It’s the first day of a new month. A new beginning. Packing away the halloween books and pulling out Thanksgiving. I feel like it was just Thanksgiving, but it has been a whole year. What has happened in that year? So much and not much. I am sitting in the house we bought almost a year ago. We still haven’t put any pictures on the wall, but it definitely feels like we have settled into home. My daughter is napping peacefully, something she did a year ago as well. We are in our own routines. I love them. What have I accomplished personally? Hmm I started a blog which is fun. I have been learning Adobe Illustrator. I have been dreaming about my dreams, and wondering about my future. Time has passed, and I think I have progressed and changed, but when I think about that progression it is only because I have been intentional. Intentional in learning something new, by committing to a class with a few hundred dollars. Intentional in blogging by carving out a space and time to write, getting up earlier, and setting aside useless thing. Intentional in being healthier by using our food budget to purchase produce, leaving less money for anything else. Intentional in finding health by picking up the phone and calling doctors, making appointments, finding babysitters. Things are happening because I make it a priority.
Yet there is still so much I want to discover and explore, learn, do, and become. There are things I want to try or accomplish, but somehow always end up on my list for someday.
Which brings me to this idea of a month long or 30 day project, repeated again and again. Choose something to do, accomplish, or focus on, and make it a top priority for thirty days.
Okay so this is not a new idea, or an extrordinary idea. In 2013 Leo Babauta took on a year of living without where he went without something in his life for a month, and evaluated it’s necessity. The Whole30 program is basically making a month of dietary changes and evaluating in the end what foods are less healthy and more healthy for us personally. I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, (I am only like 7 years behind on that book) which outlines a year of trying new things each month to find happiness by doing specific things.
So it’s not new, but it’s new for me. I have wanted to focus on either bringing things into my life that I really want to try, or even letting go of things that I think might be taking up either too much time or distracting me from the intentions I really want to accomplish in my life.
I thought about doing my own happiness project, yet for some reason the idea of a happiness project just didn’t fit with me. I don’t know if I want to take on a 30 day project and measure it’s success or failure by whether or not I am happy on the 30th day. Yet the book brought me some insight. On page 66 A quote from William Butler Yeats hit the chord of what I wanted to accomplish in 30 days and in my life. He says “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”
Growth. That is what I am seeking. Intentional growth. Development as a human. A greater awareness of myself and the people and things I care about most.
I don’t have a title for this project yet. Focus. Growth. Intention. Creation. Meaning. Potentially 30 Intentional Days or The Intentional Living Experiment, I’m note quite sure. But that doesn’t really matter. I am ready to start.
I thought a lot about waiting until January 1st because of new years resolutions, but that seemed really ridiculous. I am fully capable of starting today. I also was listening to a podcast once and the person said if you want to have a great new year, have a great December of the year before. Essentially from what I understood he or she was saying we put off making changes until January 1st, but spend our Decembers doing everything that we won’t get to do in January, setting us up for failure because we get to January 1st knee deep in bad habits and a poor mindset. So I don’t want to wait.
Plus my focus for November is so simple. I want to take a picture with my nice camera of a moment in daily life every day of the month. Admittedly I have done this before, in fact I wanted to take a picture every day of 2016 at the beginning of this year, but that kind of stopped at the end of February. But I look back at the pictures I took in January and early February of this year and I love those daily moments that were captured. It bring back little memories, and I can’t believe how much my daughter has changed in such a short time. It is a good thing, and I want to try again, especially during the holiday season ahead.
At the end of the month I will hopefully have some growth in my photography skills, and I will attempt to evaluate how I feel about taking pictures in our home.
So here’s to a new start. A fresh month full of possibilities and a hope for growth. I’ll probably use this blog as a place to check in on my challenge and maybe to post what I am learning along the way.