Do not create with the purpose of serving others. Create because it is part of you. Create because you have too.

In Deep – A long, overdue update

Wow! I can’t believe my last post is way back on the 16th of March. Hard to believe really as I am still buzzing from my Mid South bike ride and it seems just like yesterday. So what has kept me from posting? Let me dig into it a bit, but in short, I am in deep.

This past month has been a whirl of emotions, thinking, planning and on occasion, digging a hole for myself. As I am now many months into both my resignation and re imagination of my future, I will admit that I have had some self doubt. I also found myself falling into old traps of comfort. I found myself going partly off my plan that I wrote to myself. There are some things that are going really really well that have taken priority. I will also admit that there are some things that are on the horizon that I had not planned for that are consuming a bulk of my thinking. I hope that by writing this stuff down it might actually help both myself and possibly others that are going through some things and/or are also in the process of re invention and re imagination of a more fulfilling future.

Over the past month or so I have spent an unbelievable amount of time thinking and learning. So much so that I have barely come up for air. I have been festering on this. A friend once told me to “pick three things that you want to be good at.” His point at that time was that if there are more than three things you may not reach your full potential in one of the three. When he shared this with me my list looked something like this.

  1. Kids
  2. Husband
  3. Work

Notice that health, fitness, friends and hobbies like photography were not on that list. At that time, this list worked for me and it has provided both the foundation and the financial means to leave work and re invent myself. It was also clear that I had left myself off the list. It is also evident looking back that I did not spend enough time building and maintaining my friends and a professional network. I did not spend enough time fostering personal learning and professional growth. I am just being honest. I do not live life with regrets, but I am committed to being honest and intentional with myself and my time.

Today, my list looks something like this.

  1. Family & friends
  2. Health – Both mental and physical
  3. Pursuit of passions & learning

For my close friends and family, you know how #1 is doing. I need to continue to foster this and continue to improve. But I am happy with this progress. It was a big year for my wife and I with our kids leaving for college, me quitting my job and re thinking about our future together as a couple after feeling like we were simply in survival mode for the last few years. We are also planning to pick the kids up and move the home from college in the next few weeks and then we will be doing a huge family trip together.

On the health side, I have had wins and losses. My physical fitness is up significantly and I have lost 20+ pounds since Christmas. I have completed my first gravel event in years and am coming into riding season (if spring ever does come to Minnesota!) in better condition than the last 5-7 years. I am in love with riding bicycles again and I am consumed with festering over my bike, it’s set up and parts. I am also dreaming of trips and destinations. I feel strong and I feel the momentum here ramping up fairly quickly.

What hasn’t gone as well lately on the health side is my committed plan to self improvement and mental health. I have actually fallen back into some old traps of comfort and gotten off my plan. I also have not spent enough time creating photography and working on my passion and future related to photography.

In looking at that list, it is really interesting to dig in and think about how bullet point 2 and 3 are connected. Just reading the list above you might think those are separate things. What I have always found and believed for me is that those two are intrinsically connected. I cannot have one without the other. They are a symbiotic relationship and one feeds the other. Over the past several months, and especially the last month, this connection has been 100% evident. If I am buried deeply only into creation, learning and mental health and setting my physical health aside, I am not happy. If I am only focused on physical health and set my creativity and learning aside, I am not happy. I need both. I am a creator at heart and in my soul. It feeds me. I also cannot accept standing still in my mental & physical health.

In the spirit of being honest, these two things have been pulling on me, many times in the opposite direction. I want to keep my fitness going so I have been prioritizing my health. I am also deep into learning how to design, construct and sew. At times, that focus and drive to learn and develop has completely consumed both my time as well as my mental capacity.

For many reading this you might find it hard to believe that with quitting work that I don’t have enough time and I can’t figure this out. That’s the trap! That is what my brain says too! But….I have to stop that thinking and negative language. I am not young anymore and I have spent many many years programming my brain the way that it is. It is going to take time to reprogram. I have to give myself the space and the time needed to become the person that I want to be. I need to do that constructively and not tear myself down. I need to look at the big picture. I am happier. I am healthier. I am moving forward.

Thanks for letting me share that rather personal blog entry today. It’s been sitting in my head at the gym, in the woods, on the street and on my favorite country roads. I needed to get it out so I can continue down my path moving forward.

And with that, I am going to sign off with some images from the past month. None of these images have gone through my normal processing on the computer. I simply haven’t had the time. But nonetheless here they are! Enjoy. Thanks again.

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