As those who read my blog know, I love giving myself little projects that help make me think outside the box, do new things and add some fun and excitement to the daily activities that are part of my life. Last December, I did a month-long project where over thirty-one days, I did things I didn’t typically do and then the following April, I gave myself themes for each day of the month to learn and/or do something new. I loved doing these and now, I decided to do another project, which I like to call…
7 Days of November 2012
Over the course of the next seven days, starting tomorrow, November 18, and continuing until Sunday, November 25, I will be doing tasks contributed by a certain group of seven people whom I respect and are a part of my life. I asked each one to come up with something for me to do for a day, as long as it didn’t cost too much and didn’t harm myself or others. And all seven of the people I asked not only decided to be a part of this project with me, but contributed thoughtful ideas that I’m super excited about, and to be honest a bit nervous, to implement over the next week.
I will not be listing the ideas here at this point. But each day over the next seven, I invite you to read my blog daily or however often as you prefer to see what idea I was given and how it went after I experienced it. As usual, I will start a fresh page for this project. (The two other previous projects also have their own page, as listed to the right on this screen…)
I will say a few things though before I embark on this next project of mine.
Each person I asked means something to me.
Each person I asked is someone I care about and someone whom I wanted to contribute to this project.
Each person I asked put a part of themselves into their idea, which makes this week-long project extra special for me.
The players are:
my sister, my brother, my boyfriend, my dear college friend, my writing partner, my close friend of the past eight years and a prior boss of mine who has become a dear friend to me over the past seven years.
Their ideas will be revealed as my week-long blog unfolds but I will leave you with these thoughts about tomorrow, the first day of this project.
This idea comes from the man in my life. He’s taking me to his gym and teaching me some workout moves. Now, I’ve only been to a gym perhaps two times in my entire life but he’s well versed on working out and has a beautiful body to show for it, so I’m excited. If nothing more, it will be interesting and I’ll get to see what he does five days out of the week.
Question though. One shouldn’t wear jeans and converse to a gym, right?
Today, I kicked off my week-long project with the idea that came from boyfriend. His plan was for me to go to the gym with him and go through a work out routine.
Now I should preface this with some facts. He loves to work out. I don’t. For those who know me, they know this is not what I like to spend my time doing. But I went today because that is what this week is all about for me. I asked some important people in my life to give me a task for the day and then, in turn, I would do it. My hope is for these things to help me see life through their eyes and also offer me the opportunity to experience new things that perhaps I wouldn’t otherwise…
So I went, to an actual gym. And I did some machines and picked up weights and used a StairMaster and actually did what people call a “plank” and sure, it was all interesting and I entered the gym-goers world and while I felt like a fish-out-of-water, I rolled with it, mostly to experience what my boyfriend does five days out of the week, but also to give it a try for myself. Also, I know it’s important to him. Exercising does intrigue me but to be honest, I would much rather do it at home or in my neighborhood…
So, does this make us incompatible?
I suppose that depends. But first a story.
A friend of mine told me about a date he went on this past week. The girl he was having dinner with asked him about the things he was looking for and thought he should have handy a list of the attributes he wanted in a woman. But he didn’t. And I don’t blame him. He did tell me, however, that HER list didn’t have much to do with the actual person she was looking for. Rather, it had to do with the money in his pocket and the awards on his wall, so to speak. I thought it quite astute on his behalf to be able to identify that this woman held rather shallow values and my friend, whether he knows it or not, is anything but shallow. And he helped me realize something…
It’s cool the guy I’m dating likes the gym. I really don’t care either way, as long as he’s healthy. Going today was a fun and novel thing to do for a random Monday afternoon but I think, for me, I’d much rather walk and jog around my neighborhood, continue to not care about sweets and do some situps in my bedroom than go to a gym. That’s where I’m at. But now I know what he does and what his routine is and his beautiful body shows his efforts. I’m glad it means something to him. And I’m glad he shared it with me. And while I hope my body remains physically appealing despite not going to the gym, I can’t help but really hope it’s my mind and who I am that matters most…
Today, the idea for my project comes from my sister. She works at a coffee shop right now while she learns and prepares for her goal of opening up her own restaurant. And she loves coffee. She’s a true Sicilian, as is everyone else in my family. Coffee is plentiful and pouring daily in our household and after dinner, it’s a staple and thoroughly enjoyed… except by me.
I have never really had a full cup of coffee. Sure, I’ve had some tastes here and there but I just don’t care for it. The smell is fantastic but the taste, not so much. I’ve always preferred a diet coke after a meal or in the morning.
Today, though, my sister’s idea was for me to go to a coffee shop and order a real coffee drink and give it a chance. I thought it was cool to get an idea about what she and so many others like and also, to buy a product she knows a lot about and sells daily. So, I just happened to be talking to a friend of mine, who also loves coffee, and mentioned this to her. She suggested ordering a sugar-free vanilla latte from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. There’s one right on my way home so I stopped there and decided to give it a try. It felt weird not to order an iced or hot tea, as that’s what I always order in a coffee shop, but I went with it. As I walked to my car, I enjoyed the heat in my hands as the wind slapped against my face but I was scared to taste it for fear of burning my mouth. Do they come out so hot you should wait? I seriously don’t know. But I waited about ten minutes and then took a taste.
Yeah, it tasted like coffee. I really liked the frothy vanilla milky foam on the top though and drank that down quickly but then, the coffee hit… and well, I found myself slowly taking sips over the course of the next hour. Granted, I was doing something at the time but still, it took me a while and I only got through about half of the cup. And I ordered a small.
All in all, it was cool to try something new, and I learned I really like frothy vanilla milk, but yeah… I probably won’t be ordering another one anytime soon.
This one comes from a dear friend of mine whom I met in college. We no longer live near each other nor do we get to see each other too often but she will always remain close to my heart, for many reasons. Her idea came to me as a choice. I could either give a television show she likes a chance “Downtown Abby” or read a book she likes “50 Shades of Gray” – both being two things she knows I don’t normally watch and/or read.
I dig this idea because it made me go outside my normal zone with pop culture, something I know next to nothing about. I’ve heard a little about the television show but I opted to go with the book because I know it’s tremendously popular and I’d like to talk to her about it after I read it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can do in just a day’s time. I’m currently rereading “To Kill A Mockingbird” and being inside that world, I’m hesitant to jump into another world at the same time. So this particular day will be a bit prolonged. “Fifty Shades of Gray” will be the very next book I read though and a future blog will be written all about it… so please stay tuned!
The idea for this day came from my brother, a married father of two. He asked that I put others before myself, such as if my mom asks me to do something, I do it even if I’m busy… His motivation is for me to “begin to understand a big part of what its like to have a child and or husband.” So… what better day to do this than Thanksgiving?!
It was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. I like to move on my own schedule. That’s just how it is and I’ve set up my life to allow me to do that. But today, things were different. Normally, I wouldn’t start cooking until it was closer to the time I planned on eating but my mother loves to prep and get things done early so when she wanted me to peel the potatoes at ten in the morning even though we were eating around 4 in the afternoon, I did it. No questions asked. I also did all the dishes that were dirty at the time and prepped the green beans too. I felt good because I love my mother and I want to do things for her. So this was no big deal. It got tricky though when my boyfriend and siblings and relatives got to the house – who to focus on?! I didn’t know. So I chose my boyfriend and mother primarily for this exercise and tried my best to do what they needed and even tried to figure it out in advance before they had to ask. I may not have succeeded as great as I would have liked, but I did learn an important lesson…
It’s difficult to be a parent.
Now, this may seem odd considering I haven’t even mention kids yet but I do have nephews and the two of them were around. I do typically put their needs above my own when I’m with them out of my desire to do so, not because I’ve been told to do so, so they aren’t really a part of this exercise. But, they have helped me realize I prefer to be an aunt rather than a mother. With marriage, I don’t believe when one gets married they need to lose their identity or alter their life to the degree of never putting themselves first and I truly want to be married. BUT when one does choose to become a parent, then, well.. another person should truly come first, especially when one’s children are babies and young kids because they’re solely dependent on their parents and that’s a great responsibility. Actually, I think being a parent is the greatest responsibility one could take on for oneself.
Now, I’ve been blessed with parents who not only put myself and my siblings first while we were growing but still do and I’ll forever be grateful. In fact, I wish they would put themselves first now but they don’t.
I’ve realized a bit ago, having children isn’t the path I want to take. Perhaps it’s my love of life and spontaneity and freedom to do as I please that has led me to this decision but regardless, at least I’ve identified that I don’t want children of my own rather than pretend I do or have them without fulling realizing what that means. I think parenting is one of the most difficult challenges an individual can face. But perhaps it’s also the most rewarding as well. No matter how you look at it though, it’s the greatest responsibility, as I’ve said, and I wonder what this world would be like if only those who truly wanted children had them and those who don’t, do not…
My friend Jim, who was once my manager at a restaurant I had worked at previously but has since become a good friend, gave me the idea for today. He knows I am an Independent, who leans toward Libertarianism, and that I do NOT care for the job my current president, Barack Obama, is doing. We often have great political discussions though, typically disagreeing, but still, I believe we respect each others opinions and agree to disagree more often than not.
But naturally, he gave me a political suggestion for this project of mine. He asked me to find five positive things to say about President Obama and post them on Facebook. I did this and now, will post them here as well. While I’m sure “Barry” is a great person, I struggled with this one, but here is my list and it’s all true…
5 Nice Things I can say about President Obama
1. I respect his pro-gay marriage stance.
2. I deeply respect his repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
3. He seems to be a family man and I think that’s wonderful.
4. I love that he’s an Apple user!
5. Although I disagree with him on most things, I respect his desire to do what he thinks is best.
The idea for this day comes from my writing partner, who has been a friend of mine for about fifteen years. Before I write what her idea was, I’d like to tell a little story because it helps me understand what she wanted me to do and so perhaps, it will help my readers. I should preface that this idea is more abstract than tangible so I had some freedom on the “how” of implementing the idea into my day. But first, my story…
About a month ago, I noticed my friend hadn’t called to make a writing date in quite some time and also hadn’t responded to my texts, calls or emails over the course of several weeks. So, finally I sent her a text that said this was odd and I was worried about her. Within twenty minutes, she called me to say sorry about dropping off the face of the earth and that she had been working a lot but wanted to write so that was cool with me and we made plans to do some work on the upcoming weekend. Then, as we were hanging out and getting into our writing groove, her roommate, a young sweet girl, told me she had been fired from one of her jobs. I responded by trying to find the positive side of it, something I typically do I guess, because my friend then said, “See, Christina. You’re not someone to call when one wants to have a pity party and feel down about something. You don’t let them, always trying to see the silver lining. Sometimes you just need to feel bad and you’re not the person to have around when doing that.”
Ok. That’s interesting. I paused… and thought about it. And you know, I suppose she’s right. I like to see the positive side of things. I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of person and yes, I don’t like pity parties. Not that I want people to be soldiers, there’s a time to grieve, but really, why focus on it? I told my friend, “Yeah, okay, but I’m one of the first people you call when something good happens. Why? Because I truly enjoy it with you.” She then paused. And a minute later, smiled.
Now, her idea for me was: “I know u don’t like to wallow in pity and I’d like to see you try”…
I had no idea how to do that so I decided I would research the “depression” stage because she had mentioned it and gave me the example of accompanying someone through it without finding a silver lining. Well, I had some work to do that day but finished around 9pm and my plan was to hit my computer and get google’ing as soon as I got home. But then, as I was driving home, I realized I didn’t need to.
As it so happened, I WAS around someone that day who was not really enjoying the job they currently had. Perhaps it was on a subconscious level, but I found myself feeling their pain for a little bit but sure enough, before I knew it, I was telling my friend why their job was lucky to have them and that not all things are bad about it, such as… and I went on. My friend then said, “yeah, I think things are going to be okay.” I don’t know if they will be, but that’s not the point.
Yes, my friend wanted me to not see the silver lining in everything, but bottom line is that’s not who I am. I’m a positive person and I choose to live my life from a place of positivity. Take it or leave it. Some things aren’t negotiable.
But Victor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search For Meaning”, a philosophical book about his time spent in Nazi concentration camps, can perhaps illuminate this concept better than I:
“We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — P.65-66”
I choose my own way, and it’s paved with positivity no matter what road I’m on.
This idea comes from a great friend of mine, who is my fitness guru, my healthy eating resource and all-around exercise Queen. If I have a working out or eating healthy question, I can turn to her with confidence that I will not only get a correct answer but a reason why it’s correct.
She knows though that I have a carb problem. Bread, potatoes, rice… love ‘em all. I can eat all three of those things, daily. My friend, however, has helped me understand why that isn’t the best idea and I’ve tried to make some adjustments to my diet.
But yes, my name is Christina and I’m a carb-aholic.
And so comes her idea:
4. read some sort of articles on health and fitness so improve your overall knowledge.
Well, I must admit. By 9am, I had already failed at this.
My nephews were over that morning so naturally, I was awoken around 8am. On a Sunday, mind you. And about an hour later, I heated up some leftovers in the microwave because sometimes I like leftovers early in the morning. Kinda odd though, considering I hardly ever eat anything more than fruit before noon, but nonetheless, I heated up some food and as I was eating, I started telling my mother about my no carb day. A few moments later, my mother looks into my bowl and says, “Rice is carbs, you know.”
Wait. What? That can’t be right? It is? Oh crap. Of course it is!
So I basically failed at this before I even began. Shame shame shame. I attempted then to try to start from there but the day had already been tainted and I failed to even remember the rest of the day’s activities I was supposed to do, so I made a decision.
I get a do-over.
Please check back on Thursday, November 29th, for this idea to come to fruition because I will be cooking dinner for my parents that day and it will be extra challenging for me to cook a full meal with NO CARBS…