1%

‘i want to be different.  If everyone is wearing black, I want to be wearing red’ –

Maria Sharapova

 

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A couple of months ago, I came to the realization that doing something you’ve never done…as consistently and often as possible…can be really healthy for you.  It’s similar to my thinking around living ‘on the edge of comfort’.  And it’s all about continually challenging ourselves, and putting ourselves in positions to earn grit, to try, to do…to learn.

As I was reading yesterday, I came to another realization.  Yes, you can call it an ‘epiphany’ if that’s how you roll.  The people that are getting the most out of life…that are the most fulfilled and content…are doing what most other people won’t do, or aren’t doing.  The folks who are trendy, or first to the party.  The ones that are different, but intriguing nonetheless (first time using ‘nonetheless’…nailed it!).  There seems to be success and fulfillment in practicing the actions that most other people simply don’t.  We should all be trying to be part of the 1% crowd!

e•piph•a•ny – a sudden, intuitive perception of, or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

Being a 1 percenter (financially) has it’s own inherent connotations.  Some of us believe that those folks make too much money, and that they owe more of their fair share.  Others of us think that they create opportunities for the 99 percenters, and that their trickle down effect is truly beneficial to us bottom dwellers.

But I’m not speaking on financial earnings.  I’m talking about our actions…our choices and our experiences.

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So many people I know have had the same haircut since high school!  Switch it up a bit.  Try a different you!  Be the 1%

There isn’t much interest for me in playing in the middle…in doing what everyone else is doing…in doing ‘what I’m supposed to be doing’.  It suffices to say that there is much more intrigue in living on the outer edges…the fringes. And I’d go as far to say that better health, contentment, ‘success’, fulfillment, and overall happiness are found in living in the 1%

Here is an image, full of generalities, that should help illustrate my feelings here:

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Considering all of that, a 1%’er is a person who chooses to live life on their own terms.  They will live and die on their own sword.  Instead of life happening to them…they are making their life happen.

I challenge you to create your own 99% and 1% column chart.  Right now…write down 5-10 things you do that most of the population does.  Then, write down the things you do that only 1% does.  Use it as your journal entry for the day.  What can you take from your chart?  What can you learn about yourself?  Are you playing in the middle too much…where everyone else is?  Or, are you hanging out within that extraordinary population enough of the time?  And…what do you feel about your actions, considering what side their on?  Do your 1% actions bring you joy, vibrancy, passion, and love?  Do they put you around people that are good for you?  I bet they do!

Please share your chart with me, or any feedback from this in the comments, or on my Facebook page.  I’d love to hear some results, and learn more about this!  Here are some of my own results:

Some of My 99% actions

  • watching too much tv – March Madness, Celtics basketball, and I’m currently binge watching Breaking Bad for the 3rd time…oops.
  • consuming way too much sugar
  • not hanging with my guy friends enough
  • procrastination

 

Some of my 1% actions

  • I keep bees (and harvest my own honey)
  • cycling (road biking)
  • have my own business
  • work when I want
  • sing, and play guitar
  • eat a vegetarian diet
  • Write in a Blog
  • Have my own podcast
  • follow an ‘advanced athlete’ training program

 

Some 1% actions I want to pursue

  • swim (for fitness/health)
  • write books
  • start a wine club
  • start a dad/daughter club

 

All love!

emailsig

 

38

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38

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:

Home base – jimmythorpe.com

Monthly Book Club – Each month, I send out 1 email, describing a couple of books that I highly recommend.  Find out what I’m reading, and sign up for the email club here!

Podcast – You can find my ‘Breathe upon Waking’ podcast on itunes, Google Play, on the Anchor app, or on my website homepage here.

Facebook – come say hello here!

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! 

East Concord Grass Roots – I still own and run a landscaping company.  Spring is coming.  Call me!

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!

All love!

emailsig

song of summer

you can sleep in September’  – Casey Neistat
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this week…we made calloused feet as we said ‘no’ to shoes in the cool mornings.  That small decision would shape our day…shape our minds as we walked out into summer without lacing up and becoming leather tramps.  A sense of freedom washes in with the tide, and then…draws us out toward the sea.  We feel the vulnerability of vagabonds, releasing our ties and our ability to be held in the sway of a work week. This is summer.  This is vacation. And now every step must be carefully selected, as the ‘souls’ of our feet finally have a chance to be part of the story. They have been waiting…and can now actually lead.  But our gate and pace is halved, and a more mindful tale becomes etched in the sand.

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we laugh
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we love



our edges are also exposed, as the subtle curves of our shoulders seek the sun.  Sleeves are considered low brow this week and the dresser drawers of our cottage bedroom are a mess of tank tops, sun dresses, jerseys, and cover ups.  There are no neatly folded piles.  No color matching consideration.  No heavy cotton, or burdensome long-sleeves.  Simply reach into the swirl of colors, and lift out the first least-restrictive piece your hand comes upon.  Along with the lightness in our step, our arms find a wider range, and we reach to what we choose to hold with a new and more deliberate purpose.  



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wells beach, Maine


there is no 9 to 5.  No lunch break.  No desktop computer.  And a morning shower isn’t necessary.  Deodorant is optional.  It’s all coolers and ice packs, blueberry and apple fritters, hair ties and flip flops, cold, hard, sandy cottage floors, warm, soft, sun kissed skin, cherries and spf 50, pails, shovels, and skim boards, blue matted public ways opening to salty marshes, grassy dunes and piping plovers, drift wood and beach roses, sea weed, faulty umbrellas, billy’s chowder house, fish and chips and lobster rolls, everyday ice cream, Wells and Ogunquit and York, taffy stretched in store front windows, arguments over parking spots, coastal drives and Marginal Way walks, swim suits at dinner and wet car seats, arcades and beachcombers, jetty’s and a Perkin’s Cove, barnacles in tide pools, sunglasses after sunsets, salty kisses, sun burnt hugs, air conditioned naps and then hatching into humidity…it’s the song of summer…and I’m always ready to hear it again.  






releasing ourselves from the career, the work week, the grind, and the frequent phone and email checks, we allow ourselves a recharge.  Paradoxically, by unplugging…we become more plugged in to what matters most.  A true vacation provides opportunities for an assessment of our home, work, and family balance from outside the box.  A reevaluation in a sense.  A fresh perspective.  And a check in with ourselves to say…’hey, how ya doin?’  

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too big for this yet?



Do what you must to insert a getaway into your annual goals.  Stop drinking Starbucks and put that money away for the next trip…start a micro business that will pay for one…cancel cable tv for the Spring and Summer.  Whatever you have to do…do it!  The experience of a vacation has such a valuable return on investment (click here for my post on r.o.i.) compared with buying tangible items.  


Happy Summer to you!

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Music:  Click here for one of my favorite bands…and a song that reminds me of summer. 

dear dad

originally published on father’s day, 2017

 


fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do’  – john mayer

fäT͟Hər:  a man in relation to his natural child or children

Dear dad,


today is a celebration of you…of all the characteristics and actions you take on in your parental role.  There is probably no greater responsibility in this world, so I hope you’ve taken the entire journey seriously.  And even considering that I’m now 37 years old, your job isn’t done.  You can’t retire from this one.  I need more from you.  I’m going to ask for more help and advice in the future…and your related position as a grandfather is just beginning.  

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Concord monitor photo – White Park – circa 1982 – fundamentals



Thinking of when you began the dad journey, I often wonder what you were thinking then…if you planned it out…how you anticipated the experience.  Did you put money aside…try to work extra hours?  Did you want a boy?  Were you nervous as hell?


I know that when I found out I was going to become a dad, a sway of emotions overtook me. And I immediately came to, ‘ok, how the heck am I going to do this?’  I read some books, inquired with other parents, and planned out many ideas…like my daughter will only eat fully organic foods, mixed up in this trendy new blender, and…I will only put reusable diapers on my daughters bum, and…I need to open a bank account for Matilda’s college fund asap! However, I found that some of these efforts were unrealistic.  Some too lofty.  And some came from advice from parents who made a ton of mistakes themselves.  In the end, we’re all ‘winging it’ as parents…doing the best we can…and practicing a lot of on-the-job training. No one knows all of the answers.  And many of the answers work only for specific children, or at specific times. Therefore, we can all judge a little less harshly.  

 

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presence


So dad, whatever you did during that time?  It’s great.  You probably made some tough decisions and came through with some great execution.  I thank you so much for that!  You probably made a ton of mistakes too…and you know what?  I forgive you for all of them.  I mean, look how I turned out!

I believe it’s easy for parents to get caught up in the details of what they must do in order for their kids to be the best on the block.  I find myself wrapped up in that all too often.  But if we step back and take a more general perspective, understanding that parents are more than the sum of all of their parts, we can cherish dearly the fact that our simple ‘presence’ within our children’s lives is what can contribute to a successful cultivation, an overall healthier society, and a fulfilled ‘next’ generation.

 

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Mom, Dad, and the Tilly Monster – this makes me happy



After all dad, I don’t remember you teaching me how to shave.  I don’t think it was you who showed me how to tie a neck tie.  And I’m not sure if you showed me how to tie my shoes with the one loop method or if that was someone else.  But I can’t remember a time when you weren’t present in my life.  You were always either there, or one simple thought away from being there.  I’ve always known where you were…or at least thought I did.  I can always think in my mind where you most likely are.  That must be so significant!  37 years of that presence.  That takes effort, and unconditional love, and careful attention.  That describes effective communication, and respect, and integrity, and strong morals and values. 

 

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Matilda’s 2nd Easter…with her Grampa
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the next phase…grandparenting

 

Sometimes I wonder how I became a certain way, or came to understand something, or why I believe in particular ideas, or practice parenting how I do.  I have to conclude that your presence has greatly contributed to that.  And again, many of these things seem to have been passed down with no direct speaking of, no detailed lesson taught (even though there were those too).  No, this feels more like a security that I was afforded and a comfort that I was allowed…in which I was able to grow and learn and start holding things as my own.  Thank you.  




I honestly do hope to be as good of a dad to Matilda as you’ve been to me.  There will be so many things I do differently though, and I know that’s ok.  I am trying to use that ‘presence’ though…and will continue.  Time will tell!



                                                                                  your son,

                                                                                  emailsig

 

Music:  I love this song…and it does have some ‘Dad’ connections within it.  Enjoy!

yes no, maybe so

your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision’ 

-Tony Robbins

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when the details on the surface are wiped away…what is left?

There are times in our life when we have to make a decision.  We find ourselves standing at a crossroads with options in front of us.  A typical crossroads would determine that we would have three options or choices. Picture driving up to an actual intersection of roads. It’s best to think of west.  The desert, tumbleweed, cacti, cactuses?  Both are accepted.  This setting just feels more serene and secluded.  And it’s just cool. No one is there to witness your decision.  It is just you and this place and the road you choose.  You can take a left, go straight, or take a right…3 choices.  Maybe a good way to use this analogy would be to match up each choice of road with an answer to the question, ‘should I do this?’  Of course ‘this’ can fit whatever situation you may have in your life.  With 3 choices of roads, road 1 is YES!  Road 2 is NO!  Road 3 is OTHER or MAYBE SO.


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she could make a new road with this!

 

Road 1

I think whenever we are asking ourselves ‘should I do this’, it’s usually because we already have a hunch that we want to do it.  ‘Go with your gut’, ‘follow your instincts’, ‘lead with your heart’, are all phrases that tell us we already know the answer.  Yes is the answer.  We know what we’d like to do, and deep down we know what we desire.  However, before we commit ourselves to road 1, we are faced with obstacles like fear and insecurity that will ostensibly reveal that this decision was a bad choice.  That’s terrible and very sad.  I think everyone needs more of road 1 in their life.  Be more of a ‘yes man’, and stop turning everything down. Embrace change and moving forward.  Covet growth and the learning process, especially when you find yourself on the edge of comfort.  Many of us talk about our passions and what we truly want to be doing.  We describe it to others.  We visualize it in vivid detail.  We think about how it will all play out in the future.  But then we don’t act.  This is why some psychologists have found that we shouldn’t actually talk about our goals.  By speaking about them, and receiving feedback from others, we actually feel a sense of accomplishment and we lose the passion, the edge, the motivation we once had.  This has happened to me many times.  It’s hard because we want to share our passion with others.  We want to bounce ideas. Maybe we should just share the tip of the iceberg…or bounce one small ball to someone. Don’t spill it before acting on it.  When is the best time to start acting on your passions?  Right now.  Immediately.  The clock is ticking.  

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‘Do what you want’ sounds negative and detached but if I teach and use effective language, I can help Matilda hold onto ‘acting on her desires’.  It’s really the same thing.  When we’re young, it’s natural for us.  But much like creativity, we tend to lose it along the road


 

Road 2

Being a ‘yes man’ and taking road 1 on your decisions can bring you places you never dreamed of.  However, there are often times when we have to say ‘no’.  Maybe you’re just done spending time with a certain person…maybe your schedule is full…maybe you’re just wiped out from being the challenges of parenting.  All these are totally justifiable.  I’ve learned that ‘no’ doesn’t have to be negative.  If we communicate to others our feelings and/or reasons along with our ‘no’, we should be comfortable and content in our position to turn something down.  Withing my business, I now notice myself saying ‘no’ more often.  I always try to say ‘yes’ and take road 1 when people have requests.  But for a variety of reasons, sometimes I turn things down.  In the past, I felt guilty or insecure about this.  But that doesn’t hold any weight.  I tell myself that if I can’t commit wholeheartedly to this decision, it won’t work out for either party.  Therefore, taking Road 2 can be understood as the best decision for all involved.  Road 2 shouldn’t be as worn and trodden as road 1, but don’t be afraid to lay new tracks when warranted.    


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‘I’m not ready to be done Dad.  I don’t want to leave yet’ is a phrase that I cherish and honor when I can. 
She’s taking Road 2, and saying ‘no’ to being done with something.

 

Road 3


Sometimes we can’t commit to a yes or no right now.  We aren’t ready to.  I actually use road 3 often.  I’m not so great at deciding on things right away.  I like to ruminate on the idea for a while…sleep on it in a sense.  I have come to realize that spontaneity is powerful and rewarding, and have started implementing that more in my day to day.  However, on some big decisions, I still hold value in deliberate consideration, weighing pros and cons over time and as I think of them, and documenting thoughts in a journal, before making a final choice. While mulling over an idea for a couple of days, an important variable will often arise that easily determines the outcome for me.  It’s like a subtle, ‘did you consider this?’  And I will know right then and there whether it’s road 1 or 2 that I’m taking.  Road 3 seems to be a loop around that brings you back to the same intersection later on.  It allows some soul searching, some road tripping, and a few pit stops to get your bearings and reassess your current location/situation.  

Maybe you have to let some time pass before you become close with that special someone. Perhaps you’re waiting for them to work something out on their end.  

You may need to save some money up, or line up your budget differently first.  

Maybe you feel overwhelmed and need to put a decision on the back burner until you feel more centered.  

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Decision making at the Scoop Deck

 

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What would you choose?  I go with something different every visit

 

Whatever it may be, we all have reasons to take road 3 at certain crossroads.  As I spoke of in the Road 2 section…be confident and content with your choice to wait on the decision.  It’s not a ‘non-decision’…it’s a decision to wait, and lock in to something when you are totally ready to do so.  With the quick pace of our lives, I’m often telling Matilda, ‘let’s go, make a decision quickly!’  But I try to catch myself…thinking, ‘wait…she can have all the time she wants to make a decision’ (within reason!).  I believe it will strengthen the ground she stands on, and empower her ability to make wise and timely decisions for the rest of her life.  

Be aware of your surroundings when you come to a crossroads.  Simply pay attention to your emotions and the physical changes taking place.  Take a breath before accelerating down the next road.  Remember, each and every even small decision will set your life onto a different path…possibly a different plane.  So choose wisely!  I wish you the best in your decision making!

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The sun is on me…and it feels good.

 

Music:  Kaleo is a band that started in Iceland.  That might contribute to their unique sound. I often forget about them for a while, and then hear them on the radio.  The sound is always intriguing…and since I don’t own any of their music, I always go home and put on some of their live stuff.  Matilda and I caught them live at the Newburyport Riverfront Music Festival last year.  They rock!  Give this song a listen!