#10 Hand Write 30 Letters

When I started my 30×30 list, I thought this would be the easiest item on the list. Boy was I wrong. It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do – ever. Having said that, it was also one of the most freeing and peaceful things I’ve done. I am guilty of assuming. I assume my friends and family know I love them and that I’m grateful for them. I assume those who make a difference know that they do. I assume a lot. This process took me out of my head and brought me into action.

It wasn’t easy, it took all year, and it was worth every second.

And of course, I had a system. Here it is for those of you who may want to do it yourselves:

1. Make a list of 30 people. Friends, family, people who have impacted my life; basically the first 30 people who came to mind.

2. Find the perfect cards. Each card was specifically picked for the person it was written for. They ranged from quotes to pictures to outright crazy.

3.Write from the heart. Part of why this took so long was the gut reaction of  “Oh my God, they are all gonna think I’m stupid”. Once I put that aside and just wrote, they flowed a lot better and were more genuine.

4. Let go. Let go of any resentment, anger, frustrations – basically all negative feelings.

5. Stamp them and mail them. No one really gets any fun snail mail anymore so it makes them more unique and special so forget delivery and stick them in the mailbox.

 

Have fun!

 

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#26 Dance in the Rain

My cool rain boots! (Yes, I know the pants go inside, this way was cuter)

 

This is Las Vegas where the sun shines at least 335 days out of the year. Rain is a unique and note worthy experience here. Natives tend to go insane with excitement over even the smallest drop. I enjoy the rain, but it’s rare for me to actually take the time to stop what I’m doing and go play. (Hence the reason it’s on my list) Well, today it rained and instead of thinking about the 10 pages of stuff on my to do list and the hundreds of emails waiting for something, I decided to take 20 minutes to just play.

I didn’t have to go very far. I live in the middle of town where the streets are a bit older and very good for attracting puddles. I also live in a neighborhood where there are a ton of kids who are home schooled. Put those two things together and it’s the prefect recipe for a fun-filled dance in the rain. We splashed, kicked, and boogied down. It was the absolute best way to recharge my batteries and of course, dance in the rain.

#13 Read and finish Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich”

I know it seems a bit weird for an avid reader such as myself to have a book on her 30×30 list. I agree it is a bit out of character. However, this is the one book I’ve never been able to get through. Oh I’ve owned it for years, in fact I own several copies of the book. I keep finding them at used bookstores, garage sales, and thrift shops. Everywhere I look , there’s a copy. So I took it as a sign that I should actually read the book.

There are a lot of great nuggets of information in the book that I’m sure to talk about in future posts. However, a few quotes stood out enough to share now.

“The man who can follow a leader most efficiently, is usually the man who develops into leadership most rapidly. An intelligent follower has many advantages, among them the opportunity to acquire knowledge from his leader.”

This one spoke to me because it’s very fitting for a few things going on in my life at the moment both in my position as a leader and a follower. I forget sometimes that in doing everything myself, I am taking away the opportunity of others to learn. Instead, I must constantly be searching for my replacement knowing that someone is always looking for me to be theirs.

“No alibi will save you from accepting the responsibility if you now fail or refuse to demand riches of life, because the acceptance calls for but on thing – incidentally, the only thing you can control – and that is a state of mind. A state of mind is something that one assumes. It cannot be purchased, it must be created.”

“To be successful, you must find peace of mind, acquire the material needs of life, and above all, attain happiness.”

Ironically, when I attended Eagle Quest this idea of a peaceful life wouldn’t leave my head. Since then I have been taking steps to peace – cleaning out my house, returning borrowed items, finding ways to get rid of worry, even making sure my inbox is cleared out before I go to bed at night. I’m not quite there yet, it’s a work in progress, yet I am feeling better in just these few months.

I could go on and on. Pretty much the whole book is highlighted and dog-eared. I do believe I have found tons of material for future blog posts. Goodbye writer’s block.

“Today I become a grown up.” – Grey’s Anatomy

I was watching Grey’s Anatomy the other night and this fantastic graduation speech was read and it wasn’t until recently that this speech began to resonate.

“Today’s the day my life begins. Today I become a citizen of the world. Today I become a grown up. Today I become accountable to someone other than myself and my parents. Accountable for more than my grades. Today, I become accountable to the world. To the future. To all the possibilities that life has to offer. Starting today, my job is to show up wide eyed and willing and ready. For what, I don’t know. For anything. For everything. To take on life. To take on love. To take on the responsibility and possibility. Today, my friends, our lives begin. And, I for one can’t wait.”

As we enter into the final month of the year and the focus shifts to goal setting, planning, and New Year’s resolutions, I can’t help but think. What would the year be like if every morning I said to myself, “my job is to show up wide eyed and willing and ready”?  Wide eyed: to stay in childlike wonder, to be positive. Willing: eager to help, to be of service, to say yes. Ready: open to opportunity. These twelve ordinary words when put together create one whammy of a daily affirmation. Imagine what could be accomplished?

What if I lived by the thought that it was my job “To take on life. To take on love. To take on the responsibility and possibility.”? I find I have closed myself off from all four of these things for so long thinking that I don’t have time or energy for any of them. The reality is quite the opposite. Taking on life, love, responsibility, and possibility fuels my goals and dreams. It makes them stronger and, in a way, easier to accomplish.

I started shifting my thinking since my birthday when I had the realization that this is the last year of my twenties. A friend recently told me of a  challenge where they created a list of the 30 things to do before 30 and then did everything to cross every item off said list. So instead of a New Year’s resolution, I’ve created my list. Now I get to make it happen.

To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was a big family affair. My mother’s family would all descend on my grandparents house in Ashfork, Arizona and spend fours days eating, watching football, and arguing. (We’re Italian) My memories of those times are so vivid, I can still smell the food.

However, nothing stays the same. My grandfather died and my parents divorced and those big holiday family gatherings became memories. Sure we tried to keep tradition alive here in Vegas, but the reality is, it’s not the same.  For me, it’s almost more painful to keep going back to reclaim what’s been irrevocably lost.

As a result, Thanksgiving went from being one of my favorite times of the year to one of my most rejuvenating. Every year, I push myself further and further away from the familial festivities to create my own traditions. When I was in college, I worked myself into the ground. (Hello! Overtime and bonus commission.)Then I would go home to my precooked Thanksgiving dinner (thank you Safeway) and enjoy a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon.

Now, I use the time to work on me. When else do I have four relatively uninterrupted days in a row that are just for me? While everyone is taking the four day weekend to shop and cook; I use it to clean and reflect. This is the time I clean out my closet, my desk, my books, even my email. I tweak my business plan and set my goals for the following year. Oh and I put up my Christmas tree. (A girl’s got to have a little fun.)

I then create a list of everything that must be accomplished in the weeks before Christmas and work like a fiend to get it all done. What doesn’t get finished won’t so it gets forever erased. I buy a new notebook and shift everything from the year to my external hard-drive  so when the holidays are over I’m starting with a clean slate. It’s a jump start. So while everyone else is finding the energy to kick it into gear around the middle of January, I’m ready to go January 2.

As I prepare for my cleaning spree, I realize that this year will be slightly different. This is the final year of my twenties, so all those ten year goals now come into play. This means I really get to kick some tail in 2011!

“Life is a journey, not a destination” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I was in seventh grade, my grandfather Bill said something to me that would change my life forever.

It was the summer I decided to read John Grisham’s, The Chamber. Hey, it was cool, it was huge, and most importantly it was adult. One day I was sitting on the couch reading and my grandfather asks, “So how does it end?” I looked at him totally confused. How would I know how it ended? I had just started. Chalking him up to crazy, I ignored him. Of course that only made him clear his throat and speak louder. “Jessy, how does it end?” This made me sigh a very adult sigh and look him dead in the eye. “I don’t know Pop-pop. I haven’t finished it yet.” (Knowing me I’m sure there was some attitude in my answer, but I don’t remember that part.) He looked at me with this all knowing gleam in his eye and said the words that would forever be ingrained in my brain. The words that would change the way I live my life even today.

“You should always read the last page of a book first. That way you know how it’s going to end. You see the best part of the book is not the ending. The best part is all the meat in the middle. If you don’t read the end first, you are always going to be disappointed with the result. When you read the result first, you learn the most from how the characters got there.”

Of course I looked at him like he was crazy and continued with my book, but you can bet the house I went and read the last page as soon as he was out of sight. Since then, that’s how I read EVERY book. While I would never say it to his face, he was right. So often the ending isn’t the best part. In fact, I can’t tell you the number of books I have read with the crappiest of endings, yet six months later I’m reading them again. Why? Because while the ending may piss me off or seem way too anticlimactic, the journey the characters take to get there is so compelling I can’t help but visit their world again and again.

Imagine if you could read the last page of everything. If you knew the ending of shows like Battlestar Galactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer would you have paid more attention to the foreshadowing and character developments in the final seasons? What about traveling? You buy a ticket to fly from Las Vegas to New Orleans. What that ticket doesn’t tell you is that you’re going to get stuck for twelve hours in Denver because of snow and meet a group of students on the same trip you took back in High School.

Or let’s even apply it to human life. We all know our last page will include death. The question then becomes, what will be written in the pages in between? What is your character development? Are you rich and full with the quest for knowledge and constant growth or are you just passing through life content to stay stagnant? Do you focus on the journey or is it all about the ending? Do you set goals those Big Hairy Audacious Goals or only those you know you can absolutely achieve?

My challenge to you is this. The next book you read, read the last page of the book first. You’ll be surprised how much more you pay attention to the journey.