week - if I get pregnant I can still train but the goals will need to go on hold! It is gold for my mental health.
  • don't do the flopping on the couch in the evening with the bottle of wine thing, or at least minimise this.
  • Eat vegetables with lunch and dinner.
  • Eat small amounts of healthy food regularly to avoid getting hangry and wanting sugary snacks. Hanger is a big problem for me, and it makes me ill tempered.

Anyway I think that will do for now.

Do you have any goals you want to share?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

All over the shop. Mindfulness is Key.

A list of miscellanea, for posterity:

  • Melbourne weather is finally coming good.
  • I've PB'd my back squat. 70kg. Yass.
  • I am off to the mandatory counselling / nursing training for IVF on Monday. Nothing starting till next year but still...onward.
  • Every couple of years or so, my mum has a bout of depression. She went MIA for a few hours one evening last week after sending out an email to a coworker who was concerned and called the police (who were in touch with me). She ended up texting to say she was ok. Harrowing.
  • I went to NZ to see my partner's family over the last weekend. Great to see Christchurch rebuilding. Not so great to get text messages from mum airing grievances to us, and offering unsolicited advice, which kind of made the weekend hard. I've offered concrete help but set some boundaries.
  • I've been doing quite a bit of extra work, which has been fun but exhausting. One of my interventions today I estimate will have saved $100K but more importantly made a punter happy. Winning.
  • I have a job interview in Feb. It's good but that timing makes it hard to plan my year.
  • Christmas songs make me want to run out of the shops screaming. My partner suggested, as a strategy, replacing all the lyrics to xmas songs with swear words and singing them in my head, so as not to teach little children bad ways. However the fact that Johnny Farnham is releasing an exmas record makes me happy. 
  • My partner has been promoted in his job, to Professor. Exciting. 
  • I have had my first PhD paper accepted into a decent journal, contingent on a few minor changes.  
  • I have to meet with one of my bosses tomorrow to discuss the progress of my research project. It is not going well, due to factors that I can't avoid. Still, I hate having to do it, but discussing strategies to move forward may make me feel better.
  • Off to Bali for Xmas, leaving on Tuesday. Running away? Yes. But I am mindful that I am doing that and mindfulness is key.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

If not fear, then what?

A marginally more hopeful but equally philosophical post tonight, before bed.

I've been at a low ebb, emotionally. Not so low that I can't do what I need to, not so low that I don't enjoy crossfit, but low nonetheless. I was wondering when the infertility induced low might end, when a clear answer about how to go forward apropos to IVF or not might appear. I was wondering when I might be able to regard each circumstance with which I am faced neutrally, rather than mentally trying the future child/childfree cloak on.

It's hard when you are feeling bogged down to know what the actual problem is.

Essentially it is just a matter of being afraid that bad stuff would happen, and that I would not be able to cope with it. In the past, FYI, bad stuff has happened and I have dealt with it and moved forward.

As it has before, the barbell bought me clarity. We were doing clean and jerks tonight at Crossfit.

If you care to watch the video (or not), you will see it is a technical movement that requires a swift, strong initial pull.

As the bar got heavier, I would start pulling the bar off the ground then hesitate.

I did not get my C&J past prior best is 43.5kg from about 5 months back, and I really wanted to crack 45kg today.

These complex movements do not work without a. loads of practice and foresight and b. an attitude of "I got this". It is quite natural to be scared when approaching a heavy bar, as there is a risk of injury with improper movement. However, hesitation does not help.

I could do with this attitude towards my box jumps. And also more generally in life.

I wondered what I would be able to do without being so consumed by fear?

My buzzword for 2016 was patience - I've certainly needed that! Perhaps my word for next year will be fearless.

PS - Yesterday, I approached my 2RM back squats yesterday with a little fear and a lot of confidence, the right ratio, and did the biggest squat I'd ever done - 65kg x 2.