December 30, 2009

What I Did (and Learned) on My Christmas Vacation and Will Take into 2010

The one thing they don’t teach you in school is that when you’re out of school, there’s no such thing as a Christmas vacation… at least not the two week kind. Which is exactly why I upped my nose at the real world, co-founded my own business and set out on a venture that let me plan my own schedule that has very little to do with 9-5. Hence the reason that I actually had a Christmas vacation.

That vacation kicked off with a four day backcountry snowshoe trip, during which I had a lot of time to think (you’re forced to come up with inspiring thoughts when you’re sludging through pouring rain and ice). 2009 was a year filled with many negatives — recession, climate change, reality shows — but the goal is of course to pull ourselves from the ashes and hit the new decade with a renewed sense of energy. So from the snowy slopes of backcountry snowshoes trails, here are my life conclusions that I’m taking into 2010.

1. Spend more time outside, and drag someone else along while you’re at it. Taking off on a four day backcountry adventure seemed like no big deal. Why? Because I grew up with a father that encouraged and inspired outdoor pursuits at an early age. Take a child, a cousin, a friend — hell, even an enemy — on an outdoor adventure and see where it takes them. We could all use a little more fresh air in our lives.

2. Watch at least one sunset and one sunrise every week. Experiencing this fantastic part of the daily natural rhythm is inspiring. And it doesn’t cost anything. (P.S. That’s my 62 year-old mother doing a Christmas Day warrior on a very rocky beach…)

3. Make time to be creative. Time away from your computer is time well spent, and the longer I am away from the screen the more ideas I come up with for new projects and endeavors. Take 5 minutes a day to sit down and be inspired.

4. Eat well. After four days of a diet that consisted of freeze-dried delectables, I was reminded once again that what we put in our bodies is of the utmost importance. To get Pollanesque: “Eat Food. Not Much. Mostly Plants.” (I will admit to downing some delicious Camembert and salami while on the trail however, which reminded me of another important life choice: invest time in making good picnics and eating outdoors.)

5. Donate time, money, etc. to organizations that are making the world a better place. Big or small, international or local, there are so many great causes out there that are making positive change. The trails and hut system that made my snowshoeing trip a blast were all groomed and maintained by a small organization that’s pretty much run on volunteers that are committed to maintaining natural spaces so more people can get out and enjoy them. That’s worth supporting. Find a cause you love (or several) and support it in whatever way you can.

That’s all. Short and sweet. They’re not resolutions, just a couple of ideas that I think we can all stick to in the next decade.

And although I wasn’t warmed up, and the photo is slightly fuzzy, here is my semi-attempt at a mountain top dancer pose – proof that yoga and mindfulness can take you anywhere:

What did you do on your winter vacation??

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