101 Bucket: photo journal

My 101 things in 1,001 days officially kicked off today. And I’ve decided to start “filling the 101 Bucket” with

#17. Photo-journal a picture a day for one month.

I have a month to take some pretty great photos and decide how to best showcase them. In the meantime, today’s entry:

20140401-221036.jpg

Be bold, make the list

 

It’s.all.Heidi’s.fault.   … and Kristina’s … and Sandy’s.

 

Not really. But really…Heidi started it. {shaking fist in in mock consternation in Heidi’s general direction} Pot-stirrer.

 

We’re both turning 40 this year, you see. Only she had to go and blog about her Year of 40 intentions. Don’t misunderstand…I adore Heidi, utterly, but here she was, embracing this life milestone, at a time when I was really struggling with it (but more about that later). Not just embracing the thing, but turning it into something useful. Productive, even. {harumph}

 

And that’s the point. Productivity. Time-management. Self-management(!). Accomplishment. And it resonated. Stupid decade maker is as good a time as any, I suppose, to begin managing oneself better. Because there is always room for improvement, right?

So, silly me, I somehow managed to let this Year of 40 concept slip into a conversation with Kristina. Who seized on it immediately–I’m sure her inner coach was doing gleeful little jiggety jig given this golden opportunity–and picked up the snowball Heidi so innocently lobbed, and asked what fabulousness I had planned for this year, and had I written it down? Not having learned my lesson, and apparently forgetting what happens to snowballs when you roll them (sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake), I shared the conversation thread with Sandy.

To-DO-List

 

And just like that, my own Year of 40 blew up into 101 things in 1001 days. Turns out there’s a whole movement for creating lists, setting challenges, and making positive change in your own life. Day Zero Project (who knew?!?)

 

My list lives here: 101 Bucket

 

I’d love some company (and accountability) in this quest of deliberate doing. Wanna join me? If you see something on my list you’d like to do with me, or when you decide to make your own list, let me know!!

 

PS–Kristina and Sandy, thanks for the butt-kicking nudge. Mwah! 😉

2014: To Be List

March. Already. I must’ve blinked. Where did January and February (and most of this month) go?!? Wait, don’t answer that. I know where they went. Or, more accurately, how they were spent. But none of that now. I’m the only one who know what it is I intended to do, to have done by now … what was on the to-do list that’s still there … I’ve been trying to give myself permission to jettison that self-imposed obligation, to give it up, to get over it, to let it go. I’m mostly winning. Mostly.

Goals. As opposed to resolutions. I’ve been thinking about these for some little while, now. Reflecting on the prior year, what worked, what didn’t, what I want to pull forward, what I should ditch … This usually happens in January. For reasons that do not need explored at this time, January and I tussled this year. February and I agreed to just call it a draw. But reflection. I’ve noticed several themes (characteristics?) that bear exploring.

Trends. 

I am a list-maker. The harder I try to avoid it, the more necessary a list becomes. I hadn’t thought of it until recently, but I think it’s because I’m becoming a better “straddler;” thinking and processing (predominantly) right-brain, but organizing and implementing left-brain. Macros and micros. Balancing between being a thinker and a doer. Thinkers need plenty of space for thinking big thinks. But doers need some sort of game plan, a checklist of sorts, to know a) if they are working on the right things, and b) if they are making progress. Hence my annual goal-setting. As opposed to resolutions. Goals get measured. And what gets measured gets managed. Resolutions get made. And then, well …

 

——-

Which reminds me of a Michael Hyatt post  I read recently on to-do lists. Never mind my loose definition of “recently.” He reminded me of something I know, but forgot to remember. Specifically, it’s all one life. He said, “…I spend a crazy amount of time being strategic and intentional with my job, and I want to remember to apply that same intentionality to my relationships as well.” {face palm} Well, duh! Right?!?  {note to self #774}

——-

 

But I was speaking of trends.

I fail forward. Sometimes with alarming frequency. But I think this is a good thing. And something of a skill. To risk trying something new, but be willing to abandon it if it doesn’t work. The outcome: I have an expanding knowledge base and collection of things I’m NOT good at. Which helps reinforce what I AM good at.

I am a constant work-in-progress. How I manage my time, productivity, relationships. How well, or not, I know myself. Or I think I know myself. I’m not sure there is such a state as “finished,” much less if I’ll ever get there. Sometime mid-February, I was forcefully reminded that I’m not the only one with a backstory, not the only one nursing hurts, in pain, not the only one in need of grace and comfort.

But back to goals. Last year, I reviewed the evolution of my annual goal-setting.

– 2011: More or Less List
– 2012: To Count or Not To Count List
– 2013: Stop Doing List

Which brings me back to 2014, and the idea of being intentional in every area of life: professionally, socially, personally. So, without further ado:

2014: To Be List

Deliberate: I want to be more intentional about the things I can do–and want to do–and float the rest. Letting those “if only” and “at some point” things loiter on the periphery pulls my attention away … because I know they’re still there. Less waffling, more decision-making, more doing. Commit, and be all in.

Graceful: I think I do a pretty good job extending grace to other people. But I’m pretty critical of me and stink at extending grace to myself. I want to (need to) treat myself like I would others: making allowance for and giving permission to be less than perfect, to not have it all figured out, to sometimes be broken. To fail forward. 

Authentic: This one may be the toughest of the lot. I want to be less constrained by, or rather place less importance on, others opinions of me. To open up and reveal what my friend Kristina calls “basement truth.” Authenticity demands vulnerability. And energy. Authenticity also requires a certain level of bravery, I think, and I don’t always believe I have the strength or courage to be brave. Last month I risked sharing with selected, close friends that I was struggling, really struggling, with a particularly horrible bout of busted Pollyanna. And something amazing happened. There was no judgement, no withdrawal … only a new-found richness in those relationships I hadn’t known before. That, I want more of it. 

Present: In both my work and private life, I’m either thinking and planning three months ahead, or looking in the rear view assessing outcomes and identifying trends. I want to spend more time here, in the now, experiencing the moments memories are made of as they happen. To put the phone down, turn the computer off, stop.planning.all.the.details. and just let the day unfold as it will, and live it as it does. 

Un-lists

In what has become an annual tradition, I’ve been contemplating my Not New Year’s Resolutions. It started a few years ago with an unlist and it’s morphed into an ongoing … conversation … with myself about what I want to accomplish, what I will accept, and where I will compromise, and what are essentially my deal-breakers.

2011: More or Less List.

Twenty things I want more of. Eleven things I want less of (or not at all).

More* Less*
1. Giggling 1. Drama
2. Naps 2. Conflict
3. Puppy time 3. Uncertainty
4. Sunrises with friends 4. Broken commitments
5. Sunsets with friends 5. Weight of all kinds
6. Motorcycle rides 6. Self-doubt
7. Good books! 7. Dog hair
8. Lazy afternoons 8. Duplication
9. Appreciation 9. Dependence on technology
10. Delight 10. Indecision
11. Snail mail 11. Clutter
12. Patriotism
13. Faith
14. Deeper relationships
15. Swimming
16. Self-confidence
17. Dreams
18. Unscheduled time
19. Organized storage
20. Moments memories are made of

 * In no particular order

 

For some time, I’d been *thinking* about beginning to blog. It just felt like something I should be doing. I pondered a few things. What would I write about? If I did write, would people care enough to read it? If they did read it, how would I handle feedback? Did I have time to write? Why did I feel compelled? One of my alter-egos, the planner, was a little put out the night I stopped *thinking* about it and actually created a blog in late 2011. Really, what would I write about?!? Another alter-ego, my doer, did a little happy dance (complete with pom-poms) excited to be in action.

The tipping point was the moment–in the middle of an *intense* project I should have been completely focused on–I realized I’d been spending way too much time generating work content and not enough generating life content. And so I resolved to reverse this worrying trend. My planner {sighed} and shut up when—reviewing my 20-11 list—I realized I did indeed have enough content. Every-day moments, in all their spontaneous glory.

 

2012: To Count or Not To Count List.
I learned to swim at age 4, competed age 7 through 17, and have stayed fairly well-chlorinated ever since. These 30+ years later, it’s safe to say swimming is my life-long sport of choice. In the middle of a workout in late December 2011, I realized the difference between my workouts then (when I was competing) and then (just before Christmas that year) was counting. When you’re prepping for the next meet, yardage is important. When you’re following the black line on the bottom of the pool to “just stay in shape,” yardage isn’t as important as whether or not you’re hitting your training heart rate. Some days I counted laps, some days I didn’t.
It dawned on me I’m more motivated, and felt better about my workout, on the days I counted. It also occurred to me that my workout strategy (or lack thereof) had become a good analogy for the rest of my life. I’m more motivated and pay better attention when I’m counting. My 2012 list included things I wanted to count (do more of) and things I didn’t want to count (pay *significantly* less attention to).
Count*
Expressing gratitude Acknowledging something I appreciate; saying “please” and “thank you”
Quality time Family dinners; inside jokes & crazy capers that birth legend; puppy kisses
Snail mail Sent … being tangible with family and friends across the miles; and
Received … that isn’t a solicitation or a bill!
Healthy habits Calories burned, miles swum, walks with friends and the 4-leggeds
Accomplishment Finished projects; good books; permission to abandon old stuff
Celebrations High fives and happy dances
Laughter Giggles; chortles; guffaws; snorts!
Moto rides!!! Camping trips and wandering to nowhere particular
Photo ops Family & friends; sunrises, sunsets, ocean, mountains, rivers, valleys; dogs, cats, kids, cows; moments that memories are made of (and legend, too)
Not Count*
The number of times it is “my turn” to talk When a friend has the floor … be still, and listen between the words (it’s what I hope they’d do for me)
When I don’t get my own way In 5 years, will it really be important anyway?
Being right Quarreling takes too much energy, and there never are any real winners
Minor personal inconvenience Especially if it’s while being of service to someone
Unanticipated change in plans Often, the best adventures are unplanned. Definitely don’t count if it’s family/friends changing it up.
How often I’m sent “up over” or “down under” Being the young bendy one in the family means I’m climbing the ladder or crawling under the house to do…something I’d probably rather not. But, it’s precious time and relationship maintenance with my old people I wouldn’t trade for anything. Count under “face-time” and “accomplishment.”
Rainy days It’s Oregon after all. It rains here. But it means fabulous green stuff and gorgeous blooming things.

* Again, in no particular order

#####

I’ve intentionally taken some time this year to review these lists, the process that generated them, and the life in between. Several observations strike me:

  • There is continuity in some of the things I want more of, and to count.
  • I’ve accomplished some pretty major goals the last two years, both personally and professionally.
  • I’ve learned how to make progress on multiple projects at once, and I can meet a deadline like a champ, but I really dislike working at the last minute.
  • I’m there for others when they need me (have pom poms, will travel).
  • I *stink* at keeping appointments with myself.
  • There are still things cycling on my lists I’d like to shed. Put differently, things I want to disown.

To that end, this year’s list seems an appropriate evolution of the previous two.

 

2013: Stop Doing List.

  • Stop comparing myself to others. Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • Stop listening to negative voices. They are wrong. If they don’t shut up, and I can’t drown them out, find duct tape (it comes in pretty colors now).
  • Stop worrying so much what others think. At the beginning and end of the day, it’s only me in the mirror.
  • Stop letting other people dictate/change/manipulate my priorities. The things *I* want to accomplish are equally important to everyone else’s.
  • Stop being afraid of being vulnerable. Everyone has their own insecurities.
  • Stop formulating answers until I’m sure I know what the questions are. Look outward, at what lies just beyond the apparent spotlight.
  • Stop looking wistfully at what other people do/have/prize. Just because the grass looks green … Focus on my own goals.
  • Stop canceling appointments with myself. I am an important meeting–of the same worth and value as everything else in my calendar. I am a worthy and valuable resource.
  • Stop procrastinating. Dooooo eeeetttt.

 

Never "too old" for a play date …

Several months ago, two of my friends and I decided we didn’t see enough of each other, and determined to change that. I utterly adore these two fabulous women–in their own unique ways, they bring out the best in me. And sometimes snorting, when the three of us are together.

We agreed to meet regularly; the standing monthly appointment is on my calendar as a “Mental Health Break.” We meet at Laughing Planet and hilarity ensues. Really, if you can’t laugh at Laughing Planet … At first, it seemed a little, well, silly, that three grown people would have to purposely schedule time to just hang out and catch up. But now we have done a few times, this is one appointment I don’t want to miss.

We have no agenda for what’s become a play date. We tried that once, an agenda. It didn’t work. We were unanimous in that. So, we have no defined deliverable; there’s no key indicator or metric used to measure our productivity. Wait. Scratch that. There is at least one measure … how much my sides ache the following day from laughing at us. Laughter really is good medicine. And a fabulous ab workout. Never mind the dinosaurs. 

Last month, we discovered we all have
 birthdays within 30 days of each other. Who knows where it came from, but we ended up saying we should wear tiaras this month to celebrate. Kristina actually has one, and good girl, she wore it. I don’t have a tiara, so I stopped at the craft store, and picked up supplies to make one. 



Unfortunately, Brenda couldn’t join us this month. Since we didn’t get to see her tiara, we made her a princess one. Complete with a castle, crown, cute little mirror, and frog prince (that I somehow managed to cut off in that bottom right corner). We’ll deliver it tomorrow. :)

Two pictures at once … talented paparazzi, we are.  



Long live play dates!!