“Hello, I love you.”

So, for this Think Kit post I have to piggy back off of my wife’s post. She wrote about how we welcomed vinyl into our life this year. I couldn’t agree more with her and she hit the nail on the head choosing this as what to write about for her “Aloha” post.

Music has always been a part of my life. I believe it’s a part of everyone’s life. I’ve played instruments, learned music theory, but nothing beats putting a record on and listening to a full album. I’ve talked with friends how vinyl encourages active listening and triggers more of an emotional response than digital music. Think about it. You first choose a record from your collection based on mood, maybe the time of year, maybe based on the day you had. Then, you carefully pull it from the sleeve and end up reading the liner notes. You drop the needle and the sound fills your room. Silence. Time for Side B. Silence. Reflection. You listened to an entire album straight through.

In this day and age there is so much noise around us. Even when listening to music. I love the social and discovery aspects with Spotify but it is hard listening to an album the whole way through. Noise engulfs me when I’m trying to listen to an album on Spotify. Thoughts such as, “oh look at what my bro is listening to – I should check that out, someone just shared a new song with me – I should check that out, it’s New Music Tuesday – I should check that out” race around my head and before you know it I’ve listened to one maybe two songs of an album before I’ve checked out. This is why I appreciate vinyl. You appreciate the music. You listen to the music. You tune out the noise.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “What did you say goodbye to this year? Was it a bad habit? A ’94 hatchback? Or something less tangible? How did you feel the day after? The week after?
Or! What did you say hello to this year? Did it enrich your life…or detract? A new favorite possession? A tattoo? Did you decide that your life was missing something, or did you just fall into new-ness?”

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Be Vulnerable.

Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Frankly, it is. However, where there is fear and risk there is reward.

Vulnerability has been a topic of discussion in my house over the past year, maybe two years. My wife and I discuss it, I’ve watched Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on it, and have read numerous blog posts about it. To be vulnerable is to put yourself out there. To be open. To accept yourself. To be truly honest with yourself and with others. To be compassionate to yourself so you can be compassionate towards others. This is a word I have thought at length about and have tried to institute into my life.

I’ve struggled throughout my life with the fear of belonging. I would always question if I fit into my friends’ circle. I’ve questioned if I’m worthy enough and smart enough to do well in my current job. Whether I belong with others in my field. If I’m a worthy husband to my wife. If my boss approves of the work I am doing. If my friends even like me. What has helped me persevere through these moments of questioning myself is to be vulnerable.

Brené Brown suggests three ways to let yourself be vulnerable and truly seen:

  1. Love with your whole heart
  2. Practice gratitude, lean into joy
  3. Believe you’re enough

When I practice these in my life, those questions seem to melt away. The realization that I am enough and I can be imperfect in my job, marriage, and with my friends is a powerful thing. Just that realization gives me courage. Whether it’s teaching a digital marketing class to a room of small business owners. Asking my friend to be the best man in my wedding. To tell him he is my best friend (for some reason I feel guys have trouble with this, or at least I do). Asking my fiancée to marry me (lord that was terrifying).

When I love with my whole heart, practice gratitude and state what I’m thankful for, and most importantly believe I’m enough I feel worthy of love and belonging.

This post is part of Think Kit by SmallBox
Today’s prompt: “Whether you asked for it – or not – what good advice did you get this year? Did it come from an unexpected source? Was it unsolicited, or did you need a word or two after an eventful day, week, or month? Has the advice changed the way you think about the world? Changed the way you think about your advisor? Changed the way you think about yourself? Changed the way you act? Can you distill the message and help the rest of us out, or is it too personal to be universal?.”

Freeeeeeeeedom!

freedomThink Kit prompted me to write about what made me LOL this past year. There have been a multitude of funny stories, jokes, videos but I keep going back to this photo my wife showed me from her Instagram feed on Halloween. I laughed for 20 minutes. Finally, after wiping away my tears of joy I convinced her to take a screen shot of it and send it to me.

If my wife and I have kids, you bet your ass I will be dressing him/her up as a tiny William Wallace,giving them a tiny cardboard sword, and teaching them to yell FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about watch the movie Braveheart right now!!!

Time to Run

In 2014, it was time to run. Run with a new job. Run with a marriage to the love of my life. And, literally just run.

It was March and we were emerging from the great polar vortex. My wife (at the time fiancée) looked at me and asked, “I have cabin fever…how ’bout a run?” I shivered immediately after the question. First, it was still cold out. Second, fear grabbed a hold of me. I did not want to run. I had never been a strong distance runner and junior high track scarred me (that’s a different post). So, after searching for my courage and realizing this is what my partner was interested in I realized I should give it a try.

1 mile turned in to 2 miles. 2 miles to 3. 3 to 5. 5 to 10. 10 to 13.1! I went from shivering with fear to shivering from the cold at the start line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. In about 7 months I went from not running to running (and finishing) a half marathon. It’s amazing what the mind and body can do together.

Running has helped me quite a bit this year. It has helped me realize the lessons of conquering fears, becoming mentally tough, and relieving stress. These lessons have helped me land a new job and marry my wife. There are a lot of unknowns and stress with a new job and I could not have made the leap without using my new found mental toughness I had acquired from running. I guess the same could be said about marriage. Though, we are still in the “honeymoon phase,” marriage is challenging and it requires patience, energy, and commitment. Running has helped me hone these mental skills preparing me for a long and healthy marriage.

Also, I have decided to run with something new. Writing. I joined Think Kit from SmallBox to challenge myself to write outside of work and use my new found mental skills in a new capacity. The first prompt from Think Kit was to “share your year in photos.” I came across this picture from my first race. A 5K trail run in April. It was after I finished this race, that I realized, it was time to run.