Putting myself through a deliberate minimalism challenge encouraged me to be intentional about my belongings. Intentional about my life. Decluttering raised a lot of questions, not only about things and what those things do for me - but about life and what’s important in life. I have a long way to go to being truly minimalist, but it feels great to be on the path there. Minimalism is a journey, not a destination.
You go to bed at 1 AM, your alarm goes off at 6 AM in hopes of getting you to that 7 AM yoga class. You snooze, over and over again. Finally, realizing you'll be late for your first meeting at work, you drag yourself out of bed at 7:45, and rush to the door skipping breakfast.
You barely make it to work on time, you're hungry, and you didn't have time to catch up on your emails before getting into your day.
We've all been there. When we wake up "just in time", productivity is generally shot for the day.
For the past month, I have been challenging myself to get up before 5 AM, on a consistent basis. I live about 50 minutes outside of Boston, and one of my favorite Yoga studios that actually offers a morning class is in Cambridge. In order for me to make that 6 AM class, I have to leave my house around 5 AM.
I have always been averse to trying new things. New things are scary, intimidating, and take effort to perfect. Despite my typical unwillingness to try something new, last year I decided to pick up rock climbing.
My first experience was at a small climbing wall at a fitness center. I was attached to an auto-belay (scariest first experience ever, I do not advise it) and attempted to scale up the 50 foot wall. I was wearing running shoes, had no chalk on my hands, and knew nothing about technique. Miraculously I managed to make it up about 3/4 of the way until I got way too winded and scared. Being on an auto belay, there was no way to rest, and the feeling of uncertainty about how fast the descent would be if I was to fall gave me chills. I prepared for the fall, and let go. To my initial surprise, the descent was very controlled.
The first time scared me, but it also inspired me. There was something amazing in that adrenaline rush, and I had an intense craving for that feeling of reward after completing a route.
So that’s how it started. From then on, I started going to various climbing gyms with various climbing partners, most of whom were only slightly more experienced than I was, but it was a good start. After a few times, I really started to regret not giving rock climbing a try earlier. For years people told me to try it out, but I was too afraid, too rock-shy.
There's something extraordinarily special about sunset and sunrise hikes - not only being one with nature and experiencing the scenic wonders of the world, but also celebrating the goodbyes and hellos that the sun gives to the landscape.
I've done a few sunset and sunrise hikes in the past, and every time, I am more and more tempted to make it a more regular ordeal.
Last weekend my friend asked me if I was down to head to Mt. Monadnock, an hour west of where I live, and two hours west of where I work - after work. I'm no stranger to hiking at odd times of the day, so I said, why not.