If you want to avoid fretting about turning a certain age, plan a two-month international walking trip as a distraction. Works like a charm.
That’s what I did two years ago and barely thought about turning forty!
But how do you top that? My birthday’s in two days and it’s got me thinking about what I can do to continue the Camino in my heart. It’s been brought to my attention that I’ve been leaning a bit toooo far toward the serious, introspective side lately.
So this month, in honor of my birthday, I’m giving myself new challenge: I’m going to practice taking myself less seriously for a whole month.
For ideas, I asked friends to send me specific suggestions that help them lighten up and promised I would do them. Talk about letting go of control! I also have a request of you below, dear reader.
Here’s my March plan, thanks to their ideas (my palms are sweating!):
- Day 1. Catch myself worrying/doing something unhelpful and tell myself, “Well, everyone—including my brain—needs a hobby.”
- Day 2. Spend time with children. (Actually, this friend said have children, but that’s going a little too far.)
- Day 3. Notice myself critiquing/thinking too seriously about something and say, “It’s just yoga (or whatever the thing is)” and remind myself that I’m here, I’m trying, and give myself credit. Then relax.
- Day 4. Snark at my self-snark.
- Day 5. Walk. Outside.
Day 6. Connect to others (I’m going to set a goal for 5 hugs, but eye contact would be even better).
- Day 7. Narrate whatever is stressing me out while referring to myself in the 3rd person. Super exaggerate it to the point of being ridiculous. See if it leads to giggles.
- Day 8. Dance breaks. I’m going to do 3 in one day.
- Day 9. Sing into a hairbrush. (LOVE this one.)
- Day 10. Find someone British to talk to for wit’s sake. Barring that, watch some British comedy. If you are British and would like to help with this, please let me know in the comments below.
- Day 11: Watch Uncle Buck (I have never seen this and I am afraid.)
- Day 12: Tell on myself. Using a sense of humor, share with my dearest friends at least 3 stories about my biggest mistakes.
- Day 13: When stressed, imagine myself in my underwear.
- Day 14: Stand in front of a mirror, put on some hip hop, and do a one-person robot dance battle. (LMAO – I do not know how to do robot.)
- Day 15: Imagine I’m a butterfly.
- Day 16: Watch a sad movie. The Family Stone was suggested.
- Day 17: Remind myself what I have to be grateful for. I’m going to write this one out, rather than just think it.
- Day 18. Play with animals. Get down on the floor and roll around with them and have fun.
- Day 19. Intentionally dress to not match. In public.
- Day 20. Finger paint, so much finger paint. Make a mess!
- Day 21. Sing at the top of your lungs to girl power music and dance like a maniac. Really let loose.
- Day 22: Meditate on the word tranquila and use it for a mantra for a day.
- Day 23: As a way to create more love and gratitude in my life, talk to things as I interact with them. Like as I’m making my bed, thank it for keeping me warm and being so pretty. Feel silly and do it anyway.
- Day 24: Laugh. Stand in front of the mirror and do deep belly laughs.
- Day 25: Think about how much I love my nieces. Do something to show them.
- Day 26: Say some of the lines from SNL’s Bronx Beat (I don’t know what this is, but it seems like it is funny).
- Day 27: Pitch the world’s funniest comedy to a Hollywood studio. title: The Movie of My Life. Sketch a rough concept 10 to fifty words — that reveal the hilarity of the mess of the moment.
- Day 28: Go somewhere not-necessarily-fancy and drink a glass of vino tinto at lunchtime because you can—and some coffee and pastries—just like Camino!
- Day 29:
- Day 30:
- Day 31:
You will notice that Day 29 – 31 are missing. That’s where you come in, dear reader. Please comment below about what you do to lighten up and/or take yourself less seriously. I will add your suggestions to my list. Yes, really. Risking is part of the challenge.
During the rest of this month, I will post about the experiences as I do them. Probably weekly. Warning: there could be photos. 🙂
It would be a lot of fun if you joined me! If you want a self-guided, travel-free pilgrimage to your lighter side, play along – and tell me know how it goes!
And thanks, as always, for reading. You’re awesome, peregrino/a.
P.S. I have many Camino friends to thank for lessons on lightening up! This tune’s going out across the waves to Marisela, Katrin, Muriel, Lies, Ger, Kate, Meg, Gary, Scott, Don – who cracked me up, got me to laugh at myself lovingly, and helped me chill the heck out.
And also to everyone who suggested ideas for me: Betsy, Deb, Christine, Darci, Deena, Rachel, Julica, Pace, Denitra, Kath/Mom, Marvin, Angela, Barb, Jennifer, Mona, Ralph, Lisa, Lauren, Emily, and Carol. You rock!
The best thing you’ve ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously. – Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls