Funk or Groove?

1,399 Words • Living Better • 06/05/2024

Background

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a funk for a little bit now so I thought that it being halfway through the year presented a good opportunity for reflection on my “word of the year”. Started in 2023, I am now on my second year of setting a yearly word, which is a singular overarching theme to focus on over the course of a full year. My 2024 Word of the Year is “Groove”. Last year I did an end-of-year reflection which I liked and am keeping that format, but I think that a mid-year reflection going forward would serve me well too. I think quarterly is too frequent for my tastes, but this process will evolve organically so I’ll never say never.

As for my funk, I’ve noticed that my cooking and writing have been far less frequent as compared to last year. However in looking back on the year, I realized while my energy is slightly less, it has also just been redirected elsewhere. I think that this kind of knowledge is really important to have because it changes my perception that I am not accomplishing my goals. To continue on that thread in this article I will be reflecting on my Word of the Year through two lenses: on the word as a whole as well as in regards to my sub-goals that I thought up at the beginning of the year.

Reflecting on My Word as a Whole

I think that when I intially chose Groove as my word of the year I conceptualized it as finding a weekly routine that I would be able to do throughout the entire year. To be quite honest I’m not sure why I was thinking this way because my actions never matched this thinking. Out of necessity from scheduling things with friends and family, I was living a more of a week-to-week lifestyle that required me to be more flexible than having rigid weekly routine/rituals.

As a result of living more of a week-to-week lifestyle, I think that I want to recontextualize the word Groove to mean something different. I think that within the general flow of the year I want to focus on finding a groove within each week. What I mean by this is to treat each week like a microcosm of the year and plan internally within each week to optimize that window of time. My goals and actions taken over the course of the week will change from week to week but that is okay.

Weekends I am pretty much always occupied with a family or friend event so I don’t really have to worry too much about filling my weekend, instead I am more focused on filling my weeks, especially my 5-9 after my 9-5.

Something that I’ve tried to implement in order to have a semblance of routine and to fill my weekdays are recurring events. Recurring events is terminology that I have landed on myself after not really liking the connotations of habit, ritual, or routine. To me it sounds better to not complete a recurring event because of schedule interruptions, cognitively missing a habit or being off a routine elicits a shame-based response within me.

Examples of my recurring events:

  • Mondays: Comedy show in DC with a friend
  • Tuesdays: 50% off movie night for members at my local movie theater by myself
  • Wednesdays: Board Game Club at work where I am friends with some people

I wish that these were more spread out instead of back-to-back, but I have to work with whatever is out there. I’m not sure if I want to have something at my disposal for every weekday because that’s definitely a lot. At the same time, it’s not like I do every one of these every week so it would be nice to have the option to do something or not.

Reflection on Sub-Goals

  1. Plan meals better
    • Shortly after I set these goals I decided to become vegan, or partly at least. I do not buy anything with animal products (egg, milk, honey, meat, etc.) for my apartment. If I go out to eat or at a friend/family’s I can eat whatever. I did not want to have to artificially limit myself when I still enjoy eating non-vegan food. This is ultimately self-imposed but I wanted to explore what vegan options are out there while being an early adopter/consumer to subsidize some of the R&D that still has to be done for product development.
    • I am eating out more than I used to and that is partially because I am cooking less than I used to. I imagine it also has to do with me taking advantage of the fact that it mean that I am allowed to have non-vegan food. I think I have also generally had less energy these days going into the office more that I have not been cooking much. I want to be better about cooking and meal prepping as it’s part of my goals for the year but it would also potentially be better for me/my wallet.
  2. Do an arts & crafts hobby
    • I have put my ink pad stamps that I bought to use
    • I’ve been making collages of stamps which I find very fun laying it out and trying to find out a good composition
    • When I was in Italy I found a wine glass paper shade tea light thing that I wanted to replicate so that will be my new project for a little bit
    • In general I just want to create more tangible, physical objects/art
  3. Make less impulsive purchases
    • I’ve generally kept this in mind but hasn’t been my main focus honestly
    • I have noticed that I have been spending more recently and saving less so I need to go through my credit card statements and see where I can limit spending
  4. Learn, think, and write more
    • I haven’t been writing as much but what I have been creating I’ve been really proud of (quality > quantity)
    • I’ve already read so much as compared to last year so I’m really excited about that and want to generally keep that pace
    • I think that reading more has given me more ideas/concepts to resonate with to spark further thinking and writing
  5. Listen to more music
    • I’ve been listening to a decent amount of new music via NTS Radio and finding new artists on Apple Music but I need to find a better way to find new artists. I haven’t done a sprint and not sure if I want to in the near future because it’s a lot.
  6. Leave the apartment more
    • I’ve been going into the office more because of hybrid work expectations which has taken care of this goal a little bit
    • I also try to lean on my aforementioned recurring events to get me out of the apartment for at least a little bit of the day

Conclusion

Through this mid-year reflection I feel much better about where I’ve been and where I’m going for the year. While it was not what the journey that I thought it would be at the start of the year, I am very glad where life has taken me. I’ve made so many new friends, read interesting books, wrote cool articles, and have learned new things about myself along the way. I’m going to continue to grow my community in NoVA, especially with two friends moving closer to me, which I plan on taking full advantage of.

With that being said, I still have a long ways to go, particularly in regards to cooking and art. I should take the effort to find easy and flavorful vegan recipes to meal prep for the week so that I don’t have to scramble during the week to find meals to take to work. As for art, I want to continue experimenting with new media so that I can find something that I really like and continue to iterate on. I will continue to write but I also want to have other creative outlets as well, particularly physical ones, because writing is mostly a digital medium for me (I have terrible handwriting and a faster typing speed).


Other Living Better Posts

How to Live Alone

Living alone, especially for the first time, can be daunting, but there are some things that you can do to make it far more enjoyable.

A Little is Better Than Nothing

It can be easy to fall into all-or-nothing thinking, but small benefits/progress are still better than nothing.

Finding My Groove in 2024

Setting my new word of year for 2024: Groove.

My 2023 Wrapped

My second ever year wrapped where I analyze my data in a Spotify Wrapped-esque manner.

2023: My Year of Intention

A reflection of my 2023 Word of the Year: Intention.


Comments