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Ways my life has changed in the past 12 months

On 1 May 2009, I moved out of the apartment I’d lived in for 2 years, moved to a new part of Boston I’d never lived in, let alone visited, and started making some serious changes in my life.

Twelve months later and I’m homeless. I’m unemployed. And I don’t know where I’ll be a week from today.

How did I get here?

I took control of my life.

For a while, I was going through a rough patch. Boston was becoming boring and I was desperate to get out. To get away. I knew I needed to make some changes to make life interesting again. Here are some of the things I did:

  1. Changed my living situation. I moved from a neighborhood that I knew well where lots of my friends lived, to an area I’d hardly explored, in an apartment with relative strangers.
  2. Decided it was okay to be alone. If I didn’t have plans for Friday night, I didn’t care.
  3. Allowed for more randomness in my life. Whether it was a last-minute trip to New York City or chatting up a stranger on the subway.
  4. Took initiative. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, but once I knew what I wanted, I did as much as possible to make it happen. And on my own timeline, too.
  5. Changed my habits. I started running regularly (how surprisingly relaxing!) and eating healthier.

What kinds of things do you do to make sure you reach your big goals?

  1. Adam says:

    Hi Cara! Thanks for commenting and for the quotation!

    And yep, I've been known to run though I'm more of a warm-weather runner. It's definitely something I plan on doing while traveling because it's always an interesting way to see a new place. And I find it so relaxing.

  2. Adam says:

    Oh that's a good one! I definitely got used to saying no, too.

    Also, I'm totally jealous that you are able to do so much blogging while traveling! I hope I'm half as active online as you are while I'm on the road—which is now just a week away!

  3. Adam says:

    Oh yes, I've changed my habits, but I also break those habits fairly regularly, too.

    Running three times a week turned to only running when it was warm out. And being a 'vegetarian' turned into just eating less meat.

  4. Abbie says:

    What a powerful realization – that's awesome :)

  5. Adam says:

    Realizing I was in a rut and knowing I needed to make some changes really motivated me to make things happen. And quick, too!

  6. Adam says:

    It really helps to take a step back and then figure things out from there.

  7. pantsonfire says:

    Adam, how long did it take you to figure out #4 and if you don't mind sharing, what was it exactly? The only reason I ask this is because I'm still searching and it feels like I've been searching forever.

  8. Cara says:

    Hey Adam! I didn't know you are a runner, too! You will have many cool places to run. Take pics along your international running routes.
    This is one of my favorite quotes and makes me think of the journey you are on now, “Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you will regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Travel on! – Cara : O )

  9. Ayngelina says:

    I said no. Quite a bit. People invited me out to things that I felt compelled to do, like birthday dinners for acquaintances. I couldn't afford to save and to pay for dinner so I just said no.

    Now that I'm traveling I have no regrets.

  10. IT took me awhile to understand #2 and I am all about #3, as for #5 that comes and goes in waves.

  11. Earl says:

    Hey Adam – Usually, when my life gets confusing, it is because I am no longer able to understand what are my true goals. And so, like you did, I normally seek out a complete change of scenery in order to regroup and regain my focus. I also tend to evaluate every project I'm involved in and cut out those that are causing me the most headaches and producing the least results.

  12. camorose says:

    Write them down! Once I have things in print, it's harder to forget about them or act like they don't really matter. I'm a big fan of to-do lists, whether it's for today or for my life.

  13. Andrew says:

    I love the feeling of breaking out of a comfort zone that becomes too confining. The point is to then decide what is actually important and work on that. Even if that means getting back into the comfort again.
    I like your list. I've done 1, eternally working on 2 and 5. 3 & 4 tend to take the form of signing up to do anything that I can cram into time and burnout for a while. Somehow that burnout is refreshing. I just pick time limited things so the contrast at the end is relaxing.

  14. Adam says:

    Seems like everyone else agrees that writing things down is the first step in accomplishing your goals. Good thing I always carry a pen with me!

  15. Adam says:

    Hmm… good question. I guess when I say “decide what to do with your life” I really mean “decide what to do with your life at that point in time.” I knew I wanted to go abroad, so I just started to make it happen. I've had other big goals before that and I'm sure I'll have more after. Just a matter of realizing what your dreams are, and than doing everything possible to make them happen.

  16. Adam says:

    Thanks for the comment Christine!

    Lists definitely have their value. My to-do lists are always hand-written but I'm afraid I'll eventually have to start putting them somewhere digitally. I wonder if that will affect me achieving my goals?

  17. Adam says:

    Interesting that you enjoy feeling burned out. That's exactly when I start to get anxious and ready for the next thing.

  18. Adam says:

    Ahh… yoga. Finding relaxation is important. I'm hoping to learn more about meditation on my trip, actually.

  19. I write things down, make scheme of what to do. I will probably never look back at the list, but by writing them down, I get them structured. I can then see the bigger picture and priority. If possible, I like to be in a place that I consider “calming” when I do this, like in a beach, park, harbour, or being on the top floor of a skyscraper with the wide view.

  20. Andrew says:

    The point is a little like Yoga. After an hour of strenuous stretches, it feels so good to just lie there. If you need a change, or just need to feel a change, find contrast. If I fill up all my time for say 2 months helping with a theater, at the end when I am done I feel the contrast of all the free time.

  21. Jeremy says:

    #2 definitely helped me save quite a bit of money to go travel. Made the difference between 5 months and hopefully 10 months thats for sure.

  22. Adam says:

    Yeah that was definitely a big money saver for me, too. I also got used to cheap beer.

  23. Sabina says:

    It seems those were some incredibly big, and intelligent, changes you made. I think switching homes is just about the most major life change anyone could make. And introducing more randomness – I really like that. Random moments and events make life so, so much more interesting.

  24. Adam says:

    Thanks for your comment Sabina.

    Big changes should definitely be written down to help keep you on
    track. And I couldn't agree more that introducing randomness makes
    life much more interesting!

  25. floreta says:

    i have a similar story. grew bored of where i lived and where i worked. got fired. became unemployed and started traveling. :) i realized you actually don’t need a lot of money to travel. while it still is essentially a luxury, there are cheap(er) ways to do it without costing a fortune. i’m not loaded. the most important thing for me is to change your mind/ your perspective on a situation. and anything mundane and “boring” can actually become simple pleasures. you don’t need to travel the world to realize this. just explore your own city. i’ve also started running and eating healthier. hoping it sticks for me..

  26. floreta says:

    i have a similar story. grew bored of where i lived and where i worked. got fired. became unemployed and started traveling. :) i realized you actually don’t need a lot of money to travel. while it still is essentially a luxury, there are cheap(er) ways to do it without costing a fortune. i’m not loaded. the most important thing for me is to change your mind/ your perspective on a situation. and anything mundane and “boring” can actually become simple pleasures. you don’t need to travel the world to realize this. just explore your own city. i’ve also started running and eating healthier. hoping it sticks for me..

  27. Adam says:

    @floreta – you definitely don’t need a lot of money to travel. it is what you make it. you can make any number of changes (big or small) to make life more interesting.

  28. Adam says:

    @floreta – you definitely don’t need a lot of money to travel. it is what you make it. you can make any number of changes (big or small) to make life more interesting.

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