Lessons Learned from My Year of Living Curiously

Previously, I revealed my Top 10 Most Curious Moments from my 365 Days of Living Curiously.  At that time (back in October!), I promised to wax philosophically about my year at another time.  “Another time” promptly morphed into The Mother of All Procrastinations.



I’m not sure why I postponed writing this post, considering that the year ranked as My Best Year Yet.



Perhaps I was burned out from writing 365 posts in just a bit more than 365 days?


Or did the magnitude of this endeavor seem too daunting?  (How on earth do you sum up a life-changing year in a single blog post?)


Or maybe I subconsciously didn’t want to let go of my precious year?


Whatever the case, it’s time to stop making excuses and CELEBRATE the year.


I originally embarked on The Year of Living Curiously when I found myself in The Mother of All Ruts. I won’t dig up that sob story again, but if you would like a refresher, you can visit here.


Before descending into a full-blown mid-life existential crisis, I summoned my inner Cher and smacked myself upside the head with a “Snap out of it!”   


And my way of snapping out of it was taking on an insane blog project in which I would not only tackle one “curious” mini-adventure each day, but also write about it.  (There are uber-uber-talented Professional Super Bloggers out there who take on 30 DAYS of consecutive blogging as a challenge.  So when I throw out the word “insane”, I am not over-exaggerating.  I really was that crazy.)



Here is what I learned from my Crazy, Precious, Curious Year:



  • Discipline.  I have always been a fairly disciplined person.  But I am also human, and therefore, I am seduced by the Big Bad Procrastination Wolf just like 95% of the population.  In the past, I blamed my procrastination on my perfectionism, or life getting in the way, or a host of other various excuses, but this year, I had to “SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP!”  Cranking out a post a day (while maintaining a full-time day job) is ultramarathon blogging.  If I slacked off on my schedule, I was doomed.  No Big Bad Procrastination Wolf temptation was worth more than my dream or my pride.
  • The true essence of Carpe Diem.  People have been throwing out the phrase “Carpe Diem” for millennia.  It’s the loveliest of concepts:  Seize the day!  Each day is a gift: That’s why it’s called The Present!  Live each day as if it’s your last!  (The latter always creeps me out a bit, but after losing two family members much too soon, it also resonates.  Loudly.)  Yet who honestly Carpe Diem-s each and every day?  We all know a few of those special people who live Carpe Diem naturally and effortlessly.  I want to be like them.  I strive to be like them.  And this year, I made a conscious choice to live like them each and every day.  I chose one daily thing that piqued my curiosity and embraced it.  Conscious living really works!  Carpe Diem and all that jazz!
  • Love.  (The canine variety.)  Taking on a 365 day blog project filled almost every second of my day outside of my day job.  I had no room in my life to assume any other responsibilities.  And then Bella (formerly knows as “Missy”) picked me while I was minding my own beeswax and Carpe Diem-ing as a volunteer at an animal sanctuary for senior pets.  My mother advised me to feel the fear and adopt that puppy anyway.  I can’t imagine this year (and future years) without Little Miss B, the sweetest, smartest, most easygoing muppet pooch on the planet!  (Who is still shamelessly soliciting friends on facebook, by the way!)
  • Love.  (The unconditional family and friends variety.)  Every blogger’s fear is that their only reader will be their mother.  I am proud to report that my mother AND my father read my blog every day AND provided proofreading services at no charge!  Thank you, Parental Unit!  In addition, my sister followed the blog religiously and often added her witty and offbeat commentary in the comments section.  My dear cousins agreed to embark on a Trip of a Lifetime Adventure with me so that this Late Bloomer could finally see Europe for the first time.  My friends humored me not only with their readership, but with their willingness to Carpe Diem along with me in adventures great, small, weird, backfired, goofy, and downright ridiculous.  And then new friends aka “blog readers” entered my world.  Some of you are a few degrees separated from me through family and friends, and others are not connected to me at all.  I’ve had visits from 52 countries, including Cameroon and Latvia!  I am humbled and honored that you took interest in my curious capers.  I hope that you received a few laughs and glimmers of inspiration along the way.
  • Taking Risks/Conquering Fears.  I’m not thrilled with heights.  I’m not deathly afraid of them. Just your standard, run-of-the-mill unease that makes brings on nausea and a cold sweat.  And I distinctly remembering telling Sarah at the Rock Gym, “If I didn’t have to write about scaling this bloody wall, I would ask if we could call it a day and grab a coffee instead.”  Or something to that effect.  I’m not a fan of falling and nearly splitting my head open either.  And I clearly recall announcing to my cousins, “If I didn’t have an audience awaiting news about this Cycling Tour of Tuscany, I would stay the hell away from that bike and sip cappuccinos in the piazza for the rest of the week!”  You (Readers) + Me = Accountability.  Thank you, my friends!
  • Perseverance.  365 Days x 1 Carpe Diem moment per day = Fun and Inspiration.  365 Days x 1 Carpe Diem moment per day + Writing one blog post per day = Fun, Inspiration, and Utter Lunacy.  Utter Lunacy x 365 Days = Mini Meltdowns.  Fortunately, these were not full-blown Julie & Julia meltdowns.  Luckily, I had a sounding board aka Mom.  It didn’t matter if I was too busy, too overwhelmed, PMS-ing, stressing, tired, sad, exhausted, or loopy from a concussion.  I listened to Nike, and I observed the law of physics that states an object of motion stays in motion.  I kept up momentum, and I just did it.  (On a serious note, I lost my beloved grandfather this past year.  I was devastated by the loss, and if I didn’t have the blog project to return to, I probably could have plummeted into the darkest of ruts.)
  • Sacrifice.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and blog posts (at least most of mine) aren’t written in an hour.  Writing requires many hours of solitude.  I turned down many a social invitation this year because I needed to hunker down and write.  Writing is a passion of mine that I enjoy, and in order to make room for dreams, we often have to let go of other diversions.
  • Letting Go.  I always go to bed with a clean kitchen.  Not this year!  I routinely exercise 6 days a week.  Not this year!  I blow out my hair a couple times a week so that I’m not sporting a ponytail again.  Not this year!  As long as there wasn’t food left out in the kitchen, it could wait.  Working out 3-4 days a week was enough.  Ponytails rock!  (See Sacrifice.)
  • Inspiration.  The beauty of a 365 project is that it doles out daily doses of inspiration.  Even when something goes completely and maddeningly wrong — like crash-boom-splatting in a foreign country and taking home a mangled shoulder and a head injury as a souvenir — it’s all writing material.  Head injuries also require a “time out” which frees you up to find ….
  • Love.  (The Sexy Italian variety.) I wrote the “Engage in Life” quote on the right sidebar of this blog about a year and a half ago.  It originated as a series of scribbled “Michelle-isms” that I sent off to the web designer so that she could get a better feel of  “this Late Bloomer chick” when designing the blog.  She loved the quote so much that she asked if she could incorporate it into the design.  I was a bit hesitant at first.  Am I really quote-worthy???  I agreed while second-guessing myself all the while.  Now I NEEDED to hold myself accountable.  If you’re going to spout wisdom, you better walk your talk, sister!  I walked 365 days of that talk, and then…irony of ironies…while luxuriating in injury-induced free time on a vacation in Italy, the man and the fairy tale found me.



What happened after 365 Days?



I burned out, of course.  I was still nursing that blasted concussion, and I was exhausted.


And here’s the horrific truth that I must honestly admit to you now:  I stopped Carpe Diem-ing every day.  (Especially after Romeo Mio’s post-Thanksgiving departure.  Sniff, sniff.)


I started watching more and more TV.  My Mom and friends laugh at me when I’ve mentioned this, but 1-2 shows a night compared to my former 1-2 shows a week, is a lot for me.  Especially when I sank to the TV Pit of Despair:  Toddler’s & Tiaras and Hoarders.  I told you it was horrific.


In addition, I started eating too much sugar, stopped working out entirely, and welcomed The Mother of All Procrastinations into my home with open arms.









I suppose I was in a postpartum depression of sorts.  I birthed this blog.  Now what?



After a few weeks of this nonsense, I reminded myself that, for me, conscious Carpe Diem-ing is a choice — a habit that requires honing.  I can live the principles outside of a 365 day project.  Imagine that!


I peeled myself up off my sofa, turned off the damn TV, and kicked The Mother of All Procrastinations to the curb.


I jumped on the green smoothies bandwagon and practiced yoga for 8 days straight.


I soaked up the magic of the holiday season with an Off-Martha-Stewart decorating explosion and a tea party.


I booked a flight for Les Trois Vallées where, after two months apart, Romeo Mio and I will reunite.  How do you say “Carpe Diem” in French?


I wishcasted for 2012 along with my Wish Club inductees, and as soon as I finish tweaking this blog for January 1st’s launch of Chapter Two, I am beginning my first ever Annual Review à la Chris Guillebeau.  (Kindly add Chris and June 2011’s World Domination Summit to the “Inspiration” bullet above.)


What happens after January 1st?


Hint:  It all started here.

5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from My Year of Living Curiously

  1. I expected to see “Train for bike tour through Italy on an actual bike”. ;)

    I already know what’s in store for Year 2 and I look forward to being a part of it and adding offbeat comments here and there.

    Carpe Diem!

    1. Had my training consisted of actual bike time rather than 3 spin classes, I may not have fallen off my bike and for Romeo Mio. :-D

      Carpe Diem!

  2. Me Too! I know what Year 2 is and I am looking forward to it.

    This year living vicariously thru you has been fun. I have enjoyed reading about your adventures and proofreading for you.

    As for your TV viewing choices……Michelle……. Toddlers & Tiaras and Hoarders!!!! REALLY!!!! Even I don’t watch that! Dina Dahling and I have much more refined taste in TV watching. Right Dina Dahling? AND the world is not going to stop revolving because you watch a little TV now and then! Yikes! Check out American Horror Story and The Walking Dead!!!

    1. I’m pretty sure Dina has watched Toddlers and Tiaras! heh heh heh

      And the two of you watch The Bachelor which is just as bad! So there!

      I think I may cut the cable soon, so “Just Say No” to the new shows!

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