Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010...bonjour 2011!!!

2010 has been a great year!

When I look back on the end of 2009, I am at a completely different place, now, at the end of a good way. I think that marks a successful year.

2010 has brought me a Masters project I enjoy and am seeing small steps of progress in. It's the year I gained some financial independence by having my own apartment, and paying for the rent and utilities by myself. It's the year I started dating, and after having fantasised about having a boyfriend for so long, I think I'm realising I love the single life! It's the year I started focusing more on reading again, after taking an unfortunate hiatus during undergrad, and the year I consolidated the importance of alcohol tolerance. I also expanded my music taste, and some music that I would have hated 2 years ago, I now love love love!

2010 has also been difficult in many ways. My lack of patience and forgetfulness has made some of my relationships difficult. I have a pattern of shutting down when I am overwhelmed, and I sadly continued that this year too. I've also contemplated so much on the future that I almost drove myself crazy. I have come up with a solution that I am quite satisfied with, but that I'll save for another post, when it has fully sunk into my mind. Also, I was hit with a bout of lethargy and apathy closer to the end of the year - sometimes I forget all the wonderful things I have going for me, and fixate on the one thing I don't have.

Most importantly, 2010 has been a year of change for me. I have been hesitant with accepting change this year - change makes me nervous. I hope 2011 is a year of change, as well, but this time I want to embrace it and dive headfirst into it.

In 2011, I want to finish my Masters successfully, and move on from the city. I can't wait to see the results of my project...but I also can't wait to move on to the next step in life.

In 2011, I want to focus more on my fitness. I'm going to start going to the gym early in the morning, and be in an awake frame of mind for the lab.

In 2011, I want to be more patient, and invest more time in helping and being there for others.

In 2011, I want to acquire some new hobbies, and build upon my old ones.

In 2011, I want to have the courage to make mistakes without being fearful of regrets...I don't want to regret not making the mistake in the future.

Sooo here's to a great 2010, and ushering in an awesome 2011 in a few hours!!! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

20 questions for an end of year reflection

This should typically be done on New Year's Eve, but I'm worried that I might be too busy running around and boozing to fill these out properly. I've lifted these questions from a blog called "Simple Mom". With this exercise I hope to gain some perspective on the year, and have a better and more specific understanding of my goals for 2011.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Discovering I had the courage and fortitude to change supervisors. It was one of the biggest decisions I've ever had to make, and I was scared to death to make it. I am so thankful that I was able to, and for the friends that supported me. 
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Since I have my own place, but come back home to my parents fairly often on weekends, I have found it very challenging to mesh those two worlds. In one world, I make the rules and the only person I have to please is myself. In the other world, not so much. It has been challenging to make my parents realise that I am an adult, and sometimes I would like to learn from my own mistakes. 
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
I had to give a presentation on an article for my now-supervisor's class. It was such a difficult article to read and understand. I was so scared for the presentation, because I was unsure if my interpretation was correct. He thought I did an amazing job though. It was such a joy knowing that, and knowing all my hard work paid off, even for just that small presentation. It certainly gave me a big confidence boost. 
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Paying bills and taking care of personal finances. It might sound extremely easy, but for someone who has never managed her own money, and always taken money for granted, it hasn't been. I was not very disciplined at all this year, and I hope to be next year. 
5. Pick three words to describe 2010.
Exploratory. Independent. Satisfying. 
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
I don't have a spouse or a boyfriend that I could supplement...but I'll keep it in to look back on for when I'm filling this out and I do have one. 
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2008 (again, without asking).
8. What were the best books you read this year?
Ooh...The Glass Castle, The Pact, and A Fine Balance. 
I'm sure there are more, but I read a lot, and I can't remember them now. 
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
With my close friends. You are probably the people actually reading this blog. 
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Hmmm...I think I have become more confident. I know I come across as a confident person, but that is mainly bravado. I now feel more confident in my ability in the lab, in learning new techniques, answering questions, and actually being able to hold my own. I also feel more confident in my looks - I have always had a complex about them, but I think this past year I have realised it is all in my head. 
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I have had ups and downs in terms of emotional growth. I am a naturally very emotional person, and I have been trying to harness my emotions a bit more this year. 
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I am not sure I grew spiritually. I have phases of spirituality, and I felt that I was in an off-phase for most of the year. That is something I should work on in 2011. 
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I changed my eating habits this year. I started eating more frequently and less. It worked really well, until the month of December and the holidays hit. I also started playing soccer and golf, and re-visited tennis. Not bad for a generally non-sporty person! I can also do a pull-up! 
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I tried to listen more to others and be there more. I wasn't successful with everyone, but I was successful with a few. I also realised that I have to put a bit more effort and manage my time better in my relationships, so that I am able to stay in touch with the people that matter to me. 
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
I love having my own place. It is so enjoyable to clean it, to have people over, to cook in my own kitchen, and decorate. I love decorating! 
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
Keeping my place clean during busy times. It's so easy to just dump stuff and not tidy up. Then there's just a mountain of cleaning to get through afterwards. 
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Discovering what I want to do in life, and actually talking to other people about it seriously. It definitely gave me some insight into myself, and I think I have figured out my priorities for now. 
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
The idea of something is very different to the reality. 
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2010 for you.
2010 has been a year of positive growth and change for me; a year of branching out, introspective thinking, and consolidating some beautiful friendships. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Keeping your chin up

Science can be a very frustrating field of study. Experiments often don't work, for heaven knows what reason; there are multiple hoops to jump through (depending on your project) to actually getting some data; there are hours of prep work that go to waste oftentimes. That's where I'm at right now - hoop jumping and prep-wasting. All that jazz though is worth it when the experiment finally works in its entirety.  The reward and satisfaction you feel is amazing. That was me earlier this week!

But yesterday my experiment went back to making no sense whatsoever. I literally wanted to punch a wall, because I felt that the confusion and anger this elicited eclipsed my earlier successes of the week. I felt that I was back to square one. Stupid square one.

I woke up this morning though, and realised that it wasn't a set back. I was making steps forward - slow, but steady. In order to work in science, you need a tough skin - or the acquirement of one really fast! I always take experiments not working as a failure, but in the clarity of the morning, I know they are not failures. I'm merely learning about new aspects of the experiments, and what not to do in the future. Some of my best ideas for this project, or in adapting the techniques I've learnt, have come in moments of "failure".

I was planning my day while in the shower this morning, and was swaying on the side of not repeating the experiment this afternoon. If I fucked it up, then Friday, and potentially the weekend, could be soured. However, I realised that not doing the experiment would hinder my advancement - work or not, I'm getting somewhere, and I'm learning something. Maybe it's not as big a success as the entire experiment working...BUT it's still a small success! Small successes are so important to appreciate, because it takes many, many small successes to make a big success in science. From now on, I'm going to focus on appreciating the small successes instead of berating myself for not achieving the big one. It'll be all the more sweeter when I do!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

They're singing deck the halls...

I've been meaning to update for a while, and have started so many different posts, but then never found the time to finish them. I had a bit of a slump recently - you know the kind where you sit around all day, stuff your face, watch a million TV shows, even though you don't quite know the reason? Well, that was me! And I wanted this blog to mainly be positive, so I decided to hold off a bit on the posting.

I think I sometimes have this problem where I'm too busy living in the past or in the future, that I can barely appreciate and enjoy the present. I am constantly worrying about the future that I can't even focus on the present - and that is something that I am working on! Lately, I've been obsessing with trying to figure out the right career path that I can barely take the time to remember what a great opportunity getting my masters is, and how much I've learnt. Juggling all the different aspects of life can be so difficult sometimes!

With that being said, Christmas is coming!

The past few years, I have missed out on the whole excitement of Christmas anticipation. School has always been so hectic, and since I also help out my parents at their place of work, I usually don't even realise it's December until the 25th. This year though, I FEEL Christmas coming...AND I am going to revel in it. I've started baking, and next weekend is decorating! I am going to make hot buttered rum, mince pies, the turkey, and just stuff my face. I've also decided that giving presents is good enough - I'm not really interested in receiving them this year. I'm going to write out Christmas cards - old school style - and actually give them to people. Woot woot!