Sometimes, when we fall, we fly

It’s been almost a quarter of a year (blimey!) since I posted the list of things I wanted to do before I turn 26. This means I’ve used up 25% of my timeline! Unmonitored resolutions can end up being lost in the universe, never having had the chance to have an impact on a life. I think it’s a good thing, when you make goals for yourself, to check in every once in a while, and make sure you’re still on track. Especially when the whole reason for doing it is a big one. I look back at old posts, sometimes, and see that scared, frail girl, and it propels me to keep trying – every tiny victory, no matter how small, is another slap in the face of fear. I know anxiety and worry are things that plague so many people, and I know how helpess they can make you feel. I want to do everything on this list, everything that ever terrified me, and hopefully one day, be free of it all – it’s been my biggest dream for a number of years now. I feel like I’m in a way better place – I still can’t get over the fact that my job title is now Facilitator – but it doesn’t mean I’m what I’d consider confident yet. I still wonder why I was picked. But it’s an ongoing process of choosing fight over flight, and I’m hoping, with enough practice, one day, it’ll feel natural.

So, that list? Here’s the lowdown on the progress so far:

1. Get in crazy good shape.
2. Become a hot yoga person.
These were the “physical” sort of things on my list – as we established last week, fitness isn’t something that’s been a big part of my life, and I’ve always used back pain, being too busy, or not being able to afford memberships as an excuse. Over the last three months I’ve told myself to stop being such a princess and suck it up: I’ve been doing exercises for my back several times a week. I’ve also begun sticking to my goal of running more than once a week, and took an introductory month of hot yoga (while it was cheap). I even got Sweet started too – he totally fell in love with it and ended up going more often than I was! Unfortunately the price has gone up – so right now, I’m exploring other options in the city, and hopefully finding somewhere less riduculously priced. I loved hot yoga – it was incredibly calming – the first session was done by candlelight with a live acoustic musician! – and I can’t deny it helped my back significantly while I was doing it.

5. Get my driver’s licence.
I renewed my learners, and the card came in last week! Which means I’m legally now able to be behind the wheel. I’m going to start taking lessons with my Dad ASAP – I only have another 8 weeks before the snow hits!

7. Meet new people.
Since I made the list, I started going to local Meetup groups and sought out some new local penpals (despite the potential to look a total weirdo in the process!). In the last few months, I’ve been blessed to have met some incredible people – people who bring joy, inspiration, encouragement, and real friendship to my life. One of them had to move away – which was pretty tough, but the texts and long distance phone calls make it that much easier. Another couple of them, I soon found out, live a few blocks from us, and have become friends with Sweet, too, and the last few months have been filled with many a night of great conversation, laughs, song, life stories, and dreams, and I’m so incredibly excited they said yes to being part of our wedding party in December!

9. Plan meals, be healthier, and cook better.
Adjusting to planning meals a week ahead of time has been a challenge, but luckily Sweet is a whiz in the kitchen and has been whipping up all sorts of healthy, delicious stuff! (Note to self: share recipes!) I’ve also been good nutritionally, and have been starting every morning off with a Green Monster full of spinach, fruit, vitamins and nutrients. Blended fruit and veg is so much more convenient than eating it. And, thanks to your AMAZING outpour of advice, I’m learning to snack healthily throughout the day too, and not starve myself.

15. Teach a class full of people without being scared.
I’d taught small groups before, but last month, I had my first full on class. THIRTY. ADULT. LEARNERS put up with me for a couple of hours, teaching them about customer service and good habits of successful employees, and actually enjoyed it. The feeling I got after finishing was indescribable – I actually felt like I’d made a difference, and I couldn’t wait to start developing the rest of the materials. Self awareness, communication skills, interview techniques… are all modules I’m going to be responsible for in the coming few weeks. I’ve been given a position where I can pass on information that could change people’s lives for the better – and I have to remind myself that’s so much higher a priority than my own fear ever will be.

18. Go on a blogger meetup.
I was thrilled to meet Stephen and Aly in London a few weeks ago, and this Friday, I leave for 4 days in Chicago! I will be sharing pyjama parties, sightseeing, brewery tours, secret bars, skydecks and fancy dinners with some of my favourite people in the world – words cannot express how excited I am to meet Ashley, Brittany, Nate, Jen and Phampants – two more days until they get the BIGGEST HUGS EVER.

19. See more of the world and soak up every last drop.
England and Spain were amazing, Chicago next week will be so much fun, and Mexico will be jaw-dropping. As will, perhaps, my bank account balance at the end of this year, but you only live once.

20. Do more home decor.
We rent our house, which, though wonderfully homey, has rather bare cream walls. Last month I splurged and bought some of my favourite pieces of art, framed them, and hung them around the house, replacing some old TV and band posters (sniff). I also printed some pages from medieval manuscripts and had them blown up and framed, so all along wall beside the stairs is now historical artwork that indulges my nerdy side – and looks just lovely.

21. Finish my tattoo.
After the disastrous results of attempts one, two, and three, I finally found someone who’s going to finish the thing – make it completely different, completely beautiful, and completely new. T-35 days until the appointment!

The verdict: I think I’m doing okay! I’m far from being close to the finish line, and I’m not going to deny, some of the hardest ones are still to come. Some are going to be fun, some scary, and some still seem near impossible – but I’m determined to try. Doing this experiment has been a rollercoaster of emotions, so far, but I think it’s worth it. I just feel I need to prove I can be the person I want to be – and not the person I was. Yes, the past helps us become who we are today, but it also has no control over how the future unfolds unless you let it. A blog friend of mine said it well last week:

Too many of us live behind walls of our own design. We hide our true selves because we feel weird, or that we won’t be accepted. We feel that we need this acceptance to live; we need to feel normal, related-to, and understood. Many of us, however, don’t feel understood. We might feel loved, appreciated, welcomed, and accepted, but rarely do we feel understood.

So many of us let this fear of nonacceptance rule our lives. We keep our hopes and dreams and true selves locked away, worried about what other people might think if they were ever to see the light. And it’s a shame. It’s a waste. And it leads to an unfulfilling, unmeaningful, hollow existence.  I think we can all choose whether or not we allow those walls to stay up, or if we want to break them down and put ourselves out there. If you’re met with adversity from putting yourself out there, you have the choice as to how to take it. Is it going to dictate the way you live your life, or are you going to take control of your own? At the end of my last day of being 25, I don’t know if I’ll have achieved everything I set out to do. I might try and fail miserably. I might get hurt. I might get laughed at, and I might get gossiped about. But at the end of the day, I’ll have tried. And if, somehow, I manage to do it? I want anyone who’s ever lived by the reigns of fear to believe they can break free too. For now, I’ll keep trying. Fight over flight. In the eternal hope that, as a favourite blogger shared, “first, you jump off the cliff, and you build wings on the way down.”

Did you set goals for yourself this year? New Year’s Resolutions, or Four Simple Goals perhaps? How are you keeping yourself on track?

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54 comments

  1. I really loved this post. It’s amazing to see just how much you’ve already accomplished in a quarter of a year, and it sounds like you’ve got the mindset to finish your list before the next nine months are up. Good luck! I’m sure I’ll check back to see how it ends for you.

    Kaleigh

  2. I think you’re doing GREAT and well on your way to hitting lots of your goals. Look at your travels this year – amazing! And I’m so pleased your new friends are in the wedding party, that makes my heart happy for you. x

    1. Thanks love!! I’m so excited to have them in the wedding party – it’ll be so fun, and I can’t wait for everyone to meet each other – I know they’re all going to get along fabulously 🙂

  3. Kudos to you for setting and reaching your goals, Emily. It’s not an easy thing to step outside of your comfort zone, but you’re doing it quite handily. 🙂

    I’m not one to typically make new year’s resolutions. However, I recently set a goal (as you know) to lose 25 pounds by Thanksgiving. I had gotten so used to my normal routine that it became comfortable to eat what I wanted when I wanted. But then when I started tipping the scales at a weight I thought I’d never be, I pulled determination from deep within me and have managed to change my eating habits and add an easy exercise routine (not trying to kill myself here, lol)… AND got my husband on board with it, too, so that we could start our journey toward becoming thinner and healthier than we have been in a long while.

    And for my efforts? I’ve lost 10 pounds so far, and it feels GREAT! 🙂 I love knowing that I’m accomplishing my goal, just as I know you must be proud that you’re reaching yours, too!!

    1. Heather you have done fantastically with your goals – once you get past that initial fear and let your determination take over, you can achieve wonderful things. I’m so happy to hear you doing so well with it!!

  4. ahhhhh em you are doing so well!!! you’er going to have the best time in chicago meeting everyone too, quite the traveller these days arent’ we!!! i was thrilled when i read about you teaching the big class – hope you know we always knew you could do it, and i’m proud to know someone who makes such a big differnence both online and offline too. inspiring post em, and i have no doubt at all you’ll complete everything on your list. xx

  5. Hey love! Sorry i haven’t been around much- life has gotten quite hectic and i have barely had a chance to breathe. Good news is my lovely parents have just bought me an iPad as a present and. I will now be able to come leave you comments again more often. I wanted to tell you after this post how you can add one more thing to this list- inspiring people. Ever since i started to read your blog i have become more sure about myself and given up a lot of my fears as well… I don’t know if you know but i used to be a pre med major. I hated it. I loved the idea of helping people but hated the idea of science. Giving that up and telling my parents they were paying 20K a year for me to get an undergraduate degree in something they didn’t like was even harder. I gave up a stable income and career to follow my passion- making woman everywhere feel more confident about themselves through makeup. I spent months wracking my brain for some reason not to do it, in fear of failing or never making it in the industry. After reading your posts though, you have inspired me to do it anyways- regardless of the fear i have or the immense possibility of me failing horribly. Your bravery and kindness has really helped me learn to suck it up and keep trudging. Thank you for always giving me hope and helping me learn more about myself.

    Miss you girl!
    Ashley

    1. Love!! You’re back! I have no words to adequately decribe the huge level of appreciation I have for your kind words. You’ve seriously made my day – no, scratch that, my week!! Way to go you for following something you’re passionate about in the face of adversity – I am so proud of you 🙂 And happy to see you back!!

  6. You are doing such a great job Emily! I’m doing the 101 in 1001 and sometimes it seems daunting but every time I cross something else off the list I get so excited. Keep up the good work!

    1. It’s amazing being able to check something off as accomplished. This is why I love making these lists – at the end of them, you actually have a record of the fact that you got out there and did something! 🙂 I hope you share your accomplishments with us as you go 🙂

  7. Woo, quoted!
    Thanks for that, by the way.

    You’re definitely one of the most interesting people I’ve “met” this year, and your blog just keeps the fascinating stuff coming.

    I was talking to a friend about self-esteem lately and I mentioned that I believe self-esteem (confidence) is mainly built through personal achievement. Being able to say “I accomplished a goal” does fantastic things for the mind and the identity, especially if the goal helps to define that identity (as in weight loss, writing a book, traveling to somewhere new).

    I think it’s natural for people, especially introverts like me, to sort of wallow behind those walls of self-imposed scrutiny. We don’t feel “good” enough or “interesting” enough to be understood, therefore we take what we can get and try to be happy with that. The problem with that is (at least in my opinion) life is about growth and change. If you’re not growing and changing, you’re not living.

    So huzzah to you for taking life by the horns and putting in some effort and hustle. Sounds like it’s already paying off and, despite the inevitable failure or setback, I believe it will continue to do so for years to come. My hat’s off to you.

    1. Awww, that means a lot, and thank YOU for providing the inspiration. We’re doing pretty good lately! 🙂 I agree with absolutely everything you said about self-imposed scrutiny. It’s a fascinating topic. We should Skype sometime!

  8. I turned 25 on May 28, so it sounds like we are very close in age. You have totally inspired me to create a list of things to do before I turn 26. Yes. This is important. I’ll probably even blog about it. Sounds like you’re really making 25 count. I love everything you’ve done so far. Keep it up, Emily! Like I said you’re quite an inspiration. I love meeting people like you!

  9. You are really making good progress! I love that you love hot yoga – I’m actually a little afraid to try it, but that candle light session looked amazing! I’m so excited for you to accomplish all these goals – and I’m not going to lie…definitely jealous of all your amazing travels!!

    1. But not my subsequent empty wallet 😉

      The candlelit session was incredible – I might have to splurge once winter comes and it’s all dark outside and candlelit inside, it’s just absolutely magical! You should try it – it’s so relaxing, and really good for you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much!! I hope one day it will truly be conquered. I still feel butterflies and get the “inner voice” nagging every now and again, but it’s all about deciding to do things anyway and just holding onto the hope that one day, the nerves will just give up 🙂

  10. You are making so much progress!! It’s awesome to see! Good call on getting some driving practice in before the snow flies. I admire your teaching a group, too. I wish I had the guts to do that.

  11. I am super jealous that all these bloggers are getting to meet you. NOT FAIR! It’s time to schedule a trip to Florida. 😉

    I’m so proud of you, Emily! Exercising, getting your permit, going to meet-ups. You are doing so much and stepping out of your comfort zone and succeeding. Woo!

  12. Have so much fun in Chicago! You’re meeting people I’ve never met and I admit I’m a little bit jealous 🙂

    It also seems like you’re doing really well on your list this year; way to go!

  13. One) so happy to be back on here! It feels like foreverrrrr. Two) You are making great progress! Three) I actually just made a list last night to get my butt in gear on becoming an author!

    You are great.

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

  14. Emily,

    I love dropping by your blog on my worst days. It is so full of sunshine, optimism and strength- it makes me face my fears, face my ability to slump my shoulders and make sarcastic comments when I really should sit up straight and pull my socks up. I know I’m mixing metaphors here, but you really make me want to be the person that I can be.

    It’s so wonderful to see how much you’ve accomplished in just a quarter of a year! And? I’m dead jealous that I won’t be on the receiving end of one of those hugee hugs. You are not a prisoner of fear- I think reading your blog will one day reflect that for you. Because it does for me.

    Hug. xx

  15. It sounds like you are well on your way on completing that list. You have started working on pretty much all of your resolutions. I don’t really make resolutions. At least not in a neat list for the next year or something. There are things I want to accomplish of course but I just keep them in mind and tackle them one by one (and sometimes several at the same time).

  16. Pingback: 2010: Brilliance |

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