Every year my family chooses something new to try each year. It’s not a resolution per se as much as a challenge. I like to think of it as a growth opportunity…the idea is the seed, planning out ways to accomplish the challenge is the water, getting it done is the fruit!
Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
Not sure who said that first, but I like it!
Some of our families most recent past annual challenges have been:
2014 – Run 10 half marathons We did the Rock & Roll Marathon Series and I’ll tell you, even though I absolutely loathe running it didn’t take too many of those 10 runs before I just sucked it up and crossed the finish line with a changed heart. I was humbled and inspired by so many of the other runners out there who were disabled and on prosthetics or crutches or wheelchairs, by those wearing personalized T-shirts in honor of or in memory of a loved one, some celebrating having beat cancer, some very old, some very young. In this challenge, completing it wasn’t the fruit. Having the great honor of meeting some of those people – that was the real fruit, the true blessing.
2015 – Be vegan for a year Truly this was not as difficult as I thought it might be. There are so many restaurants out there now that have vegan options – and it’s not all bunny food. There was one place that had “The Big Wac” on the menu and it was a near perfect replica of McDonald’s Big Mac. We discovered that even Wal-Mart now has a pretty darned good section of vegan frozen foods, tofu and juices. There are countless cookbooks, magazines and on-line resources on the subject. Some of the recipes we tried and served at potlucks were met with great applause and amazement when it was revealed to be a vegan recipe. Like the “Buffalo-style Cauliflower” and “Mac & Cheeze” Don’t be fooled though; it’s possible to make unhealthy vegan choices (i.e., Oreo Cookies, yup, they’re vegan) but after just finishing running 131 miles in 2014, we certainly didn’t want to pack on the pounds being vegan so we made sure to make healthier choices and it was quite the adventure trying new things – like jackfruit – which we used to make “bbq pulled pork”. The fruit at the end of this challenge was, well, mostly fruit!
2016 – Learn a new skill or improve on an old one This year, since my oldest daughter moved to Texas and my son joined the US Navy, we are still together in our commitment to working through a challenge but kind of on our own in that we have picked something different from each other to work on. My hubby has chosen to work on his leadership and managerial skills. He has already attended a Dale Carnegie program this year and is really excited about implementing some of the strategies he has learned. My oldest daughter is learning how to duck hunt. She actually got her first mallard a couple of weekends ago – I realize this is contrary to being vegan but then again, that was sooo last year. My son is actually learning an entire new skill set courtesy the US Navy. He admits it’s been arduous but he has really stepped up his game and is looking forward to being on his first assignment. HOOYAH!! My baby girl who is 16 years old already, is focusing on her interest in culinary arts. She is enrolled in a technical school while taking on-line high school classes and working a full-time job in her chosen field of study. She is considering continuing her training in culinary arts with the US Coast Guard. Me, well I decided to try my hand at blogging. I have a facebook account that I do not navigate well at all, I have a linkedin account that I don’t remember how to access, I am barely able to snap chat…you get the picture. I seem to have some type of brain-block when it comes to modern mediums of communication. So far…if this publishes that is, I seem to be doing okay with the blog site. This will definitely be a challenge!
When we share with other people what we are doing and why, I am saddened by the response that seems to be the most commonly said, “I could never do anything like that!!” I won’t say that the challenges haven’t been, well, challenging, but isn’t that the point? And at the end of each challenge, I have yet to hear myself say, “Gee, I wish I had never done that.” Each challenge comes with its own struggles and rewards and everyone of my family agrees that it feels so great at the end of the year to reflect on the fun things, the hard things and the fact that we did it together! And so, the memories are yet another reward that will likely become stories shared at family gatherings for years to come.
It’s not too late to come up with a challenge for yourself for 2016…I would love to hear what you choose. It might even inspire future challenges for me or others reading here for 2017!