January 2, 2011

The Twenty-Ninth Year

Being born on New Year's Day brings extra weight to the day.  Not only are you starting a new calendar year but with each New Year's Eve you put away one year of your life and begin both a new year for the world but a new year for yourself as well.

Yesterday I turned 29.  I can hardly believe it.  I do not feel 29 and I certainly do not feel that I look 29.  I don't have gray hair, a genetic trait that I somehow managed to sidestep.  My mother swears that my grandmother went gray in her twenties and thirties.  I never knew; both my grandmother and my mother have been dying their hair the duration of my life.  I also don't really have wrinkles, my sister is getting crow's feet at 27.  However, I did begin to notice the parantheses around my mouth that some people call 'smile lines.'  A friend of mine told me I had 'aged well,' to which I replied that I did not even realize that I was aging yet.  I suppose my naivete is what adds to my looking younger. 

Well, with the New Year comes resolutions.  I do not like the idea of 'resolutions' because the root word is 'resolute' meaning hard and unchangeable, unbreakable, completely rigid and uncapable of compromise.  Folks, that just won't work for me.  People are complicated; situations change.  What works for me in theory in January may be absolutely impossible come March.  So what I have decided to do, and what I will share publicly with any readers I may have, are my Goals for My 29th Year.  I have put a lot of thought into them, certainly more thought then I have ever put into something similar in year's past.  I tried to be very specific. 

Goals for 2011
My 29th year is going to be my best!
Activities!
·         Go camping at least once before the year is out! 
·         Go on the Outdoor Pursuits New Moon Paddle 4/3 $15
·         Take a road trip!  Atlanta, Gatlinburg, Daytona, Ashville, etc!
·         See more movies: see one movie per month.  Make time to see culturally relevant, interesting, and fun films. 
·         Take an art class at the Union: watercolor/acrylic painting, Wednesday nights, $60
·         Learn how to shoot a gun, maybe take up skeet shooting.


Literature!
·        Read one fiction book for pleasure each month.  Six books should be from classic literature, six should be recently published works.  Despite my large reading commitments I should be able to fit in one book a month.  Reading broadens my imagination and my overall perspective.  It allows me to be more empathetic about other people’s life experiences.  It also gives me something to converse with people about which may help me make friends or deepen other relationships.
            January:
            February:
            March:
            April:
            May:
            June:
            July:
            August:
            September:
            October:
            November:
            December:
·         Book Club: I should make a point to attend book club at least four times this year.  I may not always have the time or want to read their selections but I should try to meet more young women my age and book club is a great way to do so.
·         Write a short story!  I would like to imagine what it is like to be my dog, Jackson, and will write a short story from his perspective.

Blogging!
·        Cultivate and style Genuine Efforts to be a stylish, easy-to-navigate blog.
·        Blog at least five times a week.
·        Tell friends and family about my blog, try to increase public accountability and readership.
Physical!
·         Get back into Art of the Catwalk.  Once student loans have arrived renew my membership and commit to Zumba two times a week (minimum standard).
·         YOGA: I enjoy Yoga and just because Jessa left should not mean that I can just walk away from my practice.  Therefore, I want to commit to myself to at least one Yoga class a week.  It can be at the Catwalk, the Leach, or at Journeys.  If Emily’s style does not work for me there are other options, other instructors.  When I practice Yoga I feel fitter, stronger, leaner, more lithe and supple.  I enjoy the identity of being able to say that I am a ‘Yogi’ therefore I must attend one class a week.
·         JOGGING: I enjoy running and enjoying calling myself a ‘runner.’  Therefore I must actually run.  I am committing to jogging three times a week (Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesdays are good days for the spring semester). 
·         RACING: Run at least three 5K races over the course of the year.  Also, run the Springtime Tallahassee 10K and the Turkey Trot 10K.
·         Half-Marathon: I can do this.  There are a variety of different half-marathons in October, November, and December (Tom Walker Memorial Half-Marathon in Gainesville during November being one).  I must pick one and commit to the training schedule outlined in You Can Run a Half-Marathon in order to succeed at this goal.

Healthy Living!
·         Strength Training: I have a Total Home Gym.  I have a gym membership and free membership to the student health center.  I have time.  I am committing to strength training two times a week.  Firstly I will start on making my arms, shoulders, and core stronger.  I am putting this under Healthy Living because it will add to the overall quality of my life, not just my abilities as an athlete.
·         Follow the 400 Calorie Fix for at least six days a week.  Meals should be no more than 420 calories (breakfasts are usually larger because of coffee) with a maximum caloric range of 1600-1700 calories.  This means four 400 calorie meals a day.  
·         Keep a food diary.  Some entries will be blogged and therefore made public.  However, it is conceivable that there will not always be time to blog everything I eat but there is time to keep a private food diary on paper.  In addition to tracking my food and calories, I will keep a record of my exercise in this diary as well.
·         Continue to see the nutrition counselor on campus.  It is a free service to me covered my fees as a student.  Meeting with Heather will encourage accountability as well as understanding my complicated relationship with food and exercise.

Financial!
·         Using the 400 Calorie Fix, plan meals ahead and create a grocery list accordingly.  A grocery list will help me save money.
·         Do not eat out more than twice a week.  Not only is it additional calories but it costs much more money than when I prepare my own meals. 
·         Saving: This spring I will be making more money than I have ever made before as a student.  I should have something to show for it.  Each month I will save $200 ($50 a week) so that by April I will have $800 dollars saved.  If I am employed over the summer I should try to do something similar.  I will certainly be employed over the fall and should again try to save $800 over the semester.  I am committing to having a $2000 ‘nest egg’ by the end of 2011, barring that there is no emergency or crisis that would require me to use my savings earlier than anticipated.  One way to save money will be to limit eating out and impulse shopping. 

Charitable!
·         Join ALTRUSA or an equivalent service club this spring.  Not only will this help me to perform needed services but it will also help me to meet new people, cultivate friendships, place roots in my community, and network.
·         Church donations: I am committing to a church donation of $10 a month ($120 a year).  By planning this donation ahead of time, I will prevent myself from forgetting to get cash until the collection plate is being passed.  The church does good work and I should make a point to participate in making this work possible.
·         Preschool: Twice in the spring semester and twice in the fall semester I commit to bringing a charitable donation of snacks and juice worth between $10 and $15 each time.  If I shop sales and plan ahead I should be able to contribute several boxes of snacks this way.
·         In the summer months I commit to a onetime $10-$15 donation to the Heifer International Project and a $20 donation to the ASPCA.

 Spiritual!
·         Commit to reading the Bible throughout the year using the www.biblestudytools.com daily reading schedule or a similar schedule.
·         I am committing to a deeper prayer life.  This will not be evidenced in a diary or journal but rather a written agreement to pray more often and pray more clearly so that the things on my heart are known to God and that maybe I can know something about the things of God’s heart.
·         Show appreciation: God’s creation is infinite and vast.  I can do my part to acknowledge the wonderful contributions that others make around me by sending cards.  I commit to four cards a month.

So I hope it is clear that I am planning on a 'Banner Year' and looking forward to this last year of my third decade.

1 comment:

chereemoore said...

Elizabeth - I have been stalking your blog today. I think you have some amazing goals and it is great that you are keeping up with the exercise and paying attention to your food.

Since I am an avid reader, I was curious as to what your monthly books have been (so far). This is my second year to commit to one book per week and it is amazing how doable it is.

Also, I want to encourage you on your goal to run a half marathon. I do no consider myself a runner and like you I am pretty slow. I ran my first 5K last December and it took me almost 40 minutes! And then I did my first half marathon on April 30. Since I am pregnant I had to take it pretty easy and ended up doing 14:20 min miles for a total of 3:08:01 but it was an AMAZING experience and I am considering doing it again when I can train harder and not be afraid of overdoing it.

Also, I think it is great you are teaching. I hope you are enjoying this first semester. I taught night classes a couple of years ago (for 2 semesters) and really enjoyed it. I finally had to give it up because my life was too chaotic and I was working way too much.

I am enjoying reading your blog. Keep it up!!!