Alas, I have returned from a far away land called Productivity. Since my last posts in which I set my goals for personal improvement and identified my obstacles, I’m happy to report that I have achieved perfection!!
CUT! O.K. Let’s run that back a bit . . .
Several months back, June to be exact, I took a long, hard look at my life (aforementioned posts) and realized that a new chapter is fast approaching. To the point, in the Year 2020 (cue Zager and Evans) everything changes. I will be turning 50, my daughter will be heading to college and I will more than likely be moving closer to work. Now, the part about being alone, single and responsible for my bills, home, etc. is not intimidating. I’ve always been independent. (Go, Mary Richards!) But the part where everything will be all about me, is quite frankly, unfamiliar. I’m a caretaker at heart. And I suppose I will always be checking on, helping out and doing for others. But at the end of the day, it will be me, myself and I. And none of us know what we want to be doing in our spare time in 2020!
So, I’m happy to report, that these past few months, while not actually attaining perfection, I have made great strides in getting up, getting out and getting on with things! That’s not to say I’m rolling down Route 66 in a Cadillac convertible a’la Thelma and Louise. (Although if a young Brad Pitt were to point his gun at me and say “give me all ya got” . . well, I would.) No, I still treasure my alone time on the couch reading a good book or enjoying a Golden Girls marathon in my tank top and yoga pants. But I did do one thing that expanded my world, opened my mind and taught me many wonderful lessons.
This thing, this very simple action, came by way of a New Year’s Resolution. In 2016, I vowed to do or try something new at least once a month. And while there were many firsts such as going to a college Lacrosse game and taking a train trip, for the most part, I didn’t really keep track. But I knew I was on to something. So this year, I decided to do just that . . keep track. (I think I just unknowingly made a pun regarding the train trip.) But I digress . . .
My daughter, who is always supporting my goals and teaching me new things (she’s pretty much the most awesome human EVER), introduced me to the millennial trend called bullet journaling. If a diary, a scrapbook and a calendar had a baby it would be this thing. Being somewhat creative, I was quite excited and researched ideas, formats and pictures. And I have to admit, I really did enjoy it. But I soon found that unless you have whole afternoons to devote to mapping out your squares, choosing color palates, and writing your months and dates in cute curlicues, you will soon fall behind. And I won’t have that kind of time until 2020!
But I liked the idea of succinct bullets to organize activities. The OCD part of my brain loves a good bullet list. And while it isn’t a unique concept, the allowance of not completing a task and moving it to another day with a simple “>” was life changing!! If you do not have any form of OCD or don’t consider yourself a perfectionist, you should just skip to the next paragraph because you won’t get this. But in my mind, it often makes more sense to not do a task than doing it without complete success. Which is why I have failed at blogging in the past. I would either continually go back and feel the need to edit, re-edit and edit some more or say for instance, if I went too long between posts and felt I had not adhered to some proper blogging timetable, I would just give up entirely. Same with a bullet list. Before the use of the “>”, if I didn’t complete a task in the given day, it was angrily scratched out and the whole list went in the trash. But this forgiving little symbol allowed me to have no shame in my game! And that includes going nine months without a blog post!
So, the combination of my simple goal to try or do something new and my nifty purse size weekly calendar from Barnes and Noble, allowed me to focus on this promise to myself. No writing down work appointments or reminders . . . that’s what my office calendar is for. Yes, I list a day off and sneak in a reminder of a board meeting but for the most part it’s a to-the-poimt to-do list of no more than five personal items. And I have found in those five items, I can not only fit in household tasks that make me feel productive but also fun little items such as “go by store for starfruit” or “make appointment to visit alpaca farm.”
And beyond the fact that I have learned that starfruit are delicious and alpacas are the cutest little mop headed babies in the world with crazy bad onion breath is something even more illuminating. No matter your age, financial status, experiences in life, whether you’ve lived all over or in the same town your whole life . . . there is ALWAYS something new to be seen, enjoyed, learned, tasted, heard and experienced. ALWAYS! You just have to do it. Sounds simple but ask a family member or co-worker when they last did something completely new. Most will struggle to think of an answer. And to my delight, there were unexpected returns from my Resolution Revolution. My daughter, when trying to persuade me into an activity, has started using the phrase “this could be our something new” and my Mom and Dad, 77 and 80 years old respectively, often call and say “guess what we did new today?”
So perhaps trying new things in an effort to find a hobby to enjoy in my empty nest years . . . turned out to be my new hobby!