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what being an adult is all about

Several weeks ago while I biking I was listening to a podcast and heard this great quote about what being an adult is all about.  The challenge is that I was biking and not able to write down the quote, and while I thought I knew which podcast it was in, when I went back to re-listen I couldn’t find it.  And so this blog post is going to include me phrasing a really great idea about adulthood.

The podcast host made the comment that being an adult is really about finding the balance between (A) accepting who you are, your strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, etc., and learning to be okay with who you are AND (B) continuing to grow and improve and change as you identify ways you want to be better or different.

When the podcast host shared this idea, it likely sounded more impressive.  And yet, to be honest, it was only days or maybe weeks later, that it came back to me and I thought “wow that’s so true”.

On one hand we need to embrace who we are and not try to be something we are not.  While at the same time, I believe we all need to be open to changing and work on being better (not perfect, better).

And this is the hourly, daily, weekly reality of what being an adult is really all about, isn’t it?

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that moment…

Some times, in some situations, and about some things we can care too much.   We can feel very strongly about things and situations, and these strong feelings can be both positive or negative.  And some times the feeling is based or rooted in a positive value, but is resulting in negative outcomes and impacts in our lives and on our mental health.

And then if we are lucky, there is the moment. The moment when some thing shifts within ourselves.  The moment when we stop caring too much.  The moment when we are freed.  We are free from the strong attachment we had to the outcome, or the value, or the situation or whatever.

In my experience, when that moment comes, people don’t stop caring about that thing or situation, but they stop caring “too much”.  They are no longer so attached.  They still care, but on a continuum of 1 to 10, they move from a 10 to a perhaps closer to a 5 or 6.  And as a result they are free to see other possibilities.  They are free of huge emotional energy and weight.

Some times, and in some situations, and about some things or some outcomes, we can care too much.  And we will know that’s the case when we experience the shift, that moment.  And in that moment we become free.

You’re in real life now….

Another post the comes via Seth Godin…  I just loved it so much I needed to share it.   “You are in real life now… so go find some goals and go set some boundaries.

 

If you want to make the Olympic soccer team, join a symphony orchestra or get into medical school, the path is well lit. It’s not easy, but the goals are clear and the boundaries are obvious.

Day by day, achievement by achievement, it’s a linear race. You know the rules, you can see the competitive landscape and you can train. It’s rare that the rules change along the way.

This is irresistible for some people, and if it ends, or they don’t make it, they’re often lost in the wilderness.

That’s because real life doesn’t have clear goals and obvious boundaries.

Real life is not organized around an 800 on the SATs, or a FGA average that’s the highest in the league.

Instead, real life has changing rules, hidden rules, rules that aren’t fair. Real life often doesn’t reveal itself to us all at once, the way the rules of baseball are clearly written down.

And so, the first challenge of real life is: find some goals. And the second: figure out some boundaries.

It doesn’t pay to get stressed out that these goals and these boundaries aren’t the same as everyone else’s. It doesn’t pay to mourn the loss of the rigid structures that worked in the world you used to be in.

You’re in real life now.

So, find some goals and find some boundaries.

Then you can get back to work.

Forgiveness

Preamble: It’s been over a month since I added to this blog.  I have been thinking about this particular post for closer to 3 months.  I sense that perhaps I have been avoiding writing a post, because I wasn’t ready to write this one, but knew it was the one I needed to write.

Forgiveness…

I have been thinking about forgiveness for a few months now.  It started while listening to a cbc radio interview with the author of a book with this title.  I haven’t read the book, it’s on my list.  At this point I have only heard some commentary on the book subject and related story.

Writing on the topic of forgiveness seems very personal.  And to write on the topic of forgiveness, I feel as if I should be a some sort of expert before sharing any thoughts.  I’m not an expert.  Forgiveness is personal.  I’m still thinking about forgiveness and what it means in my life.  I don’t have it all figured out.  I’m going to share the things I’ve been thinking about.

My definition of forgiveness is not about forgetting.  For me forgiveness is more about not letting the situation continue to impact your life (either your thoughts or actions) in a negative way.

The examples of forgiveness that I feel are most likely to get shared in media, books, and likely even in our social circles and communities, are the stories where people have forgiven a huge transgression.  Stories of forgiving the person who murdered your child, stories of forgiving and moving past wrongful interment of people in works camps, social injustices incurred against people based on their colour, creed, gender, or sexuality. These situations are horrible and terrible and should not happen.  These are powerful and moving examples of the impact forgiveness can have in the life of the person and the transgressor.  I am so fortunate that this situations and experiences are not part of my life.

And so my personal call to forgiveness is quite different than these stories I have most often heard on the topic of forgiveness.  In my life, the challenge of forgiveness is about forgiving the people who are part of my every day life.  It’s about forgiving when a person’s unintentional failure to include me in something hurt my feelings.  It’s about forgiving myself for the times I have unintentionally or intentionally been unkind to someone.  It’s about forgiving the person who wasn’t able to be what I needed at just the moment I needed them.  It’s about forgiving the comment by a close friend that was said in passing.  It’s about struggling with the reality that while the hurt was unintended and the person is not to be blamed, the hurt still happened, and that means talking about it likely won’t help the situation.  In writing this, these situations all seem rather selfish and petty.  But I’m going to choose not to judge myself.

As I’ve thought about forgiveness in my own life, I have thought about the fact, that in none of the situations where I need to forgive, can I just cut the person out of my life and/or avoid them.  The situations where I am called to forgive are not large big events or transgressions.  The situations where I am called to forgive are the small daily interactions with people who are going to keep being in my life.  The reason I want to forgive is so that these things can have less impact on my thoughts and actions.

Taking these thoughts from thoughts to words on a blog post has helped.  It is unlikely that I have some deep insight into the topic of forgiveness.  And so maybe I should hit delete and start a new post on a different topic.  But I’m not going to.  I’m going to trust that the act of writing is good.  I’m going to trust that the act of writing and sharing my thoughts (as weak as the thought process may be) is also good.

I’m going to keep working on forgiveness in my life.

sorting and labeling – a post too good not to share

The content below is not my own.  It was written by Seth Godin.  As I said in the title, the content is too good and too wise, not to share and pass along.  I hope it inspires you to do the often challenging and important work he writes about.

 

“We sort people all the time. Society prefers easy, useless ones. Sorts like: Skin color. Gender. Disability status. Nationality. Religious background. Height.

While these are easy to do and the result of long, long traditions, they’re useless.

The alternatives? Kindness. Expertise. Attitude. Skill. Emotional intelligence. Honesty. Generous persistence. Willingness to take risks. Loyalty. Perceptivity. Attention span. Care. Self awareness…

It’s a daily battle, an uphill climb to intentionally ignore the bad sorts we were likely taught as kids. This might be the most important work we do today, and every day. The people we care about deserve it..”

the “Loo” in the woods

Last week on Thursday and Friday we hiked.  The weather was perfect for hiking, not too hot, no rain, and on Thursday no mosquitoes.

We did a couple of relatively short days (about 10 km each), in order to avoid a very long day, as the next section of trail does not have a parking spot for a 14 km stretch.

The highlight of these days was the “loo” in the woods.  We came up a slight hill and around a curve to see the sign that says “loo” pointing towards a box-like thing a few feet off the trail.  When I lifted the lid, the box had a toilet seat and was a open outhouse type option.  It was great! And of course I used it.  If someone is going to build a “loo” middle of the woods, I will use it.  It was a much better option that ‘holding it for hours”, trying to find the right slope to avoid the pee running towards my boots, and/or loosing ones’ balance and almost falling during the squat.  Here are some pictures:

Other things from these 2 days of hiking include:

  • the man on his bike – we aren’t sure if he was hiking, biking or someone combination of the 2.  Either way, the hills were too much for him and his bike
  • the deer (likely the same deer on both days)
  • Walter’s Falls – which included a great place to enjoy our picnic lunch, the odd large crowd watching a guy paint on a random Thursday, and the Blundstone truck
  • the guy who was obviously hiking and camping out
  • the wonderful happy surprise when the place we had dinner in Owen Sound had Strongbow cider on tap!
  • the moment of poor communication that all worked out okay.

Here are a few more photos from those days of hiking.

smile

It’s hard to not feel a bit better when you smile.

When I am running and don’t want to go another step – I smile and keep going.

When I’m feeling a bit negative about a situation and I tell myself to smile – it can help change my thought pattern.

I don’t know what happens between our muscles and our brains when we smile, but there is something.

And I know that smiling can’t entirely fix something and it can’t make everything suddenly easier.  But I have found that it doesn’t make things worse.

Maybe when we least feel like smiling, is exactly the moments we need to.

So smile. It can’t hurt.