30 Days of Gratitude – Day #2, Layoff Bliss

gratitude

Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I take a different view. We all have challenges and hardships we encounter of various types and degrees. For me, getting laid off after 15 years at my last job just as the economy was tanking was very difficult … and rewarding.

Day #2 – Getting Laid off Was The Best Thing Ever

It was a moment that I remember vividly, Lisa coming home and me being there and her jokingly asking ‘what, did you lose your job’ and me saying ‘yes’ and her jaw dropping. But let me back up … I lost my job on the 3rd of October, the day after Danny turned 11, three days after the end of the third quarter. No one was surprised that more layoffs happened – this was the fourth straight quarter of by-department layoffs. First manufacturing, then engineering, then research, and finally quality and operations. I wasn’t even that surprised when I was pretty sure I was one of those being hit with the layoff … but that doesn’t make it easier when you have a mortgage and family and bills to consider.

But that same day I got a call from an old friend and former co-worker named Hemant, and he told me something that resonates with me still seven years later: although it is hard and shocking, you were not happy and will soon realize this was the best thing that could have happened. And he was right.

In 2004 when parent company Rohm & Haas fully took over and integrated all systems, all of the promises made when they bought out the Shipley family in 1992 went out the window. They instituted new structures and policies, and then executed a large layoff that was handled about as poorly and dehumanizing as I could possibly imagine. I never really forgave the company for that, and as I have discussed before I made a resolution in 2007 that one way or the other I wouldn’t enter 2008 at the company.

But we had also been looking at the possibility of moving towns in the Boston area, because what had started as a great school system in the early 90s when we moved there had consistently gone downhill ever since – and we knew we didn’t want the kids going to middle school there. We’d had our house appraised and were looking at selling – then suddenly we knew I would be working somewhere else and would likely have to move.

I have also talked about the job hunt and how lucky I was to have been cut before things got really bad for the economy, and also how if I had taken any of the other four offers made to me I would be in a different job now due to the other places eliminating divisions or going completely out of business.

But I chose Corning. And it has been the best move I could imagine. Lisa noted it within the first year – I am different, more happy than in years, and definitely more chatty. Suddenly I am outgoing and will talk to anyone, and that has only grown the last couple of years as I have grown as a runner. Now I see people out everywhere who see me running and I chat with them, and really in general lead my life much more integrated with everyone around me.

It is hard looking back and knowing that it took me so long to leave a job I knew I should have left long before, but I am glad I did eventually leave. And while I would love to move back to Massachusetts someday, it will be on my terms and I will carry this new outlook along with me. I still love reading about all of the great people I used to work with and how they and their spouses and kids are doing all over the country. It was an amazing 15 years that changed my life.

Is there a life moment that seemed negative that you now feel was fundamental to becoming who you are?

Thought For Thursday – Taking Time Where it Matters … To You!

SweetBrown

This week on Facebook I have seen the following quote shared a few times:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep

It is very easy to read that as negative and standoff-ish … but I saw instead something purely positive and self-affirming. Several months ago I wrote about creating healthy boundaries in relationships, and what Meryl says is all about that – saying ‘enough’.

At the same time I loved a line in this post from Laura: I’m ready to find what I love doing again, whether it’s blog worthy or not.

Here are a few thoughts about that …

Decide What YOU Really Want

This can be as simple as ‘I want to learn to play the piano’, or ‘I need to change how I engage in romantic relationships to make myself more happy’, or anywhere in between. The simple reality is that most of us have something in our lives we are either not doing, or are doing but wish we could change. Figure out what yours is (or are) … and do something about it.

Not saying it is easy – and really, just identifying it can be hard enough. But you owe it to yourself to try.

Stop Letting Others Dictate Your Life

Maybe it is because I am in my late 40s and so many bloggers in this running / healthy living arena are in their 20s … but I feel like I see the impact of peer pressure just about every day as I browse my blog feeds. Whether it is someone over-selling how thrilled they are to have so many hands pushing them in various directions about planning major events in their life, or people ending up in places (jobs, relationships, homes, cities, countries) that they quickly realize they never wanted because others told them they SHOULD want those things, and so on … I am constantly seeing people who I fully expect will be saying to themselves or someone close to them in 10 years – ‘well, there are two years / $1000 / whatever I can never get back’

Most of us have things we compromise or concede on in our lives – that is the nature of life with others. But there comes a point where it is not about working together but instead about compromising ideals – and that is when it needs to stop.

The life led for someone else is full of regrets.

Remember That Those Who Love You, Support You

But that doesn’t mean they will always agree with you or tell you that what you choose is great – sometimes the best support is calling us out on our crap. But they do it with the best of intent – you can tell if someone really cares because they are happy for your successes and sad for your failures, and there to listen no matter what.

Further, I have noticed that places like Facebook and our own blog world are very insular and ‘same-mind’. In other words if you see opinions you don’t like, you ignore once, then on the second or third time you silence by ‘unfollowing’. That eliminates views we don’t agree with from our sight – but not from reality. Sometimes this is good … but sometimes it just further leads us down a world where everyone agrees and we never are forced to step out and learn about ourselves.

Ultimately You Get No Points for Doing What is Expected

You joined the right clubs and groups, owned the right cars, wore the right clothes, sat with the right people and so on … isn’t that enough? No.

A big part of life is discovering who you are – so if you simply sleepwalk through high school, college, getting a job, marriage, buying a house and having kids … you will wake up in your 30s with no idea who you are or what this life is you find yourself in the midst of.

What You Love Today … You Might Not Love Tomorrow

One thing I read into what Laura says above is that what she wants to do might not fit with blogging – but that is OK.

I spent a lot of time the last few years trying to compartmentalize computer functionality, to maximize efficient use of tablets to replace computers. But this year that has shifted and isn’t something I want to spend energy doing. That is fine. I also used to play a lot more computer games than now. And up through last year I kept chipping away at character sketches to write a novel.

This year is different … as a new school year starts I am feeling introspective, looking to clarify what I want to be doing and simply my approaches and shed things I don’t care about. There is no obligation – I don’t owe anything to iPad Music accessories if I decide to go back to using a full-sized studio, right?

We don’t owe anything to races or to blogging either – they are things we do purely by choice. Our health? Well, I think we owe it to ourselves to always strive to be the best version of ourselves possible. Which for me means another run in the morning, and another day focused on mental, emotional and physical health … surrounded by a wife and kids I love.

What Are YOU Doing to Make Sure YOU Are Living Your Life For YOU?!?

Take Care Tuesday – The Wonders of Random Kindness

never-underestimate-the-power-of-a-single-act-of-kindness

Rants and pet peeves are all well and good, fun posts and easy to get fired up about … the reality is that most people are just trying to go about their lives and wish no harm to others, and some people are downright nice. So today I wanted to highlight some wonderful things I have seen recently.

1. Subway Savior

When we went to New York, we were headed into the Subway the first day and wanted to buy a Metro Card, and trying to get the best option for both the Path and the Metro. Next to us was a woman in a suit in her 30s, and she overheard us and did two things:
– Gave us a couple of empty cards to refill (saving us $1 per card)
– Helped us make some smart choices about filling up the card.

It was a totally selfless and unnecessary act that cost her time and helped us out. I have no idea where she was headed, what her name was or anything else … but Thank You!

2. Runner Recognition

When I went to a recognition event a few weeks ago, the project manager – who I have emailed but not seen since 2010 – was chatting with me and asking me about running and my fitness and so on. He just came out and said I looked incredible and that I must be a distance runner because that is what I look like. The last time I saw him I probably weighed about 50-60lbs more than I do now …

And once again, here we were at a company event, and there was no need for him to have said anything – but he did and it meant the world.

3. Un-Necessary Kindness

I have talked a lot about the need to ‘shut up … and listen’ – that too often people will speak unnecessary words when what the other person needs is someone to listen. Guess what – sometimes the opposite is true! Sometimes people will open their mouths unbid, and magic will spew forth. For whatever reason I have heard a bunch lately, here are just a few:

– I have a coworker who has been losing weight, had lost a bunch, put most of it back on and then has lost all of that and more. As someone who knows that struggle I am quick to mention if I see new clothes, and so on. But last week a bunch of people were together talking and one mentioned offhand that she looked like she’d lost weight, which she acknowledged quickly before things moved onto another subject. It all passed in a couple of seconds, but from personal experience I know these little things can make your day.

– The dangers of ‘reply all’ sometimes are a benefit! Returning from my anniversary weekend there was a ton of stuff to deal with, but amongst the myriad emails was some information in the form of a discussion I was copied on. Everything was dry and technical, and I had already replied and asked for more information so I could help out when I decided to read through the whole email chain to get further context. Earlier in that discussion my name came up and a bunch of nice things were exchanged about work I had done and help and time I had given to people. It was all small stuff, but the moment of satisfaction – like overhearing someone praise you without knowing you were there – really made the compliments mean that much more.

– In the store last week the person in front of me bought stuff that totaled $19.97 and the cashier noted that was the year she was born. I remarked that was in between my boys, born in ’96 and ’98. We started chatting and it ended up she knew my boys and had wonderful things to say about them – which was really cool since she wasn’t someone I knew.

– I have had a number of instances over the last couple of week where I have seen people I’d not seen in a couple of years, and they have said stuff about my appearance, or have seen me out running, or heard things, or whatever. Again, it is so much easier NOT to say anything, so the fact that they chose to make those remarks brightened my day.

4. Taking Care of Business

At the store the other day I saw a couple who were buying a jug of milk, but neither had their wallet – they thought they were going to have to go home and then come back. But the person behind them in line say ‘don’t worry, I got it’ and paid for it. Sure it was just $3, but in a world where everyone seems so disconnected and miss so much due to being on their phone, that presence of mind to hear what was happening AND step in with an act of kindness … it was touching.

Then the next day at the grocery store I got in line in the ‘express line’ behind someone who clearly had WAY more than the ‘suggested limit’ of items, and who was very easy to judge in many other ways (and honestly, I will say that someone with more than 30 items in a 7 item line opens himself up pretty much to judgement!). But as it got to be his turn in line, he turned to the person behind him and let her go ahead. A new cashier opened and plucked me out of line, but it was one of those totally unexpected moments.

5. Thanks for the ‘guest posts’

About a month or so ago Suz left a huge and awesome comment, and mentioned that it was basically ‘a guest post’ … and she was right! My initial thought was to quote some here … but I realized that to include some but not others wouldn’t be fair, nor could I choose any specific post since it feels like I get amazing comments on even the most mundane of posts.

Instead I just want to thank everyone – I really love and appreciate all of the kind and generous time and energy you put into your comments. It makes every single post better – you enhance things I wanted to say, offer different viewpoints agreeing with my statements, or even disagree in a very respectful manner. It is a humbling thing to read your comments every day.

Bonus. Combining Happiness … and Robin Williams

I haven’t talked much about Robin Williams dying, but it isn’t because there wasn’t an impact. It was more because there was SO much noise last week about it … there is the usual general uproar that centers around any celebrity death, amplified due to William’s career and how much he meant to so many people. But it also got a lot of attention due to highlighting the impacts of depression – and how much progress we’ve made towards recognizing it as a disease and not a shameful thing or just a ‘bad mood’.

I really don’t have much to add to the discussion at this point, so instead I am sharing a video from 1988 of a song by one of my favorite singers, Bobby McFerrin. McFerrin makes ‘one hit wonders’ lists due to the song, but fans knew him before and after as an incredibly talented jazz vocalist, composer and conductor. The song – Don’t Worry Be Happy – is appropriate to the post, but it also contains Robin Williams, making it even more fun! Enjoy!

So What Acts of Kindness Have YOU Seen Lately?

Take Care Thursday – Prepare Yourself Now for a Bright Future!

Brighter Future

I have no idea why, but it seems that since I started this blog I have been collecting lots of ‘Things I wish I could tell my 20/30/40 year old self’ posts, as well as ‘Things The Don’t Tell You About’, and ‘Things You Should Do Before’ articles and more. So I figured I would just steal fragments from a bunch of them and pile it all together into a set of a dozen or so general ways to set yourself up for a happier life!

1. For real happiness, focus on how your life feels instead of how it looks.

It is easy when you are younger to see people who look happy and associate the outer trappings of what they have with the happiness they feel inside. But first, you don’t know if they are happy. And second, chances are it isn’t having a Mercedes or a nice watch or fountain pen that made them happy. Instead look at what drives you, where your passions are, and work on those things – that is how to be happy!

2. Treat Your Body Better (diet and exercise) … That said, your diet is not something you can lord over everyone else’s heads

As I have said, at 48 I am in the best shape of my life, and my body rewards me for taking care of it. We can’t control everything that happens in life, but give yourself the best chance to have a long life with the only body you will every have.

But when making choices, remember they are YOUR choices. So if you choose to be Paleo or Vegan or Fruitarian or a junk-food junkie (good lord have pity on you), enjoy yourself … but remember you are not BETTER than others for your choices.

3. Don’t be afraid of your own voice.

You are unique, special and important … and you only have one voice – so use it. I remember in college writing music for an electronic music class, and I had a thought in my head based on some works by others I had heard, but no matter what, it came out with a funked-up jazzy feel. I realized that was my musical voice, and no matter how I tried to compose a certain way it was coming through. The same is true with blogging, and even writing reports and presentations at work. Instead of trying to mold yourself after others, celebrate who you are.

4. Mortality is very inconvenient. It ruins a lot of weekends.

As I said on Instagram the other day, there has been a load of recent information about the deaths and health issues of friends that has caused me to reflect. We are all going to die, and generally aren’t sent an calendar reminder of when it is coming. So we have to live in a way that makes our days worthwhile.

5. Marriage doesn’t complete you.

Your validation comes not from another person or a legal institution … but from within. Celebrate the person you are – because YOU complete you. Once you realize that you are complete, you are better positioned to give yourself fully to your marriage or relationship.

6. What other people say and do has nothing to do with you. It is a reflection of them.

This has come up many times, most recently from Carmy, but it is important to note – that when someone says something harsh or judgmental or spiteful or otherwise negative, it comes from their own place of negativity that has nothing to do with you. But internalizing these things it gives them more power over you.

7. Falling down is a mandatory aspect of life. Getting back up is living.

We ALL fail … and pretty often, on anything from a very minor to very major basis. It WILL happen, even to people who don’t like to admit it. It is how you respond to these failures that informs on the type of person you are.

8. You don’t know everything, and that is okay

One of my pet peeves (wow, I seem to have a lot lately) is people who refuse to acknowledge that they don’t know things. Look – we ALL don’t know things, and sometimes we don’t know stuff we SHOULD know, and maybe even learned at some point. Oh well – forgot. It is just fine – and with smartphones you don’t even have to run back to your office/dorm to grab the book containing what you forgot.

9. The only person holding you back is yourself.

This came up with Michele’s post last week – and in posts both she and Hollie (and others)talked about the mental aspects of running. But it applies everywhere – once you have decided you cannot do something, it is done. If you decide you can it is no guarantee – but never underestimate the power of self-validation.

10. Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you made. If you want a new outcome, make a different choice.

Basically, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

11. You Both Have to Change to Make the Marriage Work

This might seem counter-intuitive since common wisdom is to never enter a relationship with a ‘fix it up’ mentality, but the reality is that change will naturally occur as two people meld their lives together as one. But it is also important to maintain your identity and individuality in the relationship.

12. Consider the other side of the story.

You are not the singular purveyor of TRUTH. Chances are your point of view is different than many other people … so listen, you might learn something. Also, be willing to learn.

13. The best advice is felt in your heart not directed from your head.

Do you ever notice how certain things people said to you echo across the years, remain mantras and fuel your passions? These are not just words committed to memory, but feelings etched into your soul.

14. The sooner you can like yourself, the easier life will be.

The old saying is you cannot be truly loved until you love yourself and realize that you are worth loving. SO get to it … because you are awesome just how you are.

15. Accumulating “stuff” is stupid.

Over a certain amount, getting more money doesn’t add to your happiness. And when you get more money the first thing that happens is more spending – so your effective ‘wealth’ remains pretty constant. And what happens with ‘stuff’? Either it is something that will need replacing when the new version arrives next year, or you will end up not caring about it in a while. Regardless it is all just stuff – perhaps it allows you to momentarily show off to someone … but exactly what benefit is that?

16. Communication is absolutely vital

In any relationship, hiding things is the express route to failure. Communication is critical if you want to have a successful relationship. And it isn’t just the basic act of communication – you need to be open and honest with those you care about, and find a way of sharing your feelings and things that really matter. Make a prioritized list if you need help doing this – no one will judge you if they actually care.

17. Do not waste your time on people and things you don’t absolutely care about

You know how many people can have 100 people in a room, and 99 say something nice and the other one says something critical … yet the voice they hear is that negative one? Yeah, WAY too many! Don’t rent out your mind-space to other people who you don’t care about, and don’t let them control your life. It just isn’t worth it!

18. Marriage isn’t hard if you like each other!

This is a simplification as all relationships have ups and downs, but when you are operating from a place where the first instinct is teamwork and shared solutions … you’re already halfway there!

19. Try New Things – Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Find music or movies or games you hate, and take the time to experience them with an open mind. Maybe you will never like John Zorn or David Lynch or first-person shooters, but it is always better to make choices from an informed place. Here is some Anthony Braxton to help you along. 🙂

20. Make Time For Yourself – Always

No matter how busy you are with work and family and whatever else … remember to always find a few minutes each day that is only about you. Maybe it is on your run, maybe you sit in the car for 5 minutes before heading into work. Whatever it is, own it and make it your own.

21. Leave the Internet Behind Every Now and Then – Don’t Worry, It Will Still Be Here When You Return

My ‘mostly unplugged’ weekends have been incredibly rewarding. They allow you to be truly ‘in the moment’, and by allowing yourself SOME amount of connection you free yourself from that being a huge concern.

22. People will steal everything you do.

This is ironic because all of these points come from a dozen or so different posts I have been collecting in drafts for the last year! But don’t be so possessive of your ideas that you don’t share freely – because then you lose the joy, and will eventually lose exclusivity to the idea anyway.

What thoughts do YOU have for a brighter future?

From the Archives – Dinner Party with other people

massachusetts-gilsons-herb-lyceum-patio

As we are away again, I am once again dipping back into the archives – this time to our 13th wedding anniversary! For those counting, that makes this from 2005! At the time the boys were 7 and 9 years old.

I have really appreciated the responses on my ‘from the archives’ posts as well as the one about smoking … so I am going to pluck another one from the depths of the archives of an older blog written for myself. When you read this we will be on the road at the crack of dawn coming home from another round of college tours!

Just a note – I have been loving the amazing posts and comments from everyone these last couple of days. One thing I really loved was the reaction to my supplement post – it was meant to be provocative and many of you chimed in somewhat disagreeing but also being very respectful. It was awesome! I can’t wait to fully catch up on everything!

My wife and I got the rare opportunity to go out to dinner together without worrying about the babysitter. Last week* was our 13th Anniversary, and on our anniversary day we went with the kids out to Deerfield (MA) to a place called ‘George’s Rocks’ which had a nice litte Dinosaur exhibit and a man-made ‘mine’ for kids to get a bunch of polished rocks. It was fun for an hour or so. We also went to the Yankee Candle Factory store, which is always fun – they make it such a pleasure just to explore that the shopping part is secondary. Then we went to a nice little Italian place (Monty’s Garden in Leominster) for dinner – one of those places that was good as a family, but not so much of a ‘me & the wife’ things.

Last week we also had one of Lisa’s good friends from college and Christopher’s godmother up from Wed – Sun. She offered to stay with the kids while we went out Saturday. Whew! Normally we have to deal with the babysitter (she is very good, but only 13 so we are careful about time) or my parents (…).

massachusetts-gilsons-herb-lyceum-inside

We went to a very highly regarded place called the Herb Lyceum, which was a herb garden that has evolved into a fine dining place. No liquor license, bring your own wine. They have a single fixed menu for the month. All that was fine, but seating was ‘communal’ – meaning that there were two tables for 10 and one for 15, making their 35 person capacity. We tend to like more intimate dinners, but thought we’d try. Our thoughts were ‘not bad, never again’ – see, we had no real together time. Intimate side-talk during a dinner party is rude. Also, you don’t know anyone, and there were two very nice couples we sat with and had some nice discussion. Then there was a ‘younger’ couple, early 30’s. They never relaxed and weren’t much fun to talk to because of it. Finally there was a very pretentious couple, who would throw out names and places, but when anyone would want to discuss them, would seem bored and detached. Not much fun. But at least we got to dress up, have *awesome* food and wine, and a little time away.

So what did we learn? While we both enjoy the company of others, what we relish most is intimate time alone to celebrate our life together. In an age of 50% divorce rates – some of which have hit awfully close to home recently – I revel in the love and friendship I share with my wonderful wife. So even though we didn’t have the greatest time at this ‘dinner party’ style night out, we did it together, and shared in that experience and learned something about ourselves as individuals and as a couple.

It was funny reading this for the first time in 9 years. Back then we were JUST getting a reliable babysitter, but still wouldn’t do anything major or outside of our town – we were happy just to get some rare alone time! In fact, we had gotten into the habit of doing most holiday dinners as a family – including Valentine’s day … so this was a real rarity.

Now that the kids are older and we are getting much more time together … we still revel in our time alone together and I don’t think our thoughts and feelings would be any difference.

Another thought – I thought I knew what I meant by divorces ‘hit awfully close to home recently’ … but then I realized that neither of my siblings (both of who are divorced now) were even separated at the time.

Have you eaten in a fine dining place with communal seating? If so what did you think? If you have kids – or other reasons why time with your significant other is rare, what does your date night situation look like?

This … (Five Fave Things Right Now)

I laughed the other day when I read Laura at Fit Fresh & Funny introducing her ‘ABCs and 123s’ post by saying “shamelessly stealing this from Mike, because he’s always got the best ideas for a blog post!” Isn’t that something we ALL do?!? I mean, I grabbed the ‘alphabet post’ from Amanda at Running With Spoons from a two year old post she did, which I assume was part of a popular post-scheme at the time … since there seem to be ‘campaigns’ that make the rounds.

Well, in that vein … almost two weeks ago I loved this post over at The Girl Who Ran Everywhere … so naturally I stole the idea 🙂 So let’s get rolling with it, and if you like maybe you should steal it as well!

ChrisRead1

This … is my favorite picture right now. I found this as I was trolling my old blog, and it has always been a fave. Chris has always been an avid and adventurous reader, and always loved to fill his bed with stuffed animals and always had a book or two going. Before this he had taken to comparing his kids’ bible to the full good news bible after seeing a VeggieTales episode on ‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den’. As I noted at the time “When I walked into his room, I expected him to be reading on of the Droon or Narnia books, or perhaps a Garfield book … but this floored me and I had to capture the moment.”

20140805-163431-59671641.jpg

This … is my favorite room in the house, with our inherited cat sitting by my side. She only comes out of the basement when the dogs are out, and was snuggling with me for a while the other day, moving from side to side and walking across the keyboard. I love the room because there is no TV and it is away from the main kitchen-dining-family room hustle and bustle, making it relaxing and peaceful.

My beautiful picture

This … is a moment that popped into my head recently as we were discussing Massachusetts. It is from Danny’s first birthday and he had a cool ‘ball pit’ that he loved to play in, and this was one of those great moments where we were able to capture him in action yet still for just a moment. I really love the look on his face.

20140805-075355-28435612.jpg

This … is my love of over-tracking and measuring everything in one image. Garmin FR-15, Polar Loop and Magellan Echo … all great fitness tracking tools, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Sandals1

This … is where I want to be, who I want to be with, and where we hope to be for our 25th. We went to Sandals Antigua for our honeymoon, and they had ‘resort photographers’ constantly taking pictures around, and you could buy them … and this one we actually liked enough to pay the $5 or $10 (can’t remember anymore). Years ago we thought ‘let’s go back for our 25th’, which sounds awesome … until you realize that we will have two kids in college at the time! So we are not sure if or how it will happen, but as of now it remains a goal.

What are YOU loving now?

Five ‘Beautiful Me’ Photos

Yesterday Hollie had another great post, this one was about ‘Personal Beauty’. It is apparently ‘a thing’ on Facebook, where you tag 5 pictures of yourself where you feel beautiful … then tag others to get them involved, and so on.

She posted some cool pictures of herself in a variety of settings, but also decided not to set it up as an ‘award’ circle. Here is what she said:

Anyways on facebook if you are “tagged” the instructions say to find 5 photos of yourself that you feel beautiful.

Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder. In a society where we are constantly told to look like this, or that or change ourselves…it’s important to remember that every person is beautiful. As cliché as that sounds, it’s true. Each and every person has five photos they feel beautiful in.

While she didn’t do nominations she encouraged everyone to join in – so here we go! I have a couple of comments after the pictures:

Here is a fun picture of Lisa and I on our honeymoon on Antigua (not currently ‘lost at sea’ 🙂 ). Most pictures we took ourselves, but I was glad we got some pictures taken like this:

20140605-220530-79530213.jpg

This is soon after Christopher was born, when we had ‘two kids under two’ … back in Massachusetts, with our cat TJ on the top of the sofa. Great memories.

Daddy and the boys

I love this picture, because we were really in Rochester for college visits, but it was my birthday and Lisa and the boys worked really hard to make me feel special. It worked.

20140407-154421.jpg

At the end of the PA Grand Canyon Marathon – there are very few times I will look at picture and NOT pick out the many flaws, but instead just think – wow, you look awesome. And I am at the same weight and fitness level now, still looking and feel great … which makes me happy.

20140730-092948-34188925.jpg

Lisa and I on a date this summer … and we have been so fortunate to have the time (and money) to get in lots of together and alone time.

Running History - Summer  20131

As I said in my comment on Hollie’s post, I feel that the pictures you choose say a lot about yourself and your values. Looking at these now, I am not surprised – my priorities are Lisa, my family, and running.

So I challenge YOU to post five photos of yourself and share the link!