I recently finished reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. It was a well-timed read as I have a 6-month-old son and after 2.5 years out of the workforce waiting for my green card as an H4 visa spouse, I am soon going to earn my work permit. But I’m not going back to work.
The Lean-In lover in me is like “What?! Not going back to work?! You rocked at work. You took the work world by storm. You would kick ass at work in the culture in Silicon Valley.”
But I don’t want to go back to work and I’m fortunate enough that our financial situation allows me to make that choice. I never in a million years thought that I’d be so invested in or dedicated to another person. I didn’t go through 9 months of pregnancy, 17 hours of labour, 90 minutes of pushing, 6 stitches and 6+ months of breastfeeding so that someone else could find out the kind of things he finds funny or see the look of disgust on his face when he tries a new food only to open his mouth and beg for more a few bites later. I want to be there for all his moments – the good, the bad and the ugly.
One thing that stuck with me is the idea of assigning a theme to the year. Since moving to the Bay Area 2 and a half years ago, I’ve explored very little of it without my husband. I don’t know why…I used to check out new things by myself in my hometown of Calgary all the time. I went out to dinner alone to try a new restaurant, I took a tour of an old cemetery alone, I went to a weekend festival alone. Maybe it’s because I had lived in Calgary my whole life and I knew it like the back of my hand; There weren’t an overwhelming number of places left to explore, so when something new came along, I wanted to check it out. When I moved to the Bay Area, living away for the first time in my life – everything was new. Every time I left my apartment I was exploring something new…and it was just exhausting. I don’t consider myself a very adventurous person. Sure, I like novelty sometimes, but I’d rather re-watch Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time then go see a new movie in the theaters.
Inspired by Rubin’s example, I decided to explore more of my environment and assigned the theme of Adventure to 2017. I want my son to experience so many things in the world, and I am energized to explore the world with him because he’s seeing it all for the first time.
Some specific goals to bring about this theme of adventure in my life include:
- Check out one new place in the Bay Area each week. It might just be driving a different route home, shopping at a different grocery store, or taking DK to a different playground.But I also want to check out some of the local tourist attractions that I haven’t seen yet and be a tourist:
- Ano Nuevo state park
- Big Basin Redwoods Park
- Happy Hollow
- Winchester Mystery House
- The Lace Museum, Sunnyvale
- Emma Prusch Farm
- San Jose flea market
- Ed R. Levin County Park
- Alameda Quicksilver County Park
- Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
- Try a new recipe or cooking technique at least once per month. This month we’ve bought a sous-vide cooker and have been experimenting cooking meat with it. I will never bake a chicken breast again.
- Check out TACO, the Terrible Adult Chamber Orchestra. I’ve been meaning to attend their monthly gathering for a while now. I’ve been playing violin since I was a child and I miss having a reason to play it, but I’ve been so hesitant to show up at TACO because what if it’s terrible? But that’s the point – it’s supposed to be terrible. A fun, casual relaxing place to play music together – being perfect isn’t the point. So yes, I’m going to do it. Their first session is January 29th, so check back for an update on how that goes!