30 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I TURN 31…

Today is exactly 30 days before my 31st birthday and for the first time in my life, I actually feel a bit anxious about it. Oddly, while most of my friends dreaded turning 30, I reveled in it. So why would turning 31 be any different?

Let’s just say that somehow, I thought I’d be further along now than I was at 30. Frankly, I have no idea what this entirely means, but it’s a thought I continue to have.  I suppose I have a sort of “Life List” floating about in my head that I mentally check off as life goes on. And lately, I feel like I’ve checked off so little!

So, in honor of my upcoming 31st – and perhaps to ease a little anxiety (or possibly create more…), I’m going to create a 30 Things to do Before I Turn 31 list:

  • Take an introductory photography class.
  • Take a basic Photoshop class.

Shoot Fly Shoot

  • Recruit 15 more followers to my blog…
  • Transform my hideous entertainment unit into something I can stand a little more!
  • (Finally) Make a stagecoach curtain for the guest room window (which I will definitely blog about later).

  • Start a daily journal.
  • Establish a consistent gym routine – and stick to it!
  • Regularly wake up earlier in order to make and enjoy a healthy breakfast with my husband.
  • Sell 2 more furniture pieces.
  • Reopen my Etsy shop.
  • Find and purchase a new rug for my office!

Souk Rug

  • Find an unwavering confidence in myself…
  • Refinished the recent flea market bread boards I recently purchased.
  • Host an end of summer soiree.
  • Go golfing with my new golf clubs!
  • Finish the wall galleries in my living and dining rooms.
  • Clean out my closet.
  • Host a book club.
  • Read at least one of the dozen books I have on raising chickens (next Spring, fingers crossed!).
  • Tell my husband that I love him at least once a day.
  • Begin drafting a business plan for my non-profit idea…
  • Register for a race (running).
  • Get a haircut – and learn how to wear my hair more naturally.

  • Clean my car.
  • Recruit 1 guest blogger for blog…
  • (With help of husband) Build a console table for behind sofa.
  • Call dentist to schedule removal of wisdom teeth Sad smile
  • Learn how to cook 2 more go-to, quick and delicious meals.
  • Find and paint 3 sample paint colors in kitchen (orange!).

Sherbet Orange + White

  • Take pictures of my home (after my photography & Photoshop classes…) and (finally…) upload them onto “My Home” blog page.

While much of this list is simply a to-do list, I actually do feel inspired and hope to knock this list out of the ballpark over the next month. I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

HAPPY HUMP DAY! WHERE HAPPINESS BEGINS (CONTINUED)

(BEWARE: THIS IS A LONG POST!) As promised in my previous Happy Hump Day! post, I spent a good chunk of the day yesterday and throughout the week pondering Ms. Kipfer’s suggested list of questions in order to find what it is that drives me. What is my passion? How do I find it? And what exactly do I want to do with it once it is found?

Unfortunately, spending the week pondering and answering a few questions is not going to miraculously produce that misplaced passion, but it does offer enough insight that makes a few contemplative hours all worthwhile…

1.  List 5 things that you want. List 5 things that you’re good at. Do you know the difference?

I realize that sometimes what I want and what I am good at are (sadly!) not one and the same. I was easily able to come up with a list of things that I wanted – it was more difficult to narrow it down to only 5!

  • Start my own business
  • Renovate/design a fixer-upper farm house
  • Become a published writing in a well-respected magazine or newspaper
  • Start a fundraising non-profit organization
  • Be an extrovert, less shy, more outgoing

Now, coming up with 5 things that I’m actually good at was incredibly challenging. As mentioned, I’m my own worst critic, and while I think I’m “ok” at many things, I find that there is very little that I am actually good at. After much hemming and hawing, this is the list that I’ve come up with:

  • events planning / organizing / hosting
  • styling and arranging tchotchkes!
  • writing – but only if it’s something I feel passionately about
  • being considerate (sometimes too much so!) of the feelings of others
  • picking up new skills (when forced to)

Yep, a pretty sparse list, eh? Perhaps this is something I should work on….

2.  What interest, passion, and/or desire are you most afraid to admit to yourself and others?

Well, if I knew exactly what my passions and desires were, I don’t think I’d be too terribly afraid to admit them! And unfortunately, if it’s something I’m afraid of admitting even to myself, a single question probably isn’t going to produce that Aha! moment. But, if I were forced to answer I’d say this:

I once thought that I would eventually want to be a stay-at-home mother. I’d have a short career in my 20’s, have a couple of little ones in my 30’s, and then devote myself entirely to my children. I do want to devote myself to my children, of course, but I now realize that this is not what I want to do entirely. I also want a career; a long, fulfilling career, and I want to be able to successfully balance this career with motherhood. So I suppose my desire would be to become a modern day superwoman!

3.  What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?

Well, there are a dozen or more things I would do if I knew I absolutely wouldn’t fail! But I decided to stay relevant in my answer: I would host a huge, national, fundraising event for my own non-profit organization (going back to what I want…). I would enlist established artists – painters, photographers, designers, etc. – have them each create a piece relevant to the cause, and I would then auction these pieces at a silent auction. In attendance would be celebrities, diplomats, and enormously successful entrepreneurs, and in the end, I would raise awareness and an absurd amount of money for an exceptional cause.

4. What would you do if money was not a concern in your life?

While not entirely relevant, I suppose I would travel for a few months, for entirely selfish reasons, then volunteer in either a small African village or at Gombe (Tanzania) Research Park for another few months, and then finally settle into a fixer upper farmhouse, spending my time renovating my home and transforming the surrounding land into an organic farm.

5. Who do you know who’s doing something that you would like to do?

Sarah Richardson from HGTV. She’s got the farmhouse and she’s got the style!

6. What’s stopping you from moving forward with exploring your passion?

Well, in the case of the fixer-upper – money! Other than that, I’d say fear of failure, of being judged, and not quite knowing what I’m fully passionate about and committing to the “wrong” thing. But isn’t that everyone’s fear?

7. What drives you, and what gives you satisfaction?

Simple – making others happy; seeing people delighted with the finished product.

8. What would you regret not having done if your life was ending?

Not living life to its fullest, which I am currently 100% NOT. I think that is the biggest realization I have gotten out of all of this. I see all the things that I want, and realize that I’ve done very little to actually get there. My fears have completely rendered my body motionless – paralysis by analysis – and I’ve just gotta get myself moving! Perhaps something to discuss further next Wednesday…

So, now that I have completely put my dreams and aspirations, fears and insecurities out there for the world to see…what are some of yours? Have you taken the time to ponder about and answer any of the above questions, and if so, what did you discover?

HAPPY HUMP DAY! THIS IS WHERE HAPPINESS BEGINS…

As I mentioned in my first and second posts, I sometimes struggle to find happiness in daily life – I think many people do. So I’ve decided to create a series called “Happy Hump Day!” Each Wednesday, I will write about my pursuit for happiness; not an artificial idea of happiness, but the art of actually being happy, and discovering this happiness in the every day.

I hope you will follow me in this series as I research and interview those that consider themselves happy, form navigational guidelines to make myself happy, and hopefully, help you find your own happiness along the way…

To begin:

I am well aware that I am my own worst enemy. Frankly, I have always felt a bit lost and without a solid purpose – and I’m pretty sure this has been my biggest obstacle toward finding bliss. Ok, perhaps not complete bliss, but pretty darn close! I’m a firm believer that purpose and passion (P & P) go hand-in-hand and without these things, happiness can’t persist. Maybe I’m wrong in this assumption, and maybe this is why I struggle with finding happiness to begin with, but until I discover otherwise, it is this purpose and passion (or lack thereof) that drives my life. And presently, I’m simply driving down empty roads without a destination in sight.

So how does one going about finding one’s P & P? According to “52 Tips to Happiness and Productivity” on www.zenhabits.net, finding passion is an indispensable and imperative aspect of happiness. Or, as Barbara Ann Kipfer states in Field Guide to Happiness for Women, “finding your passion means connecting your head with your heart, engaging yourself that feels in a big, bold, spiritual way.” She suggests a list of questions to ask yourself “if you have yet to identify your passions:”

· List 5 things that you want. List 5 things that you’re good at. Do you know the difference?

· What interest, passion, and/or desire are you most afraid to admitting to yourself and others?

· What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?

· What would you do if money was not a concern in your life?

· Who do you know who’s doing something that you would like to do?

· What’s stopping you from moving forward with exploring your passion?

· What drives you, and what gives you satisfaction?

· What would you regret not having done if your life was ending?

Yikes! These are all demanding and thoughtful questions that I can’t answer lightly. With that said, I am going to take the week to ponder, and will have my answers for your viewing pleasure come the next series post. In the meantime, I would love to hear your own answers to some or all of these questions. What is your passion and are you living it?