The New Normal

Strange times right now. I’ve been saying that for some, thinking it a lot more.

The current COVID-19 pandemic, this situ bares in stark relief the bigger picture frame I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Circumstances changing, expected some, some not expected; no matter either way, change, adjust we must.

These neubulus images offered, just what does it all mean? It all amounts to the “New Normal”, the new standard, the benchmark to strive to.

The New Normal means what you, we, I should expect, work to, live to, each hour, each day.

Seems to me this idea plays to a theme I return to again and again: access, accommodate, adjust. What next? Adapt, and advance toward the goal.

At home with the family during Shelter In Place Times? The New Normal.

At home full time with three little kids responding to their needs, moods, wants? The New Normal.

Working from Home as best we can, finding creating space to do so, time to do so. Strive to still do good work in new environ and confines and pace? The New Normal.

Responding to new demands to the position you have at work, the work you do, what the job, what the market requires? Well, maybe this isn’t really the New Normal.

On this front, it’s just normal. It’s always how it’s been. It’s how it will always been. Figured it out, solve the problem, hit the number, finish the project, then…?

What’s next on the list, what’s the new goal, revised or otherwise? It’s Normal. The same principles apply, in a new way perhaps, but apply they do.

So?

Get after it. And make it GOOD.

Smack Down

Learning can be very challenging. VERY CHALLENGING.

Sometimes you find yourself in the mud, the thick, and it sucks. You make repeated mistakes, same issues, and it’s confounding, really…troubleshooting, reviewing your process, trying to understand why the errors are happening.

It can feel like a smack down. A SMACK DOWN.

It’s abrupt; it gives one pause. It strikes at self-confidence, belief in one’s own thinking and awareness, and capabilities too.

The way forward?

Deep breaths. DEEP BREATHS. A few seconds pause; maybe even a few minutes. Reset. RESET.

You may even find when you climb out of the mire, you may even discover that things aren’t exactly as you perceived them. Maybe other factors were at play. Maybe it wasn’t even entirely your fault.

WHEW. And if it was entirely your fault? Same process, of course. And WHEW anyway.

And?

Onward. ONWARD.

Blog Like a Tweet: “Do More Good.”

This idea for me, “do more good” translates to “post daily.” Get the good out there. Whatever you got. Share it.

Sometimes it’s thin, and just a “blog like a tweet”…but the last four months of 2019 laid the groundwork for a new and productive writing habit into the new year.

This upside, a nice pick-me-up when I consider the tasks, projects, goals still on the list, looking at me with skeptical eye. The contrast typical of life I suppose, always things done and more to do as well.

More GOOD? YES.

Holidays, Parties, & Good Cheer

It’s that time of year, it’s time once again for the holiday cheer.

A mixed bag at best, I really don’t jest, but let me tell you why it’s better than the rest. But without the rhythm, I don’t really have the time. 🙂

Here’s the deal. It’s the time of year with special opportunities. It’s a chance to get together with friends, get together with family, get together with co-workers, with whomever you call your tribe. This is the time to be thankful, to let the gratitude fill you up, for the little things, the big things, for whatever comes your way.

Sometimes this season is difficult — especially if we’ve lost loved ones, or have unresolved conflict with those close to us, or those that used to be close. It’s a time when we can feel busied, overwhelmed, hurried, with too much to do, alone, longing for something “better.”

I can say first-hand, I sometimes feel all of that. So from a little experience I’d say, it’s up to you, to me, to turn that attitude around to the better side. Decide it’s enough to settle in on the simplest thing, the decorative lights that might be in your neighborhood, on being cozy in your jacket, under a blanket, the smile of your kid, your spouse, your friend, a stranger.

DECIDE to make it good. Right now. And then if you have the chance to go to a holiday party, to get together with others, embrace the opportunity. Be open, but thankful, try a little friendly smile, a couple ready-phrases of greeting and welcome, and you know what? It will probably be ok. In fact, it might be great. It might be REAL great.

And if not? That’s ok too. Reaching out this time of year is the right answer. Do what you can do, make the most of the moments, and soak up the GOOD.

After all, the reason for the season from two thousand years ago, when the world changed forever, when the simplest of experiences in the simplest of settings lead to love being born and committed to humanity for all eternity.

AMEN.

Remember Your Tools

What lessons, what lessons? There are always new things to learn, old things to remember.

When doing inventory work, here are the basics you should have, beyond your digital or paper reference:

1/ pen

2/ marker

3/ blade (to open the box).

4/ packing tape, tape gun (to close said box).

Be methodical; always methodical. Don’t rush. Take your time.

Things may not be obvious. Items may not be where you expect them.

Stay with the count. And remain humble.

From Mundane, to Meditative

My mother ironed our family’s clothes for years. I remember the ironing board being set up in the laundry room, and shirts hanging there waiting to be ironed.

All these years later, I haven’t “had” to wear neatly pressed clothes in maybe fifteen years; I’ve gotten by with gently frumpy a lot of the time.

Now and again I do iron my shirts, and if it’s not a 30 second deal in the morning before work, it’s instead an evening ritual that goes from mundane to meditative, if I’m lucky.

My mind wanders, considers, settles. Other things recede. Maybe I have the classical radio station on in the background, lulling me further to relax.

I do my best to make the most of the fifteen to thirty minutes it takes for the work to be completed. And I enjoy the wrinkles disappearing under the press. The wrinkles melt away, as do my worries big and small. The mundane becomes the meditative.

G, G, GOOD.

Thoughtful Nutrition

Sardines. A top power food (think Omega 3’s, etc.) for those looking for good protein that is inexpensive, plentiful, and sustainable. Do a quick web search on “How healthy are sardines?”, and you’ll get several, similar lists explaining why sardines are good for you in pretty short order.

Fishy, of course, so you have to get through that taste obstacle, if you’re not naturally a fan of seafood. But it’s worth it. Tinned in olive oil, skin removed maybe for a added convenience, it’s got a little stronger flavor than canned tuna.

That said, word to the wise: Try to be a little thoughtful in your prep if those you live with have maybe a sensitive nose.

That’s how it is in my house, so I prepped in the washroom. Then I topped them with some parmesan, and sat down to eat with the fam.

Still there was that question at the lunch table a few minutes after I sat down, “What’s that smell?”

“Um, it’s my sardine lunch,” I admitted. I gobble it down, and quickly went to the kitchen to wash my plate.

Scent gone, nutrition had, everyone a winner in this case.

GOOD.

🙂

Friday, Saturday, Weekend Good

I saw a classmate from grade school on Friday night. During the course of our conversation, she told me she reads my blog. She mentioned too that she could tell by some of the posts from time to time that “something was going on.”

That is good insight from an old friend and person I greatly admire and respect.

True enough, I do periodically (frequently?) write in a bit of a vailed manner. It’s an approach that allows to process and share thoughts on a given topic that might be otherwise too close or personal for me to write about directly, with a lot of intimate, maybe revealing detail.

In this post I’m happy to write in a very direct way.

It was FANTASTIC to see my old friend. Every time we get together (which doesn’t happen very often given the distance), we cut to the chase quickly to life events.

Super grateful for the time with her. Super grateful for our friendship. Even if a long LONG passes, we pick right back up and get current.

And then the next day, our family met up with another family who we hadn’t seen in a long while. My wife grew up with the woman; their family has two girls and a boy, just like us.

Though we hadn’t been together in a while, we settled into easy conversation pretty well immediately. And our kids played together like they were old friends too. It was another AWESOME day.

So I’ll say the obvious:

it’s friends and family that make the difference in life happiness. If you have that foundation, whatever the configuration, consider yourself blessed, consider it GOOD.

To top it off, the mundane and magical too on Sunday:

  • National Women’s Soccer League game on as laundry get’s completed –
  • Science experiments with a microscope to explore the world –
  • More chores around the house, we all gotta do ’em –
  • The highs and certainly lows to of kids’ behavior after sleeping in (sleep much needed) –
  • A sense of keeping up, catching up, which in turn lifts me up, a bit more –
  • Some work for Grammy –
  • Errands to load up for the week ahead –
  • A breeze blowing through the front screen door, cooling down the house –
  • Dare I say, looking forward to the week ahead…?   🙂

At Capacity

Lots of context for this concept. You might be “at capacity” in any of a variety of ways.

At capacity in learning, a sort of plateau of absorbing new things;

At capacity with activities, not able to fit another event on your schedule on a given day;

At capacity in repetitions, not able to do another pull up or arm curl or plank;

At capacity with projects, every day already full with no room for another thing;

At capacity eating your vegetables at dinner; this affliction happens on nearly a nightly basis at my house.

You get the idea. But here’s the thing.

Capacity is a dynamic quality. It’s a parameter that must always be considered. Capacity might be limiting in the immediate, in the short term.

But in the aggregate, it’s just another variable that must be considered in striving for optimal outcome.

You should always consider capacity, and you should also test its limits. Carefully, thoughtfully, but for sure, test, push, strive to expand the limit.

The outcome?

It will make you better. It will help you reach your goals. It will make things GOOD.