Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 - The Year of Body (Health, Fitness, and all things physical)

I do not make new year resolutions. Instead I pick a theme for each year and I try to focus and explore that area throughout the year. I've had The Year of Friendship, The Year of Simplicity, The Year of Organization, The Year of Autonomy, The Year of Education, The Year of Closure, and the list goes on. I've been doing this for over 15 years now and I come away each year with new insight and a better understanding of myself at the very least.

Last year my theme was: "2009 - The Year of Happiness."
What's my theme going to be for 2010? I've already focused many years on "mind" and "spirit" themes. This new year is going to be dedicated to "body." It's health and fitness and everything physical. I have been neglecting my physical being for quite some time and I have decided I need to give the physical me some love and attention.

At present the idea is to start taking care of myself. Vitamins. Waterpik. Eating healthier (less take-out, more home cooking). An active lifestyle. Strength. Flexibility. Beauty.

I feel old. My body hurts when I get up in the morning, my back, my feet, my hips, and my knees. I know that can change if my lifestyle is more active, my body gets the exercise it needs, and my metabolism is elevated. I want to like what I see in the mirror again someday. I want to feel as good on the outside as I feel on the inside.

My initial thoughts on how to do this are different than how I'd approach this in previous years. I'm not going to buy a membership at the healthclub. I'm not going to force myself to run every morning (which I find quite brutal self abuse at the moment even though I used to love to run). So instead, I am going to focus on classes and activities that I actually am looking forward to doing! I've already signed up for a beginner's yoga class. I've also signed up for a informal dance class with friends. I'm trying to make a date with an old friend to go hiking on the weekends when our schedules are compatible. I'm going to order Wii's Dance Revolution too. I'm not going to over do it and push myself like I did last year when I got my Wii Fit and ended up barely able to walk for the better part of a week and never touched the thing again. This time, it's moderation and fun with an emphasis on fun. The more fun I have the more likely I'll come back for more.

I'm not going to give up my other passions either. I'm still going to take classes on subjects that interest me. This month it's a sewing class and a few jewelry classes. Next month I'm slating a quilting class and hopefully a weaving class and perhaps some glass/PMC classes and maybe some instruction on how to use my new kiln. Other areas I'd like to explore are play a bongo drum, pottery, basket weaving, woodworking, blacksmithing, creative writing (most forms), spanish language, photography, firearm/marksmanship, glass blowing, candle making, drawing, website design and development, and possible a refresher C++ class as a springboard into video game programming. I will continue my jewelry design, knitting, crochet and home improvement activities. I also hope to spend more time reading.

If I like the yoga and/or the dance classes, I'll keep doing them. If I don't, or if I get bored, I'll find other activities that sound fun and take classes for those. Other physical activities that sound interesting are Tai Chi, Qigong, Pilates, other forms of dance, hiking, hash house harriers/running, and walking the dogs on a much more regular basis and possibly other activities including the dogs. I hope to meet people that also have active lifestyles, and that I'll cultivate friendships with that will help reinforce this new way of life. Eventually I won't even have to think about taking care of myself physically because it will just be a part of who I am again after all these years.

At least that's the idea. As usual, the focus will morph as the year progresses and as my self-discovery advances. I love the luxury this provides and really look forward to each and every year, and whatever topic I chose to focus my attention.

Friday, January 1, 2010

"2009 - The Year of Happiness" In Retrospect

Well, 2009 has come and gone. My focus this past year was happiness. I knew I wanted to find happiness like Jason maintains daily and I hoped a year of exploration and self-discovery would get me closer to finding that elusive thing called happiness. I knew I had tendencies toward being a serious and driven individual and that being happy seemed to come in brief spurts ever so often and that they never were really satisfying in a sustained way. I knew I was doing something wrong, but I thought I could devise some sort of checklist that would show me the path to happiness and it was right around the corner.

I spent the first three quarters of 2009 basically fooling myself into thinking I was happy or at least happier. I focused on things like getting rid of the clutter in my life, you know those low urgency/low importance tasks? I focused on getting more organized, this from the organizational queen. HA! I focused on simplifying my life and getting rid of those pesky "energy drains." I focused on finding closure on areas of my life that weren't quite working for me any longer, selling a house and committing to finally complete my bachelor's degree. I focused on acting like I was happy, the whole "fake it 'til you make it" approach. I thought I'd made real progress and I even blogged about it all the way into September.

Then in October, I had a lightbulb moment that changed my life. I found my passion drummer. Blog entries began pouring out of me, one after the other. I'm not exactly sure what happened that day. Perhaps it was as easy as me giving myself permission to really see the world from the simplistic value system required to find happiness on a daily basis. Perhaps it was devine intervention. Whatever the case, I'm a changed individual. Although I still find myself falling back into my old familiar goal-driven thoughts and behaviors, when I start "feeling the ugly" it yanks me right back to the passion drummer. I can and will continue to cultivate my happiness now that I realize that it's all up to me. It's a choice.

Jason didn't think I'd ever really get it. In fact, he thought I didn't want to get it. More to the point, it wasn't that I didn't get it, or didn't want to get it, it was that I dismissed the simplicity of the passion drummer as not sophisticated enough for my complicated life. What a silly silly goal-driven person I was being. I spun around in the mouse wheel of the goal-driven way of life with cyclical highs and lows and couldn't figure out why I was feeling unfulfilled. Now it's as easy for me to identify this in others as the color of someone's eyes.

It has changed so much about how I see my world. I used to love movies with a lot of drama but now see that so many of those stories are simply about passion drummer roles clashing with goal driven roles. Those stories use to hold such complex paradoxes for me and now they are obvious and uninteresting. But other movies that I would have thought stupid or bizarre, now help me see and redefine my world in ways that I wasn't capable of understanding before.

I never found "that one passion" and I've decided to abandon such a expectation-laden goal. Instead, I now just pursue those things that I find enjoyment in. Those pursuits are all over the board. Creative Writing. Sewing/Quilting. Web Development. Yoga. Knitting. Hiking. Weaving. Gaming (mostly MMORPGS and Wii Fit although Jason can get me to play Modern Warfare 2 co-op if I'm drunk enough HA!). Reading. Dance. Home improvements (next project is installing laminate flooring in the main bedroom). Pottery. Jewelry making. Movies. Maybe running (after my toe nail grows out). And I may decide to pursue a game development degree but that is still a ways off. The one constant is my love of learning something new. I still get bored quickly but now I don't judge myself for that. I just move on to the next thing that excites me and gets my passion drummer beating a little faster. I'm happy at home. I'm happy at work. I'm happy.

In the end, I stumbled upon happiness in a debate in the back seat of a car with a co-worker. I'll be forever grateful to Barton, Roger and Jason for being the catalysts to that light-bulb moment. The beauty of the themed year approach is that I have incorporated this knowledge and behavior into my life and it is now a part of who I am. It's not just some task, some check list item, that is done and forgotten. I've changed. I've grown. And that is priceless.

What's in store for 2010? That's coming up next. I've already focused many years on "mind" and "spirit" themes. This new year is going to be dedicated to "body." It's health and fitness and everything physical. I have been neglecting my physical being for quite some time and I have decided I need to give the physical me some love and attention.