Things I have learned…

Lifelong learning is defined as “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.  I pride myself on being someone who is in constant pursuit of more and new knowledge.  As I have gotten older, I have become a more curious and adventurous learner.  My list has given me numerous opportunities to try new things and adventure out of my comfort zone.  It has also reinforced old habits such as reading and travel.

I think this year was a great deal of learning in more ways than I ever dreamed.  I had not realized how comfortable I have become on my couch.  I am a busy person but when it came to using what little down time I had, it meant separating my behind from my old and very comfortable couch.  Fortunately, my beloved husband was in tow for many of these adventures.  The list helped us to reconnect and spend more time together.  I also had many dear friends and family members along for some of my adventures.  This gave me an opportunity to reconnect with them also.

I learned this year and I think at times it is easy to forget how very blessed a person can be just by spending time with loved ones.  I spent one of my favorite days ever with Jamie Seitz where we completed acts of kindness, delivered books to free libraries in many locations and dodged traffic.  I ziplined over a river in Spain with my oldest daughter, Elena.  This was a test of my adventurous spirit.  After watching dozens of people go over including Elena, I found my wings.  I learned on this trip that my sweet, bob-wearing, plaid-skirted kindergartener had grown into an adult who was now a better, more confident traveler than her mom.  I learned about me.

I have spent the last twenty years raising my girls and forgetting about my own wants and desires.  I was a very different person twenty years ago than I am now.  Some of the basic foundation is still there but those parts have a lot of dust on them.  This year allowed me to unearth those parts and spend some time thinking about what the next chapter looks like for me.  I have about 20 months before my nest becomes empty and now I have some plans and many of those fears of being an empty nester have been put to rest.

A regular lesson of my life appeared again.  I have learned the limits of time.  I simply ran out of time to get all my items completed.  I completed 43 of the 50 items.  If I played professional baseball, I would be earning millions.  I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed.  I have bittersweet feelings surrounding the results of my 50 at 50 list.  My appointment for my balloon ride cancelled because of weather and the monastery was booked the weekend I had available.  And, I went to Europe instead of my week alone out on the road.  Once again, the powers have reminded me that there are 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week.  No more and no less.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

 

 

Advertisements

List Update….

It has been some time since I have posted.  I got locked out of my site and it took some time to get in touch with WordPress.  All is well now.

I have been working through the list and I am getting down to the end of my 50th year and will be having a birthday soon.  

One of my favorite list items this year has been to write letters and let people know how I feel about them.  Letter writing is becoming a dying art and I miss receiving cards and letters in the mail.  Much of correspondence between family and friends come by way of email or instant messaging now.  Most of my letters were to those individuals from the past and present who have left a lasting affect on me.  I plan to continue this in years to come.  I think it was a great way to reconnect and share my intimate feelings with them.  

Another favorite item was learning more about our family money situation.  Ben has handled our long-term investments and savings and I have been responsible for paying bills, etc.  This has worked for us for several years and we will continue with the split of responsibilities but it was helpful to better understand retirement needs and our financial situation.  I also compiled a notebook with all the information about each entity to continue my awareness.   

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

Capture the moment

A happy thing happened to me last week.  A young man asked to see my ID before he would allow me to purchase alcohol.  I almost climbed over the counter and kissed him right in the face.  I suppressed the feeling but it made me smile all the same.

I do realize that this same young gentleman requested ID from everyone so this was not a testament to my youthful appearance.   As I grow older, things tend to go away.  Some of life’s possibility goes with it.  For instance, I can no longer do the splits.  And I was sure I could still do a handspring, tried, failed.  This almost led to an emergency room visit.    Needless to say, losing your spring and split is not the end of the world.  But, I use to be able and now I cannot.  Change happens for the better and the worse.

My appearance is a change that has taken some getting use to.  In my youth, I considered myself attractive.  I liked how I looked then.  And, if I would have known what I know now, I would have looked longer with appreciation instead of seeing the flaws.   

I am trying each and every day to appreciate how I look in the mirror now because it is constantly changing.  I am ignoring the flaws and appreciating new gray hairs and laugh lines that were not present a short time ago. I am working hard at taking care of me.  After nearly two decades of “kid-focused” choices, I have started to transition my attention back to me.  My focus has become diet, exercise, timely doctor appointments and enjoying those moments in life that pass so quickly.  Some times instead of photographing every moment, I leave my camera at home and I simply listen to my girls in the band or I watch them sleep in the car after a long drive.

I am really enjoying my journey this year.  I am promising myself future adventures and I am learning all kinds of new things as I capture moments alone, with the girls, Ben and my circle of friends. 

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

cameras

Just me…

My entire life I have been surrounded by people.  I have four siblings, hundreds of cousins and many friends.  I am very social and I really enjoy companionship.  My husband, Ben is many times forced to go on errands he would rather avoid so I can have someone else in the car.   I even invite him into the room while I am reading.  I like him around.

In recent years, I have gradually found that I enjoy time alone.  I am so much more comfortable with me-spending time all by myself now that I am older.  I use to think being alone meant I was lonely or unpopular.  I don’t fear being alone anymore.  I am unsure why the transition but I am going to credit it to learning to love myself.  I think age and life experience have played a role in this change also.

Doing things that makes me happy lights me up inside and out.  And, solitude is one of those things.  I am not rejecting family or friends.  I am just taking time to think deeply and disconnect from my very busy and noisy life.

Capturing time to be alone was not easy with my very active life.  I started adding solitude to my “To Do List” in the form of a bubble bath or yoga.   It really felt liberating to add something for me to my long list of laundry, grocery shopping, PTA meetings and all the other things I needed to accomplish before my head and pillow were able to reunite.

So it started, time for me. My love affair with solitude.  At first it might have been 20-30 minutes.  Then it expanded to more time for me and some times, I take an entire day. I have taken more than a couple of vacation days and not told my children.  I have spent the better part of my youth, being wracked with guilt. Not this time.  I am a better mom, friend, employee, wife when I take time for me.  I appreciate my life more.

As I was building my “50 at 50 list”.  Solitude and quiet time was included.  I am planning a road trip alone and some time at the monastery for deep thought and meditation.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

Juice Cleanse

As I was researching my latest adventure, I became overwhelmed by the number of ways I could cleanse myself and the number of products I could use to do so.  I read articles, books and talked to healthy living gurus.  I know myself pretty well and I know that a month cleanse was not for me.  I do not like to experiment with food and I do not enjoy hunger pangs.

I arrived at a juice cleanse thinking that I liked juice better than I actually do.  A local business in the Roosevelt Shops offers a  three or five day juice cleanse.  They make the juice for you.  I visited the store and selected the Green Hornet and I was on my way.  My oldest daughter, Elena joined me on the cleanse.  Misery loves company.

My hopes for the cleanse was to give up diet soda and help me to start some healthier eating habits.  I think that a few days without sugar and salt will help me adjust to a diet with fewer sweets and chips.

Day number one of the cleanse came and went without too much notice.  The juice diet kept me satisfied for the most part.  I did not suffer headaches and I did not spend my day in the restroom.  Lunch time at work was pretty hard.  Someone in the office had Chinese food for lunch.  And, if that was not bad enough, another person had fried chicken.  The smells were killing me.  So I grabbed my keys and headed out to the parking lot.  I had to get away.  Before I knew it, I was driving to Jimmy John’s for a quick sandwich.  I left the parking lot and before I reached the first turn, it occurred to me, “you cannot have a sandwich, you are on a juice cleanse.”  So I circled the block and returned to work.

Day number two was about the same.  I am actually enjoying some of the juice mixtures that The Juice Company made for me.  I do miss chewing.  I woke up at five and got to work before six.  I definitely am feeling a boost of energy.

Day number three happens tomorrow and I have no doubt that I can finish the cleanse.  It  has been far easier than I thought it would.  I think I could do a five-day cleanse next time.  This is something that I will definitely do again.

Thumbs Up for juice cleansing.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

SMART Goals

Goal setting is something we read about and hear about on a regular basis. For some, goal setting is a stressor. For others, a goal is a stress reliever.   I fall into the second group. I make lists, set goals, and complete New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, my lists some time have their own lists.  I have a list for each season of things to do with the kids. I have a lifelong love of list making and goal setting.

Life is short and hectic and I use goal setting as a way to be organized, as a way to make sure I remember what needs to be done and a way not to lose my sense of self in the hectic world of family life. If it is on the list, it must be done.

I use goal setting mostly for self-improvement such as relationship improvement or being healthier. Other times, I use goal setting as a bucket list.   The making of the list or selecting goals is very therapeutic for me. I often go to a quiet, favorite place like a coffee shop, library or park. I ask myself a few questions: What do I want to improve? What do I hope to accomplish? What makes me unhappy?   Each of these questions open up a world of brainstorming for me.

With Sharpie in hand and a full legal pad, I just write. After several minutes, I am ready to devise the list and the plan to accomplish my goals. This process is so freeing for me. It allows my creative juices to flow and to travel back to childhood and remember dreams I have left behind. It is a wonderful process. I use the SMART goal setting plan to assist me with the process.

        S    Specific

        M   Measureable

        A   Action Oriented

        R   Realistic

        T   Time Bound

My action plan varies from goal to goal. Long-term goals tend to get lost with me, but I have been working to complete more of these types of goals. Journaling has been an effective tool and timelines have worked wonders.   It has been so much fun for me to work through my 50 at 50 List.

I have almost half complete. There are items that I have loved completing and will absolutely do again – such as giving blood and writing monthly letters to people who have impacted my life in a special way. There are ones that I am glad I tried but will probably not try again like Tai Chi and Zip Lining. There are list items that took very little effort like signing up for AARP and others that were very time consuming such as learning about other religions-still in progress goal.

The list kind of forces my hand. I would never have attended a rodeo if not for the list. Life is so busy and little thoughts about trying something may get lost. Last weekend, I trotted Ben out to Adel County and we attended the rodeo. To our chagrin, we liked it a lot. Ben tried something new that night also besides the rodeo. He tried and LOVED home-made ice cream. It certainly beat the heck out of sitting on the couch watching a movie.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

 

Travel Abroad

As I was putting together my “50 at 50” list, I gave a great deal of thought to the things that I wanted to do.  I wanted the list to be adventurous and  realistic.  I knew this would be a big year for our family with the kids traveling abroad for the first time and Emma’s senior year of high school, therefore, I did not put on my list travel abroad.

But, the stars aligned and I was able to leave North America for the first time in my life.   Elena and I spent a week in Madrid, Spain and Paris France.  As we were planning our trip, my feelings were mixed with everything from anxiety to elation to eagerness.  We read travel books, visited travel websites and spoke with friends and relatives who were world travelers.  We received some very good advice because our trip was seamless.

Elena is a wonderful world traveler.  She is courageous, careful and resourceful.  She was by far the leader of our adventure.  She mastered the Metro systems in both countries with just a few minutes of study.  We were never lost and she was able to find all the locations on our wish lists for visiting.  Besides the above characteristics, Elena is young and at times forgot that I was 30 years older than her.  We tracked about 10+ miles each and every day.  I may be the only person to visit Europe and in a week lose ten pounds.  I am referring to it as the “Elena weight loss plan.”  You will walk fast, escalators and moving sidewalks are not for standing and you will carry your own bags all the time.  Stopping for food is allowed at most twice per day and drink lots of water because you will need it.

The most frightening portion of the trip was the zip lining  over the width of Tagus River in Toledo, Spain.  It took me two hours to work up the nerve to pay my money and sail across the river.  Elena took her turn over right away and then I sat and watched dozens of people in different shapes and sizes cross the river before I felt brave enough to put on my helmet and fly.  When I arrived to the jumping point, I had a few questions for the gentleman.  I started to explain to him that I was still a bit unsure if I should jump, he said you will be fine and pushed me out.  The rest is history.  I can mark that off my list.

Getting older has made me less brave.  I really do not mind the aging process but this has to be one of the side effects of aging that I enjoy the least.  As we planned for our trip, I think we talked as much about safety as we did the places we wanted to explore.  We planned for situations that might happen and we went over the details of our trip multiple times.

First and most importantly, I felt very safe the entire time we were in Europe.  Crime does happen and we were careful and conscience about our settings.  We stayed out of alleys and poorly lit areas.  We kept our money and passports in a pouch under our clothing.  We stayed with large groups of people so it did not appear we were  traveling alone.  We made colored copies of our passports and left one at home, left one if our suitcase at the hotel and took a picture on our phones.  In addition, before we left, we contacted our bank, credit card company and our medical insurance company.  We also packed a very small first aid kit for our bag that carried items such as Pepto Bismo, motion sick tables, ibuprofen, band aids and antibiotic cream.  We used each and every item while on our trip. 

Our trip can best be described as Lucy and Ethel meet the Girl Scouts.   It was such a wonderful adventure and I was so blessed to share it with my oldest daughter.  The best part of the trip for me was seeing the world through her eyes.  It also helped me to see her as the beautiful, responsible adult that she is. 

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.