Milwaukee, I Heart [Attack] You!

Once again, I was supposed to spend last week out in a cabin someplace; hiking, meditating, and generally decompressing. This time, my consolation trip was a weekend in Milwaukee. I’d never actually been in the city itself before, just gone around it on my way to more exotic locales. Like Madison or Minneapolis. Within 30 […]

The Future is Now

Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now. -Mattie Stepanek

I used to live in a world of somedays. There were so many things I wanted to do, but I had a hundred excuses for why I couldn’t do any of them.

“I’d love to spend a couple of hours writing in a coffee shop” I’d say to myself, “but I don’t have a laptop (and then- my laptop is too heavy) or the money to treat myself to a coffee. Not to mention nothing to say!” I thought of it as a nice, yet impossible, dream.

I had so many of those dreams and desires. What it all boiled down to was this: by waiting for everything to be perfect before I ever got started, I’d dug myself into a comfortable little rut. Sure, I was bored from lack of stimulation, and the walls were so close I couldn’t move, but getting out of it was going to require some work.

So I stayed in my rut and dreamed about all the amazing things I was going to do… someday. Inertia is serious business.

It’s not exactly like I woke up one morning and just decided to start living my dreams. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two years reading, writing, meditating, and growing. So in a way it is like I woke up one morning and overcame my inertia.

I used one of my old standby methods; I picked a couple things. And then I did them. Achievement unlocked.

Feels good, doesn't it?
Feels good, doesn’t it?

I still have dreams that I’m putting off, of course. Doing all of the things I want to do would require me to be in several places at once. Now that I’ve found a way to work some of my dreams into my life* I no longer feel confined by things I’m not able to do right now.


*For example, I spent some time on the beach this morning, and then wrote this blog post on the patio of my favorite local coffee shop. Sure, my laptop is heavy (and let’s get real- nowhere near as awesome as my desktop), but I still manage to drag it out at least once a week.

Free Ranging It

I’ve been on the road most of this week visiting family. All the running around has left me a little tapped out blog-wise, but I have a good feeling about how quickly I’ll be inspired again.

In the meantime, I’ve just started reading a pretty awesome book that I thought I should share on here (I’m also thinking of making an essential reading list page for this blog).

Be a Free Range Human” is going to a pretty fantastic read; I can already tell and I’m only a couple chapters in.

One things that’s struck me about it so far, and that I saw in action this week, is the idea of putting of the things you want to do until later in favor of working now. So, as long as I choose something that makes lots of money, I’ll have that money to spend having fun once I retire.

I’ll take the fun and fulfillment now, thanks.

I’m excited to go through the exercises to try to tailor my work even more to fit who I am and what I want. My plan is to love my job even more than I already do, what could be better than that?

Do you know why everyone at Chicago street tests go bonkers for these guys? Because they love what they do!
Do you know why everyone at Chicago street fests goes bonkers for these guys? Because they love what they do!

Epic Summer Redux

All the photos in this post are from last week’s mini vacation in New Buffalo, MI. I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of that adventure here, but it seemed really self-indulgent to write an actual post about it.


 

Two years ago I was having the worst summer of my life: I was experiencing on and off debilitating pain (more on, sadly); I had suddenly left my job, my clients, and presumably my profession; and a close family member turned out to be very ill. Sometimes I thought it was going to crush me.

Walkway to the dunes
Walkway to the dunes

It was also in some ways the best summer of my life: it felt like I had very little left to lose and so I really lived in the moment. When I was in Chicago my besties and I would go to street festival after street festival and dance in the street like we didn’t have a care in the world; in those moments I honestly didn’t.

Little New Buffalo lighthouse behind the dunes
Little New Buffalo lighthouse behind the dunes

I have decided to try to have it all this summer in what I’m calling, “Epic Summer 2: The Return”. At first is seems like a daunting idea; seeing clients (and giving them my all), keeping healthy, blogging and staying up on social media, working on my creative writing, and then finding time to dance with abandon. Kind of the opposite of carefree, right?

A family of geese joined me for morning meditation. Such fluffy goslings!
A family of geese joined me for morning meditation. Such fluffy goslings!

Fortunately, in addition to all the other ways I have been trying to optimize my life, I have been reading a lot on time management/productivity. This article was the inspiration I needed to finally go for it.

We randomly stopped at Central Beach in Indiana to admire the Chi skyline.
We randomly stopped at Central Beach in Indiana to admire the Chi skyline.

 

Here’s my plan for the days I don’t see clients: during the hours when all sensible vampires and people of Irish descent are staying out of the sun as much as possible, I will be doing my computer projects like writing for this blog and my newsletter. During my original Epic Summer I spent these hours either reading about the Founding Fathers/ Revolutionary War if I was in Michigan, or watching t.v. if I was at home. I’ll use timers to help ensure that I’m using that time as productively as possible (I cannot tell you how much of a difference using a timer has made in my life already!). The rest of my time is for playing outside, or reading, or street dancing.

I just really liked this bush.
I just really liked this bush.

The days when I do see clients will stay the same. When I am at work, my time is theirs and I give them my all.

I have no idea if this plan will actually succeed. My hope is that by bringing back little pieces of that carefree summer, I’ll have even more to give during my working hours. The beauty of being self-employed is the freedom to play with things like this. The danger is not re-calibrating in time if it doesn’t work. Luckily for me, I’m an optimist.

This was the view from our balcony. I could never get tired of waking up to that!
This was the view from our balcony. I could never get tired of waking up to that!