Thursday, February 9, 2017

Paris.

For over 20 years, my ultimate dream has been to visit Paris. It started in high school when I chose French as my foreign language. I loved everything about France, the culture, and the food. Couldn't wait to go.

Through high school, the French class took trips to Paris, but as one of 6 kids in a struggling family, I never could have gone. I remember sitting in class, hearing stories and seeing photos from my classmates' trip, and telling myself I'd go someday.

In college, as a working mom of two young kids, I flirted with the idea of a 6 week travel abroad program my university offered. I'd go to Strasbourg in northeastern France, earn college credits (I was one course from a French minor) and get to fulfill the dream, using student loans to pay the bill I wouldn't have been able to otherwise afford. But it didn't take long for the reality to set in: my marriage was falling apart, my finances were a mess, my kids were young, I couldn't afford to take 6 weeks away from my serving job.

That study abroad opportunity is one of the things I've thought of often over the years, as one thing I really feel I missed out on in life. 

Today, at 37, with two teenage kids, I now have the opportunity to travel. Until 5 years ago, I'd only been on a plane once. In the last few years, I've now left the US three times (Grand Cayman, Mexico, Canada) and visited tons of new places for work and pleasure, and it's magical. Traveling is a bit of an obsession to me now, and I think about it CONSTANTLY.

Ok, so to get to the point of this meandering story - it was time to put France, and Paris, on the list. Pick a date and start saving for it. My daughter Emma pointed this out to me recently -- that I constantly say it's my goal and my dream, but I have yet to do anything about it! It was a wake up call, honestly. My teenager had to point out that I make plans to visit lots of other places but France always felt out of reach.

I picked a date - June 2019. I researched how much I'd need to save and I created a budget to try and save that by then.

On a whim a week or so ago, Matt decided to look online for trips to Europe. He found an 8 day trip for less than half of what we thought the minimum cost would be. We could afford it right now.

After insane amounts of research to be sure this wasn't too good to be true - last Saturday we booked an 8 day trip to Paris and London through Costco travel.

YOU GUYS. I'M GOING TO PARIS!!!!

Seriously, for more than 20 years, it's always been "maybe someday." And now it's someday. I'm so grateful. For the opportunity. For a job that allows me plentiful vacation time. For a husband that cares so much about making my dreams come true.

I've sobbed with pure joy. And I'll spend the next 6 months researching every possible thing in anticipation. 

In my last post on this blog, I told a little story I thought was pretty cute. I pinned a cool pic of Las Vegas, forgot about it for a long time, and then recently realized I'd had that exact view on my first trip there.

The point of that story was that putting things out there in the universe, in the realm of possibility, as a concrete outcome that can be achieved -- that can actually make things happen. It changes the way your mind sees it, and changes the decisions you make that can impact the outcome.

I can't believe this is happening! :) So excited. 

Source: Pinterest (I shall try to recreate this scene in Paris...)


Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's a Secret

So, when I was writing my 2016 wrap-up post a couple weeks ago, I discovered something pretty neat. But to set it up, you need to know about the Secret.

The Secret is a movie and book that's pretty cheesy. Basically, the Secret tries to sell you on some crazy power your mind has, which the author somehow "discovered." This "power" seems like magic that, if you do it right, can make all your dreams come true. Like, if you think hard enough, you can make stop lights turn green for you. The secret makes it seem like some mysterious force. All it really is, though, is positive thinking.

Positive thinking can make a huge difference in your life, I believe that. I don't believe that I can change red lights with my mind, however.

My real takeaway from the Secret was that it helped me notice when I was being negative, and I have shifted some of that thinking to being more grateful and focusing on all the possibilities still ahead.

Based on the Secret, people started making "secret boards," where you pin things you want in your future. Maybe a dream house or vacation or personal goal. And I made one on Pinterest, and set the privacy to "secret" so only I could view it. And then didn't look at it again for a long time - probably two years.

Fast forward to last June. Matt and I went with friends to Las Vegas, somewhere Matt and I always wanted to go. Matt's friend picked the hotel, and Matt booked our room. I didn't really ask questions, I was just along for the ride. They booked us at the Bellagio, and I heard it was nice. When we checked in, this was our view:

Image may contain: outdoor

Earlier this month, I logged onto Pinterest and decided to look at my secret board as I was thinking about goals for 2017. And I found this pin I added two years ago, not knowing what hotel this was - I just liked the pic and the view of the Paris hotel.


My "wish" came true! I can totally make things happen with my mind, you guys!

Also pinned was the Disney Princess Half, which I did last year as well. The trip to Paris and becoming a yogi are still yet to be fulfilled, but after this, I'm sure they are on their way. :)

For my next trick, I'm going to pin something to my board about logging into Facebook and seeing NO political posts and no videos of people getting beat up, but only cute pics of my friends' kids/pets/travel and status updates about what people ate today.

Do you have a secret board? What has come true? Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?