Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Tragedy of Life is not that it ends so soon...

"The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it." ~ W.M. Lewis
Someone posted the above quote on Twitter this morning, and it resounded very strongly with me. I have been contemplating what to write about for my first post of 2010, and when I saw this, I knew that I had to compose my post around this quote.

2009 was a year of incredible personal growth for me, the foundation of which was laid in 2008. In the fall of 2008, I enrolled, kicking and screaming, in a leadership course led by a good friend of mine, David Bernard-Stevens. Completing it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I am so thankful that I did, and I encourage everyone reading this to check out his link and get involved with his Leader Development Group. Since he is now traveling all over the world helping to develop leaders, he is hosting some very interesting and user-friendly online podcasts and webinars, which makes his teaching very easy to access.

The next building block was that I became a member of the online forum dedicated to the fishing vessel Northwestern, of the television show Deadliest Catch. While this may seem like an extremely trivial happening, my involvement with the wonderful fans of the Northwestern sparked my interest in all things technological, and gave me the confidence to broaden my horizons on the Internet. Besides creating threads and posting comments, there is a blog component. After posting about 30 blogs on the forum site, I decided to create my own blog in the greater cybersphere. At the end of 2009, I had authored more than 150 blog posts.

I admire the work ethic and character of the captains and crews featured on Deadliest Catch and the narrator Mike Rowe, who also stars in the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. The theme of celebrating hard work and the skilled trades explored by Dirty Jobs have been much discussed around the Nebraska Outback dinner table, especially with my #3 son, whose major at the University of Nebraska is now “Leadership in the Skilled Trades” (I will confess that that may not be the EXACT title of his major, but it’s something along those lines.). That prompted me to search out Mike Rowe’s website www.mikeroweworks.com, and contribute resource links to the Nebraska section of the state resources on the “job site”.

2009 saw the high school graduation of our #4 son (#6 child). An online friend of mine (one of my f/v Northwestern buds) offered me these words of wisdom on my birthday: “As your empty nest becomes more routine, try to recall what YOU did in your early years. We all forget our own interests as our families grow.” I took these words to heart, and the Mister and I dedicated the year to rediscovering each other and the fun that is possible without the day-to-day responsibilities of children at home. From road trips to tanking trips, to hosting House Concerts and anything and everything in between, 2009 was an incredible year.

One of the tenets that David teaches in his leadership classes is to discover what our purpose in life is. I contemplated this for most of 2009, although I knew right away what it was. Compared to the lofty purposes I see in other people’s lives, I was hesitant to call mine my own. However, after much soul searching, I have embraced my purpose, which is “to help people have fun.” It may not sound like much, but it is my purpose, and I try to live it in everything I do.

It may have taken me almost fifty years to begin my life, but now that it has begun, watch out! One of my strongest personality traits is that I am afraid of almost everything. Fortunately, one of the things that I am most afraid of is doing nothing. That gives me the motivation to put myself out there and try new things, even if it might mean falling on my face in a very public way. Starting small on the Northwestern forum, then with my own blog, completing NaNoWriMo 2009, and now on Twitter and Facebook, with not too many adverse effects has given me the confidence to keep on trying.

Just today I have spent nearly half the day learning how to create a powerpoint presentation with some of the pictures documenting our summer adventures, setting these to music, converting to a video and posting to YouTube. As a matter of fact, it is uploading as I write this. If there is an active link in my blog post when you read this, you’ll know that it finished in time for me to embed the video.

So here’s to 2010. I hope each of you has fun reading my blog and experiencing our little slice of the Nebraska Outback. I will do what I can to continue to make it entertaining throughout the year. Now, take my example to heart... go and do... seek mentors, teachers, cheerleaders, friends... experience... try... grow... learn... give... live.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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