How To Have An Exciting Life!

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Twice just recently, when I’ve posted my activities on Facebook, I’ve got the response that my days and weeks sound ‘exciting.’

These comments made me pause.

I don’t think of my life as particularly exciting.

I still have ten loads of laundry to do.

I spent yesterday morning seemingly driving back and forth to home because I kept forgetting my checkbook.

I clean out the kitty litter a few times a week on a daily basis.

My life, though, does vibrate at a level I can cope with and with a splash of color now and again.

I like that. I get excited.

I often go to bed looking forward to the next day.

Moving to the US was one such adventure and it was here I learned the phrase ‘pushing the envelope.’

The phrase confused me for the longest time.

I mean, how hard is it to push an envelope?

But when it was explained to me that it means to challenge boundaries, break new ground, I realized it describes my attitude exactly.

And here, in the US, is where I was meant to be.

It hasn’t always been like this, though.

I have always been adventurous, wanting to try new things.

But I haven’t always been able.

I’ve had to wait, adjust, save up.

I’ve got distracted, depressed and stuck.

But I’ve been able to get back to a place of adventure.

By paying attention to a few things.

So how do we have an exciting life?

One that makes our heart beat faster, gives us a rush that makes our cheeks warm, the after-glow of completion, the stories to tell?

Well, I’ll tell you how. Right here, right now.

7 Steps To An Exciting, Vibrant Life:

1. Know you are in control. Whether you have an exciting life is down to you. Period. No ifs, no buts. You can live the life you want but you have to know what you want, get focused and get creative.

2. Know when to say no – which is nearly always. I have contracted volunteer commitments at our school but beyond that I am a mom and there’s enough volunteering right there, thank you very much. We nearly always overcommit ourselves. You need time, energy and mental clarity to achieve the things you want to achieve.

3. Know yourself and don’t apologize for it. Make sure your family and individual activities suit you first and foremost. If you are bent out of shape, you can bet your family is too.

4. Feel the fear (but not too much) and do it anyway. With a nod to Susan Jeffers who wrote a book of a similar name, we must step outside our comfort zones to have new experiences, to do different things. Facing fear takes a lot of energy and as moms we don’t have much to spare. But a little expansion makes the difference between a humdrum life and an extraordinary one. I know which I prefer.

5. Compile a bucket list. As things strike you, write them down somewhere. Visiting India, bungee jumping, and trekking the Amazon rainforest are on young people’s lists. For moms, yours is more likely to be learn to meditate, try a Zumba class and buy a book from Amazon. I know how that goes. I once had a resolution to stroke our cat for ten minutes per day. Whatever it is, large or small put it down somewhere because, with young children, you will need to…

6. Bide your time. When I first moved to the US, I went to the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco. A truck went by with gorgeous, muscular young men pounding away on big drums. The sight and music they made was so, so powerful, I turned to my husband and asked, ‘What was THAT?’ He told me it was Taiko drumming, a Japanese performance art. I made a mental note to try it one day (see #5 above.) I never forgot. It took me fourteen years of waiting but eventually a public workshop in my area was held for a price I could afford. Now may not be the right time but it will come. Patience is a virtue and all that.

7. Pace yourself. Do #5. Then #6. And adjust with #7. When I was younger with no responsibilities, I stepped far outside my zone regularly. I scared myself to death every day! Nowadays those steps are far smaller. Baby steps. Having young children is a commitment and a tie. It limits flexibility. And unless you have a huge amount of time to yourself (guess I’m talking to myself here, huh?) stretching your mental capacities too far is unlikely to make you feel rested. If you’re in that lifestage, do small, easily achievable things that will restore you. Put those on your bucket list. Don’t do things that will exhaust you and definitely don’t do dangerous things. Look after yourself so you can look after your kids. Your time will come.

I know when my kids were little, I wanted to fold laundry, read a book or nap.

They were the things I put on my bucket list.

I certainly didn’t want to walk along the Great Wall of China or lick my pole.

My boudoir photos, pole dancing, this blog, are all examples of activities that are just outside my comfort zone.

They feel stimulating but not terrifying to me. They make me giggle.

I have the freedom now my kids are older to pursue some things for me.

And only me.

Nowadays, I look out for things on the likes of Groupon that attract me and give me a steal.

Gets me two birds with one stone.

That makes me happy, right there.

I have a file I shove notes and cuttings on things I’d like to do.

I tell people about them to increase my commitment.

Take a moment to think what would restore you, excite you, make you smile.

Give you that after-glow.

As you branch out more even more opportunities will arise, expanding your world outwards ever farther.

So go on, start writing those things down.

You have nothing to lose except an exciting, vibrant life!

Do you lead an exciting life? Could you do better? Pace yourself more? Let me know in the comments!

And if you think someone could benefit from this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. There are buttons at the top and just below.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

SuzRocks May 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I totally agree- I think the MOST important thing is to actually write down the list. There are things that I’ve written down literally, almost ten years ago that I’m just getting around to now. And there are other things on the list that I really want to do, but I just know now is not the right time.

But I know what they are- so when it IS the right time, I’ll be ready!
SuzRocks recently posted..If I Don&8217t Get Traded For A Camel- I&8217ll Tell You All About It AfterMy Profile

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Alison Golden May 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Hey Suz, that list sure is all important. Edited to say: And you are living an exciting life! Off to the Niger to help fix cleft palates, good for you. Come back and tell us all your stories. 🙂

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Jessica May 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm

This is a great post. Right now my kids are young and “exciting” has a bit of a different meaning. One of these days I will get back to my bucket list.
Jessica recently posted..I’m Scary!My Profile

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Alison Golden May 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

The whole time I had two kids under nine, I had more than enough adventure in my life. Plenty. I know *exactly* what you mean by ‘excitement.’ Thanks for dropping by!

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Mary E. Ulrich
Twitter:
May 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Alison, you have an exciting life because you keep trying new things. Your list is impressive. I think I should go “lick a pole” just for the hell of it.

Keep “pushing the envelope” and letting us all enjoy your journey. Your posts always give me energy–and that is a gift to each of us.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..The Animal School Inclusion Differentiated InstructionMy Profile

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Alison Golden May 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I’m glad you say that, Mary, because I’m well aware I’m in a fortunate position and other are not so much. If I can give you even a little bit more energy to deal with the challenges you face, my day will be made. I will think of you every time I push those envelopes. 🙂

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Emily faliLV
Twitter:
May 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Great list – I need to work on the apologizing part of number 3 and really would like to finally sit down and write a bucket list… I really enjoy reading your blog!
Emily faliLV recently posted..Margaritas- Maraschinos- and Skorts! OH MY WWMy Profile

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Alison Golden May 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

You’ll get there, Emily. I got really good at not adapting too much once my kids were about two and I was tired of bending myself out of shape ALL the time. I think it goes with the territory but once you start standing up for yourself and your needs, other people will too. It seems counter-intuitive but it works.

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MommaKiss May 25, 2011 at 10:38 am

Great list, something we should all work on! I’d like to ad that people on FB may think you’re exciting because maybe you FB the exciting stuff? Not the mundane like one of my friends “Getting dressed, busy day” an hour later “Coffee shop, Awesome!” 2 hours later “I’m eating pork rinds…” Get me? Heh. So yes – excitement wins!

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Alison Golden May 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I have hidden people who do that 😉

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misty May 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

Such a great post… Definitely something we need to hear over and over again.
misty recently posted..A letter AND an explanationMy Profile

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Alison Golden May 27, 2011 at 6:53 am

Hi Misty, I think you’re right, we can’t reminded too often about these things. They can get buried under the ‘stuff’ of life.

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Linda
Twitter:
May 27, 2011 at 7:03 am

Beautifully written post, Alison.

I loved #1 and #2, especially. It’s a wonder I have “friends” outside of social media, what with my could-it-slide-off-my-tongue-easier? pattern of saying “no” to damn-near everything…;).

I found the simplicity and tenderness of stroking the cat almost tear-worthy. As I’m looking at the crazy Siberian husky pup pacing the floors, I have a inclination to add that to my bucket list. It may make him a tad more calm….but nah, he’ll probably act like a toddler and just want more…either way, it’s a great goal.

Boundaries–yes, one of my all-time favorite topics. Really, when we boil it down, the key to life is healthy boundaries.
Linda recently posted..‘Man Up’- Why Real Men Go To CounselingMy Profile

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Alison Golden May 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

‘The key to life is healthy boundaries.’ This is so true, Linda, I added it to my inspiration quotes plugin that goes in my sidebar.

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Paleo2Go May 28, 2011 at 11:34 am

Love the articles and the blog….it is very important to make time for yourself and let your family and friends know what kind of mission you are on–to lead a healthy life. I know from my own experience that vigilence in the face of distractions (food and otherwise) is annoying to people at first, but eventually it becomes inspiring. Will be checking back for future updates.

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Alison Golden May 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Thank you, Paleo2Go. The support of others is important, hard to achieve sometimes at first but, as you say, with commitment, eventually it inspires others.

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Kelsey May 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I love your focus on life. Love it.

Most days, I feel so buried by the obligations I face, but at the same time am very aware that I’ve accepted these obligations by choice, and at the end of the day, wouldn’t give them up for anything.

The children, the misbehaved dogs, the military life can feel so defeating at times, but the joy most definitely outweighs the aggrevation. Your thoughts on knowing you’re in control and learning to say no were appreciated- I need that drilled into my head as often as possible. And your wording couldn’t have been outlined more eloquently if you tried.

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Alison Golden May 31, 2011 at 8:32 am

Thanks so much, Kelsey. If I made even the smallest difference in managing your day, I am truly grateful. 🙂

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bluecottonmemory June 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I won’t know what would be more harrowing, bungee jumping or being a passenger with my new teen driver! Now that my boys are older, I can see doing more “exciting” things like White Water Rafting. I took them to see Les Miserable – and that was another was definitely an experience to post about – gave excitement total new meaning. I like your list – and am thinking what to put on my list. Thanks!

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Alison Golden June 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I think I’d prefer the driving. Not as far to drop when you throw yourself out. 🙂

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Lily June 4, 2011 at 9:27 am

I LOVED this post! For the past few months I have been working at improving my life, getting a life. I found myself waiting around for some guy who doesn’t seem to realize I exist and when the smoke cleared and I came to, it made me mad. So, I’ve been working at making my life better for me. I’d sort of fallen off the wagon a big due to discouragement but this post of yours has really galvanized me. I thank you!

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Alison Golden June 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

Rock on, Lily! I love to get these comments. Check out this post, too: http://alisongolden.com/3-keys-to-a-happy-relationship-avoiding-abuse and then head on over to Shay’s site (link in the post) and download her free e-guide. Good luck!

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Allie
Twitter:
July 7, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Alison!

Just your name alone invokes excitement, lol! But if you had 2 L’s it would be even better. LOL. Just kidding.

I am actually going to print this post. I love #1. Days I feel in control correspond much more with exciting days than days I feel lost. Today I feel a little lost, just don’t know what to do, can’t find my way. This is by no means exciting at ALL. I need the control back to feel excited.

Every single point you made conjures excitement and I thank you for helping me see how to live life.

~Allie (Allison)

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Alison Golden July 9, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I have those days too, Allie. Where I’m lost and nothing I have to do is what I want to do, and even things I normally love don’t hold any appeal and I feel a bit of a victim. Sometimes I need to let go a little, maybe give myself a ‘don’t have to day,’ think, journal. Sometimes I need to pull myself together and go do something out of the ordinary. And I always need to plan. The older I get the more I realize that success is about planning, not rigidly so, but setting a goal and planning to get there with some flexibility to change course if necessary and exploit opportunities that come up. How are you doing with your goal btw?

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