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Friday Five – Before We’re 30…

27 Apr

My girl Sunrise sent me an article via Huffington Post of a list originally published in Glamor magazine called “Turning 30: 30 Things Every Woman Should Have And Should Know.”

photo from magculture on flickr

I understand this list has been passed around from girlfriend to girlfriend, so perhaps you’ve seen it before? In any case it is a fabulous list – and you know how much I love lists of things to check off before turning 30 – so I had to share my favorites. I couldn’t just pick five, so I took my fave five things we should do, and my fave five things we should know. Check out the full list here, then add your two cents in the comments!

By 30, you should have …

A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

By 30, you should know …

How you feel about having kids.

How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

Wether you’re looking forward to 30 or are hip and happy on the other side, what do you think we should have/know by 30?

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#4 Done – Can You Say Namaste?

29 Mar

image courtesy of we ❤ it.

Wow, it’s been a while since we’ve had one of these posts! But I am ready to cross #4 off of my 30 Before 30 List.  I wanted to wait until I’d attended at least a month’s worth of classes to cross this one off, and since Monday evenings on my calender now read YOGA, I feel like I can call this one accomplished.

This week I took my eighth yoga class since I joined my new gym, and everything I remember loving about yoga nine years ago is coming back to me. All the stress on the body, the stretching outside my comfort zone, the holding position that makes me want to scream at the instructor, and the five minutes at the end to stretch out, relax, reward your body for the work it’s done, and quiet the mind that makes it all worthwhile. I was lucky to join the gym at a time where there was an additional class scheduled for Saturdays in addition to their usual Monday class, so I got in twice the yoga I would have on any other month. I’ve enjoyed many of the group classes, but the yoga class in particular feels like I’m setting aside quality time for myself. I feel centered, strong, and awesome when I finish a class, and have already seen a marked difference in how my body performs the moves.

Our instructor is awesome; she is great at offering traditional moves with several degrees of difficulty, so beginners and yogis alike can feel challenged by the class. We start out simple, and always finish with a ‘challenge pose’ before moving into final relaxation. I don’t know what yoga discipline I’m taking, but I do know that our instructor moves us through different poses slowly at first, than gaining momentum to keep our heart rate elevated and warm the body. I often sweat a lot in class (and this is NOT hot yoga) from the work we do, so I know it’s a far cry from some of the more breathing and meditation-focused yoga classes I’ve taken in the past. In short, it’s my kind of yoga.

Some things that are different from previous yoga experiences:

  • I’m several cup sizes larger, which really gets in the way. It’s annoying.
  • I feel like I understand what I’m doing for the first time, and can intentionally engage muscles in my body to get a full workout experience.
  • I’m learning to focus on breathing and quieting the mind as well as keeping my full body engaged, so I feel like I’m finally tapping into the whole mind-body connection yoga can bring.
  • Since I’m participating in other sports as well as yoga for the first time, I definitely see a dramatic improvement in how my body performs because of the cross training. And I’m loving it.

So #4 is done. I’m loving everything about this class, no matter how much I’d swear to the contrary when I’m trying to hold a strong warrior pose.

Have you crossed anything off of your goal list lately? Tell me about it!

The Cost of Dreaming

30 Jan

photo from soul meets body

So I was looking back over my wishes for 2012 and saw that I wrote, on this very blog, that I would live to cross 15 of the 25 remaining items off of The List this year. That’s 15 things in 12 months. Or, more accurately since I haven’t accomplished any this month, 15 things in 11 months. Holy crappers, people, that’s a lot of things to do!

As I look over my list, the thing that strikes me most is that crossing things off my list is going to cost me. Why didn’t that occur to me, in a real dollars and cents way, before now? A and I do just fine, thankyouverymuch, but most of our money isn’t liquid. As A likes to put it, we’re house-poor. Even more so with our water heater basically exploding last week. The more I work on crossing off the list, the more I realize that even having a list means accepting cost. It has a tangible monetary cost, but it also costs time, it costs effort, and I can see why people put off their dreams because, at the end of the day, dreaming is costly.

A few months ago I was at a lecture by Kathi Lipp where she talked to women about finding their dream. One of the things I remember her saying the most was (and I’m heavily paraphrasing here) that lots of women don’t know how find their dreams, and those who do let the excuses of time or money get in the way of pursuing their dreams. My 30 before 30 list is an excercise in dreaming, and there’s no way I’m going to get 15 things crossed off in the next year, let alone 25 in two, if I don’t plan for it. Make the time, set aside the money, and just balls-to-the-wall go for it, baby.

When A and I decided it was time to put aside excuses and have me start Christian counselling, we did it not knowing where the money was going to come from. All we knew was that we’d prayed for assistance, it hadn’t come, but that we’d waited long enough and it was time. After we took the leap and I started meeting with a counsellor, the financial help appeared. Our prayers were answered. But we had to take the leap first.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that was a special case. I don’t think God’s going to show up if I pray hard enough for the money to appear so A and I can learn to make sushi. My point it that dreaming takes planning, intention, and making a choice to go for it, come what may. So this month I’m starting a 30 Before 30 fund. I’m lucky enough to work at a job where I get reimbursed a bit for the endless amount of commuting I do. With A’s blessing I’m now going to save up my mileage and designate it my dream fund – a little bit above and beyond our normal income that I can put towards my dreams guilt-free. But if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t let that stop me. I’d find another way to cut a corner: forego my Friday latte, reduce my cell phone’s data plan, nix Netflix, something. Because as nice as those little luxuries are, they’re nothing compared to seeing a dream become reality and being able to look back and say “yeah, I did that. I went for it.”

If you’re waiting on someone to hand you the golden ticket to  make all your dreams come true, I have three words for you: Get Over It. No one will care more about your dreams than you will. No one has the capacity to make them happen like you do. No one else will hunger to see them come to life, and darn the cost. Because it will cost you: effort, time, willpower, maybe even money, but as someone working through her own mini-bucket list I’m here to tell you that it’s worth every bit of it.

So that’s my pledge for this next chapter of my life: to go forward with no excuses. If I can’t afford it, I’ll save up or find a way to make it happen for less. If I don’t have time, well, we always make time for that which is most important to us, don’t we? If I don’t have the drive, I have a friends and a loving husband to help keep me accountable. I’ll be intentional, and make it happen.

Do you ever let outside forces stand in the way of your dreams?

Guitar Lust

26 Jan

I don’t play guitar.

Yet.

But it’s on The List.

My sister happened to leave us her guitar along with most of her furniture to store in our attic when she moved down south, and I quickly co-opted borrowed it to start working on #3. Which leads me to my current pressing question: how do I judge when I can cross “teach myself guitar” off of my list? Is it when I’ve mastered common chord progressions? When I can successfully play a few songs? When I am able to play any song that’s put in front of me off of the tabs? In a discipline where there will always be more to learn, where there will always be someone out there more talented than you, how do I know when I can say “I know how to play the guitar?” I need to know, because I’m almost positive A won’t let me buy this until I do:

black beauty - the ovation celebrity

Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. My sister’s man has one, and as soon as I saw it I fell in love. What else would you expect from a girl who has made a life out of choosing the different and unique? Lest you think I’m entirely superficial, there’s a lot of reasons besides the look that makes me covet this guitar. First off, the sound is great. Whether played acoustically or plugged in there’s a warm richness to the sound that makes me melt. Two, it has a shallower body than a standard guitar. This combined with the feature of a narrower neck – closer to an electric than an acoustic – means this tiny-handed girl will be able to play more comfortably. Plus, look how pretty! Ok, I never said I wasn’t a little bit shallow.

But there’s no way we’re going to plunk down those kind of bucks without me being able to absolutely 100% without-a-doubt guarantee that I will play this instrument. We just had to replace our water heater yesterday for crimeny sakes. (Hello? Did everyone else out there know that water heaters are expensive?!? Holy crap, people! Hot water be pricey!) And so I will learn. Somehow. I have to, it’s on The List after all. And I’ve got this little beauty and all her friends as an incentive.

So tell me, folks: when will I be able to say I can play the guitar?

#17 Done – I Got Good, Wise Counsel

18 Jan

wise words from dr. seuss

This one’s been crossed off The List for a while, but I’ve been reluctant to post about it. I mean, how do you talk about something that was absolutely necessary, completely life-changing, incredibly difficult, wrenching emotional, and intimately personal? Before you get your hopes up, I won’t go into why I sought help or what I worked out, but I’ll tell you about how it helped, and how God worked it out so that I could get the help I needed.

Christian counseling changes lives. Steven Arterburn has said it, Max Lucado has said it, and now I’m saying it, because I am living proof.

I decided to seek counseling on the advice of a very good friend and mentor. I’m a very introspective person, but even very self-aware people need someone who’s able to ask the questions you can’t even think of. One thing I’ve figured out in my 5 3/4 years of marriage is that every new stage of life has the potential to bring up baggage you thought you were done with. That’s why when I said goodbye to my counselor a few months ago, it wasn’t really goodbye. We left the door open, should I ever need to go back.

Let me back up a bit to the months before I started seeing a counselor. I’d needed to go for a while, and wanted it badly enough to put in on my 30 before 30 list. But like so many things on The List, finding the time – worse, the money – to accomplish it was a challenge. A and I prayed for a long time for God to make a way for us to be able to afford to have me go. A long time. Finally I decided I needed to try to make it work, money or no. Wouldn’t you know that the person who was recommended to me, the person who had the most experience dealing with the things I needed to talk about, was the head of the Christian counselling center I went to. As in, the most expensive by far. But I was determined, I’d talked to A and we agreed that I needed to at least start going, and we’d figure out the money part as we went.

And then, only then, after I jumped without looking, God showed up.

It’s the story of my life with Him, to be honest. So many times God has kept quiet and let me take a leap of faith before stepping in with more than I could ask for or imagine. I know He doesn’t deal with everyone this way, but He knows that often the fastest way to make me grow is to not provide, not show up with divine intervention, until I make a move, trusting Him completely to catch me on the other side.

And He’s never let me down.

A found out that our insurance would cover most of my counselling expenses. My counsellor showed a tremendous amount of kindness and investment in me, and found a way to work with our insurance so I could get the number of sessions I needed. It wasn’t what we expected when we prayed for God to help us afford it, but when has God ever done what I thought He’d do?

I’ve listened to New Life Live for years. One thing the wise people on that show often say after a particularly heartbreaking call is how they wish people would seek help before their lives get to a crisis point. I couldn’t agree more. All of us have baggage, some more than others. It’s part of living in a broken world. Most things I could get through and figure out on my own, but some scars run too deeply to heal without help. I wouldn’t change the time I spent in counselling for anything. I understand where I come from better, and my marriage and my ministry is better for it.

If you’ve ever considered counselling – or even if you haven’t but you’ve ever felt like your world is about to come crashing down – please get help. I don’t know what generation you are part of, but I know my parent’s generation has a stigma about admitting that you need help. Get past the stigma, because there is no shame in doing what you need to do to be set free. It is infinitely worth it.

New Life Live has a number on their site you can call and get hooked up with a Christian counsellor in your area. If you need help, don’t wait. You won’t regret it.

I don’t.

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