Unless my life sees some major changes this year, 2017 may mark the last list of 100!
It’s January 13th—I’ve spent nearly two weeks of my new year agonising over 100 items that matter enough to hit a list of goals and aspirations for the year ahead. And that’s a key difference from the lists that came before it.
Before it was a task list—I’d look around at everything that needed doing and jot it down, because my life would obviously be better with them out of the way.
But task lists aren’t inspiring. They’re not motivational. As a creative, that’s like dropping a pile of 100 things I dread on my lap and nagging myself to get ’em done by the year’s end.
Once I realised what I was doing to myself, so much so that I just went through my least successful year yet for my list, I knew I needed to make a change for 2017.
I’m particularly proud of the list I’ve put together for The 2017 100. I didn’t take any shortcuts—I wrote out 100 things that’d help me live the life I’d like to lead and prove instrumental along the path there. Rather than hurriedly scrawl out a list I’d likely ignore ’til December, I wrote one that I’d happily check off, knowing that each accomplishment would take me a step closer to a far better 2018. I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time, and I hope that shines through as you give it a look for yourself!
But that’s enough of my chatter—I’ve already made you wait long enough. Here for your consideration is The 2017 100—because it’s not what you do… it’s how you do it!
So it’s late April and we’re on the other end of the Carl’s Crew challenge sponsored by Subway Canada. Six weeks later, I’ll admit — I’m not much better than when I started. I’m still up at all hours working on the #BloggerLife, trying to turn all these ideas into… something. I still stress eat on the rough days at work, wolfing down Popeye’s three-pieces on the days that particularly suck. Life’s been dizzying lately, and while I’ve got a whole heap of reasons to take better care of myself, I repeatedly fail, continually choosing immediate gratification over long-term benefits.
I want to try, though. I’m a father now, and my son will pattern behaviour from what he sees around him. If he becomes a workaholic, it’ll be my fault. It he eats junk all the time, it’ll be my fault. I need to make better choices now to make the best possible future for him — and to make sure I’m part of it!
So even though I wasn’t being all that I could during the six-week challenge, I know there’re things I can take from the experience, slowly applying them to my life to make the right changes.
Ask anyone I know, and they’ll tell you that at times I’m totally an overgrown kid. I let my imagination run away with me, I rarely let myself by limited by the concerns that most adults focus on, and believe that life isn’t worth living if it isn’t kept interesting. It’s hard to get me to sit still if you haven’t given me a task to focus on, and I rather do things until I’m totally wiped out than waste a single moment sleeping.
I don’t wanna grow up — but we don’t stay young forever.
With a congregation of about 150-200. Black, White, young, old, rich, poor — we cover multiple spectra.
Every year, we go up to the Muskoka, ON area for a church retreat — a weekend dedicated to worship, togetherness, and maybe most important — rest.
I’ve been 4 or 5 times now, and while I’ve enjoyed it every time, I don’t know whether “restful” is something I’d call it from my experience.
But that could have something to do with my unexpected role as a makeshift babysitter for the church.
Misadventures in Makeshift Babysitting
It’s been going on for too long to remember when it started, but for some years now, I’ve served the role of an unofficial mascot for the kids at church. While I’m not ready to have kids of my own (though to hear most fathers tell it, who ever is?), I have a huge soft spot for kids. If a child in a stroller waves at me or says “Hi”, I go into instant smiley-face happy mode and do the same back.
Oh God. I’m channelling my mother. Ugh!
Anyway, for the reasons I stated at the beginning, children seem drawn to me. I play their games. I speak to them like equals and not dismiss their ideas. I never underestimate them, as kids are capable of more than you could imagine. And so, out of just about anyone in the church, I’m the one they flock to after the Sunday services.
But after an hour of being chased and pulled around the sanctuary; poked prodded and jumped on; and generally fulfilling my role as a walking, talking jungle gym — I’m exhausted.
There’s another guy who helps out — here’s 14 or 15, and I wish I had his energy. But here I am in a body that’s been well-used these past few decades, and I’ll admit — it needs its rest!
But if I’m in need of a nap after an hour… imagine how I’d be after a weekend???
A Time For Rest
Apparently, I haven’t quite grasped the meaning of the word “retreat” yet.
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3. a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy: The library was his retreat.
5. a retirement or a period of retirement for religious exercises and meditation.
Thinking about my retreat experience and the fact that I’m horrible at finding rest leads me to a question — when’s the last time you had some time to yourself?
I mean really had some time to yourself — spent some time being by yourself and doing what you want to do with your time?
I’d bet that few of us get the opportunity. So many of our lives get filled with so many responsibilities, questions, worries, woes and other such complications that we get very little time to do what we want to do.
That’s part of what I think retreats are for, but somewhere along the line I forget this and keep doing what I always do. Play the role of the jungle gym. Stay up late having conversations with just about everybody. Essentially, do anything but rest.
I Know This is Supposed to Teach Me Something…
There’s a lesson here to learn. One might be that maybe I am ready to have kids and I just don’t know it. Maybe it’s that life is about balance and we aren’t forced to take on every role that’s thrust forward at us. But for me, I think the most important lesson is probably this:
It’s okay to rest. Go get some.
How about you, readers? Are you overachievers? Do you have kids and knew when you were ready to have some? Think I’m totally off-base? Drop a comment. Let me know. And I’ll let you know if I think you’re wrong 😉
Until next time,
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
Jaemeel is my official hero of the day! For some reason, The 2K11 24/7 XX wasn’t showing up on the blog through email (I’d post it up and all I’d get was a blank entry) – his question alerted me and got me to fix it. Thanks, bro! Hopefully this one will work.
Sometimes you’ll feel it. That you’ve been doing too much, that you just don’t have the energy to carry on. That’s where I’m at right now – I’m dragging my heels, trying to get some things done before the weekend, and it’s just not in me. It could have something to do with the kind of week I’ve had. In review:
I was supposed to have sushi with some friends tonight, but in all honesty, I’m a little glad it got cancelled. I can run my last errands of the week shortly after work, and then go home to unwind and piece together how I’m going to go about my weekend.
“So,” you, the reader, asks me, “What does any of this have to do with improvement?”
“Ah,” I say as I sagely lower my glasses, looking you squarely in the eyes, “Wait and see.”