Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

No. 1 remedy to burnout

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Image source: healthline.com.

I couldn’t put my finger on it. Barring all-things 2020, my mood contradicted a grateful heart. Head spinning, I opened my devotional book and, although not “dated” for that particular Sunday, the passage focused on the Sabbath as a day of rest. I don’t know about you, but I tend to view Sunday as a “catch-up” day, in which I attempt to wrap up the previous six days’ worth of tasks. Then, by the time Monday morning rolls around, I’m already itching for the weekend. Yet, as I read that rest serves as a simple remedy to burnout and its symptoms, I saw myself reflected between the pages. In that moment, I shifted to a “Sunday slowdown” mindset and removed the heaping helpings that crowded my “plate”—all a product of my own doing—and proceeded to spend the day regrouping. This time when Monday rolled around, it didn’t arrive as a surprise or a burden, but rather a clean slate.

What does rest look like for you?

Crisis of identity: discovering your ‘story’

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I’m smack dab in the middle of an identity crisis. Oh, I know who I am: a middle-aged Christian woman and married mother of an adult child. I work as an editorial and advertising coordinator for a commercial magazine publisher (see About Me). My Facebook profile describes me as a lover of words, kitties, laughter, yoga and animal print. And sparkles. I’m also a published author (see Links) of nonfiction and fiction. However, I’ve been questioning my “identity” over the past few weeks in relation to my “story.” I’ve never understood what that means. Until now. For me, my story translates into what I’m called to write. In “Trusting the process…,” I talk about completing the first draft of a sweet romance. But herein lies the crux of my “crisis.” While preparing to write the second draft, I realized I possess a different story to tell. I shared this revelation with my husband, who said, “Why can’t you write both?” Indeed.

What’s your story—or crisis of identity?

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

You’re not going that way anyway

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Is there a go-to place you seek for inspiration or insight? The mountains fill that role for me. Before each hike, I ask: What do I need to know? followed by prayer for an open mind and heart to receive. Sometimes, I experience “ah-ha” moments; other times a surprise spotting of deer prompts me to look up and view the world in front of me. One fresh insight aligns with the latest writing adventure on which I embarked (see “My future self…”). Concerned that a few other trekkers chose a similar route as me during a recent outing, I feared disruption of much-needed solitude. Yet these hikers opted for a different trail, leaving me with unfounded worry—a reminder not to waste energy agonizing over choices that others make. This coincides with years of envying fellow writers, while seeking their “maps” to success. And realizing that each of us get to forge a path unique to our own journey.

How do you know you’re on the right path?

PSA: It’s simple—Don’t drink + drive

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One of the easiest decisions a person can make is to not drink and drive. But here’s the catch-22: once you drink, your decision-making skills become impaired. And because one person chose to drink and drive on Aug. 19, 2004, my family’s “normal” changed forever. Consequently, on the anniversary of my husband’s “death” and “re-birthday,” I hop on my soapbox to share the down-and-dirty details about that night. My 12-year-old daughter and I waited for her dad to arrive home from work so we could enjoy a family bike ride together. Instead, at 6:19 p.m.—minutes from our neighborhood—an intoxicated driver slammed his Dodge Ram into my husband’s Honda Civic. Following a medical-helicopter transport to a Trauma 1 hospital, my husband underwent emergency surgery—after which he spent the next 59 days as an inpatient navigating his new normal resulting from a TBI, crushed hip and myriad physical, emotional and mental trauma. And he still struggles with deficits today. Please think twice: If you drink: don’t drive.

Do you really need ‘all the things?’

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Always a planner, even as a young girl, this year started no differently. Although, that soon changed as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world. It’s required a shifting—or pivoting—in plans and priorities, goals and mindsets. Some changes have been tough to swallow, while others serve to illustrate that our self-imposed schedules could benefit from extra “white space” for self-care and self-reflection. Personally, I’ve learned I don’t “need” everything I once thought necessary. For example, it turns out I don’t need to practice yoga in a heated room. Although I miss my tribe of Bikram practitioners, I’m content doing my own thing on my own time. And, as much as I coveted my monthly #selfcare of acupuncture and facials, I’ve discovered a coconut mask that, when used weekly, hydrates and brightens. Admittedly, it does require greater discipline for me to continue an at-home #selfcare and exercise regimen, but the time (and money) savings have been worth the effort.

What “luxuries” have you learned to do without?

Picking up the pieces. Together.

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Have you, like me, thought this year could benefit from a collective do-over? Perhaps you’ve read the poem, penned by Leslie Dwight, circulating social media. I’ve always held to the mindset “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet it’s obvious that not just our nation—but our world—is broken. Christians call it fallen. And I can’t help wonder if this decade is, indeed, a wake-up call to pick up the pieces. While our choices of action might be limited, our choices of thought are not. We choose to think the best—or the worst. We choose to trust or to fear. To believe lies or to seek out the truth. To love or to hate. Admittedly, it would be less painful to press a restart button on 2020. Because to inform change requires the messy work. Is it so far-fetched to imagine a world where we worked together to pick up the pieces? I choose to think it’s a possibility.

How will you accept Dwight’s challenge?

Image source: today.com.

Looking within: discovering plenty amidst the lack

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As I mentioned in my post, “Another way to look at the pandemic ‘pause,’” I’m discovering new things about myself since 2020 took a major detour. While much becomes ingrained in our habits and thought processes simply because “that’s the way I’ve always done it,” the current COVID-19 climate has required a mandatory “pivoting” of our mindsets. One shining example: When my daughter’s gym temporarily closed due to the social-distancing order, it crushed her. Although she knew it afforded a minor inconvenience overall, she dreaded a derailment of her fitness goals. However, after a short-lived pity party, she soon realized that everything she needed to maintain her daily practice stared her in the face. In fact, she recently conquered—and exceeded—her goals. But not without inner resolve, a dash of creativity and a boatload of fierce grit. I couldn’t be prouder of her. It’s heartening how a global crisis can reveal the best within us. If we let it.

Where have you discovered plenty amidst the lack?

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Doing away with limiting beliefs: Faking it, or making it?

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Motivational speaker and author Will Bowen says, “People advise, ‘Fake it ’til you make it.’ In truth, you’re not faking. As soon as you act like the person you aspire to be, you are that person. Over time, this repeated behavior becomes the default version of you. This is how we change—every time.” If you’re sick of a negative life or situation: speak a positive word [aloud] to yourself: while driving, as you walk into work each day, when your alarm goes off in the morning. Begin with something simple: I am strong, I am healthy, I am happy. Then get specific: I am successful at X, Y and/or Z… I am a loving partner and/or friend, etc… And when you begin to doubt: do away with limiting beliefs. For example, if you’re ill, tell yourself: I am getting stronger every day. Or: Something good is going to happen to me today! Changing our focus, changes our outcome. Every time.

What is one of your limiting beliefs?

Image courtesy of Siri Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Time to grow: doing the right things, at the right time

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While in the process of doing “all the things,” I discovered: I can’t do all the things. After a year of searching for the perfect time management and goal planning strategies, I’ve taken a step back. In fact, I’m starting over. Why? Because I wasn’t making headway. The overabundance of resources at my disposal paralyzed me—until I discovered a practice that meshes with the way I’m wired and can be tweaked as needed (aka because life). In January, it began with a big picture mental image birthed from a vision board workshop, which advised a series of goal mapping. From there, I developed quarterly and monthly goals, followed by measurable action steps and a weekly task list (in progress). And with my big picture vision at the forefront, I plan to regularly assess what’s working and what’s not working to plot consecutive quarters and so on. Now I can do all the things. The right things. At the right time.

How do you manage all the things?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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