We Bought the Tickets

Moyan Brenn © 2010 under Creative Commons
Moyan Brenn © 2010 under Creative Commons

The blue line moved like a turtle across the screen. “Almost there!” it promised, then inched another millimetre forwards. “Just about!” I squeezed my eyes shut; I couldn’t take the tension. When I opened them again, the progress bar jumped the last gap and our ticket information popped up instead.

A rush of exultation. A squeal of delight. A high-five.

We are going to Paris.

This was not a well-thought out, carefully considered plan. This was not something that we had meticulously planned for, or planned for at all. We hadn’t perused our savings, trying to determine if we could afford the trip.

We found an amazing deal on flights ($1200 roundtrip FOR BOTH OF US, including a 2 day stop in Helsinki) and we took about twelve hours to decide that this was something that we needed to do.

We can’t afford the whole trip right now, but that’s okay, because it isn’t until the fall. We can afford the plane tickets. So we bought them. We bought the tickets, and the beautiful thing is that now? We have to make it work. Even though it is a steal of a deal (my flight to Ireland a couple of years ago was more than both our flights combined), it is still not chump change, and reneging on that commitment simply isn’t an option. Instead of waiting until everything was perfect, we decided to take the plunge instead. It’s something that I’m working on: putting things into action before they are flawless.

So we are going to Paris. And even if we have to stay in a hostel (which I am not a big fan of), and live off of baguettes and cheese for ten days, I don’t care. Because we are going to the City of Love. We are going to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre and Montmartre and the Seine. We are going to the place where the Lost Generation lived and loved and created, a city that I have been dreaming of for most of my life.

So even though I look at my account balance and feel a bit of a twinge, I am mostly flush with anticipation. We are investing in our dreams over here. And eight months is plenty of time to squirrel away more cash to make it the best trip we can.

Have you ever taken the plunge and just bought the ticket? And, on a more practical note, if you’ve been to Paris, what do you recommend that we do, outside of the obvious?

We Bought the Tickets

Looking Forward: 2015

how all of 2014 felt *
how all of 2014 felt *

For 2014, I wanted to focus on authenticity. When December was winding to a close, I was working a job that seemed to be sucking my soul out through my eyelids, and I didn’t like what it was doing to me or my life. I was bored and listless, angry and sullen, lethargic and unmotivated. I was not doing any of the things I loved because I was simply too tired to even consider doing anything besides sitting on the couch and staring at the TV. Bryan and I fought a lot because I was very unhappy, and that unhappiness seeped into every aspect of my life, most especially my home life.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, I knew that I had to make some changes, that the life that I was living did not look anything like the life I wanted to be living. Where was my joy and spontaneity, my creativity and travel, my quality time with the people that I love?

I wanted to focus on creating a more authentic life for myself, focusing on the things that I wanted and needed, rather than the things that people expected of me. I stayed in that job longer than I should have in large part because I knew that some people would be disappointed in my choice if I quit. And guess what? They were. But it didn’t matter. Because they were people who loved me, and when they saw how happy I was after I made that change, their disappointment disappeared.

I quit that job. I got a job that I love. I am working in a field that I love, that I find desperately, wonderfully challenging, that keeps me on my toes, happy and engaged and exhausted in a way that still allows me the time and energy to participate in the other activities that I love the best: spending quality, unangry time with Bryan; painting and drawing; writing; doing yoga; reading; traveling. My creativity has soared in the last year. With each decision that I made for myself, for all the right reasons, I have found it easier to be true to myself, easier to make tough decisions, easier to tell people what I need and why. I have accomplished more this year than I think I ever have: finishing a novel, starting a new blog, going on four different trips to six different places, downsizing to a smaller apartment, completing a half-marathon, getting married (!!). Making the decision to remove myself from a bad situation and to pursue what I actually wanted in life was an empowering decision that set off a chain reaction.

2014 has been the best year yet.

I want to carry that forward into 2015. This year, I am still going to focus on authenticity, because I think that it is an important mindset. I cast around for a while trying to figure out what my focus for the following year should be. At first, I thought creativity, then I thought connection, and then I realized that the thing that has been holding me back in both of those arenas has been my unwillingness to be vulnerable. Click. There it is.

My focus for 2015 is vulnerability, which I hope will marry nicely with my focus on authenticity, and continue the upward trajectory that I have been riding.

Goals for 2015:

  • Health and Fitness
    • beat my half-marathon time of 2:57:30
    • take a circus aerials class
    • do a 30 day yoga challenge
    • complete the New Rules of Lifting for Women workout – 6 months
    • cut out sugar completely
    • cook one healthy new recipe a week

     

  • Adventure
    • make it to one new country
    • purchase a camper van
    • go on three trips
    • take surf lessons

     

  • Creativity
    • edit NaNoWriMo 2013 and 2014 drafts
    • complete NaNoWriMo 2015
    • learn to draw people
    • take a writing class
    • learn some new painting techniques
    • start a creatives’ circle
    • complete a 365 photo project
    • write and illustrate a children’s book

     

  • Finance and Career
    • save $10 000
    • be debt free
    • get a second job

     

  • Spiritual
    • attend a meditation retreat
    • practice daily meditation

     

  • Friends and Family
    • host a dinner party
    • say yes to more invitations than we say no to – say yes at least once a week
    • work on healthy argument resolution
    • attend 3 sorority events

     

  • Personal Development
    • read 150 books
    • become conversant in a language (Spanish? French? Italian?)
    • learn how to change a tire
    • learn to drive a standard transmission vehicle
    • take piano lessons (or voice lessons?)
    • be in a play or do an improv workshop
    • complete 75% of my 101 in 1001 goal list
    • create a new 101 in 1001 goal list
    • learn a new hard skill

Do you have a watchword or theme for 2015? What are your goals?

*photo by Kaihla Tonai Photography

Looking Forward: 2015