Living On Purpose

Nearly two years ago I read a book that I didn’t like that much, but it really stuck with me: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the concept of adding happiness into my life. I’m all for that. I just found the author a bit off putting. She just seemed a tad too self-absorbed and didn’t think enough about the people around her. Also, she focused too much on perfection.

That being said, the book stuck with me, or at least the idea of trying to add more happiness into one’s life. So after the suckiness of last 7 months, I decided to get off of my duff and do a little more than just think about happiness.

It’s funny how a brush with one’s own mortality can light a fire under your butt.

Pursuit of Happiness
Don’t get me wrong: I’m perfectly content with my life. But where’s the fun in life if I settle for being comfortable? Whether it’s improving myself (physically, mentally or spiritually), trying new things, or getting out of my comfort zone, aiming for happiness is a good thing.

Below is a list of new habits to create (or break), hobbies to try, and skills to cultivate. Stuff I wanted to try but didn’t because of my own inertia. My goal is to work on each of them.

1. Make More Time for Play with the Hubby.
All work and no play makes Dot very uncreative, stressed out, and grumpy. I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I don’t know when this happened, but I’ve stopped playing. If my husband suggests bowling, playing pool or a date night, I’m more content to sit in my recliner with an iPad. Ugh! When did I become an old fogey?

There is nothing remotely rejuvenating about sitting for hours looking at my Facebook feed. To this I say: “No more!”

I’m setting aside time each day to goof around with the hubby. It can be something as simple as playing with the dogs, throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite, or bowling with friends.

2. Stop Mindlessly Web Surfing And Get Stuff Done
I know exactly where I can find an hour in my “busy” schedule for more fun. Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Web surfing. Email.

Every day, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I pick up my damned phone, and it never leaves my side. There is nothing earth-shattering happening on social media. Also, I don’t have a job, so it’s not like I’m getting an urgent email. Being connected is one huge time suck. Time to turn it off and join the real world.

3. Revisit My Inner Shutterbug
I’ve started the low carb cooking channel on YouTube with the help of my hubby. But between his job and work on his novels, I need to pick up more of the slack. It’s time for me to dive in and play with the camcorders, lights, and editing software. I also plan to dust off my old digital SLR so I can take way better food pictures.

4. Save, Baby, Save!
Both the hubby and I have made a decision to start saving and cutting down on expenses. We want to do some traveling and want to pay for the trips before we even pick our destinations. We’ve done this before with lots of success when we hunkered down and became debt free. Recently, we’ve slacked off on our saving efforts. We restart saving this week by working on a budget and sticking to it. I’m also thinking about savings milestones, competitions on who can save the most, and little celebrations as we move towards our financial goals.

5. Organize My Life
The older I get, the more I want to declutter and go all minimalist. Twenty years ago, letting go of “things” was so hard. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have much stuff. Last week the husband and I cleared out a corner in our basement and it felt awesome. Having too much junk in my life makes it hard to feel organized and focused on what matters to me. First up to feel my wrath: that spare bedroom that’s turned into storage. Time to finally turn it into that craft room I’ve always wanted.

6. Learn A Language
I took four years of Latin in high school and four semesters of German in college. I didn’t use either, and hardly remember them. But I’ve always wanted to learn a language and use it. The hubby suggested I try Spanish. I certainly have neighbors I could practice with and, while he’s a bit rusty, the husband also knows enough to carry on a conversation with a 3-year-old. (He can do that in English, too).

7. Try Something New Each Month
I’m in a bit of a rut, and I think it’s time to expand my horizons. So once a month I’m going to try something new. It can be anything from trying a new food to zip lining. Some ideas may come from my recently updated healthy bucket list. Others as they strike my fancy.

8. Add Music To My Life
Learning to play an instrument helps with stress by making you feel more relaxed. I’d also imagine it must feel pretty dang good to master a difficult tune. I always wanted to learn to play the piano. Yet another reason to work on that craft room!

9. Travel More
I know I’m saving up for future trips, but day trips are pretty cheap. My area is loaded with tons of cool things to see and visit that are just a short drive away: the ocean, Gettysburg, Jamestown, Appalachian Trail, the swimming wild ponies, and lots of rivers and lakes to fish in.

10. Learn to sew
My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago and I’m embarrassed to say it is still in the dang box. Ugh! I found a local fabric shop that offers sewing lessons. Time to sign up.

To track my progress, I’m posting a daily log with the above list, with the first post hitting tomorrow. It’s one thing to have a list of things you want to do. But it’s another to take action. I have to hold my feet to the fire on this one (any help appreciated!).

Eating Healthy On The Road

I’m visiting family in a few weeks. My goal is to stay on program during the trip. No problem once I arrive. I can easily buy my own foods. My challenge is the actual road trip. I’m driving to Texas from Virginia – over 1,400 miles.

It’s about a 20-hour drive – 2 days.  I want to keep to my 36 daily points and stay under 25g of carbs/day.  I thought about picking up a few Atkins shakes and bars, but I think I’ll save those for the plane ride back home. Instead, I’ll do this the old fashion way – prepare food for the trip.

I plan to start each day with a large breakfast. That should tap down on any hunger attacks and keep my blood sugar level steady all day. Otherwise I’ll rely on a small cooler filled with:

  1. Water & Home Brewed Ice Tea
  2. Seeds & Nuts
  3. Boiled Eggs
  4. Cheese
  5. Chopped Veggies – Mixed Greens, Celery, Peppers, Cucumbers

I plan to take some home-made salad dressing too as anything off the shelf is too expensive point wise.

If I need some quick protein, I can always order a burger without the bun or find steak at truck stops.

Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do for exercise.



No Worms In This Big Apple Trip!

I survived New York City and its wonderful plethora of scrumdiddlyumptious food.

The keys? 1. Smart choices and 2. Walking, walking and more walking.

I left the cannolis and opted for eggs, ordered tasty salads, skipped desserts, drank lots of water, and avoided bad snacks. The biggest boost this weekend was the amount of walking we did. I worried as the weather report called for rain the entire time.

Sure enough it rained all night Friday, but that didn’t stop us from taking a 3-hour trek through Times Square, Hell’s Kitchen and the Theater District. Saturday it was windy, chilly and sprinkled some. That didn’t stop us from walking everywhere, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. No cabs! With the exception of our outing to The Book of Mormon, we were on our feet the entire day.

Saturday night I did indulge in a few Cosmos while listening to jazz. But my dogs were barking at me, so no guilt!

I plan to step on the scales this Friday so we’ll see if I kicked the worm to the curb.

On The Road Again

Today I’m off to the Big Apple for a weekend of fun with the hubby. I’m going to do my best to stay on program. So yes, I will be counting carbs and points…well mostly guestamating. I have no idea why, but eating healthy and traveling don’t always go together for me. I think when I’m on vacation I give myself permission to go off program. That’s just crazy.

The last vacation we took, I was in complete control. We rented a house with a kitchen and I cooked most of our meals to save money. I was able to plan our meals and not go over my daily points allowance.

This weekend I’ll have no kitchen. No grocery shopping. No food plan. Since I just got back from Arizona, I haven’t even had a chance to pick up a few safe snacks for the train ride. Ugh!

So for trips like this weekend (where we eat out all the time), walking a lot was my way to help guard against those little treats you can’t resist. Well walking may not be an option as NYC is having lots o’rain this weekend. So lots of pressure on my food choices.

Hopefully they will have fruit on the train.