Just a moment in time

“This is not the moment of your life, but it is a moment in your life. How will you use it?” – Ryan Holiday

In this time of uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic, remember you cannot control all the happens in life, but you do control how you respond to it. If there has ever been a moment in time that accentuates this teaching – it is today. Yet, we also know that this is not the first time it has happened – just the first time this century.

Back in the 1790, yellow fever hit Philadelphia before terrorizing the US for the next century. In 1918, just following the ‘war to end all wars’, the Spanish flu ravished the world with over 500 million cases and 50 million deaths estimated. Wars, Floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados often lay waste to the world that we know. It often seems like the world is trying to kill us. And yet…

We recover. We rebuild. And we return stronger than before.

The Struggle Is Real

Today is a struggle, I will give you that. I am fighting my way through trying to keep an eye on the kids school work while staying focused in my job, just hoping that it stays around. I am worried about the health of friends and family, if not my own.

For many of us, cabin fever is also starting to set in. The same walls, the same rooms … and the same people, day after day. We are social creatures and feed off those social interactions and we are distancing ourselves. We need activity and sunlight. It all feeds our body, mind, and soul – and it has been lacking.

Now to make matters worse, the reality of recession is once again upon us. This time faster and more treacherous than ever before. It was like we were all standing on the porch watching a tornado in the distance, discussing our preparations and the potential path, when the ground shook from a massive earthquake. All the supports we were trusting are now at risk – if not gone.

We are starting this week with over 10 million people freshly filed for unemployment and more on their way. This is historic. This is different. Yet, we are resilient and adaptable. We will weather this as we have before.

Control your opportunity

What is complaining or getting upset going to do? How does endlessly watching the news updates help you? Of course, some of it will, but be cautious and mindful about what you are absorbing. Be careful not to get caught up in the fear that it intended to grab your attention. Instead, use the information to understand, plan, and continue to adjust your life.

It is a perfect time to change up your routines, which were likely getting old and stale. While the internet is spitting out millions of suggestions of how to spend your time, how to build quality time, and what to do with your free time – it is most important to look inside yourself. Look for those activities that make you happy, but also those that will make you proud in the long term.

This is a great time to star that home workout routine. Complete that yard work that has been put off months. Start that side-hustle itch that you have been wanting to scratch. Or, just sit down and play some board games. Last week, my boys and I played several network games of StarCraft 2 – it had been a while and it was such a blast. We have enjoyed a backyard fire and s’mores. That quality time with family and loved ones is all around us too. On my dog walk this morning, I saw one Dad exploring his front yard with his son and another teach his two kids to skate board.

That time would otherwise have been lost to the commute or life chore. And time not lost to extra sleeping or lost to useless tv watching. Yes, it also means they are not at work when they should be – that is not lost on me at all. However, in the shadow of pain look for the light, for it is there. It is our choice in how we frame this time – is it an opportunity or is it all a loss? Also remember the quote from Jim Rohn, “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. The views of your friends are the views the influence you, be mindful and remember the words of Ryan Holiday, “this may not be the moment of your life, it is a moment in your life.”

Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay happy.

Respond with Intention

Where is life taking you? Ask this of myself many times over the years. So often I have found myself reacting and not responding.

The difference is subtle, but critical. You react when things happen to you, you are left addressing the issue in front of you as best you can in the moment. At work we often use the term ‘fighting fires’, though it you ever watch firemen work they are not just reacting. They are being deliberate in there actions.

Each decision, each movement, each action is done with purpose and intention. The firemen are working against a plan with a final goal in mind – always moving towards that goal.

So we need to do the same in life. You don’t need the new year to embark on your journey, you just need today. There is no lock in, no mandate, and no medals – it is to not want you want. Go get it!

See my new series on living a stoic life at beingstoic.stilldaddy.com

The final days

We are in the final days of Movember.  I have now completed 1300 push-ups over the last 26 days, in that time I have raised just over $300 towards men’s health and the enormous effort being applied to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention research around the globe.

I set a goal of $1500 ($1 per pushup) during the month, and I appreciate all the support as it has been incredible, but we are not done.  As we push into the thanksgiving holiday here in the states, I will continue delivering on those pushups.
I would like to ask you to please take a moment and give to this cause:
I started supporting the Movember movement four years ago following my divorce.   The preceding year or so I was struggling both emotionally and financially, not really sure where my life was going.  Friends and family helped me during those months more than I could ever really express.  So when I saw the additional focus on mention health and suicide prevention during the month of Movember, I wanted to contribute.
I understood where the sense of worthlessness and irrelevance came from.  Where the thoughts that it would just be easier if I was not involved (or around) fermented.  My two boys provided a grounding for me, I was able to insist upon myself that I was going to remain their dad – an involved dad – and that helped me from sinking too deep.  I had a mission, a need that was bigger than myself.  From that I was able to pull back from a downward spiral that catches a lot of men in similar situations.  But I did not do it alone, I had friends and family that cared.  They gave me opportunities, would call to check on me, and would be there to talk when needed.  Not everyone has such a wonderful support group, and not everyone has been able to recover as of yet.
If is through this effort that I am working to raise awareness of the need for support groups and community efforts.  Suicide is impacting men at over three and a half times the rate of women.   Men are feeling the pressure of todays society and not seeing another another way out while at the same time we have left ourselves absent of deep friendships.
The mission of the StillDaddy site was to raise awareness for divorcing and divorced fathers and mothers.  Letting them know they are not alone in their daily struggles.  Bringing to light some of the challenges we all face both as parents (especially as single parents), as well the the entire divorce and subsequent healing process.  That mission continues, as does my pushups…  enjoy a safe and happy thanksgiving.
Please feel free to reach out at any time and share you story.  We grow better together.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)