Friday, January 6, 2012

Looking for balance – have you seen her?

I’m not real big on setting New Year’s resolutions.

I’m more about dreaming big and trying to make them come true than I am on setting myself up for failure by saying I’m going to do something I pretty well know I’m not going to complete – like getting back to my high school weight or reading a book a week or working out every day come hell or high water.

So, most years I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but every year, for the last five, around the time of my birthday I’ve created or revised the equivalent of a bucket list.

I first got the idea from my friend Diana, who gave a speech at Toastmasters about her “50 at 50.” When she hit the half-century mark, Diana made a list of things she wanted to do. At the time of the speech, just a few short years later, she’d already done some of them – big things, like getting her master’s degree and presenting at an industry conference.

I was about 50 when I learned of Diana’s speech, but it took me until I was 55 to put the words to paper and create my equivalent of Diana’s list.

My “55 at 55” list had some way-far-out-there dreams like meeting my favorite author, some fun things like hearing my favorite musicians in concert, some feel-good things like reading books I’d always wanted to read and some things I could share with my hubby like places we’d like to visit.

Each year I’ve crossed a few things off of that list. The Lincoln Bicentennial year was a big one for that. I went places and met people I’d had on my list since the beginning. Through the years, I’ve removed some things, replaced them with others that, over time, mean more to me. And, when really, really cool things happen unexpectedly, like meeting the actor Anthony Zerbe, things I never dreamed of get added to the list just so I can cross them off and say, “Did it! Wow!”

As I’ve seen a number of dreams I never would have dared to dream come true over the past few years, I’d like to think that writing them down played a part. I’d like to think my friend Diana deserves some of the credit.

And, now it’s spreading. Last year about this time, when I had a similar discussion with some of my Facebook friends, my cousin in California made his own list. Since then, he’s taken a voiceover class and got a chance to read a book on tape, just a wee little book—NOT! He narrated an audio version of the Bible.

I’m willing to bet that when Diana gave that speech nearly a decade ago, she thought she was delivering it just to the 15 or 20 people in the Toastmasters meeting. But, a mutual friend shared it with me, and through me, it reached my cousin. Who knows where the ripple will stop.

It just goes to show, we should always dare to throw that pebble. Its impact can often be felt oceans away.

But back to that resolution…

I’m not big on setting New Year’s resolutions, but if there were one thing I’d like to find this year, it’s balance.

I’m pretty good at doing one thing at a time and doing it well.

Well, actually, the word is obsessed. I get obsessed.

In 2008, my obsessive tendencies helped me achieve a 35-pound weight loss and develop a two-hour-a-day exercise habit.

In 2009, they led to an award-winning Lincoln bicentennial campaign, consisting of more than 200 blog posts and 3,000 tweets—and I gained the 35 pounds back because I quit working out.

In 2010, I quit blogging to write my first manuscript.

In 2011, I stopped writing to renovate my house and begin a new career.

In 2012, I’d just like to find balance so I could lose some of that weight again, keep this new blog going, finish a couple more manuscripts, do a good job in my new career and begin renovations on my next home.

Oh, and just one more thing.

As I move from obsession to obsession, my husband asks if I’m going to pencil him into my appointment book.

Note to self: When shopping for balance, buy appointment book.

I’m not big on keeping New Year’s resolutions, but I just might be able to keep an appointment or two.

Oh, no!

What if the appointment book becomes an obsession?

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012

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