Let me start this post off by saying this isn’t a cheesy New Year’s resolution promise to myself only to be forgotten by the end of January. It’s an honest attempt at changing my life for the better – not just in 2010 – but a commitment to myself to live a happier and healthier life in more ways than one. I am fully aware that by putting this out there on the www I’m going to have skeptics and people that will hold me accountable, and I’m OK with that – in fact it might be that extra motivation that I need to stay on track. It’s time for me to take control of my happiness and push the excuses out the door. So, I’m taking… stealing a page out of Oprah’s book and beginning Alex’s Best Life Challenge. During my sabbatical (aka 8 months of unemployment), it hit me that I only have this one life and I don’t want to waste it being out-of-shape, unhappy, bored or stagnant.
This week’s Top 5 are the 5 areas in my life that I want to improve upon during 2010 (and beyond… dun dun dun). Stick around for updates throughout the year and if you’re feeling adventurous, I challenge you to start your own Best Life Challenge. You’re the only one in control of you, so make it work! (The below aren’t necessarily in order or importance).
5) Find a Hobby
I’m bored. While I love TV (watching, reenacting, fantasizing about being the damsel in distress) I would hardly consider it a hobby, nor do I consider keeping the couch warm remotely entertaining. I want to do something that I can look at and feel proud of. Something that will keep me busy when I have down time, but that isn’t mundane. I’m thinking I want to take up photography. I love beautiful photos, capturing memories and seeing different stories framed on the wall. I think by this summer I’d like to get a nice camera, take a couple classes and work on being the next David LaChapelle… or just Alex with a camera. I also wouldn’t mind expanding my cooking skills given my love of food. Maybe I can photograph the food I make!
I wanna get learned! Now that I’m working again I don’t think I’ll be going back to school any time soon, which is fine because I feel I learn better from real world experiences vs. a textbook. That said, I love learning and want to continue to do so outside of the classroom. I’d like to learn ASL (sign language – one of my nieces is deaf and although she can speak and hear via the help of her hearing aides, I want to be able to communicate with her in more than a way that is just convenient for me). I would also like to start reading more, memoirs, biographies, historical stuff. Even though I said I don’t want to be stuck behind a textbook, I think you can learn a lot from the stories of others’ lives and the mistakes and successes of history. Another way to expand my mind is culturally, through musicals, the symphony and theater.
If I’m gonna be next in line to take over Oprah’s empire, I better get working on being successful. During my unemployment I had an enlightened moment where I realized what I wanted my career to look like. I want to make a name for my self in my industry and I want to be influential in the decisions that are made in the place that I work and I want to work hard to get there. This year I want to do everything I can to learn and grow and cement myself as an up and comer.
I have it, I hate it and I want to get rid of it. I got my first credit card when I was 18. I was uber responsible with it – paying it off every month, increasing the limit as directed and strengthening my credit score with each smart financial move. A car accident, job changes and some chaotic life moments later I’m in debt. Besides the beautiful $29,000 student loan calling my name I have made irresponsible decisions which, at the time provided me with temporary happiness, are haunting me now. My student loan is something I’m content with, but the consequences from irrational spending are something that I am not proud of am going to commit to myself to get rid of. I want to be able to buy a house in the future, I want to be able to go on trips and I want to be able to go to bed without counting numbers and pay periods in my head. I’m not drowning, but I’m definitely not laying by the pool working on my tan – which is what I’d like to be doing. Debt is embarrassing and I hate admitting that I have it, but I know I’m not the only one out there. Ladies and Gents, Gays and Straights – don’t try and keep up with the Jones’, because they’re just trying to keep up with the Hearsts. It’s an ugly cycle.
I know some of my friends will roll their eyes at this since I’ve been saying the same thing for years, but it’s time that Alex took pride in his “temple.” I will be the first to say that I dislike working out, I strongly dislike monitoring what I eat, I get irritated when I have to plan my schedule based off of friends’ gym routines, but most of all I hate looking in the mirror and seeing what’s looking back. I’m 23 years old and I’m not getting younger. I’m not obese and my health isn’t at risk for some big “Aha!” moment, but I don’t want to let myself get there. I want to be healthy and in shape for as long as I can be. I want to be confident taking my shirt off while laying at the beach/by the pool and I want to eat that cheeseburger and fries without feeling guilty after the last bite. I’m not going to turn into some gym bunny (at least I don’t think so), I’m not going to give up my love of (fast) food/snacks all together and I’m not going to be an adonis in 6 months. What I am going to do though is improve myself for myself.
So there you have it: Alex’s Best Life Challenge. Wish me luck and if you decide to join – let me know how it goes. Inspiration fuels motivation. HAPPY NEW YEAR!