Enjoy life!!

 

Last night, some friends and I had dinner at an Asian restaurant. At the end of the meal, I cracked open my fortune cookie to looking for some sage guidance from the cookie gods. Here’s what I got:

Enjoy life!! It is better to be happy than wise.

Despite the fact that this is quite possibly the worst advice that I have ever heard, this phrase has stuck with me all day today. The first part is fine; there’s nothing wrong with being encouraged to enjoy the life I am living. It’s the second half that’s had me thinking though. Everyone knows where this type of mindset leads. Sure, momentary happiness has its place, but eventually unwise choices will lead to a place of utter misery… right?

A few years ago, I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying life. I was living it, and living it well, but the life I had crafted didn’t make me happy because it wasn’t the life I wanted to be living. There were so many things I wanted to try, to do, to see, but I was missing out on those experiences because I was too busy playing it safe. So I started making lists. Every year, I make a list of new things that I want to try, to do, to see that year… and then I do them.

The first year, there were some random biggies: get a tattoo, travel around Europe, pierce something, learn how to belly dance. The next year, things got a little more focused:  build better relationships, finish grad school with honors, get healthy. Over the years, I’ve noticed a pattern that stands true, regardless of how big or small the challenge. I’ve found that its easy for me to put something on a list. It’s easy for me to figure out how to do, plan the steps, set the date. But each time, without fail, there is a moment when I almost back down. It happened when I was about to hit the button to purchase my plan ticket to Europe. It happened the night before I got my tattoo when several of my friends who were supposed to go with me backed out… and again when they backed out of the belly dance classes too. It was like this little voice appeared, telling me, “You don’t have to do this.” With each of these things though, I pressed through the fear and did it anyway, and didn’t regret my choice for a second.

The source of my hesitation isn’t a fear of making the wrong choice; I hesitate because taking action means making a choice. It means stepping forward down a path that I have chosen. Taking action means chasing happiness, it means creating the life I want to live rather than just living the life that happens to me. Playing it safe will almost always look like the wise choice. I could have saved that money that I spent traveling, but I would have lost that experience.

Several months ago, I left a job that I hated to start to building a life that made me happy. Now I’m at the tough point though, where I have to take action. Every day, there are lists of things that I have to do, obstacles that have to be tackled. And every day there are concerns: money, opportunities, failure. And every day, I hear the voice… I don’t have to do this. It’s true; I don’t. But I know how unhappy that other life made me.

I know this is a bit of a departure from the stuff I normally write about. I felt like to be honest with you guys (and with myself), its important that I share all the details of this journey, not just what I eat and what I wear but also where my head and my heart is at. I want to make this new life work. I want to find a life filled with happiness, a life that I enjoy. It’s funny, the wise part comes easy for me. It’s the being happy that seems to take a lot of hard work.

But I know its worth it.

Eight things that have made me smile this week

1. Beats Antique

2. Bikram Yoga… I took my first class this week, and I’m hooked! One and half hours of yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees (with 40% humidity!). Sounds like hell, but leaves you feeling soooooo good!
3. Gypsy skirt dancing My first “choreography” class… I love it!! This isn’t the routine, but you get the general idea:
4. Bangs! Finally got my bangs trimmed, a long overdue necessity. I love finally having a hairdresser that I look forward to seeing!
5. Hummus… I forgot how much I love this stuff! I’ve eaten hummus and raw bell peppers for lunch everyday this week. Yum!
6. Hiking… Is there anyone that lives in the north west metro atlanta area (in all its sprawling grandeur) that doesn’t love Kennesaw Mountain? The beautiful spring like weather on Monday combined nicely with my having a day of work, which leads to my next item…
7. Long weekends! With holidays and ice storms, I haven’t worked a five-day work week in over a month now. Who doesn’t love that!
8. The new Babycakes cookbook… One of my goals this year is to pick a different cookbook each month and cook as many recipes out of it as I can. I bought this one a few weeks ago (right before starting my New Year, New Start fast) and have been dying to try it out! I made my first recipe this week, chocolate chip bread, and it was great! Gluten free, sugar free, vegan goodness. (I shopped at the actual Babycakes bakery in New York ago– definitely worth the 15 blocks or so we walked to get there!)

OK, so I confess, this list was supposed to be 10 things that made me smile this week, but I’m running late for tonight’s dance class, so I’ll leave the last two slots open for you. What has made you smile this week?

What inspires you?

Designing a website is no easy process. Layout, color scheme, fonts, picture choices… so many decisions! Like many things in life, for everything to flow there has to be a common thread, a unifying factor that turns a bunch of random ideas and thoughts into a work of art.

Coming up with a new look for The Fainting Goat has been tough. So many new ideas that have built up during our hiatus, and yet so many good ones from before as well. So here’s my question for today: what inspires me? What makes my heart feel? Because if I have to start somewhere, this seems like the best place.

If you’re reading this in real-time, check back often as things will be changing daily. And ten points goes to the first person who can guess what the picture in our header is of. :=)