Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Big Picture

Sometimes it is nice to slow down and just enjoy life. Reign in the tunnel vision focus on goals and deadlines and really see they big picture. Take a moment to look back and reflect on the past and the progress or direction life is going. Rethink your goals to better align with your passions and values. Ask yourself if the things in life that take lots of time and effort reflect your personal beliefs. What are your long term future goals? Have you lost touch with your younger idealistic self? Are you sacrificing your time on this earth towards something you believe in?

Before I finish this chapter of my life I want to make sure I am not straying from my values and the original motivations that got me to this very moment in my life. Every action and choice and brought me to today. Where will my future actions take me and where do I want to be?

All these questions can be asked spiritually, romantically, physically, and financially. I can feel myself change with time. I have made alot of personal changes in the past 6 years. I changed alot in the 4-5 years before that when I completely let myself become an open book to explore who I was and what I experienced. Going back even further was the transition from child to adult. There are the changes that seem to naturally come with age and there is the personal evolution that happens over time while at the core staying the same basic being.

All my life I have let the numerical count of the number of trip on this earth around the sun rule what I thought I should be doing. I used it as a barometer of where I should be. For the first 18 years of my life everything felt like it was already planned for me and my goals were as much my decisions as they where social expectations. Once I got to college decisions about life were still guided but the amount of the decision making process that was purely up to me greatly increased. I had a finite amount of time/money to complete my education. It took me 2 years to find what I wanted to study while at the same time discovering who I am and what my limits might be. Once I graduated and got my first job I was allowed even more control over my life and decisions. I went thru a tough transition period where I felt lost and depressed because I had no clear direction and or exceptions from myself or externally. This lasted almost 2 years until I took time to sit back and look at the big picture. I was not a failure but there were goals and desires I had for over a decade that I had been ignoring. I used turning 25 as a big stressor and motivator to re-align my life with what I was passionate about, and my personal values, while finally reaching my long term goals and burning desires.

I feel like I am nearing the end of my current chapter and, although I have evolved and grown, it is time to re-align, or better yet fine tune, my goals and actions to better fit my passions and desires. The best thing to happen to me was meeting my wife Ellen. Now as I reflect, plan, and focus I do so with two lives as one.

Spiritually we both want to be part of a community to share our faith. Earlier this year we tired out a few churches. After going to my friend Nick & Keri's wedding a few weeks ago we really like the preacher that married them and are planning to go to church with them soon. I know how Nick feels about spiritual/religious things and it is similar to my own beliefs/values.

Romantically I want to be better in tune with my wife's passions and desires. I also need to learn to be a more helpful roommate and husband. Part of this means adjusting my behaviors and goals in a more harmonious and less selfish way.

Physically the majority of my goals in the past 4-5 years have been health and fitness related. I finally shed my excess weight and for the past 2 years I have been focused on running to maintain my fitness. I need to let go of my age based goals. When I set the goal of running a marathon by the age of 30 it was to keep myself going so I would not fall back into old habits and gain back my weight. It was also part of reaching a goal and then setting a bigger goal. I have been reading more and more recently that cardiovascular endurance reaches a point of diminishing returns. Running more than 45-60 minutes and more than 20+ miles a week leads to muscle breakdown, joint stress, and hurts the immune system. Back in November I was running off the high of completing my first Half Marathon. A month later I started training for a full marathon but the training took it's toll and I got injured. After re-training myself to run in minimalist shoes I set off to reach my goal again but without the passion and drive I had before my injury. I eventually dreaded the long runs and for the first time in a long time I gave up and quit. Today I saw a friend post on facebook that today is her last training run before her big race and she is going to miss the training. I do not feel that same passion anymore. At this point I am dropping my marathon before turning age 30 goal. Never say never but not right now. I still have unfinished business with the goal I set in October 2009, get back to 160 pounds lean body mass and 12-10% body fat. I really enjoy running 5k and 10k races and they are alot cheaper than half and full marathons with less recovery and training time.

Financially I have goals but I have not been taking enough action or making the right decisions to move towards them. After the wedding and before Ellen got her first post college job I was in a negative budget and building up debt. The week Ellen started her new job she broke her wrist. Medical bills piled up and we balanced our budget and slowed down and eventually stopped the accumulation of debt. This week she started a new position with better pay. Now it is time to take more action to eliminate the debt.

For the past 3 weeks I have been slowing down and bringing the bigger picture into view. Everything seems to be falling into place and I want to make sure I am taking the right actions and moving in the right direction. With the changing of the season, the ongoing political chatter about the upcoming election, the new job, the change in focus of physical goals, and a desire to find a church and spiritual community I feel an optimistic about the future.

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