In her quest for happiness, Gretchen set up a lot of structure before beginning her project. She had a list of Twelve Commandments that she followed and Secrets to Adulthood that she referenced frequently. And she created a resolutions chart for each month with specific resolutions she would practice everyday during that month.
It finally dawned on my that one of the reasons I have had difficulty sticking to my 40 by 40 project is that I never gave it a real sense of definition - no purpose, no end goal. Sure, I wanted to try 40 new things by the time I turned 40, but WHY? To what END?
So, I have decided to lay out my FIVE WISHES for this project.
WISH #1 - Try new things! This one is obvious. By the end of this project, I hope that I have tried a huge variety of new things that I would have never imagined that I would try before. I imagine that some of these things I will greatly enjoy and others...not so much. But even through the process of trying I believe that I will gain new confidence and learn more about myself.
WISH #2 - Build new relationships and strengthen old ones! If you are new to my blog, what you don't know is that anyone can suggest an activity to add to my list of 40 by 40, but they must then also be involved in that task somehow.
Two examples - one of the items I have tackled (but not yet blogged about) was learning to handle and shoot a gun. My dad was a hunter and a soldier and my memories of him carry a strong attachment to these two identities of his. For that reason, I wanted me dad to teach me to shoot a gun. Without giving too much away, and spoiling an upcoming blog post, I spent a lovely day with my father over the Christmas holiday learning how to load a gun, handle it properly, shoot it and care for it. Everyone else in my family experienced this with my father at a much younger age, but my fear of loud noises prevented it for a long time. But finally, I was able to connect in a real way to this side of my father that I had never entirely understood before.
Also, I have recently been walking with a neighbor of mine in the morning and we are really becoming fast friends. One of the things she enjoys, and is quite gifted at, is cake decorating. She is teaching a class locally for the first time and her beginning class did not enroll fully, so she suggested that I take it and add it to my list of 40 by 40! Fantastic! Not only do I get to try something new and WAY out of my comfort zone, but I also get to know her better and support one of her passions.
WISH #3 - Explore my passions! One of the BIG activities that I had on my 40 by 40 list from the very beginning was to put up my own cabaret show. As many of you know, I am doing just that this summer through the Capital Fringe Festival. As a result, I am spending time with music I have loved for my entire life, taking voice lessons again, working with an extremely talented director who I connect with on so many levels and just singing my heart out as often as I can. While this is a stressful undertaking at times, it is also one that brings me tremendous joy because I am devoting large chunks of time to something I simply LOVE to do.
WISH #4 - BE MARY! I can't lie, I stole this one straight out of The Happiness Project, but it is just so perfect. I have spent entirely too much time in my life trying to make myself be who I thought I SHOULD be, or trying to enjoy activities because someone else enjoyed them, or attempting to conquer new skills just because I wished they were something I really enjoyed. Well, the rules for this project are that I will not do anything that simply does not give me some form of excitement when I think about doing it.
If you've been following my blog, you know that the first task I tackled was baking a cake from scratch. This was not my idea and probably something I would not have selected on my own, but when my sister suggested it, I was excited. I like cake and I have always been fascinated by the chemistry and the science of baking, so I found the nugget of it that intrigued me and ended up enjoying the experience.
However, another friend suggested that I join her for a weekend of hiking and camping. I immediately knew that this was something that was VERY likely to make me miserable and not likely at all to make me happy. Some of you know well the miserable trip I took in high school hiking and camping through the wilderness for a week. So, this suggestion isn't making my list and I will not feel bad about it. I wish I enjoyed camping and being outdoors more, but the simple truth is that I do not. And through this project I hope to stay true to who I really am and what I really enjoy at my core.
WISH #5 - Finish what I started! I am very good at starting projects, extremely good at it, in fact. But rarely do I finish big projects that I start. This often leaves me feeling defeated, unfulfilled and stricken with guilt. But with this project, I WILL see it through to the end and the simple act of accomplishment is sure to bring me a GREAT amount of joy!
So, those are my FIVE WISHES and I hope that by focusing on these and measuring each activity by them, I will remain more focused, mindful and present during the entirety of this journey!
I have a renewed excitement and can't wait to share with you all the tasks that I have already accomplished in upcoming posts.
If you were writing your FIVE WISHES for your journey, what would they be?
Share them in the comments below!