Like several people in my circle, I’ve felt to be in a bit of a rut lately. My career is in fantastic shape and is taking off in every possible direction, but everything else seems stagnant — which is why the New York plan has gripped me with so much brilliant possibility. But dreaming excitedly and working toward something that won’t happen until next spring isn’t enough. I’ve spent so much time narrowing my focus and closing out distractions that I don’t have anything interestingly unfocused to be excited about! As I was commenting on someone else’s blog yesterday, it’s time for me to remember the bursts of random joy I used to find all over the place. To open my horizons so that I can once again honestly refer to my tastes and interests as “eclectic.”

To that end, I’ve fallen in love with a sweet, positive, endearingly empowering blog about fashion and style and lifepoints –Gala Darling’s iCiNG: crowning your beautiful life. Colin (of No Impact Man fame) linked through to Gala with a great description of why her blog is so successful: “Gala told me that her blog is ultimately about personal development but that she mixes it up because she believes people are mixed bags just like her. In other words, people want to find meaning in life, to treat the planet correctly, and to live causing more good than harm, but they also want the right lipstick and sunglasses.”

Now, my utter lack of stylishness is so constant it’s unremarkable. The other women in my family regularly create absolutely gorgeous pieces of wearable art while I wear solid colors, neutral make-up, and cute-but-sensible shoes — and have spent two years agonizing over how to make my home more monochromatic. I definitely need some reminders of how to open myself up to some silly joy. That’s where Gala has come in. I saw the comment from Colin and started to object, “but I can’t stand wearing lipstick for more than 5 minutes.” That’s true — and three minutes with Gala reminded me that it’s because on the rare occasion that I choose to go glam (yes, for work, shut up), I’ll spend an hour applying awesome fake eyelashes and shimmering bronzer instead.

After subconsciously flitting around the internet looking for real life inspiration for the little things that make life fun or absurd or sweet or [insert any adjective but “serious” or “boring], I’ve made a short list of things I’m looking to do in 2008. I’ve got the resources and have started with actions and new thought processes. And hot damn, but it’s fun.

  • Reimagine myself as a ballet dancer
    The dance recital that I attended last weekend really got me thinking about dance and movement — I miss not taking classes, but more importantly I miss not just standing up and moving around like a crazy person when the mood strikes. For the longest time, even after I stopped taking lessons because I broke my arm, and even longer after that when I wrecked my ankle, I dreamed of being a ballet dancer. (Not a ballerina, but just a girl who dances, all the time, whenever she wants to, and chooses ballet.) I’ve started working on the forms while standing at the counter-turned-barre in my kitchen, with this website for assistance with reminding me of turnout and posture. So. Much. Fun.
  • Grow — and eat — a watermelon
    My friend Pattie sent me a quad of seeds for Moon and Stars Watermelons this spring. I’ve planted them in the garden, and am seeing the vines beginning to take shape. But I understand that this is an exercise in patience before the chance at wonder comes along. I really can’t imagine these tiny little seeds growing juicy, fresh, gorgeous watermelons. And I can’t wait to experience the wonder.
  • Walk through the streets of New York singing
    I am going to blame thank my iPod for this.  I go around singing all the time — sometimes well, sometimes poorly; sometimes under my breath, sometimes at the top of my lungs.  Sometimes I get strange looks or snide comments, but frequently I receive smiles or happy laughter or someone else joining in.  It’s been awhile since I can remember singing everywhere I go, and it’s time to remember how my lungs and vocal chords can work together to make music.
  • Buy and wear an impractical dress, repeatedly
    Because feeling gorgeous is worth it.

I put the premise behind some of those thoughts to work when I got up this morning.  I wore my usual Saturday garb of jeans and flipflops, but tied a pretty scarf around my waist instead of a belt — I feel like a bit of a gypsy, and can tell that I have dance steps buried beneath my walk.  I wore my hair in all of it’s unkempt wild glory and kept my face bare, but found my eyelash curler — which once upon a time I refused to go without — and an iridescent liner that I adore.  I bought glorious strawberries and fresh cut peonies at the Farmer’s Market, and sang Chelsea Morning to them as I walked through town — three people stopped to tell me how beautiful the flowers were and to wish me good morning.

Yes.  I love being young — and remembering how to be carefree and silly.

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew
There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses