Category Archives: My500Words

Wandering in the world…

Published / by Tim / 4 Comments on Wandering in the world…

So, if you have been following this blog at all, you have probably guessed that it is a huge experiment and exercise in… something… for me. Faith? Perseverance? Courage? I don’t know…

What I do know is that for the last two weeks I have been trying to make the blog fit my life and it has been resistant. I have been dealing with issues of trust and friendship and I wanted to write about those things, but they were too… personal… too…raw… too… private.

What I have discovered about blogging is that blogging people fit in to one of two categories (well… there are probably more categories, but I only think I want to talk about two…) There are the “I will tell you everything about me” bloggers and the “I have something I want to say, but I want to remain kind of private too…” bloggers. I am one of the latter.

I have things I want to talk about, but at the same time I don’t necessarily want everyone to know every little thing about me. There have been many times that I have actually wanted to completely unplug and just not have a presence online. But then I think about the blogs I read and I  imagine that some of the folks I read regularly have felt the same way. Then they write, share and connect and it is all very beneficial to everyone.

Sometimes the fact that I have a blog and my own little “web space” kind of freaks me out. What am I thinking? What do I have to offer? Who do I think I am putting stuff out there for people to read? Well… the answer is, I’m just a guy who likes to talk and think and read and share. So it seems like writing for my little no-name blog is reasonable. Even if Brenda, Amy, Nancy, Renee, Apreil, and Luann are the only ones reading, it’s still worth while. The act of writing is… healthy, beneficial, cathartic.

I feel like a wanderer who has wandered far from home. This blog has proven itself both inspiring to me and lonely. I missed my Monday deadline for the first time this week. No one said anything. Initially I figured, what’s the point? Why bother? I soon remembered that when I started this blog, I am writing for me. I invited everyone else to come along and read, comment, or whatever.

I am back. I am not going to write about trust because I don’t really have anything to say about it now. I have issues trusting people, that’s it. It’s not because they are’;t worthy of trust, but because I am cynical and jaded for now. I suppose I could explore that a bit, but I don’t really want to. I just want to keep wandering and looking for the gems that appeal to me to consider here.

If you want to participate, I love hearing from you… if you just want to read and be silent, that’s fine too. I’m still here. I haven’t given up. I just needed to remember why I started doing this in the first place… It’s for the fun of writing and sharing.

On that note, if you have something you would like to write and share, let me know. I’d be glad to let you post here… It’s not a high pressure place… The people who are reading regularly are really quite wonderful. I’d love to have guests post if you have something to say…

An obligatory New Years post?

Published / by Tim

Well, it’s 2014 and I made no resolutions, but there are five things I’m going to do this year to help promote my health and sanity.

5. Read a book each month. This is not to say that I will only read one book per month, but it is to say that I will choose a book that interests me and read it each month. Last year I read about 44 books and 2 of those were because I wanted to. Well, I suppose that all of them had the element of “want to” otherwise I wouldn’t have read them, but most of them were because someone else said I should. I didn’t choose them.

4. Limit my coffee and beer intake. Most of the time, around the new year, you see people “quitting” beer or coffee or soda or smoking or whatever it is that they enjoy but isn’t necessarily good for them. I am not a quitter. I can, however, work on self-discipline. Quitting something that you enjoy seems silly to me. I severely limited my intake of Coca-cola in the last 6 months and now I rarely miss it and I no longer crave it like I once did. I do enjoy a Coke every so often and I have a new appreciation for it. One cup of coffee per day is adequate and 3 pints of beer a week is plenty.

3. Keep a journal. I have been an on again, off again journaler over the last several years. I often attribute my lack of journaling to being too busy. I am of the mind that keeping a journal would have more benefits to me than this busy lifestyle I am leading. I see this as a way to slow down, reflect, enjoy and savor my life. This has become more important to me recently. I have felt like I miss a lot and what I don’t miss I can’t always remember. A journal can help.

2. Save some money. I like buying Christmas gifts for my family. I also like not having to pay a credit card bill. I did a good job of keeping spending under control in 2013, which is a minor victory for me. In 2014 I’d like to have 100% cash to fund my Christmas shopping. I have an idea about how I’ll attack this and perhaps in another post I’ll tell you how I plan to get there.

1. Exercise. I have two bikes and I am hoping to acquire a third this year. I like riding my bikes. I do not really have a “plan” for this, but I do have  couple programs I’d like to try out. Again, I’ll talk more about those in future posts (with this 500 words per day thing I’m doing, these “other” topics are precious).

Additionally, I am going to continue using Duolingo to pursue learning a second language. I am learning, or maybe I should say “relearning” Spanish. Once I feel adept I will begin learning German. Why? Well, why not?

So, What things are you going to do this year to promote your health and sanity? Share in the comments… I’d love to know.

Geocaching and Writing

Published / by Tim
There must be a cache here somewhere.

There must be a cache here somewhere.

On the day before the new year, I regularly go with friends out into the woods to look for geocaches. Every year we plan a route and then take off early in the morning to set a “most found” record. This year was no different. One of the brethren picked an area to search that had a lot of little caches.

We drive all over looking for containers in the woods. Most of the containers are small and ordinary. They usually contain a log to sign and some other little trinket. Every once in a while though, we find a larger, more interesting container. A container that itself has a story. A container that the owner obviously put some thought and care into building and placing in the woods. These containers often hold interesting treasures. Items that we want to trade. Items that are traveling the world. Items with a story.

As the day wears on, we come across a string of small green containers that are all hidden essentially the same way and all look identical. None of them have much in the way of treasure .The descriptions ask for detailed logs, but the caches themselves were boring like prepackaged gingerbread men. Good to eat, but not terribly interesting. In the early afternoon we all begin to lose interest. We all grow restless for the bigger and better containers. We want something more.

For me, writing is kind of like that.

I start out sort of knowing where I want to go, but not really knowing what to expect when I get there. I’m looking for little treasures that catch my attention. Usually I find a lot of things that are functional but not always interesting. I wander around the page, looking for the thing that clicks, the thing that will take the story in a new and wonderful direction.

As I poke around the tulies looking for treasure, every once in a while I find a “container” that holds some real treasure. It is one that holds the right phrase or image or metaphor that takes the story in a direction that makes me tingle. I find myself taking some time with that find, exploring it a little more fully. It’s these “containers” that keep me writing to find the next one.

In geocaching, having friends along makes the experience better. It gives a sense of safety. Sharing in the find makes each one a small celebration. Writing is more of a solitary sport when the hunt is going on. Writing, for me, feels safer when there is no one watching over your shoulder. So it goes in writing, having an audience is both risky, but it’s comforting as well. It gives us the opportunity to share and celebrate along the way.

After searching for hundreds of caches it has become clear that the creators who spend some time preparing the containers or finding great settings in which to hide their treasures tend to capture the imaginations of those who search. In that regard, it is also clear that as we create here we need to take some time and care in preparing and giving our audience a memorable experience that brings them back, anxiously looking for more.

January 1, 2014… What now?

Published / by Tim

Well… It’s January 1.

2013 is in the books. All done.

I was thinking, just a little, about the year today. Thinking about what I accomplished. At first, I found myself feeling more bummed than happy. I realized that I missed many of my goals. Blogging, Ha. I wanted to ride my bike 1500 miles this year. Didn’t make it. I wanted to lose a specific amount of weight. Nope. I wanted to read a book each month, just for the pleasure of reading… uh… no. I wanted to clean up my office and keep it clean. Not even close.

With all of that, the temptation is, for me, to do one of two things. Make new goals and say to myself, “Self, get off your butt and do better this year.” (Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that I have not ever really listened to myself). The other option is to eschew all “goal making” entirely. With no goals to make or miss I can feel successful either way (or at least I can try to tell myself that I will, which I have already pointed out is futile).

Being a rebel, I decided to go a third route. I’m just going to do stuff that matters to me and keep track of it. If I ride my bike, I’ll track it. If I write (like this) I’ll track it. If I read a book, I’ll track it. Just keeping track of what I’m doing seems like a better way to do things (at least when it comes to personal stuff.) At work, it seems like everyone thinks I need goals in order to justify my existence. Bah! Whatever!

If you read any other parts of this blog you will see that it is about the things that resonate or matter to me. And that is my re-commitment. To write about the things that matter to me.

Right now, what matters to me is getting back into the habit of writing every day. I did 1000 words a day for quite a while last year. It really took a toll on me. I burnt myself out on the “having to do it” part of the project and, in the end, just gave up. This year I am going to HTFU (If you don’t like “naughty” words, do not look it up) and go with 500 words a day. Writing 500 words, for me, is less than a half hour most days. Even when I was doing 1000 a day the first 500 were not the problem, the last 200 were. This idea of 500 words per day is not original to me though. Jeff Goins gave me the idea here… http://goinswriter.com/my500words/. I’d invite you to check out Jeff’s page and then join me if you are so inclined.successful

More important than writing 500 words each day, let me encourage you to do something you love or are passionate about, each day, for a few minutes. Read, write, meditate, jog, bicycle, knit, or whatever it is that strikes your fancy and resonates with you. Find your One Sure Chord and let it play through you.

Happy new year.