new year’s resolution check-in

when i posted this i was already kinda like maybe not? but here we are.

read 110 books
this is not going to happen because i was taking chinese class for 2-3 hours every morning up until last week and with that and watching a lot of tv to procrastinate on doing my chinese homework, i did not have the time to read. i lowered the goal to 90 books because being realistic feels like settling. i did read 100 last year and that was what catapulted me into feeling like a slightly less useless piece of shit and that’s where we are right now.

complete the yale lecture series on the novel from 1945-now (read the books and listen to the lectures)
i have read like half the books and listened to none of the lectures, but i feel like there’s still time. anyway shit got weird in the 50s and 60s and for my money i’d rather read hemingway than any of the beat writers. they are so fucking pompous.

complete the list of 100 things to do in zhongli and all the blog posts
you know what’s more fun than doing things in zhongli? not doing anything in zhongli. we have a lovely apartment and netflix and besides i have like 40 more books to read in the next three and a half months.

plank for two minutes every day (even if it’s not continuous)
you’d think that doing anything for two minutes a day, in 30-second or 1-minute intervals, would be completely doable, but i kept forgetting about it until it was time to go to bed and then it was like i could get on the floor and tax my core or i could get into bed with a negligible amount of self-loathing and read my books and that has won every single night except for like three.

stick with yoga 2-3x a week, or if class with Neil ends, join a yoga gym
okay but actually the thing is the yoga was killing my back, like since november, and i have only stopped feeling like your arthritic grandma within the past few weeks. that’s like nine months of back pain, nine months where i had to take a deep breath and assume a weird yoga-like pose just to wipe my own ass. and then also chinese class started and i didn’t have time for yoga in the mornings, especially if i wanted to write…

keep hula hooping, even if it’s just five minutes a day
see: yoga broke my back and hula hooping wasn’t going to make it better.

pay off all our student loan debt
see what had happened was j needed a new scooter and then he had hernia surgery and then he had a family emergency and had to go back to the u.s. when we weren’t planning for that at all and we haven’t had to go into more debt because of that but we don’t have a lot less debt either.

resume studying chinese
I DID DO THIS from the end of december 2016 until like a week ago and it was not super easy for me to go back to school with homework and tests and all, but then i realized that i didn’t like need to pass, this was all optional, so i stopped doing the homework and showing up for the tests. but anyway i learned some more chinese and made some friends with some cool kids from vietnam and indonesia and korea and a nice lady from japan. and now i don’t know what i am going to do, but i didn’t want to stick around for Teacher Zhang telling us to write multiple essays and shit. i just want to consistently understand what’s going on around me but maybe that bar is too high because i don’t consistently know what people are talking about even in english.

get back on the wahl’s protocol diet
for a few months last year i forgot that i liked cheese and beer and i lost some weight right before our holiday when i started drinking beer and eating cheese again and i have never stopped. we do however eat a metric fuckton more vietnamese food lately, so we have that going for us.

play the receipt lottery
i looked up the receipt lottery info online in january but it was too early for the receipts i’d just received, so i put them in a pile on the shelf under my coffee table. then i just started piling all my receipts there until it eventually looked like a mouse’s nest. i just threw them all out like two weeks ago.

give charitably every month
why am i such a piece of shit? i did donate $50 to my brother who is a teacher in a little developing country called the united states of america where schools are underfunded and teachers are often expected to buy supplies themselves.

re: writing–measure activity, not results
i mean i guess? this sounds like i was copping out before i even started. so i have been writing more, and i have all but given up on the big book i wanted to write about my first five years in taiwan because i finally realized i was like trying to build a house when i can’t even put up a tent by myself (and when given the opportunity, i wait until it’s dark and i’m drunk so don’t trust me). i have focused on much shorter pieces, also trying to accommodate my very brief attention span, and i’ve actually finished some stuff lately WHAT. that was not happening for a very long time. so maybe ten years from now i will submit something somewhere, and maybe something i wrote will even get published somewhere that i’m excited to be in, whatever is the opposite of the literary equivalent of strip malls.

write for myself every day
i am pretty good during the week but i make bad decisions every single fucking weekend mostly. there’s no barrier at all to me getting up and going to a coffee shop early in the morning on saturdays except that i am like fuck it i’ll make some vietnamese coffee at home…and throw in a load of laundry, take a shower, do the dishes, watch six hours of a show i just found out existed…then it’s time to get shitfaced, probably, and sunday is spent in bed not really sleeping because whenever i start to drift off i have a panic attack about how my life is going nowhere and i am going to live in a box for ten years before i die.

make writing a priority, first thing every morning
like i said, i write most every morning, anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours depending on how the coked-up ferret in my brain is feeling about sitting down and writing on a device that can also access facebook, twitter, the news, netflix, youtube, and amazon.

say yes more often

but i did do random awesome shit not on the list either because i am amazing or blame it on my adhd. i am adding this stuff to the list retroactively.

i now bike to work
random, right? this has been a low-key goal of mine since i started reading mr. money mustache all the way back when i lived in virginia.

i can kinda play guitar? 
in the middle of january i saw a video of channing tatum fucking up a song on the piano and i was like he has absolutely got to be busier than me sitting in starbucks watching videos of channing tatum, so i left and bought a guitar. i practice most days and now i can kinda play john legend’s all of me and old crow medicine show’s wagon wheel, which use the same four chords.

My husband and I both have ADD: Here are our tips for traveling better together

Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the options when traveling. (Photo credit J Gunden)
Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by the options when traveling. (Photo credit J Gunden)

J and I both have ADD, which always makes things interesting, but can especially challenging in a new place. Not having a routine can be difficult for us: we lose time trying to figure out what to do, and being in an unfamiliar environment can make us uneasy. My goal is to outline and develop habits that will make sure we make the most of our traveling time.

This was my first trip with my bullet journal, and I used that resource to write down some ideas for best practices for the future trips we will certainly be taking.

  1. Splurge on tours or classes. 
    There’s lots to be said for going on your own and getting off the beaten path, but sometimes J and I get so overwhelmed by the options that we spend more time before and during the trip thinking about what we could do than doing anything. But taking a street food tour in Saigon or a cruise in Krabi gave us the opportunity to explore without the additional worry of trying to plot our own course. Paying someone else to worry about the details lets us hyperfocus on having fun.
  2. Follow in the footsteps of the ones who’ve gone before you.
    This is the free version of hiring a tour guide. J was chasing his tail coming up with the best possible itinerary for seeing the sites in Saigon. I suggested we just follow somebody else’s walking-tour itinerary. We hit most of the stops, saw a lot of the city, and it only took about ten minutes of research. One word of caution, though: make sure you pay attention to the details about what to visit when
  3. Prepare and maintain a master packing list. 
    I started writing down what I needed to remember a few weeks before we left on our last vacation, and while on vacation, I made note of anything I wished I had brought or could have left behind. This list is in my bullet journal, too. If you’d like some ideas to get started, there’s a printable master packing list at ADDitude Mag.
  4. Plan some time alone each day. 
    In our daily lives at home, J and I do a lot on our own, but on vacation, we shadow each other 24 hours a day. J gets hyperstimulated and wants to talk about his impressions of everything; I get drained and overwhelmed by the newness of everything and being around him all the time. Planning solo coffee breaks or even splitting up for the morning gives us the little mental break we need to refresh and look forward to sharing our experience.
  5. Make sure you both have money in your wallet.
    This might be the most personal tip on the list, depending on how you and your partner run your finances. J and I usually mingle our money, but when we’re out or traveling, he carries the cash in his wallet. I don’t like having to always ask for money; he doesn’t always want to buy souvenirs or gifts. Making sure I have money in my wallet every morning will reduce some of the potential friction between us.
  6. Decide on how much money, if any, you’re willing to give to beggars or touts.
    This is another question without a clear answer. It’s hard to know what’s right or helpful to do to help other people, but I can’t stand sitting there drinking my fancy margarita and ignoring the people trying to sell me a bookmark for a buck. Having to ask J to open up the wallet every time can complicate matters, so if we agree that I can spend US$5-10 a day on souvenirs from little old ladies, then it’s one less thing that needs to be discussed at length.
  7. Don’t count on having time to do something later.
    There’s been a number of times where we’ve procrastinated on doing something or buying something and in the end, left without doing it. Procrastination is a really big problem for anyone with ADD, so it’s hard to to just say “don’t procrastinate while traveling.” I hope that if we have it written down as one of our best practices, we can keep it mind.

Any folks out there with ADD have more travel tips to share? I’m certainly looking to for ways to keep improving our experiences. I’d love to hear from you in the comments!