This is the second post of a three-post series. On the first post, I wrote about how I became the person I am today--which was writing a list of goals and working on crossing them off, one by one. On this post, I've been asked to write about how I can improve to be the best version of myself, as well as my aspirations and inspirations.
For most of my life, I could be described as: the introvert, the "practical" one, the worrier, the shy one, the people-pleaser, and the scaredy cat. These are traits that are just ingrained in my genes, and in my late 20's, I finally accepted that. I know I'm never going to be the super fun talkative chick at a party who everyone is just drawn to; I'm never going to go seeking out crazy adventures all in the name of living on the edge; and I'm never going to get rid of my practicality and fly by the seat of my pants. It's just not me!
However, I have also discovered, in my late 20's and early 30's, that amazing things don't just "happen"... I have to step outside of my comfort zone (sometimes so far it hurts!) and the reward can be huge. Take flying, for example: I missed out on SO MANY amazing trips and adventures with family and friends over the years because I was too afraid to get on a plane. When I finally started flying again in 2010, I have experienced some of the best times of my life! I'm still scared of flying, but I learned that a little (okay, a lot of) wine goes a long way to get me on the plane ;)
[Side note: Ironically, one of the things I agreed to for this Prudential program was to speak on a panel at the BlogHer conferences in July in NYC. I'm terrified of that! But I know the reward of stepping out of my comfort zone will far exceed the few moments of fear.]
I'm pretty sure I was born with anxiety; my mom has always been a worrier, and I can remember having severe anxiety when I was in elementary school (and probably even younger). Back then, I worried about my pets dying, or my parents being mad at me if I did something wrong, or kids not liking me. Now, as an adult, I worry about my kids--I want them to be happy and healthy. I'm always trying to find a happy medium between being too laid-back and being overprotective, which is hard to do. I don't want my kids to grow up sheltered, but I don't want anything bad to happen to them, either. And I want them to have great memories of their childhood, long after I'm gone.
I also worry about money--even though we certainly get by okay, we don't have any savings to fall back on if something major should happen. When I fainted in 2010 and broke my jaw, it came completely out of nowhere. We weren't at all prepared for the huge hospital bills! We have decent insurance, but the deductibles and co-pays were in the thousands of dollars, which we were unprepared for. Jerry also took a week or two off of work (unpaid) to take care of me. So, that "little fainting spell" cost a lot more than we could have imagined.
I would love to get to the point where I don't have to worry about unexpected financial burdens popping up: the furnace dying when it's 20 below zero, or getting in some sort of accident, or Jerry losing his job, or God forbid--a death in our family. We aren't prepared for any of these things, but I really don't know where to start. The thought of saving up an emergency fund is totally overwhelming to me! That is where I hope this experience with Prudential will help me come up with an idea of where to get started.
To answer the question of how I can be the best ME, here are just a few of the things I want to include in my life to be healthy and happy:
Maintain goal weight- Something that will never come easy to me, but I am definitely happier when I am at a weight of 130-140. My goals is to get back there and maintain it.
Travel- I was too scared to travel for so long (fear of flying), and even though I am still scared of flying, I haven't let it stop me from going new places. I'd love to continue that as I get older.
Reach running goals- I always feel on top of the world after I conquer a goal that I've been working on for a long time. No matter the goal, I'd like to continue to work to better my running.
Practice random kindness- Doing things for others has always brought me joy, and I'd like to continue to always look for opportunities to help people. (I can't mention random kindness without remembering Mark, who was all about helping others...)
Step out of my comfort zone- I never achieved anything worthwhile in my comfort zone, so stepping out is a must!
Create family memories- I want my kids to have fun memories of us as a family, so I'd like to always look for ways to be creative in our time together. (I don't love swimming, but I did a lot of it in Punta Cana so the kids would have memories of me swimming with them)
Be adventurous- Doing things I never thought I could/would do!
Be financially secure- Not worry about money, and have an emergency fund set aside in case we need it.
Laugh it off- Sometimes I get stressed or anxious, and I don't look past that to see the humor in situations. I want to remember not to sweat the small stuff.
Maintain friendships- I have some really amazing friends, and no matter where life takes us, I'd like to make our friendship a priority.
What are your aspirations and inspirations? Share your vision by joining the growing community of women inspired in the comments below, or on Twitter using the hashtag #womeninspired. With your long-term goals in mind, do you have any financial challenges you want to tackle?