At night??

Yesterday was a busy day for me and I was out until very, very late.

Or so I thought.

When I finally made it home, exhausted and ready for bed, I thought to myself, “It must be after midnight – I can’t hang like this anymore!”

It was 11:03.

Which made me remember this…

Put on your different shoes and do what you were meant to do

After a great couple of weeks of watching the 2012 Summer Olympic games and feeling the overwhelming urge to do push-ups during every commercial break, the games have come to an end.

Even if you’re not a fan of the Olympics (though I’ve yet to meet a person who isn’t a fan), the take-a ways transcend any individual sport, country or medal. These were the first games in which all of the more than 200 participating countries sent female athletes. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt solidified his standing as the fastest man in the world, proving that you don’t have to have state of the art equipment and unlimited resources to begin your quest to become the best. And when Grenada’s Kirani James exchanged name tags with South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius after the 40m semifinals I almost descended into my ugly cry. (Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle / © 2012 Houston Chronicle)

But it was the words of Oscar Pistorius himself – the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympic games –  that moved me the most, and reminded me that whatever lot we’ve been given in life, whatever abilities we have or don’t have, the way we approach our circumstances can have the greatest impact on what we’re capable of doing.

“My mother used to tell us, Carl, put on your shoes, Oscar, put on your prosthetic legs. So I grew up not thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes.” — Oscar Pistorius on growing up with his brother Carl

Today, whatever form your “different shoes” take – strap them on then go do whatever it is you were meant to do.

Beignets, Boys, and the City of Bath: My Travel Manifesto

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my upcoming big, fat, European vacation and how it had taken me two years to plan because I kept getting in my own way.

But now that the tickets are booked and it’s a sure thing (God willing and the creek don’t rise) I am BEYOND excited. (Photo: Beignets and Croissants via Flickr)

And still a little anxious.

I probably need several hours days on someone’s couch to figure out all the reasons why, but I know a big part of that is my fear of things not turning out the way I think they should. I usually try to deal with that by over-planning everything. But this time, not so much. This time instead of letting the anxiety and worry rule, I intend to let the trip reveal itself to me. There are definitely things I’m planning on doing – as a Jane Austen fan, visiting the city of Bath is a must for this trip – but there are also things I don’t want to do. Planning my day from the crack of dawn until the sun sets is one of them.

So I wrote a manifesto. A travel manifesto. The official definition of manifesto is a public declaration of intentions, opinions or motives. This started out being my travel manifesto, but then I realized that these are all things that I’d like to be doing everyday, especially the part about the men…

Beignets, Boys, and Bath: This Woman at Forty’s Travel Manifesto

I will expect the best, prepare for the worst, and be grateful for all of it as it comes.

I will eat croissants and beignets in Paris, pizza and pasta in Rome, and in London…well, in London I’ll find something to eat, without guilt, without anxiety, and without fear. I won’t eat as though my happiness depends on it (see my struggle with compulsive eating ), but as though my life – the life I want – does.

I will walk. Everywhere I can. Up stairs, around neighborhoods, whenever and wherever it’s a viable option I will choose to move instead of being moved.

I will take pictures – lots of them. I’ll allow myself to be in many of those pictures (more on that in a later post).

I will begin conversations with strangers and hope to end them as friends. I hope a high percentage of these conversations happen with men :-).

I will attempt to speak in the language of the country I’m visiting even though my vocabulary is limited and my accent and grammar are imperfect.

I will live outside of my comfort zone, every day doing at least one thing I wouldn’t normally do.

I will pay attention. To everything. The sights I’m not used to seeing, the accents I’m not used to hearing, the foods I’m not used to tasting. I will be present in the moment during all these experiences not wondering what’s next.

My experiences won’t be overshadowed by my expectations because I will enjoy the journey, regardless of the destination.

I will write. And then I’ll write. And then I’ll write some more.

And if I’m bold enough to share what I’m dreaming, it’s that I can organize a trip like this for a group of Women at Forty in 2014. A tour where we can continue to live out our own personal manifestos.

You don’t have to be in the process of planning a trip of a lifetime to write a personal manifesto. What’s your intention and how will you give direction to that intention? Share your manifestos (travel and otherwise) with the Women at Forty community. Email them to contributeatwomen(@) (no parenthesis) and I’ll post them here.


When was the last time…

…you did something for the first time? (Image Source: The Art of Non-Conformity)

I’m behind on the Travel Manifesto post I promised you last week, so here’s a nice Friday question/challenge/thought for you – “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Maybe this is the weekend to make it happen…