Change is a bit scary as there is always the risk of losing something or overextending one’s self but it seems that trying new things on a regular basis gets easier the more you do it. It helps if you can learn to trust your instincts, know where your limits are, do the research and trust other people’s insights in instances where you have limited experience. It also helps to ask a lot of questions, look things up and to just stop fearing change and think of it as an adventures instead.
A short time after posting my first blog entry, I realized that in order to do 50 new things this year, I would need to be trying or doing something new almost every week. That set me back a bit wondering how I could actually follow through with this. But then my next thought was “How hard can it be, trying something new every week?”
I’m not normally one for making lists in my personal life but have to do so quite frequently for NAISA in order to evaluate a work project both during (to check as to whether I am on track or not) and after a project has been completed. I thought now might be the time to apply the same technique to this year’s “50 new things” goal. So here’s my list so far:
My first 8 out of 50 new things
1) Create my own web-site
It might not seem like a big deal to register a domain name, arrange for the domain to be hosted and then put content up. Beyond the actually hands-on work, the difficulty lay in thinking through the ultimate use I wanted for the web-site. I needed to sort through what should be put on the main page, how to make the design clean and uncluttered, what content would be appropriate for each page, and of course what design template would make it easiest for me to use and for readers to navigate. I’ve never designed a web-site before and so it took a few days to get the look I wanted. There are enough ‘how-to’ videos that can walk you through the process of putting content up and so I don’t need to elaborate on the how side of this endeavor.
2) Start my own blog
Starting my own blog seemed extremely risky at the time that I posted my first post largely because it just seemed so public. But I realized that the action of writing this is more important than whether anyone reads my posts and what possible outcomes there might be. Tip: Don’t over think!!
3) Take a vacation on my own
In the past 13 years, I have never taken a vacation without my husband. Normally, if circumstances meant someone needed to stay home, that person was always me. This time, however, I decided that I should try leaving others in charge and trust that everything back home would be okay without me. I really needed to let go of the idea that I was the only person who could do what needed to be done to keep things in balance, both at work and at home. I wasn’t ‘technically’ alone as I brought my oldest son with me. And we were visiting a family member (my father-in-law).
It was so very nice to have a place to go to (Hollywood, Florida) where we were made to feel so welcome and could relax and enjoy (Thanks Dennis!). And oh how wonderful it was to feel the sun on my face everyday, and to have a break from the Canadian winter.
4) Create my own youtube channel
This one should have been a no-brainer. It should be a matter of just registering with youtube and creating a channel right? Not now that google has integrated everything under one roof. And they want to see and get information from a person, not a moniker or an organization (although from what I understand, there is a way to register an organizational name now). Google does everything in its power to make your life as public as possible, from reading your gmail and using your content to link advertisers to you, to creating what it thinks you need using its social media platform.
It took a lot of patience to get it working the way I wanted it to work. My advise for anyone doing this for the first time, just keep tweaking until you get the look and information you want presented both on google+ and youtube, and do the web research necessary to find the answers you need.
5) Film, edit and upload my own youtube video
I’ve wanted to create my own youtube video for a long time. I wanted to make it very simple for the first one and luckily I was able to film the clip when I was down in Hollywood, Florida on my vacation. I filmed the 2 minute clip in one take and so really only had to add in the credits at the end. I used Final Cut ProX, not because I really needed to for this video, but because I wanted to learn how to use it so that I could become at least a little bit familiar with it in order to use it more down the road. Although I’ve designed a lot of marketing items using indesign and photoshop, as well as taken a basic sound editing workshop, I haven’t ever really edited any media clips (video etc) to any great extent so it was a bit of a learning curve.
A little background
I have rather serious tinnitus, the effects of which leave me hearing high pitched white noise most of the time, some days louder than others. It has been recommended that I use fans to cover up this incessant white noise but I find mechanical white noise to be even more irritating than the tinnitus sounds.
One of the few sounds I thoroughly enjoy is the sound of a lake, stream or the ocean. I also find the sound of leaves moving in the wind to be a somewhat similar experience. For this reason, I’ve always loved to be up north or to vacation near the ocean (lots of water and trees). My partner tells me I find this natural version of white-noise less irritating than mechanical white noise because the sounds are more complex and unpredictable.
I uploaded my “Remembering the Ocean” video to youtube to serve the purpose of allowing me (and anyone else who comes across it) to remember the sounds and sights of the ocean. Maybe it’ll sounds soothing to someone else beside myself.
6) Start looking for property/houses so we can move up north
Yes that’s right. We are hoping to move away from the city permanently. This is a huge step for us. Because both of my parents live up north and have health problems, I am finding I need to go up there very frequently out of necessity but I am also finding I enjoy the time I spend up there more and more.
As we began looking for a property and/or house, we found that each new site provided us with a different set of variables leaving us with too many possibilities and not enough head space to sort it all out. We also found quite a lot of rather awful looking houses that would not even come close to providing a home. We looked at houses that had floors we were afraid to walk on (without falling through). We looked at houses that had such ill-thought out additions that my partner began to appropriately term them as “subtractions” rather than “additions.”
We looked at vacant properties and then spent hours of time trying to find affordable options for building. We looked at properties in organized townships, whose rules have become so incredibly strict and confining that it would prevent us from using the property in a way that made sense. How it is possible that you can only build one house on a property whether it is 1 acre or 14? And how is it that you can only build a house 861 square feet or larger on your property no matter how big or small the size of it? These restrictive rules are not just in a few rural townships either. It seems that all of the organized rural townships in Ontario have adopted similar sets of zoning bylaws and have all implemented them within the last 5 years.
We have now restricted our search to unorganized townships within the area we are interested. We hope to find the right fit sometime soon.
7) Build a flip top bench
I have wanted a nice bench to fit my very small entranceway for a very long time. I also wanted something that in winter could store our hats, scarves and mittens with a shelf for our winter boots and baseball caps and shoes in the summer. I could never find the right size bench in any store.
I took some time looking up designs on the internet until I found the perfect bench that matched all of the things I wanted in a bench except for the size. I then adapted the design to make it smaller so that it would fit the width I needed for my entranceway. I am so thankful for DIY people like Ana White for posting her designs online and for offering advice, tips and instructions for making these designs. I’ll post a more lengthy blogpost about how I made the flip-top bench just in case you want to try it yourself. Suffice it to say, it was a learning experience. I’m happy with the outcome though. I love to sit down when putting on my boots!!
8) Start making plans to move up north (what will that look like? what will we do and how will we do it?)
While looking for a property up north, we quickly realized that we needed to start thinking about what we would do up there that would allow us to make a living as well as to be doing something that would be fulfilling for both of us. We decided the most important thing is that we need it to be a transition making it a priority to continue with our jobs and then transition into new vocations or keep doing some of the things we are doing now with less hours per week devoted to them, while we begin to do new things or find new jobs. We took the plunge and told our plans to our board of directors and also my boss at the other non-profit I work at and luckily that are all on board with our plan. As most of our work from home, as long as we have high speed internet where we move to, we can make this transition work. Thanks to satellite internet, this will be possible no matter how remote the property we find may be.
My partner’s idea is to create a space for artists to create work: a place they could rent at reasonable rates with access to equipment that would assist them in creating their art (whatever their art-form is). Although this is a great idea, I wondered how we could do this using a for-profit model rather than a non-for-profit. Some of the properties we’ve seen gave us the idea that perhaps we could buy a property that would allow us to rent out cottage-type houses during the summer months to families and vacationers and then have the spaces available in the winter months for artists to rent out.
We’re still working on these plans. We’re thinking it through a little more each day. When we find that perfect place, I’m sure it will all click together just as it’s supposed to.
So here’s were I am after 7 1/2 weeks. It looks like my 50 new things to do in the current year is more than doable. As my dear cousin Barb Larose (who is also our real estate agent up north) says – Cool Beans!!!