Monthly Archives: February 2013

Utah quarter with a 2007 date

Daily Prompt: Buffalo Nickel

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 24, 2013.

Prompt: Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

There are two dates on the coin that I found (pictured above – yay! a quarter!). The first is 1896, the year that Utah became a state. The second is 2007.

Dates serve as markers within the linear conception of time. Seemingly frozen, they serve to remind us of events. However, most change doesn’t occur instantly – it happens over time – and this fixed and static view can conceal the natural flow of events that result in the events that are marked.

As I look back, 2007 was a normal year of work and family, and at first glance there isn’t much exciting to report. There are no significant markers. No births, deaths, adoptions, job changes, or other notes that jump out as significant changes or accomplishments.

If we perform a quick search on Wikipedia, we learn that Utah became a state in 1896, but that the process of becoming a state started much earlier. In a similar way, 2007 can be seen as a year that served as a precursor for changes that are etched in the learnrunwrite timeline. Two items that run almost continuously throughout 2007 are:

  1. An interest in expanding my career
  2. An ever-growing midsection 

A little more about each:

Career Expansion – in 2007 I became restless in my then-current role and started to explore career possibilities beyond the boundaries of my role within the organization. I started to network, openly exploring career options throughout the company. I took a few classes and explored different possibilities. Ultimately I landed a new job in 2008.

While the job change falls neatly within the 2008 timeline, the work that made it possible began in 2007.

Midsection Growth – I gained a lot of weight in 2007, or maybe from birth until 2007, but it really became noticeable in 2007. And though it took me a long time realize it, in April of 2008 I started running for the first time since high school. I did this because I needed to lose weight and start living a healthier lifestyle.

Some of the actions I took included starting a run-walk-run program, run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes; run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute, etc… until I could run for 30 minutes without walking. I read, The Courage to Start, by John “The Penguin” Bingham, and other running books.  And eventually, I joined a local running group that led me to the completion of my first marathon in 2009.

It might sound strange, but I believe that had I not packed on the pounds throughout 2007, I’d bet that I don’t start running in 2008.  2007 set the conditions required to initiate change!

So, even when it seems like nothing cool is happening and you feel like your life is boring, remember that you don’t run a marathon all at once.  It happens one step at a time.  And sometimes that means we might not have the large, exciting, shiny milestones to etch into our timelines, but if we keep working toward our goals they will come.

What long-term goals are you working toward?

picture of mom and wife at lunch

Daily Prompt: B+

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 23, 2013.

Prompt: Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.

It’s not easy for a band to consistently put together an album full of hit singles, and the latest learnrunwrite release, Third Weekend in February, is no exception. The first few tracks seem familiar and a little boring, but the band takes this foundation to build more entertaining and upbeat songs that this reviewer will listen to again and again.

Side A begins with a planned three-mile run shortened to two when the calf starts to tighten, resulting in a lackluster opening. Breakfast and a walk with the dogs lead into several hours of java-related file manipulation study, followed by another uninspiring Columbus Blue Jackets performance. This is standard fare for the CBJ fans, and it’s time for a change.

Another two-mile run – this time pain-free – opens the B side, and flows beautifully into a rockin’ experience at a local antique show with mom and wife. The antiques kept a strong rhythm with good bass lines, creating the perfect foundation for family to take over and steal the show.  Shared memories, jokes, and plans for the future all mingled together to create an energizing tune.

The picture at the top of the post is representative of the first single to be released from the album, and the picture below is likely to be the second hit released – it reminds us that we’re never too smart to no longer need to ask questions:

Poster of Albert Einstein with the following text:  Even Einstein asked Questions

Though the Third Weekend in February started out painfully slow, learnrunwrite keeps at it, building enough momentum to create a satisfying experience. If you get the chance, you should try spending some time with your family to create some great tracks.

Hands with index fingers touching

Daily Prompt: Far From Normal

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 18, 2013.

Prompt:  Many of us think of our lives as boringly normal, while others live the high life.  Take a step  back, and take a look at your life as an outsider might.  Now, tell us at least six unique, exciting, or just plain odd things about yourself.

We’re all unique, which I suppose makes me unique.  Many consider me a little boring, fewer consider me exciting.  Taking a step back, some things that help shape the story of me include:

  1. I love animals, especially dogs.  I like to talk to dogs.  I like to walk with dogs.  And I really like to play with dogs.  Many of the happiest moments of my life are shared with dogs.
  2. I’m curious.  There are few things in life in which I’m not interested.  Some might consider this a lack of discipline, and they might be correct.
  3. I like change.  I’ve had many jobs over the years, perhaps as a result of my curiosity and lack of discipline.  To stop changing is to stop living.
  4. I recognize the relationship between physical and mental health, and do my best to feed both.  I’m not always able to keep them balanced, especially when I’m injured or working too many hours, but I do my best.
  5. I fight fear.  Fear of failure mostly, but failure applies to many facets of life – work and relationships are the big ones for me.  Each day I strive to defeat fear.  Some days are better than others.
  6. As much as I like change, I don’t much care for travel. I’m a homebody at heart.

Everyone likely has a different definition of what constitutes the high life.  For me it’s a simple life in which I make a difference in the lives of others.  I don’t want fame, lot’s of money, or a big house.  I want to make a difference, and so I start each day with two goals:

  1. Treat others with kindness and respect.
  2. Learn something new and share it with someone.

If I can string enough days together in which I accomplish these goals, I can’t imagine a better way to live.

photo credit: Cpt via photopin cc

Men talking and learning from each other

Daily Prompt: Mentor Me

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 17, 2013.

Prompt: Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

I’ve had many teachers throughout my life, though I’m not sure that I’ve ever had that one person in my life that I would label a mentor.  Each teacher has varying degrees of influence, and each in a different way.  At times I’ve learned how to do things, and other times I’ve learned what not to do.

We have an opportunity to learn from every experience. Experiences will vary in impact, but all that we encounter is an opportunity to learn. In a previous post, I mentioned that our dog, Franklin, taught me a lesson about love. And as I consider how it is that I approach learning, I realize that there are many experiences that influence my current approach.  Some of these include:

  • Talking with a friend(s) about an experience
  • Watching an adult interact with a child in a public setting
  • Receiving feedback at work or school about a task that I’ve completed, like a presentation

One of the most exciting aspects of life is that we will evolve as we interact and share new experiences. Two day, two months, or two years from now I likely will modify my learning approach based upon the evolution of my life.

If you’re like me and don’t have one person that is your default teacher, that’s okay.  My guess is that you have an entire team of teachers in your life.

What are some examples of how you learn from others?

photo credit: [phil h] via photopin cc

Daily Prompt: Proud

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 15, 2013.

Prompt:  When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?

When I first read this prompt, I wanted to do something a little different, so I wrote a short piece of fiction to practice my dialogue writing.  I’m not thrilled about the results, but it’s a quick read and feedback is appreciated.

As it relates to me specifically, I’m blessed to have a very supportive family and have been told several times in the last couple of months that they are proud of me.  I suspect that has something to do with a December birthday and the reflective nature of the time period between Thanksgiving and the new year, but my family supports me in everything that I do.

____

Working Title:  Baby Steps

“I’ll have the black bean roll ups,” he says. “And can I have a garden salad before the meal comes?”

“Sure. Anything else,” asks the waitress.

“Nope, that’s it.”

“Okay, I’ll be right out with some bread.”

“How come you didn’t get a burger,” the women across from him asks.

“I’ve been reading this book, “ he says. “Did you know that people that work in slaughterhouses have more repetitive use injuries like carpal tunnel? The stress in those places is incredible. They start to abuse their families after a while – it’s scary.”

“So it’s not about the animals then, it’s about the people?”

“It’s about all of it,” he says. “The people, the animals, my health. I don’t know. I’ve been eating meat for over 40 years but I think it might be time to try something different.”

Our waitress walks up and returns the bill.

“Thanks. Have a great night,” she says with a smile. Turning to the table next to us, she holds out a pitcher of water asks if the couple wants a refill.

“You know, “ says my wife as we’re walking out the restaurant. “You might try not eating meat.”

“Huh? Where’s that coming from?”

“That couple sitting next to us. You can’t tell me that you didn’t hear their conversation.”

“Oh, yeah, that. I heard it.”

“So, why don’t you think about making that kind of lifestyle change?”

“I’m already trying something different.”

“What’s that?” she asks.

“I’m only having one dessert a night,” he says with a smile as he slides into the driver’s seat.

“I’m so proud of you,” she says, pulling the passenger door shut.