365 Days: Let's try this again, shall we?

In the Before Times, when I was deployed, I started my first 101 in 1001 list and put take a photo every day for a year on there. I started immediately, figuring it would be really, really cool to have a year of my life during and after a deployment chronicled in photographs.

I made it 214 days. 15 days after that, I got on a plane and headed home. I can’t remember why I stopped. Life was busy and full then, with reintegration plans unfolding and with my mostly wasted attempts to pass on all I’d learned in 18 months to my counterpart taking up most of my days. Maybe I got bored. Maybe I figured there was nothing left to photograph on the whole Camp Bondsteel that I hadn’t captured at least six or seven times. Maybe I got lazy. Either way, I didn’t make it.

When I put together my second 101 in 1001 list, I knew I had to try this photo thing again. At the beginning of July, once the Independence Day insanity died down, I promised myself I’d start again on August 1st. I’d put it off enough, and it was time to buck up and get the shit started.

As a total coincidence, several other bloggers also just started this challenge, and I’m excited to know that I’ll be in good company

Follow along here.

Day 1.

Crossing things off, getting ready & making adjustments

My weekend was full. Equal parts busy and lazy, it was a perfect combination.

Saturday, I met this fellow Richmond 20-something blogger at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. She’d left a comment last week asking if I was attending the race and, while I hadn’t planned on it (mostly because I hadn’t sought out the information), I figured supporting the boobies is always a good thing. I’ve been slowly getting back into running lately and, run a 5k is on my list so, ultimately, I had no good reason not to.

For the record, five kilometers  is more than I’ve run outside, on the road, in a very long time. Somehow I morphed from someone who used to be afraid of treadmills to someone who runs almost exclusively on treadmills. And you know what? Running on the treadmill is not the same thing. Not even a little bit.

I finished the race in 37 minutes. I walked a little bit. Since there were about a million people (slight exaggeration) running the race, we didn’t even cross the start line until 5 minutes in. My goal was to run faster than 30 minutes, and while I didn’t do that, I think I would have come close had there not been herds of walkers and strollers in front of me for the first half mile.   

After well-deserved naps and some shopping, Saturday night came. We managed to get our whole (absolutely crazy) group of friends together for a birthday celebration and it was nice. It was good. Necessary. It’s been far too long since we’ve had everyone together all at once and I’d forgotten how nice it is.

We’ve changed, as group. Things have shifted, relationships have changed, like they always do, I guess. We started as a group that spent nearly every free second together and I’ve struggled some with losing that. We’re still close, but it’s different. I can’t decide if it’s good different or not. I like my free time too. I like spending the occasional Friday night parked on the couch with my husband and HuskyMutts with no obligations. But, I like being social too. I guess, like with everything else, I just need to search for a better balance that satisfies me.

Sunday, I studied. And napped. Andrew went and got me ice cream and we snuggled. We tried on all the clothes we’ll be wearing to cruise ship dinners and packed. It was a perfect lazy Sunday.

That Whole Turning 26 Thing

So yeah. On Friday, I turned 26. It’s official. I’m in the last year of my mid-20s. That’s it. I’m on the downhill slope to 30. And you know what? I’m kind of  cool with it, which is weird for me.  I’ve been freaking out about birthdays since I was 16 and now, I’m suddenly over it.  I joke about not aging, about how I’d rather be turning 25 again, but really, I’m okay.

I think a lot of it has to do with where I’m at.  I’m comfortable with what I’ve accomplished at this point. I have a career and a dog and a house and a husband and a lawn mower and a pie pan. I’ve got some plans, some great friends. There are actual curtains on some of the windows in my house instead of towels and tapestries as in birthdays past.  Things are good and logical and I’m pretty cozy in my current situation.

When I turned 24, I said “I don’t remember hating a birthday as much as I hate this one.” And I was serious. I was pissed at the month of March, at  2008, at the Earth for spinning and everything else because damn it! I didn’t want to turn 24! I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared for the ascent into my mid-20s because I hadn’t done ANYTHING (not counting, of course, the time I got deployed to Kosovo, got married, got divorced and got married again, but really, who keeps track of all that REALLY BIG stuff anyway?). I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t in school. I didn’t have a plan. Andrew and I were still being reclusive and I was not ready for turning 24 and all it’s bullshit expectations and lines in the sand that I couldn’t measure up to.

Hindsight is 20/20 though. Much like my newly improved vision. Things got better. I stopped being such a bitch about aging and about absolutely having to accomplish x, y and z by a certain point in life. Because things change. Sometimes you get really depressed and don’t do anything for a while. Sometimes you get deployed and can’t finish school. Sometimes relationships fail. Sometimes friendships end. And it’s horrible and wretched and it sucks. And then things get better. Until they start to suck again.

What was that about time being cyclical and about life cycles? Yeah, I get it now.

26th Birthday Weekend Recap of Goodness

Friday: Woke up. Opened a present. Went to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Stocked up on food my vegan friends could eat. Came home. Opened a present. Snuggled the dog. Kissed my husband. Went to lunch with my co-workers. Opened a present. Watched TV. Enjoyed some time for introspection while Andrew went to the gym. Baked a chocolate chip cheesecake from a recipe I got from this blogger. Opened a present. Got dressed up. Felt weird about not wearing make-up (I couldn’t, and still can’t, because of the LASIK) with heels. Picked up friends, who I’ve known for almost 10 years, from the bus station. Squeed about friends being in Richmond. Showed friends around the house. Drank a glass of wine. Got a book I’ve been wanting for forever from my old friends. Left friends at my house to go see Wicked. Got McDonald’s for dinner. Saw Wicked (#99 on the list). Donated $20 to BroadwayCares. Came home. Drank a whole bottle wine all by myself and stayed up talking until past 4am.  Passed the eff out while the room spun around me.

Saturday: Woke up late. Felt like death. Cursed that bottle of wine of I drank on Friday night. Snuggled my husband. Watched TV with my husband and friends. Drank some tea. Ate a bagel. Regretted eating a bagel. Moaned and whined about feeling like death. Snuggled on my husband  some more. Put on real pants (at 2pm). Went to the SPCA. Fed treats to the dogs, played with the cats. Almost brought a cat home. Went to Belle Isle to prove to my friends, who live in DC, that Richmond has nature and history. Laughed. Took some pictures. Stood in awe of the James River and all it’s powerful roaring. Went to dinner at Ipanema, a place where my vegan friends had menu options. Enjoyed dinner. Went to a bowling alley for a friend’s 30th birthday celebration (Her birthday is the same as mine and she is just as awesome as I am. And just as loud. It’s why I love her.). There was a metal show at the bowling alley. That was neat. I drank a beer or two. I didn’t bowl because my eyes were hurting and the lights were bright.  Watched other people bowl. Laughed. Realized how lucky I am to have a group of friends. Went home. Took a shower. Went to sleep just as the clock struck 12.

Sunday: Woke up early. Freaked out about daylight savings time. Went to an eye appointment. Had my protective contact band-aid taken out. Drove around the neighborhood. Went back home. Watched TV. Went to brunch. Met a friend’s new girlfriend. Like the friend’s new girlfriend. Took my DC friends back to the bus station. Felt sad they were leaving, but happy they’d come down. Contemplated napping. Didn’t. Watched TV. Played the Sims 3. For hours and hours. Went to bend late.

Best birthday weekend ever. It was deliciously low-key and just crazy enough to make me smile at the thought of it. I think 26 is going to be a good year.

Take 2: 101 in 1001

So I recently finished my first 101 in 1001 challenge.  Since I enjoyed it doing it the first time, I figure, what the hell, I might as well do it again.

My start date was Saturday, Dec. 5 and my end date is Sept. 1, 2012.

101 in 1001 [2.0]

  1. Vote.
  2. Put up shelves in my office.
  3. Read 5 challenged or banned books. (0/5)
  4. Read “The Giver.”
  5. Read “Catch 22.”
  6. Make a wreath.
  7. Put up a real Christmas tree.
  8. Visit Monticello.
  9. Go to 6 Richmond festivals or events. (0/6)
  10. Mail Christmas cards.
  11. Purchase a teapot.
  12. Have a picnic.
  13. Visit 5 museums. (0/5)
  14. Visit a winery.
  15. Get a massage.
  16. Replace the counter tops in the kitchen.
  17. Paint the downstairs bathroom.
  18. Visit five states. (0/5)
  19. Visit Alaska.
  20. Run a 5k.
  21. Deploy.
  22. Donate to a women’s organization.
  23. Donate to an animal organization.
  24. Put together my wedding album.
  25. Visit another country.
  26. Paint the kitchen.
  27. Sew something.
  28. Plant a tree.
  29. Take 1 photo a day for a full year. (0/365)
  30. Leave 12 hidden notes for my husband. (0/12)
  31. Add 3 board games to our collection. (0/3)
  32. Update my will.
  33. Update my DEERS.
  34. Get promoted.
  35. Pay off Andrew’s car.
  36. Take a photo of my house every month for a year. (0/12)
  37. Go vegetarian for 1 month.
  38. Go without soda for 1 month.
  39. Attend 3 concerts. (0/3)
  40. Landscape the front yard.
  41. Host 4 dinner parties. (0/4)
  42. Keep a paper journal for 6 months.
  43. Do 45 perfect push-ups in a row.
  44. Grow cherry tomatoes.
  45. See Alverna again.
  46. Read “Catcher in the Rye.”
  47. Read 50 books. (0/50)
  48. Send 10 postcards. (0/10)
  49. Bake an apple pie.
  50. Go to a Detroit Redwings game.
  51. Attend a PostSecret event.
  52. Send a PostSecret.
  53. Shop at the Farmer’s Market 5 times. (0/5)
  54. Compost.
  55. Attend the Basic Non-Commissioned Officer’s Course.
  56. Try 20 new recipes. (0/20)
  57. Complete the 26 things challenge.
  58. Attend a Pow Wow.
  59. Build a snowman.
  60. Go to the zoo.
  61. Get a Brazilian wax.
  62. Visit NYC.
  63. Complete all general education requirements for college.
  64. Frame photos in the dining room.
  65. Go on a cruise.
  66. Visit a European country.
  67. Install a new backsplash in the kitchen.
  68. Have a superbowl party.
  69. Get my savings account to $15,000.
  70. Stay a size 4.
  71. Get a fire proof safe.
  72. Host a theme party.
  73. Volunteer.
  74. Go camping.
  75. Host Thanksgiving dinner for a group of friends.
  76. Pick fruit.
  77. Video blog.
  78. See the Atlantic Ocean.
  79. See the Pacific Ocean
  80. Visit a battlefield.
  81. Take the 5,000 Question Survey. (0/5,000)
  82. Maintain a 3.5 GPA.
  83. Get business cards.
  84. Stop using chemical cleaning products in my home.
  85. Visit a Smithsonian Museum.
  86. Expand the deck.
  87. Watching Seasons 6-10 of Friends.
  88. Attend a Flying Squirrels Game.
  89. Get my wedding ring fixed.
  90. Give a gift through Heifer.org.
  91. Drive on the skyline Drive.
  92. Visit Canada.
  93. Collect 101 quotes that inspire me. (0/101)
  94. Get Combat Life Saver qualified.
  95. Buy a waffle iron.
  96. Go on a road trip.
  97. Make fudge.
  98. Feed a giraffe.
  99. See Wicked.
  100. Install a garbage disposal.
  101. Meet a blogger.

The end of my 101 in 1001

Thanksgiving Day was the very last day of my 101 in 1001 challenge.  My time is up.  I completed 82.1% of my tasks.

It’s amazing how different things are now.  I didn’t know what the hell life was going to be like in 1001 days when I started the challenge, but the good news is that I’m very happy with what my life is like now.

In completing my first 101 in 1001 challenge, I feel compelled to provide some tips, or some lessons learned.

  1. Make the goals attainable. Sure, you might want to visit 4 countries and 19 states and adopt 16 puppies while ending world hunger, but chances are, it ain’t gonna happen in 1001.  Unless you are some sort of trust fund baby, making half your goals about travel, or about purchasing expensive things, or about totally changing your lifestyle, will only result in frustration and failure. Ave those things for your bucket list.
  2. Make sure you want to achieve your goals. Once you write down your first 88 goals, you start to get a little desperate. So you pull shit from a hat instead of really thinking about what you’d like to accomplish. Don’t do that. It will only piss you off in the end.
  3. Leave a few goals blank. Let yourself develop goals as you progress.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up if your goals change over time. I really thought, 1001 days ago, that I wanted to get another tattoo.  But, as it turns out, I don’t.  I realize now, I should have just gone ahead and excused myself from that goal and plugged in a new one rather than allowing myself to fail.
  5. Don’t spell the word “veggie” like “vegie.”
  6. Put some short-term stuff on your list. Try to think over what the next 1001 days will hold for you and write ten or so goals for each quarter of the challenge.  That includes the current quarter, the foreseeable future. So, if you have shelves you’ve been meaning to put up for the past six months, go ahead and put that on your list.  Who knows? Maybe putting something so mundane on your list will jump start your motivation.
  7. Don’t put something on your list that you have to do every single day, unless it’s something easy like breathing, or drinking some liquids, or sleeping. Things change. Life changes. Relationships start and end. The likelihood that you’re going to do yoga every day for 1001 days, or drink 8 glasses of water, or read the news, or read 10 pages from a book, is slim to none.
  8. Print your list out and carry it with you. Read it when you’re riding the bus, or waiting for someone, or whenever you have a free moment. Look over what you’ve accomplished, and what you have yet to accomplish. This will help you know your list inside and out and will allow you to always have your goals in mind. After a while, you won’t need the list because you’ll have it memorized.
  9. If there is one crazy thing you want to put on there that you don’t think will happen, go for it. Don’t compile a whole list of these things, but do put that one, seemingly impossible, goal on your list. When I made my list, I didn’t think there was a chance in hell I would be in a position to buy a house within 1001 days, but it happened.
  10. Do expand your point of view. Use your list as a jumping off point for experiencing different cultures, different places & different points of view. Always wanted to try yoga? Put it on your list. Wondered what the difference between a Lutheran & a Baptist is? Put it on your list! Always wanted to attend the opera? Put it on your list. Look around your town, or city, or state and see what’s available. Chances are, life chancing experiences are right in your backyard.
  11. Do it again! If you don’t accomplish every thing the first time, do it again. It’s that easy.

Speaking of doing it again…I working on my 101 in 1001: Part the Second right now….stay tuned…