Monday, January 16, 2012

31 Days of Adventure: Week 2


This week's 31 Days of Adventure prompts were challenging for me to accomplish the same day. I also wasn't able to accomplish at least one of the prompts this week, either. Part of this, no doubt, is because I'm too rigidly scheduled on a day-to-day basis to add in spontaneity. If you think I'm kidding, ask me how far in advance I need to schedule meetups with local friends (hint: it's not just me)! 

Day 9 - Monday, January 9

Connect the old-fashioned way

Many of us have family and friends spread all over the globe. Emails, Facebook updates, texts and blog comments are all great ways to stay connected. But think about the joy that comes from a hand-addressed letter in the snail-mailbox. When's the last time you sent a handwritten letter just to say hi?

Today, go analog and send a card (or letter) to someone far away. Or heck, send a postcard to your next door neighbor.

Find a card laying around the house. If you don't have a card, use a piece of paper, or you can get creative and make your own. Then write a nice note, address, stamp and send!
I picked up this card from NPR when I stopped by their offices in December to participate in a listener survey, and on Tuesday, I sent it off to one of my favorite NPR junkies in Oregon.
Postcard front.

Day 10 - Tuesday, January 10

Pull out a $10 word

Learn a new word  and incorporate it into a conversation with a loved one or colleague.

Bonus challenge: Strike up a conversation with a stranger and use your new word.

Extra-extra bonus: Make up your own word, teach it to someone else and use it in a sentence with a stranger.

So my first challenge was finding a new word.  Luckily, I play Scrabble with Jonathan online all the time, and he usually decimates me by 100 points. This is because he knows a billion more words than I do and has memorized the two-letter words. Speaking of two- letter words, what does "AE" mean?
Apparently it's Scottish for "one."

Now, here's where I admit that I did not teach a single person this new word. I just couldn't weave it into conversation, mostly because I had no idea who to use it in context. But, if you're reading this post, consider yourself schooled in "ae."

Heh. "There can be only ae."

Day 11 - Wednesday, January 11

Ideas that are twice as nice

Friends and loved ones can add an element of spice to any adventure.

Today, why not invite a friend to join you on a creative endeavor? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking: make a meal together, paint a picture, sing a song, read a story aloud, build a sculpture or script a screenplay.

How does including another add to your experience?

Oy. Way too hard for me to accomplish, unless downhill skiing on Sunday is a creative endeavor. Sorry kids.

Day 12 - Thursday, January 12

Listen to the voices in your head

Today's adventure is about tuning into those voices and getting to know them a little more.
* * *
Listen to the voices in your head. We all have them (right? Or is it just me?). 

Throughout the day, they tell us what we should and shouldn't eat, who we should or should't talk to, and what we should and shouldn't do with ourselves. We don't even notice them most of the time—we just carry out their orders.

Today, stop and really LISTEN to those voices with intention—as if they're coming from a friend or family member. Which messages or instructions really stand out? Are there ones that you might need to defend yourself against? If so, stick up for yourself to that voice.

And, if there's a quiet little (or not so quiet little) voice that pipes up that you identify as your creative self—consider DOING what it asks of you rather than putting it on a shelf for another time (or worse—to be forgotten).
Neither of these is mine. I'm still a few steps away
from being a full-on dirtbag skier.
Speaking of skiing, I'm a very geographically-challenged alpine skier, and the not-so-little voice in my head has been nagging about this for a while. I thought I gave in to this fix somewhat last winter, but apparently not enough....it must be because I don't yet have the prerequisite vehicle for being a dirtbag skier.

Day 13 - Friday, January 13

The gift of vulnerability

Sometimes it can seem like we're alone in the world. And that we need (or it's easier) to do everything ourselves. We're here to challenge that assumption with today's adventure: Ask for help.

It can be hard to ask others for help. (It's usually much easier to offer to help others.) What do you need help with today?

Go ahead. Be brave. And vulnerable. Ask for help.

Does asking someone to get the tomato paste from the top shelf at the grocery store count? I'm 5 feet tall. I have an okay vertical leap, but I can rarely reach the top shelf at the grocery store. 

By the way, being a damsel in distress is sometimes my M.O. Just sayin'.

Day 14 - Saturday, January 14

What do you know?

Today's adventure is about learning. And sharing. And gaining knowledge. But it's really about sharing that new knowledge with others.

Choose a topic you know nothing about (maybe you've been curious about this topic for awhile) and find information or an article about it. Read it. Then tell someone what you learned.

This past week, I've been trying to figure out whether there was a physiological difference between sprinters (runners) and the rest of us, other than more slow twitch fibers. Lucky for me, in 2009, researchers at Penn State published the results of a study where they found that a part of sprinters' Achilles tendons was shorter than the rest of the general population, causing the calf to contract more slowly and generate greater power. Or something like that. Anyway, that's what I explained to Jonathan over IM, while he was kicking my butt in Scrabble (see above). I'm not sure I really understand what the lever arm of the Achilles tendon is. If you do, please let me know.

Day 15 - Sunday, January 15
Embrace the elements
Feel the weather on your face today. Whether it's snow, rain, sun or wind, go outside and expose your cheeks to whatever the day brings. In the winter, it's easy to bundle up and bury our chins in scarves.

But today, at least for a few minutes, wake up your soul and your skin by basking in the day's weather. Be present to the weather today and pay attention. There's nothing like a little weather to keep you in the moment.
Hey, I was thrilled it was sunny and over 30˚F when I headed out for a run this morning. Just as thrilling is that I have discernable eyelashes in this photo. They're usually stubby.


I'm blogging weekly recaps of my 31 Days of Adventure on Mondays, but if you can't wait until next Monday, I'm tweeting my daily adventures at @usuallystephani with the hashtag #31adventures.


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