celebrations, dare to be different

50 and a half

Year fifty has been nifty thus far or maybe shifty or maybe drifty.

I started out with such big plans for my big celebration year. The planning even involved the year leading up to the big 5-0. Some items are crossed off the list. Some are sitting on the sidelines for now. 

No matter what big plans were dreamed up it seems like I’m really just seizing the moments with a new appreciation on life. The not waiting to do. The not wondering what others think. The not finding reasons to not do while I can do. The biggest reflection of that was my summer of 2022.

I planned. I shifted. I completely changed things up. I added. I deleted. I winged it all. I took chances that sometimes I wouldn’t because my stable brain would say no. When I reflect I sigh big and am ever thankful. Summer of 2022 was about new kinds of risks. New to me. Some scary. Some just different.

Appreciative of the the time. The places. The people. The experiences. The spontaneity. The memories. The knowledge. All of it. I grew by leaps and bounds and stretched to new limits. I had to trust and rely on myself more than ever.

From a random concert experience with my 83 year old mom to a cross country trek with my youngest to the Pacific Northwest. I have written about many stories but not all stories. During these glorious days there have also been sad and trying days.

Loss of time with loved ones. Challenges that many will never face emotionally. Financial investments that went down the toilet. Let downs in many forms. Takers trying to suck joy from your being. Balancing work deadlines among the chaos. Also those casting judgment for living my best life. 

The good. The bad. The ugly. Everything in between and tangled in my web of life. Everyday we have a choice to live life to the fullest. Everyday we have a choice to move or sit idle. Everyday we have a choice to do or not do. I may do more than others but it’s always a choice. A choice I make. One day I may be confined to a chair or couch. That day I won’t have a choice. Today I have the choice thus you won’t find me wasting time on the coach wondering about what ifs. I will just be off doing.

As I hit 50 and one half I think I am settled in who I am. Who I will become. Who I won’t be. The quiet confidence of being me is what I enjoy most about flipping the calendar to the year 51 and beyond. I get to choose my adventure. My timelines. My companions.

I get to choose where to spend my money. I get to choose my hobbies. I get to decide what is next for me. I can support the dreams of others if want to. Some may judge. Others may be envious. Some might sit by and watch from their couch. That’s okay. It’s not their story. It’s my story.

I write and live my story in the public eye. That is my choice as well. One day my writings will be all that is left when my story stops being written. But just because the writing stops doesn’t mean the living won’t continue. My stories will continue to breathe life to others. They may even spur an adventure bug in those who read them. My photos. My words. My spirit will be carried on to others virtually.

Purposefully designed. A seed of sorts planted in the World Wide Web. My farming of life online. From seed to flower in my own special way. Fifty has been a great year to reflect, adjust and appreciate where I am. Who I am. What potential is still untapped. 

I’ve paused enough this year to see inside me for who I am. Now the fun will begin. Again. And again. Until the end. Signing off at 50 and a half. Looking forward to years 60-66-72-80-85-90-94-95-99. All of these numbers have significance. Let’s see which ones I hit.

challenges

Decisions, Decisions

This year end has me faced with many decisions. Many things I really don’t want to deal with but have to because I’m a responsible adult.

Decision one involves updating the will and other legal documents for the family. I’m pretty sure this was on a to-do list before the pandemic so scratching it off the list is a good accomplishment. However the process of it is still a bit morbid as you are planning for what happens after you are gone and I’m not really ready to go anywhere so to speak. Just all around blah but a necessary step.

Round two gets more complicated. Of course anything involving people can be messy. Add negative environmental conditions and the plot thickens. I need to define my parameters for supporting a person rebuilding their life. I know what I should do but then emotions come in to play. I also can’t ignore the background noise of those who cast opinions on me.  It’s almost seems like I’m doomed no matter which path or decision I make on this one which is probably why I don’t want to deal with it! I also want to not look like an ATM machine while feeling like a doormat.

Next up is the birthday bash plan. Do I stay local? Do go regionally? Do I head off into the sunset for a grand adventure? I’ve been on the road a lot making travel seem meh at best but it’s a milestone birthday which has me leaning towards go big. Decisions. Decisions. I have just a short window to decide and I don’t want to rush my thoughts on this one. 

I also have many little decisions to make as well. Each decision is small in size yet intertwined with other little tidbits of life magnifying the complexity of the choice. My head is like a flowchart, decision tree, or maze thinking about the impact of each decision. I know I’m not alone in this arena but decisions are on my mind thus I wrote about the topic.

Hoping you had a great holiday season no matter how you chose to celebrate. Keeping it real in 2022 on this blog.

challenges

Problem Solving

Scenario 1: it’s 7am. You have an hour drive. You need to be on time for practice. You realize your bag is in your friend’s car. No time to retrieve it. Nobody is awake. Your team is expecting you.

Do you panic?

Do you curl up in a ball and cry?

Do you go back to sleep and say fuck it?

Do you expect somebody to resolve the conflict for you?

None of these options actually solve the problem. They just allow for self pity and postponement of the let down.

Scenario 2: It’s Sunday. You have the house to yourself. Football is on the TV. You have a chores list to do. You need to meal prep for the week and do the laundry.  You might even need to pay some bills or do some paperwork.

Do you lounge around all day?

Do you try to manage a little fun with your chores?

Do you do anything or just let the TV suck you in?

Do you expect others to pick up your slack when they return? What would you expect if your responsibility was to do the above? In today’s world many expect others to do for them. An entitlement of sorts.

What these folks don’t see is their inability to self motivate. The personal drive or push it takes when things are hard. Only a strong mind is capable of such. The weaker crumble. 

Do you see yourself as capable of self motivation? How do you manage your mind?

Scenario 3: You have a softball game midweek (Wednesday).

You have a work product due Thursday.

You have a formal event Friday and a party Saturday. A full schedule except Monday and Tuesday. A busy week. No time for error.

Do you screw around Monday and Tuesday because nothing is on your schedule?

Do you not turn in work project because you stayed out too late at softball?

Do you lack the foresight to plan ahead?

Can you see consequences down the road for poor planning?

I can see all of the bad that can happen in the scenarios above. I can see the shit storm ahead of time. Some can’t. Some live for today and seriously lack foresight. Those same people tend to lack problem solving skills which create an irony. 

I can avoid issues because I have foresight. I can also problem solve in a pinch. This seems to be both a blessing and a curse as some days I wish I had no accountability.
Those who struggle with foresight normally end up in sticky situations. A need for problem solving is right in front of them. It’s almost like a mountain of poop. A mountain one just stares at. Should I start scooping the poop? Can I even get to the end of the pile? Should I even try? If one can’t see the finish line it’s hard to muster up the courage and strength to push forward. The finish line is the reward. The triumph.

I just spring into action to resolve conflicts in my path. Those who struggle in this area hide or hit pause. They can’t leap forward without guidance or if they do move it’s normally in the wrong direction.

Is this genetics?

Is it laziness?

Is it the person has been spoiled and lacks independence?

I see the lack of foresight on the home front, the work front, the consulting front. It’s never ending. I often think of the root issues but in the end I just move on because one can never change another but one can lead by example. 

I always hope my lead inspires others. Maybe not everyone but some. For today I end this thought post with one word: goals.

I’ve never met a person with a goal of being lazy.

I’ve never met a person who who had a goal to intentionally let others down.

For those reasons I say some may need help with problem solving. If you have the skill set to help others see the finish line, show them the way. They might need to feel that success to move past the fear of rejection, failure, disappointment or whatever is stopping one from seeing the bright light of the finish line.

Remember a goal for this post is to help others get to their finish line. Help another solve their insoluble problem.

3Splitz Farm, author moments

Moments of Vacation

We’ve talked about life being lifey lately. In addition it’s just been a busy, hectic time. Sports leagues, long days at work, volunteer commitments, owning businesses and all that goes with it…it’s just kinda out of control these days.

My county had a true fall break this year for the first time. A glorious five-day weekend in the middle of my favorite time of year, the fall. When I saw this coming on the calendar, I imagined a quick trip to the coast for some salt and sand therapy. Or maybe a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the leaves change. A long hike in the great outdoors or laughs at Dollywood. I dreamed of a getaway.

Life being what it is, enough little commitments popped up that a getaway wasn’t in the cards this year. Just too much going on and the lure of catching up mixed in with a few poorly-timed “have tos” would keep me at home.

As I scrolled through the posts of colleagues and local friends who had hightailed it out of town to Disney or even Napa Valley, I had to reframe my mindset. Instead of being stuck at home pouting, how could I find those moments of vacation in my days?

Coffee Break: I love my coffee in the morning, but it’s generally on a timer. I have my two cups then I’m out the door. I decided to reframe my mind to think of an extra cup of coffee at a leisurely pace as a morning getaway. Even just a slower pace can be a helpful break.

Day trip: I went to a town I had never been to for a few hours to hang out / support / cheer on friends. I ate at a local bagel shop. I saw some new places and things to wonder about. It was less than two hours from home, but just taking that little trip made me feel refreshed from my day-to-day.

Appreciate nature: I had some things to take care of at the farm this weekend. Although I had work to do, I tried to remind myself to stop and appreciate the beauty of the dahlias and fresh fall air. I ate lunch outside on the porch. I took a few extra moments to breathe it all in and notice it.

Maybe noticing is the secret to finding those moments of vacation in daily life. Slower coffee, looking around a new place, taking a moment to observe and appreciate the nature that I often speed by on my way from task to task.

I do still feel that pull to take a trip, but for now these little vacation moments will tide me over. They are always there if I take the time to slow down for a minute and notice them. Yet another instance of how we can choose daily.

nature

Nature Spots

Today was a full day in nature. When I’m out and about in nature I like to snap photos to remember my time away. The time reflecting in nature. As I have aged I find these simpler times to be peaceful and worth capturing.

These stairs were a fun climb on this day. They were not evenly spaced. They were steep steps. They were winding and sometimes rocky. There were some sticks poking out at times as well. This picture is a cool memory of the climb after the wonderful view of the waterfall below.

This bridge was the halfway point on my recent hike. It was a wider than most bridges you pass on a hike but it was a great photo spot. Each side had different water views with varied rock formations. We definitely took some group photos in this spot, but I also enjoyed snapping the naked photo of just the bridge. The still moment without people was a good memory for me.

Now the bridge also also had a side that spilled over or filled the lower level and small falls. You could not have imagined from this view how breathtaking the pooled water would have been below. The blue coloring and surrounding rocks were super cool. The flow of the spillage was just right to create a small water fall.

The fork in the road. Which path is the better choice? For me we went down one way but came back the other way. This way nothing was missed. Traveling to new places is fun. You just go with the flow and embrace what path you end up on. Wonder how many could embrace that philosophy in life?

This water fall was so amazing to visit. It was cool to be here on a day with heavy rain. Mist and fog in the air. Raging water coming over the edge causing a spray like no other. It was refreshing to say the least. As you can see in the picture I enjoyed my climb to get close to the water for the full experience.

If you are unable to get into nature I hope that these pictures give you the virtual experience through my eyes. Opting outside is one of my favorite pastimes. I also love exploring with others. Just hanging out or hugging a tree.