Victories for Now or Ever

How often do you think about the concept of forever? I was watching a show the other day and in it a character got to the point in her romantic relationship that she understood it wasn’t going to develop into anything more than it was at that point. She had to make a decision regarding whether she was going to accept the limits on the relationship and be OK with that, or if she wanted something more/different/deeper. Sometimes in a relationship you don’t want more, you’re happy with what you have, or it’s OK for the time being and there’s no real reason to push for more or make changes. Other times you’re kind of stuck and it will be a more “forever” relationship like family or the parent of your child(ren).

The same is true for victories. You don’t always have to make forever decisions, changes or moves. You can make a “for now” move or relationship to help you go in the direction of your current victory, and then move on and make changes once you’ve accomplished that victory. And of course some moves you make will result in permanent relationships and changes that will forever affect you, hopefully in a good way.

Victories are both forever victories and in-the-moment victories. It’s an in-the-moment victory to complete a project for work, but it’s more of a forever victory to become a partner or manager at your job. It’s an in-the-moment victory to make a new dish for your family, but it’s a forever victory to successfully plan a family reunion event. It’s an in-the-moment victory to run the vacuum through the house, but it’s a long-term victory to get the whole place deep cleaned and organized. It’s an in-the-moment victory to eat a healthy meal, but it’s a forever victory to daily make good food choices. It’s an in-the-moment victory to be polite to someone, but it’s a forever victory to choose a good relationship over one that causes harm.

Life is about the for-now moments and relationships as well as the forever ones. You don’t have to be on one side of the fence all the time or the other, and sometimes even forever victories are really only very memorable victories, not those that last forever. Are you placing the right amount of importance and effort into your victories?

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In Everything A Victory?

Like many other people I’ve been reflecting on the horrible events over the past couple of days and weeks that resulted in the deaths of people in the US in 3 violent shootings. At least one of the incidents would have resulted in much more sorrow and lives lost if not for the quick actions of police. As I was watching one of my typical cop shows today and watched the wrap up on the screen indicating how many years people got for the murder they had committed the question popped into my mind ‘where’s the victory in this?’

No, I don’t think every single thing you do has to be about achieving a victory.  That said, if you really think about it you can attribute a victory to most things you do from showering to eating to reading to sleeping to working. But where’s the victory in shooting up a club or store or school? What do you really get from doing that? What’s the win? Is it just to show hatred? Is it to show how “powerful” someone is? Is it out of some sort of attempt at justice? I understand defending your home or hunting for food/animal population control, but where’s the sense in shooting up a place or bunch of random people?

As I said every action, every decision doesn’t have to be about a victory, but maybe if we did work on making more victories we’d be able to avoid some of these incidents. Maybe by focusing on creating victories we’d procrastinate less, make better and more thoughtful decisions, actually tackle our to-do list, and have healthier relationships.

Going back to what we talked about at the start of the post, yes, you could call it a victory that the person who committed the murder is dead or in jail for life.  But while that may fit with the definition of victory, it really isn’t a victory because victories in my mind have to be positive.  And there’s nothing positive about life lost or wasted.

If you’ve been struggling with your to-do list, goals, or victories, do I encourage you to try making everything about accomplishing a victory.   But what I really hope happens as a result of these tragedies is that more people choose to make a positive impact on the world in the time that they have.   Putting more good into the world can only do good things for each of us and the world we all share.

A Different Victory

Lately I’ve been struggling to figure out how to make victories in some areas. It’s frustrating when you’re doing what you think works or what has worked in the past and it’s just not working. Do you try harder? Do you keep pushing through and hope there’s a breakthrough? Do you just give up? What do you do?

As I was thinking about this I was reminded about something my partner and I talked about doing this year, and that was trying new and different things, which got me thinking about doing things differently when it comes to victories. How sometimes what it takes to get to victories is changing the plan, doing something new, doing something different, or bringing into the conversation someone new or different. Sometimes ‘different’ is a small tweak, but other times it’s a completely different something, something you haven’t thought of or tried yet.

The challenge with thinking about doing something different is knowing what you don’t want to do or what you can’t do and trying to find something that does work at the same time. For example if someone was having trouble with one of their kids and they’ve tried all of the typical techniques, getting rid of the kid isn’t a viable option, they would have to do something different other than that.

If you’re feeling stuck I would encourage you to do what I’m going to do, and that’s sit down with pen and paper and do some brainstorming on what you could do different. Maybe you need to open the conversation up to someone else or several other people and get together to talk about any and all options you can both/all come up with. Having the conversation with others increases the likelihood of coming up with a viable different option. If you’re not comfortable having the conversation with someone else yet, go ahead and just do the brainstorming on your own for now. Get creative and don’t reject any ideas, just write them all down. Once you’ve got them all on paper you can go through them and think about how well they might work for you, if they feel right, and which would be easy to give a try to sooner rather than later. If none of them strike your fancy, then come back to them another day and review the list then, and keep adding to it until you hit on something or several somethings different that work for you.

Waste Not Want Not

I don’t know about you but I don’t like to be wasteful. Sure, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, we get something we think we’ll like and that ends up not being the case and we can’t return it, sometimes we forget about something, or on the other side of things on rare occasions we may intentionally choose to pamper ourselves and go all out and splurge which to some would be wasteful. As far as splurging/pampering goes, I know plenty of people who have gone ahead and splurged in one way or another and felt it was an excellent use of resources. No, it wouldn’t be something they do on a regular basis, but every so often it’s nice to do something special. And when it comes to waste, we’re all human and these things happen.

But I think there’s an important distinction to be made between habitual waste, an accident, and a mistake. A mistake is something that we really did have plans for and really did want/need, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out that way and it was an oops (not something we’ll do again or do often). An accident would be when the power goes out and you lose all the food in your fridge and freezer. You didn’t intentionally cut the power to your house so you could waste food, something totally out of your control happened. Habitual waste for example is when you go to the grocery store and buy more food than you can eat before your next trip, large quantities of foods you’re not sure you would like (and don’t end up liking), or just buying new and not making use of what you have in your closets on a regular basis.

I always try to be conscious of the resources I consume, how much I hold on to, the ways I live my life and how that’s impacting my productivity and victories, and how much I’m spending vs. earning. But I think we can all do (a little) better, and that’s one thing I’ve been working on lately, and so has my partner. It’s also a movement in the food world to accept not-so-pretty produce and be more conscious of where our food comes from and how it gets to our plates. It’s also a movement in the world to consider the packaging things come in and how well we’re recycling things and caring for the earth.

If you want to make a difference even in a very small way this week you can choose to use what you have, to maximize your resources, to pay attention to how you’re living, and make smart decisions and actions that would have a positive impact on your life and bottom line as well as the lives of others and this planet that we all share.

Are you being wasteful of what you’ve been blessed with, purchased, contributed to, or been given?  If we all were a little more careful about our usage, we’d be better off at the end of the month, better off when the next climate report comes out, and better off when it comes to being accountable for our treatment of the planet and each other.

Reality Reflection: A Study in Time

Time is an interesting creature. I’m constantly amazed by how time works, how fast it sometimes goes, how slow it sometimes goes, how hard it sometimes is to calculate, how some days you pack in so much and other days you can’t get anything done, and yet technically the time moves at the same exact pace all the time.

My partner asked me the other day how I would handle getting into a car accident at 5 in the morning and how long it might take me to get things taken care of and get to work. As we started talking it out the list of factors that could impact that end time got longer and longer. How bad was the traffic, was anyone else involved, could you get a ride, were you injured was anyone else injured, getting in touch with insurance, getting a rental or other transportation, do rides need to be arranged for kids or a partner etc., not even considering how mentally rattled you can be after an accident. So it could take 2 hours, it could take more, and no two people or situations are ever the same.

So what’s the answer? The answer is to respect the time you have and the time others have, spend time each day being productive, spend time each day relaxing, spend time with the people you love virtually or in person, do the work the right way the first time around, ask questions before jumping into something, give every commitment a good effort but don’t go overboard, nurture your network and relationships, live with care and respect. Time will always challenge each of us from time to time, that doesn’t mean we should give up.

Reality Reflection: The Sands of Time

Have you ever seen an hourglass? If you’re not sure here’s a video that shows the concept (and there are lots of videos that show how you can make your own at home, maybe a fun summer project for the kids). So what is an hourglass? An hourglass counts down time visually, as the sand moves from one part to the other you know how much time has passed. This has been a way of keeping time that has been around for centuries.

Since then many other tools have been tried and used to help communicate and indicate how time is passing, but if I can be honest, I struggle greatly with traditional round clocks and with hourglasses. Why? Because it’s almost terrifying to see exactly how quickly time is passing. It makes the passage of time an incredibly real thing, more real than it seems just because we know we watched a 60 minute show on TV or spent our expected 8 hours at our place of employment. Somehow seeing the movement of time just makes it more real for me.

And as a result I don’t typically keep those types of devices around, because instead of getting things done I’d be too busy staring at them and panicking over how fast time is moving and how fast I’m not moving, which would be counterproductive and maybe even destructive.

Yes, I’m often amazed when the end of the day arrives or when I glance at the clock on my computer after a while and see how much time has passed, time does indeed move on and that’s why we need to be conscious about the people we choose to be with and things we choose to spend our time doing. But I don’t think we need to be so conscious of time passing or the potential for loss that we spend our entire lives panicking and trying to pack life into every last second of every day. Sometimes it’s the very things that are supposed to help us that end up just hurting us.

This weekend I encourage you to take a moment or two to consider your life and if you’re really using the tools that are available for their best purpose and if you’re using your time well or poorly.  It may not be a case of throwing all the tools or ways you’re spending time out, just being more aware of how they’re supporting you (or not).

Victories and Independence

Like many I’m contemplating Independence Day on Thursday this week, and reflecting on the topic of independence. Independence is something we strive for from a very early age, first wanting to walk on our own, then do stuff in the kitchen on our own, and as we get older we have more independence, but with that independence comes more responsibility. And as adults we’ve got a different network of support than we do as a child (where we’ve got more support and others who expect to help you carry the burden).

A topic that has to be considered alongside that of independence, would be that of acceptance and being content. When we think about the pilgrims and first European settlers of the US we’re talking about people who wanted something different for their lives and their future. As the eventual Independence Day and Declaration of Independence shows, they truly wanted independence, separation, from their current existence. However, for many complete independence isn’t necessary if you’re comfortable in general or overall with where things are/how things are going. Sometimes independence only means, to use the earlier example, being able to walk on your own, not to start completely over.

What does that look like as an adult, and more importantly how do you know what you need? One of the biggest keys to not only making steps into your future, but knowing what steps are right for you is being aware of your life and what’s going on around you. How often do you really stop to look at your life, your words, your actions, your relationships, your world? Just taking a moment each day, or several quick moments throughout the day, can help you make sure you’re going in the direction you want to go, and be more aware of potential issues others are having, and may be having with you.

And if you do need to declare an independence day for yourself? Keep your eyes open and take a couple of initial steps to determine if it’s necessary to take drastic action, or if some smaller steps will get you to the point of being content with life and the victories you can create.