Blue Skies, the Universe Calling, & a Quiet Friday

This morning on my run, I noticed just how blue the sky was as I made my way through the wind and the cold. It was stunningly blue. Something about the angle of the sun made it that way. Of course, the sky isn’t really blue, it appears that way because of the reflection of light off the ocean against the black void of space — it all has to do with light and how our optic nerve and brain interpret it. It was a good reminder of the miracles of the mundane, those little things that we take for granted; that life is beautiful and we are incredibly lucky to have this earth to call our home.

I felt a call to get up early and join a zoom meeting with my original home group at 6:00. I was a few minutes late but delighted to find that one of my friends was celebrating 4 years of sobriety today. I remembered how we both started our attending that group around the same time and how miserable we both were. Things are different today for both of us. She is so full of energy and life — she shines. It is so good to see the miracle of recovery in others. The universe was definitely tugging at me to join that meeting for a reason.

Finally, it’s Friday and end of quarter. Some quarter ends are stressful, but my partner and I have already closed all the business that we had in the pipe so it’s pretty relaxed today. I’m grateful for an easy going Friday as we head into the weekend.

A Passing Grade, Warm Toes, & Letting Go

I passed the certification exam that I had to take today! I have two more to go in the next month or so. I’m grateful to have two down and two to go.

I got out for a bike ride today in my new gear and I was toasty warm even as it was 34F with 15 mph winds. Money well spent. I was very grateful to have warm ties after an hour ride!

My son didn’t want to eat dinner tonight. In the past, I have found this unacceptable. There are rules for Pete’s sake. But I let it go tonight. No big deal. He will eat when he’s hungry. I’m grateful that I’ve grown enough to. It make a big deal out of a small thing.

Recognition, Validation, & New Cycling Kit

Last week I was invited to attend a Certified Ethical Hacking class that is being offered to some of the systems engineers here at my company. I am excited for this opportunity to build my skills and my resume. It is nice to be recognized and rewarded for my abilities by my leadership.

In advance of this class I had to take a placement exam which had some dire warnings about how it is a difficult exam and that low scores are common. I was very happy to receive a relatively high score. I struggle with imposter syndrome and that test really validated that I am not an imposter.

I’ve struggled with the cold in recent bike rides — yes I’m one of those nuts who rides outside throughout the winter — and I ordered a pair of electric heated socks and a new windproof jacket earlier this week. I am grateful for the speedy delivery of both items today and hopeful that they will keep my feet warm on my next ride.

A Clean Biopsy, Nachos & a FaceTime Call

I got a call from my doctor today and the biopsy of my mole was clean, keeping the streak of clean biopsies alive. I’ve lost count but it’s well over thirty.

I made nachos for dinner this evening, which were a hit with my son. He asked to go to one of our favorite restaurants for nachos over the weekend but I told him we couldn’t due to the pandemic. It was wonderful to be able to make him smile tonight.

Yesterday, I had a FaceTime call with my best friend from high school. It’s so wonderful to take a break during the day and catch up with an old friend. Even better that we can see each other. I’m still amazed that we can do this and that I don’t have to pay exorbitant charges by the minute to Ma Bell.

Day-Dates, Reclamation, & Courage and Strength

On Saturday, my wife and I took a drive over to Easton, MD and had lunch at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Scossa. We ate lunch outside, despite it being 48 degrees. Admittedly, it is a bit odd to eat lunch outside in January wearing our winter coats, but it’s as close as we are coming to normal right now.

Yesterday, we met my brother and his wife and son for a walk at Cromwell Valley Park, north of Baltimore. We did a two mile walk and found an old rusted out car chassis. The engine block was an in-line six. The markings on the block suggest that it was a Chevrolet built in 1948 or 1948. Nature is at work reclaiming the natural materials that were used to build that car. It may take hundreds of years but nature always wins.

Today, I’m thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Our own African American pastor spoke about Dr. King eloquently yesterday and shard a recording of Dr. King speaking about his kitchen table experience in 1956, in which he talks about receiving a call around midnight with an ugly death threat, and finding the strength and courage to continue with his mission by calling on his God. My heart aches at the fact that we are still wrestling with white supremacy in this country, but I know that “the arc of the moral universe is long and bends toward justice.”

I am grateful for the day-date with my wife on Saturday, it was time together that was much needed. I’m grateful for the time with my brother on our walk yesterday, and nature’s gentle reminder that she always wins. And I’m grateful for the courage and strength of leaders which inspires me to be brave and strong.

A Great Run & the State of Flow

There’s nothing like setting a personal record or two on a beautiful Saturday morning. Today I set four on my run:

  • 1K: 5.32
  • 1 mile:9.07
  • 2 miles: 18.43
  • 5K: 30.41

I think I owe this to the Spotify Born to Run playlist, but all the training over the past three years probably helped a bit as well. To think that I honestly believed that my body wasn’t built for running — that I was too old to start running at 45 — that I would completely fall apart physically if I tried — that my knees couldn’t take it, let alone my ankles — all those stories I told myself were just that, stories. We become the stories we tell ourselves. Sometimes we need to change our stories. My new story is that am physically fit. That I’m active and healthy. And that I’m gonna live a long life and enjoy as many moments as I can on this rock hurtling through space at 67,000 miles per hour.

Today’s run felt effortless. I found myself unaware of the work. My breath was even and never felt labored. Before I knew it I was at the end of the run. I was in a Flow state. I found myself in that state a few times thus week while working. I love that state. I love when it just feels like I’m jamming and the work is doing itself. It’s been a while.

I’m grateful for that flow state.

Organic Informal Conversion

One of the things that has been missing from my sales calls since we transitioned to 100% zoom has been the friendly conversation that normally happens before or after the meeting. Generally in face to face appointments there is time for informal conversation where we catch up with the customer about their lives outside work. This just doesn’t happen organically in video conferencing most of the time. But some times, out of the blue, it does. Today at the end of a demo, we ended up talking for ten to fifteen minutes with one of my customers about how we are all weathering the Pandemic. It was nice. Normal even. And I’m grateful for that in this time when so much is not normal.

Birdsong, Vitamin D, Engaging Work

I am not laboring under the delusion that it’s spring — because it’s only January — but I have noticed that there are a few birds that have been chirping on my walks and runs.

After a week of fairly cold days (though still no snow which bums me out), it’s crystal clear and 50° today. I’m catching a few minutes in the sun, getting some vitamin D, between calls with a cup of coffee.

I tuned out the cacophony of news today by deleting several apps from my devices; made a list bud todo items, and got down to business. Before I knew it, more than half the work day was over and I haven’t thought about current events much today. It’s been invigorating to feel engaged in my work after feeling distracted for the last week.

These are the things I’m grateful for today.