Credit where credit is due: This idea was inspired by my dear, beautiful, hilarious friend Harley May and her year of scary living. Thanks, friend, for indirectly giving me a kick in the pants.
On January 1, I blogged about a few things I’d like to do differently this year.
A few days later, I told you I’m about to start counseling.
And today I’d like to tell you about my year of adventurous living.
The new year always brings a sense of hope with it, don’t you think? A feeling of newness, of starting over. Erasing all the stupid mistakes we made over the past 365 days and staring at a blank chalkboard / canvas / dry erase board / whatever you write your life on inside your head.
For me, it’s a chalkboard. And today, for the first time, I really stepped back and looked at my 2011 chalkboard. Examined it. Thought about what was written on it–and what wasn’t.
Here’s what I realized:
I didn’t do much in 2011. In fact, you could sum up my year in a very short list:
1) Cared for new baby.
2) Went to work.
3) Got stressed out about clutter.
4) Thought about things I’d like to do, then decided they were too much trouble and did something easier.
5) Wrote a new book.
That’s . . . it. I mean, obviously, that’s not REALLY it. But by and large, yeah, that’s it. And in thinking about it, I had to wonder: How much of my resentment and negative thought patterns is coming from the fact that I am not living adventurously?
Probably a lot.
I am, by nature, an adventurous person. I love to do new and unexpected things. My college life was VERY adventurous. I did Little Adventurous things, like speaking to strangers in my classes or exploring a previously unknown section of campus.
And I did Big Adventurous Things, like moving to Spain for a semester by myself. I also bought a plane ticket to New York for New Year’s Eve 2005, on a whim, with no place to stay and no guarantee that anyone would go with me.
(People went, by the way. And one of them was my future husband. And we stayed in the coolest hotel ever.)
But things have changed a bit since I became an “adult.” The last time I did anything Big Adventurous was March 2009, when Rob and I roadtripped it to Chicago. We had no reason to go except that we’d never been. We didn’t plan anything besides where we would stay, and it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.
(Side note: Chicago is ten hours from where we live in Birmingham, Alabama, Deep South, USA.)
(Also, when people say there is nothing but corn in Indiana, well, they’re not kidding.)
I’m okay with not having Big Adventures right now. We’re in a stage of life that just doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous road trips or, you know, moving to foreign countries. Having a baby and two full-time jobs changes things, and I’m okay with that.
What I’m not okay with is losing the Little Adventures.
What happened to the concerts we used to go to? Why are we eating at the same restaurants over and over? Why do we hardly ever see our friends, and when was the last time we made new ones?
It’s unacceptable. Talk about a rut.
So I hereby dub 2012 The Year of Adventurous Living.
I don’t have a specific plan, but I’d like to do more things I’ve never done before. Little Adventures, mostly, although if a Big Adventure presents itself and we have the time and money to do it, I’m game. But I’m not counting on any Big Adventures. Not right now. Just small ones.
Here are some things I’d like to do:
1) Get out of town more. Just . . . get out. With or without Baby Girl. Stay with friends and family who live in other cities. Explore. And if it’s a place we’ve never been before, that’s even better. We’ve got a trip lined up later this month (no, thieves, I will not tell you exactly when) and then I’m going to a writer’s workshop in Mobile in March. I’m also trying to line up a quick Nashville trip sometime in the spring, because seriously? Nashville ROCKS.
2) Follow through with friends. I’m tired of saying, “Let’s get together sometime,” and then a year later, I realize it never happened. I want to make it happen. Having people over can result in unexpected Small Adventures, even if it’s just a conversation you never saw coming.
3) Sign up for our church’s Ballroom Dancing class. Oh yeeeeeah, baby, you heard me right. Seems the ol’ church is feeling the pain of a rut, too, because they’re starting all kinds of fun social things. Film nights, art events, some sort of business/entrepreneur type thing that is absolutely NOT up my alley, and a bunch of other stuff–including BALLROOM DANCING.
I have no experience in ballroom dancing. Neither does Rob. We can’t wait to sign up.
4) Sing Karaoke. I’ve never done it. The THOUGHT of it terrifies me. Which is why I want to do it. What song would I sing? How would I sing it? What would I wear? WHAT IF I BOMBED? Only one way to find out.
5) Go to concerts. This one requires something we don’t have much of, and that’s extra cash. But we have a couple of great smaller music venues in the area, and their tickets are generally on the cheaper side. So I think it’s doable, with a little advance planning.
6) Do my very best to get in shape and be healthier. I know what you’re thinking. THIS IS NOT THE HOTMOTHER. The Hotmother is dead. DEAD. This is just Operation Stop Gaining One Pound Per Week.
It’s easy for me to be like, “Oh, I’m tall, no one will be able to tell if I gain a little weight. I can wiggle into these pants. Sure, there’s a muffin top, but no one’s really looking anyway. Let me just eat this cheesecake and then I’ll go for a walk or something.”
It’s ADVENTUROUS for me to say, “I need to do something about this, and I’m going to. Starting now.”
Now, you know me: I need a plan for these kinds of things, and usually, not even a plan can keep me on track. But I’m trying again. I’ve downloaded an app called My Fitness Pal on my iPhone, and I’m inputting calories and exercise every day. Or, most days. This is how I lost 9 lbs. right before I got pregnant in 2010, so I’m hoping it’ll work again.
Here are the Little Adventures I’ve already had:
Explored a trail near my house (turns out there is a whole Narnia-type wild forest area back there!)
Deleted my Goodreads account (more on that later)
Started the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD workout (it hurts, ladies, IT HURTS, and this is not one of those John Cougar Mellencamp “Hurt So Good” kind of things. It hurts SO BAD.)
Deleted my Google Friend Connect widget (too much pressure, and also, Google isn’t going to let non-Blogger blogs use it anymore, so it was inevitable)
Considered going to Zumba. (Baby steps, people.)
How about you? Have you had any adventures lately, big or small? Do you have any suggestions for me?