Hello from Spain.
December is in the rearview mirror. We’re eggnog-ed and sugar cookie-ed out. The champagne (cava!) bottle is in the recycling bin.
Our 2013 postmortem is done; big ideas for 2014 are firmly in place.
It’s a new year. Wow.
A heavy thought
Recently, we heard life referred to as a "terminal condition."
For some reason, that blurb brought our awareness of the value – and fragility – of life to an entirely new level. Yes, two guys trying to maximize every day (including having a website titled No Vacation Required) can continue to be blown away upon finding new reasons to pursue the life we're navigating.
We both tend to process and move through change at a pretty good clip. In order to stay true to our tagline – maximizing every day – we hold ourselves to a lot of the ideas and dreams that we drum up. We like to minimize dreaming for the sake of dreaming and we definitely like to minimize deferral.
I guess that makes sense. After all, that's what "living now" requires.
That being the case, a lot of our best stuff happens quickly, in the moment – a worthy idea surfaces on a walk, one of us comes to the conclusion that something must be tackled now, we decide – say, over the course of a run – that we are going to completely eliminate something from our lives. Things like that.
So, one of our goals is to better honor that reality here on the website this year. Our hope is that this space will better reflect how we actually navigate our world – how we've built this life we love and how we keep the forward trajectory alive and well. We’ve done a pretty good job in years past, but, looking back, we always have regret over the things that didn’t get mentioned. Oftentimes, those ah-ha moments come after we get an e-mail asking about something that we've touched on elsewhere (Twitter, etc.) that someone wants more information on.
A good, broad, example is the Working Virtually portion of our live/travel/work trio. We don’t delve into it nearly enough, and it’s something people crave information on. Not many outlets run successful businesses from the road; we need to talk about it more.
The g word
Oh, and did you notice that I dropped the word “goal” back there?
It's no longer cool to use the words goal and balance. We know that.
Goals are too restrictive – vehicles for disappointment. Balance is a fantasy when you’re pursuing a passion-fueled life. So the argument goes.
We don't entirely agree with that line of thinking. We have written about that.
During 2014, we’re going to dedicate more ink to the fact that we set a lot of guideposts for each month / quarter / year. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here's a taste of what we've been focusing on lately:
Minimizing: When we decided we didn't really want to move, we realized that our unsettled feeling was largely about needing to further minimize. We live in a relatively small space – with a significantly scaled-down amount of possessions – but we're really striving to bring it down to only those things we truly need and enjoy. We committed to donating everything we could. Giving something useful a second life always feels good; besides, items that have more life in them shouldn't be relagated to a land fill. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to forget that when you have a garbage can in every room. It was more work (especially during end-of-the-year craziness) to get everything in the right hands, but it was entirely worth it. Out of a room full of stuff – yes, a room full – we only had to trash a small bin worth of junk. Before you trash it, consider if someone might be able to use it. I know, isn’t it a shame that we have to remember that?
Arguing: It is with a bit of shame that I share with you the fact that we have quite a few petty arguments. We've been working on that. But, hey, if we don’t have “big stuff” to go at each other over, why can’t we have it out over the small stuff? Because it’s tiresome and small minded. We’ve found a creative way to curb these stupid spats. We’ll keep you posted.
Giving: We had such a great time doing #31Things last summer, that we wanted to bring back a bit of that vibe over the frenzied holiday season. We challenged ourselves to serve up some random acts of kindness. I know, the concept is so 15 minutes ago, but it really is gratifying. Of course, donating our stuff played in here, but we also did some other fun things. One of our favorites? Giving time to people who need a friend. We all want to be heard – this is pretty much a universal truth. Watch what happens when you go out and give a lonely person your ear. Priceless.
Back to the cava
Time to get back to enjoying Spain. Watch for more on our time here down the road.
Whether or not you believe in goals or balance or whatever, the first step in making any sort of positive change is to move forward with a plan. If you can’t hack that, would you at least aim for a loose structure? Here's our 2014 wish for you... That you'll navigate the year with an even more profound understanding that living – the kind of living that brings you fulfillment – has to happen now.
What's your plan for 2014?
What have you been working on lately?
If nothing, get on it! We don't have a guaranteed number of days.