Getting Things Started

The genesis of “the list”.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Seneca

I am not a writer of lists. Scratch that. I write lists. I am not a FOLLOWER of lists. I write them, but rarely reference them, or retain them. Once I write an item down I remember it, mostly. Stuck in my head, and in all best efforts sometimes to get rid of the things I’m supposed to do, or forgot to buy at the supermarket, I can’t.

With this in mind, and after spending a lot of time on my daily commute listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier”, I got to thinking about how I manage my obligations to myself and others, and how I might want to change that going into my fourth decade next year. The large and powerful “40” over on the horizon, coming towards me ever quicker, has made me panic. No idea why. I’m not afraid of 40 or what it represents (OR AM I?!?), but I have not slept well, questioned all long-held beliefs at some point, caught myself daydreaming and wistfully sharing lifelong dreams with strangers (or really patient coworkers).

Rather than stew for another year. Rather than go into my fourth decade with the same old nagging thoughts/wishes/hopes/dreams/”can I?”s, I excitedly made a list. I’ve seen others write their lists, and end up on the other side of 40 full of stories, incredible memories, and an overall sense of “take-that-40” when the birthday actually hits. I WANT THAT. The list is composed of 40 things I need to accomplish before turning 40 (summer 2018).

What THIS is, is a journal of said list – going through each item, and discovering the journey between. Journaling is one of my “things”. Having a lot of solo time growing up, I mused and mused in a handful of journals. I was such a good listener to my own thoughts. Without that outlet over the years I have continued to be a good listener, but not a good actioner. Hopefully this exercise becomes a blend of both. I also hope to have my brother join in on the fun. I’ve asked him – rather told him – that we were going to do this blog thing together. He’s busy, has a family and career of his own, but as a means of staying closer and communicating on a regular basis I thought it would be fun. For the most part we get along, and for the most part we challenge each other’s opinions.

I plan to journal about each item – its genesis, what will be difficult and what will be easy about taking it on, and as some items are going to take longer to check off the old list, I’ll journal about the journey. I’ll include photos, quotes, feedback from friends and those who have offered to help me achieve my goals. And above all else, I really want to capture what checking items off an actual list feels like. Doing what I say I’m going to do – FOR MYSELF. These items aren’t for my husband, my kids, my family or friends, or my work – although I do hope that this process will help me improve my relationship with all of them.

Beginning: Like journaling in high school, I loved quotes. I have a well-worn old paperback quote book that I referenced in the age before the internet. It was a companion in writing English papers (what good English paper doesn’t start off with a proper quote?), a love letter ghost-writer, and a muse. I’ll dust this off to channel my inner teen as well.

Quoote Book
Quote book I used growing up – a snapshot in time of the “revolutionary new format…”.

Ending: As important as beginning, each post will end with a word that captures the essence of the post, or a reference resource that I’d recommend on the topic.

Fresh Start

#5. UPDATE – Invisalign

“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” – Mother Teresa

6 months after I left the dentist’s office with “buttons” on my teeth and my first set of plastic Invisalign retainers, I’m done with the treatment! Thrilled with the results (see below before and after), and appreciating all that life has to offer without worrying if red wine is staining the buttons, if I remembered my retainer case, and what my strained smile would look like in that unexpected photo. Even more, I’ll now have the ability to ensure my teeth don’t continue to shift as I get (even) older.

I was able to maintain the recommendation of wearing the retainers for 22 hours each day, it wasn’t overly difficult. I did not have to drastically cut my coffee intake, and unfortunately did not lose weight like I had hoped (oh well). Each new set of trays was uncomfortable for a few days as you would expect.

The removal of the buttons was not great. In the dentist’s chair for 45 minutes with a small drill to get the button off and then a sandpaper like polisher to buff off the remainder. It was entirely unpleasant. And if this part was the ugly side of Invisalign, I’m sure that all the other body altering self-improvement mechanisms have their own “ugly” side too.

The other observation is that this is becoming increasingly popular. More affordable and flexible treatment times make this an attractive (no pun intended) thing to do. As I brushed my teeth many times a day at work, I ran into the same women time and again who were in the same situation.

BEFORE AND AFTER:

INVISALIGN

CHECK!

 

#35 UPDATE – Write letter to nemesis, burn it, move on.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, I took my letters written on wish paper, stepped outside our friend gathering place in Rockport, MA, and said goodbye to the overly negative feelings and resentment I’ve been carrying with me (in one case for 30 plus years). I ended up writing three letters. Three people from different phases of my life who I never confronted in person. I’m a bit disappointed in myself for that, but confrontation is not my thing, especially confrontation that leaves me vulnerable. The letters took on their own shape. I worked hard to focus the writing on 1) how the person made me feel, 2) why I thought they exhibited that behavior towards me or others, 3) why I didn’t like it and 4) a compliment and well wish for their happiness.

Going through this writing process helped much more than I thought it would. Sitting down and articulating my thoughts on paper, I was able to identify the specific things that were bothering me (when you have a nemesis, all things become bothersome about them). In doing this, it became very apparent that their behaviors just brought out the bottom of the barrel insecurities or emotions that I already had – they just pushed them to the surface exposing them – over and over. The letters became a personal list of my Golden Rules ( “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”). I would NOT create cliques, I would NOT demand of others and not contribute, I would NOT act better than everybody else, I would NOT take out my problems on others and I would NOT gain power but lose morals.

I did not want to go into a new (calendar) year with this old baggage. Lighting the wish paper letters on New Year’s was rather symbolic. I was with family and friends, on the ocean, a bit intoxicated (which I think helped me get over my fear of lighting open flames). I believe the timing of letting go has helped me re-center and focus my thoughts if they revert to old thoughts – the commitment to release the thoughts became a mini-resolution. I can picture myself in the cold and wind, trying to get the papers lit. Getting frustrated when the wind would pick up and blow out the flame. Then exhilarated when it lit, floating away over the sea, gone forever. Symbolic AF. And cheaper than therapy. I can also hear my husband trying to snap the photo saying “Why are you doing this again?” And that makes me laugh, in a good way.

To close, an unsolicited endorsement of Flying Wish Paper. After buying for myself, I have bought for many others as gifts (baby showers, milestone birthdays) and always get the same reaction: “How cool!”. With lots of different designs, you can customize a gift add-on for the occasion.

nemesis2

 

Main Photo: Rockport, MA @ Eden Pines Inn. The view from their back deck is incredible. You can see the Twin Lights on Thatcher Island shining in the distance, the ocean between. 

 

#5. Invisalign

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.” – Diane Vreeland (Former Editor in Chief of Vogue)

Damn the selfie. Damn it all. Actually I love the selfie. It allows me to take incredible photos of myself and my kids, friends, husband, etc. that I may not have been able to take without asking a stranger. But, with all good things there seems to be a price to pay, and for me it was a critical eye focused entirely on my teeth.  And THEN I got a head shot for a conference I was asked to speak at. The horror! When picking the best version to send I didn’t automatically scrutinize my crow’s feet and laugh lines (for these were signs of laughter and years spent smiling), the ungroomed eyebrows, but instead went to what others have reminded me were ‘perfect’ and ‘great’. My teeth.

I was a child of orthodontia. With the dreaded key-laden palette spreader in 5th grade, and then braces (with headgear!) between 6th and 8th grades. My teeth had seen their fair share of metal. Like millions of others I received my plastic and metal retainer along with the bag of tootsie rolls and caramels when I left the orthodontist for the last time. And like millions of others, I wore it sporadically, if ever, and didn’t think of it until it was returned to me about 8 years ago in a box of “memorabilia” saved by my dad. Want to know what 25-year-old retainer smells like? You can guess.

I’ll blame the iPhone and my armageddon nature for wanting to focus on my teeth. As I have also worn glasses since the 6th grade, I have long been considering either Lasik too, but recovery and the basic fact of lasers cutting my eyeballs made me shy away from that procedure.

I began the inquiry of Invisalign with my dentist last year. He also asked why I was interested given the great state of my teeth, and as he also treats my father, my dentist can literally see the future state of my teeth by looking at his (note: My dad has beautiful teeth, but my concerns over my shifting eye teeth, etc. are valid). I worked out the budget: $500 up front for impressions. Impressions are sent off to Invisalign to determine how long it will take, or how many “trays”, to get the teeth straight. That length of time determines the total overall cost and frankly, the total overall life imposition. Good news for me though – I qualified for the shortest time, 10 trays or 20 weeks. The $500 from the impression step would roll into the total balance If I chose to move forward. With 10 trays, the total estimate was around $1,800. The impression step was done in December, the first several trays were ready in a few weeks, and I went back just after the first of the year to pick them up.

My expectation: I’ll show up, get the instructions, slap the retainers on my teeth, walk out with a mild lisp for a few days but overall no one will be the wiser until I don’t have to wear them anymore in June.

The reality: I showed up and after my dentist took a tiny double-sided saw between all my teeth to sand them down and establish ‘room’ to move, he and his assistant applied “buttons” to many of my teeth – top and bottom. These buttons are on my teeth directly, and enable the trays to move my teeth – they are not removable, so even if I’m not wearing the trays, someone can still see the buttons and more importantly I can still feel them. After I literally swallowed my pride and dealt with the karma b*tch slap across the face (I was doing this for vanity’s sake and the universe is subtly reminding me of that fact by putting these permanent things sticking off my teeth for the next 20 weeks), I put on the clear plastic retainers and sounded like I was in 5th grade all over again. Awesome.

That was almost 6 weeks ago. Tomorrow I’ll be putting on my fourth set of trays, and after gentle ribbing from the husband (“I thought you were perfect before.”…aw shucks), my kids constantly poking at them, and a few co-workers calling it out after failed attempts of finding words that do not have “s” in them to finish my thoughts, all is good. I’m starting to see some progress which is heartening.

A final post will be written with the experience debrief – likely to include some “tips”, and “don’ts” of Invisalign, but overall I’m sure I will be very happy that I invested the money and the time to do something for myself, resulting in a change I wanted to see, without surgery, debt or disfigurement.

Total Investment: $1800, $500 “Down” and remainder when treatment started.

Total Covered by Pre-Tax FSA: $1800

BEFORE: Me and the Hubs

Invisalign

Read Update Here

VANITY

#24: Dermatologist

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” – Helen Keller

 Helen. You had it right my friend. And getting my skin checked, along with all the other things that a person has to get checked as we get older (including all the boxes on my list), can be intimidating and scary. All those insurance risk tables start to become a bit more real, the “likelihood” age ranges come into view, and self-care becomes much more important to ensure longevity.

It seems that most stories published about cancer treatment start with “It was just a regular check-up…”, and that was why I have been putting off going to the dermatologist. Fear that my pale, freckly skin, would show an anomaly. I’m rational enough to understand that knowing is better than not knowing, but I’m also rational enough to understand that ignorance is bliss. Sometimes.

Time to be an adult. So adulting I did. When I wrote the list, I took some easy steps to check off items. Knowing that the dermatologist typically backs up about 4-5 months for appointments I got one booked for October of 2017. And went. And have since lived to write about it. My dermatologist is great. Works quickly, checking and chatting. If she pauses to look at a mark more closely, she will be consistently talking to put my mind at ease. And for the most part the checkup went smoothly.

She did pause on a mark on my back that she had noted in her files a few years ago. She said she was going to pull in another doctor to validate what she saw – that it was nothing to worry about, something to watch. The other doctor came in, and with very little fanfare said “you’re right”, and walked out. That was the only minorly upsetting part about this appointment. And now that it is marked, I will start to go back every 6 months for evaluation.

And every 6 months I will put my fear in check, and get checked out. Because knowing that if anything happens to my skin, I’ll be doing something about it within months of it coming to the surface, not years. And that is going to help me sleep better between now and then.

 SELF CARE

#7. UPDATE – Palm Reading or Tarot Card

“Divination is the quest to understand more about the past, present, and future. In other words, Tarot readings are an attempt to understand ourselves better and discover how we might live better in the future.” ― Theresa Cheung, Teen Tarot: What the Cards Reveal About You and Your Future

Me: “Are you picking me up for dinner tonight?”

Friend: “Yes, be there around 7.”

Me: “Have any extra time? I’ve got this thing I need to check off my list. Bring $35 cash, and pick me up at 5:30.”

Friend: “Cool.”

And so it went. While preparing for a friend dinner out at a local eatery, I booked us an appointment for a “basic tarot” card reading at a place I found locally via Google. $35 cash for a reading of approximately 30-45 minutes each. On our way I discovered my friend had never had a reading done, but was excited to try. And I was ready to check this item off my list by my deadline of Halloween.

Overall, I tried to be very practical in my approach to the reading – I had no major questions or issues I needed solving. Putting this item on my list was to overcome the fear of hearing things that I didn’t want to hear – health, child or marriage prophecies – . Even if it is all “garbage” as another friend described Tarot, hearing anyone talk about your life and what may (or may not) happen can be intimidating.

The Reading

I went first. My girlfriend waited outside on the steps per Tatum’s request. I was ushered into the dining room in her well-kept house. With the neon sign in her front window indicating “Tarot Readings”, I wasn’t sure what to expect (which seems pretty shallow of me now that I write this down officially). She explained the different services available – I opted for Basic Tarot versus Egyptian Tarot. And she gathered her deck of cards. I was to shuffle by way of sliding cards between my hands, NOT “thumb shuffling” or bending the cards, and clearing my mind of thoughts while doing so. I cut the deck in front of me, and then placed my right hand over one pile. This is the pile she read from.

She placed a number of cards out on the table and just went for it. It should be noted I gave her no information about myself prior to this (age, marital status – but I was wearing my wedding ring, where I loved, children, health, etc.). My husband reminded me that providing an email address and phone # via her online form is as good as giving her all my details, and after Googling my email address realized that he was right – Linkedin, Facebook public photo – some good quality insight. However, my friend did not provide anything and got some interesting results.

Tatum had a pleasant demeanor but was direct. She asked only for yes/no responses to indicate she was on the right path, getting the “right” information, and made lots of statements regarding all different aspects of my life and those close to me. When she appeared stalled with the first cards she laid down, she placed another layer of cards down on top of the first, and kept reading until all the card had been laid out.

Once she was finished, about 10-15 minutes later, she looked up and said, “Now, what questions do you have?”. My mind was blank. In order to remember everything for this blog post and to see if everything she said would come true, I worked backwards and repeated back to her the themes I heard. Only some of those I’ll share here. I also wanted to confirm my understanding of the reading. For example, if the cards say something is “so”, do I still get choice? Do I have a say? The answer: “We have a choice in everything.” Here’s the big BUT –  BUT, some of these events will happen – we have a choice how to respond, or how to make the most of it. Hmmmm. Ok.

Key Themes

  1. Career – In the next year I will have a new career. New title, new location but undetermined if a new company. My communication and management skills will be needed for this new job. I will always work. I like having a career, it is important to me. I will retire, but then my career will continue in a different way – likely I will work for myself. I take great care with decisions, big or small.
  2. Health – I will have a long healthy life. She sees me living into my 80s. However, there is something wrong with my stomach and my thyroid. I need to get those checked. I also need to drink more water, move (walk) to improve digestion, and carbohydrates are my favorite, but don’t agree with my body.
  3. House – We are not meant to stay in the same house or same area. We will move in the next six years.
  4. Vacation – Two vacations in the next year, one may be just 1-3 days, but they are needed for rejuvenation and connection.

There was more. But the above is enough for a glimpse at the broad strokes she drew, with small details thrown in. I’m glad that I went, and curious more about the art of Tarot. Not enough to learn to read them myself, but this experience did draw out the memory of the spirit guide from my first reading and I’d like to dig into that. After the reading I also, more thoroughly, enjoyed the podcast “By the Book” when they read Past Lives Future Healing by Sylvia Brown. Note: would highly recommend this podcast.

This post is being written after the occurance. The tarot card reading was checked off the list on October 21. As an update on November 9, it should be noted that:

  1. Career – I have a new job. As of last week I’ll be moving, within my current company, to a newly created role with new responsibilities.
  2. Health – When I was in the reading, I was having stomach pains. I had been for about 2 weeks following a trip to the UK. I have completed many Whole30’s before – removing food that can trigger inflammation or spikes in blood sugar essentially – and was thinking it was time to start another. Her comments ensured that I followed through and I started my 6th or 7th Whole30 2 days later. I am more open to living a lifestyle of Whole30-esque eating because I know how good I feel. I have also noted ‘thyroid’ on my list to ask my doctor at my next physical.
  3. House – In late October my husband and I started planning some renovations/updates to our house. Tatum’s comments helped frame for me the question of “will this investment be worth it if we ever move?”. Not that we have a plan to move, but thinking of that as a possibility – what work will ensure pay off if the house was sold?
  4. Vacation – No major updates here except that I know our entire family needs one. Time to focus on this planning and prepare for some fun excursions.

INSIGHT              

#14. UPDATE: November Project

“Are you good?” – November Project Leader

“FUCK YEAH!” – November Project Tribe

4:15am wake up. Workout clothes, head lamp, water bottle, bandana*, gym gear, work clothes and work back all laid out made the AM a grab and go kind of experience. The November Project is crowdsourcing fitness and accountability group with a crazy loyal following and a global presence. Their story can be read in their own words here, and the specific workout I did was the Stadium – climbing the stairs of the iconic Harvard Stadium. Over, and over, and over again.

In order to accomplish this feat of fitness and knowing my need for accountability (especially if I’m waking up at 4:15am), I enlisted a colleague who I knew had done it before. Peter became a willing accomplice from the start, and we quickly set a time and day to meet. Given I was already getting up, I sent out a note to a few more colleagues to see if anyone would bite – and Sherri did. Funny thing about human nature, when you tell someone “I don’t want to do this alone.”, it is likely that they have had that feeling too, and likely that they want to join in. With a major storm pushing out our original intended meeting date (note: the hard core November Project Tribe still showed up storm and all), we landed (Coincidentally? Universe sending a sign?) at the stadium on Wednesday, November 1 – November Project’s 6th Anniversary, and the day they were celebrating Halloween. “We’re celebrating BOTH Halloween + Yearbook Photos (Talk to me about an adventure)!!!  This year’s theme is Multiples.  Be creative. Get weird.  Partner up.  Use your noggin. Then we’ll photograph your noggin.  BUT most importantly #justdressup.”

*Peter, incredibly dialed into social media, has been searching the world for the best coffee. With his famous Instagram hashtag #nbcoffeebandit, he features beautiful latte art and NB’s fantastic footwear in each of his shots. What better (read: easy to execute the day before) costume then, that NB Coffee Bandits.

And so it began. The Tribe lines up along the base of the stadium stairs in Section 36. The Tribe leaders get us fired up – “Are you good?” and a resounding “FUCK YEAH!” from the Tribe. And the workout is called > today’s challenge was the Seven Boroughs of New York. We each had to think at which level of speed we’d be climbing today – Borough 1 = Fastest, Borough 7 – Slowest. Personal choice on what speed you’d be working at, and the then Tribe split up. Each borough was dedicated 5 sections of stadium to climb and descend (the descent is important here – almost as painful as the climb towards the end). Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, across (back to beginning section), down…and so on.

It was dark. I had left the above mentioned headlamp in the car. Who wants to be the over-prepared kid on their first day? I don’t think I needed it until I fell off the bottom step because I didn’t see it. Umpgh. And the darkness made the experience surreal. Stars above, tapping of feet, muffled chatter of Tribe members talking and grunting up and down. Shout out to Matthew who was incredibly friendly and introduced himself. We chatted for a few sections – he loves going to November Project because it works with his schedule, some of his friends usually go, and it is a great (free) workout. Cheers from the other boroughs, which I couldn’t see, reminded me how many people were actually there. Doing this. In the darkness and cold. It was so cool. I mean fitness geeky cool.

We paused briefly when our borough was called for “Yearbook Photos”. Given it was November Project’s 6th Anniversary, Yearbook Photos are taken of individual Tribe members for posterity. And we are now officially in the book. Now we must show up again.

I didn’t count how many sections or steps I did. I completely underestimated how big the steps were. 15 inches tall and 30 inches wide. That is a freaking long stride. My focus attempt was on the seat #s. Follow lucky # 11 up. I snagged this cool shot (while still moving!) as a fellow climber was going up with their headlamp.

Verdict:

How was it? Awesome. Meeting up with colleagues and making memories outside the office. Being held accountable. Going at my own pace. Taking photos and meeting strangers doing the same hard thing. I loved it all.

Will I do it again? Ugh (first thought). FUCK YEAH! (second thought). Committed to showing up at a minimum of each first Wednesday in November. Climbing the stairs is convenient for work, but not my home life, so weekly participation is unlikely. BUT, I will go back.

What was the coolest part? Just as we were walking in, I saw two kids going up the steps. KIDS about the same age as mine. All I could think was, “Well that is fucking bad ass.” Get your kid out of bed, show them this super cool fitness culture, and maybe they get some exercise. Or maybe that isn’t the point. Maybe the point is that if you committed to doing something, you show up. Kids and all.

QUADS

#7 – Palm Reading or Tarot Card

“Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” – Charles F. Kettering

You may wonder why a quote from a famous engineer and inventor preceeds a post about palm reading and tarot cards. I do too. But having had my palms and tarot cards read in the past, I know an open mind is how you need to approach either of these experiences.

Note that I wrote “open mind”, not “sense of belief”. Unless you are Wican or roaming soul looking for something to believe in, having your palm or cards read can provide you with possibilities – things that you would never expect to happen, different ways to approach problems or see opportunities where they aren’t obvious.

When my husband and I first started dating we went with another couple to have our tarot cards read by a credible reader. She worked in a holistic wellness collaborative owned by a friend’s aunt. The collaborative included massage, yoga, reflexology, and tarot. We did our reading separately. I sat down, and met the reader’s inquiring eyes with as much deadpan as possible. I kept thinking “I’m not going to give her anything!”. As we went for entertainment purposes, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a specific answer to my life’s questions. That made it fun, and not fatalistic. What followed in the reading was a fascinating discussion about her approach to tarot. Our spirit guides can give insight into our lives, or as said by Tarot Pug, “Spirit guides have a purpose to help you stay on track with your soul’s purpose in your current life.” Fascinating, right? This world is hard enough to manage solo, knowing there is a specific spirit guide out there to guide is comforting. At this time in the post I should note that I do not practice any religion formally. Raised agnostic,  I have attended Catholic church services for most of my life for holidays, however was never baptized into any particular religion. Back to my reading. She talked a lot about who my spirit guide was. She was Irish, she lived on the coast of Ireland, and was surrounded by horses.

horse-873798_1920

That was it. I don’t remember any else specific about the reading, just this insight into my spirit guide. I have traveled to Ireland many times, lived there for a short stint in 2002. It has always felt like home. Always. A strange sense that I was supposed to be there. But I could never reconcile this feeling. I’m 1/8 Irish via my father’s mother, and while I have freckles, I’m not overly Irish looking. And yet I’ve never had that feeling of belonging, of home, anywhere else I’ve traveled.

Point of the story is, that without going through that tarot experience, my sense of belonging would continue to remain untethered. And despite spirit guides and all they represent being ethereal and difficult to wrap your head around, it works for me.

Approaching a milestone birthday is a great excuse to get another dose of interesting perspective. I’ve been hesitant to experience palm/tarot since I had my girls. That the cards would foresee something awful happening. Then I saddled up and said “Stop being so ridiculous! It is all about perspective.”

Given the approach of All Hallows’ Eve (which has roots in Celtic history), I am setting myself a deadline of completing this checklist item by 10/31/17. I think the mystery of the season will add to the experience. To see how it all went down, read this post.

SPIRITUALITY

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#14: Try 10 Different Fitness Classes

“Always trying new things is always more fun, and it can be scary, but its always more fun in the end.” – Jim Krasinski

Instagram is an incredible tool. Beautiful photos and hysterical memes have a platform for reaching millions of people. Current events and entertainment news has your tiny screen instead of your television screen. It is a powerful medium that has served many purposes since its inception. One of those purposes is to make me entirely freaked out / scared / petrified / (insert appropriate synonym here) of trying, what appear to be, crazy difficult fitness classes.

I am fit. I can run, I can play tennis, I can swim – but can I lift my whole body weight from a seated position to an inverted position on just my forearms? Can I tap into my naturally competitive personality to push my legs faster than ever before to win a bike race? What about sitting, moving slowing, but sweating profusely without passing out? That sounds just as hard.

Because of the above I have probably missed out on some of the most fun ways to train or get fit(ter). Right now there are awesome things happening with small and big studio fitness, with passionate business owners and instructors who have made a business out of a lifestyle – or maybe it is the other way around. I decided to add “Try 10 Different Fitness Classes” to my list to ensure I didn’t miss out on another year of fun, challenging opportunities. My list of targeted classes/studios is below and living just north of Boston means that these are all readily available to me. Since I created the list and posting to Facebook I also have some willing accomplices to join me. If I can, I’ll also get their feedback on the class and would they recommend it. THIS ISN’T MEANT TO BE ADVERTISING! It is meant to give perspectives on classes that can be intimidating for some (blushing).

Here goes:

  1. Orangetheory Fitness
  2. SweatFixx
  3. Flywheel
  4. Soul Cycle
    • Complete! 9/13/17, Soul Cycle Back Bay with Portia B.
    • Recap: Soul Cycle has their sh*t together. I met my colleague at the downtown Boston, Back Bay, studio for a 7am* class, and the bright white and yellow studio greeted me almost as well as their incredibly friendly staff. I paid $20 for the “first class offer” and was given cycling shoes and a tour straight off the bat. Free lockers to store my stuff, and into the studio. It was jammed. In a good way. Lots of Soul Cyclers were ready to move. Another friendly staffer fit me for my bike and off we went. The instructor, Mandy, was incredibly/ high energy. Music was on point, and Soul Cycle lived up to its “party on a bike” mantra. Lights on, lights off – mostly rode out of the saddle, and while I couldn’t hear instructions 100% of the time, I did not hear “turn up the resistance” an awful lot which many spin classes espouse. Fast, fun and soulful with an end of class introspection. Would I recommend? YES. Would I go again? YES. I would consider this a fun way to experience a city I’m traveling to. The price per class is going to keep me out of being a regular, but love that it was a convenient way to connect with an out of town colleague, get a workout in before work, and feel like I’m fairly cool with my workout choices.

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*Street parking in Boston is free between 8pm – 8am at meters. No parking lot fee for me!

  1. Bikram Yoga

THIS is why I’m a little scared: “Bikram Yoga can be practiced under the guidance of a certified Bikram Yoga Teacher at one of the affiliated Bikram Yoga Studios. These studios are built in such a way that you always get the proper heating which help you pracice your postures optimally. Bikram calls these studios “Torture Chambers”.”

  1. Core Power Yoga
  2. Barre
  3. TRX
  4. November Project
    • Complete! 11/1/2017 – see post here.
  5. SkyFit SkyZone

I will continue to update this blog post with the recaps and photos once complete. I love scheduling time to do these with people who I may not see every day. It is a great excuse to get together, have some fun and makes the entire experience less intimidating too.

CHALLENGE