Hi there!  It’s been a couple days since I last posted something, and that’s how it works with my life.  I have stretches where I don’t have a lot of things injected into the normal course of my day and then I have periods where entire days are lost without much of a thought.  But!!  We learn to make lemonade out of lemons, when we can, and this is one of those times.

There have been many things in my life that have reminded me of a few things that were passed on to me that I try to relay to others and usually forget to adhere to myself.  No worries, though, we’re here to make lemonade and not worry about the lemons, right?

The first of these things is the quote, “Not my monkeys…not my circus.”  I know a number of people who either have a hard time not getting caught up in other people’s “wake”, or they have a hard time saying no to things that they should be saying no to, because they are losing out on personal time that would be better for them, and they wind up wasting twice as much time both being involved in having said yes to something and the eventual decompression from it that usually takes up twice as much time as the activity they said yes to.

People, especially family and friends, are important to us.  But they shouldn’t override our own life, unless of course it is an emergency.  But when you have the option of saying yes or no to something, you need to always frame it in the context of what you are trying to do with your life.  And sometimes that requires saying no to something that you know might be fun, or what have you, but ends up being more problematic with living the rest of your life.  You have to judge these things according to your energy level, temperament, and whether it will set a pattern of behavior where things that are important to you are sacrificed as a result of possibly poor decision making.

I know that I have had to reel in the amount of things that I get involved with.  I always enjoy spending lots of time with friends doing like-minded things.  But sometimes it’s nice to have some extra time to spend with my wife, or just to have some extra time to read or write or work on my Arduino projects.  I have to be fair to myself and my goals in life, and just weigh my decisions based on my priorities.  Will saying yes, today, to something, set in motion a chain of events that eventually becomes a requirement for me to do whenever asked?  It happens more often than you think.

And this all leads into my second thought.  Namely that you need to look at life as a very long journey where the steps you make today aren’t going to have short term results.  I see so many people get burned out on trying to live like they are trying to get to the finish line before they’ve even started the race.  The most important thing for a marathon runner isn’t what happens during the race, but how you prepare for it.  Making sure you have the right equipment, the proper nutrition, and the proper conditioning, are far more important than any strides you will make.  In fact most of the time I would venture to say that one wins the race before they even start it.  That’s why there are always those who are seen as consistent favorites in any competition.  The approach is that the things I do today will achieve the result at a future time, and probably not anytime soon.  Especially if you are just beginning at something.  I know someone who is addicted to running who simply started with going up and down his street.  He worked on technique, having the right equipment, and feeding his body the right things as well as taking care of it both before and after he runs.

This is much the same as my approach to most anything.  To do something well, you have to invest in the day-to-day with no expectation of immediate success.  I can’t be an avid reader/student if I never pick up a book and turn the pages.  Just like I can’t be good at any particular subject unless I know all the basics, as well as the various schools of thought and their positions on certain things within that subject.  In writing, I can’t even contemplate success if 1) I’m not writing often and 2) I don’t finish the projects that I am working on.  It’s all great to have ideas for stories and say that you want to be published, but if you never write and never finish what you are writing, it will never see the light of day.

And this involves embracing the everyday things and doing them well.  No shortcuts and no comparing your life to other peoples’ lives.  You are not them, and they are not you.  Justifying bad habits or poor behavior by saying that someone else does it, is just dumb and ultimately counterproductive to achieving your goals.  As a writer, I need to be sitting at the keyboard or notebook and writing.  Even if it is this blog post that is taking me an awfully large amount of words to make 2 pretty simple points, it is still worthwhile to do on a regular basis, because it has me seated at the keyboard doing something I enjoy doing, as well as allowing my brain and my hands to work in solidarity with one another and letting my thoughts flow freely on to the page without much encumbrance, which can be problematic for some people who don’t type fast enough or have too much of a self-editor incorporated into their thought process.

But ultimately, it is about looking at things with the hope that things we begin to do, today, with the understanding that I am in the process of becoming better at a particular skill, and that if I don’t practice it consistently and in a consistent way, it will never develop into a repeatable skill.  This is how athletes get better.  They refine themselves by working on all of the details that make them better at what they do.  For a golfer, to get better at a new skill involves first understanding the mechanics necessary to perform the new skill and then practicing the movements required to successfully repeat the new skill with effectiveness, making sure that they incorporate elements into the new skill that allows them to repeat it under all kinds of conditions..

So whenever you start to get frustrated about how things are going, both in the world and in your own life, just try to remember that if you are in it for the long term, then the short term “ups and downs” are fairly meaningless.  Keep focused and stay the course.

See you soon!!!