Monthly Archives: September 2016

Going for the gold

Good morning friends!
I hope all of you have been enjoying the dog days of summer. It is difficult for me to believe that Labor Day, our traditional reminder that fall is approaching, is coming up so quickly. While I have enjoyed my first summer here, I already have several winder projects planned. I can honestly say that I am looking forward to colder weather and shorter days. They speak to me of cups of tea, knitting, reading, cooking soups and stews, and planning next year’s garden.

Did any of you enjoy the Olympics this year as much as I did. I watched a lot more events and also followed some sports that I haven’t really paid much attention before. They were a nice break in this political year and year
of so much unrest in our cities. I think this world could learn by the good sportsmanship showed by the athletes and between countries.

I actually found myself jumping up and down during some of the swimming races, cheering of course for the amazing Michael Phelps, but also for all the athletes. You can come in last in one of those races, but you are still the 8th fastest swimmer in the world. Probably not much consolation for the athletes, but to me I still think that is pretty darn good.

Did you know that Michael Phelps changed his baby’s diaper for the first time ever after finishing all of his races. And in an interview with NBC, two of our gold winning gymnasts giggled about taking a break and being able to enjoy ( for a short while) some things like hamburgers. You may wonder why I am sharing this information with you. First, I am really enjoying the Olympics this year and have been more engrossed in them than usual. So many wonderful stories about the individual athletes and how they achieved such a high level of competition. Some of their personal struggles were heartbreaking and motivating at the same time. For me, it was difficult to absorb that it has become a world where there was a team representing refugees of the world. Wow. Good for them. We need to see this. This blog isn’t about politics or political situations in the world. But we can’t turn a blind eye to what is going on without wanting to see change and perhaps do something (even something small) to help.

The other reason I shared a little olympic trivia is to relate the level of dedication and discipline these athletes have to our own lives and the changes we are trying to create for ourselves. While our endeavors are perhaps not those of olympic proportion, it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from their struggles and process and dedication to their sport. Whatever it is you are trying to change or create in your life, you need to make a plan for it. You will not be proficient in anything unless you are willing to put in some time and wave the white flag when it comes to being perfect. If you want to write, you need to write. A lot. Same thing with learning a new language, practicing meditation, creating a beautiful garden…the possibilities are endless. My knitting skill has increased so much in the last few months. I am trying new techniques, getting the help I need, knitting every day and sticking with it. Am I a master knitter…well not yet and maybe I will never have that distinction. But I have committed to becoming the best knitter I can be. And that means sticking with it daily.

For all the things I want to do better and do at all, I have made a weekly chart that I print out. Days of the week on top, activity on the sides. Right now I have several of them. Perhaps this is helpful for me since I am not working and it is very easy to lose track of time because of that. There are several things on my list and I try to do at least 4 of the every day. If I have a big project or something like cooking all day planned, then I make a note at the bottom so I know why I didn’t get other things done. This sort of structure has been great for me. It doesn’t plan every minute of my day, and I can spend a flexible amount of time on my endeavors. If I don’t get as much done as I had planned, I can think about why not. Did I waste time that day? Did I get caught up in another project and time just flew by? Sometimes we just need a down day to relax on the porch and read the day away while watching nature.

I’m not saying you need to make a chart to help you be more dedicated, but find what ever method works for you. There is a feeling of satisfaction and pride when we become more proficient in an activity. It will make you braver in your life and try even more new activities. You will have more self confidence which will help you in creating the life you want and deserve to live. I don’t aspire to be a great photographer, but I have been learning to take better pictures through one of the classes from Great Courses. I finally felt one of my pictures was good enough to send into Birds and Blooms magazine for their Bird Tales section where you can share your birding stories. Big deal? For me yes, because I often think I could never do something like that. It is a small step. I don’t know if they will use it, but the important thing is that I actually did it.

So what are you going to do today to step out of your comfort zone? One small step can make a difference in your life. Be brave. Be committed. Take a deep breath and know you can be successful. Remember the Olympic athletes and the looks on their faces when they knew they had won the gold. Take a step today towards creating a satisfying and successful life and put that “I won the gold” smile on your face.

Share your stories if you are comfortable doing so!