#reverb15:explorer

I'm writing along with Sarah & Kim for #reverb15. I'm still catching up because life, but I plan to keep responding as I can. Creature of habit or lover of change? This year were you a creature of habit? Or did you seek change? Or a combination of both?

As a kid who moved every few years, change was part of my life. I didn't mind not staying in one place or not having the same friends since grade school. My reality wasn't better or worse than that, just different. I spent a lot of time at other people's houses, lived summers with relatives, and later, a job where I spent the summer in the Alabama forest working as a camp counselor. Homesickness was foreign to me; being a nomad was its own kind of comfort, not feeling tied to anyone or anything, the knowledge you could always leave. Even in college, I thought the restlessness that would come over me was something everyone felt.

My very nature resists structure while the anxious side of me craves a bit of routine, of doing things by muscle memory, a kind of thoughts switched off, body on type progression. It's why I like working out, to be honest. When I'm pushing myself  to do more physically, my mind can't interrupt me with annoying thoughts and incessant worry.  On one hand, I crave new experiences and on the other I try to have a contingency plan for everything. Sometimes I feel like these facets of me war with one another, and it's exhausting.

I chose "explore" as my word for the year with the intention that I would consciously seek out new experiences. (And tell those anxiety gremlins to shut up). I wanted to invite a sense of adventure, of putting myself out of the familiar, of learning to enjoy the unplanned scenario. I wanted to approach the world with a sense of wonder, to be an explorer every day and take notice of the world around me.

Every month I tried to do something new or say yes to something that would typically scare me or cause me to worry or feel anxious.

Here are a few things I tried:

Zumba, Shockwave and Strength Training classes Tons of new recipes: These Mediterranean Turkey Loaves were a fave Setting an alarm for bedtime (and trying to set a nightly routine) 30/30 challenge (where I did some kind of physical activity for 1 mile a day in May) It was a fantastic experience and really helped to keep me motivated toward fitness. New writing projects Changed up some of my syllabus policies and first day of class routines Asking for advice more frequently New podcasts: Fell in love with Lore and Switched on Pop

I also know that my tendency as a rebel is to resist things I don't want to do, so finding ways to challenge myself while creating new habits in order to stick with it was probably the greatest change of the year. Creating internal motivation is really tough for me and I often have to trick myself in order to do things. I set timers for grading, timers for sitting on the couch, timers for reading, etc. And usually, before the timer went off I was doing whatever needed to be done. Not always, but sometimes.

While much of this year focused on changing habits for me, I do think I tried to stick with some strategies that I knew worked. I know how important comfort is to my psyche and pushing myself out of that zone was problematic at times while other times it was like "yeah, let's do this!" Having "explore" as my word for the year served as a significant motivation for me, and I'm really grateful for the way it helped me frame the year.