Sunday, February 11, 2018

Experiences Over Things

So by now you know that I'm currently in the thick of a No Shop February and while it's not without some challenges, it's very much improving my outlook and my will power to boot. It's not hard to see that "things" don't bring me happiness but that hasn't stopped me from trying to buy my own happiness in the past. I love to shop but as I've examined that last few years of my life I've discovered that by purchasing anything that that's caught my eye. well, I've done myself a great disservice. Frankly put, I don't appreciate what I have, proven by the piles of clothes that sit in baskets that I inevitably forget about until they cycle back through to my line of sight. What I'm getting at is that there are better ways to spend my money and time than by buying things to add to the pile of things that I don't appreciate to begin with! I looked back through my instagram for photos (because I was too lazy to take new ones) and also to see if I lived by the mini mantra "experiences over things" and you know what? I have been doing it so really, now, it's about putting these goals here, cutting the spending on the unnecessary so that when I really do find something I love, when I buy it, it will truly be special. Here's how I plan to experience life, rather than fill it with things...

Learn Some New Skills

It's been almost two years since I learned to knit with the beautiful people over at The Third Piece. Even before that, I was always taking the occasional soap making or sewing class (to brush up on my skills) ... I just love to learn how do to new things because I've always enjoyed "making"! I have varying interests depending on my mood but one thing I know for sure is that taking in a class or learning something new from a friend, it feeds my soul. I recently learned to macrame with a visiting artist to The Third Piece and have been knotting at my leisure since... and since getting the coveted grape colored mixer this past Christmas, I've been baking up a storm. Boston Public Market Kitchen has great cooking classes with awesome themes using farm fresh ingredients from local purveyors. I have no business being as excited as I am to learn how to make a cheese souffle but well, I love cheese and baking so the Baking School Essentials is on my "to do" list! I plan to visit the Kitchen over the course of this Spring and Summer to really hone some of my cooking skills and maybe bring some friends along. You know I'm willing to do things alone but with friends, it's that much better.

No matter the area you live in any area of the country, all you have to do is search for community classes and you're sure to find that your city or town offers a wide variety of courses whether you want to brush up on your photography or try your hand at pottery. I think it's also really important to support your community in this way. A lot of people spend their valuable time preparing these courses for the public to learn and engage with one another.

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Go on Big or Little Adventures

Whether I have my kids with me and we're headed to the zoo, or I pre-schedule time away, I am a firm believer on taking little adventures or even big adventures but that's not really in the cards for me for the foreseeable future... which is fine, really. I have to say that taking the time to go places, experience new things, sights, foods, all of that is important even if it's right in your own backyard. This past year, I went to my first Wanderlust Festival in Stratton, VT and it was a joy, truly. I went by myself as you might remember and I reconnected with what I love, with my own thoughts and yes, I did a lot of yoga. I met some really cool people, some of which I have actually still kept up with and you know what? I think I might go again this year because the vibes are all there, I intend to spend more time outdoors this year and I want to see what they have up their sleeves for us.

Finding the fun in our every day is important too. We had a variety of museum and zoo memberships last year which we plan to renew this year because life is for the living even when the plans aren't "grand".

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Raise Money/Volunteer for Worthy Causes

I try to do this all year long. I makes me feel good to donate my time and/or  my money because as I have mentioned before, I am very fortunate to have what I do, that it's almost 100% necessary that I give back. It feeds the soul. There are causes and charities that are near and dear to my heart as I am sure there are organizations near and dear to yours. Spending your time and energy giving back is worthwhile in many ways, not just a different way to spend your time.  This year, I am focusing on a few different organizations that are worthy of my full attention. Yoga Reaches Out is headed into it's 8th year and I couldn't be any prouder to be on the planning committee again this year. If you are in New England, I encourage you to either register to join a team or to donate to someone (maybe at random?) who looks low on fundraising; it will make you feel good. I'm also looking forward to supporting Moms Demand Action as well as raising funds for Save the Children and Cradles to Crayons. What's your favorite charitable organization?

Music, Music, Music

Recently, I've really been making music more of a priority. Wesley (my three.5 year old) has really been showing more natural interest in music, playing instruments, dancing, singing... I can tell that it's going to be a passion of his. He asks me every song that comes on the radio what it's called and who is it by... yes, this can be as annoying as it sounds but truthfully, I will answer him every single time and you know what? He already has shown a love of artists. Every time Thunder by Imagine Dragons comes on the radio he says "it's our favorite song!" and you know what? I love that. I used to go to multiple concerts a year but as with many things, it's gone on the back burner because, KIDS... but now, I'm buying those concert tickets, I'm planning in advance for things I love. We're taking in a Guster festival this Summer and I'm hoping to hit up Kesha/Macklemore with my Swartz crew in the warmer weather. It may not be a million shows but they're enough to quench my musical thirst.

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Try New Things

It's hard to be BIG time adventurous in the #Momlife I'm currently leading but there are things that can be exciting to try! This past year, my cousin, our dear friend and I bought a Groupon for Pole Dancing/Aerial Acro/Flexibility and it most definitely pushed us out of our comfort zone but moreover it was really so much fun. Sometimes when we challenge ourselves, we can feel exhilarated by how well we do when we just muster up a little courage. Try indoor rock climbing, row, belly dancing, salsa, pottery... literally anything really. My motto is that I'll always try something once. I may like it, I may not but at least I tried.

Feed Your Soul with Relationships

This one is a big one. Finding people who truly "get" you is super important. I have found a group of people, my core people and I try to nurture those relationships. Some are family, old college friends, girls I grew up with or even people that I've met through blogging or my W.E.L.L. Summit community. These are people that have the same values, passions, love for life and most importantly, good hearts. Spending time with these people, tending to these relationships, is an amazing way to spend my time. Have you thought about the people who bring you joy even if you're just watching a movie in your pj's? How can you let these people know how much you care? How can you strengthen these bonds?

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I wrote this post to put down the ways that I plan to experience life rather than fill it with the unnecessary material things that I've grown accustomed to. It is my hope that perhaps I could give you guys some ideas on ways to incorporate more "life living" into your every day and this should hopefully result in some real happiness, which is pretty awesome, right?

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