Tag Archives: gratefulness

Don’t overlook your everyday adventures

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I’ve often heard people say, “It’s the small things in life that…” Whether they’re talking about what really matters, or what makes you most happy, or something else, the message is the same: every moment counts.

More and more, I’m finding it’s true in my life too. Sometimes the “big” things aren’t as satisfying as when I live a week of “little” things – taking time to (literally) smell the roses (and other flowers) on a walk, enjoying a cup of tea while coloring, playing with a puppy, meeting with a friend to do something fun, or reading a good book. It makes me happy to make time for and appreciate the small ways that life is good.

However, it’s not always easy to do this. As someone who is this goal-oriented, I have a hard time focusing on what is going on now, rather than wishing, planning, or worrying about the future.

Even though I have several smaller list items, sometimes I get frustrated about not making bucket list progress, or get discouraged and antsy if it’s been a while since I’ve traveled somewhere (anyone else feel this way?). Making sure I focus on smaller, everyday things that make me happy is one way to help fight this feeling and reset my mind to celebrate any moment no matter how small.

I’m also aware that some of the bigger things wouldn’t get done if I didn’t do the little things. For example, I’m more confident speaking to people because I’ve practiced talking to random strangers in small conversations here and there, both as I travel and at home. This makes it easier to talk with anyone, about anything, whether asking someone for something for my bucket list or blog, making small talk with a celebrity, or hanging out with fellow travelers.

My summer (and this year in general) has been pretty exciting so far, but I know that the excitement from the big things will wear off. I want to push myself to recognize that every day doesn’t have to be a giant travel experience to have special moments of adventure. Actually, sometimes I feel like daily life lived intentionally, may have more opportunity for adventure than a vacation.

When I’m aware of and actively choosing what I’m doing and why, I notice more opportunities, I spend more time on things that matter to me, and I feel more satisfied than when I live by default, doing the same things I always do.

That’s why I’m starting this 31 Days of Everyday Adventure project, where I’ll challenge myself and the other participants to do small activities every day, meant to give us just a little push toward doing something different and appreciating all of life.

It’s about creating space for the daily moments that challenge us to go a little bit further than we’re comfortable with – because we can always return to our comfort zones if we don’t like it on the outside, but the consequences of never trying to leave are too high.

Join me in getting out of that rut you’re in. Try something new. Don’t overlook the everyday adventures.

Sign up for the challenge today!

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The benefits of being bored

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In our culture of FOMO and YOLO (Fear Of Missing Out and You Only Live Once), of celebrating being busy, and of always looking for the newest and best, sometimes I feel pressured to keep moving and never slow down.

As a bucket lister I’m often looking for the next new adventure but I also like taking some time to let myself do nothing, without goals or agendas, and to see what happens. It’s an exercise in flexibility and patience (which I need to practice) as well as a way to let my brain relax and to experience creativity with fewer boundaries.

Better ideas

I get some of my best ideas when I’m bored or not trying to think of good ideas. I also pay closer attention to what’s going on around me when I’m bored (trying to find something interesting – and there’s always something if you look), which makes me think in a different way and usually generates additional ideas. I also learn things I wouldn’t normally learn because I feel like I have the time and nothing more interesting to do. I’ve read detailed posters and pamphlets, watched documentaries and other videos, and skimmed books I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read, all because I was bored.

Appreciation for the small things

Because I’m taking time to look around and not be so busy, I notice some of the smaller, easier-to-overlook things in my life. The sound of the crunchy leaves on my walk, the slightly silly happiness of being able to perfectly color a picture (yes, I love coloring books!), the way that perfect stranger just smiled when we made eye contact. Those kinds of things are so hard to notice if I never take the time to stop and pay attention.

Leads to bigger things

My “crunchy leaf walk” tradition really got established after being bored at university one day. I went out for a walk just to do something random that I remember doing with my mom and brother during childhood and now it’s a yearly personal event. I’ve also had moments when I realized I haven’t connected with someone in a while and decide to send them a nice note, which then leads to bigger opportunities. It doesn’t always happen that a single moment of boredom leads to a life-changing habit or opportunity, but it happens often enough to list it.

Provides a restful space

Sometimes everything just gets to be too much and I really appreciate taking some time to be bored. I’ll do nothing but daydream or sit with a blank look on my face and to have no expectations of myself. It took me a while to be okay with this, but now I really enjoy it because it helps me acknowledge that I don’t have to be doing something in every moment.

On the other hand…

I think it’s good to let boredom refresh you and give you opportunity for creativity and appreciation. However, I know that sometimes I go the opposite way with this and begin to feel like I have nothing new or exciting in my life. I’ll be bored because I’m doing the same thing every day: wake up, work, go to bed, repeat. It’s not fun or interesting and it slowly drains all the energy and motivation from my life.

That’s when I like to do something small to change things up, to shake myself out of the rut and notice the things in life that are enjoyable, instead of focusing on the negative. My bucket list comes in handy for this a lot, and so does going on random adventures or talking to new people.

This feeling of being stuck in a rut is something I know we all experience from time to time. That’s why I thought it would be fun if we did something to get out of that, to challenge the boundaries we’re putting on our own lives, and to notice something or someone new.

I’m hosting the 31 Days of Everyday Adventure challenge and I’m inviting you all to join me. I’ll provide suggested daily activities to help you bring a little adventure into each day. You can decide if you want to do them all or only some, and can share your experiences in the blog comments and on social media (especially Instagram or Facebook).

If you’re interested in learning more, sign up for the Insiders list to stay updated or leave a comment here (The Insiders list is different than just signing up for blog updates). Also please let me know: what’s your favorite part of being bored?

“Good To Be Alive” – Music Video by Jason Gray

Heard this song on the radio and wanted to share! It’s all about being grateful and making the most of the time you have, in a super catchy tune. I’m including the music video even if I think it’s weird – let me know what you think of it. Also, I found a second video where he talks about his inspiration for the song and his thoughts on gratitude and enjoying life.

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