A Gift, Not a Resolution: Part 2

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift.

English: Danboard holding a Christmas gift. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my last post I mentioned I was trying to change the way I looked at certain things in my life. I decided to give myself the “gift” of exercise and not dreading it or making excuses for why I couldn’t or didn’t make it happen. Instead I decided to be appreciative that I was capable of exercise.

Maybe that is not a gift you would give yourself. Lest you think I am one-dimensional or a sudden exercise nut, I’ll share with you the second gift I decided to give myself. Now this is not something many of you know, but by sharing something personal you might decide to look within and find a “gift” you really want to give yourself. My second gift is more specific than exercise. It has two parts to it. I can’t really express the first part  in a simple word, so I’ll try three: “continue writing songs”.

I started taking guitar classes a few years ago and then without intentionally doing so, songs began to shape themselves in my head. I wrote down snippets of verses and explored various chords. Over the last two years I have started five songs. They are in various stages of completion.  I have no idea what is holding me back, if anything. Maybe I don’t give myself enough time to dink around on the guitar or experiment with lyrics. Maybe I wait for parts to come to me when I’m doing something mundane like loading the dishwasher.

I could have said I want to finish my songs, but that sounds more like something on a to do list. The second part of my gift is “perform original music in public”. No, I don’t want to be a rock-n-roll star, although I have had a blast playing in an ensemble over the past nine months. A fellow band mate in the ensemble more or less encouraged me to perform a song at a local bar that has open mic nights on the second Friday of each month (Fretknot Friday at Independence Tap in Chicago, if you want to know.) I have yet to accept her challenge even though several other of my band mates have. No one has performed original music for Fretknot, only covers, which is perfectly fine. What counts is they are getting up and performing, sometimes alone and sometimes with others.

I am jealous. I found that through playing and performing with the ensemble, I like being on stage. I like putting on a show. I am also frightened because when you are all by yourself it has to be good because no one can cover your mistakes. So, I’m still working on the material I have. I am proud to say that one of my songs has a pre-chorus. I think what keeps me thinking about music and performing is that more people play live  music but fewer write their own music. I’m more than a little curious about how others will interpret my music. I’ll keep you posted.

A Gift, Not a Resolution

Box with gift

Box with gift (Photo credit: Robo Android)

It’s a new year. I am looking forward to  2013. If you read my last post, you know our household doesn’t give gifts until January after New Years. I started thinking about  the many people who are in the habit of making resolutions. Maybe you are the type to sit down and compose a list of things you want to change. Some of the most popular resolutions include: losing weight, starting a new habit (eat healthy, exercise) or stopping a bad habit (smoking, eating junk food). I used to make resolutions like that, except my list was really long, detailed and overwhelming, not to mention unrealistic. Some items did not even belong on my list. I stopped making resolutions years ago because I felt I never accomplished anything. It was too much work.

Last November I was at the gym and I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a while. I commented on her svelte figure and she mentioned she had changed her exercise routine. I lamented that I probably needed to do the same but I was having a hard time finding the time to exercise. Then she said something that has stuck with me since. She said instead of treating exercise like a chore, or something to check off from her to do list, she gives the gift of exercise to herself. I resumed my sit ups, but the thought of exercise being a gift kept returning to my thoughts.

Usually when I think of a gift, I think about an object. I asked myself if I too could give myself the gift of exercise. Why not?

As the holidays approached, I decided that I would give myself a few “gifts”  this year. They would not be tangible. My thought was that if I chose to look at exercise through a different lens, with a different thought perspective,  then perhaps I might view  exercise differently.  Wouldn’t it be nice to think I’m lifting weights to keep my bones strong instead of thinking I would rather be reading? If I viewed this as a gift and not a chore, would I appreciate it more?

I don’t know the answer to that question yet. I’ll have to give it some time and see what happens. I gave myself a few other gifts besides exercise. I’ll fill you in soon enough.

What gift would you give yourself?

Blog Makeover

In my post the other day, I mentioned change. In addition to getting back in the saddle of writing, I am in the midst of trying to find furniture that fits our current lives  (and does not have cat scratches and spit-up stains from the now 9-year-old). I like to change things up now and then (move furniture around, buy new clothes, try a new recipe, etc.) To me, it represents a fresh outlook on things. And because I am in this change mindset, I decided  I was  in the mood to reformat my blog. I guess you can call it a blog makeover.

I was recently inspired by my friend, who is also a writer and a blogger. About a week ago, she gave her blog a makeover and boy does it look awesome. It is so her. If there was a contest for blog makeovers, I think she would win first prize.

I have never been a trailblazer in anything, more like a quiet observer until I am comfortable with making a change. And when I do decide to change (my hair color, wardrobe, musical tastes), it is usually subtle, to the outside world that is. With this blog makeover I plan on changing the theme. I would like to find a theme where I can use more photos in my posts. That would have been convenient for my trip to Spain last summer. And speaking of Spain, I found out last summer that I have a few followers over there. It would be great if my blog could be translated into Spanish. Is that even an option for a blog? I also would like to choose a theme that is a bit more playful.

I haven’t decided when the made-over blog will début. I will keep you posted. I am in the exploratory process. Feel free to pass along advice for great WordPress themes you have used.