“In whatever place you find yourself, be content.” – Annie Lee McKinney (my grandmother aka Granny Poo)
During a meeting at work earlier this year, all of the attendees had to complete a survey about work-life balance. We had to indicate how many hours we work during the week and on weekends, and how many hours a week we play sports, exercise, meditate, and engage in other leisure activities. We then had to add up all our points to figure out our work-life balance score. My score was in the “you need to get a life” range. When Chris, a much older, high-level executive leaned over and peeked at my low score, he remarked, “Really?” Great. Now everyone else will know I need to get a life, I thought. Chris meditates daily, always seems Zenned out and in control, and generally doesn’t seem to let things bother him or disrupt his joy. I can learn a few things from Chris.
In January 2015, I resolved to be more honest with myself. If I had been given an honesty test, I’d have admitted that I need to exercise, but hate gyms; love to travel, but rarely make time for it; need to incorporate more joy and play in my life, but forgot how to do that; often do things out of guilt or because it’s expected of me – even when I don’t want to; often remain silent about my own needs and expectations, because I don’t want to rock the boat or hurt others’ feelings; and that I need to get off my arse and tend to some long-neglected goals.
When I look back over this year, I notice that I embraced adventure and stepped out of my comfort zone a lot. I incorporated a sense of play in my life, and stopped taking myself so seriously all the time. I tried new things simply because they seemed fun or interesting. I suppose I lightened up quite a bit and followed my bliss.
To name a few, I:
- Started practicing yoga. Okay, I haven’t done this in a while. But, I should still get credit on the “I got my life” test.
- Went to a roller skating rink for the first time in my life, and didn’t fall on my butt. The sight of my friend and I holding hands as we rolled slowly along and tried to steer clear of weaving teenagers is priceless.
- Last summer, I rode a bike for the first time in almost twenty years. I loved it so much that I bought a bike, ride regularly, and plan to ride in NYC’s 5-boro bike tour (shout out to my friend T, who bought me a sexy purple biking jersey for Christmas, and bought my dog Buster an even sexier matching coat);
- I contacted the Alzheimer’s Association to volunteer. This cause is close to my heart because Granny Poo had Alzheimer’s.
- I took a grant writing course. Writing for a good cause – how could that not be interesting.
- I took a solo trip to Montreal, Canada (future blog post coming up);
- I took a solo trip to Sydney, Australia (another future blog post coming up);
- I hired a life/career coach;
- I had difficult, yet courageous and honest conversations at work and in my personal life. Now, I may have had to google approaches and talk my strategies over with friends, but I did it! We teach people how to treat us; teach them well, dernit.
- I submitted two essays for publication. One was rejected, and I haven’t heard back regarding the second one. But, I will press on and keep submitting.
- I dipped a pinkie toe back into the pool of online dating. I’m beginning to think I may be allergic to dating. But, I sure looked cute. Holla!
In 2015, I lived life more. Thrived instead of merely existing. I asked life, Why not? And then I answered, Oh, what the heck. Let’s just do it. I truly embraced the sentiment that this life is the only one we have, and that we must make the most of it. This life, not the one I wish I had or the life others have, but the one I have been blessed with. Granny Poo used to say, “In whatever place you find yourself, be content.” But, sometimes we forget when we’re in a pretty awesome place. We fail to explore the joy, adventure and opportunities already available to us. We don’t maximize our present circumstances.
I don’t know what the future holds (although a trip to Spain sounds like fun). I haven’t come up with a theme for 2016, or a list of things I plan to achieve (I’m still working on my 2015 list). But, I will maximize the heck out of my present circumstances.
Cheers to appreciating the place you’re in and new adventures!
Happy New Year!