February: Recap

Do you ever feel like you need another day in the week? That’s how I feel about February. Leap years make me happy because I have 24 more hours to fill before the calendar turns over.

The last 28 days have been close to a blur.

It’s been 28 days of illness and/or injury, and if not either one of those, swim meets.

Doing anything while riding out a virus can be difficult, trying to train though that can be a tricky balance. Do I swim or do I rest? I can’t tell you whether I made the best decisions or not, but I will tell you that next time I decide to enter 3 swim meets three weeks in a row I’ll be sure to have a better training base.

Work was slow this month so while my bank account is a little less full than it would be at this point in the year, I was afforded the time to recover from my various ailments without having to miss out on much, if anything.

I spend the first half of the month thinking March was a week away and the later half of the month thinking I had a few weeks before I had to plan out what’s next. Now March starts tomorrow and all I have to show for it is a bunch of blog posts in various states of completion.

I watched a lot of entertainment related items this month, there’s only so much one can do under the constant haze of Ben@dryl. Unfortunately, a lot of them required subtitles so it was more than I bargained for in terms of the brain power required, on the plus side I retained more Spanish in my six years of study than I could have guessed.

I’ve been looking through boxes of old school papers, like from the 90s old. It’s strange what was considered an accomplishment back then. I have more than one certificate to congratulate me for having a good day in school. And people complain about having to deal with a generation of “snowflakes.” I wonder how that possibly could have started? Could it have been because we started giving out certificates for just getting through the day? (I vote yes)

I still don’t have a clue how my word for the year fits into my life. I’ve given up any means of discerning what it could mean after 2 months of basically journaling my brains out. But there are 307 days to sort something out, wait for the heavens to open, or a lightning bolt to strike my in the head.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s been plenty of “new” this month, but it feels forced, like I keep trying to make something happen that isn’t meant to be.

I’m not going to say that I’m excited to see how the next month unfolds, I haven’t been excited for that kind of thing in who knows how long. However, I hope that next month brings more productivity and peace.

One Word: 2019

I had no idea what my word should be for the year.

Should it go along with words I had chosen in previous years?

Should it be completely independent?

I tried praying about it. I tried thinking about it. I mindlessly surfed the internet on New Year’s Eve.

Nothing.

So, I turned to Jennifer Fulwiler’s Word of The Year generator.

word19

My first reaction was, what the crap.

I’ve already had a lot of “new” in my life, too much if you ask me, or at least too much for the “new” that comes with a pile of negatives for each “new” thing.

I’ve become very tired of the “new,” at least for now.

I was hoping for something more meaningful, something with more direction, something with more “oh of course” factor.

I could have clicked “pick another word” but it would have felt like spitting in the face of fate.

So, I’m stuck with “new.”

I have 334 more days to figure out how “new” fits into my year (or how to make it fit).

I hope this new season of “new” brings more positive newness rather than negative.

One Word (2018): Review

Would you believe that I’d forgotten my word for this year?

Rereading my original post from January wasn’t an eye opener as much as a reality check. I had no idea what was ahead of me this year but if you read it with the benefit of hindsight you may think I was slightly psychic.

Particularly when I said, This time feels less formal than a transition, like taking a deck of cards and throwing it in the air kind of formal (as in there’s no order to it, at all).”

Specifics aren’t that important, especially considering I’m always looking for more topics to write about. So let’s just say this year has given me plenty of reasons to generate content, it’s just a matter of timing before the content gets created.

 However, when I read that I actually wrote,
“I’m not completely lost, but things are more or less wide open in terms of my next steps.
It’s not like I wake up every morning wondering what to do with myself, at least not every morning.”

I had one of those “did I actually write that” moments.

I thought I sounded like a complete idiot, but that’s with the benefit of hindsight, if realizing your idiocy can in fact be a benefit.

I do wake up most mornings wondering what to do with myself. It wasn’t planned, and it’s not ideal but it is what it is. My time may be filling with meetings but that’s about it as far as structure goes. I don’t schedule the meetings, set the agenda, or work out the logistics (at least not yet), so I just have to show up, listen, and maybe put in a cent or two here and there.

Other than that, I wonder what I’m going to do with myself most days.

Given the benefit of hindsight I realize I go all in on things if the stars align. If they don’t then I struggle with focus and personal drive.

It’s there, but I have to be hooked in.

School was an easy thing to get hooked on, once I acclimated, if I wanted a degree, I had to earn it (and boy did I, on both counts).

Competitive swimming was another easy one. When it’s something you’ve wanted to do so long you can’t remember your first thought about it the “buy in” is a given. I’d be at the pool all day everyday if I could. However, being a competitor more nuanced you must train for it. Meaning you can’t just show up and swim. Having changed pools and workout groups I’ve discovered the “buy in” I have doesn’t work in the same way wherever I find myself training.

Then there’s the continuing need to keep building a career for myself. The hook keeps shifting. I need money to live and I need to be passionate about something. Those are two completely different hooks, at least at the moment, and I would like these two hooks to turn into one. If I’m being honest money isn’t always the best hook for me, it works, but in the short term, and being disabled is expensive so packing a bag and venturing off into the unknown like Eat. Pray. Love. or Wild isn’t an option. An Into The Light thing would be cool but I doubt anyone in my family would be down for that, for a variety of reasons.

I knew flux would be a good word for this past year because of the obvious unknowns, what I never factored into the equation when coming up with this word was just how many unknowns would come up in addition to the ones I knew about. My year of flux made for a long and frustrating year, so much so that I can’t wait to put the whole thing behind me.

One Word: 2018

Build. Chance. Providence. Transition. Endurance.

Now?

Flux.

Why?

It just feels right.

It sounds better than “blank”, which is really how I feel right now.

I was going to class it up with “transition,” but been there, done that.

This time feels less formal than a transition, like taking a deck of cards and throwing it in the air kind of formal (as in there’s no order to it, at all).

I’m not completely lost, but things are more or less wide open in terms of my next steps.

It’s not like I wake up every morning wondering what to do with myself, at least not every morning.

It’s more of a discernment thing.

One of my most favorite things to do.

(Not really)

I’m not on the verge of existential crisis or anything, at least not yet, but it can easily go that way, based on past performances.

I’m not in any particular predicament either, but again, it could easily go that way.

I do have a tendency to misjudge situations, like staying in temporary jobs too long or not staying in a position long enough to make it a solid life decision.

Do you see why I chose “flux” instead of “transition” (again) this year?

Similar situation, but far less structured, less direction, more questions that will need answering, at some point.

(I’d like it to be sooner rather than later, but God tends to have other ideas)

One Word: 2017 Review

Endurance

There were a few obvious reasons:

-Attempting to become more of a distance swimmer, because although a 50m doesn’t seem like a lot of work it can be just as hard as swimming a mile. I need the endurance, literally.

*I’ve been focusing on 100s & 200s. It requires endurance but if I pace myself I don’t find them to be as difficult as 50s, mentally or physically.

-Although I’ve made it through the bulk of my degree program I’m really just getting to the hard stuff. I won’t be pushed out of my comfort zone I’ll be blasted out of it, no matter how much I prepare.

*I survived, give or take a mental breakdown. Enough said.

The not so obvious reasons were:

-Starting a search that would lead to an actual career.

*Can we talk about how unfun the searching and applying processes are? But I’m making some progress, it’s better than nothing.

-Basically become better at “adulating,” because I’m (hopefully) going to be an adult for a longer period of time than I was a kid.

*What does “acting like an adult” really mean anyway? How does one measure how “adult” they are?

-The older I get, even though I’m not that old, the more energy I need to get things done. I’m not just talking about physical energy but mental and emotional energy, probably even more so than the physical aspects.

*I love naps. The older I get the more I like them. Ironic considering, I was that kid that never napped in daycare or pre-school. I appreciate being able to go to bed (and fall asleep) early. I’m not envious of people who get to wind down their day at 9pm.

-Developing endurance will give me the opportunity to have more time to devote to one thing at a time, hopefully.

*I don’t have the slightest clue what I meant by that. I’m not sure I’m wired in such a manner than would make that achievable. It is a nice thought though, I’ll give myself that much.

One Word: 2017

Build. Chance. Providence. Transition.

What comes next?

Endurance

At least that seems to be calling me.

There are a few obvious reasons:

-Attempting to become more of a distance swimmer, because although a 50m doesn’t seem like a lot of work it can be just as hard as swimming a mile. I need the endurance, literally.

-Although I’ve made it through the bulk of my degree program I’m really just getting to the hard stuff. I won’t be pushed out of my comfort zone I’ll be blasted out of it, no matter how much I prepare.

The not so obvious reasons would be:

-Starting a search that would lead to an actual career.

-Basically become better at “adulating,” because I’m (hopefully) going to be an adult for a longer period of time than I was a kid.

-The older I get, even though I’m not that old, the more energy I need to get things done. I’m not just talking about physical energy but mental and emotional energy, probably even more so than the physical aspects.

-Developing endurance will give me the opportunity to have more time to devote to one thing at a time, hopefully.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”
-1 Corinthians 9:24

One Word: A Review

“I think this year will be easier to tackle if I just call it what it is from the get go, rather than being in denial for an unspecified period of time.”

When I wrote that last year I truly had no idea what I was getting into, other than I was being secretly overly optimistic.

Transition was my word for 2016.

And boy was it.

All the things I thought might happen did:

-I became one of the “older” students on campus.

-I’m now more an advisor than an advisee.

-My degree program has a new director, who has made me think more about my potential impact for the Church, and in the best way possible (I think, I hope).

-I’ve learned more about myself when it comes to achieving goals.

-I’ve tried to enjoy the steps along the way while keeping the end in mind, rather than let it become my sole focus.

And then some:

-I changed my schedule to better fit the life I want instead of worrying about what other people might say about my motivations.

-I’ve been trying to put school as the priority, which means devoting my mornings to coursework rather than feeling “awake” enough to do it.

-I joined a swim club, and although it’s been something of a culture shock it’s been overwhelmingly positive. There are still times when swimming sucks but that’s bound to happen no matter how ideal the situation is.

-I ventured into podcasting, thinking it would be a one-time thing but it’s becoming an actual venture.

-I’ve actively participated in most of the changes in my life this past year, rather than having the change still occur with resistance on my part.

One Word: 2016

This is my 4rd year choosing one word for the year. Why one word? It’s easier than keeping a list of resolutions & failing to keep them (and then feeling like crap because you didn’t keep them). Last year I had a hard time picking my word (Providence). This year my word came to me early, as in 6 months ago, early.

I learned a lot my 1st summer of grad school and I made a lot of friends. Most of them were further along in the program than I was so I knew that there would come a point, or rather summer, when they weren’t going to be around for wine & cheese nights anymore.

What I didn’t realize was just how soon that was going to be.

That same summer one of the 1st friends I made joked that she was appointing me the new social director. A plan that promptly flew out of the window when word got out (from me) that I would be arriving after everyone else; also there was already at least one wine and cheese night in the books before my arrival was announced.

That’ll show anyone and everyone what happens when I’m appointed to anything (and never do it again).

After everyone left I had the chance to explore campus. Alone.

I took the time to visit the places people had told me about but had no need to visit. I took pictures of all the things

That’s when I found my word and it was only solidified by the last week of on-campus course work, because when people start asking you the same questions you asked other people when you first showed up it’s pretty clear you’ve taken on a new role in your life, whether you want to or not.

Therefore my word for 2016 is:

Transition

I think this year will be easier to tackle if I just call it what it is from the get go, rather than being in denial for an unspecified period of time.

I’ve also been putting things off the irony is, not all of them are hard things, just things I haven’t gotten around to. I’ve been “too busy” among other things. Really I’m just being non-committal about a lot of it. That’s what happens when I approach a transition I’m not ready for, I flop around and make up reasons why I can’t do something right now.

I get excited and look forward to being able to do something, like reaching a personal goal, but as soon as I’ve reached it, or sometimes I just had to come close, I tend to back away. It’s almost like I became so focused on reaching that one goal that creating a new goal and moving on from the achieved goal creates a greater fear than never being able to reach a goal in itself.

This will be my year of transition, and as exciting as it is it’s just as daunting.

Is there anything you do to help yourself deal with or go through transitions?

One Word: Review

My word for 2015 was Providence

Providence (with a capital “P”) is defined as divine guidance or care, God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

When I picked my word for this past year I was being optimistic. My plate was full, so full, of things I had hoped and prayed for. I couldn’t help but be thankful and think God had a hand in all of it.

But I thought having God in my corner would mean that everything would be great and I’d have no problems at all.

Clearly I was more than a bit delusional.

I started making out my calendar for the coming year by looking over my calendar for this year.

No wonder I feel like I’ve been sleeping for the last few months, because on some level I have been.

I thought Providence would mean I would be happy, and well rested, all the time.

This year has been jam packed, which has had just as many bad points as it has good points.

I thought Providence would mean I wouldn’t have to choose between things that I love and care deeply about.

I thought Providence would mean no hurt feelings, especially my own feelings.

I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from this year that will serve me for years to come.

Have I learned about Providence? I’m sure I have I just can’t see it clearly right now. End of the year burnout now comes with an end of the semester near-nervous breakdown complete with lack of sleep & kicks my “screw you” attitude into a whole other level.

My brain doesn’t want to think so hard right now, and I’m happy to oblige.

That doesn’t mean the year has been completely worthless. In fact it’s just the opposite. I’ve been able to do so much this year I wonder if I’ll ever repeat it, never mind if I’ll ever do better.

I’ll tell you one thing. If I’m ever this busy ever again I’ll be better prepared (or at least I hope to be) because I seriously doubt I’ll be as lucky a second time around.

I have had a year of Providence. It just hasn’t looked anything like I thought it would.