Happiness is Sunsets – Part 2
Tonight part two of the sunset shots, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane
Tonight part two of the sunset shots, enjoy and have a happy day ~ Rev Kane
One of the questions people are most familiar with is, what do you want to be when you grow up? I really don’t like this question, I circumvent it with a really easy answer, I’m not planning to grow up? Now as flippant an answer there is, there is some underlying wisdom that I accidentally stumbled upon. You see, it is in childhood that we are able to get lost in something we love. Remembering playing as a kid I can remember hours playing sports, building dams on streams, playing with toys in my room or just walking in the woods.
I’ve worked in education for over 25 years and a lot of that time I’ve worked with students in helping them find their way to a major and direction in college. One of the ways we first try to help students do this is by asking them what they are interested in. One way to do that is to think about the types of things you do where you lose track of time. So if you can lose track of time while drawing and painting for hours a career in the arts might be something you’ll enjoy.
For students, honestly, the process isn’t that hard. You establish what they like, you find out what their aptitudes are and those two pieces of information really narrows down the possibilities. You can’t be an engineer if you’re terrible at and dislike math, no matter how much you like building and designing things. But you might be a great construction worker, welder or project manager. So after narrowing the field, a student can explore a bit by taking classes or other activities and come to a pretty solid decision on where their career will start. We also recognize that people will change jobs multiple times over their lifetime.
The tougher job is of course when you’re trying to help someone in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s find their way. Even harder when the person you’re trying to help is looking back at you in the mirror. As we get older we all accumulate obligations, our decisions have a tendency to impact more than just ourselves, we have debts. All of our obligations make the process of pursuing our calling that much harder even when we can identify that calling. It can still be done, it just takes a lot more planning, work and negotiation with those whose lives we’re intertwined with and of course patience.
I’m in the midst of all of this myself. This week while on a business trip I was working with a company that has a software package that helps students identify their calling. While talking to one of their people about my adventures over the last couple of years he said, “you’ve found your calling.” He was referring of course to traveling, writing, photographing and speaking about my adventures. Without a doubt this is my calling.
If I were in my 20’s it’s an easy call, flat-out jump in with both feet. Of course I’m in my 50’s, I have a significant student loan debt ($800/month) and then there’s retirement looming. I have a good life, a good job, I make good money, I have health insurance and if I put enough time into my retirement system I’ll have a decent pension. My job is ok, I like what I do, but the question, in such a short life, do I wake up in the morning excited to go to work, no. It is a job, a good one, but a job. Would I be excited to get up everyday to hike, and cycle, to write and photograph what I do, to go out and be a speaker to help motivate people to make positive change in their life, absolutely.
The retirement issue is probably my largest obstacle, I wasn’t in a position early on to start saving for retirement the way I should have, and worse, not wise enough to do the minimum that would have absolutely paid dividends through the miracle of compound interest. But that didn’t happen, so you make the best of where you are and that is the first step, having a positive attitude.
So I do what I can, it’s partially the reason I take significant time off every 5 years. My book is being edited and will hopefully be published before the end of the year. I have a couple of speaking engagements lined up and plans for a couple of other books that I’m already working on. I look forward to my next leave in about three years and try to find ways to the things I love in between. Of course I’m always looking for a crack, a way to make a significant change that will work and that hope is part of what sustains me day-to-day.
So that’s the process my friends, for those of us who are older and more obligated. Find your calling, and start to develop a path. Find incremental ways to test the waters and to feed your soul. Plan for the time you can jump full-time but always be on the look out for that lucky break, if you get that shot and you’ve been planning, it’s that much more likely to be successful. Finally, be prepared to be a little bit fearless, life is short and the last thing anyone wants to do, is to be laying on their deathbed regretting never have taken their shot. So feed your soul, plan, be positive, be fearless and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
I love the fall, growing up in the Northeast fall was always the time of year that I spent the most time in nature. In the fall, the temperatures are cooler, there are fewer bugs, animals are on the move and the trees explode into amazing demonstrations of just how beautiful nature can be. I no longer live in the Northeast, currently I live in the desert and you don’t quite get the same changes there.
However this week I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest and recently drove from Seattle over to Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. While doing that drive I had the pleasure of driving through the Wenatchee Forest. Now it didn’t quite have the fire of the fall in Vermont or upstate New York, but it was spectacular.
The green of the pines, with the gold of the Aspens and Oaks, little patches of red, all framed against steep mountains with low clouds floating through the valleys, it was absolutely magnificent. There were no good spots to pull off and take pictures so for tonight’s post I’ve resorted to the web to give you all a glimpse of what it looked like. Enjoy and have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
Accidental Happiness: Chinese Lantern Festival
Off on a business trip and stopped in Spokane, WA to see a friend and it turns out will get to see two, so an auspicious day to start with. One of my friends says to me you should go check out the Chinese Lantern Festival down on the river after dark. She made a great call on that one and below are a set of pictures that show just how right she was. The festival was beautiful and a little bizarre, the river walk was quite nice.
But what the heck does this have to do with living a happier life? The answer is a very simple little suggestion on how to be happier and that is to be open. For a second after my friends suggestion I was heading towards blowing it off, we get these types of suggestions all of the time. But tonight, I decided to say yes, to be open to trying something out. Sure, it’s not like I climbed a mountain or anything but the concept is the same. Be open, be available, be willing to say yes when you might ordinarily say no, it might lead to something wonderful, like a Chinese Lantern Festival. Enjoy the photos and have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
So today I want to draw your attention to an organization near and dear to my heart, Gear Forward. I met Scott Gauvin, its founder, a couple of years ago and I wrote for his other site, Hiking Forward, while I hiked on the Appalachian Trail. Scott’s a great guy, committed to the outdoors and someone who wants to help people. One way he’s doing that is by creating his new site.
The concept of Gear Forward is quite simple, those of us who spend a lot of time outdoors often have a lot of gear, and a lot of extra gear. As a community, we also tend to be folks who are advocates for helping people get outdoors and appreciate nature. So what the organization does is simply accept the donations of new and/or gently used gear to donate to kids to help them have the right gear to access the outdoors.
They want to achieve something spectacular in their first year, as a collective outdoor community they want us to help to fill their map with a donation from or to all 50 States by the end of 2016.
How can you help?
If you have any questions about how to get involved please contact us.
So far they have impacted or received donation from 11 states, let’s help them check off all 50 and help some kids have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane
It had been far too long since I’d been on the trail. Having moved to the desert and started a new job, a combination of being busy, fires in the mountains and blazing heat kept me trapped in the valley. This past weekend I finally broke out. It has been almost a year since I left the Appalachian Trail and almost six months since I did any hiking. I decided to head up to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), specifically to Kennedy Meadows. Most people know Kennedy Meadows from the movie Wild, Cheryl’s arrival at the General Store there is a fairly memorable scene.
It was a great drive up the mountains slipping out of the high desert at 3000 feet to climb up the Sierras to over 6000 feet. I made a stop at the General Store and picked up a map of the area. Heading over to the Kennedy Meadows Campground I parked and headed out on to the PCT.
It felt so good to be wearing my Merrill’s to have a little bit of weight on my back and my walking sticks in my hands. It’s not the best time of year to hike this part of the Sierras, there’s no water in the streams, the landscape is pretty brown. On the way up I drove through one of the recently burned out areas, it’s sad to see so many trees standing black. But there were some plants flowering in the meadows and it was warm but not hot.
I did a short hike, it was only a four mile out and back and I hiked out at a really leisurely to the bridge crossing the dry southern fork of the Kern River. A few things hit me right away on the trail. First, it felt so good to be back on a trail, it felt like I was free again, that I didn’t have a job and responsibilities and all of the inanities that come with our work lives. Recently I’d been thinking a lot how much faster time goes by when you are working, the get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, rinse and repeat of it all flies by far too fast. But my two hours on the trail felt like two full days at work, it was wonderful.
I stopped by the bridge and had a snack, did battle with a hornet who really wanted some of my peanut butter and just enjoyed being in the mountains and in the quiet. Just flat-out being happy in the moment. The walk back I decided to pick up my pace and make some time heading back. Stretching myself a little felt good, there were moments it almost felt like I was back in hiking form. Of course the nap I needed once I got home showed me I wasn’t, but I laid down on the couch with a smile on face and dozed off for a time. So my friends, get outside, do a couple of miles and have a happy day. ~ Rev Kane
The concept of the pursuit of happiness is obviously a very old idea, hell it’s written into the Declaration of Independence. Over the last decade there has been a lot written about happiness. Take it from a guy who writes a blog on the subject there are many books, many blogs and workshops out there to help people be happier. Recently I’ve started seeing a bit of backlash against the idea. Pieces with titles like, Is the Pursuit of Happiness Making us Miserable?
I get it, I really do, people are sick of hearing about how being mindful, or taking Yoga, or creating six new habits will all make you instantly happy. I try not to do that with this blog, provide you with instant cures to make you happy, I do my best to point out that anything worthwhile takes work and that the goal is continuous improvement, getting incrementally happier, not instant happiness.
That said, I do believe pursuing the idea of getting happier is a worthwhile goal. Working toward becoming a happier person has in fact made me a happier person so I know it can be accomplished. It probably does not need to be said but there are no easy answers to anything, especially not where humans are concerned.
So my hope for you my friends is to take it slow, make progress but don’t give up on the idea of becoming happier and as always, have a happy day my friends ~ Rev Kane
Occasionally, even if things are going ok you can end up out of sync. That’s where I found myself this past week. My new job had started out insanely busy but I’d finally got into a routine and was feeling comfortable. My fitness goals were moving in a positive direction, I’ve recently lost 17 pounds although I’m still nursing a fairly serious shoulder injury. My blood pressure is pack into an acceptable range and my blood sugar is improving, I’ve even gotten a little hiking in over the last two weeks. So all in all things were good.
Last week I was out for a conference and out of my routines. I found a decent pizza place and since there is no good pizza where I live I indulged two nights while away. Sleep is always iffy in a hotel and there was a lot of learning at the conference. The conference was informative but was also an opportunity for me to reconnect with some old colleagues as well as reconnecting with a few I didn’t expect to see. There was also some bad news, a person I really liked passed away last week. We’d worked together for a few years, he was one of my favorite adjunct faculty and I have missed his smile, his greetings and our conversations.
So I found myself at the end of the week feeling disconnected. The weekend was hectic with a college event on Friday night and a Relay for Life Event, I typically do a late night slot for my hour walk and this year was no exception.
So with my eating and sleep patterns wrecked and feeling just a bit out of sorts I decided to hit the reset button. I slept in a bit, did my Sunday chores around the house, took a little walk and completed a little DIY home project to take care of a problem with my hot water. My favorite football team won big tonight, I’ve written down some goals I needed to solidify and I sit here at the end of the weekend and am appropriately tired, my chores are done and I’m ready to get rolling again. Back to it on Monday morning, keep moving forward, keep making things better, keep trying to be a happier person and always remembering to have a little fun and happy days my friends ~ Rev Kane