Sharing my gratitude list was derailed by Andy’s death.
Reviewing my list helped me get through the challenges of the last couple weeks.
Of course, I have to remember to do the right thing. There were a couple of days where I forgot to take stock of the goodness all around me.
When you force yourself to think about what you value, you have an opportunity to reevaluate how you are spending your time.
Time being our most valuable resource.
20-25 more weeks (of COVID) is a good chunk of time. Pretty much a full season, back when I was an elite athlete.
When I step outside the specifics of my list, certain themes pop out.
Authentic Connection => Two sides of this. The A-side is my marriage, exploring Colorado with my kids and time in nature. The B-side (my not-to-do list) is looking at a screen.
It takes effort to look away, and keep looking away.
Breaking free from social media is something my kids have watched us do, and gives us a lot of street cred when we talk about using technology.
Physical Experience => My training program has a few “moments” each week that are deeply uncomfortable, totally worth it.
2% of my week is unpleasant, 18% I’m tired, 80% I feel great. Excellent trade – I remind myself to be grateful, rather than greedy.
COVID may be the only time of my adult life where I get a no-excuses block of time. No travel, no races, no distractions from doing what it takes.
Likewise, as my buddy Jonser is fond of saying,
Being married to a smoking’ hot wife has its benefits.
If I want the benefits, then I need to be willing to: (a) do what it takes for myself; and (b) support someone else’s goals, sometimes in priority to things I might prefer to do. Useful lessons.
Across the year, I had a lot of “achievements” – 10,000+ feet vertical skinning days, 68,000 feet descending ski day, 14ers, strength PBs… achieving specific goals does not leave an enduring imprint.
The emptiness of striving is a reminder to focus on process and remember to back-off enough to enjoy the journey.
Do we strive because we feel anxious? Or do we feel anxious because we have a habit of striving?
Financial Stability => COVID took away most my luxury and discretionary spending. Two trades in March covered my cost of living for the entire year. Again, don’t be greedy.
I’ve been in no hurry to add spending back. Instead, I’ve been asking: (a) what’s missing and (b) what’s actually useful about financial wealth?
Stability => the absence of financial anxiety, the ability to choose, the ability to control my own schedule.
It’s tough to remember the value of the absence.
It takes far less money (and time) than you’d expect to achieve the full utility of money. The toughest parts are managing my own ego and keeping my household expectations in check. Humans have unending desires and we do a good job of nudging one-another along.
As for what’s missing => again, not much $$$ required. Circle back to authentic connection and make time to go to my pals, who might be a little too busy to visit me.
Self-sufficiency – when we had a house full of babies and preschoolers, we used to live in fear of holidays. The longer breaks of Christmas and August were particularly tough. COVID forced us to figure it out and, sure enough, we did.
As the pandemic unwinds, the ability to take care of ourselves is something I’d like to retain. Personally, it costs me a couple hours a day (chores, cleaning, errands) but it’s better than having to manage (a process of avoiding what I can do myself).
The pandemic forced me to think deeply about how I want to educate my kids. Home school forced us to get involved in their education. My children are the most direct expression of my legacy in the world. So I’m thankful for the opportunity to pass along my values to them – they’re always watching!
I’ll end with a lesson from Mark Allen – AKA the greatest triathlete of all time.
Often, you need to recover, simply to see how tired you are.
Mark taught me the lesson in the context of end-of-season recovery but, like much of what I learned in sport, I found it applies more broadly.
Fatigue, grief, trauma… whatever you happen to be working with… think in terms of layers.
Often, we start to feel better then charge right back into the patterns that were causing our difficulties in the first place.
Eight months into COVID, a return to home school, several deaths close to me, kids running around the house all day… it’s reasonable to assume that I might be a little more tired than I realize… 🙂
In life, we reap the rewards during recovery, not beat down.
Don’t be in a hurry to add back.