Day Zero: The final update (for now)

My 1001 Day Zero days ended a while back, and while I’m getting ready to start a on a new set of 101 goals (to end on the eve of my 31st birthday), I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about what I did and did not accomplish. I finished 67 of my 101 goals. Some of the goals I didn’t accomplish but still want to do (and so they will reappear on my new list), while others are no longer things I have much interest in doing. This post has a brief (or maybe not-so-brief) overview of my goals. If you want to see the complete list, that’s at Continue reading “Day Zero: The final update (for now)” »

My final day zero update

My day zero project ends in two weeks, and so I thought I’d do one final post of my progress before I update about what I did and did not accomplish. Specifically, I want to set myself a few goals for the final two weeks; hopefully I can knock out a few more goals before it’s all over.

1. I’m at 13/15 for new recipes. I’d like to try to finish this one, but I don’t have high hopes. I haven’t cooked since August, but maybe I can get something done over Thanksgiving break next weekend.

2. I’ve reread and reevaluated two of three books I hated the first time around, and while I certainly have time to read another one, I’m not sure I want to spend my time these next two weeks reading something I didn’t like. That said, however, the first two books I reevaluated I really ended up loving when I reread them, so this is something I’d like to try to accomplish. I think.

3. I’ve reread 7/10 books from my childhood so far. I should have time to finish this one. The trick will be finding three more books from my childhood that I feel like rereading. I’m thinking Winter of Fire, Little House on the Prairie, and maybe Day After Tomorrow. I also might give Number the Stars another go. Wish I had some shorter ones around, though.

4. I need to have one more book review accepted for publication. This one should be fine. I’ve finished a book, had it conditionally pre-accepted (only if they like it, of course). I’ve been stuck on how to start it, however, but I’m really confident that I can get this one done.

5. I’ve read 4/5 books of poetry so far, and I’m really hoping I finish this goal. My problem with this has been my lack of poetry collections. If anyone has one to lend me I would greatly appreciate it.

There’s a lot of reading on this list, which I’m kind of just now noticing, but I know I’m capable. The question is whether or not I’ll have enough time and, if I do, if that’s how I’ll choose to spend it. Anyway, these are my short-term goals for the next fourteen days.

Help me out

I’ve got less than eleven months left on my Day Zero project, and I’m only a bit over halfway done. So now I ask you, dear reader, to help me out. Here are some goals I still see as possible, with some help.

  • go to NYC (who can I visit?)
  • learn a new song on guitar (what’s an easy song?)
  • go ice skating (who wants to go with me?)
  • take a yoga class (who wants to take one with me?)
  • go horseback riding (who has a horse?)
  • play kickball (who wants to help me start a team for this summer’s league?)
  • go sledding (who has a sled?)
  • host a wine and cheese party (who wants to come?)
  • visit three museums (suggestions?)
  • go to a Detroit sporting event (who wants to come? I’m thinking Tigers.)
  • go swimming in a lake (who wants to come?)
  • play poker at a casino (who wants to come with me?)

So. Any takers?

Very informal Day Zero update

I haven’t stopped working toward my Day Zero goals, but I have mostly stopped updating about them. Why? Because I’m lazy. Here are a few I’ve finished in the past few months:

  • add five new pieces to my online portfolio
  • join a professional organization (got a complimentary year-long AWP membership, but it counts)
  • find a job in my desired career field
  • try a new ice cream flavor
  • try five new foods (the final three: blueberries, strawberries, lobster)
  • learn my credit score
  • get rid of 101 items
  • buy a pair of jeans that aren’t Silvers
  • buy 25 books from independent book stores
  • donate to three causes/organizations I care about

I’ve also increased my progress toward the following

  • read 50 new novels
  • reevaluate 10 books from my childhood
  • finish HP2 in French
  • finish book of French verb review
  • publishing a story in a print journal
  • read five books of poetry
  • lose 5 pounds, get down to 115 (which now means lose 10 pounds; two months ago it was lose 13 pounds)

I plan on getting to the spa soon, and on getting through a lot of the holiday-related goals. As of right now, I have 46 done and another 14 started. Still a lot to go.

Day Zero: One year in

March 1 marked my one year anniversary of Day Zero, so I thought it was time for a general update.

When I started this project, it seemed like a cool thing to do, and while I was careful to set goals I could conceivably accomplish (after reading the lists on the Day Zero site, I realized that a lot of people don’t take practicality into account), but I worried that I would eventually lost interest in the multi-year project. However, looking at my stats, I feel that I’m actually doing quite well, both in quantity (how many goals I’ve accomplished, how spread out they’ve been) and quality (how I feel this project has helped me at an emotional or mental level).

I have 28/101 goals completed. That works out one goal completed about every 13 days. Quick math for the project shows that I should be hitting one goal every 10 days, but I’m really not worried. A lot of my goals are for doing something over time, and so when I set the goal, I tried to think of what I could do in 1001 days. So in addition to those 28 completed goals, I have started another 15.

Finally, I have lately been giving some serious thought to changing some of the goals. Not because I think they’re too hard but rather because my life in the past year has taken me in a different direction. One example is my goal to apply to another Masters program, or to a PhD program. This is still a goal of mine, potentially, but as I plan out my education/career/writing goals, I’m finding that this isn’t something I want to tackle quite yet. Another example is my goal to travel to Vegas—I’m really just not that interested in Vegas these days. I’ve been toying with the idea of changing these (and possibly one other) to different yet similar things. For instance, “Go to Vegas” won’t become “Go to Detroit,” but rather some other destination that requires planning to get to but that I’m much more interested in seeing.

I’m still undecided about whether I’ll be editing my list. On the one hand, the official Day Zero site lets you edit even after you’ve begun, and it seems like the spirit of the project to set goals and meet them, generally, not to set one specific set of goals and go after those no matter what other paths life may open for you.

So here’s my question to my readers: What do you think about potentially editing the list a year after beginning? And if you do think it’s within the spirit of this project, what types of goals are similar to “apply to another masters or PhD program”?

Day Zero Update: Europe

I’m only about seven months late, but I figure better late than never. My dad sent me an email last night asking why I hadn’t updated my list. I’ve actually been meaning to update for a while, but I let it grow and grow, and the update got bigger and bigger. I’ve actually been working on my book lately, but it’s seemed easier than doing this. But anyway, here is a list of the goals I accomplished while in Europe.

45.   Have fondue
Technically I did this before going to Europe, at The Melting Pot. We went as a graduation celebration dinner. However, it’s on the list because I did it again in Europe. At Michele’s house we had cheese and chocolate fondue. However, I’m sort of hoping we do this again at my house. I love fondue.

54.   Order a meal completely in French
I can’t remember if I did this at the place where we had pasta or pizza, but I was able to get through a whole meal ordering in French. I might have made one quick slip (I think I did), but I did pretty well, and I won’t get another chance, so for the purposes of this goal, I’m calling it a success.

59.   Explore Paris
Except for the part where I almost got beat up by a Parisian because we bumped into each other, the Parisians were nice (overly nice, some of the men…I have beautiful eyes, apparently). Paris was beautiful, and it was fun to explore the streets, the Metro. I wish I’d had more time.

60.   Ride a train
My sister and I took the TGV from Switzerland to Paris. It did not go as fast as all my French books told me it would. This made me sad. Also, the Paris train station was a very stressful place.

63.   Buy and wear a cute summer sun dress
I bought a new dress to wear for graduation, and while I wore it in Washington, it’s more fun to call this goal met when I wore it in Paris.

And that’s that. I might have missed one or two, but I’ll get to them later. I’m writing this post as I watch the last few episodes of Dollhouse, so I’m a bit distracted right now.

96. Get my ears repierced

Kathryn Houghton and her new earrings

You can't see very well, but there really is a stud in there. And it's pretty.

I got my ears pierced when I was about seven. I was so scared of the piercing gun that my parents had to bribe me to actually do it—I got a set of earrings, three Boxcar Children books, and a camera. But when I hit puberty, I started having allergic reactions to the earrings, even to the fancy hypoallergenic ones, and I haven’t worn them regularly since. At one point I even went a few years without wearing them. Then, maybe my senior year of undergrad, I tried again, on and off. The holes were still there, but it was always a bit painful to get the earrings in. Finally, about eight months ago, I couldn’t get them in anymore and realized I would have to get them redone.

I had planned on waiting until I was back in MI so that I could go to Splash of Color, but I was in a bit of a bad mood on Friday and used it as a treat instead. You can’t see really well in the picture, but I’ve got studs with light blue sapphires—my birth stone. Now I just have to deal with six weeks of being stabbed in the neck while I sleep.

Two weeks plus some

It’s 5:00 and I’m finally feeling well enough to start my day. I went to bed last night feeling fine but woke up three hours before my alarm was supposed to go off with a massive headache, my second in two days. I’ve been feeling lazy these past two days, having spent over half of it in bed, and sometimes I think the worst part about my headaches is how useless they can make me feel: I can’t drive and I frequently have trouble even standing. And for some reason, when I get one, I’m more likely to get another (hence the two in two days).

But the good news is that these two headaches were my first in over sixteen days (I think it was eighteen days but I’m only sure of those sixteen days). It might not sound like much, but I’m used to getting about three of these headaches each week. Getting down to one in over two weeks is a huge improvement.

Anyway, I know health entries are boring, but this is another Day Zero goal, so I wanted to write something. If I’m feeling up to it I’ll try adding something more interesting later.

“But you need that contrast!”

Today I was able to cross another goal off my Day Zero list—specifically, the goal about having an opinion on a poem in a Willow Springs meeting.

I consider poetry to be my weakest of the three genres we publish at Willow Springs, and though I’d been going to the meetings for a year, I had yet to have an unasked for opinion. Until today the extent of my contribution had been to raise (or not raise) my hand when voting on who liked a poem, or once trying to articulate something that sounded like an original thought after being asked what I thought. I’m not an authority on poetry and so I’ve always been afraid of saying something completely off the mark.

Today, however, I spoke up not once, but twice! First, to talk about how I thought we needed contrast between two adjacent images in a poem and second, to talk about how I’d had a very strong negative reaction to a second poem. (I don’t want to go into more detail here since these are submissions to the magazine.)

In other, less exciting news, Mid-American Review rejected my short story, so I think it’s now time for me to start submitting to magazines that are a tier lower in prestige. I expected this to happen (this is the second story I’ve ever submitted, after all), but it still makes me a bit depressed. What’s also interesting though is that none of the other journals that rejected this piece really bothered me that much until now. No idea why this was the one that incited that change.

Day Zero update: submissions and contests

I’ve never had more blog visitors than I did on March 1, the day I started my Day Zero Project. It’s inspiring to know how many people were interested in what I’ve decided to do with the next few years.

Technically I’m already a bit behind, since I need to be completing one goal every ten days, but I’m not concerned. Not only do I have something like 988 days left, I’ve also made some progress toward some of the bigger goals (such as blog posts [2] and massages [2]). I’ve also started filling a box in my room with items I want to give away (or get rid of). I haven’t counted how many things I have in there, but there are some books, some shirts, two sweaters, a pair of sweatpants, and some hats/gloves/scarves. I’m also preparing my old computer to be donated, along with an old router and modem.

I also submitted a piece of fiction to a new journal today. It’s a piece that’s been rejected twice already, but that’s just the way things go. And actually, now that I look at my list, that does cross something off, because I had “Resubmit something that’s been rejected.” Awesome!

I know that sounds like sort of a cop-out goal, but rejection is something that I’ve struggled with over the years. Namely, I have this crazy large fear of failure that often means I won’t try anything that I’m not positive I will be successful at. So to continue to send something out even after failing is a big deal for me. The piece is out at two journals right now and I have a long list of other places to try if I get more rejections (which I probably will because I’ve decided to start at the most prestigious places and work my way down).

I also am submitting a piece to a contest this week. As part of my nonfiction portfolio we have to send a piece to either a contest or as a general submission, and I decided, for the first time ever, to try a contest. Now nonfiction isn’t really my thing—if anything, the workshop showed me that I have a much stronger natural affinity/ability for fiction than I do for nonfiction. I have some theories on why this might be (one of which involves an unencouraging professor), but I’m really okay with being stronger in one area. Besides, I enjoy fiction more. This one, however, I won’t be crossing off the list, since what I really intended when I wrote item 12 was “submit to a fiction contest,” since I feel that will be a much better gauge of my skill level.