Check out my new blog! Now that I’m over the hill I figured http://thankful4forty.com was much more appropriate 🙂
Today I am thankful for continuation.
Today is the three hundred and sixty fifth time I’ve written this blog. In most years this would be the last day needed to complete a year. It’s the namesake of this blog, even though leap year has added a day on me 🙂
Over the past week I’ve been surprised at how many times people have mentioned that I’m “almost done!” It is usually followed up by, “I can’t believe you did it!” Even my own boys are counting it down. Every time I hear this I can’t help but smile. The finish line is right there in front of me. Only a couple of more steps. I could trip and my chin would cross the line. Less than .3% left to go, over 99.7% done. Just a little further and I can hang it up, enjoy the sense of accomplishment, and move on…
It’d be very easy to chalk this past year of blogging up as a win. I’m very proud of this accomplishment. Typing this blog takes a lot of time just in thought and then the actual typing. It has been hard work and has taken sacrifice. It has taken all of my grit and resolve to follow through every single day. I’ve had to be resourceful and find ways to keep it going even if I had no data coverage or time. In my humble opinion, I’ve been able to do something great over the past year, I’ve accomplished my goal.
This past year hasn’t just been a lot of work for me. There’ve been many times that Becky does my share of stuff with the boys or around the house so i have time to type. Honestly, she’s never even said a word, just jumping in and trying to help give me the space and time I need to get this blog out of me. I think she’s seen a difference over the past year and it seems like she may like the little extra boost of happiness and energy I have, even at this advanced age 🙂 I can’t even begin to thank her enough for helping me chase this crazy dream that I kind of came up with on a whim that has snowballed into something bigger.
Remember the story of Becky and I running the marathon? In case you missed it, check out Day 73 – Thankful for Enjoying the Journey. I learned something from that experience. As a matter of fact, that’s why I’m using that same picture again for today’s post. I’ve also learned something from my trip to Colorado (Check out Day 313 and Day 312). The irony of those two days being back to back still makes me mile. Being able to keep pushing past the next hill while stopping to enjoy the things we’ve really been seeking all at the same time. These, and several other lessons pulled from other days, are all examples of listening for the gentle nudges from something bigger. If I stop and really listen, I know what I need to do.
So what am I getting at here? Why end when continuing sounds so much better? This journey is helping me learn more about myself. It is forcing me to pay attention to the world around me in a very different way. I am happier because of this journey. I am a better father, husband, friend, leader, follower, and person by going through this journey. That being said, I still have a huge gap to work on. This project has helped me start to truly understand the distance between who I am and who I am supposed to be, and this project has also helped me start to bridge that distance.
Hang it up, call it good, relax, and bask in the afterglow of a successful dream? Screw that. I’m in for another year of being thankful! Here’s to continuation, the only thing better than the completion of a dream is the journey to get there. I’m running right through the finish line and will think about stopping after this next lap around the sun.
Today I’m thankful for my thirties.
When I woke up and said good morning to Becky this morning her response was “are you ready for the last day of your thirties?” Not gonna lie, that drilled me right between the eyes. Seriously? I know I’ve been counting down and all, but for reals? This is the last day of thirty? You gotta be baggin’ me!
Yup, it’s true. No more “3” in front of any numbers for my age ever again. After tonight everything starts with a “4” which I guess is pretty cool seeing I know a pretty awesome #4 who’s still my all time fav.
Thirty is done… When did that happen? I really have to say that the last 3,653 days have flown by in a flash. My dad always told me about how time continues to speed up as you get older, the same as his dad used to tell him. Now I am starting to understand. As I started to think back at all of the things that have happened in the past decade it blows my mind that all of them could have happened.
This blog was going to be a list of all of the things that I’ve done or that have happened since I’ve turned 30. Jumping into our old photos I immediately got caught up in all of the memories and realized that a decade is way too much to try to list in a post. At the heart of it all I would summarize my thirties as the decade in which I started to dream big again. When I look back it started with solo trip up to the UP to figure out what I really wanted out of life. I was struggling with where I was what I had accomplished, and who I was. While sitting on the shore of Lake Superior I wrote out a list of my dreams. I wrote out things that I wanted to work on and get better at. Shortly after that I started exercising again. Sometime after that I decided to run a marathon. Completing that helped me see that I really could do anything that I wanted to, and the rest of my thirties were spend living out those dreams. I didn’t get everything done that I would’ve liked and there were many failures along the way, but I’m pretty satisfied with what’s gone on this decade of my life. Not to mention all of the things that I saw on all of my trips with Becky and the boys!
Funny how an arbitrary number can make a person stop and think so deeply about what they’ve done, failed to do, or have done incorrectly. Like I explained a few days ago, it’s crazy how I usually feel significantly younger than my age. I swear, I’m stuck in a pretty awesome loop of being eternally 25… Except for how long it takes me to recover from anything…
So while I don’t feel like I’m even thirty it is time to say goodbye to the sunset of the thirties and ride off (or paddle off as the picture may be) into the sunrise of the forties. I can only hope that they will be as filled with awesomeness, love, passion, excitement, energy, happiness, and life as the thirties were.
Today I am thankful for woodworking and creating.
My career is very rewarding for many reasons and I thoroughly enjoy it. That being said, sometimes there is this feeling that I am reacting to things, or making something that is there but not really. When I help provide a staffing strategy or coaching it is pretty awesome, but because it isn’t tangible I sometimes get this feeling that I haven’t created anything. I feel the urge to roll up my sleeves and create something physical to get that fix of making something out of raw resources. That feeling has been growing stronger and stronger lately so today I started to let it flow.
I love playing strategy games, and one of my absolute favorites is a collectible card game called Magic. Yes, I know, I’m a total geek! I’ve come to grips with it and have accepted it. There’s something fun about having to think through a game like chess where you’re thinking ahead many moves, a game like poker in which you need to know and play the odds, and a game that is very much focused on economics and efficient resource utilization. I’ve got a nice little collection of decks to play with and decided I needed a great way to be able to transport them so we could play games whenever the spirit moves us.
Gavin’s cub scout den has already started meeting and I need to find a woodworking project for them to work on. Something that’s not too complex, but also challenging and safe. I like to have everything pre-cut and drilled for hem so they can focus on the assembly of it. I also like to add a few random mechanical doodads to make them think. It needs to be cost effective, something they’ll use, and something that is easily replicable (unlike the cryptex’s from last year – awesome, but that was a little too intense!). They also pretty much all collect pokemon cards…
Put that all together and I went on a search for something I could build in a day (at least the beta version). I found some pretty cool boxes that someone was selling on Etsy and thought they looked pretty sweet. After looking over the pictures I reverse engineered them to see how they were built and made my own plans to build them. Dominic and I ran to Menards for supplies (and the stuff we needed for his Nerf gun rack), and I went to wkr as soon as we got home.
It was awesome! It wasn’t perfect and I ran into roadblocks, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I had to think through some interesting things I hadn’t thought all the way through. There were a few new things to try that I had never done before. All in all, I had a great time just creating with my hands.
And that’s why I am thankful for woodworking today. To be able to start with nothing but and idea, grab some resources, and then create something seemingly out of the aether feels fantastic! The project was relatively small and basic but so much fun nonetheless. It was the music for my soul that I needed to listen to. Start a project, work it from start to finish. It felt great!
Today I am thankful for writer’s block.
As I’ve stared at my screen for the past 15+ minutes I have gone back and forth on what to be thankful for. What should I write about today? What am I most thankful for? What’s something totally original that I’m thankful for today? What are some of the normal things that I see daily that have flown below the radar that I should thanks for? Which one’s to narrow it down to?
The cool thing is that I am actually thankful for this today. As I was explaining to one of my favorite Express cohorts last night, because I know I need to have something to be thankful for to write about every morning starts off with me taking inventory of what’s going on around me and what I am thankful for. Today the list was too long to narrow down. There were so many things, some big, some small, that I am most thankful for today. To try to sum several of those things up, here’s a semi-chronological summary:
- A great night of sleep. Just enough, well rested, ready to get up and take on the world.
- Relaxing as I get ready in the morning. Being in a hotel and out of the normal whirlwind I can take time to sip my coffee, slowly pack, and start thinking about the day.
- Having the courage to be different, but to be the real me. Making small decisions that are more fitting for me and help me be a better me.
- My teams had a great night together last night and it sounds like they bonded incredibly well! As a couple of team members put it, we’ve got a pretty awesome thing going.
- Training that makes me think and spot my gaps in slightly different ways. How to know which areas of having difficult conversations I need the most help with.
- Using that training.
- Realizing that if I am not present that I need to make a change to be present, even if it is unconventional.
- Being completely lost in the moment during an improv act. So much fun!!! So many lessons one can pull from it.
- Safe travels home. All the road time I have it’s nice to remember to be thankful for making it home safe and sound.
- Fun travel home with friends who happen to be co-workers. Life is way more fun when laughing.
- The feeling of getting home, getting hugs, and getting caught back up with the family.
- An excellent sermon that makes me think. There were even specifically pauses to have us focus on what we were thankful for the so far today. As the deacon explained why gratitude was important my eyes welled up. It was one of several nudges that I’ve felt over the past months that I’m slowly heading in the right direction.
- Being able to find a way to keep the boys smiling when our 5K was cancelled due to weather.
- Seeing the smile on Becky’s face when she decided to go out for a very impromptu girls’ night. She works so hard in everything in her life, it’s awesome when she gets a chance to chill and relax.
- Hanging with the boys and continuing a legacy of geek-dom. We hit our local gaming store, got some “supplies,” and had a fun night of totally nerding out and staying up too late.
- Having the realization that I am having writer’s block is specifically because I have so incredibly much to be thankful for! How awesome is that? Especially when I realize that I am thankful for it!
To some writer’s block means:
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…
To me it means that I had an especially blessed day and I am thankful for every ounce of it!
Today I am thankful for the boys working together. Yes, I know, Day 215 should have come sequentially after Day 214 and before Day 216, but somehow I totally skipped numbering a day as Day 215. This should get me back on track!
Look at the miles on the faces of these two knuckleheads from our post-work Facetime!
The boys are working together to sell as much popcorn for Scouts as they can. I have to say Scouts because Dominic is helping for Boy Scouts and Gavin is helping the Cub Scouts. They’ve decided that they want to work together to hit a pretty crazy sales goal so they’ve started off like a ball of fire in selling today. They hit up teachers and walked the street to talk with neighbors. Already today they’ve sold $400+ of popcorn (Which means about $280 for scouting)!
It’s fun seeing them find the power of collaboration while working on their sales skills. They’re both smiling and having fun and are pretty stoked to keep selling. While it would be very easy to argue and fight with each other they are working as a team incredibly well, both pulling their weight and encouraging each other. There’s something pretty awesome about watching the two of them kick butt together so well! Not gonna lie, it also makes me smile that they aren’t afraid to go out and sell. The lessons that they can learn from this are amazing. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more proud, they amaze me again!
Just a head’s up for our friends and family, be ready, I’m sure they’ll start telemarketing soon 🙂
Today I am thankful for Pearl Jam Ten.
I had an excellent day today filled with a lot of great things to be thankful for including a great and very productive time with one of my teams throughout most of the day. That being said, one thing really stuck out for me and was then solidified by a flurry of texts. While driving back home I had a Weezer album on and heard the song “Heart Songs” which is basically Rivers Cuomo singing about the songs that he grew up with and then gets into how the album Nevermind by Nirvana changed his life and set him on a course for being a musician. I’ve heard the song many times, but this time there was a little light bulb that went off in my head and I immediately switched to a different album… Ten by Pearl Jam.
What many of you don’t know about that album was how it really did have a huge impact on my life. Not in the sense that songs changed my philosophy or my look at the world or anything, but in a much greater way. That album was the hook that got me hanging back out with my old friends, James, Rick, and Garwood.
We’d always been friends, but for quite a while I had kind of gone my own way and wasn’t very happy. I still remember going to Rick’s house for some reason to hang out with the guys out of the blue and they fired up a bootlegged cassette copy in the boombox (yup, it was that long ago!). The music absolutely blew my mind, it was AWESOME! Then the even cooler thing happened, we talked more about it, listened to it a few times, I borrowed it, made my own copy (don’t worry, I’ve bought a couple of copies since for real’s to make up for it!), and then started hanging out with those guys more. Next thing you know we were chillin’ constantly and loving life… and D&D… but that’s a whole different story! 🙂
So I fired up Ten on the drive home and absolutely jammed out. Usually I listen to an audiobook or even enjoy the silence and think about work, but today there was none of that once the opening chords of “Once” started up. I was in full on singing as loud as I can, veins in my forehead popping, losing my voice and completely lost in a sea of waves of crashing music and memories of hanging out with my brothers. It was amazing!!! *Sidenote: How the hell is it that I can remember the lyrics to all of those songs from years ago but I struggle to remember to do very simple things on a daily basis???
Tonight I am thankful for Ten by Pearl Jam for getting my happiness back on track a long time ago, for bringing me closer to some of my best friends, and helping me de-compress and relive the glory days while driving. I still sound as terrible as ever singing, but damn did it feel good!
Today I am thankful for remembering why…
Ah the voice of inspiration, you have a funny sense of humor sometimes, don’t you? Through the course of the day there’ve been many things to be thankful for, it was a very great day overall. It was one of those days that I wasn’t quite sure how to pick one thing to be thankful for until it hit me about mid-way through a presentation to some Human Resources students at Winona State University this evening. The presentation was focused on starting a career and, of course, I de-railed it and went in a slightly different direction. Before getting into the ways to research new employers and how to stand out amongst your peers I wanted to make sure they all knew the MOST important step… getting to know yourself by focusing on what your dreams are. It’s in knowing your dreams that you can decide why you are about to get into the type of career you want to get into. And that’s when the link to all of today’s awesome things kicked in.
Today was a day full of “why’s”!
It started off with my morning run. It was a morning that I was ready to hang it up and go back to bed. It was storming, I was tired, Becky wasn’t home, and I just didn’t feel like running. Fortunately, I had some pretty awesome why’s to kick my lazy butt in gear. I just got matched with my cute little running buddy, Tessa, through I Run 4 (more on that little cutie tomorrow – the important thing is that she knew I was going to be dedicating my miles to her). Becky and I have some goals we have to accomplish and I’m not going to hit them by laying around and skipping my miles. Lastly, I saw this quote last night and it hit me upside the head in a big way…
After that I wasn’t going to be stopped, by treadmill breaking mid-run, nor hard raining storm with lightning. I got my miles in because I remembered why.
The morning started off with our annual Winona Economic Summit (thanks again for sponsoring it Merchants Bank!). One of the presenters got into details about what’s going on in the workforce and as he talked I had recruiting and retention ideas swirling in my head. I was in the zone, in my element, all because I was focused on my why, remembering why I love doing what I do for work.
I had an excellent couple of conversations with team members who had new ideas and thoughts. There are new things that they’d like to try and I was pumped to give them the green light to rock and roll. They were living the value of a growth mindset and I remembered why I get so amped up helping my dream try new things.
After hours I headed to Winona State to present to the SHRM group. I had almost said no to this opportunity. “I’m too busy”, “I have too much going on”, “there’s too much other stuff” were the words bouncing through my head. But I paused and remembered my purpose and my why. In remembering why I do what I was meant to do I found great joy and felt so good in speaking with them tonight.
So it’s only fitting that when I was showing them pictures of my dreams come true and sharing the dreams I have, it hit me right between the eyes what I am thankful for today. I am thankful for remembering why and living into those whys.
Today I’m thankful for a great start to Cub Scout season.
Thanks to some help and motivation from Becky I took a little extra time this year and mapped out our entire Cub Scout year in advance. Tonight was the first den meeting and everything went almost too smooth! The boys listened (for the most part), we got almost everything done that we wanted to get done (for the most part), and had a lot of fun!
We took a hiking trip through the refuge in Brice Prairie were able to see tons of wildlife (especially tons of little baby crickets everywhere). The weather was absolutely perfect and it stayed just light enough just long enough for everything to work out well.
With many den and pack meetings ahead of us it was excellent to get a great start to the Cub Scout season!
Today I’m thankful for hiring a contractor.
I really like doing things myself. I usually struggle to ask for help and try to do as much on my own as I can. As I was growing up I saw my parents do a lot of things on their own. From building houses to doing very cool creative stuff it seems like in my memory they were almost always able to do things on their own instead of asking for help. In watching them I learned how great it feels to accomplish something on my and to do something without help. Being able to figure something out on my own feels great! Seeing a finished project that I’ve done with my own hands is incredible!
That being said, I’m glad that I hired a contractor. We’re having a lot of stuff done in the backyard including adding a fence, putting in pavers, leveling the yard, and then adding sod. All of these things are within my ability to do, but I just haven’t been able to find a way to prioritize my time to get them done. I realized that without help I wouldn’t finish until October… of 2018. After a brief conversation with Becky & my dad I was in contact with Gabe from Land Spirit Design in Winona. Even knowing that it was the right idea I still was kind of sad about not doing it myself and even talked with Gabe about doing a couple of the things myself. Eventually I relented and realized it was better left to the pros.
When I got home today I just smiled and realized how thankful I am to have made this decision. This is what I saw when I walked towards our house…
When I left for work this morning there was only a long hole where the pavers now are. They’re straight, level, and look great! As I walked in I could only chuckle to myself because I realized several things. If I was doing this on my own it wouldn’t be done (hell, it probably wouldn’t even be started!). If I had done this myself there’s no way it would be as level and flush with the concrete as it is. If I had done this myself it’d probably be shifting and sinking in no time. If I had done this it would not be even close to straight. If I had done this I would have spent several weekends on it and probably would have been swearing… a lot! He made it look great, and in way less time.
I will still do a lot of things myself, there’s a great feeling of completing that I enjoy. That being said, I’ll also be more open to hiring out some of the tasks I don’t find as much join in or the tasks that take more time than I am willing to sacrifice at that moment. Today I’m very thankful to have hired a contractor!
BTW – Gabe has done an awesome job so far, very reasonable cost, great vision for what would look best, and absolutely excellent communication! Check out Land Spirit Designs Facebook page for more info.