Monday, September 26, 2011

...Beats the gym!

Last week I picked up and sailed away. Literally. 

I work for a non-profit organization where our main attraction is a 17th century sailing ship, a replica built in the 1990's. We have a shipyard and educational lessons, but let's face it, what brings the people in is the ship and the chance to take a sail on it. And that's just what I did.

Taking advantage of a free afternoon, I forwent heading to the gym and instead headed towards the dock, bordering the ship with an educational group. I wasn't looking to join the lessons (I had already sailed once with an education group earlier this summer, so had seen the stations), just to spend some time out on the water and enjoy the afternoon experiencing something different. 

The weather was a bit overcast and a little chilly, but that didn't stop me. I arrived down at the dock, waited to board the ship...and it started to rain. Not hard enough to cancel the sail, but enough to get wet. I was still undeterred and walked the gangplank onto the ship brimming with optimism it wouldn't rain more. We set sail down the river and under the draw bridges; I sat enjoying the view, half listening to the learning station right in front of me, soaking up the freedom of being outdoors. And, again, it started to rain, though this time a little harder. I was able to take cover back at the helm where I watched our progress down the river by the passing landscape and the electronic tracking devise, which I found endlessly fascinating. The ship turned around and we sailed up the river back to our dock, passing the shipyard and the other riverside attractions. 

An hour and a half after we started, we pulled into dock and departed the ship. It rained for the majority of the trip, but that didn't take away the fun of being out on the water, in fact, gave me a new prospective for sailing. Because it is true what they say, "A bad day on the water beats a good day on land."

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This past summer I worked basically everyday. I'm not complaining, it was my choice. I have a goal and opportunities were given to me I wanted to take. But at one point I was employed by five different places. It was crazy and I was stupid.

I have since learned the importance of days off and taking time to relax.

(You may be thinking how does this relate to the idea of this blog? But it does, trust me on this.)

When you are working so many days in a row you tend to get caught up into the mindset of "where do I need to be next?" Juggling work schedules so you can keep up with your commitments is a lot more exhausting then even I originally thought. I had done it before, but never to the extent of having somewhere to be everyday and some days multiple jobs. Before this summer I always had at least one day off a week, a day to wake up late, check email, and run errands. I never knew how important those down days were until mid August when I realized I had only had a small handful of them in the past three months. And it being summer, I had used those days to head to the beach, which is relaxing, but requires travel.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered I had a couple days with nothing to do and no where to go at the beginning of September. The first thing that popped into my mind was "where should I go, what should I do?" And then I started to feel guilty that I had the days off. It took a lot of will power to just tell myself to do nothing, not to plan anything, and just laze about the house. I felt a bit antsy, like I had forgotten to do something and was missing an appointment, but eventually was able to turn off my inner running list of things to do and enjoy my book, watch tv movies, and just plain relax. I pushed back my guilt over not giving my employers all the time I had and taking some of it for myself. The next day when I went into work I was well rested and clear of mind, ready to handle anything that came my way, a state I had not accomplished in a couple weeks. I had even crossed some things off my to-do list, freeing myself of those burdens.

My point? Taking a day to do nothing is just as important to living and experiencing life as going out and doing something extreme. Down time, as everyone will tell you, helps to refresh your mind and body, preparing you to take on whatever there is coming at you in life. It helps you to catch the truly important things, like laughing at a joke with friends, reliving memories with family, or discovering what you like to do when no one else is around to entertain you. I've learn to relish and cherish these days I have no obligations and to take them as the re-charge needed to keep my life moving and exciting.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Idea

I know you are thinking this is a bit morbid, but let’s think about it, your obituary is the last thing people learn about you. And how do you want that to read?
“She was born, raised, and lived in her hometown her whole life. A hard worker, she was a valued employee.”
That’s the best I can come up with right now. I’m not satisfied with that.
One of the founders of the store I work for passed away recently. His obituary read of a full life, one of accomplishments and achievements. This got me thinking about my life, and admittedly, reading the obituary column in the local paper. Some were sad, having passed away far too young; most were standard. Some were boring.
I decided I didn’t want a boring obituary. Or even a standard one.
Not only did I not want a typical obituary, but my ten year high school reunion arrived and I realized I had done very little with my life and had nothing really to show for those past ten years.
So I made a pack with myself, I would live a life worthy of an extraordinary obituary. This meant taking chances, living out side the box, doing things that scared me, not doing what is expected, but doing things to make myself happy. Also included in this is trying something I may not want to do, because you honestly never know how one event might influence another. I told myself I have to do one obituary worthy act a month…and then I changed that to every two weeks. I changed that again to every week.
So what can I do different each week? What will count towards my goal? There are the extremes; sky diving, bungee jumping, white water rafting. I can write a song one week, a poem the next. Travel to some place I’ve never been, either far away or local. Stay up all night to watch the sun rise. The point is to do something and create a tale from it, which sometimes may not be a nail biting exciting one, but it may also be thought provoking, funny, or simply sweet.
This week’s adventure is making myself accountable for this pack, thus documenting my progress here.