Halfway Through: Smiles, Sighs & What a Pain in the @*!

by Karen Amster-Young

If you want to make G-d laugh, tell him about your plans. – Woody Allen

This has been tough.

My blog partner and I embarked on this 52 Week challenge focused on moving forward, growing and getting “unstuck”.  We vowed to try new things, work on our relationships with significant others, face fears, rediscover old passions and find new ones.   We’re about half-way through this journey and ya know what?  It’s a pain in the @*!* sometimes!

Mother Nature ruins the best-laid plans, daily surprises arise and fears aren’t always overcome with just one exercise (duh).  And sometimes when I try to “act more like I want to feel” (check out my previous post about smiling more to change your mood) it doesn’t always work; it’s pretty challenging when the dog craps on a just-cleaned carpet and you find your husband – on his rare day off – trying to be a Nintendo Wii champion instead of cleaning the car trunk which still contains unidentifiable stuff from the summer of 2010 – sand and all. Oh, and did I mention the new fears, challenges and other stuff that keep coming up and throwing a wrench in my “52” list?

I’m thinking about Woody Allen for some reason this week.  I guess it’s because of the rave reviews for his new movie, Midnight in Paris.  I’m also tired of the “real” news (Oprah’s last show!;  Arnold cheating with housekeeper!; Obama!)  I used to love Woody movies years ago (Sleeper, Annie Hall).  And Vicky Cristina Barcelona was one of my more recent favorites.  I was thinking about him because he is really is so talented, eccentric, neurotic and so very New York.  When his films work they really work and help you escape from the world a bit. All good movies do.  Anyway, the famous quote above is worth remembering so that you know you can’t always plan and predict stuff.  You definitely learn that as you get older and taking on this blog is no exception.

So yes, it’s been tough. But it has also been great.

If it wasn’t for the blog, I don’t think I would have:

  • Spent a day driving really, really hot impractical, super -super expensive sports cars
  • Relaxed and stared at nudes for the day learning how to draw
  • Re-read the classics including Catcher in the Rye and Virginia Wolfe’s Mrs. Dalloway
  • Taken the time to learn to hit a golf ball without killing someone
  • Faced my fear of yoga classes, forcing myself to go again
  • Volunteered with Pam to clean up our favorite park for the day
  • Learned to box
  • Took some steps to explore and discover what I want to do about religion in my life
  • Force-fed myself blueberries until they became a fairly regular habit

And there have been many more “firsts” of course – both fun and challenging. Not surprisingly, there has also been some clashes with Pam as we navigate our way through the year together, trying to manage all that has come with conceiving and working on this blog together – it’s like having another spouse!

But what is this all for? Is it really about just Pam and me keeping our promise to one another to keep going, to do this for ourselves and push one another toward our goals?  Is it just a narcissistic journey for self-discovery? Yes, I guess it is in a way. But I hope, in the end, it’s about being a better person by taking time to focus – even a little each week – on feeling and being better to people you love and about giving back more, volunteering time and energy from the heart — where it will really make a difference and not out of obligation.  The big picture is what keeps me going; if I can’t make it through a yoga class without panicking I certainly won’t reach my bigger goals; you just can’t if  you don’t have your act together.

And now, while I stare at my 52 list, I sit and wonder what to do next, what’s most important for me and where I am right now and how to keep going, keep exploring, stay motivated and stay on course. What things do I add? Do I eliminate some of the stuff I was going to do that have now been replaced with new things?  Are we helping other people get going again and inspiring others?  That was always something we hoped would come from this blog.

I am not sure how it is all going to pan out but I know one thing:  yes, it’s been a pain in the @!&! but it’s also made us both take some steps to be better people, feel better, be nicer and give back more. And that’s a good thing.

Anyway, I’m awaiting my Central Park Carriage Ride this week now that it looks like it may not rain every day.  For some strange reason, despite two decades in the city, I just never took a Carriage ride in Central Park. I am going with my husband — forced on the calendar by my nagging! And, even if he would rather play Nintendo with my daughter, I will convince him that he must accompany me and will enjoy it (it’s something different!).   Need to check it off my list, remember to smile and bring an umbrella in case G-d starts laughing at my plans.

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categoryPosted: 05/24/11 12:20 PM

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