Life is the compilation of a series of decisions that you make on a daily basis. Some decisions are easy, some hard, some are automatic and become daily life routine.
Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. – James Clear
Where Have I been?
It has been over a year since I have posted or thought about any major FI concepts. Was it a conscious decision?
It was more the result of prioritizing several other portions of life. Something had to give. Idling the blog was part of that process.
For several years I have tried new year resolutions that did not go anywhere: I had been constantly trying to find work life balance in order to focus on friends and family but always seemed to get sucked back into imbalance within a couple of weeks. I had weight loss goals that I had been targeting for the last 3 years and never lost a pound. There were climbing goals that I wanted to achieve but my strength plateaued.
I have talked a lot about prioritizing the things in life that you value but had personally come up short in several areas of my own. I had to practice what I preach which is something that isn’t always easy.
The Career Workshop
So, what happened? Late last year I went on a work trip to New Jersey (also got to spend time in NYC which was pretty fantastic). The intention of the trip was to allow a group of us to spend a few days with senior leaders within the company and career coaches. We had breakout sessions for mentoring and career advice. The best part of the entire trip was being able to spend time with a co-worker who to this day I still consider a close friend (we will call her Emma). We were able to discuss goals and share ideas. We definitely have different visions for life but it was refreshing to hear her views and considerations.
By the end, I can honestly say I learned a lot about myself from the experience. More specifically, it crystalized that I had been thinking a lot about of my personal goals, but with the exception of personal finances, I had never fully committed to them.
The training was intended to help focus on our careers and I left it wanting to focus on life. This shouldn’t sound like a surprise. I have talked a lot about it on this blog but that was the extent of it. I was putting in extended hours at work and then staying up late to dream about other life goals.
During one of the conversations with Emma, I realized something. Not only had I not fully committed to work life balance, but I had also contributed to her imbalance. We share an office (or we did until a couple of weeks ago) and with that comes sharing life events and inside jokes.
I am a morning person and had a habit of getting to work early in order to get a head start on the day.
Emma is definitely not a morning person, and she has a kid in daycare. Needless to say, she has a lot going on in the morning. Not thinking about this or anything else going on in her life, if she came running in at the last minute, I would make a joke about her sleeping in or something along those lines. To me, it was just one of the ongoing jokes that flew through our office. As we talked during our trip, and discussed work life balance, she brought up how those comments made her feel guilty for not coming in earlier….
This is someone that I care about and consider a good friend, and I contributed to her feeling the need to spend more time at work.
After the trip, I cemented that I was going to do something different and put together a vision for how I was going to refocus on life.
This list changed everything in my life and I got instant results….
Of course it didn’t, no better than any other list or new year’s resolution…
It was actually because I used shear will power…
Nope, not that one either.
but everything did change, why?
Let me tell you about January 1st 2023:
The 2022 holidays had been pretty quiet at work and we had been graced with great weather. This opened up the door for some amazing climbing opportunities. Timing could not have been better. We had recently developed a small group of 5 consistent climbers of different skill sets and experience. We had a routine at the gym and had time to learn each other’s strengths and weakness but most of all built trust in each other.
New Year’s Day 2023 was projected to be ideal and 3 of us were in town so we headed to one of the closer climbing areas. We told jokes and laughed the whole way there and the whole way back. It was such a memorable trip. It was the first time one of them had been climbing outside of the gym so we got to share knowledge and solidify everyone’s understanding around safety and technique.
The next weekend, the entire group was back in town so we made the same trip with even more jokes and learning and comradery. The weather still held out so we did it again the next weekend and to a different location the following weekend. Each trip built upon the last. We got to know each other at a deeper level. Inside jokes about previous trips built upon each other, conversations grew deeper.
Most of all we cheered, motivated, coached and encouraged one another. Over time, the group progressed in confidence and ability.
We connected with other groups with similar mindsets: support and get better. We had off-days and strong days but they were always memorable. As the team grew stronger, we committed to bigger and bigger adventures. We started sprinkling in overnight trips and renting out AIRBNB’s. We got into all kinds of shenanigans.
As it warmed up, we found cooler places to climb with swimming holes and alcohol waiting for us at the end. When it got too hot to climb, we attempted a 30 mile backpacking trip in a heat wave that about killed us (but that is a whole story on its own).
This fall we flew out to Las Vegas and climbed in Red Rock Canyon by day and went out on the town at night. There were days where the gang helped me take the kids out on adventures. We had game nights, movie nights and deep conversations that lasted until sunrise.
Such amazing times and memories.
I need to break into this story for a minute because it sounds like life has become 100% climbing. Honestly, if you talked with me any given day you would probably reach the same conclusion. It has been a huge impact, but it is not only the climbing. It is the comradery and trust that we have developed. Friends that support and encourage. Friends who our families can join and have just as much fun as the rest of us.
This increased level activity and travel meant that my communication with my wife had to improve. When life revolved around work, we rarely talk about it, because I “had to work”. When it revolves around activities and travel, we had to be on the same page. We had to agree on daily, weekly, monthly goals. We developed a routine that worked for both of us. Our calendar started getting filled out weeks and months in advanced as opposed to trying to figure out what we were going to do today.
We had to communicate and now it was more critical than ever.
So far, I have told you a lot about what I have done but nothing about why I am sharing this story. 2023 is the year that I can finally say I have hit the major goals that have been on the top of my resolution list for years and never achieved.
When I look back over the last 12 months I have:
- Refocused the relationship with my wife and built in dedicated time for us
- Set aside specific family time
- Grown closer to some of the most amazing people in the world
- Lost 28 lbs
- Able to run 4 – 6 miles consistently. I couldn’t even run a mile a year ago
- Stopped drinking (for the most part)
- Broke into a new climbing grade (completed 2x 5.12a’s in the last few weeks)
- Climbed my first real multi-pitch “Unimpeachable Groping” (yeah that’s the name)
- Found a work life balance that is sustainable
- Might even break a pretty big financial goal by the end of the year
Why was this the year? and how did so many milestones happen all at the same time?
You Are The Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With – Jim Rohn
New Year’s resolutions without changing your environment are destined to fail. The key is to change your environment and surround yourself with the right people. People with common goals that will cheer you on and help you become better. Friends that you can trust and confide in. Relationships that have strengths to compliment your weaknesses.
So, What am I Thankful for?
I am thankful for all of the amazing people that I have in my life, for the support and companionship, the trust and inspiration, the conversations and advice, and so much more.
I am thankful for: