Tag Archives: dreams

live with intention.

Welcome to the New Year everyone – and to my new followers – welcome to my blog. I hope I can keep you interested!

Many of you have found me thanks to my most recent post: Young, Married & Pissed Off. When I set out to write it, I had no idea it would spark such a fantastic conversation – with friends, with family and with complete strangers – all who have taken the time to read and share their own experiences and stories.

As someone pointed out, views on marriage are incredibly personal, and I am so grateful for those who have shared theirs – whether we agree or disagree. That’s what makes the world so great… a myriad of opinions with no true “right” answer, but instead just thousands of different ways to look at something. I have especially loved reading all of your stories about your own relationship and marriage experiences and I am touched that you shared them with me!

Now, to catch everyone up…

Last year I set out to do something crazy. I made a list of 213 things I wanted to accomplish in the year 2013. I was feeling stuck, depressed and unmotivated. I hit the post-grad slump hard as I went from being at the top of my circles in college to starting all over again in a new city and at a new job. I didn’t like who I was becoming, so I decided to do something about it.

That one time I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet.

That one time I jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet.

I sat down and curated a list of 213 things I have always wanted to do, but never did thanks to a book of excuses. Some as small as taking a painting class, others quite outrageous like jumping out of an airplane. No – I didn’t get all 213 things crossed off my list. (Probably not the smartest decision to attempt this crazy feat while saving for and planning a wedding…) But what I did accomplish was even better: I regained my confidence and my thirst for life. So ultimately, the list achieved exactly what it was meant for.

This year I’m doing something a bit different. New Year’s resolutions seem to catch quite a bit of flak because they are rarely maintained throughout the year. Others like Jess Lawlor choose to instead pick words to live by as a way of guidance for the year ahead (which I love!). Some treat the New Year no differently than they treated the last. To me… there’s just something so exciting about a brand new year and the possibilities it holds.

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Taking a page from Jess’ book…instead of making a list of resolutions, I decided that this year I want to be more strategic and focus on a theme. A guiding principle, I guess you can say that carries over from last year, just without a giant bucket list to accompany it.

This year I hope to:

Live with intention.

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What does living with intention mean exactly?

To me, living with intention is to live with purpose. To create the life you want to live, and become the person you want to be. By making every moment and each opportunity count.

I can’t tell you how many times I find myself guilty of drifting in and out of my day-to-day routine. Thanks to Netflix marathons, drifting has become EXPONENTIALLY easier. (Seriously though… getting Netflix was a terrible, terrible idea).

At the end of the day, I sometimes find myself asking what I actually accomplished. Sure, I may have knocked a few more things off of my to-do list. But did I get any closer to becoming the best version of myself? Or make any strides in reaching those pie-in-the-sky dreams of mine?

It’s easy to fall into the “routine trap.” Life has a funny little way of throwing distractions and detractors at you, from household chores to bills and debt to going through the motions at your 9-5 job.

But it’s important to continually ask yourself: what’s the bigger picture? What do you always dream of doing?

Do you want to travel more? Do you want to pursue your passions and write a book, start a blog, or take up photography? Maybe creating a big family is what you want out of life, or quitting your day job to open up that little café on the corner you’ve always dreamed of.

Living with intention is about taking the proper steps to make those dreams a reality.  It’s about loving and respecting yourself enough to dare, to try, to fail, to succeed… despite of the fear.

So, picking up from where I left off last year, it’s time I stop drifting, and start doing. I’ve got some big things I want to accomplish, and I’m excited to share them with you as I go and take those first wobbly baby steps towards them.

I’ll let this quote sum it up:

Live with intention, walk to the edge, listen hard, practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

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What about you? How goals do you have for the year ahead?

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The 213 in 2013 Project

Hey guys — sorry for neglecting this space for the past few weeks. While the lack of posts began due to being swamped at work, it slowly turned in to figuring out a brand new blog concept for the year 2013. One that I’ve been working incredibly hard on, questioning frequently and bugging Mike about. But I’m finally happy with it. And I’m practically salivating for next year to start so I can finally begin.

I’m calling it the 213 in 2013 Project. And before you go on and sigh, “Oh boy — another one of those bucket list blogs,” hear me out.

Check out the tab, read all about it. I hope you’ll consider sticking around and going on this journey with me. It looks like it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday with friends & family. Here’s to 2012… and 2013 being even better.

a note to the anti-special crusaders

I’ve been seeing a trend develop lately…one that’s gained a flurry of articles, blogs and talk show topics.

I’ll call it the, “I’m Average Movement.”

My generation gets a lot of flak, from not only our elders, but from our own peers as well. We’re told that we’re self-entitled. Or that we’re lazy with no real drive. But most often of all, we’re told we think we’re special, when we’re not.

I don’t know about you – but I think I’m special. In fact, I think most people are. I’m not talking about the “everything should be handed down to me on a silver platter” kind-of-special, but rather the intrinsic self-worth of knowing you’re not ordinary. That you’re inherently unique and nobody else in the world is like you.

I’m very lucky to have the parents I have. Growing up, I was always encouraged to be whatever I dreamed I could be. Over the years, I have gone through my phases, like every other child. From astronaut and ballerina, to archaeologist and veterinarian – my parents gave me the encouragement and support I needed every step of the way. They told me I was special, and they also told me that dreams don’t come easy – they come with a lot of hard work and due diligence.

It was with their help that I was able to take risks, make mistakes and fall. I’d try something and realize it wasn’t the right fit and then move on to accomplishing my next big dream. I knew there were things about me that made me different from everyone else…things that made me special that would allow me to find my niche and blossom.

Webster’s defines special as:

spe·cial [spesh-uhl]

adjective

1. of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.

2. being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain: You’d better call the special number.

3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.

4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.

5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.

With so many variations and understandings of one word, it’s hard to imagine how each and every person isn’t some kind of special. I’m not condoning the whole, “let’s give every kid a trophy, even if they lost” trend – but I am saying that each person should feel they are capable of achieving their own personal idea of greatness and should not ever settle for being mediocre.

Just as special comes in many forms and packages, so does greatness. You don’t need to be a Nobel Prize winner or the next president of the United States. My dad always says to us that his greatest accomplishment was having three kids with the courage to pursue their dreams.

Whether your idea of personal greatness is raising a family in a small suburban town in Pennsylvania like my dad, or traveling to central Africa to educate impoverished children like a friend of mine did, or finding a career where you can advocate on behalf of animals around the world like I was fortunate enough to – I am a firm believer that we are the creators of our own destiny and fully believe that with hard work and a never-accept-defeat attitude – we can make our dreams a reality if our dreams are based in reality.

So I’m choosing to ignore the anti-special crusaders who have accepted defeat by choosing mediocrity.

I am a certain-kind of special. And so are you.

working 9 to 5…. now what?

When I was in college, I never had a second of “free time.” I’d walk by Beury Beach and see kids sprawled across the grass, coffees in hand, enjoying time with their friends as they waited for their next class to start.

I’d mutter profanities under my breath as I walked past them every day, bitter as ever, because my days were scheduled down to the nanosecond. Classes – meetings – internships – work – running a firm – applying for jobs – interviews – networking events.

I was efficient. I was organized. I was a robot.

I never in a million years thought I would have missed those days. For the past four years I craved to have down time. To be able to take naps, to go out to dinner with friends, to see a late-night movie.

Now I work a 9 to 5 job (well, kind of….) and I for the most part, have a ton of free time on my hands for the first time in years.

And I HATE it!

Maybe I’ve just become conditioned to being busy over the years, but there’s something about being busy all the time that makes you feel good – like you’re really accomplishing something; always making yourself a better person.

For the first couple of months, I came home and didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d watch TV, or go see a movie…maybe read a book or paint my nails.

So, I joined a professional PR organization in the hopes of feeling more productive. And while my bank account is $100 less than before, I still have yet to go to a meeting or event because they all conflict with my job… go figure.

I threw myself into the whole wedding planning thing for a little while. I made a website, sent out bridesmaid cards, nailed down a venue, found my caterer and planned my menu…but my wedding is still more than a year away! At the rate I was going… my entire wedding would have been planned by November.

So, my newest and latest obsession? Do-it-yourself projects inspired by Pinterest. My poor fiancé has become the biggest victim in my search for self-purpose, as last night he spent hours trying to perfectly outline chevron stripes on my coffee table with masking tape. With paint and brushes and aluminum foil scattered across the floor, you would have thought you were walking in to Picasso’s studio… or probably just some deranged Pinterest-obsessed woman’s apartment (ok, definitely the latter).

The good news is that I’ve finally found SOMETHING that sticks and that I enjoy. After long, stressful days at work… I love coming home to dive in to another project. I’m able to let my inner Martha Stewart take center stage while I dive in to my newest project with Florence and the Machine or CNN playing in the background. (For a good laugh – check out http://epicpinterestfail.com/)

I’m realizing this free time doesn’t have to feel like a burden and that self-worth doesn’t come from a crammed schedule. I can use this time to do things I set out to do but never had the time for in college.

Here are just a few things I’m hoping to do over the next few months:

  • Go to cooking classes. Marinara practically runs through my veins as an Ianni, but there are so many things I’d love to learn how to do. Like make gnocchi from scratch or cook the perfect Boeuf Bourguignon – Julia Child style of course.
  • Learn how to better speak French. Whether it means enrolling in a class or getting Rosetta Stone… I want to finally start working towards becoming fluent in the language I’ve been studying on and off for more than eight years.
  • Get more involved with local groups and organizations to meet people in the area. I complain a lot about not knowing anyone down here or not having any friends, but I haven’t really taken the time to put myself out there and meet new people. I’m a very shy person during first encounters so I need to break through my shell and start making connections.

  • Explore a new part of the city every month. DC is HUGE. Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming, especially coming from Philly where I knew every street like the back of my hand. DC has so many eclectic neighbors, each with their own distinct personalities, and I want to master this city just as I mastered my last one.
  •  Do something that scares me. I think conquering fears is a healthy way to grow as a person and there’s nothing quite as rewarding as overcoming a barrier. Whether it’s running in a 5k or participating in an open mic night, I want to be able to prove to myself that nothing is impossible.

While some of these goals may take more time than others, I’m glad to have a bucket list to work off of and goals to work towards.

I think Eleanor said it best –

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

What are some of you the things you’re hoping to accomplish in the coming months?