New Things on My List

The real purpose for this blog, though I sometimes stray from it, is to work toward and reflect on completing things from my Life’s List. For the second year in a row, I am trying to cross off 12 things in a year, and I also sometimes add new things to the list.

However, I realize that recently this has been serving more as a running blog than a bucket list blog, and I thought it was time to get back to my roots. Granted, running has quickly become a big part of my list, but it’s certainly not all of it. A lot of things I want to accomplish have to do with travel, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and personal milestones.

So, I thought today I would spend some time talking about the three new things I’ve added to the list – three things that all involve New Zealand!

I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand, and after I went to Australia several years ago, it made its way into my top 5 countries I most want to visit (which also includes Greece, Iceland, Switzerland, and Sweden). However, I didn’t have any specific things I wanted to experience in New Zealand until very recently, when my coworker began to plan her honeymoon trip there.

Thanks to her planning and experiences, I now have three new items on my list:

1. Go Zorbing in New Zealand. This is absolutely amazing. Basically you get inside a giant hamster ball and roll down a hill. Need to see for yourself? Check out the video below:

There is now Zorbing throughout the world, but it was created in New Zealand, and so I am determined to try it there. On a side note, it kind of reminds me of another random hamster-ball activity I tried out a few years ago, only it was in a pool rather than down a giant hill.

Me in a hamster ball at a summer street festival in 2010.

2. Go black water rafting at Waitomo. Tubing meets white water rafting meets caving. Need I say more?!

3. See the glowworm caves at Waitomo.  I don’t really know what else to say about this, other than it is probably the closest I’d ever come to living out the following scene from Surf’s Up.

I don’t have any plans (or money) to travel to New Zealand any time soon, but now when I do finally go, I will hopefully be able to cross off three items from my list while I’m there!

Look what I made!

This past Friday, I went with a couple friends to my very first cake decorating class! We all had a Groupon for a basic class at Give Me Some Sugar, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday evening.

I’d write more about it, but I’m still coming down from my sugar high, and besides, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

So here you go. I made this all by myself!

Learning to Say No

I talk a lot about the importance of saying yes, and not making excuses that get in the way of your dreams and goals. And 2011 was definitely a year of yes for me, which taught me a lot about the amazing things I can accomplish if I just go for it.

But sometimes we can become so wrapped up in all the yesses, that we find ourselves realizing that we might also need to learn to say no. It’s not uncommon, especially for the active, motivated, go-getter types, to to find ourselves overbooking ourselves, overspending, or doing too much for other people and not taking sufficient “me time”. That’s when it’s time to reevaluate the balance between a life of saying yes and realizing it’s okay to say no.

Usually for me, I realize I need to start saying no when I look at my Google Calendar and see that in a month, I only have one or two days with nothing planned and I just need some time to rest. But this year, it’s a little different. This year it’s about the money.

This past December, I was laid off from my job working for a major publishing company. I was extremely lucky in that less than a month later I started a new job that I absolutely love, working in the nonprofit sector. But, as you can imagine, the move from the corporate world to the nonprofit world brought with it some shifts in my finances and I am trying to adapt.

I am not complaining and I am doing fine, but I just am realizing that in order to adjust to the change in salary, I need to start reevaluating where my money goes. I’ve never been one to buy much for myself in terms of clothing, jewelry, electronics, etc., but my money is usually spent on experiences and adventures. And I have been blessed to have had as many awesome experiences as I have thus far.

But now I need to start making choices as to which things are most important to me. No more going out for food and drinks EVERY time I’m invited. No more buying Groupons for every class and adventure my friends try to talk me into. It’s time to be more selective about which restaurants I really want to try and which races I really want to run.

It’s been hard, but I’ve already been practicing. I’ve turned down a few nights out, concerts, and dinners. I passed on purchasing the Groupon for the crepe making class I wanted to do with some friends. I’ve made some choices to not run races that I’ve done regularly but found I don’t enjoy all that much. And I’ve opted to try to cook more at home so I can get more comfortable inviting people over for dinner instead of always going to a restaurant.

That said, I’m not giving up on the things I really want to say yes to. With the money I’ve saved from the things I’ve said no to, I have enough money for a few really awesome things – including the Disneyland Half Marathon to earn my Coast-to-Coast medal!

I think it’s going to be an ongoing challenge to find the right balance between a life of saying “yes” and realizing when it’s okay to say no. But in the end, I am confident that I will figure out a way to do the things I want to do and have the means to do it.

I Added to My List Today

I add things to my list a lot, actually, but today I added two kind of crazy items, that oddly enough, I have a shot at accomplishing in the near future.

  • Do a trick on a trapeze
  • Do a trick on aerial silks
Now that Fear Experiment is over, many of my adventurous new friends and I have been looking for our next great challenge. There have been all sorts of ideas tossed out there, but one of my favorites was a suggestion by our fabulous choreographer – try aerial arts! (See below for an example.)
No, I’m not planning on running off to join Cirque du Soleil. I just want to give it a try. Lucky for me, the Aloft Loft in Chicago offers beginner classes, as well as free “taster” classes once a month. So, guess what I’m thinking about signing up for…

If I go through with it, that’s a new item crossed off the list!