celebrations, challenges

The Last Hoorah

Every year I take a glance back at that year I’m in around October first. I celebrate. I reminisce. I shake my head. Then I say boom this is what I’m going to accomplish for the remaining days of the year and here is how I’m going to set myself up for success in the upcoming year.

This year is a little different. When I look back I sigh. I celebrate all that has been endured. I shake my head at the insanity. I high five myself for conquering fears and trying new things. I reminisce on this and that. I sigh again and say when is this year over. The shit show has been constantly flowing all damn year. I looked forward to 2022 but now that it’s here I think okay it’s time to go and hit 2023 ever so fast.

Three loose ends dangling in the air. I have to be in limbo until each gets sorted out. Each has its own set of complexities, costs, consequences, and of course risks. The end of year trips are less than exciting. More have to’s than want to’s. Family away for the holidays. I seem to be missing the wow factor to finish out the year. Maybe it’s a new kind shit show that hasn’t hit my radar yet, but hopefully not.

As I take out that calendar for 2023 I see some blah on the horizon in January. A roadblock to maneuver in February. A pivotal decision in March. What I don’t see is the break in the chaos. I see higher expectations. I envision bigger shoes to fill. And then there is taxes. Another thing I love to hate come April.

I guess 2022 didn’t wow me. I’m thinking 2023 won’t wow me as I’ll be recovering from a 2022 hangover. I’m going to have to find some creative mechanism to help shovel the shit for the year ahead because it still looks like shit is going to be around me in droves. Maybe that is just the hint of manure I smell at the farm? As I revisited the post as I do all my writings I thought to myself I don’t really need to post this rant but that’s exactly why I do.

When I began this post I was wallowing in the pitiful mess of life. However reading, revisiting and revising was very beneficial for me. Not only the writing but in life. I allowed myself to be reviewed. I made note of some things I could control and jumped on them.

I added a little sunshine to my end of year. I put a little hope on the horizon. I said no to something I really wanted to show self discipline. As an added bonus others around me became inspired in ways I didn’t see coming. Actions have meanings. We may not always know what or why at the beginning but in the end if you are open to growth you can see. Funny how life works.

In a short 24 hours I saw motivation, action, desire, support, and those around took notice. You do become what you surround yourself with: your environment. Your people. Your motivation. Your success. Each hinges on the other. My final note to you is simple:

Step away. Do something spontaneous. Enjoy the moment. Everything will still be there when you return. You just might see things a little differently to endure the shit show for longer or maybe even find a way out of the rabbit hole.

adventure

Paddle N Float

Went on a family adventure to kayak the Broad River outside Athens, Georgia. It was a great balance between paddle and float with a few surprises along the way.

The start might be my favorite part. You get your kayak and slide down a hillside covered in a tarp to the bank of the river. Such a fun way to start an adventure. I could do that every day. It’s also fun to watch others come down the hill. The shrieks. The smiles. The giggles. The no hands and so on.

On to the launch of the kayaks. Easier for some than others but a little feeling of relief when you don’t dump out fo the kayak. Off we go. Paddle. Float. Lay back in the saddle and float with your head to the sky. Paddle. Float some more. Four hours of excitement, nature, and peace. Just you to move your kayak at your pace. Unless somebody towed you.

From the fish jumping nearby to the many turtles you see sunbathing, you are immersed in nature. You can stare at the swirls in the water one minute and move past a rock or even a log in the next minute. Shallow water to deep water. Sand banks, small beach like banks, and cool rocks to have a snack on.

Then there are the rapids. Some big. Some small. They are trickier to manage In some areas compared to others. Some big sections have audiences watching to see if you take a spill. And yes my kiddo did. Pure shock for her but hilarious to witness. Nobody was hurt which is also good.

Then you can get stuck on a rock covered in moss. Slick is an understatement. You use all your muscles to unwedge your kayak. It’s exhausting. And normally rapids follow that you just paddle hard through. We had a great experience, but exhausting.

After the four hours you climb out at a marked bank and load your kayak onto a bus with a kayak carrier. You sit for the 6 or so miles back with wet strangers all chatting about their day on the river.

Unplug. Connect in nature. Enjoy the sunshine. Maybe listen to a little music on your float while catching a few rays. Today was a little sunshine and a little cloud cover. A perfect mix for a day outside.

Time to dry off and conquer something else later in the day. What adventure can you tackle within an hour of your home? Go get to adventuring.

anonymous letters

Jab and Duck

I’ll refer to the boxing terms jab and duck for this post. Keeping in mind it will always be the jab from another and a duck from my side. Meaning I don’t pick the fight, I defend. Simply stated I will defend my honor, pride, family, friends, and property.

I counted about twelve jabs but I really wasn’t counting per se which means the number is probably much higher. With each jab I ducked or dodged the jab. These are not physical jabs at my body as in a fist fight rather they are jabs that are almost like a dagger to your heart, your soul, your mind, your family, your property and such. It’s about as real as a fight gets without the live boxing match.

I always go to brain over brawn. Some may think otherwise if they saw me in person however its true. One can always outsmart the opposition with knowledge, strategy and a calm, cool and collected self. Sometimes patience is the key to success. Sometimes fast action is critical. Wit is always required.

I find it humorous that time and time again the little turtle pokes its head out to snap at me. Covered in a hard shell to protect itself thinking I would retaliate with a rock or something. Nope, not worth my time or energy. But when the snap comes out to bite or pinch or jab at me, I will welcome the invitation to show my wit.

My brain not my brawn. My clever and detailed side. The one that never leaves a stone unturned. The one thing others should fear the most in me. It’s my hidden talent. My ability to handle the shittiest of situations and make sunshine prevail. Many can and will try to steal my sunshine or other other items they may want, but if I’m not ready to give those items away a fight will ensue.

My jabs will hurt. My jabs will come from off angles. My jabs will be unexpected. My jabs will never touch one’s skin but they will be felt to the core. Maybe it’s the emotional core I’ll hit. Maybe it’s the mental toughness I’ll prey on. Maybe I’ll do nothing and let the silence eat oneself. My choice. My fight. My desire to win fast or slow. 

The moral of this story is don’t pick a fight with me. It’s not a wise choice. I can sit dormant and wait for the guard to go down to retaliate. I’m always aware. I’m always watching. I’m never too busy to take care of unfinished business.

If you read this and wonder if it’s about you, it might just be. I suppose you’d have to ask me directly if you wanted the answer. Funny thing is I know you only peek out from your turtle shell now and again and you certainly don’t do it with fear in your eyes. You only do it when nobody is watching. Or you think nobody is watching.

Such a weird post for me to write since I often coach people not to fear. However if you are not on my good side I am really one you should fear. What an irony.

For now I’m working on my dodges and ducks. Staying up on my toes dancing around life waiting for my time. My time to jab. Indirect jabs. Keenly accurate jabs. Deep jabs.

Be ready. Sunshine is coming. The little turtle has no chance. My options to exercise control and power almost seem limitless. It’s unfortunate that the turtle can’t see past itself to see this. 

challenges

The Real Struggle

The struggle is real in life sometimes. I confidently state this based on experience and nothing less. Maybe I should say the struggle is real for many in life, daily. Different obstacles. Different battles. Different consequences. Different choices. Just a different set of variables that create the real struggle.

Anxiety is real.

Depression is real.

Fear is real.

Anger is real.

The list could go on and on. Sometimes it’s one struggle. Sometimes the struggles are intertwined like a tangled web. When multiple challenges hit at once the struggle compounds and many feel helpless. It may take a special person in their life to help them find the hope they need to see or feel to push through the barriers of tangled web. This person could be you. Always be ready to help others.

Today I had a struggle. I was angry. I couldn’t let my anger go. My anger hand many prongs.

I knew better than to let anger steal my joy. My time. My energy. My productivity. Despite knowing I held onto it for longer than needed. I knew my anger spilled over to others around me. This poor choice didn’t define me, rather it consumed me. It took a few unexpected wrinkles in my day to realize I could just let it go. Bye Felicia. It was like my day started over at that moment. A fresh start of sorts at almost 4:00 pm after I was no longer consumed by anger. 

Then a shift to an in-person encounter a few hours later. There was a need. I could aid in the solution. I was called to duty. A young life needed my support. My time. My me energy. My positivity. I was on it. I knew what needed to be done and I plowed through the action items. This struggle was different in content or context but in reality the let shit go aspect was a common denominator. The struggle was addressed despite the curve balls of the day. If I didn’t let go of my anger I might not have had enough mental clarity to help this young person. A good reminder to just let shit go that is weighing you down.

As I winded down for bed a close friend hit the “phone a friend” line. I was there on the other end. I listened with curiosity. We set boundaries. We discussed the value in seeing beyond 5 feet ahead. The what’s on the horizon visual. Hope was offered. Hope is free. Hoping for a better day tomorrow. Hoping for a new opportunity. Hoping to see what is ahead vs. focusing on what’s in the past. The past can’t be changed, but in the future you get to write your own story. A new chapter begins each day. It could be a happy chapter, a sad chapter, a progress chapter, a new beginning chapter or other fun stuff.

All three of these scenarios are real. The people are real. The problems are real. The pain is real. The struggle is real. Each chose the next chapter despite their burdens or struggles. Life’s path is never easy. Never uncomplicated. The adversity of life is part of the journey. Without struggles we could never learn about ourselves or others.

It’s easy to walk away from those who struggle. Many fear helping those who are struggling because it means sharing in their pain. Opt in. Offer to help others through the struggles. It doesn’t mean you need to give people money. It means you can help them see the sunshine in whatever is holding them back or weighing them down.

Do your part. Offer hope in any form.

This post is dedicated to my gal Patty. May everyone have the power of Patty as they overcome their next obstacle in life. 

awareness, nature

Chasing Sunshine

Some days you just need to take a break and enjoy the sunshine or should I say chase the sunshine. It could be taking a walk. Maybe taking a hike is more your speed. For me today it was just sitting in the sunshine. Not doing anything per se.

It was a cool crisp day but the warmth of the sun took the chill out of the air. The breeze was calming. The leaves just ruffled as they blew side to side. Today is supposed to be the last day of sunshine as the gray skies are moving in. A winter cold front full of snow, ice, sleet or whatever shows up per the weatherman. Today is an odd day to sit outside yet it seemed perfect at the time.

Many I know are struggling for various reasons in life. Some have depression. Some are anxious with the pandemic still lurking around. Others have health issues in their family spiking beyond the pandemic. Many are stressed for one reason or another. Maybe this post will make its way to somebody who just needs a dose of sunshine. A ray of light on a dreary day.

If you are reading this today and needed to hear this message, step outside. Feel the sun on your face. Smile. Reflect. Enjoy what is great in your life right now. Put the worries aside. Focus only on the peace around you. Listen to the sounds. Think about how you could pass some virtual or homemade sunshine to another. Maybe a sweet email or text. Maybe a hand written card to friend. Maybe a cup of coffee for the car behind you at the drive thru.

While outside enjoying the sun, you may hear the panting of a playful dog. You might hear a bird chirping. You may hear the revving of car as it passes by. Whatever sounds are near, let them creep into your soul. These sounds can be beautiful if you listen with intent. Active listening is a skill that needs to be mastered by everyone. Sometimes stepping away from your crazy day or life even for a few minutes will allow time to regroup, breathe more deeply and set your mind at ease.

Chase that sunshine. Today and everyday. When you learn how to capture it, pass it on. One can even find sunshine on a cloudy day. You just might need to look a little harder or listen a little fiercer to feel its warmth.