December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)
I’m not sure if this question refers to material things or less tangible thing but since living in China has surprisingly led me to cut back on most shopping, I’m going to have to go less tangible on this one. Do you want to give up your clothes/shoes/random Target finds/household purchases? Move to China! I’m serious, I get excited to shop for toothbrushes these days because that’s about the most exciting thing I buy.
1. Waiting for direction instead of forging my own path
3. Couch Inertia-the phenomenon of starting out the day on the couch because the air is smoggy and then spending the rest of the day there canceling any plans to go out because, well the air is still smoggy, and the couch is warm and comfortable. Sure its nice once in awhile but this can not become our winter coping strategy-no matter how armageddon-like it looks outside.
4. Reading 4 or 5 different newspapers in their entirety every day or two instead of doing something productive–except I can’t give up The Atlantic, don’t make me! I need their giant in-depth investigative pieces on topics I’ve never thought about before.
5. Feeling guilty about walking by household chores that I’m ignoring instead of taking 5 or 10 minutes to tackle one of them
6. Thinking about the rest of our tour here as an endurance test rather than an opportunity to keep learning
7. Holding my breath during the morning commute for fear of all of the scooters racing out in front of us into oncoming traffic, breathing is better
8. Saying I’ll work out “tomorrow” (exempting some present limitations though)
9. Leaving my headphones at home all the time-or lending them to Chris and mysteriously never seeing them again 🙂
10. Getting up at 7am on weekends. Now really, why? The ability to sleep in is a privilege! I need to take advantage of it while we still can!
11. Inwardly groaning about pollution and no sunshine, thinking about it won’t change anything, better to just pretend this is normal-the way I did when we first got here.
December 12 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)
This feeling comes most naturally while I’m running. Running is like a form of meditation for me-and it comes more easily to me than sitting quietly with my eyes closed. I haven’t run much this year but I do remember one run on a treadmill in early fall. It was after work and I wasn’t expecting a good run but after a five minute warm up I felt good, really good. I had some really early Shakira playing and not a single thought in my head except how good I felt. It was one of those days that, no matter how much higher I pushed the speed dial, I still felt good, relaxed, loose, breathing heavily but easily. One of those runs you live for, that you keep running for.
December 13 – Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? (Author: Scott Belsky)
Next steps: Bidding/finding out where we are headed next in February or March and then, with that information in mind, either applying for Master’s program, reaching out to my network in that country, or getting serious about breaking into the free-lancing writing thing.
December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? (Author: Victoria Klein)
At the risk of sounding really predictable, what I appreciate most this year is my hubs, Chris, my best friend and partner in crime. I’m grateful everyday for the fact that I’m married to a man who I fall asleep with smiling every night. Who I can’t stop hugging, and if I’m going to be totally honest, whose cute butt I can’t stop grabbing. A partner who is patient and mature and creative enough to weather any storm and keep us both smiling and laughing through it.
Today as we got into the Beast to go to work, I realized that it’s literally been years since I’ve had to close the door after I get into the car in the morning.
When we first started dating I protested Chris’ chivalry, the fact that, every single time, I got in the car he would open the door for me, make sure my coat was tucked in, and close the door for me before walking around to the driver’s seat. It might sound hopelessly silly or anti-feminist but now its just one more reminder everyday of how good I’ve got it and how loved I should feel, everyday.
December 15 – 5 Minutes Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
-Hiking the back side of Qing Cheng Shan in the sunshine on Labor Day
-Taking Chris wayyyy “up North” to meet my 90 year old grandpa for the first time, hiking around my grandfather’s land and my mom’s old stomping grounds with Chris, my parents, sis, and aunt and uncle.
-Laughing and eating too much sushi and drinking too much sake with Chris and all of our friends to celebrate my birthday
-Driving down to Charlottesville from D.C. one last time before China to see Chris dad (I love that drive)
-Our hike at the Battle of Bull Run park, our last hike before we moved
-My last long walk home from the office before we moved, it was unseasonably warm, 65 degrees, sunny and perfect as I walked the 5 miles home down rock-creek parkway after my surprise going away party. I stopped every few minutes it seemed to take photos of the budding flowers on my phone
-Walking on the beach in Malaysia next to Chris, making crazy plans and digging our toes into the sand
-First dim sum at Shangri-La in Chengdu with Chris
-Our last sushi date at the place where all the Japanese diplomats go in DC
-Hanging out in Dupont Circle on Easter Sunday with my best friend Lennon, sipping on juice and talking about life for hours on a sunny afternoon
-Frozen yogurt with my family before leaving for China
-Bad Chinese food with our close friends a few nights before we left for China
-Cherry blossoms in the DC spring time
-The one or two truly clear beautiful days in Chengdu before the fall
-Riding the upper deck of the tram and walking around Hong Kong Thanksgiving weekend with Chris and his mom