I’m in a weird mental state lately. My winter hockey has restarted (and I’m short a couple guys). Both kids have started too, I’m coaching one of them, and I’m the association’s webmaster. A vendor at work is nearly 4 months late on a critical delivery. There’s a rather significant re-org underway too, with some new opportunities presenting themselves. There’s something wonky with my back/shoulder, making it hard to get a good workout. Our social circles seem to be going through midlife crises.
A lot of spinning plates that are taking up both physical and mental real estate. Feels like I could use a couple more hours a day. Blogging as a whole has taken the side. I am feeling the need to focus on the things that bring me joy/energy, and let the rest of the stuff just wash over.
The older I get, the more I realize that playing hockey brings me a ton of joy, as long as the rest of the team is all on the same page. If I’m playing rec, then it’s a rec attitude. Comp is the same. When those two worlds mix… things get less fun. But there’s always a good beer after the game.
Coaching, that brings something else altogether. There is something to be said about seeing 15 kids grow before your eyes, and being part of their enjoyment of the sport. I’ll need to write another post about my process for coaching, but it would appear that it’s popular as a few kids this year put in requests to transfer to my team.
We all need to move, or things just stop working. I’ve been doing strength training for a few years now and it’s made a world of difference in nearly every aspect of my life. It requires planning (since time is limited), focus (to not get injured), tracking (to see progress), consciousness (smarter eating choices), and provides a solid example to my family. I can tell you that when you have 225lbs on your shoulders and you’re at the bottom of a squat, if you’re not focused then you’re going to have a bad time. It’s a different form of meditation I guess, and the endorphin rush you get is a great high. Plus, when you hit the pillow, you sleep like a rock. Completing a workout, setting a new lift record, seeing changes in the mirror… all great feelings that push out the rest.
This is a family root type of thing. Baking requires planning, patience, and confidence. I had a pile of recipes from older relatives that just say “a fist of flour”. Decoding all that is half the battle. Yet when I am able to replicate a recipe my grandmother made me when I was a child… that hits every single right spot. It’s a great way to spend time with the kids too, and teaches them a pile of lessons with a great result at the end. We end up making ~500 cookies as Christmas gifts every year, as well as the boys getting together to make ~50 tourtieres in the fall. You can’t rush baking…
You can be a wallflower and just listen, or you can be a jabberbox who’s just waiting for their turn to interject and one-up the conversation. I dislike both, and prefer to have a conversation where the other person(s) get to share, I take it in, and I get to share as well. That means paying attention, asking clarifying questions, debating ideas. I enjoy this with my kids… it has them spend more time thinking about what they are going to say. More enjoyable even with my wife, who brings an entirely different perspective on nearly all topics. Hockey boys are similar with all types of views. Does a decent job of avoiding the echo-box that social media builds around us.
This sounds corny, but just taking a breath when things go a bit sideways is a great tool. It’s common enough that my team at work recognizes it as a sign. I dislike reacting, because it often lacks forethought. There’s a way to say something is dumb without saying it’s dumb. Getting that piece of news, taking a breath, allowing digestion of it and looking at potential options… that allows me to focus on the bigger picture. Example: a team member inadvertently disabled 8,000 clients, and caused a 8 hour outage. It was entirely accidental, happened while fixing another problem that wasn’t ours and running on little rest, and mistakes happen. I mean, they know they did something wrong and me reacting negatively is just going to make it worse. Breathing, focusing on getting them involved in the fix, and away from the mistake… that’s the only way to grow. Seeing them come out stronger. One breath makes all the difference.
Next Little Bit
The next few weeks are going to be a bit in the same rough spot, but it should even out at the start of October. One breath at a time, one day at a time. Things are good.