Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another Extreme Challenge

Since this past September, I've been trying to better myself through a series of food-related challenges, but the ultimate goal didn't really have a lot to do with food or weight loss.  It started because in August, I realized that when people ask me "what's new with you?" or "what do you do for fun?" and they actually want an answer, I had nothing for them. Time and again, I seriously couldn't think of anything to answer except that I waste a lot of time on the Internet and I watch too much TV.

In short, I was a boring person.  I ate boring food, I hate talking about work, and even if you asked me what I did on the Internet, I couldn't tell you, because it was mostly just surfing around.  I never wanted to be that person.  High-school Valerie would be disappointed, and college Valerie would be disgusted.  So the vegan challenge was a way for me to turn a microscope on one aspect of my life, and start working at it.  Now when someone asks "what's new," I can at least say I've been teaching myself to cook, and it's ridiculously fun.

When Erica took me out for dinner on my birthday, we'd been talking about my next challenge.  I decided I wanted to move away from the total food focus, and try to improve another area.  I bounced a lot of ideas; I have a lot of potential interests and even more things that I need to get done:
  • Plant a garden out back
  • Play the piano a few times a week
  • Write a book
  • Read more books
  • Create (and stick to) a workout plan
  • Have more dinner parties
  • Paint our bedroom
  • Look into getting the basement finished
  • Update this blog more frequently
You know, all those thing we tell ourselves "I'd love to get done, if only I had the time!"  But I do have the time, I just don't use it right.  The original plan was to pick one or two of these, make a quantifiable goal and make that my new 60-day commitment, but when we got the check, something funny happened--my fortune cookie was actually insightful:
"First, think of what you want to do; then do what you have to do."

It didn't hit me right away, but I liked the fortune so I tucked it in my wallet behind my driver's license.  As time passed, though, I understood--all those things on my list, they're the things that I want to do.  In order to achieve them, though, I probably have to do some things I don't what to do.  But everything on my list is possible.  If I'm proactive, I can make it happen.

I know what I want to do. What I have to do, though, won't be easy.  With Erica's blessing (and, surprisingly, enthusiastic cooperation)  I'm going to unplug my TV for a year.  It means no Netflix, no Hulu, no videogames, and no cable.  As this year drew to a close, I was pretty anxious about it.  I don't have a solid plan for where on the list I'm going to start; I also don't have a solid plan to keep myself from replacing my pointless TV watching with pointless Internetting.  But I'm working on it.  The first step is done though, we've verbally committed; wish us luck!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a huge commitment! You've encouraged me to make some changes in my life. Keep us posted on how no TV affects you, and how well you handle it! I know you can do this!