Tuesday, January 21, 2014


At the beginning of each year my friend/colleague Mary chooses a word that represents her goal for the year.  Since first learning of her strategy a few years ago I have done the same and that concept, combined with my annual January process of reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the coming year, has helped me arrive at the present destination on my self-discovery journey.

My previous keywords include simplify and focus, among others.  Sometimes the word keeps me on track through the whole twelve months and sometimes I completely forget it till fall, when the word suddenly pops up in my brain as a reminder to get back on track.  I don’t remember the other words right now, but I’ll dig back through past blog posts on this topic and find them.  I do know that I keep each word into the following years and eventually I’ll have a whole sentence to push me along my path.

My word for 2014 is commitment.  I am committed to taking my current incredible life to the next level.  I am committed to continuing to simplify my life and to focus on those things and people that are important to me.  The sum of my keywords has led me to have more fun, to live more in the moment, to focus on my career, to focus on my social life, to enhance my friendships and to celebrate who I am and who I will continue to grow into. 

I once heard Carlos Santana tell an interviewer “there is power in words”.  I agree.  A single, simple word can propel each of us toward whatever goal we may have.  That word can remind us what we said we would do whenever we stray from our goal.  Rather than a list of New Year’s resolutions we’ll probably never act on, one word can sharpen our focus.  We can speak it, chant it, sing it, write it on a sticky note, scribble it on our grocery list; we can write 400 words about it in a blog post.

So on this snowy morning in Maryland, while taking a break from working from home, I am declaring my keyword for 2014 out loud: COMMITMENT!  Feel free to hold me to it through the next twelve months.  Drop by and read about it from time to time.  And find your own word too.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Good Quote

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." 
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Time? What’s That? And Other Random Meanderings

I am so freakin’ busy that my head hurts just thinking about it.  However, I am also occasionally lazy and often a procrastinator.  I am also very organized, in thought, but not always organized in action.   
These disparate personality characteristics converged into a perfect storm Tuesday afternoon, resulting in my missing a huge deadline on a very important work project.  I got one complicated project completed only to be asked when the other numerous associated projects would be completed.  What other projects?  Aren’t those due Thursday?  No, said the December 16th memo forwarded to me in response.  It’s all due Tuesday, plus one more thing that was not in that memo.

So I freaked out, temporarily, took a few hundred deep breaths and a walk around the perimeter of my office, and began to figure out my damage control plan.  Very long story very short, I stayed at work another 3 hours to finish the most immediate part and completed the rest on Wednesday.  I began to regain consciousness and confidence today.

Ambiguous enough for you?  I can’t really provide additional details, but maybe you get the idea.

On to other things:

This weekend will be over-scheduled but incredibly fun!  Wine tasting and dancing, guitar lesson, a health expo, dinner with new friends, a walk/run workout, a birthday party and more.  Nearly all of it with an awesome new female friend.

The low temperature where I live was 1 degree Fahrenheit Monday night into Tuesday morning.  It’ll be 60 this Saturday.  You heard about that Polar Vortex the weather forecasters were talking about?  It should be called a Bi-Polar Vortex.

My apartment is a mess.  Why?  See above explanation about procrastination and lazy.

And I just sent my sister her Christmas present.  It’s January 9th.  See above again.

Have you written 2013 when you meant to write 2014?  Habit from last year that continues into this year.  And when you do write 2014, do you think for a second that you made a mistake?  It can’t really be 2014 already, can it?

That’s enough randomness for now.  More later.  Thanks for visiting.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I Wonder Why Some People Don't Like Winter

The temperature in my part of Maryland will get down to 5 degrees Farenheight tonight.  Wind Chill ... feels like -15 or something like that.  With that in mind, this is pretty funny ...

Friday, January 3, 2014

It Sneaks Back In When I Least Expect It

My life is great.  Things couldn’t be better.  Job, friends, housing, social life … I am mostly living the life I dreamed about for years.  Despite all of that, I am experiencing a little bit of depression tonight.

There is nothing new about depression in my life, but it has been quite a while since it hit me.  It used to happen frequently but the quantity of occurrence diminished considerably during the past few years of my self-discovery journeyand it is a rare occurrence now. So why did it hit me in the middle of one of the best months I’ve had in years?

Actually I think I have an answer.  It’s that same old issue I’ve struggled with for a long time: overscheduling.  As a society, we pile on the obligations and activities one at a time without seeing the impact those things have on the total picture.  Then we wake up with too much to do and not enough time to do it.  I am a fairly organized man with a good amount of discipline, but I procrastinate a lot too.  Instead of doing things as I get them, I put them off; then I wake up one day with everything due at once.  This is a bad habit in my work life and my personal life.

I could list all the little things that are bothering me tonight, the things that add up to a day of depression.  Or I could begin to tackle them one at a time.  All the self-help strategists point to that action as a way out of depression.  My own experience backs up their claim.  Another observation made by at least one self-help guru: you get what you focus on.  So I can focus on the extensive list of things that are bothering me, or I can focus on the things that I am happy about … while taking on the bothersome issues one at a time and fixing them.

OK, I feel a little better now.  Thanks for letting me whine.  I will post this, then practice guitar a little (something I haven’t done enough of lately), crawl into bed and sleep (another thing I need more of). 

One positive result of my self-discovery journey is that I recognize depression at the onset and I generally can turn things around in a day rather than the weeks or months it used to take in my past.