Project 6

Recently I had some leisurely time to think about my life time clock. Where I had some voids. Where I could fill in some blanks with things I wanted to do. Some things I want to do now vs. later. Some things I hate spending time on. Where I could reshuffle or realign for maximum return on my overall time and/or productivity. It wasn’t too hard when I took out my notebook and made myself a list of actionable tasks.

Growth: I took into account some areas that I could grow and set a path to embrace the uncomfortable to favor the end result(s). This isn’t new but a reminder of sorts to stay on task for me. Nobody else tells me where or how to grow. Just me!

Travel: I put 2-3 destinations or types of trips on the soon to happen list. Passports are ready. Adventure is on the horizon. Here I may adjust my travel partners. Sometimes by choice. Sometimes based on availability. No matter where I go and with whom, I plan to live each trip to the fullest.

Fitness: I put a 5k on the books to start the process with some other events on the horizon. Chipping away at the me vs me project. When I make this a priority so many other areas of my life benefit. I have set a new goal for myself that will require a little effort. A little patience. A little flexibility. All of which results in a positive attitude.

Reflection: taking time here and there to reflect on the state of now, what’s on the horizon as well as what’s in the rear view. This process is continual and a critical part of how I live my life. Never sitting in one place for too long. Always adjusting to the new tides that roll in each day/week/month. Looking at yourself in this way requires you to see imperfections and make adjustments. A lot harder for some than others.

Accountability: I am a nerd for tracking things. Numbers, statistics, trends, and so much more. When I monitor or track performance I tend to see better results. Most of the time I hold myself accountable but I also have a trusted few that I have monitor me from a distance as a double check. Who holds you accountable in your life?

Writing: as I write here today, I think of how my time is utilized for virtual journaling. A shared space with the world yet sometimes the content is focused on the good, bad and ugly of my life. Truth bombs. Writing has purpose for me as my lens on life is different from many and why I continue to write and publish. Some writing is for purpose while other writings are for monetizing. Either way my words hold power and a it’s a role I cherish. Never underestimate the power of your words.

Reading: each day I spend some time reading. It may just be five minutes one day. It may be an article vs a book. It may be a research topic. Nonetheless I read and gain knowledge of sorts. I find this to a be a peaceful time for me. A starting point to my day. A slow roll into what can be busy and hectic days. Some do yoga to calm their mind and soul. For me the slow breathing and simple mindset used when reading is just as beneficial for me.

As I wrap up my initial post on project 6, I will let you in a little secret. Project 6 is six month journey of sorts for me. The ups/downs and everything in between for the next six months. As I wrap up my caboose prepping for college and having many last memories before the new chapter of her adult life, my role shifts. 

I have more time for me. I have more time to focus on things I want to pursue. I have the ability to choose with a shift in responsibilities. As my caboose heads out into her new world, so do I. My world is round and free flowing as should hers. Limitless opportunities for each in different stages of life. While I celebrate her I will also celebrate me as we journey slightly different paths of growth.

Project 6 will shift to project 12. Then the shift will be year 1. From there the tides may shift again. Only time will tell. Stay tuned as I craft some writings in each of these categories that touch on how I feel when I’m each of these stages or phases of life. My project folder will soon be full of content and memories. 

Stay tuned as each story unfolds. Also wishing my dad a heavenly birthday today. This post is in his honor as he provided me with so much inspiration to do me in life and I hope I do the same for my caboose.


Fail to Learn

Learn to fail.

Fail to learn.

Fail early.

Fail often.

Failure is the name of the game.

Life is like a series of mazes. Choices. Opportunities. Deadlines. Direct/indirect paths. So many options. With each choice in life there is an opportunity to fail. When you fail there is also an opportunity to learn. Capitalizing on learning through life’s failures is often a missed opportunity.

Sometimes we fail mentally. Sometimes we fail emotionally. Sometimes we fail physically. We can even fail socially. In today’s digital age social failures can have long standing impacts if not recognized. We all have a journey or a path in life. Each unique to the person. Some paths change in time while others stay constant for one reason or another.

I’m a trailblazer or sorts. A pathfinder. One that learns through discovery. A curious mind that enjoys exploration. The mundane is of no interest to me. The volatility of a day/week with constant change fuels my soul. Failure is a part of my daily game.

I fail as a parent. I fail often. The maze of life ensures my failure, in hopes I will learn along the way. Life isn’t perfect by any means. People are messy each and every day. Hope. Opportunity. Adventure. I seek it all. I encourage others to do the same. Living life to the fullest. The motto of my mom. Engrained in me. I choose to be different most days. I choose the less traveled paths. 

I don’t ask for approval. I ask forgiveness when needed. I stretch more than I’d like some days. I refrain on other days. It’s a delicate balance. I can’t ever change the world we live in or the people we mix with. I can however encourage others, spread joy, support and shine through my life experiences. Some written. Some portraits. Some live. Some even taped.

What are you doing to be a trailblazer in your own life? Do you encourage others? Do you choose to fail? Will you learn when you fail?

I dare you to think about this post and how it fits into your life. I dare you to have the courage to look deep inside for your own answers. For this is a maze of sorts for you. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s more of a self discovery exercise. The more you do it the more growth you will see.

Keep thinking.

Keep dreaming.

Keep changing.

Keep an open mind.

You can grow today and in the future if you think about the process in the form of a constant maze. The challenge of your life. You do the work. You set the parameters.

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Grow Bolder, Not Older

The 100th Day of School.

Full of fun and games, snacks and celebrations, all kinds of counting everywhere you turn.

And then the invitation to look like the theme: “Dress like you’re 100 years old.”

I’m trying to use what I already have…shop my closet if you will. So I grabbed a white bobbed wig from a recent adventure, then went to choose my clothes, which led to all kinds of imagining. If I live to 100, what would I want my life to be like? I had some of my mom’s old frocks from the 70’s. A muu-muu? A hospital gown?

As I often try to do, I responded to the call in an unexpected way. I knew from previous years that my colleagues would show up with walkers, medicine bottles, and curlers in their hair. But with my sassy white bob I thought to myself, what do I *want* 100 to be like? What am I working for right now?

If I had my way, I’d be living on a beach in a relatively modest home because I’d also be spending a lot of time in active travel. Globe trotting, enjoying life. Savoring sunsets. Life would be an actual parade, not just a parade of doctor’s appointments. And so I donned a colorful kimono over my leggings and sandals.

When I got to school, my hunches were spot on. As I floated around the hallway, I saw lots of gray hair spray, canes and crutches, frumpy fashion. Is this really what we have kids looking forward to? It’s no wonder being older has a stigma. If life is just a collection of pains and prescriptions, moving slow with things falling apart, who would be excited to get there? And how can we let them know that the decisions they make today can help them create the future they want to have, physically, mentally, emotionally and for their all-around health?

Many kids and even co-workers giggled when they saw my take on the theme. Some asked me about it…I just said I plan to be active, vibrant, and living my best life when I hit triple digits. I may not be able to control everything about aging, but I can control my attitude about it. I can control my eating habits and exercise. I can keep my mind nimble and my stress as low as I can. With that and some luck, hopefully I will avoid the walker and embrace the wanderlust.


It’s Finished!

The little project has come to an end.

No more measuring.

No more cutting.

No more blisters.

No more sawdust flying around my face.

The cleanup was pretty quick. Kept some scraps for the next project. Returned extra materials to Home Depot. Emptied the trash. Ran a quick vacuum and packed up the tools. Snapped a few more photos. Finished. 

Time to use the newly updated 120 square feet of space. Finished in the time allotted. Somewhat within budget. Recycled materials were used. Ideas were reworked many times. A little helper provided some labor along the way. Many songs were listened to while jamming and working. Evening and weekends spent hustling in a different way. Rain days got in the way a few times, but not too many.

Two trips to Home Depot. A few cuss words. No emergency room visits was a plus. Some tools were borrowed. A small power saw was purchased but will be reused on another project. Winter will require a small space heater for warmth (see above). Spring and fall will have a nice breeze with windows open. Summer will have a small Room air conditioning unit. Built on a budget. Built to be used. Built by me. Not perfectly designed but it’s perfectly useful. A great experience to learn and see the fruits of my labor. 

As I wrap up this DIY project, I definitely have a new appreciation for the construction industry. I also understand why there are specialized trades such as carpeting, painting, ceiling work, trim work, electrical, plumbing, etc. It’s hard to be good at everything. So many chances to get injured with a momentary lapse in judgment. 

From nothing to something. Building away. Lots of different types. Carpet. Metal. Trim. Walls. Insulation. It sure was a fun experience to knock out this little project. Two more projects to go. One planned. One unplanned. Just the way life goes I supposed. DIY trims the budget and allows one to do more with less. That’s where I am at on these little fix it jobs. Elbow grease and positivity will get you far in these kind of projects. A willing helper goes a long way, too.

I didn’t even mind cleaning at the end. Gave me a sense of completion. Happy 2023 to you!

challenges, change

Stand Back

Hands off.

Stand back.

Let things take their course.

This is hard for many of us when we are watching what could be a slow motion tragedy unfolding. It’s especially hard for helpers (see my enneagram for more). I want to help. I want to fix. I want to make it all better for the people I care about.

I have been a helper for as long as I can remember. Being a helper is alive in my profession. It’s alive in my volunteer positions. It’s key to how I shape my days. So telling me not to help is like telling me to not be myself.

I have grown to understand that I have to fill my own cup first. This was a big step for me. I can’t help others if I am empty myself. But this is different…In the past few years, I’ve heard the cries of friends telling me that sometimes doing for others really isn’t a help. It robs them of the chance to gain their own power, self-esteem, self-worth. Still, I had a hard time stepping away when people asked for my help. Heck, I even offered help when it wasn’t even asked for.

Push finally came to shove in a situation and I had to step back. The bridge to help was too wide to cross, so I somehow let it go. I worked through the guilt. The shame. The pain. And just let others take the reins of their troubles and their successes.

This enabling isn’t always an easy pattern to break, especially in the beginning. There is time and energy to redirect. All the feelings and urges have to be tamped down. It may sound a little self-serving to say it hurts not to help, but it’s true.

It has taken time. What has surprised me is hearing from loved ones that they don’t hate me or disapprove of me standing back. That secret worry has not come to pass, at least not to my face. If there are people out there who are disappointed in me, close up, far away, or even not with us anymore, they have not shared with me.

And after some time and restraint, it has been rewarding to watch people begin to take control of their lives. Is it an immediate success? No. There are bumps and setbacks and disappointments. I can try to be there to support during these times and listen. I can think about what is truly necessary and try to provide some of that. But I really default to staying back and letting the person sort it out themselves. They are strengthening their own muscles whether they like it or not.

I find myself becoming more self-reliant and independent in the wake of these decisions. I also feel a little less me, but I am living with that. I am learning what boundaries work for me and my resources…time, emotion, financial, and more.