Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

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?

Making 2013 A Year for Living

While I’ve been making good on my promise to make 2013 my best year yet, I know I’m not the only one and I’ve been admiring other people’s goals for the year to come. My friends are planning on big changes this year — some are rightly taking the time to focus on themselves while others are looking to live by a set of values than a list of goals.

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Take some time today to check out each of their blogs and consider following them along on their own journeys.

1. Three Powerful Words for a Gutsy 2013: Jessica Lawlor (@jesslaw) writes this powerful and thoughtful blog about striving for a strategic vision for the year rather than a tactical one. I was inspired by this post because while my 213 in 2013 is very much tactical in nature, it made me think about the values I want to help guide me in my journey.

2. This Is My Now: Alex Crispino (@alexcharli), who has a heart of gold and who I have always known to put everyone else’s happiness and well-being before her own has decided to put herself first in 2013. As someone who has constantly witnessed Alex’s selflessness, I’m proud to see her making 2013 about her own happiness.

3. 13 Goals for 2013: Lauren Cox (@laurencox08) is someone who’s never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions as she writes in this blog post, but with all of the changes 2012 has brought her, she’s making this year different by setting 13 goals for herself to accomplish in 2013. My favorite on her list? Be more positive. Something I know I need to work on as well!

4. A Year for Living: One of the things I was hoping to accomplish with my 213 in 2013 project was to inspire others to chase after their own dreams and to start living their lives they way they’ve always wanted to. Katie has a list of 100 things she wants to accomplish in 2013 because as she says, “it’s time to finally start living again.”

If you’re looking to learn more about why I started the 213 in 2013 Project, check out my friend Matt’s blog post: Cool Things My Friends Are Doing: The ULTIMATE Resolutions List, and check back on his blog on a weekly basis for inspiring things that other’s are achieving this year.

TGIF everyone!

#2. ice-skating under the stars

My routine during the work week is usually pretty predictable. After packing up at the office and sitting in migraine-inducing traffic, Mike and I would usually quick throw something together for dinner and spend the next few hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. After spending 8 – 9 hours at the office, our brains felt like mush and I’d induce a coma full of Honey Boo Boo and Desperate Housewives of Whatever while Mike played way too many games of Bejeweled Blitz on his iPhone.

Needless to say, working full-time has put me into a bit of a rut. A boring one at that. So I was beyond excited to get out of work today knowing that Mike and I would be spending the night ice-skating under the stars and neon lights in Downtown Silver Spring — something I’ve been dying to do now for months.

We're lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

We’re lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

When I was younger, I’d spend almost every weekend with my friends at our skating rink up the street. It’s where I had many of my first “puppy love” middle school dates, where cheesy N’Sync love songs would play and we’d clumsily and awkwardly fumble to hold each others hands. But I also just loved how freeing ice-skating felt… after the pain in your feet melted into numbness, there was nothing more exhilarating then whipping around the rink with the cold air biting at your face.

That’s why I wanted to include ice-skating under the stars on my 213 in 2013 bucket list.

After coming home and changing out of our business professional attire, we bundled up in scarves, hats and gloves and trekked over to the rink. I practically had to drag Mike with me after his last ice-skating disaster a few years back. Long story short, Mike surprised me with two passes to the Blue Cross River Rink in Philly for Valentine’s day. While other couples were skating figure eights, holding hands and smooching under the moonlight, Mike gave up after spending 10 minutes clinging to the side of the wall in shame and went to spend the rest of the night next to the free chocolate fountain while I was left to skate alone. Cute, right?

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice.

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice. I have giant, giant man feet (size 11).

After listening to him whimper and whine about not wanting to embarrass  himself in front of all the eight and nine year old kids, we took our first tentative steps onto the well-worn ice. My legs were a little wobbly and apprehensive at first. It’s like getting on a bike for the first time in years… you have to shake off the dust and make your muscles remember what to do. Slowly but surely, one foot in front of the other, I began to glide around the rink.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

And to my surprise, Mike took a leap of faith, let go of the wall and was skating right beside me. We spent the next two hours laughing, (almost) falling and singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs (not by choice… it was all they seemed to want to play.) We talked about work and life and made jokes. For the first time in a long time, I felt like we were actually spending time together and not just with each other.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

We traded in our skates after our feet couldn’t possibly take another lap and our lips chapped from the bitter cold and finished up the night grubbing on Chipotle while remarking on how nice it was to not be in front of the television for a change.

From cry-baby to man of confidence...Mike finally let go of the wall.

From cry-baby to man of confidence…Mike finally let go of the wall.

It just goes to show you that life doesn’t end at your cubicle. You can still have fun and be adventurous because life isn’t defined by 9 to 5 parameters. It’s our job, our responsibility to fill those hours outside of work with color and memories and laughs. I know it’s only three days in to 2013, but I’m already proud of myself for waking up and realizing the time is now.

This is my life. And I’m making every second of it count.

#1. learn a new language

I took Spanish for three years in middle school & absolutely hated it… probably because I was still full of resentment towards my parents for not letting me take French. Something about it not being “practical.” I didn’t want to take French because I thought it was practical. I wanted to learn it because the sheer thought of the beauty of the words wrapping around my tongue and leaving my lips was irresistible.  I wanted to be that cool, sexy girl with a cigarette hanging from her mouth, a glass of red wine in hand, whispering something about Hemingway and Stein in the world’s most beautiful language.

But instead I sat in a cramped, worn desk while listening to Ms. Hernandez yell at me about my inability to roll my r’s.  The only time I ever enjoyed the class was when she brought in empanadas. I think I pulled off a C average. The only things I can remember now are hola, adios and of course, gato.

Fast forward to high school, I enrolled in French and spent the next three years falling in love with the language and the culture. I studied French artists, musicians and cuisine. I began dreaming of truffles, macaroons, unevenly paved side streets and jazz musicians filling the night air with the sounds of their trumpets and saxophones. I became a francophile. A Parisian at heart. So much so that I went on to spend five weeks studying French at the Sorbonne two summers ago.

I think learning a new language is one of the best things you can do in life. It unlocks an entirely new world for you, giving you access to a culture you had until this point only read about in National Geographic years ago. It connects you to the global community and broadens your understanding of the billions of people around you.

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Learning a new language isn’t easy though. Which is why I’m starting this item from my 213 in 2013 bucket list early — so I have time to make the necessary dedication. I found this awesome deal on Living Social — only $25 gives you access to Livemocha’s online language learning portal for six months, with 38 languages to choose from. I’m still debating which one I’m going to take up but once I decide I’ll update you on the progress I’m making.

If learning a new language this year is one of your goals, check out the deal and consider taking the plunge. FOX News offers some great tips for those who wish to learn a new language — be sure to check it out.

Don’t forget to make today, and every day after count, whether it’s learning a new language or taking that painting class you’ve always wanted to. Because if not now, when?

Ciao.