Posted in about me, ebb & flow, meandering, motivation

Competition … and how I’m mostly over it

Tomorrow, The Kid is competing in his first taekwondo tournament. Because I’m taking classes as well, I was also invited to participate, but I’m not interested.

Competing doesn’t do much for me these days.

I like to play games, and I like to play hard (sometimes), but mostly, I’m not super-invested in winning.

I like to get better than myself.

It’s exciting when I occasionally accidentally win in pursuit of being better than myself. Like once when I came in second for my age group in a 5k when I was just trying to beat the clock.

Now, I concede that perhaps I don’t enjoy competition in physical things because I’ve not ever been especially good at them.

I have not learned nearly enough about taekwondo form to put mine in front of judges. (You can tell me that the playing field is level, but then you’re not hearing what I’m saying: I want to be better than I am before performing.)

Maybe it’s being raised a musician. Perfection is the goal in any performance, is what we strive for in practice, is essentially unattainable because every skill subset can be honed well beyond anything I’ve ever come close to reaching.

I’ve walked into auditions unprepared.

It feels like shit before, during, and after.

I don’t do that any more. And so, I’m not competing tomorrow.

The Kid? He doesn’t have that baggage. At least not yet.

I just hope for him to enjoy his experience, regardless how he performs.

(I don’t think the same would be true of a musical performance. I would want him to perform well—relative to his skill level—and enjoy it. But not just enjoy it.)

Hmm…

The more I think about this, the more I’m sure there are a million angles that I’m overlooking. But for now—doing my best with what I’ve got. Trying to hone skills in some areas. Enjoying being a hack in others. And not needing to beat anyone else in any of it.

Posted in ebb & flow, meandering, storytelling

Words words words SO MANY WORDS!

October and November hold quite a few anniversaries for me: my birthday and The Kid’s birthday. Getting National Board Certified. Finishing chemo.

Today is none of those.

I made it a year! Every day, a post has gone live. Days I was sick. Days I was on vacation. Days that were just regular days. Sometimes written and scheduled ahead of time; sometimes written ahead of time but not scheduled and then oh crap I didn’t publish that post yet!; sometimes written, edited, and posted in short order.

Not all of them have been my best work, but I think that’s within the realm of reasonable.

It feels good to have made it this long. I recommend trying it. (If you do, let me know!)

Woot! Yay! Hooray!

Of course, once I hit “publish,” the last square on that year (in the photo) will fill in.

Getting followers was not my goal, but as you started to trickle in and accumulate, I started to notice. I was hoping to hit an even 100 followers by today and thought I had 97, but when I went into stats areas I don’t typically go (looking for something else), I noticed that email subscribers are counted separately. 100 followers!

Screen Shot 2019-10-31 at 3.35.27 PM

In chronological order, here are my posts from the last year with the most likes. (They’re set to open in new tabs.)

Update: accountability to self

It’s normal. But is it good?

Distracted exercising

Do something for you

Go get what you deserve

Junk on vacation: how I managed it

I like sweating

School, escapism, perfectionism

Standards and accountability and homework

Goal-setting, goal-pursuing, and real life

Making just a little time to let yourself feel better

Workplace wellness

The hidden side of … everyone

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’m going to cut down to three or four posts per week so I can dedicate more time to working on my book. I foresee returning to daily posting once that writing project is complete.

Thanks for reading, for liking, for commenting. I appreciate the interaction. I hope I’ve made a positive impact on your life in this journey.

 

 

Posted in about me, ebb & flow, follow-up, gifts, meandering, motivation, vulnerability

Hello? Is this thing on?

I like to been seen. So do you. Might be in totally different ways or contexts or audiences, but we all want to be seen, understood.

As a kid, I was introverted and socially anxious, good academically, and eager to please. In elementary school, I more or less spoke when spoken to. I remember clearly getting in trouble for blurting out an answer once in fourth grade, and while I can’t say for sure that’s the only time it happened, it was rare enough that that once sticks out.

I was “seen” by doing my work well on time. A sticker or a pat on the back. Because that’s good enough at that level and that was enough.

As school got harder, I found a niche and a family in performing arts. I was never great at any of it, but I was dependable, and for what we were, that was enough.

And then we all grew up and life went in planned and unplanned ways, and some combination of social struggles (in part because of childhood emotional trauma, in part because we societally don’t value introverts), and “good enough” and “dependable” not being enough to be seen, and choosing a career path (teaching) that’s considered “less than,” and within that choosing a specialization (band) that is constantly fighting for time, students, space, validation, I’ve spent a lot of time feeling … invisible.

All this to say that this is why I have a stormy swirl of emotions regarding birthdays (and now also Mother’s Day).

Because I want to be seen. And if the anniversary of being born is a socially acceptable day to get positive attention, I’ll take it.

But we’re adults and I’ve certainly heard enough times to grow up, that birthdays are for kids (with the possible exception of milestone birthdays, though their importance is pretty random unless you’re becoming eligible or ineligible for something legally).

Birthdays always runs into gifts, and I’ve written about gifts before.

I don’t like obligatory, “I have to have something to give you” gifts. But I love gifts that are thoughtful. A couple of years ago, The Climbing Daddy threw a surprise party. A few people brought gifts: a stainless steel water bottle; a bag for dance shoes; a vegetarian cookbook for backpacking (or camping) and a gift card for REI; a pair of earrings from a friend who always picks out the best earrings. (Others, but that’s enough to make the point.) They are really different things, and they all say HEAT all over them. Having the party in the first place was amazing enough. Gifts that say “I see you, I know you” were icing on the proverbial cake.

 

 

Posted in meandering, thoughtfulness

Don’t be that guy

Every time we go hiking, there are full dog poop bags on or near the trail.

You’re missing the point. Take it out with you. Leave everything the way you found it (or better).

Don’t be that guy.

As a bonus example, a patron at an Indian restaurant was arguing with the waiter about whether or not the establishment had soy sauce on the premises. She wanted some extra, and he said they don’t have any. She disagreed, saying there was some in her dish. He insisted that they don’t cook with soy sauce.

Don’t be that guy.

Posted in meandering, motivation

Designers vs. users vs. maintainers

I know this has 8 tons of application in computer/tablet/phone software, but that’s not where I’m going today.

What was this post inspired by?

Hotel bathrooms.

The lead photo is from our bathroom at a hotel we stayed at in California over the weekend. Two bath towels had already been used, so at presentation, there would have been four towels up there. Under the sink, there were two more full sets of towels available.

There were no hooks. Literally zero. Not on the walls, not on the back of the bathroom door, not near the shower, not near the sink. (I feel like this paragraph isn’t too many tweaks away from being Seuss-ish.)

That bar, where the hand towels and washcloths are, was the only place supplied to hang any wet towels.

Why?

Are people so gross that they don’t hang up wet towels?

Are people so [I don’t know what adjective] that they pull hooks out of the walls?

While this hotel was worse in this regard than most I’ve stayed at, I think maybe one ever had enough hooks or bars or anything for all the wet towels.

It wasn’t a high-end hotel. Was it just so cheap that they didn’t want to install hooks for wet towels? Did they used to have hooks but over time or with [undescribed] people, the hooks were removed and never replaced? Is it a design or a maintenance issue?

Inquiry minds want to know!