The lure of YES

Performance reviews are coming up this week and I was given a two-page questionnaire to fill in. The main topic is about me and all the things I did this year. The first question intrigued me. ‘What are you most proud of?’ That’s easy but it isn’t polite to talk about yourself. Thinking back to my childhood I can tell you my grandma said it wasn’t polite to brag. But her mother always asked about me what I was good at. Her son (my papa bear) always asked about my day. What was good about it and what was not so good? At my old jobby job workplace, I was conditioned to do my job, keep my opinions to myself and do more with less.

I quit that place. It felt oppressive.

I’ve been with my current employer for thirteen months. I’m given the freedom to explore new ideas and express my opinion. Then they ask me what I think I’m good at. Finding words to talk about achievements is hard. No one ever wants to be that guy who is her own biggest fan. It took me two weeks to get the words out. I would have my evaluation opened in a window on my left screen and in between tasks I would go back to it and think about how to talk about myself.

I finished my evaluation today. The meeting is on Friday.  Oprah always asks her guests “What do you know for sure?” Well, Oprah, I will tell you. I know that I need to ask for what I want because no one is going to give it to me without the ask. I asked. I mapped out a plan. I set goals and I can visualize the end. I am prepared for no, but if they say yes? YES is an exciting future. YES opens new doors. YES is taking risks. YES is trying new things. Yes is harder to ask for. No is plodding along.  If no is the answer then I will keep asking because I believe in yes.

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2017: The Epic 50th Year

If you sat me down a year ago and asked me where I thought I might be December 29, 2017, I would not have guessed this. I think that is the biggest takeaway from this year is not knowing what is around the corner is normal and can have wonderful surprises.

I felt the sting of betrayal, the exhaustion of health issues, the joy of appreciation, the pride of ability and the excitement of exploration.

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2017 had me exploring more of my surroundings that I had not seen before. I crossed the new bridge in Terwillegar, tasted some of the best coffee in the city, saw a sea star clinging to rocks in the ocean, visited 4 National Parks, started a new job, had meaningful and grownup conversations with my brother, was visited by death,  read the most exquisite words and dumped the worst books that I could not get through. I learned that success is not a dollar value or a title and now I feel sad for people who do. I learned fighting for victims is possibly the most important work I do. (my children and I have talked about the world and where it is headed. History is a great learning lesson and we are doomed to repeat it. I said, “I am the kind of person who will hide people to keep them safe”. They both responded with, “so are we.” I felt great pride know their values are set.)

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I learned spending free time on things I don’t like is wasting my life. If I read a book that is terrible, I close it. If I taste something not worth the calories, I don’t finish it. I don’t hug people I don’t like. I make an effort to spend time with people who mean something to me. I take 30 minutes each day for meditation, it is more important than work. Work in a place that aligns with your values, it is not my life but I spend a lot of time there so having it fit with me is important. Loyalty is precious, don’t abuse it and only give where deserved.

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I gave up things that no longer matter or bring me joy, the NHL was the first to go. I still do not drink pop of any kind and gave up aspartame 31 months ago and all carbonated beverages are going. That includes beer so it is leaving my pallet this year. Participating in events that I dread or resent, not going to happen this year.

I learned it is okay to let goals go. I worked with a young gal (Emily) who had a long time life goal of becoming a doctor. One day she realized he had everything she wanted and being a Doctor was not part of her story any longer. She had the courage to say, its okay to let that goal go. She picked a new one and changed her life. We celebrated by taking a lovely walk in Mill Creek. I admire her and have learned more from her than most people in my life. She is a beautiful human. I cry just thinking about how powerful her belief in herself is. I made big changes because I was inspired by her, Thank you Emily <3.

I achieved every goal I set out for myself in 2017:

I meditated every day. As of today, I have meditated 383 consecutive days for a total of 170 hours and 52 minutes. I credit this to be the single most important thing I did for myself and it brought significant change. Sitting with yourself in silence for 30 minutes every day is the best gift you can give yourself.

  • I am calmer
  • I let go of things that are not important
  • I can see what is important and meaningful to me
  • I smile more
  • Things (purchased items) no longer have meaning
  • I appreciate people are doing the best they can with the knowledge and tools they have

I set a goal to read 35 books, I read 43 and likely will have read 44 by New Year’s Eve.

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The best book I read this year was by Elizabeth Strout, Anything is Possible. My favorite book of all time is My name is Lucy Barton by the same author. Lucy visits Anything is Possible and it was like catching up with an old friend. It is my favorite for personal reasons and how it made me feel when I could relate to the story.

I did something epic for my 50th Birthday. I had intended to visit New York City. It was a long time goal but circumstances had me changing my mind. Instead, I went to Tofino and it was the best vacation I have had in 50 years. I consider myself to be well traveled. This vacation was valuable.

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I went on as many adventures with my pal Captain as I could. As my health improves, I suspect we will go on even greater adventures together. I hope to bring him to Vancouver in the spring so he can visit the ocean and bark at harbor seals.

I fought for friendship and let other friends go. This falls into the “I know what is important” category. I chose kindness and learned fun can also be kind.

I supported my children unconditionally. I refuse to squash my children’s dreams. I will not warn them of peril or talk them into doing something they will hate. When they say to me, “I want to do/try/experience…” I say okay. I ask what their plan is and then I ask if they need help from me. I am watching them become amazing humans and living the life I wish I had the courage to live at their age. Happily, I have that courage now.

I made epic mistakes too. I asked for advice when I wasn’t ready to hear it. Actually, I thought I would get positive and uplifting support. I didn’t. It pushed me back into darkness. I am working on getting that sparkle back. I did learn who I can trust and who I need to hold at arm’s length.

I learned family is pretty damn important. But not all family are your people. Family can mean friends too. My parents and my children are my people. I have 7 friends who are my people. You know who you are, if you are thinking” am I her people?” you probably are if I eat breakfast with you, drink wine/coffee with you or talk/text to you on the phone.

So what will 2018 bring? I have no idea. I have decided to just let things happen and be the observer of my life. I will not manipulate circumstance to make things the way I think I should have them. I have set goals because I do not want to be a sloth, life doesn’t happen by sitting on the sofa, adventure is out there!

2018 Goals:

  1. Meditate for 30 minutes daily.
    • I created a nice little spot in my room to help with consistency. I journal about it on a blog I have created. It helps me see the progress/change I am experiencing. If you are interested in following it, contact me and I can give you the address or FB page. I am keeping trolls out.
  2. Write daily.
    • As with any practice, a daily occurrence is important. I will either blog/journal or work on my book.
  3. Protect Privacy.
    • Trolls feed on personal knowledge. I am sharing my privacy with important people.
  4. Be kind
    • I will ask myself every night as I review my day, “Where could I have done better?” Did I say something that was unkind? Could I have helped someone? We don’t get better without self-reflection, this will be my learnings.

I have 3 more goals that I will keep private – as part of #3’s goal. This makes me feel empowered.

I hope you also had a wonderful 2017 and learned many new things. Here is to continuing my epic 50th year and embracing the learnings that come with it.

Happy New Year my loyal readers!

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I Want to take my Pail and Shovel and Move to a New Sandbox, But I won’t

After a perfectly fine day, I receive one comment that made me pause and evaluate myself. To be truthful, I felt awful. I received a bit a criticism today.

crit·i·cism

[krit-uh-siz-uhm]
-noun
1.

the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
2.

the act of passing severe judgment; censure; fault-finding.

The old non-tourist me would have deleted the comment and stopped writing. I must admit, I was tempted. I sat there, looking at my iPhone, reading the comment over and over. Then a thought occurred to me. The whole point of this blog, or experiment is to try new things and take risks. I decided to leave it up and respond with the truth.  It is yesterdays blog if you wish to read it.

I am leaving it up for a couple of reasons. 1> I love to receive comments! Good, bad or indifferent comments leave room for personal growth. Sure I love to hear the good stuff more than the negative, but the negative is valid too. 2> I need to remember to think before I speak. It gets me into trouble and this in no exception. 3> I am entitled to a bad day just like you are. That was my bad day.

I am a firm believer in learning from past experiences. So this is what I have learned: What I find humorous, others can find humorless. If that is the case, this blog is not for you. I am okay with that! I know I have a target audience, my blog can’t possibly appeal to the masses. For those of you who are my regular readers and are sharing this journey with me, thank you! I value and appreciate you more than you will ever understand. I have a dark sense of humor. Not everyone understands it or appreciates it. I am okay with that! Just be aware that what goes on in my head is not PG rated, I only share that humor with a certain few. We have an ability to seek each other out and enjoy the things we find humorous.

I have also learned I am permitted to have a bad day and rant about it. It is called freedom of speech. I am also permitted to not edit if I don’t feel like it. It’s my blog. I write because it is cathartic. My Dad is the English major, not me. I am working on my Applied Human Services Degree. I use spell check when I think of it, I write like I think. Writing like I think has given me some high marks in University. It is called Critical Thinking. A skill that is coveted by many people. So sentence structure be damned!

I try not to be hurtful. If any of my readers found yesterdays blog to be hurtful I am sorry you feel that way. But I stand by my point. People need to learn to follow instructions. It will save time and money in the end.

In the end, I must thank you “someone”. You helped me face another challenge in my life. To quote a man who has taught me many things:
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

-Walt Disney

That is what I strive to do everyday.