A book press release showed up in my inbox with the headline “Overwhelmed? Bored? Frustrated? Get unstuck, get inspired, and get going again!” After this winter, I think the headline describes most Chicagoans. No matter how proud we are of our ability to endure the coldest, snowiest weather, there’s something about this never-ending winter that is just dragging everyone down.
What I admire about the book The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery is that the authors had the courage to start their adventure. We’ve all know the feeling of being stuck. In the daily routine of working, raising children and maintaining relationships, we lose that sense of wonder we had from childhood to young adulthood. You know, those moments when you see someone doing something really interesting and think that you should try it. Or those moments when you hear about an interesting new restaurant and think you should try it. In our daily routines, these things get stuck on a to do list, which we eventually lose when we clean out our desk drawers.
Friends Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin found themselves feeling like they were moving along on their life goals, but they were treading water just to keep it all together. Along the way they let the joy of discovery and adventure go to the sidelines. What’s great about the authors is they could be any of us. Karen Amster-Young is a marketing and public relations professional. Pam Godwin was a New York City public school teacher. These are women we’d invite to a party so we could talk about our lives, careers, families and more.
They chronicle their one year of regaining momentum in The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery. This isn’t a book about leaving the family to climb mountains or abandoning all your friends and family to find yourself. This is a book mixing expert advice, personal stories and a lot of humor to give women the inspiration to get their dreams and sense of adventure back.
This winter we’ve been doing a lot of research to find unusual things to do to get ourselves out of the house. I’m using the idea behind The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery as inspiration for our family to get out more and explore what’s available. Along the way we’ve tried things we might not have tried before and visited local places we had on our “to do some day” list. There is something uplifting about doing something new, even if it’s as simple as putting something new in your grocery shopping cart. When we finish one adventure, we start planning the next one. I don’t know if we’ll get through 52 new things this year, but we’ll do what works for us as a family and as individuals.
One of the great things about the Chicago area is that we can do it for little cost. If we want to try dancing lessons, we can participate in the Chicago Summer Dance. We can find free activities through the forest preserves. The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County recently had a taffy-pulling class. The Cook County Forest Preserves and Will County Forest Preserve District also have lots of fun activities from Musher Mania to movies under the stars. You don’t even have to live in the specific county to participate in the programs. Your local library has free or discounted museum admissions through the Museum Adventure Pass program.
If there’s a message that comes through the book, it’s that life is short so you need to go live it. Whether you decide to try exotic fruits from the local market or learn a new language or take up ice fishing, now’s the time to get out of your rut. You can do it as a family or make your own personal list. There’s no right or wrong way to start your adventure. All you have to remember is now is the time to get started.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery.
Category: Shari's Corner