Taking Stock of 2008

‘Tis the season! Every year I write goals for myself and post them on my blog around the New Year. I look back at the end of the year and assess my development, then write new goals for the coming year. I guess I’ve always been goal-oriented but by doing this exercise on my blog every year it really helps me to be more aware of what things have been important to me in the past and continue to be important to me today. It allows me to see how I’m growing and changing, to better understand the direction of my life. I get to celebrate my successes and determine strategies that help me to achieve more successes. Plus I can’t help but think there’s some accountability involved here that helps me achieve more than I might on my own without anyone watching. But wait there’s more!

Goals

On Friday I went to the Mighty offices to participate in a Goal Setting session with Jim Rohn. I’ve done the exercises before, but not in a couple of years. Every year I write goals for myself and then I review them at the end of the year, evaluate my progress and make new ones. I’ll be doing that again soon, within the next couple of weeks. And when I set my new goals I will most likely rely on what I learned from the Jim Rohn exercise in Friday’s session.

On the DVD he says a lot of great things that can inspire a-ha moments in your life. Things we already know that we need being reminded of, and things worded in ways we never thought about before. Here are a few things I jotted down:

A list of goals will change your bank balance. When he first met one of his major mentors, the man asked him what his goals were and he couldn’t tell him because he hadn’t thought about it, hadn’t written them down. His mentor tisked and then said if that was the case then he could predict the balance on his bank account to within a hundred dollars. And then he did. Jim wrote his goals down. Within six years he was a millionaire.

The promise of the future is an awesome force. The future gives us inspiration. If you have enough reasons to do something, you can accomplish anything. Look into the future, develop reasons to accomplish your goals. It’s very important to have the greatest pull on your life being the future. Don’t live in the past. It’s done. Let it go. Move forward. Dreams and goals can become magnets. The stronger the goal, the stronger the magnet. They not only pull you forward but perhaps even more importantly they pull you through. When you have strong dreams and goals for the future you can get through the rough times because you have a view of the other side.

Faith is the ability to see things when they don’t exist. And that’s how they come to exist. All the inventions in the world, all the great buildings, at one point they only existed in someone’s mind. Everything needs to exist in someone’s mind before it can exist in the world. You wouldn’t just start nailing boards together randomly in an effort to build a house. You wouldn’t just start laying bricks one on top of another with no purpose. When should we start? As soon as it’s finished! It’s possible to finish something before you even start. See the end, then begin. Decide what you want and then act like it’s already yours.

Humans are the only life form on earth with the capacity to change their future. The goose always flies south. It might be better for him to go west or quicker to go east but he will never go those ways, it’s built into his genetic code to fly south. The goose has no capacity for change. Humans can live six years one way and then live the next six years in a totally different way. If you were a tree you’d be stuck. In a devastating drought you couldn’t pick up and move to where the water was, you’d just die. But as a human being you can greatly alter the course of your life.

In five years you will either arrive at an undesigned or a well-designed destination. There are no other options. You will arrive somewhere and either it’ll be the place you’ve planned for and worked toward or you’ll take your chances with your current undesigned path such as it is. Take control of your life. Design a better destination for yourself. If you start early, the fortune belongs to you. Five years from now you will arrive somewhere, the question is: where? We go the direction we face. We face the direction we design. Direction determines destination. Destination is not determined by hopes or dreams. You cannot change destination overnight, but you can change direction overnight. It’s only a small journey to a new direction. If you want to be healthier, it’s only a matter of eating an apple a day. Eat an apple today, then another tomorrow. It’s that simple. The key is just to start.  One simple act will lead to another and another and another and you will gain momentum along the way. JUST START!

First Part of the Exercise

List five things you’ve already accomplished that you are proud of accomplishing.

Second Part

If there were no obstacles to hold you back, what would you want? List at least 50 things. (really let yourself go, if you could do anything, be anyone, accomplish anything, go anywhere, own anything … the sky is the limit!)

Third Part

Now go back over your list and beside each item put a 1, 3, 5 or 10 for the number of years you think it would take you to accomplish this if you made it a goal. If you think something might take longer than 10 years, just put 10. Then total how many items you have for each number of years. Do you have any 10 years? If you don’t have very many, that means you’re not thinking about the future. And it’s very important to think about where you’re going so you can design your destination.

Fourth Part

Looking only at your one year goals from your previous list, choose the top four most important goals for you to accomplish in the next year. Do you have four? If you don’t have four, you’re living too much in the future, too much in dreamland. You’re not in control of destination, but just leaving it all up to hope and chance.

Fifth Part

Looking at your top four most important one-year goals, write a little paragraph about why each one is important to you. Why is this important? This part can be difficult to do, but critical to the process. When the why gets stronger, the how gets easier. If it was worth it, you could do anything. So that’s why understanding the why or the worth of your goals is so important. Purpose is a much stronger force than object. Yes, a new house or a new car is a strong pull for most people, but what for? It’s okay to have objects as goals, but very important to have reasons for those objects, to have purpose.

Final Thoughts

Some of your goals should be personal development because it’s not what you get that makes you valuable but it’s what you become. Answer this question: What kind of person must I become to achieve all I want?

The key is to put everything on your list. But it’s also very important that if something is not that important to you, take it off the list.

The positive word is “behold” while “beware” is negative. Behold the possibilities, the day has arrived. Beware of what you become in pursuit of what you want.

Judas got the money. This is not a success story. The greatest source of unhappiness is self-unhappiness. Be meticulous, hard working and deliberate. If you start setting goals daily, you’ll be a major contributor.

There’s a saying, “If the parents are okay, the kids are okay.” It’s the truest sentiment. Take care of your own self first in order to be of any value to anyone else. Invest in yourself. There’s another saying, “I’ll take care of me for you, if you’ll take care of you for me.”

My goals for 2009 will come out of this exercise. I hope you’ll give it a try too.

Wii Will Rock You

Well it’s that time of the year again when I’m possessed by the spirit of consumerism and start buying everything in sight! I’ve got all my Christmas shopping done and now I’ve started buying stuff for me. I’ve been a good girl all year … haven’t I?

I rather impulsively ordered a Wii system off Amazon.ca the other day. I mean I’ve been thinking about it, about the possible health benefits of something like a Wii Fit for example. But I really wasn’t looking to spend that much money on myself. Normally I just buy a new top, a few DVDs, a bunch of liquor … but oh no, not this year. This year I’m going the whole nine yards. What recession?

Yeah, I’m feeling a little reckless and irresponsible. But bygones. There’s not much I can do about it now. The incessant ringing of the doorbell woke me before 8 this morning. This was not good as I’d only gone to bed at 4am. I had the alarm set for 9, giving me the preferred five hours sleep that I require to function well. When I realized the person wasn’t going away I figured it must be my sister or one of my brothers-in-law on their way to work and needing me badly. I stumbled to the door, peeked through the peephole and didn’t recognize the guy lounging in the foyer. But I recognized the box! A parcel! From Amazon! Wow! That Wii got here mighty fast!

So I opened the door and squinted at him as I signed the little machine. “Sorry to wake you,” he gushed. “But I needed a signature, couldn’t just leave it at the door.”  Well thank the jebeesus! My building is safe but a Wii in the hall is not the ideal situation in any scenario.

I stumbled back to bed with a cup of coffee and my new toy, opened the box and read some of the set-up and user manual. One thing soon became clear … I had no freaking idea what I was buying when I bought it! I mean no clue. I got the wireless control thing, a bit, but I had no idea about Wi-Fi capabilities, surfing the Internet, getting the latest weather and news, downloading new games from the Nintendo store … Wowsers!

I didn’t hook the thing up right away. I went to work at the computer like normal, enjoying the unusual sunny morning. But by the middle of the afternoon I couldn’t wait any longer and I hooked it up to see what it was all about. I didn’t do any serious gaming, just poked around here and there. All I have for a game so far anyway is the Wii Sports that came with the console. So I tried a little tennis, boxing, bowling, baseball and golf. Boxing is probably my favourite so far, though a few minutes here and there isn’t much of an opportunity to decide favourites. You actually do work up a sweat playing the thing, depending on how into it you get. I got right into the boxing and was doing pretty good after a few fights. Knocked out a guy even! I think the system saves my progress and I get to start at a more difficult setting next time.

So yeah, once again I’ve probably spent more money than I can afford, but I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this system and I think it’ll help me to get off the couch and away from the computer screen more frequently, which will be good for me. Anything that discourages couch potato activity is all right in my book. I’m looking forward to getting dancing and cheerleading games and something called Active Life Outdoor Challenge that will have my heart pumping. And of course the Wii Fit. Overall, I’m a happy camper this evening.

99 Things

Inspired by Wandering Coyote. The rules are simple, just bold the things you’ve done. Explanations are optional but interesting and fun!

1. Started my own blog (it will be 5 years in February, much has happened since then)
2. Slept under the stars (not in any sort of organized camping activity, but yeah, been there, done that, am glad not to still have the bug bites to prove it)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (several, but there is one I will never forget, an autumn evening with the sky falling and me on my back in the Catholic graveyard oohing and ahhing with my boyfriend)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (jeeze if I give any, it’s more than I can afford)
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (not so bad that I had to go to the emergency, but I have a history with questionable meat and meat products)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train (well, if you can call it sleeping, yeah, many times traveling to and from Toronto)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (used to hitchhike everywhere when I was a kid)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (most recently of the moon, but also the sun. I remember one when I was in grade 4 or 5 and everyone was making these crazy contraptions in boxes so you could look at it without burning your eyes out)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (both, many times and coming at them from both ends)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (once upon a time I did, yeah, how crazy is that?!)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (embarrassingly yes)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant (if coffee counts)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (not painted, but drawn)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (I miss the drive-in!)
55. Been in a movie (does voyeur porn count?)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (yes, and it made me very suspicious. The guy didn’t last long after that with me)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (poor Poodle still lives in my trunk)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (and did jumps! and loved it! wish i could find another bike guy)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (soon!)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (almost, one time, as a gift for someone i loved)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper (many times, but less now)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (well i’ve killed fish, prepared fish, partridge, deer, moose … and even rabbit if I recall, but never prepared what I killed)
88. Had chickenpox (oi! did i ever!)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (perhaps soon, got a summons)
91. Met someone famous (lots of authors, politicians, journalists, some musicians)
92. Joined a book club (not like Oprah’s, but like Doubleday)
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit (do collections things count?)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Lucky Star

Full moon again tomorrow night and let me tell you I knows it! Oh the dreams, the dreams, the dreams! I just want to go to bed and stay there until it’s over. My dreams are much more interesting than my real life. I’ve been in Toronto all week in my sleep. Revisiting some memories. Inventing brand new scenarios. Running them through. Everyone and anyone I ever knew and had a thought about.

This time of year is hard for the single person. It’s the one time when you can’t pretend that you’re not really alone. I’ve had a case of the blues. I’m trying to get over it, but the moon and the dreams and this terrible weather weighing in on my joints doesn’t help. Most of the time I have no regrets about my life’s choices because how can I regret anything that brought me to my current place, because life is pretty fantastic now. But sometimes, especially during the holidays when I know that at the end of the day I have nothing and nobody only myself, I wonder if I handled things the best I could have, if I should have behaved differently, if I should have said something else, if I should have let someone in. No worries, it won’t last long. Tis the season and all that.

Last night I went to dinner theatre with my boss and his wife. For political reasons we were seated at different tables. So it was kind of like going alone. I had an extra ticket, could have taken someone, did call two friends to see if they could come on such short notice, but not surprisingly couldn’t pull anything together so late in the game. But I was struck by my lack of options. I know a lot of people. I have a lot of acquaintances. I have a lot of family. But I have very few close friends. I guess it’s always been this way. I guess I’m just a loner. Still, at this time of year, in the vulnerability of the full moon, it seems to make me particularly sad. When I came home I was bothered into the wee hours, restless. And then when I finally drifted off it was into Toronto dreams that I didn’t want to end.

I feel like I’m at an awkward age or something. Where I either have to commit to a full blown cougar fling with some young stud or else start hanging around with the Freedom 55 set. Guys my age are still in their starter marriages or else they’re anxious to get a family started with a much younger woman or heaven help them they’re still skanking around the clubs, they don’t seem to be interested in girls my age. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe they’re just not interested in me. I mean, I’d never know. My track record for recognizing when someone is interested in me is not even sucky, but totally non-existent.

The great thing about going to dinner theatre, alone or with friends, is that I’m always inspired to work on my own play. Last night I couldn’t get Duff and Merrin out of my head and as I lay in bed tossing and turning she developed a new character trait that is quite hilarious, or has the potential for hilarity. And this new trait led to a new scene between her and Duff. Nothing written yet on those new thoughts, but definitely working it out.

True Colours & Stuff

You, with the sad heart …  should not listen to the Magic Sunny Lite Mix sometimes. I’m reminded of so many things. Every time I hear “Tell it to My Heart” I’m transported back to 1987 on the Lakeshore. The deejay at the Eastwood played that song so much, it was crazy. It’s still there, the Eastwood. It was shocking to walk around the old neighborhood and see what stood the test of time, and what had changed. All the hotels on the Lakeshore strip are gone, bulldozed in the name of condo progress, but the Eastwood remains and the Blue Goose in Mimico. I saw the Blue Goose on a television show (or was it a movie?) recently. Funny to have gotten so much older and have those things remain. Tonight, I be melancholy I guess.

My computer is home, hooked up, being typed upon at this moment. I’m still wary. Still suspicious. Keeping my eyes on the screen at all times in case something goes awry. This too will pass I know.

I’ve been thinking that maybe I won’t put up my tree this year. I just can’t be bothered. And I’m not going to be here over the holidays. I’m going to be up home a lot. Kids programs and all that, then the actual holiday itself. I dunno, it just seems like a waste of time to decorate. Not to mention the extra hydro involved with lighting a tree. It’s not like anyone besides me will even see it. So today I’m definitely leaning more toward skipping the whole decorating ordeal.

In other news, I find myself in a state of Wii obsession. I want one. Do I really want one because they are impossible to come by or do I really want one because I will use it? It’s unclear. There is a slight danger that I will become game obsessed if I have such a thing in my house. But I think the days of 48 hour RPG sessions went out in my 20s or certainly early 30s. I mean I have a computer, I can play games, and I do sometimes, but I’m not the crazy gamer lady. So I think I’ll be okay. A girl I know has lost 35 pounds and part of her regiment includes the Wii Fit. It sounds very cool. As does a lot of other games. Oh well lets see if my obsession maintains throughout the holiday season and on into the New Year when there might actually be consoles available for sale in places. Then I’ll decide whether I’m being nuts or whether this is a toy that could enrich my life in some way.

Four Christmases

There are a few movies I love to watch every year during the holidays. I don’t own it, but National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ranks high on the list and since it airs so many times on television I usually get to connect with it at least once during Christmas.

There are a few movies I love to watch every year during the holidays. I don’t own it, but National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ranks high on the list and since it airs so many times on television I usually get to connect with it at least once during Christmas. Love Actually is a movie I can and have watched any time of the year. I own the DVD. But the past couple of years I just bring it out at Christmas time and give it a view. Then there’s The Holiday which I also own. When it was brand new I saw it in the theatre and then by the following Christmas I owned the DVD version. It’s on my list of DVDs to pack for my upriver excursion this coming season. There are some movies like Bridget Jones, which you don’t really think about as being “holiday” movies but which are great to watch during the season. I’ve got a bunch of those too that I will pack to take up home when I go.

Last night we went to the theatre to see Four Christmases. I had heard good things. The previews looked good. I sort of had the hope that it would be The Holiday and I’d leave the theatre immediately wanting to buy the DVD to take home and watch with Mom on Christmas Eve … but alas, such was not the case. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was okay. We laughed. We had a good time. It was perfectly acceptable. But it just wasn’t Christmas enough for my taste. I mean other than the fact that the holiday was the cause for them to have to go spend time with each of their parents, the movie really could have taken place on any day of the year. It was set in California, so of course there was no snow. And somehow a house all lit up alone out in the desert doesn’t say Christmas to me. It was a good cast. I love Reese Witherspoon and with supporting roles being played by Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, and even Dwight Yoakam, I was a happy camper in the casting department. But I have no urge to see this movie again. I won’t be buying the DVD. It’s not an instant holiday classic.