Day 1,209 – Thankful for Losing the Stair-climbing Challenge to Gavin & Taking Action

Today I lost the Stair-climbing championship to Gavin. By the time I climbed all 255 floors of Burj Khalifa in Dubai Gavin had already summited and knocked out the Statue of Liberty and an Aztec temple. I thought I’d take him out due to the long duration (over an hour) but he never showed signs of slowing. In fact, he ran up the last 8 floors!

I’m very competitive and losing is never enjoyable, but today I’m thankful he beat me. Gavin was pretty pumped up and seemed to really enjoy himself. I’ve got this weird feeling that he may find some joy in endurance sports as he grows up. Even if not I’m grateful for the time we had together doing something healthy for the second day in a row.

If you’re not part of the solution you’re a part of the problem, right? Instead of getting frustrated and doing nothing like I have for years I put together a couple of solutions to a problem or two (at least they are problems in my opinion). Today I finally took the time to summarize the challenge and a handful of potential solutions. I’ve got concrete next steps and will see what happens. Even if nothing comes of it I’m grateful for taking the time to take action. I may not control the situation, but I can control how I respond to it and attempt to make a difference.


Day 1,208 – Thankful for Working Out with Gavin, Snowblowing with Dominic, and Wings with the Boys

Today picked up where yesterday left off; Dominic and I hanging out together. Kind of hanging out… if you count snowblowing as hanging out 😉 I am thankful for how eager he is to take on additional responsibility like this. While he and I worked together I was reminded of so many Saturday mornings of working in the woods with my dad. It wasn’t always the most exciting but when I look back they were some great times with my old man. I am thankful for having some of those moments with Dominic this morning.

While Dominic was at snowboarding Gavin and I ran some errands and then hit the Y. We had a lot of fun joking and talking as we hit the bikes first. After a good ride we hit the side by side stair climbers and had an epic race up to the top of Skellig Michael. At least it felt epic to me. Gavin totally crushed me and did 20+ extra stories while I finished up my 67 flights up Skellig Michael. I am so grateful for the time together with him doing something that will possibly create some excellent long term habits for him. We’ll head back to the Y tomorrow for a rematch and I’m excited to get a great workout in with him again.

As we chill tonight we decided to grab wings and chill together. I’d given them a few options and they wanted to have the three of us hang out together, something I’m always thankful for. After the show we’re watching together (Alone, Season 4) we’re going to fire up some games and probably antagonize each other for a while. What an awesome way to spend a night!


Day 1,207 – Thankful for Hanging Out with Dominic While Gavin Hangs Out with a Friend

Gavin is giggling away and having fun with a buddy of his. Hearing them goofing around has me smiling and thinking back to so many awesome times with my friends.

While they’re doing their thing Dominic and I are hanging out and watching movies. We’re having a blast joking around as we chill in the living room. We’ve joked about old memories of past nights like this (watching Voltron in the mattress fort) and vacations like below. I mentioned what an awesome vacation that was and his response filled my heart… “They all have been!”

What an epic start to the weekend, hanging out with my boys.

Off to watch 300 with Dominic!


Day 1,206 – Thankful for a Thought Provoking Quote and Taking Time to Regularly Read Three Newsletters

Which newsletters do you receive that you find valuable enough to invest time reading? Please share your favorites, it’s great to pick up a new one once in a while.

I had to pull over this morning to attempt getting this picture. There’s a magical clarity on insanely cold mornings like this that make the changing colors of the sunrise even more beautiful than normal.

There are a handful of newsletters I’ve signed up that I’ll often read. Some are daily, some weekly, and some monthly. Many will get quickly scanned and possibly saved for future reading when I have a little downtime. I find they’re a great way to get different ideas and viewpoints on a variety of topics.

Three of these newsletters pack such value that I read almost immediately when I see them. Each causes me to pause and think. Often I find that I’ve still got an idea or two rolling around in my head even a few days later. Each packs a ton of thought provoking info and is very positive.

When I read this week’s 3-2-1 there was a quote that really jumped out at me. From much of the reading and thinking I’ve been doing lately this really hit the nail on the head and connected the thoughts of an ancient Roman emperor and a catholic monk in a very succinct way…

British philosopher Bertrand Russell on how to grow old. (Russell wrote this at age 81 and went on to live another 16 years.)

“The best way to overcome [the fear of death]—so at least it seems to me—is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.

“An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being.

“The person who, in old age, can see life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he or she cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome.

“I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.”

Source: How to Grow Old

I find it interesting that he discusses the slow deterioration of the ego and the blending with the universal whole. This concept has been coming through loud and clear in other readings. Of course I’ve tried to figure out how to cheat ahead but it almost seems as if this is a natural order, starting individual and working into a whole as we all age. This quote definitely will have me thinking deep for quite some time!


Day 1,205 – Thankful for Remembering to Choose the Tradeoff

When is the last time you wanted to do something but you knew you’d have to make a tradeoff? How did you choose what to remove / do differently?

Throughout the day I had several moments in which I had to choose my focus and determine what my priority was in that moment. Thanks to some thoughts that have been rolling through my noggin recently I smiled each time I hit one of these crossroads. In pausing for a moment to check out both directions (& also look for a third, fourth, and fifth direction) my smile widened as I remembered that I can choose the decision.

In moments like this I have control. I am able to decide how I react. I’m able to determine what course of action will be best to help head towards my goals and purpose.

I also have the ability to not choose, to go with the default, and go wherever life takes me. At that time I choose to relinquish control and go with the flow.

So why am I thankful for remembering to choose the tradeoff? It is a moment in which I have the opportunity to truly make the decision of where to go next. It is a moment in which I have the opportunity to choose to default back to the path of least resistance. Either way, I choose… as long as I remember to choose. When I forget to choose the tradeoff or I neglect to acknowledge the tradeoff I am not taking the opportunity to choose for myself.

As I’m continuing to slowly learn there really isn’t much in life that I’m truly in control of. There are really only two things in which my decision makes all the difference… in my attitude and in my actions. I’m thankful for remembering to choose the tradeoff as in that moment I’m truly taking action of my own will.

Okay, I’ve just got to add this last part as I’m thinking about it while typing. Truly, I almost have zero control. If The Big Dude Upstairs is responsible for making me and allowing my ability to make my own decisions, are they really my own and am I really in control of anything? I’ll definitely need to think on that one more…


Day 1,204 – Thankful for Lessons from a Town Board Meeting

Tonight Dominic and I went to the town board meeting. One of the requirements for his next advancement in Scouts was to attend and then write about an issue discussed there. The last time I’d been to an actual meeting was many years ago when we needed a variance for our garage and I was kind of excited to go.

Throughout the meeting many topics were covered by many people. As I listened intently there were many little nuggets of knowledge I was able to soak in. After a while I busted out my phone and started taking notes on what I was learning.

On the drive home I shared with Dominic one of my favorite thought exercises. Spending time in a group of people I don’t know well and observing their conversations about something I have very limited knowledge of is incredibly stimulating. With not having a pony in the race I’m able to sit back and observe the interactions and decision making processes. I don’t do it from a point of judgement of an individual, rather to put myself in their shoes and learn through their experience. I do my best to put myself into their mindset while simultaneously observing how their thoughts and ideas are portrayed and then received by others.

In practicing this exercise I’m able to find flaws in my own thinking and behaviors. It helps me have a story to put to a change I need to make to improve. For clarity – I’m learning both what is done well and what I think could’ve been done better.

By the time the meeting was done I had a list of several such lessons to remember and think on. I’m thankful for taking the time to attend the board meeting from Dominic, it was a great learning experience for me!


Day 1,203 – Thankful for Running In Fresh Snow Under a Bright Moon with Becky & the Girls

Today’s been an awesome day all around. There’ve been so many magical moments I am thankful for. Teammates took things to the next level. I had many laughs with friends. There was a business lunch that involved a lot of travel talk. Much learning happened and there were clear signs of progress. Time with the boys, time at home, and some time to think. How do I narrow it down to just one thing today? Simple…

This wasn’t from this morning, I didn’t take my phone today. Still from another great morning, just not today. 🙂

This morning started off with a morning run in fresh snow. The only thing that had been in it at all was a rabbit and a fox (in different areas). The moon was very bright, the sky was clear, and the light reflected beautifully off the fresh blanket of snow. The world was a little more quiet than normal. There was no wind and the air was almost perfectly still. Each inhale brought a fresh intake of cool crisp air. Each footfall felt like it landed in a soft pillow. The quiet crunching sound of each step made a beautifully rhythmic sound. The environment was so peaceful and serene. What a relaxing way to experience life first thing in the morning!

As if that weren’t enough I also had the benefit of spending that time with Becky and the girls. Becky and I had time to talk and we shared time together. Being in nature to experience this beauty together was amazing. The girls ran with such joy and curiosity of the snow covered landscape. Their happiness and excitement made our run even more enjoyable.

The morning run in these conditions was perfect. The company I shared the moment with was outstanding. I can’t think of a better way to start a day. From that point on the rest of my day was filled with joy.