There are certainly two ways to look at this situation. The first is through fearful and anxiety ridden eyes. It was that guy at the supermarket that looked at me as if I was one of the ‘infected’. No smile or salutation…just a hairy eyeball and a return to the mission at hand…toilet paper.
I get it. I understand the anxiety…of course. It’s natural, and so much change and adversity is upon us. The weight of it all can be too much to manage. But there is another way to look at this. Perhaps a perspective of optimism, gratitude, and cohesion are due.
I can’t think of another time when our world has been so united in our goals. The amount of ‘sharing’ that’s going on right now is unbelievable. It needs to be recognized. Scientists and governments around the world…typically hoarding and protecting information for themselves…are now communicating more than ever! Outside of that, people, businesses, non-profits, and the rest are sharing just as much. I’ve seen so much of people helping others in the past week…it’s been extraordinary.
Businesses aren’t simply grasping at customers who have gone home…they are connecting and collaborating…they are innovating and adapting to consumer needs and wants…they are helping others who need it more. Neighbors are checking on one another, delivering for others, communicating more. Families are uniting as well, and learning about each other like we never would have. How lucky are we?!
I spoke about this in a recent insta post @thorpe42:
All too often, we lose sight of the most meaningful of things because we’re focused outward on side dishes.
That’s ok…it usually means times are good, and that we’re fortunate enough…fulfilled enough…to start reaching and discovering, tasting and trying.
This time can be seen as such a helpful reminder to value your core, the people close to you, and your home base.
Time with the kids, the sibs, the parents…your inner circle…is such a blessing.
‘But the kids are missing out on school and education!’
Honestly, this forced adversity that kids are going through right now…the necessity for them to be flexible and adapt…the time that kids (and parents) get to spend with family and their ability to learn about relatives and their own heritage, identity, self-awareness…the education they’ll obtain from this could be argued to be much more valuable than whatever was in the curriculum for the rest of the school year.
We will get through this…and look back on this time. We got this! It will be a blip on the radar. You get to choose how it will be remembered. I wish you the best…all love!
Last year…on my 37th birthday…I published a piece called 37. It was basically stating that I’d be starting the process of documenting all of my writing. And it was thanking all of you for affecting and influencing me…however you have. Click here to read it.
I also wrote a piece on Medium this past Fall called #roadto40 – a Midlife Manifesto, in which I basically stated my commitment to a more deliberate way of living, with hopes of documenting my journey along the way. Click here to read that!
Now that a year has gone by, and I’m further down that road to 40…I figure I better check in with myself to see how the trip is going.
In one way, that 37 year contained so much. The days and weeks and months felt very slow, filled up…fulfilling. On the other hand, now that the year is in the past and I’m looking back at it, the time went so fast. Along with that, I didn’t get done as much as I wanted; my to do list actually grew. By the way, that was the first time I’ve used a semi-colon in forever. I am an English major, but still have no idea how to use one correctly. Please advise in the comments.
But yeah…my list! It’s fascinating that as we age and grow, we become more exposed to potentialities and opportunities we never knew existed. In a way, when I was younger, I thought I knew my options. ‘I’ll go do that, that, and that when I’m older,’ is kind of how it went through my head as a naive young man. But after I got to the first ‘that’, I found 3 others that I was interested in. And those took energy away from the pursuit of my original ideas!
This may seem obvious to you. It’s just how life is. It usually doesn’t go exactly as planned. And, we think we know more than we really do. I now have advice and lessons that I could tell my 20 year old self. What’s more interesting, is realizing that my 60 year old self will have far more lessons for where I am now. My recent focus on writing, on self exploration, on living deliberately…has provided me a truly humble and grateful perspective. One that allows me to more effectively understand the road I travel on.
Before I challenge myself with what is next on my current ‘to do’ list, I feel it’s important to reflect on the experiences of my 37 year. I will now detail that reflection within an interpretive dance. Hmmm…the upload isn’t working for that dance video…so you’ll have to use your imagination.
In general, I’ve really been able to focus on appreciating others during this year. Realizing how significant my relationships are, and how grateful I am for anyone who’s influenced me (good or bad), I’ve opened myself up to new opportunities (like I spoke about above), and actually discovered a love for others…instead of a fear that I once had.
Unfortunately, my own insecurities held me back, starting in my teens and sticking around far too long. I developed a dislikedness (my own word) for other people, which really stemmed from that fear I had at the start. I’m sorry for that. I hope it didn’t affect you at all. I used to want you and everyone else to lose…and for me to win. It was sad, and lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an introvert at my core. I need a lot of ‘me’ time…selfish time…to charge up…to center. It’s not natural for me to be ‘out’ all of the time, socializing, partying, connecting. That’s not me…and you won’t see me doing a lot of that. Interestingly enough, my #roadto40, my self-exploration has been effective in letting me be selfish. By thinking through and identifying what it is I really want, and doing that as much as possible, I’ve ‘got myself good’. I’m honestly now in a very happy place…more than I’ve ever been. I feel content, fulfilled. And what’s been refreshing through all of that, is that now…all I want to do is connect with others. I want to hear what you’re up to. I want to know your story. What’s your #roadto40 like? What is in your manifesto? I want to learn from you!
By the way, I also feel that I have something very beneficial to offer others, whether it be through my writing, or simply connecting some other way. I so want you to win too now…just as much, if not more than I want to win! And boy do I want to win! If there’s any way I can help someone in that…I want to be there, and I’m very serious about that. Please let me know.
This year, I want to connect more. I’ll be starting new projects in hopes to bring people together. I can’t wait to celebrate and learn with you. Please come join me if you can! I’ll be in touch.
I’ve also started writing a book. It’s been both very rewarding and challenging. I haven’t identified a date yet for when I want to be done…but, it’s certainly on my list.
Thinking about that, I have a favor to ask of you. Please tune in. Please follow me. I’ll never take it for granted, and so appreciate it. It’s very humbling that someone would choose to read something I wrote…or listen to what I have to say. Thank you. Share me, or recommend me to anyone who might get value from anything I’m doing. I really want to connect with more beautiful people, and that starts with you shooting out your webs!
Here are some things I’m up to currently…and where you can find me:
Cork and Crush Wine Club – I started tasting a different wine every week. Once I get my palate more educated…just kidding…once I get organized, I’m going to invite you to come join me. Stay posted here!
Dads and Daughters – I’m still in the developing phase of this…but soon, I’ll be starting a group for dads and daughters to meet up and hang out. I want to provide an experience to strengthen that bond, and to help build a community for us Dads to all learn within. Please contact me to be part of this.
Snapchat – it’s just fun! Come find me there @thorpedojam
Instagram – some pics, hopefully some inspiration…I’m loving Instagram stories right now! Follow me @thorpe42
Music! — I’m trying to learn guitar and voice. It’s a work in progress. I’m ‘under construction’ for sure. But I use my YouTube channel to challenge myself to keep learning and post a new one. Come listen!