Valentine’s Day 2012

Following the ‘keep things simple‘ mantra, I surprised my wife today with a hand-written note for Valentine’s Day.

Even though I tell her many times (and often forget to tell her many times) throughout the year, taking the time to put my thoughts on paper was a fabulous experience – stuff I’d wanted to say but never found the right time; stuff I didn’t have the words for at the time (hard to believe, I know!), or stuff that simply missed its opportunity to shine.

No-one can do anything alone in this world – we are social animals and in more ways than one we need others to help us become great. Let me be clear about this: I could not do what I do without her. Her support for me is essential for me to get done what I get done. Even to the point where it doesn’t immediately benefit her, she still supports me. That’s what love is. That’s what dedication is. That’s what it takes to make a successful relationship.

To my Darling Eva, everything in that letter is 100% true. You are a star and I am who I am today through having you by my side. ♥♥♥☺♥♥♥

My 2010 Goals :-)

Family/Relationships

  • Reinvigorate my relationship with my wife
  • Enjoy time with my boys
  • More family trips away
  • Talk to my father more
  • Continue nurturing all my relationships with people I have met and yet to meet.
  • Continue to reach out to others to help them in their life journey

Fitness-General

  • Become fitter than I am today
  • Run 500km in 50 weeks (up from 250km in 2009)
  • Run once per week for the rest of 2010
  • Be able to run 5km in 25 mins/10km in 55mins

Fitness-Cycling

Fitness-Running

Leadership

  • Soccer Coach for my son’s U6 team
  • Volunteer more

Motorcycling

  • Riding4aCause – Cross-USA motorcycle ride raising awareness for Male Depression

Social/Economic/Other

  • Eliminate our mortgage as quickly as possible
  • Reduce our burden on the environment
  • Continue to look for simpler/streamlined ways of living
  • Look to expand my career into new opportunities, hopefully utilising my Learning & Development capabilities
  • Reduce, minimise or eliminate negativity

2010, the year of Streamlining & Resilience

I have begun approaching 2010 with 2 driving forces: Streamlining & Resilience.

Streamlining

Streamlining is the art of getting by with less, but not specifically shedding large parts of your life; It’s a case of doing it slowly & gradually, removing things that don’t contribute to your happiness or adding value to your life. Do you have a stack of unworn clothes in your cupboard? Books you’re not going to read? Possessions that aren’t being used or don’t suit your lifestyle anymore? Then you may find an easier path to ridding yourself of these items through Streamlining – a little at a time! Change Management practices show that typically, too many changes at once overwhelm us and send us quickly back to our comfort zone where we decide that there wasn’t much wrong with our life before. Net result is we become fearful and resistant to change. However, making small changes across time is an easier path to happiness and fulfillment.

I came across this description of Streamlining from Sarah Wilson’s Sunday Life magazine post, and simply adore it. “Streamlining, however, is gentle. It’s about shaving off excess, and perhaps steering the boat a little to the left, for a more flow-y ride. It’s a smooth, glide-y ethos for life, and an elegant aesthetic. No gumboots required. Yes, streamlining makes life better. Of that I’m sure.”

Give Streamlining a go and let me know how you go with it!

Resilience

re⋅sil⋅ience: ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. (from dictionary.com)
Dust Yourself Off

Resilience is the ability for you to mentally recover from some adversity; It could be something small, through to something life-changing. In any case, being resilient is the next step up from merely coping’ which aims to get you back to normal (whatever your level of normal is). Resilience is the ability to get up, dust yourself off, accept what’s happened and be able to continue onwards and upwards.

I began seriously exercising in 2009 (Cycling and running) and am continuing throughout 2010, and know this drive to be fitter & healthier is driving me towards being physically more resilient – able to absorb blows, illnesses and the like and bounce back. In 2010 I’ll also be working on what will make me more emotionally resilient as well, starting with my brain! I’ll be sure to document what I uncover as time goes by.

For more practical ideas to Streamline your life, check out the following:

For more reading on Resiliency and becoming resilient:

http://city2surf.com.au/

Thoughtful Gifts

Many of you may know I am not that into having possessions (aka “stuff“), but do appreciate items that add value to our lives, or items that stimulate creativity in my children. Here’s a list of things to consider when buying gifts this Festive season (or any occasion for that matter!)

Thinking points

  • Does the list have a single use only? (if so, it’s unlikely it would be in our house)
  • Will the recipient truly use the product/item/service or will it be tried once and not used again?
  • Does the item need supervision to ensure the recipient doesn’t get into trouble?
  • Is the item useless without other people (think water pistol)
  • If something goes missing or breaks, can it be fixed/repaired or is it done with?

What’s on the list?

Here are things on the shopping list for the family that fulfill the following criteria: Allowing creativity, inspiring, family-oriented or can teach practical skills.

  • Lego – This has always fit many criteria and is a big thing in our house, so it’s  almost always on top of the list. Lego rarely looks like it does on the box when my boys get into it! They make ‘creations’ out of the pieces and Mr 7½ photographs them for posterity. Any type of lego can be used for these creations!
  • Computer games that require thinking – puzzle solving games are big (like Lemmings or Chips Challenge from days past), as are adventure games (Indy Lego for the PS2 fits the bill for family-oriented as the kids love playing with someone).
  • Board games – We’ve bought Uno, Magic 7, Guess Who, Trouble and many others over the years and we still get a lot of use out of them.
  • A3 Sketch pad and crayons, pencils, textas, rulers etc. The number of artworks we have in this house is quite large, and we’ve even extended into making colourful placemats (with an A4 Laminator and their creative genius!)
  • Matchbox/Hot wheels cars – these are used in many ways, from simple vroom vroom races on the floor, to being part of the lego or geotrax cities that get created. They’re also great at some social events to help keep the kids occupied
  • Outdoor activities – for past Christmases + Birthdays there have been kites, bikes, balls and scooters.
  • Last Christmas, Mr 7½ got as digital camera and has found many, varied uses for it, including making home videos and creative pictures when you shake the camera (also taking photos of Lego creations)

So, what didn’t get a  look in?

  • Dunka Doos (you soak them in water and they ‘grow’ into larger animals)
  • Star Wars Light Saber (nothing you can’t do with a few toilet rolls or some time + imagination with a broomstick and some paint). At $60 or so for a single-use item it’s up there on the list of things that are not likely to make it into the house
  • Transformers – they don’t do much except transform, and most of them {wheeled vehicles} don’t roll very well. Once a piece is broken, the toy becomes useless.

These are my thoughts…what are some of yours?

The Power of One

Something I noticed the other day whilst purchasing new tyres, pedals and shoes for my upcoming Sydney to Wollongong bicycle ride *, was that for large items in my life, I have only one.

The reason for not having more than ‘one’ is borne out of a) not having space for more than one, and b), not having a need for more than one! I think it’s greatly enhanced my sense of living simply, as well as not looking at material possessions as any sign of status. Here are some examples:

  • I have one car
  • I have one motorcycle
  • I have one bicycle
  • I have one television

I do not have the need (or space) for anything more than this, and truly believe that the more you have, the less happy you are. I am also of the belief that you should (and most of the time can) make the most of what you have without needing to have more.

Do you agree? Is ‘more than one’ causing you sadness? Let me know your thoughts!

(Edit: I felt it best to include a link to Neerav’s post Too Much Stuff: Consumption Is Not A Way of Life, it brings up a lot of great points, all underpinning my thoughts on ‘Stuff’)

* More on my bike:  I have converted the mountainbike into a road bike through road tyres and clipless pedals. I know know other people who have dedicated bikes for certain jobs, and this is OK – If I was a professional cyclist or began taking up proper mountain-biking, I may then have a need for the second bike.

Too Much Stuff: Consumption Is Not A Way of Life