Cycle of Lives – T-minus 350 Days

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Days In – 15
Days Away – 350

Today’s Topic: The Measurements

How long has it been since you let your imagination roam free, since you audaciously dreamt about what could still happen in your life? When did you last allow your thoughts to roam the unfettered and uninhibited space that your optimistic mind created? Was that recently? Or, do you find yourself stuck in a place where you only see the fading images of what has already happened in your life? Can you remember when you thought your best days were ahead of you, hidden behind a magical curtain, waiting to be explored and conquered? For me, I still think those best days are ahead of me, even as I see the aging reflection in the mirror clearly and without myopic delusion. Yes, my mind still roams freely regardless of how many days have passed.

Time is the ultimate enemy in this, for sure. After all, it is easy and natural to allow life to take over the here and now with such authority that our future becomes only the forgotten possibilities that have no place inside the structured framework of our present. No matter how much we wish it to, the universe won’t slow time for even a brief moment – let alone long enough for us to ponder these things and attempt to reframe our realities. And yet, I think that if we can find a way to reframe our realities, to make our wishes come true – then at that exact moment – a tiny piece of our lives becomes frozen forever. I believe this because when we premeditatedly identify prized goals, wishes, or dreams, and then with conscious intention forge a path to successful attainment, that moment of actualization becomes fully ours to forever own.

How do you go about doing that? Although the concept is easy to understand, it is by no means easy to master. To begin with, you simply need to reach into the future, somehow fasten a string onto a specific dream and then purposefully pull yourself towards it, hand over hand, step by step, day by day, slowly distancing yourself away from the today – regardless of all the forces working against you – and towards your intended destination. Of course, some dreams will be easier to reel in than others, but I think you can reel most all of them in if you utilize enough might, fortitude, planning, energy, and ingenuity. And if that’s true, then perhaps if you can create enough of those moments of realization – owning lots of tiny moments of time – you won’t fade away as easily as the current days slip by. Maybe, just maybe, these frozen moments that were made from your conquered wishes, dreams, and goals can be strung together forever. And as a result, the here and now will have no choice but to give way to your endless and brightly shining legacy.

I’ve recently written about the need for self-assessment in order to become properly armed with the tools needed to get from here to there – to help pull you away from today and towards a purposed tomorrow. After all, where else would that particular strength come from other than from complete believe in yourself and in your aspirations – and how could you fully believe in yourself if you didn’t know your true and honest self?

In particular, I last wrote about the need to step on that scale – one of helpful self-assessment, not of stifling judgment – in order to gain the strength needed to make your dreams a reality. That’s where it starts. I’ve done that self-assessment, and having stepped off the scale and taken down today’s measurements, I think I have an honest understanding of my current condition. From here, I will put together my plans, more properly arm myself for meaningful and deliberate journeys into my imagination, where I will more competently grab ahold of some dreams and then pull myself over the chasm and attempt to realize them.

I’m going to document the results of my measurements now and in the weeks to come. And over the next many months and beyond, I’ll detail the processes that we all need to go through in order to effect the changes we want in our lives. If you want to do the same and join me along the way, we can openly discover our intended futures together. Maybe seeing my process will help you with yours. Like I’ve done in my book, “Winning in the Middle of the Pack: Realizing True Success in Business and in Life”, and in other platforms such as my blogs, presentations, and coaching, I’ll be open and unfiltered about the personal aspects involved, as I think that full and open assessment is necessary. I’ll share it all with you and hope that you’ll take time to share your journeys with me. Intending to accomplish meaningful things, and trying to create a tiny bit of eternity for ourselves as a result, demands that we lay it all out on the table.

With all that in mind, here’s some of what my self-assessment shows:

1. I’m 51 years old. Even though I don’t look or feel that age, the gap between perception and reality is narrowing on both counts. I plan to continue to stay young in mind and spirit and although it’s slightly tougher to do some of the things I’m used to doing, I still feel I’m far from the peak of what I can accomplish in life.

2. My twins just turned 17. They are juniors in high school, and are remarkable people. My kids are with me 100% of the time. We are very close, spend a lot of time together, and enjoy each other’s company. Both kids are studious, polite, engaged, focused and aspirational. I probably spoil them with regards to such things as not forcing them to do many chores, cooking most every meal for them still, and allowing them to use the little free time they have on their own pursuits rather than asking them to help me with all the things that I have on my plate. The main reason I do that stems from my compassion for what they have gone through because of having an alcoholic and extremely dysfunctional and difficult mother. I admire and respect both of them for handling their trauma with grace, maturity, balance, candidness and strength. Both are preparing for college by taking high-level courses, studying for college entrance exams, and by doing community service and other things that will help build their college resumes. My daughter is an aspiring collegiate golfer and without getting into the details, I probably devote and average of about 20 hours a week to help her with that pursuit. My son is an avid motocross rider and we spend a fair amount of time together as he pursues that activity regularly. Both kids have schedules that require many more hours in the day than are available for them to use. With regards to my parenting, I’ve done most things right and some things wrong, and it’s been easy to be successful as a parent because of the fortunate balance we share between my compassion, sensitivities, and strong desire to be a good parent, and the very fact that they are both just incredibly great people.

3. I quit my job about two months ago so that I could focus on my various pursuits: writing, speaking, building a consulting business, being with my kids as much as possible before they leave for college, planning for and completing my 5,000-mile bike ride/cancer book project, and more. Prior to breaking away and being off on my own, I was employed in finance for almost 20 years, and in various other industries prior to that. I don’t think I’ve been without a job since my first day working, which happened shortly after I turned 16. Currently, I have no income coming in, no clear cut plan in place for how to generate income, have two kids going off to college soon, need to save lots more for retirement, and am still relatively in my peak spending years. Going out on my own at this particular time is a scary, stressful, and crazy thing to do. I’m really hoping that I won’t look back and see that it was entirely reckless and foolhardy. I’m estimating that I’ll have maybe 12-18 months to figure it all out and build something for myself before I’ll have to abandon my pursuits and go out and find a job working for someone else. I really don’t want that to happen and I’m putting in very long days working on all of my various projects in the hope that doing so will help me build a self-sustaining existence.

4. I’m very healthy and have no known medical issues, other than something called “Reynard’s Syndrome”, which is basically an inherited condition whose only symptom is that my toes and fingers go white and become a little stiff and numb when I’m cold. I haven’t done more than a routine physical recently, but I have done those in the last few years. My blood pressure is a little low, I have very slight anemia and I take no medications.

5. I’m 6’-2”and weigh 208 – which is about 20 pounds more than my usual and ideal weight, and the heaviest I’ve been in about 10 years. I’m about 12 pounds over the lower end of the “overweight” range. I’ve allowed myself to get overweight and out of shape in just the last 4-6 months, mainly as a result of overeating relative to my caloric burn rate, not eating as healthily as I usually do, ingesting unnecessary liquid calories from alcohol, juices, smoothies and the occasional soda, eating too late at night, carrying too much stress around, not sleeping enough, not having any events on the calendar, and not training as much as I should, nor with any specific plan. I have started a dieting plan (one that I am very comfortable employing because of past success) and coupled with an aggressive workout and training plan, expect to be back to ideal weight and body composition within 60 days, at most. I’ll detail more on this soon.

6. From an athletic viewpoint, I’m not in as great a shape as usual. The last events I did were a 300-mile bike ride about 9 months ago, and an Ironman Triathlon a couple of weeks before that. Since then, I’ve allowed other priorities to bump doing events down to the bottom of the list. I do hit the gym 2-3 times a week, bike 3-6 hours a week, and run 1-3 hours a week now, but that is the very bare minimum of what I have done on average when looking at the last 10 years. I know that I can go out and run 10 miles or bike 3 hard hours at any time as I’ve done both numerous times – albeit sporadically – over the last half a year. The best strategy for me to use to stay healthy and athletic is to have specific, lofty goals with regards to events. This forces me to train with purpose and be diligent about my eating habits, as well as move both areas to the to top of the priority scale. I will be structuring a training program for the 5,000-mile bike ride that I’ll be doing a year from now, and will also be putting together a busy event schedule for between now and then.

7. I have many important and varied goals that are related to my kids, personal life, athletic endeavors, writing, speaking, consulting and much, much more. I don’t know if my diverse undertakings are properly unified and related enough, or if they are scattered, unconnected, and extraneous. But, I feel as though I need to take on as many ventures as possible in the potentially short window of time I have, so that I can give myself the opportunity to have my passions become my career. There are many things that I’m proud to have accomplished, but yet I feel that I am still destined to do more. I am still very much on a quest to find my callings, as it were.

Those are not the entirety of my findings, but they are some of the more obvious and important ones. Again, I’ll delve further into my self-assessment, both vertically and horizontally over time, and also discuss the processes related to effecting change and attempting to accomplish the really important goals that we hold deeply within us. I believe that achieving success in these dreams will mean that we will be able to freeze a lot of moments of time.

I have just a couple in my possession, but I want so many more.

Exploring slivers of the infinite Cycle of Lives.

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