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402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: new year

Day 739: The Year of Using Your Brain

Last year, I wrote a checklist in lieu of a list of resolutions. I figured checking stuff off everyday would be easier than resolving, failing, resolving again, etc.

I’m happy to say I did a pretty good job getting through the list each day. (“Pretty good” may be a generous assessment, but I took some liberties with number 10.)

The act of writing the checklist in January helped me remember that it even existed partway through the year, which seemed useful in and of itself. So this year, I’m doing the same thing – but this time, my daily checklist only has one item on it:

  1. Learn something new.

Learning something new about just one topic seems claustrophobic and way too logical, but since I don’t want to make a totally bogus checklist, I picked some interest areas to focus on:

  • Food access and agriculture
  • Neuroplasticity and aging
  • Creativity and mental health

(Imagining the three areas was a fun exercise – if you decide to make your own one-item checklist, I’d recommend taking a minute to think about what you’re actually interested in knowing.)

Since there’s no time like the present (and I already read more Game of  Thrones than I can handle over the holidays), I dove right in with food access and agriculture by watching five episodes of Food Forward by PBS yesterday. There are some cheesy moments, but the series is generally interesting, smart, accessible and surprising. I didn’t know, for example, that seed libraries are actually a thing. You can borrow seeds at the beginning of a season, and then donate new seeds back once you harvest your garden or farm. It’s a great way to preserve local agricultural biodiversity.

Seed library information online seems a little paltry after a brief search, but there are still plenty of folks out there trying to show you where to participate, if you’re interested. (If you’re already familiar with this system and have some better resources, please leave them in the comments.)

seed library

Photo of a seed library by Mike Teegarden and borrowed from this article

In the name of New Year aspirations, I like the idea of feeding the planet (or at least myself) off my patio, so the show + my checklist also inspired me to sign up for a local gardening class that will teach me how to grow edible stuff in pots. The class doesn’t meet until March, so I have a couple of months to learn more new things first (and a check-point in case I start lagging). Here’s hoping the thirst for knowledge never dries up.

Happy New Year to you, and happy checklist-making!

Day 403: Keeping Going

This is technically the 403rd day of this blog, which – according to my mindset when I started blogging 403 days ago – means that yesterday should have been the last day.

But, like David Bowie once said, time may change me, but I can’t trace time (that’s not exactly the point I’m trying to make here, but… you get it). I started this with the intention of blogging every day until December 31, 2013. I made it until March 29, 2013. Then I slowed down and it was a good choice.

Things ch-ch-change. Instead of closing up shop, I’ve decided that 402 will persevere until the end of time (or until I no longer have an internet connection or a computer or any lists to write or interesting people to learn about).

So in honor of keeping going, I made a list. It’s not a list of 2014 resolutions or pledges. It’s not lofty or necessarily aspirational—it’s just a checklist. Of small things that are do-able every day, like “brush your teeth” or “put on pants.” These are easy.

To Do (Each Day)

  1. Smile when you wake up (even if it doesn’t come naturally and you’re just moving your face around).
  2. Be kind.
  3. Breathe first. Then react.
  4. Walk around with bare feet.
  5. Take a breath of outside air halfway through the day (no matter how cold, rainy, hot or dry it is out there).
  6. Admit that you don’t know something.
  7. Make an effort.
  8. Slow down.
  9. Put your phone away at night.
  10. If you didn’t get to it today, let it go. Then do it tomorrow.

Day 38: Happiness (and Boringness)

Okay, okay. Someone called me out on having a boring blog yesterday. Publicly. Like, as a blog comment.

Sometimes, I can only spend 20 minutes or so putting these posts together. And on those days, they aren’t stellar. Writing something for public view every single day is harder than I originally imagined. But, it’s a good and humbling experience. I recommend it to anyone looking for a way to push him/herself and experience a little vulnerability.

In that vein, today I’m paraphrasing a post written last January by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who used to work with people at the very end of their lives. She chronicled the top five regrets people expressed on their deathbeds. In honor of beginning a fresh new year and approaching each day with a smile, here are the regrets she observed:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Because of the way it’s phrased, the fifth one strikes me the most. It doesn’t say, “I wish I had been happier.” It says, “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” As Bronnie points out, happiness is a choice.  Every minute of the day, we get to choose how we live. And certainly, experiencing sadness and destruction is part of every life. But on the whole, if we practice being happy, we lead happier lives.

May you and yours have a very happy New Year.

Day 37: Not About Dating, Part 3

Good morning, blogeeps… er, blops (What’s the shorthand for “blog readers?”), and happy New Year’s Eve to you.

On this last day of 2012, it seems only appropriate to summarize something—like a year of refusing to date. For most of 2012, I was happily buried in enormous work and dance projects. During the rest of it, I complained about how I stink at online dating.

See past blog posts for parts one and two of the “not about dating” series. You will be riveted.

Over the holidays, I took my friend Russ’s Tweeted advice to play hard to get. I stayed far away from Match and ignored every online message and wink that came my way (there were at least three). I also threw a buffer friend between myself and that guy who approached me at the dance club. I don’t go to clubs terribly often, but when I do, I go to dance, not fraternize. C’mon, man!

In retrospect, playing hard to get isn’t really that fun if there’s only one player.

That said, I do have two prospective real-life interests. Make that three.

1) A former high school classmate who lives somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 miles away from me. Also, he might be in a relationship. And gay.

2) The cute United Express pilot who smiled at me in the PDX airport yesterday and then proceeded to get on another flight. What’s up with that? Also, I scowled at him. But don’t worry—my internet sleuthing skills rival the best researchers’ out there. I’ll find him and then do nothing.

3) Seth from The O.C. He’s smart, funny, nerdy and plays music in his real life. He’s the best!

Based on my interests, I’d say my next step is therapy.

Here’s to a year in which I avoided dating at all costs, we all survived a non-apocalypse, Girl Scouts turned 100, my friends and I laughed a thousand timessomeone reviewed my Fringe show as “a thing of wonder” and one of my neighbors burned down our dumpster. Bon Voyage, 2012! You truly were a good year.