For me, 2015 can be described as wordy – literally! Over the past 365 days, I have had 33 essays published across multiple outlets- 20 syndicated and 13 original. Having the opportunity to allow my work to be introduced to new readers has been the best thing to happen this year.
Almost exactly a year ago, I had decided to embark in an ambitious endeavor of completing 365 things 365 days. At the time, it was a creative way for me to continue to try new things while regaining a new life balance, something that was lacking in 2014. The original list was full of mini road trips, photography projects, wish list items and many, many, many random to-dos
Forgive me if this sounds cliche, but there is no other phrase that can describe why all of the items on the list did not get completed. The unexpected happened in my life early in the year, placing me on a winding path for the rest of the year. Instead of focusing on this list that was sure to bring me enlightenment, circumstances caused me to rise to the occasion at work, where I had barely been for four months. An unintended Master’s class was upon me, expanding my industry knowledge and skills sets in a baptism by fire way. Somehow I blinked, and 2015 is in the final stages. In total, 95 items have been completed on the original 365 list. Yet there is no doubt that over the past year, the amount of new experiences, purchases, projects and skills developed total that target number of 365.
While all of the items are not included on here, each one has impacted who I am. From discovering my uncanny ability to multitask high priority tasks, to exploring my strengths as a professional, the direction of my future is clearer now than I had anticipated it would be this time last year. In respects to my writing, in 2015 I have had 33 essays published including 20 syndicated pieces and 13 original. My mind is still reeling about that reality. The gratitude I have in my heart for the opportunity to share my stories to help others feel less alone cannot even begin to be explained. Personally, the items that were completed (both planned and spontaneous) served as additional crumbs of insight leading me the path of learning more about myself. Self acceptance and inner peace is still a daily struggle, but maintaining an undistorted viewpoint has become more manageable.
One month into 365 in 365- and it’s been an experience to say the list. January has always been a month that would sort of float by, but when you have a lot of shit to do (365 things to be exact) it’s a motivator to live. From art projects, mini road trips and trying things that were never really on my radar before- it kicked of 2015 in a positive way.
Here are a few highlight’s I’ve been able to check off the list. It’s been hard to update because between working full time and living-a spare moment with enough brain energy to blog has been difficult to find!
Walk like a Polar Bear
The biggest thing of the month was jumping into the icy Delaware River for the Polar Bear Plunge. Somehow, I convinced my best friend of over 20 years, Nikki, to be my partner in this item. To my surprise she was even more excited than I was, and even went along with idea to wear matching polar bear hats. My family came to cheer us on the early Saturday morning we stood on the shore of Neshaminy State Park, waiting to plunge. Continue reading →
After being alive for a quarter of a century, I’ve picked up a few useful pieces of information. The most valuable tidbits being the ones that I have learned the hard way. An activity on my list of 365 things to do in 365 days was to put together a list of 25 life lessons I’ve learned over the past 25 years. Honestly, this was a lot harder than I thought. Most of it is silly, some of isn’t rocket science, but it’s all gems of wisdom I now can share because of personal experience.
Cat’s like Spaghettios.
The knowledge gained at your first job will be much more valuable than anything learned during four years at college.
Interning makes a huge difference when applying to jobs. Skip the wine-tasting elective offered and apply for an internship or two.
When you only have $10 for food for an entire week before payday, McDonald’s Dollar Menu is a gift from God.
Don’t listen to a nun who wears sneakers and marks your quiz wrong because you put Bill Clinton as an answer to the question ‘name a charismatic leader’ ,even if she lowers your grade.
When the car radio-presets are all screwed up, it does not mean a friend played an elaborate prank. Your car battery is about to die, so call a mechanic.
Eating seafood that has been marked down to clearance at the local Thriftway is never a good idea.
Passion beats talent 95% of the time. A boss would rather have an employee with a great attitude that is teachable, rather than a skilled drone.
There’s no long term hurt that can come from going after a dream. The sting of rejection can be soften by the knowledge that at least you tried. And the payoff can be epic.
Facebook stalking can lift up your spirits and make you feel inadequate in a matter of minutes.
Being cheap about something will only cost more money in the long run. Like that shitty $40 Ikea bed frame that is now propped against my wall used as a clothesline.
It’s really terrifying to see your parents turning into a younger version of your grandparents.
Friendship takes a lot of work after college.
Siri is not a friend to those of us who talk fast and have a strong ‘Northeast Philadelphia’ accent.
Finding the good bathroom at work is one of the most important things to do during the first week at a new job.
Fear of missing out and peer pressure isn’t always that bad. It all depends on the peers doing the pressuring. I tried clean eating, and exercising because of the fear of missing out on the experience my coworkers were partaking in last year.
Cinnamon toothpaste is the most useless product created by the dental hygiene world.
Antidepressants only work half way, the user has to be willing to do the other half of the work to feel better.
Being in the good graces of your office’s administrative assistant, security team, janitor and cafeteria cook is more telling of your reputation than being in the good graces of the CEO.
Unit air conditioners get taken out of windows in the winter for a reason. Learning this hard way can result in getting a cold or freezing to death in your sleep.
Your parents and/or your family’s way of life does not need to be how you live your life. Even if they tell you otherwise.
Motherly love can be appreciated at any age. And that doesn’t mean it has to come from your biological mother either.
Never be a jerk to someone who is apologizing. Even if you don’t accept it, give them the opportunity attempt.
A person can actually overdose on vitamins. Especially Niacin, which I decided to take multiple times day to increase my happiness. My face was the color of an apple and I’m lucky my head didn’t explode.
Google is the reason why those reference books on my bookshelf at work are covered in dust. And has also encouraged my demand and expectations of instant gratification.
This whole doing 365 in 365 is a great conversation starter. It is much more appealing that sports, and everyone is aware that the east coast is an arctic tundra from January through mid March.
I was able to register a 4-week painting lesson at PortSide Art Center near my apartment in Fishtown, thanks to their awesome New Years deal. I also registered for the Polar Bear Plunge, and convinced one of my best friends to take the dive with me on January 24 at Neshaminy State Park. January usually is a lackluster month, but not this year. There’s no excuse for any month in 2015 to be boring. Gotta catch ’em all before the end of the year(note the shiny Pokeball gif I found).
The past week was focused on getting my finances in check, realigning my jaw while preparing to tap into my crafty-inner child…
The first post of 2015! Within 24 hours of publishing my insane list of 365 things I wanted to do in 365, I gave myself a panic attack. Honestly, not surprising. But then after a recommendation from a friend, I decided to break the list into things to accomplish each month month. Thankfully, that made things less overwhelming and my enthusiasm for the project was restored!
Here are the things I’ve been able to check off the list so far….
I like making lists. Ever since I was a kid, it’s been a way to organize the chaos of my thoughts. Now that I’m older, it makes me feel accomplished to be able to cross something off physically. Also, it keeps me on task for when I’m distracted by shiny things.
This time last year, I made a half-hearted attempt to do 25 unique things before 25. But I only gave myself a four month window and all hell broke loose unexpectedly during that time period. The few things I was able to squeeze in was really fun, and I did a lot of them throughout the year passed the 25th birthday.
So I decided to revisit that idea, but to raise the bar a bit. I’m challenging myself to do 365 things in 365 days. This is a way for work the skills I’ve been putting off, seeing the sights I’ve been sorely neglecting in my own backyard, writing the pieces I’ve been mulling over and simply brooding my experiences. Over the course of the next 365 I’ll be writing about the adventures/experiences of checking off each item. And I’m hoping that I’ll be able to drag along friends and family to join the fun- as well as making new friends along the way.
Here is a sampling of some of the ideas:
Visit the Mutter Museum
Re-read Are You There God It’s Me Margaret
Try Salt Room therapy
Send a care package to a solider overseas
Bake a pie from scratch
Learn how to change a tire
Try Vietnamese food
Ride a zip-line
Pop a bottle of champagne
Wade in a creek
To view the full list, click below. It’s broken down into categories. If you have any ideas to add to the list, or ways to check off one of the experiences, let me know! And if you want to join me on any of the adventures, even if I don’t know you, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below! This challenge is to open myself to new experiences- and the more the merrier!
Hopefully you’ll follow along as I blog, tweet (#365in365) and attempt this insanity.