Expansion

In my calendar, I try to segment by color what it is I’m doing. Work. Gigs. Side jobs. Health and exercise. I’ve got a calendar header titled Expansion, and it tends to be my most exciting one.

Anything that grows who I am falls under this header. It can be as simple as reading time, or as extensive as travel or getting my SCUBA certification. When the other calendar entries look too heavy, I make time for Expansion. Because if we’re not growing, we’re just dying.

Week’s highlights (Alaska edition)

Some of the things that caught my attention up north.

  • North edited by Julie Decker. A collection of writings and art from Alaska, and for Alaska
  • Travel America & Beyond! TrekAmerica provides long-term tour opportunities.
  • A suggestion from a friend, Onnit nutritional supplements for increased health and vigor.
  • The Lucas Ship problem. Being on a ship currently, this one intrigued me. So here it is.
  • Alaska-bound

    And we’re off. I’ve been planning for this trip for nearly a year. Now, finally, it’s here. I know that it won’t disappoint.

    There are many people I’ve spoken with who’ve told me how amazing of a trip this is. There are internet sites, and people posting on that annoying Instagram app… All about Alaska. And I wonder, would John Muir recognize it, with all this notoriety? This land that’s been called simply: “Great.”

    “Never before this had I been embosomed in scenery so hopelessly beyond description.” – John Muir

    Perhaps I attract those who like to travel. Perhaps it’s a similar feeling in myself that allows those to open up to me – like attracts like.

    But perhaps it’s that the tourism trade has done a number on exploring. What is exploration anymore? What is the journey vs. the destination? What is vacation vs. life?

    These are things that I will ponder looking out upon the expanse of this wonderful State.

    Keeping it going

    I am behind. I know, it happens. But it seems that this week, and last, has kept me more busy than I’ve been in several months.

    Trying to create time to write, to read, to produce other work, and to sell, has been a juggling act like little I’ve had to do before. So how do I do it?

    Writing I am just eking out, one post at a time. Reading, less so. A stack of books is piled by my bed, and other stacks on and around the bookshelf. Other work? Well, that’s another story.

    I guess the silver lining is I’m selling well, and should be making enough pay to finance my trip to Alaska next week. Hard to believe it’s less than seven days away. I’m looking forward to writing from there.

    Alaska countdown

    Started packing, sort of. Less than two weeks until the trip, and I am getting more and more excited. Yet staying busy as ever.

    I pulled the suitcases I’ll be using for this trip down. It’s weird not packing my either of my backpacks. One went with me to Europe, twice, for over a month each time. The other was for a quick week trip down to Costa Rica.

    But this isn’t a backpacking trip. This is some exploring, some relaxing – including hiking and a glacier cruise. And in less than two weeks, I’ll be trading sunny Florida for the Land of the Midnight Sun.

    April Reading

    Books Bought:

    • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
    • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
    • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
    • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
    • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
    • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

    Books Read:

    • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
    • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
    • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

    After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

    I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

    I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

    I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

    So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

    I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

    As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

    This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

    Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

    If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

    This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

    My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

    Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

    An honest look at 2018

    This year, closing out today, has been what I would used to call, “Meh.” There were some ups, some downs, and then the mostly flats.

    To the year’s credit, I did have more time on stage; rejoined the nonprofit world; made considerable effort towards getting out of debt (given the state of my student loans, that didn’t look like much – but I made progress nonetheless); worked on relationships with family, friends, and other loved ones; decluttered; and started new endeavors.

    On the other side of the ledger, there was an overwhelming feeling of not accomplishing enough. Many of the new endeavors sat unfinished, or abandoned. Some money-making ideas didn’t pan out as hoped, and were laid to the side. A few of my writing projects got pushed to the back burner, and nothing got even close to completion this year.

    Som highlights:

    • With my subscription to Movie Pass in 2016, I saw numerous films throughout the year. After changes to its subscription model prevented me from buying several tickets, it was time to cancel though, and I’ve reduced the number of films I see so that I wasn’t spending so much on tickets.
    • I started the year working in telecommunications, and studying basic electric circuit design. I’m ending the year with a primary focus in fundraising and development.
    • In April I purchased my new car, a Toyota RAV4 Adventure Series. There was a notion to buy a small camper, and do some traveling, living and working from wherever I ended up. I haven’t gotten that far yet. To date, I haven’t even had a tow hitch installed.
    • A few shows under my belt – Evita, Oklahoma, and Little Women. I’m enjoying the character work that I’ve been getting, and would like to try my hand on camera again. It’s been many years since doing television work in Ft. Lauderdale.
    • During November my girlfriend and I did make the trip to Costa Rica. This was a quick jaunt, and I would have loved to have seen more. In the summer of 2019 we’ll be heading to Alaska for ten days, so I’m excited for that as well.
    • The remainder of the year was just so-so. Nothing dramatic, nothing earth-shattering (all this being on the personal front). Just a development year. It’s 2019 that promises change. As I said, my focus words for 2019 are Success and Harmony. There are no limits to what those mean, and as the Universe receives my intention, I know it’ll bring it back to me in the auspicious, Universal way.

    So, fare thee well 2018. Greetings to a prosperous and healthy 2019.

    Happy New Year!