challenges

The 2020 Ta-Da List

2020 was a year that upheaved many goals. Maybe it was the rules changing about where we can go and what we can do. Maybe it was shifting priorities from getting out and going to just hunkering down and staying safe. Maybe it was self-imposed or created limits of mental exhaustion and the like.

Whatever the reason, 2020 pulled the rug out from our runway of dreams. The universe laughed at our plans. Goals had to shift. Travel, work, adventure, all kinds of things had to pivot.

I looked back at my goals and in a conventional sense, I didn’t meet them. I’m not giving myself a pass because life got hard. It is what it is. But, inspired by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to make a little “Ta-Da!” list, which reminds me that despite my 2020 challenges, things still got done.

  • I maintained my fitness regimen, moving my body pretty much daily. Most of the time this meant working out at home or in the gym, but I also started hiking more often and put many miles on my bike.
  • I took a more active role in my personal finances, learning how to move money around and make it work.
  • I partnered with trusted friends to purchase the property for 3Splitz Farm. We navigated the first stages of planning and implementing the vision for our rustic paradise.
  • I started a new business of my own.
  • I established a 501(c) and led that organization through a successful first year.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I read lots of books.
  • I parented my kids through a trying and confusing time in their lives.
  • I maintained several of my health priorities: eat well, drink well, connect.
  • I lifted up my friends and loved ones to lighten their mental loads.

2020 wasn’t what I expected, and 2021 won’t be either. Some of these accomplishments weren’t on my radar at all this time last year. This has all informed how I am thinking of my goals this year. Leave a little more room to move, to play, to grow.

I had to stop myself from writing the “shadow truths” about each of these goals. For most of these bullet points, there is something I could have written as a “but…” But ta-da lists shouldn’t come with qualifications. These are what they are, and many are a start. Several appear in my goals for 2021, to enhance, improve, and expand.

What’s on your ta-da list for 2020?

dare to be different

Growth

This year I grew a lot. I physically grew a lot when I added that extra Corona cooped-up-all-day poundage. I grew emotionally when I battled the loss of many loved ones in isolation amidst a pandemic. I grew socially by deepening my connections with those around me. It was a growth year for me overall.

Growth doesn’t have to always do with money or wealth to define success. Growth happens in many stages of your life when you are most vulnerable. It’s the sweet spot of vulnerability that allows for the biggest growth to happen in my mind.

An area I challenged myself to grow this year was unlikely. Many shook their head in wonder, disbelief or just a bit of a why attitude. That’s okay. Let others wonder and watch while I grow. While I grow in many ways.

As my mindset shifts so do my priorities. As kids age, time frees up, and exploration begins. The mature adult in me gets to try to conquer new things that may have been out of reach with kids in tow or otherwise.

My future is bright for many reasons but one area I’m most excited about is growth. Look for future posts on growing from nothing to something. From something to big things. I am for sure a visionary. Hope you stay tuned for my growing tales.

It’s also a good sidebar note – when you grow others may notice. It may ignite a spark in them to level up. It could be your child. Your coworker. Your friend. Anyone observing from a distance. Growth can be infectious.

3Splitz Farm, adventure

Go for Launch

 

The final countdown is here.

We have our mission, our flight plans.  We’ve been preparing for months. After assorted detours and delays, we are finally loaded up and ready to launch.

We all know our jobs.  The team is working together. A functioning crew doesn’t need 5 pilots.  We have one pilot.  Then we have people who manage equipment.  People who execute plans.  People who support.  And then there are the people who carry along all the little science experiments. People who clean up the spills.  People who pack the snacks and make us laugh. People who cheerlead.  All have their roles.

We also know we will have to learn and support the mission and each other in unexpected ways as the flight goes on. Roles may change and expand. As Matt Damon says in a great line from The Martian, there will be times we will have to “science the shit” out of issues, situations, etc. Unpredictable things will happen. We are charged up to flex our problem solving muscles and figure some things out.

We are strapped in. Fueled to the hilt. Liftoff may be a little bumpy.  We might see some sparks as we burn through our usual atmosphere.

But how fun will it be to get to weightlessness?  To push through into something we’ve never experienced?  To really reach a new frontier?  To go where no chicks have gone before?

Hold on tight. We are go for launch.

 

dare to be different

Puzzles

“Raise your hand if you’re a puzzle person,” I said, shaking a jigsaw puzzle box.

It’s a request I made at the beginning of a staff training I did a couple of years ago.  Maybe a third of the hands in the room shot up.  Everyone else either shook their heads “no way” or shrugged.

How do you become a puzzle person, I asked?  Those who shot their hands up said things like, we did them as a family growing up.  My friends and family told me I was good at them. Puzzles take time, sometimes collaboration, and persistence to achieve a goal.

For puzzle people, puzzles are associated with good feelings and success.  Those feel-good experiences can contribute to what we we are good at and who we are, or rather, who we think we are.  Most of the non-puzzle people simply didn’t grow up doing them or got frustrated a few times and decided (or were told) they weren’t good at them to begin with.

So it goes with many things.  From a young age, the things we spend time on and feel successful at (whether we learn that from experiences or what we are told) shape who we think we are and what we say we are good at.

As for me, I was told I was smart, good at school, and naturally skilled at test taking. These didn’t require too much effort from me.  I breezed through my early years and took in the accolades.

But, I wasn’t really a puzzle person.  I focused on the things that came easily for me, and whatever didn’t come easily I learned to avoid.  Unlike many puzzle people, who learn to try, try again, and even set things aside when they get frustrated or stuck and return to the puzzle later, I had little persistence or resilience in the face of adversity.

Well, as of this moment (at my not-so-young age) I am raising my hand and declaring myself a puzzle person.

I am embracing the problems I face as puzzles to be figured out instead.

I don’t have to have it all solved immediately.  It doesn’t even have to come easily.  As I make myself vulnerable more often and take on bigger, more complicated tasks, I know I have to remind my mind not to get frustrated or shut down.  I may have to be coached (which means – eek! – being coachable, which I am decidedly NOT when I am feeling overwhelmed, afraid, or out of my depth). Like riding a bicycle, then trying to do a trick or two, I may flop.  The world will not end and I can try again.

I’m shaking life’s box of problems as puzzles, dumping out the pieces, searching for the corners and the edges.  I don’t really have a full picture of what it will look like in the end for reference, but that’s all part of the process.  It will be beautiful, whatever it becomes.

 

 

 

dare to be different

Mundane

The word mundane may be used more often during corona times than in the year before when people look at their lives.

Living in the confines of your home 24:7 for an extended period of time with limited access to other humans, socializing, touch and so much more. I’m sure many can relate.

However, there are some who live a mundane lifestyle year-round. They never bend or flex. They don’t seek change and they exist within the normalcy of their mundane life.

The perfectly manicured lawn. The impeccably made bed. The spotless sink. The routine. The regimen. The mundane life.

Is growth possible when all is predictable? Is it possible to chase perfection in the mundane lifestyle or will you wait forever to reach perfection?

If I view my life from a distance I’m more gypsy-driven compared to mundane. I’m eager to chase change. I love a messy bed or a more lived-in look. If I was to mow the lawn I wouldn’t follow the perfect pattern, rather I’d chart my own path. I’d opt for a paper plate and utensils to save dish clutter. I don’t travel in a gypsy pack but I enjoy the carefree lifestyle over rigid and mundane.

Work tasks on my mundane list are mostly accounting tasks or repetitive duties that require little or no independent thought. I could make widgets but I wouldn’t enjoy being a widget maker. I can post accounting transactions but for the love of God I could not be a full time accountant.

When I had time to sit back in corona and evaluate my own circumstances I looked at my Crossfit regimen. Definitely mundane from a schedule or routine perspective but I always defended the choice noting the constantly varied workouts of the day. But then I looked closer and Mondays were leg days, Tuesdays were chest and back and so on. I had to shake up my life and challenge myself.

Enter running. I’m not a runner by design. I’m a thick fit but I am opting for trail runs with switch backs and diversity a couple days a week. I’m opting to use my bike. A road bike some days and erg another. Body weight exercises at home some days and some strength activities in between. It’s not perfect but it’s me stretching. It’s me breaking the mundane cycle. I don’t think I’m alone here. I think many have shifted their workouts to take advantage of online training options and variety within their environment.

I may circle back in time but to be true to myself I need to evoke change. Even if minimal it’s required for me. Variety is my spice of life. When I glance at the last 10 years of life I can say I have been evolving. Mastering the chaos in my world. Charting my path toward my golden years with freedom and variety to not only reduce the mundane in my life but to seek pleasures that stimulate my mind.

Some people just can’t be overly routine. Take a partitioned Murph routine in Crossfit. 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 squats for 20 rounds. Talk about a hamster wheel. Every time I try to partition that workout I have to change it up at the end. 15 pull-ups, 30 pushups and 45 squats. I just can’t mentally push through the redundancy of the same pattern for 20 rounds. This is crazy to me and a mundane task I will try to overcome in time but it’s a noticeable trait I have. Change is my normal. It feeds my soul.

We have one life to live. It’s important to live our best life while continuing to grow as individuals. Growth doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. It happens when you test the water or temperature just outside of your proverbial box. This was my recent view when I opted to step outside.

I am not a word wizard by any means however word usage can be fascinating due to the depth of their usage. I write as a constant form of change and exploration of life. Thanks for coming along for my ride/journey.

As I wrapped up this post the mail came. In comes a what seemed like barrel full of affirmative words on a tiny postcard sent by a dear friend. I was born to be an original. I couldn’t have said it better myself. No copies allowed. No mundane for this girl.

 

Until next time.