Yes, it’s that time for self reflection. I spared you my standard Christmas letter where I’d blast you with all the accomplishments of my (imaginary) giant family and myself. No, there were no student of the month awards, promotions or trips to the Galapagos Islands I had to throw into your face. Also I’ve neither been awarded any good citizen awards nor added any other trophies I could mention to make you feel bad.
Seriously: What sticks with me for 2012 is the underlying theme of moving towards a more conscious lifestyle. I’d simply define that as living a life that makes sense to me and being in integrity with my beliefs of how I should function as a member of our society. Of course life is full of variables and can’t be squeezed into a simple formula of how to do things the right way. And even if that where the case my formula would be vastly different from yours.
But I developed a heightened sense for feeling good about living life in line with my values and ideals and not just sit and talk about them. Ready for a little more detail? Here are some things that have shifted for me:
I still eat a lot of sugar but I’ve moved towards eating much less processed food. I cook most of my meals myself and began to use my yard to grow things I will use in my kitchen. I planted 5 fruit trees and will extent my veggie and herb gardens in 2013. I’ve been lucky enough to meet the founders and some other members of the Urbiculture movement in Denver and I feel that this is a trend we will hear much more about in the years to come.
I’ve always been working out but my two injuries this year made me think a little bit about shifting things. I know that many runners are using pain killers as part of their routine and I’ve decided to not go that route. If my body acts out I will sit down and listen to it and work with it, not against it. This can be requiring patience and adjustments but for me it is the way to go. I like my regular running and cycling routine but if my body asks me to deviate from it I will adhere.
On my quest for finding a life partner I’ve been making compromises and went on dates with girls that clearly weren’t willing to commit and made no secret about it. I might have sacrificed meeting my lifetime partner for having some short-term fun. But I always knew that I’d rather either be single or in a fully committed relationship. I am clear on that I would like to be married again and won’t waste time with women that just want to have a good time. Their desires are legit but it’s just not who I am and there is no value in having a dating life that doesn’t line up with that. I don’t care if I sound like a girl with those words.
4. BEING CREATIVE
I have learned that creating things beyond what I already do for a living gives me tremendous pleasure and will continue to venture into the world of arts. No worries. You will only get to see it if it passes my internal quality control.
5. TAKE ON FRIENDSHIPS
I am fortunate to have a tremendous cycle of friends. There are also people in my network that are more like one-way streets. Unless I pursue doing something with them nothing ever happens. I decided to give preference to the friends that also take the initiative and check in with me once in a while except staying silent unless I chase them down. So some of you will hear a little less from me and some others will hear a little more. No worries I am not talking about stalking the same 5 people all year long.
And for all of you that feel they are in bucket #2: This is not an eternal hellhole. It’s easy to get out of it. You know what to do ;)
6. SUPPORTING MY NEIGHBORS
My neighborhood is a very important part of my life. I could either lament about living in the suburbs or look at the tremendous potential that life in my community has to offer. I have decided to fully embrace life in this little universe and keep trying to add to the party and make a little difference for as long as I live here. It felt awesome to come back from the hospital and have all these messages on my answering machine from people that really cared and helped me when my mobility was rather limited. If you aren’t friends or at least friendly with your neighbors I’d suggest adding that to your bucket list.
7. USING LESS RESOURCES
I’ve added a fireplace insert and started to burn wood in my house to complement my gas heating system. It’s been quite a game changer and is in line of my goal to use less resources and use them more efficiently. This also applies to how much I water and becoming less dependent the energy grid. The solar technology I am looking for isn’t widely available yet but I’ll make the switch as soon as it is. Watering plants that actually grow something edible makes much more sense to me than wasting a ton of water on purely decorative vegetation.
8. BUYING USED STUFF
I’ve always liked garage sales and Craigslist but this year I also turned into an avid thrift store shopper. I had my reservations to enter these stores that are usually in run down areas and aren’t exactly frequented by the most eclectic group of people. Now I love the idea to find original items that are being used by me instead of being tossed. I support the local community with my purchases. I find odd things that crack me up. I find $300 shirts for $5 that still have the tags on them. I find things I don’t need but that are fun to own. I am saving a ton of money and can afford things I’d usually wouldn’t buy. No I still won’t buy underwear or socks there but overall the purchase of used items has a lot of appeal to me.
9. ENCOURAGING OTHERS TO TAKE A STAND
I’ve never had a problem with forming my own opinion and defending opinions that wouldn’t have majority support. The biggest debate concerning our safety right now evolves around our gun laws. My position to get rid of all guns except some rifles for hunting is widely unpopular right now. I will still continue to find support for any measures to curb the number of weapons in our society. It is something I feel very strong about and I’d be out of integrity if I’d just move on and just join.
I will continue to remind people to focus on the bigger picture and pursuing long-term goals instead of just going for the short-term fix. That’s what makes sense to me and that leads back to me live my own conscious life.
How about you?