Goals for 2007
This evening I got back from work, cooked some tea (cod in breadcrumbs, plus potato, carrot, peas and broccoli), and sat down in front of the TV to relax a little. While channel hopping I flicked on to a program called Did They Pay Off Their Mortgage in Two Years? Dan and Lucy’s Story. To quote the Radio Times article on the program:
Dan Harding and Lucy Aldridge were running into debt. Dan, a Cornish blacksmith and Lucy, a part-time yoga teacher, struggled every month to pay the mortgage on their small cottage in St Ives where they live with their two young sons.
Normally, not the sort of viewing I’d be bothered with. However I instantly became intrigued after listening to Lucy talk. Here was a person who’s reaction to absolutely everything was an enthusiastic smile and an overall appearance of glowing happiness and vitality (which is extremely attractive, might I add). Over the two years the program follows the family, she managed to raise two kids (partly on food collected from hedges - nettles and elderflower were ingredients that raised my eyebrow), become an accountant for a home business, continued to teach yoga, support her family in all manner of ways, and do all of that on an extremely tight budget. Her partner, Dan, went through similar challenges, going from pottering about an awful lot and surfing, to designing and building a beach stove called the hot-pod in his shed, which then turned into a huge project, and then to a business, all the while having to do things he normally wouldn’t. As an intriguing aside, the family all had skateboards and used them as transportation - awesome! Anyway, while watching the program, Dan said something that resonated with me. He was having to take his product to a trade show, which was something he was nervous about, and was completely unlike him. To paraphrase:
Lucy would say I’m outside my comfort zone. I am, but I tell myself that from past experience, the uncomfortable stuff is usually the best.
Lucy seemed to be the sort of person who was excited by being outside her comfort zone. Dan seemed to be rather cautious but with enough prodding went ahead with full conviction. I realized I’m pretty much paralyzed by the thought of being outside my own comfort zone. I don’t tend to try new things, because new things often make me very nervous. Pretty much the only time I’ve ever been truly out of my zone was when I upped sticks and moved away from my friends and family to go live and work in another country. And you know what? Turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. And, oddly, once the decision had been made, I wasn’t nervous at all.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that my new realization of how poorly I deal with ‘risk’ will transform itself into me not feeling like my stomach wants to do back-flips at the idea of going clubbing (crowds can make me feel physically ill). Or that I’ll be all fine and dandy with the thought of going out on the town on my own. Or that I’ll decide sky-diving is a practical thing to go and try. But, I’m trying things on a smaller scale. Earlier today at work Paul asked if I would write and give a presentation on Accessibility to a group of people outside of Karova, at a formal event. I said yes. And now I’m quite looking forward to it. On an even smaller scale, I’ve recently been trying out music that I’d normally ignore completely. Evanescence were a band I wrote off as over-hyped crap - but I bought The Open Door anyway, and it turns out as well as having a brilliant cover, the songs and the band are actually pretty good. Similarly Paul’s lent me a book called ”nice cup of tea and a sit down”, which is quite literally a book about having a cup of tea and a sit down. Again, the sort of thing I’d usually ignore completely - but having read some of it, it’s amusing and interesting reading.
Something else I’ve noticed over the last day or two is that after getting back from the Christmas holiday I’ve been quite worn out. For some reason, a week of doing nothing hasn’t recharged my mental batteries, rather the opposite in fact. Since getting back my brain is constantly motoring along. It’s tiring, and often-times I find myself ‘coming to’ after losing myself in elaborate fantasy situations or hugely protracted ideas about nothing in particular. Everything I do involves some sort of thinking, and that’s not at all good. I’ve stopped meditating since my Nana died. I’ve stopped putting time aside to listen to music. I’ve realized that I’ve stopped relaxing.
So, I’ve decided that two goals for 2007 are: start meditating again and keep it up all year. Part of which means that I’ll set aside time to disengage brain, relax, and be a bit more aware of the here and now. The other goal is to prod myself outside of my comfort zone much more often. Next time I order from amazon, I’ll buy a book or cd that I’d normally avoid. Next time Mike or Heath ask if I want to go to a rock bar, I’ll go. Next time I catch myself having my normal negative reaction to something, I’ll question it and see if it’s worth turning into a ‘try it’ response.