310 seconds. Give or take a few.

Last year, on my 32nd birthday, I decided to start recording a video. More specifically, I’d heard about an app through my cousin, called 1 Second Everyday. The plan was to end it on my 33rd birthday and try and get as much cool stuff in it as possible.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

But then…roadblock. This past week, I had finally had enough of my storage notifications popping up on my phone. I couldn’t download any new apps, podcasts, was constantly having to delete photos, just to make room for this thing.

Yes, I realize I could just have not gotten the iPhone with the least amount of storage ever, but it was the cheapest!

So my self-imposed challenge to take at least one second worth of video daily for the past year came to an end about 55 days early.

I’m still pretty proud of the effort though. That’s a lot of videos.

So here it is, for your enjoyment. And I realize it seems like I watch a lot of TV. It’s because I do.

(It’s also because that’s where I was on some of the days that I realized I hadn’t taken the daily video yet, most likely. And my mild OCD would not let me skip too many days in a row.)

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Closets, closets everywhere

You know that episode of Friends where Chandler finds Monica’s messy closet? She’s so annoyingly clean and organized in every other part of her life but she has this one closet in their apartment just full of crap that spills out as soon as he gets it open.

Here’s a clip if you live under a rock and have not watched one of the greatest television shows of our time and also because there’s never really a bad time to reference Friends.

I guess I kinda sorta have that. My problem is, I have multiple closets. I would also venture to say here that my car counts more in this situation because as clean as my house is, my car always looks like absolute crap – a fact which one or more of my youth group kiddos likes to remind me of/remark on each time they have to ride in it somewhere.

Every so often – usually after an episode of Hoarders, as I’ve mentioned before, but also when I start looking for something and get distracted – I’ll clean out some stuff in my place. Moving helped some, but not enough. (“I swear, I’ll probably need this someday,” she says about her notes from the Astronomy class she got a C in in college.)

Basically, my move from my apartment to a pod/my parents basement should have been a catalyst for some sort of big purge of shit I never needed in the first place or hadn’t touched since the previous move. But the beauty of a pod is – throw all that useless shit in there and you don’t have to see/think about it until you get to the new place and put it in a new closet or storage area. So…that’s what I did.

My condo is clean. And stays that way 94 percent of the time. But the closets are a different story. And it’s not even that they’re packed full and I can’t open them and stuff spills out and I throw something in and slam the door so there’s not an avalanche. There’s some semblance of organization at least. Stuff is in boxes. Or crates. Or giant rubbermaid containers. Or a purse I haven’t used since ’06.

And what bothers me is that I know it’s there. I don’t have so much that I’ll find buried treasures (at least I don’t think so, but hey, fingers crossed), but I have enough to sometimes think about it being in there in disarray and get a little stressed.

ALLLLLL of this to say, in terms of cleanness and de-cluttering in my life – my closets need work. So that’s where I’ll start for my first month of my project. Cleaning out/up my closets. (Cue Eminem..I’m sorry Mama…)

Phase 1 starts this weekend with some work on my bedroom closet, because it’s the smallest and easiest and I already basically did the entry-way closet but will have to go back after depending on how much space I create other places. And I’m going to clean out my dresser and nightstands.

Sounds riveting, eh?

The plan is to toss some clothes I haven’t worn since I moved in last May – and by toss I mean donate – and create some semblance of order in there. Not that it will stay that way, necessarily, but right now I’ve got dresses mixed in with winter clothes mixed in with T-shirts I don’t wear… And I’ll organize and clean off the shelves I’ve got in there.

I recently bought a hamper for my closet to use instead of the laundry basket I’ve had, and due to an error in ordering ended up with two – one of which now holds my shoes so I don’t have to see them on the floor. That alone has helped it look a little cleaner in there but there’s still work to be done.

I’ll post before, during and after pics next week, and keep track of any treasures I find. But the fact that I’m getting excited about the plan to clean and organize my room makes me feel like this was a good way to start my project. Ease in, as it were.

And since I’m giving myself a month, I’m going to have to get moving on the other parts of my place that need some work too.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

31: The Year of Happiness (or something like that)

If you’ve read this blog…ever…you know that me and happiness go back and forth. I continuously try for it and have gotten so much closer in the past few years in so many ways. So, for a while, people kept telling me “You need to read this book, the Happiness Project.” Never one to shy away from a good book suggestion, I finally gave it a try about a month ago.

I knew the premise – a woman took a year and month by month, she tried to do different things (and in some cases cut out different things) to try and make herself happier.

As a writer, I didn’t really like the book, because of her writing style. She’s a former lawyer, and it read at times like a lawsuit. Small tangent: Yes, I know what those read like because I used to have to read them at times as a part of my job at a community newspaper. JARGON CITY.

And then there was the month where she mentioned in passing that she was trying to curb her habit of eating a spoonful of brown sugar out of the jar whenever she passed it in the kitchen. WTF.

Anyways. Criticisms of the writing aside, I loved the idea. Each month, she was taking a different aspect of her life and focusing on it and how she could be happier in it. One month it was family, so she focused on creating good memories with her kids and new traditions and taking time to slow down and enjoy her time with them. Another month was work, and she made the promise to herself of a certain amount of writing a day. She also planned to write a book in a month – so she did.

The basic principles were there. I wanted to do it. I didn’t wanna copy it completely, but there was so much I could learn and apply on my own. And by doing it on my blog, I would have the opportunity to hopefully communicate with others who may be doing the same or who could give ideas and feedback.

Plus there’s the fact that I need this right now. Maybe more than before. I recently made the heart-wrenching decision to find a new home for my sweet puppy, because it’s what is best for him, though it won’t make saying goodbye any easier. I also recently made the decision to talk to my doctor about my medicine and making a change. My therapist – who I will somehow name a child after one day – and I have had some discussions and think this may help things even more with my moods and anxieties and depression. (I’m not going down in dosage again, it’s not that. Just FYI.)

So I need a distraction. I need a project. I need something.

As for a start date? What better than a birthday? Today I turn 31. (ACK). So why not make 31 the year of my own Happiness Project?

I don’t have it all mapped out yet, but I have started a bit of a list. (Go ahead, act surprised even though I know you’re not.)

But here’s the premise. Each month I focus on something different. The whole month I work on that and that alone. It may be something I only have to do once. It may be something I continue to do throughout the year as I add in the different months and their goals. I currently have 9 ideas for the project and have known since I finished the book which one I would start with.

The way it will work? At the beginning I’ll announce the focus and why. That month, I’ll do different things in that vein. We will see if it makes me happier, but as I’m writing this entry I’m coming to the realization that it’s not even so much about happiness, it’s about focusing on me, something I really don’t do and when I do I don’t do it well. (Drink every time I say focus in this post and you’re too hammered to read this sentence.)

Throughout the month, though, I’ll keep you updated of the progress and of what I’m doing to accomplish that month’s goals. At the end of the month we’ll see what changes/differences if any, it’s made.

And the first month starts today.

I didn’t wanna jump in TOO crazy-like, because turning 31 is a lot to process on it’s own (I’m OLD), but the first month I knew needed to be about cleaning up.

ME PROJECT, MONTH #1: Cleaning up, decluttering and dehoarding

I’m not messy. And I’m definitely not a hoarder. But when I moved last year? Boxes would come in I hadn’t seen or touched since I moved into my last place. So did I need what was in them? Probably not. Yet several are sitting in my guest bedroom closet, just kind of taunting me. Not that I have, like, other stuff to put in there, really, but I know for a fact in there right now are most of my folders from classes from college. WHY? Don’t tell A&E about me, guys.

Small tangent again: Is that show on anymore? I guess not. They brought Intervention back, though, so maybe there’s hope. Also anytime I watch that show it just makes me wanna throw out EVERYTHING. Also vomit.

I also need to admit I got a slight head-start on this month in a way. I have a ridiculous amount of T-shirts from college (because sorority and also free shit). They’ve been sitting in my dresser/closet/giant Rubbermaid container for the 9 years since I graduated just collecting dust, basically. I wasn’t going to throw them out or donate them because the sorority shirts at least, did mean something. And I spent a lot of cash on ‘em.

Luckily, a good friend’s mom quilts and makes blankets and is a pro. She’d just made my friend a T-shirt quilt out of her old lacrosse shirts and I asked her to do the same for my shirts and she luckily, thankfully, agreed. The Rubbermaid container full of shirts is no longer taking up space in my front hall closet and I’ll have an awesome new blanket soon that means something special.

I have a couple of other things in mind to do, but I’ll save those for later posts and update you on my progress as I go.

Have some ideas for my project? Are you doing your own? What’d you think of the Happiness Project book? Do you eat a spoonful of brown sugar every time you pass it in your kitchen?

Oh. And Happy Birthday to Me, I suppose.

I’ve got stuff to do

So I’ve had this list – inspired by one of the bfs, and I’ve kinda sorta sucked at accomplishing much of anything on it.

I mean, I’ve crossed off a few things, but really, I need to get on it. Especially if I want to keep adding to it, which I plan to. But my goal is for this time next year to have a lot more of these marked off as done. Any you’d like to help with would be greatly appreciated!

• Ride in a hot air balloon.
• See the Red Sox play in Fenway Park.
• Get tickets to a concert within the first 10 rows.
• Read the Bible all the way through.
• Volunteer with an organization.

• Visit five countries I’ve never been to.
• Visit five states I’ve never been to.
• Buy a house.
Buy a car on my own.
• Swim with dolphins.
• Go to the Derby.
• Learn how to throw a football – the right way.
• Take a cooking class.
• Learn how to play golf.
• Take better care of myself, in every sense of the word.
• Make a considerable donation to a deserving organization.
• Go to a taping of either Ellen or Conan O’Brien.
• Get a tattoo.
Go tubing.
Go to a spa and get a full body massage.
• Play paintball.

• See a Broadway show. On Broadway.
• See a taping of Saturday Night Live.
• Be an extra in a movie.
• Start a book club.

• Host or attend one of those murder mystery parties.

• Try 20 new foods

• Buy one of those paintings done by an elephant.

• Stand in a celebrity’s footprints at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
• Drink green beer.
• Learn how to juggle.
• Learn how to sew.
• Meet Stephen King and tell him he made me scared of clowns but I still think he’s an amazing writer.
• Have something I’ve written/photographed published in a major magazine – preferably Rolling Stone.
• Write a book.
• Try and become more of a morning person.
• Be conversational in another language and able to speak a third.
• Meet Robert Downey Jr.
• Go to the Olympics.
• Be a part of a flash mob.
• Learn CSS.
• Get a dog.

Summer project

Once you’re a grown-up, you really don’t have a summer vacation – unless you’re a teacher, which I’m not. Instead, I have the same days off I have the rest of the year, unless I want to use some of the time I’ve earned to get outta town for a few days. Last year, I took two weeks off in a row, going to Myrtle Beach with my family and Jamaica as a chaperone for my church’s summer youth mission trip. So really, I can’t complain.

This year, I have no plans to go on a big vacation. Yet. I may take some short weekend trips to BG and Nashville to see friends and I’ve talked to a couple of my aunts about taking a trip up north to visit at some point later this year. But no matter what I do this summer, I have some goals to accomplish. And I need your help.

Remember that to-do list I wrote about last year? It’s time to get to work on it. And I kind of already have.

I already bought a car on my own. And I’ve started volunteering with an organization, kind of. I’m helping out at my church. I volunteered to baby-sit some of the cutest lil’ kids once a week for a few hours while their mothers take ESL classes.

There are some more things I want to start checking off though:
• Ride in a hot air balloon.
• Learn how to throw a football.
• Take a cooking class.
• Learn how to play golf.
• See the Red Sox play in Fenway Park.
• Get a tattoo…maybe, still thinking about when. I know what I’m going to get, though.
• Start a book club – for reals this time.

And there’s some things I want to add:
• Host or attend one of those murder mystery parties.
• Try a few new foods – and not be scared of it.
• Buy one of those paintings done by an elephant.
• Stand in a celebrity’s footprints at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
• Drink green beer.
• Meet Robert Downey Jr.

I’ll take any help I can get checking this stuff off. Any volunteers? 🙂