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!
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