Friday, July 06, 2018
Monday, March 12, 2018
I listened to Time by Pink Floyd the other day, from their seminal album Dark Side of the Moon. I am a big Floyd fan, but hadn't listened to this album in a while. As a kid, the song meant less to me than now that I am older, married with kids and maybe half way through my career. So the songs theme has been ticking away in the back of my brain for a few weeks. It's a great song, some excerpts below, but really just go listen.
A buddy of mine had posted an older video of his daughter, and he mentioned how he missed his kids when they were that small. That same day I took my daughter on a daddy-daughter date. We went to a mall, took some funny photo booth pics, she played in the play area, and jumped on the bungee cord trampoline thing. then we went to dinner and called it a night. Now the play area was filled with mostly toddlers, and it's really meant for that age. My almost 7 yo girl really wanted to play in there, but I told her "come on, this is for little kids." No matter, she gave me the "but Daaaad" eyes, and I let her play for a while. I sat there and just stared at my girl tower over smaller kids, and be really too big for all the stuff, but she was having a blast. Suddenly it hit me, these days are numbered.
Time is moving so fast with my kids. My daughter seems older than she is, and we tend to forget she's not yet 7. I want to sit and watch her be a little kid as long as I can. I want to play with her while she wants to as much as possible. I want to enjoy every moment of her growing up. I know that one day she'll be a teen, and then one day gone. There are a lot of days between now and then, and I want to focus on each one we have together more closely.
While my daughter was climbing over play sets, with one leg sweep, I laughed and let her be a little kid. When she wanted to take funny pictures, we did. When I showed her the bungee jumping thing, she was a strong "no Dad, that is too scary." I didn't push, she truly looked scared of the whole idea. But, we walked past it a couple times while shopping. Once we were both ready to head out of the mall for dinner, unprovoked, she turns to me and says "Dad, I want to go back do that jumping thing," and I said" are you sure?" to which she replied, "it's a little scary, but I think I can do it." Of course as soon as she was strapped in, she loved it, and wanted to do it again. She told me on the drive home when I asked her why she decided to try the bungee jump "sometimes things look scary at first Dad, but if I see them once or twice, I can be brave enough to try it." Love. This. kid.
Time is ticking away, and you will never seem to have enough. In one hour I saw my daughter want to play on a toddler play set, and also find the courage to decide to try something new and pretty scary for a 6 yo. I couldn't have been more proud of both sides of my daughter. I love seeing her grow, learn, become confident, and still be a little kid. Either way I loved our date. I'll walk with her, holding her hand, for every second I can.
Excerpt from Time, by Pink Floyd.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd something more to say
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."
Live does move pretty fast. If you think of a second of your day, each one represents a larger chunk of your life remaining, every second become literally more important. The picture above has no really deep meaning, but when I cracked that double open, I thought, "hmm, I didn't expect that." I then waxed philosophical about my 2-3 egg meal for a moment, then went back to prepping my breakfast. No big deal. It did make me think about how surprising life can be.
This week our family lost a member who was a daughter, sister, cousin, mom & grandma. My heart breaks for those closest to her, and those that are left behind. Eight years ago we lost our first boy JDM. I cannot believe eight years has passed. The speed of time is mainly due to the blessing of a couple kiddos since then. These two kids have given us a fresh look at life, and really been a joy. Even when they won't get out of bed for school, and complain about getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.
So how do you get over a loss? You don't. I will never forget holding my son, never. Eight years later and I still have moments of deep sorrow, albeit less often. We are part of a club, one no one wants to belong to, but plenty of folks do. In the last year I have been able to talk with a few people dealing with similar situations. I never know what to say, but I am just open and honest about how hard it was. All you can attempt to do is own the feelings, talk to those closest to you, and not bottle up what you are going through. JDM's birthday has forever tainted Valentine's day, his birthday. But we have been abe to have dates on VDay again, have fun prepping VDay stuff for the kids classes, and recognize JDM's bday a little.
So life has come at us fast, and we have done our best to keep up. We are not perfect, but we work on it every day. We each other, and a little Grace from God, we'll maximize every second we have. Happy Birthday JDM, I love you, we wish we could have known you, you would have loved your sister and brother. They would have loved you.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Lately I have spent a good deal of time focusing on gratitude. In a world full of schedules, instant access, unhappiness, politics, deadlines and challenges one can never stop and take time to be in gratitude. Gratitude is not simply being positive, or happy, but being truly in the moment and thankful for the just that moment. Like the pull tab sign in the picture above, do you need gratitude?
Recently I was at a brief talk given by Steve from the Life Is Good company. He spoke about the age old, and fairly tired, "is the glass half full, or empty?" question. He said the optimistic person is thankful that there is water in the glass at all, and thinking about how they could fill it for more people. This is a very gratitude focused mentality. Do not worry about the state of the water, be glad you have some, and work to fill the glass for more people.
If you are working toward being the best version of yourself, you need to practice optimism and gratitude. Also from Life Is Good Steve, "Optimism and Abs are both improved with exercise." This is a poignant phrase, being in gratitude does not mean you are happy every moment of every day, or never upset at things. But when exercising optimism and gratitude often, you can realign to the path quicker to become the best version of yourself.
Monday, June 12, 2017
How do you communicate?
Communication often comes up when organizations perform analysis of weakness within their group. I have seems this over and over at work, in volunteer groups, with friends and within families. Human communicate to others every second of every day they are near other folks. Whether by verbal or body language you are talking loud and clear. While I do not claim to have the answer to great communication, I do know you will be more successful if you connect.
"Go beyond merely communicating, to connecting with people." Jerry Bruckner
This is a pretty solid point. Are you just talking, or are you connecting with your audience? Often I have to work on listening, really listening. Sometimes I have the direction I want to head in a conversation in mind, and that blocks me from listening to what my audience is trying to get a cross. When you listen, you open a two way door, that allows both parties to participate in the discussion.
Focus on the person, focus on listening, think before you speak, think about what you say. Get your point across, but make sure you know and believe the other person is requires for connection. Without connecting, you are really not communicating.
Monday, June 05, 2017
Make me sanguine.
The Avett Brothers have a song called Sanguine. I must admit I had to look the word up the first time I heard the song. There is a poignant excerpt from the beginning of the tune, that resonates with change in your life, and deciding to be the best version of yourself.
Make me sanguine
Help me genuinely
Kill the doubt that strangles myself worth
Paint the picture that I swore I heard
Spiritless and mean
Ghost that comes between
I will keep my wits about myself
Disregard directions sent from hell
When you make changes to yourself, and all that entails, you will have a fight. A fight against doubt, a fight against past experiences, a fight against time, a fight against outside influences, a fight against the unknown. I have had several major changes to myself over the last five years, some of which are documented in this very blog. Recently I have struggled to have the same fire and motivation I mined to chisel out a new self. The daily grind can overwhelm you if you are not looking out for signs of stagnation. I was in one of these river eddies. I hadn't realized that I wasn't looking at the flow of The River, but looking only down in the eddy.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is a big part of keeping fresh and sharp. I really enjoy running, I love the solitude, and thinking time. Running is a time when I can space out, or think through challenges. Over the last several months, I logged a lot of junk miles. Not taking the mental space I needed during the runs, not focusing on pace, tempo, breathing, thinking or anything really, just logging mile for the sake of logging miles. My pace degraded, and I began to have old injuries nag here and there. I knew I needed to shake things up. I just needed the fortitude to pick something new, and move forward. I needed to Go Big, stop worrying about my running, and do something that would re-engage me, put me over the top, fast track my brain and body to improvements and better wellness. After all the mind and body are meant to work together, even if one can fight the other. I made my change this weekend, and am excited about my new experience.
If you are struggling with yourself on wellness, make a change, challenge yourself, take a first step in a new direction. Take a hike in a new park, ride your bike again, go to a climbing wall, do some yoga, learn orienteering, sign up for martial arts...just do something that you think isn't you. You may not like it, but you may love it. Either way, you will learn a little more about yourself, and a little more about being sanguine.
Thursday, March 02, 2017
Song of Susannah
Dark Tower Book VI by Stephen King
"In the land of memory the time is always Now.
In the Kingdom of Ago, the clocks tick...but their hands never move.
There is an Unfound Door (oh lost) and memory is the key which opens it."
Reading this book, and loved this quote, just wanted to share it.