New Year’s Resolutions in Reverse: A Good-bye to 2013

 

The first few days of the New Year are upon us.

This can only mean one thing:

New. Year. Obligatory. Post.

Just in case the other 97627346 bloggers, hard-hitting CNN journalists (seriously – CNN – sometimes I think you’re punking me with your absurd headlines), and, as I found out today… , USA.GOV New Year’s Resolution website (what???) didn’t offer the right amount of predictable inspiration, I’m offering my two cents here.

Truthfully, I am a fan of this topic and New Year’s in general.

The ending of a year and the starting of a brand spanking new blank slate is pretty exciting.  It’s like the first day of school (brand new notebooks!!).

However, I don’t believe you can start a new chapter/list/notebook before you’ve properly closed off the previous one.

Last night, during a dinner party, one of the seven guests suggested we go around the table and have everyone say their “Best and Worst of 2013.”

The answers were real.  Some were funny.  All prompted reflection.  The worst: losing a job, learning of a family member’s illness, losing a pet; The best: passing an important exam, meeting newly special people, finding a new job.

In similar fashion, for today’s post, I’ve decided to recycle a popular idea I used a few months ago called The Reverse Bucket List and write a reverse New Year’s resolution list for 2013.

The following is a list of some self-improvements, goals, and personal attainments of 2013 (and, when appropriate, illustrative photos):

1)      Put effort into becoming closer with family members; find time to get to know extended family

cousins

Meeting second cousins for brunch

2)      Separate emotionally from surrounding drama

3)      Get back out on that ice and start figure skating/training/coaching again

ice skating figure skating

Back on the ice – starting a session

4)      Furnish/decorate an apartment from scratch

The completed "living room" in my first personal apartment

The completed “living room” in my first personal apartment

5)      Travel abroad for an “extended” vacation; leave worries/computers/cell phones behind

greece

Taking it easy in Naxos, Greece

6)      Pick up a new fitness hobby

flywheel spin cycle

Attending Flywheel classes with friends

7)      Cook for myself more – learn to make new healthy staples

Yummy salad with homemade dressing

Yummy salad with homemade dressing

8)      Take advantage of new city

Hanging off the ledge at Sears Tower

Hanging off the ledge at Sears Tower

9)      Take advantage of new found proximity to family (with move to Chicago) and spend more time with little sister

roller coaster

Roller-coastering with lil sis

10)      Take steps to show some semblance of putting yourself first

11)      Learn to say no

12)      Bring down the mile-high fence/barricade/guard and give trust and a new relationship a chance

Ice skating at the zoo.  It snowed.  It was perfect.

Ice skating at the zoo in Chicago. It snowed. A friend snapped this when we weren’t looking.

Decidedly, 2013 was pretty good to me.

A great portion of the positive in 2013 stemmed from this blog.  Writing these posts, however inconsequential they may seem, has come to be a huge part of my life.  I love connecting with readers from my  backyard as well as all over the world.  I love reading what others are generating.  I love finding commonalities.

So thank you, friends, for making 2013 Awesome.

I think I’m ready for 2014.

Cheers!

Summer Bucket List

north avenue beach chicago

The anticipation is over.

Summer is here.

And it’s not just any summer… it’s my first Chicago summer.

Since moving to this city, I have heard much about this anticipated time of year.

I’ve been told that the summer is unmatched, with a myriad of festivals, beach days, outdoor concerts, sports gatherings, rooftop cocktailing and outdoor activities.

I’ve been told that people flock to Chicago during the summer in the same way that New Yorkers flock to the Hamptons; in this case, running towards the city, instead of away from it.

My excitement has not been subtle.

It might be my strategic layering of clothes-so-I-can-be-ready-to-beach-it-at-any-moment, my not-so secret plans to re-live senior spring break or the speed with which I sign up for activities (whether I have time  for them or not)… everyone from my co-workers to friends to my Wholefoods fish guy knows that I’m a tad psyched for the nice weather.

To make sure the summer doesn’t fly by, I’ve gone ahead and made the following bucket list.

bucket list

Let the frolicking begin.

There will be little sleep.  But there will be new adventures.

This summer is going to be Awesome.

The Running Path

chicago path

I started running outside this week.

As mentioned in previous posts, I really started running last year.  Previous to that time, I ran because I was a) forced by figure skating coaches b) wanted to beat my brother c) wanted to beat the boys in gym class (this is true).

As I’ve matured (loose term), running has become a great way to get in a short workout, be outdoors and push my competitive needs.

Ever since I moved to the Windy City, all I’ve heard about is the famed lakefront path.

This is no exaggeration and I have a sneaky suspicion that anyone who has spent more than 35 minutes in Chicago will attest to this.  I have heard about running outdoors by the lake from my dad (he was on a work assignment in Chicago once…decades ago), from former co-workers overseas and from friends who spent a hot second doing an internship out in the Miwest.

This week I got to experience it for myself.

Chicago enjoyed warm temperatures for a whole 72 hours.  And I took advantage.

I mapped out a course and figured out how to cross the lakeshore highway (tricky underground tunnels!).

I set out running through the streets, meandered through heavy traffic on Michigan Ave and finally made it to the path where my fellow runners were.

I joined the rhythm of the other runners, turned up the volume on David Guetta’s Night of Your Life and aimed for North Avenue Beach.

Running right along the sand and the lake with no guard rail is an experience.  It reminded me of why I loved lake Michigan so much as a child and why I love it so much now: it looks like an ocean.

When I reached the tip of the bay where the beach curves and sets out in the other direction, I stopped running and turned around.

The view was incredible.

Awesome.

chicago

Just Do It.

keep calm and cycle on

Today’s workout was Awesome.

Why?

Because.

I set a goal and I met it.

I told myself that no matter what — I was going to get to a certain number.

No excuses.

Recently, I’ve been feeling more lethargic during class and falling well below the level I know I can meet.

The burrito I ate before class didn’t help (stupid).

Neither did the lack of sleep last night (stupid).

But.  There’s always an excuse to pedal at a lower rpm.

A few things did help.

Friends. Music. Mental game.

I’ve found that the key to cycling consistently every week is getting your friends involved (evil plan).  I’ve introduced spinning to a number of friends who now go every week.  Knowing they’re reserving bikes pushes me.

The playlist was perfect (Careless Whisper by Seether is new favorite).

I put everything out of my mind.  For 45 minutes.  Nothing was going on in my life besides Enrique Iglesias (that’s right).

I sang along. I cheered out loud.  I passed my goal.

I was pumped.

Awesome.

Ballet, Pilates and Yoga in One

Day 6 of AWESOME I found myself sweating my buns off again (one of my fave hobbies) on the Upper East Side at a Pure Yoga class called Figure 4.  Fate brought me and this workout together; a couple weeks ago I did some fundraising and running for the American Heart Association for which I was given a goody bag with one free pass to FIGURE 4.  Why not?

Turns out this class is the workout I didn’t know I had been searching for.  It’s a workout created by a professional ballet dancer that mixes ballet, pilates, yoga and free weights.  As a figure skater – this class spoke to me.  How exciting to work on the exact moves I had hammered into my body for 20+ years.

This class is no simple waltz across the stage. The “bar” exercises are designed to create continual muscle “surprise and formation”* (read: balancing on toes with ball in-between mid-section and bar while performing demi-pliés 60+ times designed to work your abs, arms, glutes and thighs) held in a “hot room”: 105 degrees.

By the 15th spiral leg lift (skaters you know what I’m talking about!) I felt like I had tapped into my roots!  Figure skating has always brought me back to my center and today it did no different.  I must get out on the ice soon.

*Pure Yoga: http://pureyoga.com/en/newyork/schedules/figure4.php