New Year Resolutions: It’s About Having Heroes
Do you have Heroes? Who do you want to be more like in 2014?
As I make plans for the coming year, there are a few things I would like to do better, do more of, and just do!
At the risk of putting it all out there and sounding a bit… well, apologies for venting a little on this first one, so here goes:
- In 2014 I resolve to build my own future.
I’m done playing Washington’s games. If Congress can’t get it together and allow this area to operate like any “normal” (meaning self-governed) metropolitan area (sequestration yes/no/maybe for weeks on end; cutbacks that affect little people but never the problem-makers, and yes, Congress I am talking to you; poorly coordinated roadwork that blocks two lanes of three on weekdays so that the morning commute hassle is tripled because Metro lines are down, giving us no way out) then I will stop being a pawn. I’m not expendable. I have skills I want to use to help others. So, in 2014 I resolve to build my own future.
- In 2014 I will find people who want to learn and help them become more than they were in years past.
Someone needs a mentor- for business skills, for navigating international waters, or just as a sounding board. (Is it you? Or someone you know?) I learned a lot in 2013; now it’s time to exhale and pay it forward to someone else.
- In 2014 I will travel more… and enjoy it again!
While everything was topsy-turvy in 2013, I didn’t travel internationally because I had to stick close by to see what was happening on the job front (would I or wouldn’t I have a job to come back to? Like the old Magic 8 Ball™ says, “The answer looks cloudy”). After an entire year of bunker mentality, people here (and I mean me) are done with being on edge, on hold, and on the receiving end of so much dysfunction. It’s time to remember that we only get one shot at this life, and we need to make it count for something.
So with all that said (whew, I really should go back and delete some of that…) I want to share with you my heroes, my mentors and models, the ones who are doing right now what I am resolving to do more of this new year.
Here are two guys that are grabbing life by the
b… uh, horns and running with it. Good for both of you! I am proud, pleased, envious and determined to copy your style in 2014. I hope lots of others like your ideas and this catches on big time.
First, I want to introduce you to Kevin Thor.
Kevin reached out by visiting me here at my Life Lessons blog, so I went to his blog to thank him and to introduce myself. As I read his posts about his semester at sea, I found a kindred spirit. Great experience, and his outlook was so positive, it drew me in.
He’s a hero for 2014, however, because of what happened next, how he handled adversity- what might have been a deal breaker for someone else, became an opportunity and a memory of a lifetime for Kevin. Read about it here… His motto or tagline is “Living day by day. Making every part of life the adventure it should be.”
What he did:
Kevin faced delay after delay in trying to get to Nashville from Nebraska in the face of severe weather. Instead of giving up, getting angry (or ugly) Kevin hung in there and ended up with the most novel and interesting way to make memory: he hopped into a rented car with 5 others he hadn’t ever met prior waiting for a flight together, and then drove more than 300 miles to Nashville, Tennessee from St. Louis, Missouri, laughing and sharing life stories with this diverse and unlikely assortment of car mates!
Inventive yes, risky maybe, and unwilling to say no to life, Kevin lived his tagline, “Living day by day, Making every part of life the adventure it should be.”
What it meant to me:
Like many people, I get into a funk at times and instead of saying yes to opportunities, it’s easier not to hassle with the red tape. Kevin’s story is a great reminder everyday now, of what you can do if you just say yes to the opportunity to be different.
Why it makes him my hero:
As a young man, Kevin captures the me I used to be. Before repatriation blues, before DC’s constant news. Before people told me sit down and wait, I was out there doing my job as an expat, teaching young people, helping them achieve their goals. Now I write goal plans for others and have been forgetting to
make achieve my own. But not this year! That changes today.
How it can matter for you too:
My Life Lesson is this: Be your authentic self and listen to what makes you happy. I used to tell students in my classes in Baku, “Follow your passion; choose to do what brings you joy.”
I think that lesson applies to me and to you equally today. If you can’t throw off the bow lines of today, you can at least makes plans to work toward you joy, one step at a time. We can do that much together.
My second hero is Kenneth Justice. I’ve been following his blog, The Culture Monk, for some time now and this is one of the coolest things I have seen lately.
What he did:
From the buzz in his comment section, you would think he had just walked down Main Street, USA “stark-nekked,” such are the comments with whooping and hollering.
Let me have Kenneth tell you in his own words what he’s doing and how this came about:
“So Kenneth, what are you going to do with your blog for 2014?” my friend asked. It was a week before Christmas and the two of us were sitting in a packed café watching the many people rushing to-and-fro in the midst of their holiday present shopping.
In that moment I realized what I wanted to do with my blog for 2014; what if I could go to coffee houses all over the world to meet readers, strangers, friends, and anyone else who might cross my path on a coffee-house tour…and what if I blogged about the entire experience?
Before I realized it I had already made up my mind; The 2014 Drinking in the Culture Tour had become something that I was willing to commit myself toward making happen
—) Could I do it; I have no bloody idea
—) Would I be able to afford it; probably not
—) Where would I go; to as many places as I can
—) Did this seem like a crazy idea; yup
Yet what better way for a blogger who writes about culture to expand his blog than to travel around to coffee shops and meet new people? What better way to expand my own understanding of Western Culture than to devote an entire year of my life to visiting as many coffee houses around the world as possible.What better way to connect with readers than to have coffee with them….in person!
What it meant to me:
After a year or more of DC negativism, this is like the three finger salute in Hunger Games, or the classic movie “Spartacus” where Tony Curtis stands up beside Kirk Douglas saying, “I am Spartacus” and leads everyone to do the same in solidarity.
Why it makes him my hero:
Having the “courage of my convictions” usually means moving out of my comfort zone. But nothing like this… this is taking it to a whole new zone.
The most interesting thing is to follow the comments. Everyone- and I mean 100% of the comments, including my own- can’t wait to meet Kenneth at a coffee-house near them.
People have offered couches, coffee-house recommendations, “call me when you get here” notes, and so on. Why? Because he’s putting himself out there to make an honest connection with those who have chatted with him this past year. And it’s the most joyful connection I’ve seen in a while.
On that point Kenneth wrote,
As many of us have noticed; Western Culture has become very disconnected. Gone are the days when everybody hung out with their neighbors. Gone are the days when community was second nature to society. And so many people have found a community within the world of blogging……..and perhaps this year will be an opportunity for me to better learn the true extent of this community.
Whatever is in that coffee stuff, it sure makes me want to start drinking it!
How it can matter for you too:
My Life Lesson is this: Though it may seem risky to put yourself out there- Kenneth risked being met by silence in the blogosphere, no acceptance or excitement- think about it this way: What’s the worst that could happen?
Embarrassment? Perhaps, but that could be a new blog post! Use it to make a conversation that we can all relate to.
If you want to see what makes this work, if you want to see how to build your own blogging community, if you want to see what it’s like to connect with your readers, take a look at the post from Kenneth Justice, The Culture Monk, and try it out for yourself.
If you want to be a hero to someone in 2014 (and beyond?) start making plans now to reach out and asking how you can help, how you can make a difference, and be available to do just that.
Caitlin Kelly, Naomi Hattaway, Anne Lowery, Judy Rickatson, Margo Lestz, the Expat Partner Coffee Online friends (so many to name), the Re-Entry Stories group, and many others have made such an impact over this past year, it’s hard to express enough appreciation. But just know that you’re all heroes to me and role models to many of us reading your words and seeing how you live each day.
Thank you for sharing your examples and memories. Thanks for being you.
My resolutions for 2014? Building my future my way, sharing my experience with someone who needs encouragement and wants a mentor, and traveling down the road laughing “six to a car” like Kevin, sharing coffee (metaphorically) like Kenneth.
Sounds like a plan for a pretty good year to me!
How about you? Have you made any Resolutions yet? Why not share your plans for 2014 with me and the rest of us reading here. (Maybe this is the year you resolve to make your voice heard in the comment boxes? Yes??)