Actually, I Have a Bigger Purpose….

As it turns out, being a writer is not my purpose, or at least not my whole purpose.

I do love to tell my truth in my own unique voice.

I do love to do new stuff and write about it.

I am on the right path.

And I do have everything I need.

But there is more….

Apparently, my coaches never bought that writing was my purpose. They knew that I was meant for something bigger and that I was playing small.  I knew it, too. But even with all of the purification, obstacle release, energy work, and vibrating at a higher frequency that I have been doing, I still needed a little help to pick up on the signals my higher self was sending me.

On the last hour of the last day of our pilgrimage, my coaches (and their spirit guides) started asking me questions….

How did a corporate executive end up on a pilgrimage with 11 spiritual, creative entrepreneurs?

What if every choice I have made in my life has led me to this moment?

What if the skills that have made me successful in my business career are exactly what creative entrepreneurs need?

What if these creative people I find myself on a pilgrimage with are the people I am supposed to help?

Duh…..

Full disclosure, this idea came up BEFORE I left for the pilgrimage. The voice in my head was telling me that I am supposed to be a bridge between the corporate and creative worlds. I mentioned this in my pre-work and got a homework assignment to go out and ask some visionaries what they need to add structure and process to their business.

I didn’t do it. I got upset and frustrated and made a million excuses for why this could not be my purpose. It felt hard and scary. I don’t know enough. I suck at selling. How could this be a scalable business? I convinced myself that I should just stay in my safe corporate world and buy stuff from creative people and write about it. I told myself that this was how I am supposed to bridge the worlds. I have felt so strongly that I need something more, but maybe I just have to appreciate what I have.  That must be why this voice is telling me that I have everything I need. I don’t need to make a scary move. It’s all good.

But my current life does not make me truly happy. My job is OK but it’s not AMAZING. I want AMAZING!

I have always been drawn to the idea of being an entrepreneur but I had no idea what to DO!!!  I needed a visionary with an idea that I could help them execute. And the idea of being an entrepreneur scared the shit out of me. I am not a risk taker by nature (at least not in this life so far.)

So I was waiting for my visionary to appear and doing what I know how to do and what feels safe. I got a computer science degree because I LOVE solving problems and thinking analytically. I taught school because I want to “save the world” (or at least do my part). I got an MBA because I am pragmatic and like having money and I was on a quest to “find my thing”. I left business school without my thing. Nothing felt exactly right. I did find work that was sometimes fun. I learned that I can pretty much tackle anything that comes my way. And I made some money. But my heart was never in it. I have been safe and secure and traditionally “successful”, but never fully satisfied.

Then I found myself on a trip learning about energy and the fifth dimension and leading with your heart and not fear. I was fascinated by all of it and dove right in.  I have loved spending time with these women and they have big dreams for how they can help the world. And I have something they need and I can help them help the world!!

They are my visionaries! And I found my way to them, with every decision I have made up until this moment.

I still don’t have time to explain everything that has been happening these past two weeks. (Check out my Instagram feed for some highlights.) It has been so special and unique and different than anything I have every done before. I had no idea what was coming but it felt 100% right. All of it.

I have another assignment and this time I am going to do my homework!

Before we leave tomorrow morning, we all have to put our offer out in to the universe and let the world know problem we are going to solve.  Not how, just what.

So instead of telling you that I am going to do 50 new things before I am 50 and then write about them (small!!!), I am telling you that I am going to see what kind of business I can create that will help creative entrepreneurs with the “business stuff” so they focus on giving their creative gifts to the world.  Big!!! Scary!!!  AWESOME.  And I already have at least 5 clients!

I am not quitting my day job (yet). I am going to work with my new creative clients in my free time to see what is possible. That’s it.

I am letting go of needing to know exactly how it will all work out. I will probably freak out the minute we pull out of the English manor that I am writing you from now. But I have a support system in place to help me persevere and REALLY be my biggest and best self.

And I will keep reminding myself of one of my key takeaways from my 100 New Things (with a new twist).  If you think you might want to do something but you’re not sure, ask your higher self. And if she says yes, just fucking do it!!!

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And My Purpose Is….

I am currently in England, at a beautiful college in Dartmoor, on a pilgrimage to find my life’s purpose.  On Day 2 of the pilgrimage (which I promise to tell you all about later), we got an assignment to tell our stories about what brought us here and then to share this “coming out story” publicly with the world (or at least our social media audience). All of the other amazing women on my pilgrimage have a business (or one they want to start) and a big part of this journey is to find the power, confidence, and support to take that business to the next level. Still having no potential business in mind, I had to get creative about what my story would be.  But it came to me.  Here is my story.

As I was doing my pre-work and preparing for the trip, a voice inside me (which I have now learned is my “higher self”) told me two things

  1. Buy purple converse sneakers
  2. Write

I listened to the voice and bought the sneakers and wrote the last post which caught you all up on the past few months.  While I was writing that post, and thinking about what led me to this pilgrimage, my inner voice kept thinking about The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and her new friends go in this epic journey to find all of these things they think they don’t have (a heart, a brain, courage, home). They hear that “the wizard” has all the answers and they travel a long distance to find him. They finally make it there, only to learn that they have everything they need.

They have everything they need.

In the craziness of packing and getting myself from NYC to Glastonbury I couldn’t fully process that, but the thought was brewing in my mind.  As I got this assignment, I thought about my journey with this blog. I started this blog to encourage myself to get off my couch and do stuff and then write about it. I loved writing. I didn’t love doing stuff quite as much as I loved writing, but having a goal to write about it, definitely helped me get out there and do stuff.  But it was a constant battle to find time outside of my job.  Eventually I stopped writing all together. I missed it, but did not want to keep writing the same story about the battle I was fighting (and did not feel like I was winning) to make my life bigger.

Then my sister (and my body saying ENOUGH) led me to my “100 New Things in 2017” project, which led me to Sophia (aka Lobsterbird) and eventually back to writing.  I was doing stuff and writing about it…and I loved (almost) all of it.  Strangely, I actually DID stuff before I found my way back to writing about it. Something had shifted! And, as an unexpected side bonus, I was inspiring people!!!

I have everything I need.

It was as clear as day, right in front of my eyes, like the ruby red slippers.

I am writer. I am a writer who likes to do stuff and then write about it.

This is my purpose. To tell my truth in my own unique voice. To write about what I do and what I see and what I feel.  To inspire people with my writing (and my doing).  Where it will go next or beyond this blog, I don’t yet know but I know in my heart that I am on the right path….

Follow the yellow brick road.

This is my story. This is my purpose.

Life After 100 New Things

We are four+ months in to the year AFTER I did 100 New Things in 2017.  100 new things was a lot. At the end of the year, I was feeling like I needed a less ambitious goal for 2018.  I wanted to go deeper instead of broader. I set a new goal to do 18 new things in 2018 that aligned with things I wanted more of in my life: Fun, Creativity, Connection, Nature,  and Meaning.  18 was inspired by the Hebrew word Chai which represents life (and is made up of the the 10th and 8th letters of the Hebrew alphabet…hence 18) AND coincidentally it was 2018.

I basically came up with a bunch of marketing “spin” to convince myself that it was OK to back off a little bit and slow down my transformation in to a person who has a bigger life.

I soon regretted that decision. Without the motivation of a measured goal and the accountability of the internet, I slipped back in to my old routines of not doing a whole lot.  I also happened to get more responsibilities at work which is my go-to excuse for not living life.

I am also such a literal person that I found myself not doing things if they did not meet any of the criteria.  What’s the point of going to a yoga class if I have been to that studio before? Does sound meditation count as meaning? Should I bother? I debated changing the plan or the rules then talked myself out of that. I could self motivate to do MORE than 18 new things and I decide what counts as my 5 things. It’s my game. I get to choose the the hashtags.  (I did add in a 6th category for things that do not meet any of the five criteria but they take me out of my comfort zone. But then I didn’t leave my comfort zone…at least not yet!)

I have actually done 12 new things so I am ahead of schedule on my much less ambitious goal. (Woo Hoo!) I have finally added these 12 things to 100 New Things Tab (which is now just called New Things). Looking back on the 12 now, they were not to shabby.

But my next adventure is about to unfold! I am stepping it way up, and going deep in all the five things!

In December last year (at 2017 new thing #96 Mama Gena’s Womanly Arts Experience ),  I met a very cool woman named Sophia (also known as Lobsterbird). Sophia takes creative entrepreneurs on pilgrimages to help them find the work they are meant to do.  This was obviously interesting to me because as you might be aware (if you have known me for more than 5 minutes or have read any of my blog) that I know I am meant to be doing more…but I don’t know exactly what!  Sophia and I connected on Facebook and I loved her first book and podcast, but it did not occur to me to work with her myself.  She is an artist, healer and coach who works with artists, healers, and coaches.  I am not a creative entrepreneur. I am a business woman who sometimes blogs and sometimes colors in her adult coloring book (I am really good at that though!)

Apparently the universe had plans for us.  Did I mention that Sophia is an energy healer (among many other things) and the universe talks to her?  It might have tried to talk to me too, but I wasn’t listening, so it reached out to her.  She said I kept coming up in her mind as she was planning her next pilgrimage.  She remembered me mentioning that I am supposed to be doing MORE but I don’t know what. We met up in NYC at 2018 new thing #10 (a Marianne Williamson lecture on A Course in Miracles – which was pretty cool). We walked around Madison Square Park and chatted for about 20 minutes and I just knew this was something I had to do.  It covered all 5 of the things I want to add more of in my life: #fun, #creativity, #connection, #meaning, and #nature (plus the #6 bonus of “out of my comfort zone”) so how could I NOT do it!!  I had almost no information (pilgrimages are hard to explain I guess) but I also knew this would be an experience like no other and an opportunity I could not pass up.

So….this Thursday, I leave for the UK with 11 amazing women on a pilgrimage to find my life’s purpose.  I do know a little bit more than I did then but not much! I know I will be traveling with some amazing artists and entrepreneurs and visiting magical places (Glastonbury, Dartmoor, and some other mystery locations that I think include Stonehenge).  I will get my Akashic Records read (I had to Google that) and attend a workshop on writing, movement, and radical presence (details here).

The journey really began a month ago when we started pre-pilgrimage soul searching with “fun sheets”, a video course, weekly group calls, and even Skype Reiki (a new thing I have not counted yet!)

I won’t do a deep dive on the pre-work but I can tell you that three ideas for my “life purpose” have already been proposed and squashed.  A couple of weeks ago, my head was here…“I feel a responsibility to save the world but I also resent that responsibility and want to tell everyone to fuck off so I can just go have fun”. Then I went out and bought magic notebooks and had a kale margarita and felt a lot better.  Then I let go of the idea that I have to save the world.  Whatever work I am put on this planet to do will be FUN!!!!  It will make me feel joyful, inspired, and connected.  And then, because I genuinely want to help people, that will happen.  Not out of obligation, but out of inspiration.  That’s where I am at now.

On  Thursday, I leave for two weeks of fun, creativity, connection, nature, meaning, and magic that will take me outside of my comfort zone!  Maybe I will come back a changed woman, or maybe I will come back the same woman who has had a really cool experience.  What I do know, is that I will knock out 6 more new things and it will be time to “level up” the rest of 2018!

(Level Up happens to be the name of Sophia’s new book which is pretty cool and talks about her work and the women she led on her first pilgrimage earlier this year.  If you are curious, check it out!)

 

 

 

Touchpoint and Casual Sex

Last summer, this article popped up in my Twitter feed “I Talked To 1,400 Strangers About The Intimate Details Of Their Sex Lives. Here’s What I Learned”(I am a sucker for “I did xyz and here is what I learned” articles.)

I liked what Jared had to say and thought his Touchpoint events sounded really cool…and also really scary. In case you were too lazy to click the links or read the article:

Touchpoint is a town hall where real people
share stories from their love and sex lives.

I found this idea fascinating. I don’t have many friends who are having sex on a regular basis and/or want to talk about it.  And its not always comfortable to talk about sex with your friends, but we should talk about it!  Sex happens.  Most of us are doing it or want to do it.  And whether we do or we don’t (and how it goes if we do) has a big impact on how we feel physically and emotionally.

When I found out that these events are held in NYC every month, I added this to my “New Things in 2017” bucket list but it didn’t happen in 2017. Yeah, I think we SHOULD all talk about sex, but the idea of doing it is intimidating.  I don’t enjoy saying ANYTHING to a room full of strangers and talking about sex in a room full of strangers would definitely be a first. I was also pretty sure I would be the oldest person there.  Its hard to find group events (when I am not trying desperately to avoid them) where I don’t feel a lot older (or sometimes a lot younger) than everyone else. I am like Goldilocks in the Big City.

IMG_9433After stalking Touchpoint on Instagram for six months, I saw that “casual sex” was on the agenda for March which definitely piqued my interest. As a single woman dating in NYC in the 2010’s, its hard to avoid the topic of casual sex. In the age of dating apps, there is a perception that people can very easily “hook up” on-demand and that they do it, and like it (and that many prefer it to relationships). This is not my experience or the the experience of any single women I know, but it is the experience of many men who have come in to my life through dating apps. I was very curious to hear more perspectives on this topic.  I was also missing doing new things (since I slowed down my pace this year) and my schedule was free!

 

So, last Tuesday I showed up at The Assemblage in Nomad ready to learn more (and possibly talk) about casual sex.

I have to start with The Assemblage itself.

The Assemblage is a “coworking and coliving space that aims to nurture community and ignite consciousness and collaboration.”

I can tell you that the space is beautiful. Every person I saw there was beautiful (and probably 20 or 30 something). And it smelled amazing (like really awesome incense that is not too overpowering.) WeWork is cool, but The Assemblage is cooler.

I can also confirm the the director of vibes (as mentioned in the article) kicks ass at her/his job. The room where Touchpoint met had candles and pillows and feathers and an overall great vibe.  It was a good mix of genders and races and most of them were very attractive.

IMG_9451As we entered the room, we were asked to take off our shoes and handed a card with four questions about casual sex to help frame the discussion.  This card is part of a full deck that people can soon buy to encourage conversations among themselves on the topic of sex. I have to say that Jared is a great marketer and business man.  He got 100 people to pay $30-$40 each to sit in a room for 2 hours (30 minutes of that time just waiting) and listen to less than 10 people tell stories about their sex lives.  And now he is going to monetize his concept with cards.  Nice work.

We did have to wait a very long time on our comfy pillows before things got started. I said hello to the women sitting on either side of me who had both been to Touchpoint events before and found them “very inspiring”. (That was the only talking I did all evening).

Things kicked off with some very cool drumming and African chanting followed by a beautiful rendition of Adele’s “To Feel My Love”.  Off to a great start.

Then Jared opened it up, gave the backstory of Touchpoint (read the article if you want to know) and outlined the four rules of the evening that are also four rules of great sex (which was funny and also true). I can’t remember exactly what they were but they were something like this.

  1. Its not all about you
  2. Everyone should be allowed to finish
  3. Something about listening?
  4. What is said at Touchpoint stays at Touchpoint (I am pretty sure this was #4)

Although there is a rule about things staying at Touchpoint, this event was also recorded for the first ever Touchpoint podcast!  I will summarize for you without revealing anyone’s identity (not that I know who any of these people are) and you can also listen to the WHOLE thing on iTunes as soon as the podcast is released here.

There were a few people selected ahead of time to tell their stories so we started with those.  We heard from a woman who had casual sex with a younger man at a college alumni weekend a year after a traumatic breakup.  Then an agender man told us about his casual sex experience with a hot cop he went to high school with and ran in to on the streets of Newark. Finally, the very nice bi-sexual woman sitting next to me (surprise!) told her story about how she and her awesome, hot boyfriend (that she met on Tinder) had a threesome with a stripper in Florida (her idea). It was a long story but a good one!

After each person spoke, Jared asked them if he had permission to ask them questions (a little dramatic but intended to drill home the importance of consent). Then he asked them a couple of questions and we moved on.  The questions were not very deep, but there was a time constraint.  There were 100 people there and I am sure he wanted to give as many people as possible time to speak.

We heard from a few more people who had mostly great casual sex experiences. A couple of people (men, actually) talked about exploring casual sex after assault or to help improve body image, but in general the theme was that casual sex was empowering and fun.  The very last person to speak was a woman who said that she always has emotional expectations when she has sex with someone and she found it very hard to believe that she was the only one who felt this way.  Jared responded by saying “I say this with love…” and then went on to tell her she should “listen” and not assume that everyone’s experience was the same as hers.  To me, it felt like she was being scolded.

I get it. He is selling a safe space where people can feel free to talk about whatever their experiences are and not feel judged. So if you say your sex was fun, it was fun.  But what if your experience is that you don’t want to go to sex parties, or pick up strippers (or cops) and that casual sex leaves you feeling empty?  That perspective was not shared at all and this was the perfect opportunity to go there.  He didn’t take it. I might be projecting my own thoughts on to that exchange, so I look forward to listening to it back on the podcast and re-assessing, but it left me with a bad feeling.

In the end, I did not come away with great insights on how people feel about casual sex overall but I heard some interesting stories.  As much as I dread events where you have to “turn to the person next to you” and say anything, this event could go deeper if it there was some of that “turn to the person next to you.”  I am sure everyone in that room had something to say and 90% of them were not comfortable speaking up or needed more time to work their way up to it.  We were encouraged to stay and continue the conversation amongst ourselves but it was 10pm by then and I was tired (because I am kind of old). So maybe its on me for not mingling.

I did get confirmation that the generation after me DOES go to sex parties and have threesomes way more than people my age did back in the day.  We definitely had “casual sex” in the 80s and 90s (I think we called it “one nighters”) but I remember it being pretty traditional stuff.

So what would I have said if I had the microphone at Touchpoint?

Casual sex is a part of my life because most of the men I am attracted to can only have this kind of sex.  Some of that is on me, and some of that is on them. (Sex and attraction is complicated.) When I have the choice between casual sex or no sex, I sometimes choose casual sex.  It is not my first choice but sometimes that is all that is on the menu. Some casual sex is more casual than other casual sex.  The more connection that I have with someone, the better the sex is, always.  I can’t say that casual sex has ever served me in a meaningful way.  It is usually fun, but I know it also distracts me from looking for a deeper connection, which is ultimately what I would prefer if it were on the menu (and would also lead to better sex..for me).  To date I have not attended any sex parties or had any threesomes but I do not judge (sorry if you read this far and were hoping that was where this would go). I am not sure how fun those would be for me, but who knows what the future holds for Goldilocks in the Big City!

I have an analogy that casual sex is like eating a cookie. Some cookies taste better than others.  Sometimes the anticipation of eating the cookie is better than the actual cookie itself.  When you are eating the cookie, it might be super delicious but then its over and what do you have to show for it?  The sugar and flour cause inflammation (that mysterious condition that is killing us all) AND then you have to put in extra time at the gym to keep looking good so you have have another cookie!!!  Because after you have one cookie, you always want another one.  And so the cycle continues. I should really be eating more kale.

And that is what I would have shared if I actually had the nerve to raise my hand at Touchpoint. I wonder what Jared would have asked me?

L’Chaim! New Things in 2018

I debated how to carry my “new things” habit in to 2018. I want to keep doing new things and making my life bigger, but I want to be a bit more focused and ensure that I spend my time on activities that enrich my life instead of just checking a box on a to-do list I set for myself.

I thought about not setting a limit and just continuing to do new things and share them with the world and see how far I get. But I could see myself getting lazy with no goal at all. I may have changed the set point of my existence, but have to keep at it or I could slip right back.

My college friend Jennifer, suggested that I do 18 things in 2018. Not just because it is 2018, but because 18 has a special meaning in Judaism.  She didn’t tell me what that meaning was (and although I am half Jewish, I didn’t know) but I was intrigued.

ChaiI did a little research and learned that 18 is universally synonymous with the Hebrew word Chai and that Chai is the Hebrew word for life!  (The Jewish toast L’Chaim! means “to life!)  Chai does not refer to just any life.  Judaism emphasizes the importance of living a good, ethical life and enjoying this time we have on earth.  That is EXACTLY what I am trying to do more of with my new things habit.  Especially with the additional twist I want to add that will help me focus on quality over quantity.

Someone recently asked me what I need more of in my life.  I came up with these five things which are my intentions for 2018.  (I think you are only supposed to have one intention, but I have a lot I want to accomplish!)

  1. Fun
  2. Connection
  3. Creativity
  4. Meaning
  5. Nature

So I have decided to do at least 18 new things in 2018 and that each new thing has to involve at least ONE of my five intentions for the year. This will help me stay focused on what I want my life to be with an achievable goal that will still require some work. (If I find a new thing that covers all five, then I will win the life lottery for sure!)

I kicked things off on New Years Day with a helicopter tour of NYC. This was a gift given to me by my former team when I left my old job. They gave it to me because they knew I was doing 100 new things in 2017. It was a very thoughtful gift, but they were not aware  that I get motion sickness pretty easily.

IMG_8870This was originally going to be my #100 of 2017 but I didn’t schedule it in time, so it ended up being #1 for 2018.  Not only was I afraid of getting sick, I was afraid of dying (and it was about 14 degrees F that day so for sure we would have died if we landed in the river.)  As I feared, I was nauseous the whole time (which was thankfully only 20 minutes) and could not wait for it to end.  But I lived and I didn’t throw up all over the pilot.  I did get some great pictures and I actually looked like I was having fun!  I guess the whole adventure was kind of fun.  Especially in hindsight, now that it is over (and I never plan to do it again).  So this one counts as fun (barely!)

Thanks Jennifer for not only for inspiring three new things in 2017 (#2, #64, #99), but for coming up with a fabulous symbolic goal for 2018!!  I plan to keep writing about my new things, and life in general, so follow along and join me on my journey this year…

L’Chaim!

 

100 New Things in 2017

Two years ago, my sister sent me copy of a book called I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day. She had seen the author, Lu Ann Cahn, speak at a work event and thought of me and my ongoing struggle to get unstuck. I read the book immediately and was super excited to take on the challenge. I convinced my sister to do it with me in 2016, set up a blog for us to post our new things, and started brainstorming new things to do every day. But as January 1st, 2016 approached, work stuff happened and I got stressed out and bailed on the idea.

Fast forward to the end of 2016 which turned out to be one of the worst years of my life. My job got more and more stressful (which I honestly did not think was possible) and my body finally screamed “ENOUGH” so loud that I had to listen. I lined up a new job that would start in early 2017 and got re-inspired to take on the “new things” challenge.

Instead of a new thing EVERY DAY, I settled on 100 new things, which seemed like a nice round number. Two new things a week seemed challenging, but doable. I also decided that blogging AND doing was too much, so instead of blogging I decided to record each new thing with a post on Instagram and Facebook. Social media seemed like an easy way to record my new things for posterity AND keep me accountable. Once you tell the internet you are going to do something, you have to do it (especially if you are an Upholder)!  I didn’t have a set list of new things. I had some ideas on a bucket list, but mostly, I just winged it.

So, why did I really want to take on this challenge?  To me, “recharging my life” meant forcing myself out of my daily grind (and comfort zone) on a more regular basis. I wanted to stop using work as an excuse for not really living. I wanted to stop busying myself with to-do lists of chores and really DO things.  Fun things!  Important things! I thought it might be like changing your set point weight. It’s doable, but hard. It requires consistent, sustainable change and you have to stick with it until it becomes the new normal. My goal was to change the set point of my existence! 

Fast forward to the end of 2017 and I have successfully done 100 new things this year!  (#100 is till a secret, but will be formally announced in my next post, tomorrow.)  You can find the full list here with hyperlinks for more info and you can see how they all played out in pictures (with #hashtag commentary) on Instagram.

Since I didn’t post about them as I went along (which I kind of regret), we will all have to live with this very long summary post and some reflections on the year. (One of my Facebook friends thought I should write a book.  This blog post is almost as long as a book. Not a great blogging technique but keep reading anyway…)

As I look back on the list, there were some key themes. Many of my new things (17 to be exact) were new yoga and meditation experiences. These new things did not take me out of my comfort zone (except for hot, hip hip, candle lit yoga which almost killed me), but my choice to spend so much time on these activities reinforced that these are important practices in my life that I want to continue to grow.

Another key theme was my re-acquaintance with the theater. I forgot how much I love the theater!! This year I saw an interactive theater piece at The Public, Hamilton (an unbelievable work of art), Dear Even Hansen (broke my heart wide open), Indecent (beautifully done), Waitress (not a great show but Sara Bareilles rocked!) and three shows at my local theater (which I am now a member of because they were all amazing).

I also got out and about in nature.  I explored Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, finally made it to the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park, rode a Citi Bike for the first time during Summer Streets, visited Prospect Park, hiked in the Poconos, and did some indoor climbing at Brooklyn Boulders (which was kind of like being in nature).  These activities were among my favorites for the year. I love to move and be outside and MUST do this more.

Looking at the rest of the list, these are my top five highlights:

  • Phish on New Years Eve (#1) was really fun. I had never heard a Phish song until the week before the show (and I generally prefer Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson), but a Phish show is definitely an event. That was an amazing way to kick off 2017.
  • Safari in Botswana (#20 – #29) was life highlight. This trip covered 10 new things because so much amazing stuff happened there! (and it was REALLY out of my comfort zone). Being surrounded by a herd of elephants (#26) and having a hippo walk under our walkway less than 10 feet away (didn’t even make the list because it was dark and flash photography would have been life threatening!) are two encounters I will never forget.
  • The night I went to see Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender (#68) happened to be the night he decided to rent two buses to take the audience up to Trump Tower after the show for an impromptu protest (with some famous friends).  That was very cool (even though I didn’t make it on the bus because I had to stop to pee…but I did walk 10 blocks and met them there).
  • I decided to volunteer for a political campaign for my local city council person this fall (#76). While handing out flyers, some one from the opponent’s campaign tried to get me to switch sides and it almost turned in to a brawl between the campaign managers in Tompkins Square Park.  Then the mayor randomly showed up for some promotional shots with my candidate (who is more liked than he is) and I got sucked in to walking around with him, carrying signs while continuing to fight off the opponent’s supporter who would not give up. That was a crazy morning. I was also intermittent fasting (#73) so I was starving during all of this drama!
  • My acupuncturist convinced me to attend the Womanly Arts Experience .  The intent of Womanly Arts is to help women unleash their full power, have fun, turn on, find their happiness, let go of what is holding them back, and live big.  (Sounds amazing, right?) The weekend involved lots of dancing, female bonding, and intimate sharing with complete strangers.  It is impossible to describe and was not something I thought I would enjoy at all, but it was a lot of fun and I made some great new connections!

So what were my key takeaways?  I definitely had a different mind set this year. I always had to make sure I had something new on my schedule. Some things just happened (like Mac-N-Cheetos and Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Gingerbread Stout), but most required planning and a deliberate effort to get off my couch and do something different than I would have otherwise chosen to do. I was ALWAYS glad I made the choice to try something new and most of them would not have happened if I had not promised the internet I would get to 100.

I have often struggled with the question “Am I afraid to do this, or do I really just not want to do it?” What I learned this year, is that if you are not sure whether you want to do something (and it does not require a huge investment)…just fucking do it! I had so much fun doing things that I had no idea I would enjoy.  I definitely did some things I didn’t love (Tatooed New York, Inscape, Intermittent Fasting) but I was still glad I did them.

Did I change the set point of my existence? I think so!  I hope so! My life does feel bigger.  I always have something to talk about when people ask me what I do outside of work which means I have to keep doing stuff because saying “last year I did a lot of cool stuff” will not fly for long!!

I wasn’t thinking about anyone else but myself when I did this, but I ended up with a tribe of people following and cheering me on, which was awesome.

One of my dreams is to be wise and inspirational enough to sit across from Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and say really important stuff that helps people live better lives.  (I realize that is a BIG stretch goal.)  What did happen this year, was that people seemed to be very inspired by my 100 things and some even said they would incorporate in to their lives too!!  Maybe I changed lives without Oprah! (I am sure she would dig that.)

Looking back on how this year unfolded –  what I chose to do, what I didn’t do, what I enjoyed, and what I didn’t – has helped me get more clarity on where to steer my ship next. For 2018, I want to focus on quality over quantity and really hone in on activities that will enrich my life.  More on that to come….

Net net, 100 New Things in 2017 was definitely a huge success…and there is still one more to go!

What a Weird Fall…

It’s been forever, again, I know. Because I had a really weird fall/early winter. Before we start 2015, here is a quick summary of all of the weird stuff that happened that I never told you about! Then we can start anew…

When I last updated you, I was also having a really weird month. From there, I got my balance back (briefly). All of the weird bugs and bug bites went away. I started a daily yoga routine before work (was super proud of that) and dived back in to the online dating pool.

New  Yorker CoverI went on a couple of dates with the Tiny Jazz Musician. He was actually a very cool guy and we had a good first date and he did all of the post date follow up perfectly. But on the second date, some key personality differences were revealed, and I realized that I was not attracted to him at all. At some point during our second date, he showed me a New Yorker he had with him and pointed out that his friend said he looked like the guy on the cover (in the middle with the glasses). Bad move.  From that moment forward, all I could picture when I looked at him was this guy (who also looks like the guy on this cover, and like the Tiny Jazz Musican..but bigger.) I couldn’t recover! No third date.

Right about that time, I got called to jury duty. I ended up getting selected for a fascinating trial that lasted eight days. You can read a bit about this art forgery trial here. As a follow up, we decided the art was fake and that crazy artist Nussberg had to pay equally crazy gallery owner Tatintsian 5 dollars. (Apparently nominal damages is like 5 dollars.) What I learned from this trial experience was (1) real life court is nothing like TV. The technology in court does not work right, lawyers trip over their words, and there are tons of rules that slow everything down. (2) we are trusting very important decisions to regular people based on only what lawyers decide to share with you (or are competent enough to uncover or explain correctly). This is a bad system. (By “regular people” I mean that most are not super smart. My jury was unusually intelligent, I assume by choice, because the trial was SO complex.)  (3) this entire process would be so much more efficient (for jurors) if they recorded the whole thing before we got there and edited it down to exactly the pieces we were supposed to see and hear and play them back for us. First, it would save us tons of time and allow us to know how much time it will take. Even more importantly, we are constantly hearing things we are supposed to ignore, which we don’t, because we are human. I realize lawyers use this as a strategy but it is bullshit and just compounds the reasons why this is such a bad system. After binge listening to Serial this past week.  My theories about our jury/trial system were reconfirmed. Listen to it. It’s pretty cool….

I also learned a lot about abstract art and specifically about Kazimir Malevich (one of his pieces shown above) and the avant-garde, suprematist art movement in Russia. It was like an eight day art class. Pretty cool!

There was a bit more dating. All dating is weird. There was the Music Writer who I had an OK date with but he pushed too hard at the end of the date which ended up being really weird and was a huge turn off. No second date. Then there were a few guys I chatted with on Hinge or Tinder who I never ended up meeting. The Private Chef, Burning Man Guy, and this guy (who was the most promising of the three, but also disappeared mid conversation. Very common.)  There is one guy who is still lingering, The Jazz Musician with the Beautiful Face. We can call him JMBF for short. I will have to cut him off pretty soon (or he will just disappear), but he has been entertaining for the holidays. JMBF is hot and smart and kind of interesting when I can get him to actually speak, but he just does not do relationships. Also, very common in my dating world.

bhut pepperAnd then, just today, I spent 24 hours chatting with Hot Sauce guy on Tinder (he owns a hot sauce/hot pepper company in Brooklyn. I have illegally included his logo to the right.) Some of his comments/questions were a little weird but I was trying to keep an open mind. He wanted to Facebook me to “see more pictures” which I reluctantly agreed to figuring I could just de-friend him if he ended up confirming my weird suspicions. Then, when he offered to send me more pictures and I said, “Lets just meet in person and see if we click. Want to have a drink when you are back in town?” He responded by de-matching me on Tinder (or taking down his Tinder profile completely. I can’t tell which.) SO WEIRD. What is even weirder is that we are still Facebook friends but he has sent no follow up messages to explain the disappearance from Tinder after 24 hours of chatting.  SO WEIRD. I will be clearly be de-friending him.  SO WEIRD.

So dating is going really well (sarcasm). But I rock on…

Before Thanksgiving, I got a cold, that turned in to a sinus infection, that turned in to a double ear infection! So, I spent a lot of late fall/early winter sick. That was a huge drag. I am FINALLY better, finished traveling and celebrating the holidays, and am now regrouping before 2015 comes (in 6 hours). I am chilling out, watching TV (finally binge watching the Wire just released in HD on HBO), and catching up on tons of stuff on my to do list (who doesn’t have a vacation to do list!)

Now that we are all caught up, I hope to have some more deep thoughts and/or funny stories for you in 2015. Happy New Year!!!