This sums up my 2011 goals. I summed it up in Italian, in case you noticed, because that’s where I’m headed this summer. After studying French for eight years during high school and college (and by the way, my last French class was 10 years ago) and visiting Paris for the first time last year, I have shifted my sights southeast of La Tour Eiffel and am planning a belated honeymoon to Roma.
But that fast forwards us to July and it’s only Jan. 3. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution, but I far too easily can imagine a smiling, happy and healthy me on Dec. 31, 2011 toasting a year gone by that was full of productive, enriching, stimulating and selfless acts. Though I couldn’t begin to tell you what these acts might be. I just know that I want to make that darn toast.
Which leads me to my personal LA Girls quote. “A goal without a plan is just a wish” (that’s by author Antoine St. Exupery). So here’s my plan, as it falls under imparare, giocare and dare.
Imparare (to learn) 1. Learn basic Italian – I am basic enough in French that I could vacation there without uttering a word of English to any Parisian. I don’t dare hope to get to that level in Italian, but I loved the experience I had in Paris and speaking the language was a huge part of that experience. If I can learn enough to order food, go shopping and know whether something is on the left or the right side of the street (or of me for that matter), I’ll be able to check this goal off of my list.
2. Learn what the next phase of my career will be – This is another aspect of my life to which I want to get to the bottom. I know, I know, there are so many cheesy quotes that tell me that getting there is half the fun and that it’s the journey, not the destination, etc. I’ve been pigeon-holed into one career path since high school. I’ve gone quite successfully down that path, but I am certain that I ‘m ready for a change. Or a shift at the very least. I draw a blank when I try to think of something else I could do. Which tells me that this is exactly why I need to do it.
Giocare (to play) 1. Go to Italy – This one is easy. I want to play in Rome, Florence and Venice. Do I need to explain why?
2. Spend more time filling my fun meter – I think it’s safe to say that women in their 30’s tend to let a sense of duty pinch off the opening to their fun meters. I know I have. I have a salary to make, a house to clean, a figure to keep slim, a car to maintain, a dog to care for, a husband to put before myself…the list goes on. While these are all things for which I am thankful to have, I am going to be kinder to me by letting myself sleep until noon, get lost in a book on a rainy Sunday, eat the hot wings I am craving and get a little drunk at happy hour (with a responsible person to pick me up, of course).
Dare (to give) 1. Give more and better time – Instead of spreading myself thin with the responsibilities I mentioned earlier, I’m going to give more time to the people in my life who make it a priority to do the same for me. Not only will I give more time, I’ll make it better time. Rather than grabbing a rushed cup of coffee together, let’s try making a new recipe we both thought sounded good or tagging along on each other’s Saturday errands to make it more fun. Another cheesy quote – quality, not quantity.
2. Give more encouragement – In a world in which people are quick to offer criticism, nothing goes further than a word of encouragement. Unfortunately, bosses and even other family members too often are full of the former and far too stingy with the latter. Offering a compliment or even a text message to say, “Good luck today on your (fill in the blank),” can change the mood of someone’s day – even yours.
You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose
You’re on your own and you know what you know
And you are the one who’ll decide where to go
– Dr. Seuss
Every graduate in the world received Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by the beloved childhood author, Dr. Seuss. Except for me, that is. In fact, I didn’t receive any motivational gifts. Unless you count money as being motivational. But high school graduation was five years ago, so that money is long gone. And I graduated from college with two degrees this past spring, but didn’t receive any money because we never had a party or sent out announcements. But at least my tax refund was plenty motivational! (That’s gone now, too). I’m seeing a pattern.
Anyway, this quote is the basis for The Life Anonymous Girls, a group my friends and I created to get our butts into gear and actually achieve the things we’ve been dreaming of for so long. We (officially) get together once a month to “weigh in” (like Weight Watchers, but for all our goals–even weight loss ones!) and set more goals for the future. We provide positive but constructive feedback to each other, as well as ideas for how we can help each other realize our goals.
If this all sounds cheesy, that’s because it is! But we’re all really excited about what we’re going to accomplish. Our group was inspired by Aarti Sequeira’s blog post on her accountability group (it worked well for her–she won “The Next Food Network Star” and now has her own show, “Aarti Paarty,” on the Food Network!) as well as Mighty Girl, a blog about achieving life goals among many other topics. I particularly love Maggie’s Mighty Life List–I’ll be sharing items from my own “Never Have I Ever” List as I complete them.
But please, follow along as my friends and I write often interesting, sometimes inspirational, rarely funny, and always self-absorbed posts about our goals and how we go about accomplishing them. And, you know, hopefully we’ll make a few friends who are just as awkward as we are.
Drop us a comment now and then so we know we didn’t make a wrong turn somewhere in cyber space. We don’t want to have to ask directions at some creepy site!
I love you all,