author moments

Just 31 Days

Here we are at year number three for this kid. Year number three of what you might ask? Why, it’s my January reflection list.

In January of 2019, I wrote this list up on the wall. My list of highlights and lowlights of the month. the first month of the year. A reflection point. A new tradition.

A year later in 2020, I hit repeat. I did again. Oh how life seemed so different back then. Just a year ago. Just one year ago. Life was so different. Who would have known a pandemic was on the horizon. A pandemic that would still be wreaking havoc a year later. Certainly not me. But here is the value of my list.

I have an opportunity to revisit where I was then vs where in am today. Am I still breathing? Yes. Am I still learning? Yes. Am I still celebrating life each day? Yes. Did I suffer loss in the past year? Yes I did. Am I able to share my stories with the world? Yes. Is there a value in the list? Yes.

My value is tremendous to me personally. I didn’t realize it at the time. I didn’t realize how important the calendar reminder I set in Outlook would be either. I just didn’t think my future self would need to revisit the past. I may now realize the past doesn’t define us. Especially if we stumble or make mistakes. However it does shape us. It may even toughen our skin at times. It gives us experience. Life experiences have value.

Below is my 2021 list in no particular order. It’s my honor to share this list with my readers and those who look back at this stamp in time. My virtual time capsule entry.

  1. I booked a plane ticket.
  2. I settled an estate.
  3. I put a house under contract to purchase.
  4. I put a house under contract for sale.
  5. I reviewed investment opportunities.
  6. I got a new certification for my professional life.
  7. I wrote blog posts.
  8. I applied for PPP for my small business. An acronym I never knew about a year ago!
  9. I got a cool new calendar with lots of F$&! words in it for 2021.
  10. I attended high tea with some sweet friends.
  11. I planted flowers on my farm.
  12. I invested in a glamping site.
  13. I watched my youngest make her first varsity sport in high school.
  14. I tried meal prep food from a new provider.
  15. I worked out a bunch training for a national competition.
  16. I coached some amazing people this month in life.
  17. I redecorated a cabin on a whim.
  18. I finished some renovation projects that were lingering.
  19. I learned to fly a drone.
  20. I was a big supporter/cheerleader for somebody who needed a big boost.
  21. I tried new foods.
  22. I tried to be purposeful in my time.
  23. I dealt with digital school days.
  24. I dealt with in person school days.
  25. I supported those in quarantine.
  26. I made valiant attempts to stay healthy and corona free.
  27. I got mad. Plenty of times.
  28. I felt exhausted after hard workouts.
  29. I started each day as a new day.
  30. I committed to writing this list.
  31. I got my nails done.

The list is by no means all-inclusive. It’s a snapshot. A glimpse. A memory list. I definitely did not know the value my January list would bring me in 2021 when I began this process in 2019. However, here I am excited to turn my life pages to see what 2022 will bring. 

No matter what failures or celebrations come my way, I will write about them. It’s my list of I did’s. There is nothing on the list about I didn’t because I always try. Remember I don’t live in the past dwelling on what didn’t go my way. I move on. 

New president is yesterday’s news. Corona is a headline of last year. 2020 is a piece of history. My hope is that you make a list. Maybe it’s a February list. Maybe it’s a top five list. Whatever you decide, commit to it. You will enjoy the process. I’m enjoying my process three years later.  

No tattoo and no weighted vest yet. Both are in the planning stages. More to follow on those stories in the future.

giving

Life

A big sigh. A deep and hearty breath was expelled. A yawn. Another big sigh. A controlled exhale.

Here I am before bed. In my super comfy pjs. It’s late on a Friday night. No big plans on the calendar tonight as it’s been a long week. My adorable fluffy dog at my feet. The most loyal companion that ever did live. She missed me today. I had a Zoom call that took me away from her for a good bit midday and an errand in the afternoon. She missed me terribly. Oh, and I missed her too. Guilty as charged. All is good as we wind down for the evening. We are reunited and calm because we have each other. Just being present is what matters. Just being present. 

When one is present there is no worry. No anxiety. No stress. No silence. No wondering when one will be back. A calm. A reassurance. A beautifully peaceful place in time. Can you picture this in your mind?

As we have each other I think of many who miss loved ones or miss out on true connections or companionships. Life happens. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. I wish it was but there are more thorny paths in life than I care to share. However I will always find ways to shift to positivity in life.

I’m currently working with a person who is single raising a young child. This person is amazing in so many ways and is doing the best for their child. Sometimes the two that make the miracle end up being better apart. In this case it’s definitely for the best for many reasons.  As the single parent/child duo emerged from the thorny road they travelled for too long, the puzzle pieces were left scattered. Not just on a table. Literally scattered to the point one had to search high and low for the pieces to put them back together. This is life for them. Many twists, turns and more thorns. 

Unfortunately, a cheering squad is missing as they out the life puzzle back together. Maybe it’s the ex’s side who fails to show up for visits today. Maybe it’s the temporary accommodations at night.  Maybe it’s just the lonely road of single parenting another day. Maybe is the constant juggling act with school shutdowns and balancing work/home all by oneself thanks to Corona. Maybe it’s missing the parental figure that was lost before the grandchild arrived. So many obstacles. So little support. Or so it seems to the one carrying the heavy load.

Fortunately I am there. Jumping up and down, cheering from a far, offering a listening ear, and so much more. Today more than ever I recognize people need people. In many different ways at different times. Companionship, trust, love, loyalty and overall presence. It seems simple in concept but many miss opportunities be present for others. The chance to be present in life. Or be a present to that person in need.

For me, I feel the universe whispers to me at times. The special times when certain people around me need to have a friend. A support. An outsider looking in. A new perspective. An unbiased party. I am to others what my dog is to me. I may not be all snuggly, cute and fluffy but I’m purposeful in my undivided attention to the needs of others.

My dog is purposeful in her loyalty to me. She recognizes I care for her. I support her. Much like a child relies on a parent. A parent needs support at times as well. In the case above I mentioned the single parent scenario. Another scenario may be an aging parent who needs the support of their adult child. The support that is just being present. No parent wants to feel like they are a burden.

Do you have a friend to family member you could do a better job being present for? Why not make present and see how much that gift is appreciated?

challenges, dare to be different

Opportunities and Obstacles

Deep breath…..

Sometimes life puts obstacles in front of us to see how we can hold up through challenges. The roars of 2020 were not for the weak in mind, body or spirit. Even the strongest and bravest souls faced some kind of adversity.

Oddly enough any obstacle can be turned into an opportunity. For me one area was coaching. How to coach through a pandemic. An obstacle to some but an opportunity to many. Nothing in a text book that I can recall on how to push through a pandemic, but that’s okay. I figured it out and am working on it daily.

As I coach I also get to share my tactics with others. Today when my efforts were validated, I got to grin knowing 2020 didn’t wipe me out. It showed me how to be resilient. It also made me more aware of the importance of sharing my successes with others. 

I am resourceful. Years of experience. A variety of tools in the tool box and each affords me the luxury of having options. Each option or path leads to an opportunity. An opportunity is what you make of it. Sharing this outlook with others will create a domino effect. 
Take a chance.

And if for some reason you missed a good opportunity, another one will come along, I promise. The key is don’t wait the next time. Seize the opportunity. Discover obstacles. Turn obstacles into non-issues. New opportunities will then keep branching off.

Trust the process.

Take chances.

Don’t be scared to learn from a missed opportunity either. It’s just like a baseball game. You can’t win every game played forever. The odds lead to some losses. And losing is okay as long as you spin it into a learning opportunity. 

My favorite business question is: if you could start over again what would you do differently? 9 out of 10 times there is a list of changes. Those are the strong leaders. Those who can’t see an opportunity from a failure will say I’d change nothing. I have unfortunately met many like the latter.

Let 2021 be a year of you. Your obstacles. Your opportunities. Your chances. Your experiences.

Don’t let Debbie Downers steer you away from chance. A chance is an opportunity for you to be great. I know many who will not take a chance in today’s uncertain times. I stand celebrating those folks as they give me more choices in which opportunity I will take and seize. 

Here’s to living for obstacles and opportunities in 2021 and beyond. Experience life. Your way.

challenges

I’m Not Afraid

I’m not afraid of burpees anymore.

I am no longer dreading 72 burpees in workout because I’ll be the slowest to complete them.
I am no longer completely wiped out by burpees. 10-15-20 easy peasy.

It might have taken me over 1,200 burpees in a short period of time to realize this. I learned practice makes perfect or it definitely builds confidence in your weak or feared movements.

In the past, I would do pushups instead of burpees in a workout. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do them. I didn’t want to do them. I would just prefer not to do burpees. I took the easy way out time and time again.

Then one day I said yes to a burpee challenge online. Little did I know that burpee challenge would teach me to endure in many ways. Little did I know it would help me stabilize my breathing while doing burpees with other movements. Little did I know my fear wasn’t worth fearing anymore.

I slowed down enough to take it all in. To practice vs. rush through. I am still not fast at burpees and never will be thanks to my hip mobility but I can get them done in much larger sets. I am not that graceful when I do burpees either. They are what I call sloppy burpees.

Nonetheless I can drop and do 5-10-15-20 or more at my pace without hesitation. I may not love to do them but I can and I will because they have provided many benefits in a short time.

My bench press one rep max has improved. All those extra burpees have caused me to push my body weight up from the ground repeatedly, increasing my pushing strength without me noticing. On that same line, my push ups have improved drastically. My overall form. My endurance. My strength. My ability to do unbroken sets with strong form in my core.

When we mention core muscle, I recently started doing more planks. Not a movement I’ve feared but one I really don’t like to do: well guess what I noticed my time for holding the plank and the the firmness of the plank itself has also improved. Crazy to think how much consistency plays a role in success.

Consistent and persistent are two words that are forever defined in my life in many ways. Sometimes you need to slow down in one area of life to see how you can adapt consistency and/or persistence in other areas.

Trust the process of life. Absorb the learning experiences around you. Test your limits often. Growth comes when you are stretched, fatigued and out of your norm.

Change your surroundings. Try something new. Challenge yourself to do hard things you fear. Growth is a mindset. Sometimes it takes practice. Consistent practice yields results. 

giving

Cheering People On Who Need It

You never know who it might be.

Maybe it’s the co-worker everyone finds annoying because they seem to be so hypersensitive about the pandemic and germs and social distancing and sanitizer.

Maybe it’s the colleague who shows up on time every day to his job, doesn’t necessarily go above and beyond but quietly and dutifully does what is required.

Maybe it’s the person who is constantly cheering everyone else on. Posting photos with wide smiles. Positive quotes.

I know each of these people. And I know they are each suffering in their own ways. Do you know these people? When you look around, really look, do you see them?

Yes, I have that co-worker who keeps his door closed. Who was afraid to come back to work and still has those fears but needs the income and benefits. Who people roll their eyes about in conversation because he wants his room cleaned multiple times per day.

So what did I do? I wrote him a thank you note. I complimented his work to my boss. I went out of my way to appreciate him. He is not having an easy time.

The person who is always positive? Once in a while she gives a glimpse into her struggles. She drops a hint. But then she keeps on encouraging. I see a bit of myself in her. Or the person I hope to be. I try to tell her often how much she is a light in my life. It reminds me of someone like Robin Williams, among others, who seemed so funny and light and full of life. Sometime there is struggle there. Who might be putting on a brave face?

It’s the “in the middle” or “under the radar” people I have been trying to look out for lately. Those who are just going through the motions. Nothing unusual. No big highs or red flags. Maybe they’re just kind of invisible.

How are they holding up? Are they barely holding it together? I worry about forgetting people. I worry about people feeling alone and forgotten. When I text to check in on someone and it’s been a month since I’ve heard, I know I need to do better.

I have the fatigue that many others do. The whole thing is wearing on me. My gratitude muscles are sort of flabby. They aren’t as strong as they used to be. I need to keep reaching, stretching, and extending them.

Look around you. Do you see any of these people? How can you give them a lift, show appreciation, let them know they are seen?

The holidays will continue. Think of some unique ways you can lift people up in these draggy times.