With another Halloween in the books (and less of a haul than the year before, but hey—I hear transitioning from naps will do that to you), I’m finally free to turn my eyes to the rest of 2017 and what it yet has in store—a perfect time to take one last run at unfinished resolutions and dangling loose ends.
With sixty days left in the year (not including today), it’d be all too easy to bow out and rest. 2017’s vastly exceeded my expectations in ways I’d never imagined, but it’s not without cost. My triple life’s an unyielding one, but I’d likely give up a thousand nights’ rest if it meant I could continue chasing my ambitions.
I guess you could call me obsessed. With potential, with growth, obsessed with the freakin’ hustle… it’s tiring work, but I’d have it no other way—it’s what I need to do to get where I want to be.
But in this drive to become my best self, some fear I’ve lost my way—that money and opportunity have led me astray, and that the Casey who got me this far’s a memory… but that’s not it at all.
So you may have noticed the blog a little lacking of late. Life hasn’t been so forgiving lately, and yes—it’s been a struggle. Whether it’s the transition to being a schoolkid’s Dad and the rigorous schedule that comes with it or the 12-hour days the 9-5 had for me in budget season, I’ve been continually choosing some things at the cost of others just to keep my head above water.
But now that I’m through a period that had me at my wits’ end more often than I liked, licking my wounds isn’t an option. The world didn’t stop turning while I fought to find my way, and several weeks later with a to-do list filling four sheets of lined paper double-sided, it’s time to kick it up a notch and start producing like I know I can.
And I’d say there’s no better time to do it than NaBloPoMo.
What’s struck me so far as I write these year-end wrap-ups is that I’m dealing with the list of a maniac. At 100 items, that’s 3.65 days to get each item done, or 8,760 hours.
But if I sleep 6 hours a night, that’s suddenly 6,570 hours.
And with a 40-hour work week (not including my 3 weeks of vacation), that brings us down to 4,610.
Put in a couple of hours per day to eat, shower and other essentials and you’re suddenly down to 3,880 hours, or a mere 161 days worth of time (or perhaps, a mere 8 hours per weekday, with the hope that the weekends don’t find themselves suddenly overloaded) to do 100 things. And that’s, of course, on top of going out with friends, being a good family man, and perhaps finding time to do things that were never on the list in the first place.
Unless you’ve somehow bought yourself the luxury of unlimited time, a list of 100 goals is best achieved when attainable. You can’t be everywhere at once or do everything at once—sometimes we need humility and a reminder that there’s simply only one of us!
It’s what we do with that one that makes all the difference.
So let’s chalk this up to a learning experience. Let’s figure out what really matters, what’d be nice to do, and what’d be inane to expect with a wife and kid at home, needing me to play my role as a father.
We near the end of the year, wondering where all the time went and lamenting all the things we failed to do over the months. We plan to close out the year with a bang and swear to make a better effort to hit our goals in the next year. Year after year we try, but invariably repeat ourselves time and time again. So while the year’s already seen a lot of awesome in my life, I’d told myself back in January that this would be the year I rocked Movember and NaNoWriMo, earning fame, riches and glory in the process!
It’d all started so well.
I’d thought, “Grow a moustache and raise money for charity—that’s not so hard; I grow facial hair all the time anyway. And write a 50,000-word novel? I write, like, every day. I can do this.”
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I had the drive, determination and direction to make it happen—I was convinced that if anyone could do it, someone who was so used to juggling multiple things all the time was the perfect person to do it!
It’s funny, the things we can convince ourselves of and yet be so utterly wrong.
Movember, or “Why Did I Grow This, Again?”
In the end, I was able to do some good, raising $175 toward preventing prostate cancer and supporting men’s mental health, and another $430 through the team I’d created for the initiative—the Central Agency Clustachios (a play on the name of the place where I work).
While a pleasant outcome, I can’t help but feel that I could’ve done more. Being honest, 70% of the money I raised came in the last two days of November, after I’d received enough pestering at work to rally some troops for one last go at getting donations. Between events, trips and a hefty workload, I lost sight of the goals I’d originally set and—as can often be the case in our lives—tried to make up for lost time.
It’s impossible for me to be everywhere. Life is full of opportunities and responsibilities, but I also need the energy to take them all on. Prioritization and being realistic are skills that will be necessary to be successful in my life; and
No man is meant to grow facial hair for 30 days straight. You just get to a point where it’s itchy as hell and you wonder why you started doing it in the first place.
Better luck next year, right? Hopefully, I’ll be able to go the way of friends like Amanda Blake and help organize events for the cause!
Putting the “No” in NaNoWriMo
Even though I wrote a ton of words in November, none of it really looks like a novel.
With being away half of the month and at events almost every other day, I thought I could still pull it off. But I forgot to account for work and the huge things they needed me to do this past month. I forgot to account for the fact that one can only work so hard before fatigue catches up with them. I forgot the fact that life goes on with or without the blog posts I put out!
So, my dear NaNoWriMo, unfortunately, you’re gone ’til next November, ’cause this one wasn’t your time to shine! In fact, NaNoWriMo, let’s play you out:
So what did I learn? I learned that November is not to be underestimated!
It may not be the flashiest month. Not nearly enough people look forward to celebrating the sacrifices that war veterans made to keep us free and keep us safe, so most people treat the month like a write-off and just buffer time before they get to Christmas. It’s not usually even wintery enough for the ski and snowboard types out there.
But, you’ve gotta learn to treat November with respect. It has more than enough to keep you busy if you’ll let it, and when you finally reach December and everything doesn’t look the way you expected, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.
Because honestly, is there really anything else that one can learn from November?