February: Check In

Saturday, March 3, 2018 Permalink

It’s February. I don’t go out in February.  

I tried this month to make that a thing. It seemed the perfect response to an invitation to go out. Blame my tired, non-social self on the time of year. #hibernationFebruary! All month at the end of the work day, I wanted to go home. Even though it’s a short month, it’s long and cold and wet and dark. And Chicago got it all… snow, sleet, rain, wind, locust. Well, maybe one of those didn’t happen but I’m not certain.

I wrote down my February goals. In post month reflection, my achievement level is hovering in the 40% range. In the health category, I got all my work outs in with Josh but only went to yoga once. My daily walking was way under the 10K standard. I planned to start daily salutations and didn’t.  On the home front, my kitchen deep cleaning was an epic fail. Socially, I did host a couple small, last minute dinner and movie evenings. Primarily, it was to have someone keep me awake until 10pm. Many nights in February, I came home ate pretzels, watched CNN, played Candy Crush and crawled into bed before 9. It wasn’t a goal but I surpassed the 600 level on Candy Crush.

I saw 5 more Oscar movies. In the big 8 categories, I’ve seen all but three movies (“Molly’s Game”, “Disaster Artist”, “All the Money in the World”). I’m picking THREE BILLBOARDS to be the big winner. The story was a total original and I loved the unexpected connectivity of kindness. As far as plays, I only saw and reviewed three compared to 10 in January. Also in my writing sphere, after I procrastinated his writing project for an entire year, Steve told me he hired someone to do it. So, at least, I could cross that off my list as no longer pending.

In my three 2018 goal areas, I had some progress.

Be a student for life: I finished a two day workshop and 2.75 books plus had my natal chart read.

I went to a two day seminar on effective leadership. It talked about a changing work force and the new face of leadership. This was my third course at the Graham School at University of Chicago. Getting in a room with people from different sectors and discussing effective project management was a great opportunity. It’s been wonderful to step away from the day-to-day tasks to look forward to the future. My career is going to have a huge change in the next few months. I’ll become NRS’ next Executive Director or I’ll be taking a position in a new organization. After fourteen years at NRS, I’m at a crossroads and I’m ready to trail blaze on either new path.

(This huge career change was confirmed by my natal chart reader. My niece Abby and I had our charts read. This hour long experience was fascinating. I’ll talk about it in a future blog. I’m waiting for the write-up.)

As I’ve confessed, February was my hibernation month. And just like January, I was unable to read 2-3 pages of Moral Combat without falling asleep. The book is an interesting history of sex and gender roles in the U.S. and all the sectors influenced by them like; churches, politics, Hollywood. Despite the compelling content, the writing is textbook reading. I’m at 33% read, up from 25% in January. Dad warned me the last quarter is even harder to get thru… great!?

I’m loving Audible. I listened to two books as I’m trying to get my walking steps back up to a healthy amount.  Happiness is a Choice You Make  was written by John Leland. He spent a year interviewing and observing people over 85. The book is a beautiful tribute to living life. I got misty and inspired many times hearing about these elders’ talking about the past and the present. My takeaways were time is limited and amazing. We are challenged to live ‘on the way to the bend.’ The arrival of the day is the miracle. We should pursue passion and learn how to redefine purpose without a job. My parents, nearing these elders’ ages at their respectful 79 and 80, were always in my head and heart hearing about these strangers’ stories. When mom lost her dear friend Judith this month, the preciousness of time was even more palpable.

I also listened to Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. Simon Sinek wrote compelling cases about real leaders driving their companies to success. He reflected on Apple and Steve Jobs a lot. The idea is Jobs and Apple sold us a lifestyle not computers and later phones.  Sinek’s theory is ‘people don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.’ The first question is not ‘what are you doing?’ It’s ‘why are you doing that?’ From an employee to an organization standpoint, it is a key question and an important focus. 

I’m also halfway thru reading  Text Me When You Get Home  . I love it. Jen sent it to me. It’s all about modern female relationships. Kayleen Schaefer describes her own personal experience with women and her research about women’s relationships in the past. She talks about how women historically have been isolated and pitted against each other. Schaefer uses pop culture examples that shifted the thinking about female relationships like the movie “Beaches” or the shows “Golden Girls” and “Designing Women.”    

Be an advocate for vulnerable populations

My job is being an advocate for youth, particularly runaway, homeless and at-risk youth. Youth are my underlying priority 40+ hours a week. This past month, I was blown away by the youth response following the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School. The youth are eloquent and fierce spokespersons for gun control. Schools are turning into animal sanctuaries where a hunter can get his killing quota up. Youth must not be prey for hunters. We must keep them safe!  The answer isn’t building walls and arming teachers. It’s making all weapons of mass destruction illegal.

Be kind

I don’t know how kind that I’ve been this month. I’m trying but it’s been a cranky month. I did have real kindness bestowed on me by my peeps at lunches, drinks, movies, dinners and times I did venture out. I also had the best Valentine’s Day ever. Bill, James and I went to “The Post” and then for a dinner of wine, appetizers and jazz. When I got home, I had a package from Jen with “Happy Galentine Day”  and the book “Text Me When You Get Home.” A day full of love but not the romantic kind. It was a series of random acts of kindness!

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