Since I took today as a vacation day, I’m writing my check-in on the eve of May. I’m sitting on the patio of the Clocktower Cafe overlooking a golf course and Lake Michigan. 70s with a light breeze… ideal weather.
Although April is going out on a good note, Chicagoans won’t quickly forget that April was nasty. It snowed… at least twice… both on Mondays… as if we need one more reason not to get out of bed. Historic cold temperatures. It was not the flower blooming month that we remember. That we like. That we need. It was just plain gross!
Although my mood matched the frigid, gloomy and flowerless days, I did manage to accomplish a few things! I worked out 12 times with Josh. And I worked out harder than ever! My body is getting pushed to the limits. For a couple mornings, I had trouble pouring coffee because the angle of the activity and the required muscle to complete it was worn out. I went to yoga twice or thrice because one session was two hours. I know the nicer weather will help me get to the studios more. Thirty degree temps in April are demotivating to doing anything but going home and hiding under a blanket. My big step day was 22,248 steps. It was a back-breaker or at least back-aching. I attended two fundraisers, reviewed 4 out of 5 plays I saw, and made a taco dinner for 8 people. I also took the first week of April off at my mom’s urging. I had the vacation days and needed an attitude adjustment! My parents finally took me to Dingus Day activities… it’s a South Bend thing. Overall, compared to March, I’d give myself a B-.
And as far as my 2018 goals…
Student for Life: My big announcement is I finally finished Moral Combat, a book I started at Christmas. My trick to completion was listening to it on Audible. And I enjoyed the last few chapters. She drew very interesting parallels between the political and national response between Anita Hill’s allegations of Clarence Thomas and Paula Jones’ allegations of Bill Clinton. She outed Mike Pence, a state legislator and blogger at the time, for his severe criticism of Clinton’s extramarital affairs as not representing the moral fiber of the office of the president. And she leaned in hard to Hillary Clinton’s brutal treatment from a country that would rather elect a racist, sexist white man that brags about sexual assault than a woman.
I also listened to the Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance’s memoirs of growing up in rural, poverty. He makes the book very personal. He describes his drug addicted mother and her series of men. And the strong intervention of his foul-mouth mimaw (grandma) who pushed him to work hard for a different life. It’s a gritty, real rags to riches story.
Tommy J also recommended Who Says You Can’t? You do by Robbie Daymond. He described it as his life-changing, favorite book ever. At first, I was not enthralled. It focused on self improvement in a folksy way. Daymond would end a chapter… ‘now close the book and focus on these pillars or do XYZ or visualize this or that … for a few days then go onto the next chapter. Once, I crossed his directives off my to do list, I was able to listen with more engagement. Some of my best takeaways: ‘when we complain, we become the victim’, ‘raising standards, empowers us to reach peaks’ and ‘true kindness doesn’t require a response.’
The last one I actually had practical experience turn into an aha moment. Daymond says if you let someone in in traffic and they don’t give the thank you wave AND you get mad about it, you aren’t really being kind. You’re doing something for recognition or validation. Minutes after hearing this, I held the door for three women. They all exited without a smile or nod or verbal thanks. When I muttered ‘you’re welcome,’ I realized I had fallen into the trap of doing something for a response and not just doing it to be kind. Kindness is tricky!
I also attended a Do Well and Do Good seminar at Loyola. I wrote about it on LinkedIn. In April, I started writing a weekly post on LinkedIn about my professional experiences. It’s another way I’m building up my career profile online.
Be An Advocate for Vulnerable Populations: The two fundraisers I attended were to support marginalized populations. The first was at my friend Steve’s new swanky rehab of a mansion. The posh night was a fundraiser for his partner Mike’s new initiative, The Nina Project. Named for Mike’s mother that passed, the project will help youth, especially economically challenged, learn a trade as a tailor/seamstress. The other fundraiser was the annual Dine for Life. Every year, many Chicago restaurants support AIDS research and programming by giving a percentage of the evening’s profits.
Be Kind: I daily work to respond to everything with kindness. As I continue to focus on it as my practice, I notice it in others. I’m always delighted to see true kindness in the world. Recently, I saw “Wonder” with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. It’s a movie about a disfigured kid and how he assimilates into middle school after being home schooled. It’s absolutely gorgeous. His story is the focal point but the filmmaker tells the back stories of different character. Auggie wears his pain visibly. What others are dealing with is hidden. It’s such a powerful story of kindness from the parents, kids, teachers… an uplifting tale! WARNING: Have tissues ready!! 🙂
Alright, May, I’m looking for it to be a BIG month! I’m ready for some flowers and a new career. Bring it!