I am an external processor. Â I need to get my thoughts outside of my head and heart to be able to, with any sense of accuracy, decipher them. Â For my entire life, I’ve used the generous ears of others to intellectually and emotionally wrestle with myself. With this incessant, outloud-thinking, I’ve burned a bridge or two – exhausting the patience of some and fully completely running off others. Despite this disease of the mouth, my wife remains by my side and I still consider myself in the good graces of at least a handful of close friends.
I am not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions.Â Behind the optimism of a resolution is the reality that it will most likely be kept.Â The cynic in me believes that the very act of defining a commitment as a “New Year’s Resolution” deem it to be a failure.
Nevertheless, I do love the freshness a new year brings and find myself naturally looking into the new year with a certain hopefulness that this time around I will be or do something I’ve been longing to, but as of yet haven’t.Â The list of things I want to do, be, or accomplish in 2010 are numerous and while i won’t list them here, I do want to define a singular New Year’s Resolution for 2010.
I want to be more conscious of the legacy I’m leaving behind.
I am much less concerned about what I accomplish in this life than how I will be known once it’s over.Â Every day I spend looking into the eyes of my children make me painfully aware that they are destined to take on the various traits, perspectives, and characteristics I model for them.Â Besides my kids, I realize that with my existence, I am able to make a mark on this planet and I desperately hope that my mark is a positive one.
With “legacy” on my mind, I realize that technology has made available an infinite amount of ways in which to document our thoughts, memories, experiences, opinions, and even our personality. I want to recognize the value of these resources to leave behind a legacy for my kids.
So in 2010, I want to make an effort to document the projects I am a part of, the ideas, thoughts , & conversations that someone might find value in, and leave a trail that will allow my great-great grandaughter to know what life was like in my shoes in this time and in this place.
*On a side note: of all the reasons to use twitter regularly, the most convincing reason (in my opinion) is the logging of thought and activity that will be able to be accessed by my family for generations to come.
I’ve discovered that there is an emotional experience I feel from time to time. One in which I lose myself to an introspective and analytical spirit. Until now, I didn’t know it’s root or cause. It is a feeling I’ve known before, one in which I find some odd comfort in.
It is grief.
As dimensions of my false self crumble, I am left to deal with their death. The death of a dream, the death of a belief; today it is the death of control.
I am overwhelmed by the loss of my ability to control the whole of my life. As long as I live in community with others, I now recognize that I do not have the final say in how my story unfolds.
I must discover and come to terms with a new understanding of control. This is the grief I am experiencing.
This “Black Friday” join thousands of other worldwide in protesting the out-of-control consumerism that has become the modern-day Hallmark of Christmas. Instead of hitting the lines at pre-dawn hours or pushing and shoving to the latest “it” items, don’t buy anything this Black Friday.
Here’s how Adbusters, the org behind the campaign describe it:
Suddenly, we ran out of money and, to avoid collapse, we quickly pumped liquidity back into the system. But behind our financial crisis a much more ominous crisis looms: we are running out of natureâ€¦ fish, forests, fresh water, minerals, soil. What are we going to do when supplies of these vital resources runÂ low?
Thereâ€™s only one way to avoid the collapse of this human experiment of ours on Planet Earth: we have to consumeÂ less.
It will take a massive mindshift. You can start the ball rolling by buying nothing on November 28th. Then celebrate Christmas differently this year, and make a New Yearâ€™s resolution to change your lifestyle inÂ 2009.
Itâ€™s now orÂ never!
Here’s some more info behind the effort:
Buy Nothing Day is an informal day of protest against consumerism observed by social activists. Typically celebrated the Friday after Thanksgiving in North America and the next day internationally, in 2008 the dates will be November 28 and 29 respectively. It was founded by Vancouver artist Ted Dave and subsequently promoted by the Canadian Adbusters magazine.
The first Buy Nothing Day was organized in Vancouver in September of 1992 “as a day for society to examine the issue of over-consumption.” In 1997, it was moved to the Friday after American Thanksgiving, which is one of the top 10 busiest shopping days in the United States. Outside of North America, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on the following Saturday. Despite controversies, Adbusters managed to advertise Buy Nothing Day on CNN, but many other major television networks declined to air their ads. Soon, campaigns started appearing in United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. Participation now includes more than 65 nations.
While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to buy the next day, Adbusters states that it “isn’t just about changing your habits for one day” but “about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste.”
Think about it.
As the pace of life has quickened this fall and I find myself more busy and more tired than I am comfortable with, I’ve been exploring the concept of “presence” and it relates to the quest for balance.Â Presence in the idea of being available (or present) to our things, people, and commitments that fil our lives.Â For most of us, I am convinced we are truly present to little in our lives, excusing real availability to allow for the multitude of “to-do’s” that fill our lives. I am pretty sure that most marriages fail due to the emotional and physical inavailability or one (or both) spouses.Â Children grow up to be less than whole human beings ofte because mom & dad were never around, and even if they were physically there, they were often mentally and emotionally elsewhere.Â Presence demands focus and undivided attention to the people and things dearest to us.
I am finding myself haunted by the reality than I can easily be present to little in my own life.Â I can go days and sometime weeks without really making myself available to God, to Kelli, or to my kids. To fight this I am intentionally wrestling with the concept of “presence” in the days ahead.Â As we head to the coast for a few days camping on the beach, I will no doubt have plenty of time to explore how I might develop a way of life back home that is more present to the things I am committed to.Â I want to keep track of my wrestlings and my learnings here for myself and for any others who might find some creative ideas to create presence in real life helpful.Â I will tag them with “presence”
Here’s some current things that help me be more present:
- to the city: riding my bike instead of driving
- to God: the daily offices (morning prayer, midday prayer, & evening prayer)
- to Kelli: regular nights out without the kids, weekly time to talk family, schedule, and to pray together
- to my kids: creating intentional times to listen about their day, what makes them happy and what makes them sad
- to myself: working out, and being aware of imbalance & stress
I am excited to tackle this idea more.Â it’s alreay clear that there are direct correlations in my life between saying “no” to things, maintaining margin in my schedule, and being present to the things and people that are most important to me.