monday

#MondayMotivation - Authentic Outdoors

I’m motivated by people who love the outdoors and love to spread the joy and knowledge associated with the outdoors. People who share their stories in a real way and don’t just sugar coat everything are my favorite people. Life isn’t like an edited photo, it’s a little grainy and sometimes the colors are out of balance.

A week ago I met with my people on a Skype call for a mastermind group centralized around being real, outdoorsy people who want their social media presence to reflect real life. I’m so lucky to be a part of a group of like-minded folks who love the outdoors in their own ways but love themselves enough to realize that maybe we haven’t always told the whole story or even the real story because we’ve been conditioned to present life in a polished, tidy way. Prime example is the previous sentence - this is how I speak in real life and run-ons are my life. I could clean it up but I don’t care to as it doesn’t REALLY change make it any better overall.

Thanks to the people who run the blogs/websites listed below for motivating me and speaking so freely over Skype on a random Sunday in January. You have improved my life and I look forward to becoming regular chatters about all topics outdoors. I’m no digital media expert, nor would I consider myself an influential person, but I do appreciate anyone who reads/enjoys my content. I make it for me, in some narcissistic weird way, but hope it’s received and can offer some form of inspiration or entertainment for YOU.

Christina: http://www.christinaskis.com/

Jen: https://jennythetrailhead.com/

Kristi: https://indoorsycamper.com/

Sara Beth: https://innercompassblog.com/

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and I hope you find motivation out there, if not from this. Hike your own hike and live your reality.

#MondayMotivation - What's the big idea?

I was in the middle of a hike on Saturday when I started to feel the burn. This hike wasn’t particularly strenuous or anything, but there were some minor hills and it was a total of 10 miles. I was on mile 7 or 8 and I was thinking I need to get more hikes this long and intense in my life. I also thought I needed to include more strenuous hikes weekly and cardio into daily life. I thought I needed more healthy choices in my life and I thought I needed more random drives to random locations. In the peak of my hike, with light dancing off canyon walls around me, I had all the great ideas.

Today, while I made smart food choices and bought plenty of produce for the week, I didn’t do much in terms of cardio or exercise in any way. All of the big ideas I had during my hike usually don’t translate to reality, but I am going to do a few things inspired by them. I’m going to restart the Couch 2 5K program and continue on my quest to reduce my calories and increase my nutritious items. I’m going to visit more locations that require leaving in the middle of the night and I’m going to see more sunrises.

Motivation comes in many forms, sometimes it lasts and sometimes it fades. I’m hoping to run with the momentum (pun intended) from my hike on Saturday and at least half-ass try to be better at things. I want my hiking pants to fit better and I want that hoodie to be a little loose. I want to to have boundless energy and I want my body to hurt less after 10 measly miles. I want to run that trail from Saturday and hike even further every weekend. Big ideas that translate to a bunch of small steps that hopefully lead to big results.

Do you ever have big ideas during a hike or adventure that you have to find ways to translate into real life ideas? Feel free to leave a comment!

#MondayMotivation - I'm motivated by the mountains.

Flying in to Anchorage in the summertime affords an amazing view of the mountains. That was my initial inspiration for writing this post. From seeing those mountains, to seeing Mount St. Helens flying into Portland, or Mt. Hood flying out the mountains inspire me. I’m thankful for every little peek I get of them, being from such a flat area and growing up even further from real mountains.

In my current physical and mental state, I wasn’t able to do all of the mountain things I wanted to do at Mount Rainier last year and it really bums me out. I know what I want to do, I know how to do it, and I know what I want. I will not go back to Mount Rainier without doing what I want in terms of exploration. I will devote more time and energy to making it happen and so, I am motivated by the mountains.

I want to be physically and mentally ready for the mountains on my next adventure and I’m going to take smaller steps throughout the time before my next visit to get there. I’m going to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park and get in there, I’m going to hopefully visit New Mexico again, and then I’ll tackle the mountain I can’t get out of my mind - Rainier. I’ve seriously been unable to think about that park since I left. I mean, I can’t stop thinking about the Olympic Peninsula, Northern California, or Utah either… but, ya know.

I’m so lucky I’ve been able to go anywhere, really, and I know that. I am so lucky we have this land and I’m so grateful for where it came from and the people who inhabited it first. I’m anxious to get back out into nature beyond local trails, but that will have to wait for the right time - hopefully soon.

I hope you find something to motivate you to do the things you dream of doing.

#MondayMotivation - the joy of sleeping til 6!

I had all sorts of anxiety about work this week. It’s my second week at a new job, and it was an information overload during week one. I wasn’t totally freaking out or anything, but I wasn’t jumping out of bed with excitement to go in to the office. I heard some of the guys come in around 7am so I thought I’d shoot for 730 to test the water so to speak. Simply waking up at 6 has me less anxious, despite the uncertainty about the new job. I slept better, even after getting to bed late. While I lose the half day Friday I once had, I often just drank the afternoon away and ended up feeling gross. I’m looking forward to more sleep, a steady routine, and still having fun. Yeah, I won’t be able to fly out at 1pm anymore, but I will likely be more well rested to maximize the hours I do have.

I'm still going to spend my weekends the same way, I’ll just have to fly/drive through the night on Fridays again to make it happen. The beauty is, I can fly in Monday mornings and just come in later if necessary as work allows. Here’s to flexibility and maybe getting enough sleep!

What would you do with an extra hour of sleep? Are you a weekend warrior? If so, what are your tricks?

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#MondayMotivation - Life Goals

My “little sister” and I were texting today about a family friend who makes her own schedule and is living the life we want for ourselves someday. I got to thinking, this could be my reality after a few more years of whatever it is I’m doing. Get a little bit further down the road, work towards finding that sweet spot, and eventually have the ability to work and do what I want. Even if it doesn’t work out that way, the goal is there and the motivation is real. Working from home, from the road, from anywhere is appealing to me and I’m officially taking steps to make it happen.

What are you doing to achieve your goals? What will it take for you to get there?

#MondayMotivation - After a day off...

I can find myself slipping into the negative “UGH, it’s Monday” routine. I’m fortunate, I get two days off in a row every week which means I can plan my life around a schedule. Some people, however, don’t have that luxury and get sporadic days off or no days off if they have to work several jobs. I sit here, thinking, thank goodness I have job and thank goodness I had two days off. Yeah, going back to work can be a drag after two days off, but Mondays (or whatever your Monday is) is just a buffer zone for the rest of the week. Think of it as the first time you do something, it starts off a little rocky but smooths out eventually. Some weeks never smooth out, I know, but without Monday, Tuesday would suck just as hard. It’s all about perspective. Getting through Monday gets me one day closer to my next set of days off. I’m not saying I’m cheerful and grateful all the time, but I’m really trying today by putting these positive thoughts out to y’all. Have a great week and find something about it you love!

#MondayMotivation - Find your mountain

I want to backpack in or around Mount Rainier National Park the next time I go there. So, until solid goals are set, the motivation for any exercise or healthy habits is this photo:

Find your motivation and get to it. I really needed this little adventure to kick my ass into gear. I feel alive again, truly! I am thankful to have people in my life that were willing to show me these places that keep me wanting to be better as a human.

#MondayMotivation - upcoming hikes!

As much as I love the cloudy days, I’m excited to see some sun in the forecast for the Pacific Northwest this coming weekend. I’m always prepared for rainy hikes when I’m up there, but I’ll take the sunshine if it shows. I’m motivated this Monday by the memories I have from previous trips to Olympic National Park. I’m looking forward to hiking in trees and fresh air on Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t hiked in a while, and it surely wasn’t very fresh feeling the last time I did. I’m excited to meet a new friend who will guide me through the area and hopefully future hikes!

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#MondayMotivation - Take a break!

Take a break, get up from whatever you’re doing if you can, and walk around. Or if you’re standing all day, go sit down for a minute. Just take a break. Stop reading the news for a few minutes and look at some cat videos. Whatever floats your boat and fits your situation.

During the work week, I get up every hour and do a lap around the office. Sometimes, if I have the time and/or the weather is nice, I take it outside and do a lap around the building. I used to walk on my lunch hour, but I’m taking shorter lunches because I want to be here less and anywhere else more.

Find what works for you. When I’m at home, I try to take the dog on a longer walk for at least one of the three or so he gets in the evening. You deserve a break!

#MondayMotivation - Let it go!

If you can, let that shit go. Stop and think, is it worth holding on to this baggage? Is that point necessary? I have to do this a lot, and can stand to do it more, but letting go is the BEST feeling. SO, let it go if you can, and if you can’t I’d suggest finding a way to confront/deal/breakdown whatever the issue is. Here’s a picture or two to distract.

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#MondayMotivation - Good Stuff.

When my friends and acquaintances share their health or life progress and push forward even if it’s difficult or painful, it’s inspiring. When I see the person who is struggling as hard as me but still going during lap three, I’m inspired, When that lady at the Target checkout was just so chipper and patient, I was inspired. I’ve been finding motivation at every turn, and I think it is mostly because I’ve adopted a better attitude towards everything.

I really have to work hard to forge my own positive attitude, as I’m sure many do, because of the negativity surrounding us in our various circles of life. I don’t always succeed, but I’ve been very good about just being the “silver lining” guy or staying away from things that spark negative mindsets.

I’m drawing inspiration from things and people in new ways, taking notes all the time, and trying to find more people to connect with on a real level. When I’m positive about one thing, it bleeds over into another and I’m back on track with everything in no time at all.

Other Motivational Items this Monday:

  • Cool, rainy weather in Texas has made me feel ALIVE! Bring it on.

  • It’s Autumn… ‘nuff said.

  • This is the FINAL week of being gone ALL week for a while. Just normal, short trips ahead.

  • There’s a new Singletrack to listen to while driving around all week.

  • I only have about 6 more books to read before 2019!

#MondayMotivation - Go forward and get ready!

Thanks for unintentionally motivating me

Inspiration can come from many places and this time it was a simple message from someone in the online outdoor community who I admire so much and want to camp/hike with eventually. I don’t think the message was intended to be motivational, but here I am writing a little blurb about how it lit a fire under my ass.

Keep going, work harder

I really want to be able to start somewhere at dawn, hike all day, gain thousands in elevation, camp, and hike back out. I think the pros call it “backpacking” or something, but yeah, that’s what I want to seriously get in to and I’ve been saying it for a while. This fall the plan is to hike to Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park as well as do several practice backpacking runs in local state parks with “primitive” hike-in sites. I’ve never been more motivated to do these things because next year, I want to head to the real mountains (you know, the ones with snow on top and stuff out west) with people and feel completely limitless.

Other things that are motivational this Monday…

  • Cooler weather, though it’s still really damn humid

  • Fall hiking and camping ahead

  • Family camping weekend

  • Potential trips to Minnesota and Washington in October

  • People that just keep livin’ and making the best of life

In other news…

I’ve been on a quest to get healthier and I’m at week 10 with a little bit of a stall, but that’s being revamped too. I’m not exercising enough and I’m not even close to hiking enough. It’s been hot and miserable and I’ve been relying on it as my go-to excuse. I’m sure there’s a pattern of this behavior, if I looked back, because this is how I operate. I get lazy, bored, blah blah blah.

It’s not about the pounds for me and I need to convince myself of that. I just want to be healthier and able to go up that mountain or live past 40. I’m not an all or nothing guy and I shouldn’t treat adjustments to eating and exercise that way either. Everything in moderation, avoid excessive crap, at least walk an hour a day, and continue training for the 5K.

I’m not sure if this is motivation for you, but know that I’m rooting for you in whatever you’re doing and I’m here to say GET IT! Work hard, forgive yourself, and keep going!

#MondayMotivation - Personal, but maybe relatable?

This is from my road trip to Texas, in 2011 when everything changed for me.

This is from my road trip to Texas, in 2011 when everything changed for me.

**This topic is personal, revealing, and leaves me a little vulnerable. I beat myself up a lot about money, debt, and piss poor life planning but I'm excited and motivated about it all now.**

My first vehicle purchase, at an interest rate I'm not comfortable discussing. After moving and getting a new job, this was the next big credit builder for me. I loved this little car, and in hindsight, I love it even more now.

Having an end goal, a payoff date, or just a solid plan to get to the end of a financial path is exciting. I've spent years paying on my student loans and I finally have an end date in sight. It's not near, and it's still not the most ideal, but it's a finite date in which they will be paid off and in my past. By the time I'm 50, in 16 years, I'll be free of student loans. By the time I'm 40, I'll be free of personal and auto debts. The thought of these end dates really motivates me and excites me in terms of the new possibilities. In the next ten years, I may be able to buy a house, move to another state, or buy a small camper. Who knows?

I'm making a point to focus on the positive aspect of this, but don't be silly and think I'm immune to the negative thoughts. I still have hard days when I think it'll never go away, when I think I'll never be done. Some days feel like I'm in a hole and I just wish someone would bury me - that's dark, but it's real. I'm choosing to focus on the fact that, thanks to refinancing, I have an end date for my student debt. Thanks to refinancing, I have an end date to my personal debt. Thanks to improving my credit, I have a very low interest rate on a car that hopefully lasts me until my student loans are paid off. The hardest part in all of this is knowing I did this to myself. I made all of the choices to buy the crap or go to school. Some things in life are unavoidable, but that is not that majority of my problems. Coming to terms with habits and setting goals really helps me stay out of the negative mindset regarding finances.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015: I was laid off from a job at a company I thought I'd be at for a while. I didn't love the job anymore, but I certainly didn't hate it enough to just leave without other options. Sigh. This was a whirlwind of a time. I had to cash in my 401K from the past 5 years and still barely made it through the 3-4 months without an income. This experience forever changed me. I didn't have an "emergency" fund nor did I have other sources of income, and I still don't have either of those yet but it's a goal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015: I was laid off from a job at a company I thought I'd be at for a while. I didn't love the job anymore, but I certainly didn't hate it enough to just leave without other options. Sigh. This was a whirlwind of a time. I had to cash in my 401K from the past 5 years and still barely made it through the 3-4 months without an income. This experience forever changed me. I didn't have an "emergency" fund nor did I have other sources of income, and I still don't have either of those yet but it's a goal.

I honestly don't care if I ever own a home, and who knows if I'll ever be able to do so, but I have days when I really want one. I know the value and I know the benefits, but it's not something I must do to feel fulfilled in life. I will aim for that goal, and at the very least, have some money saved for some purpose or another. Speaking of saving, I'm working on a few things related to that which also motivate me. I'm saving for a kayak and a bike in 2019. This is also the first time, in a long time, I have money in my savings account. Again, it isn't much, but it's a start and it's automatic so I don't even have to think about it or pretend not to spend it.

I still have months when I eat out too much, weeks I use too much gas, and days I buy stupid shit online just because. There will always be a desire for travel and adventure, and that doesn't come without cost. There's the whole deal with most of my family living 1300 miles away that also requires funding as well as friends getting married across the country. There will always be a bill or surprise expense I'm not excited about but I'm getting better about managing my financial anxiety. Learning to be content with the things I have and taking small steps to spend more consciously really helps. I read a book by Cait Flanders called "The Year of Less" and it it helped spark some introspection about what we need and what we have and how they relate. I'd highly recommend it for anyone looking for a little inspiration into finance, consumerism, or simplifying their life. This is not a sponsored post, at all, I just loved the book and her general message as a human in this world.

I had interviews, in 2015/2016, but had no luck until someone I knew knew someone else who had a temp/contract job for me. It was a step back, way less money, but I jumped at the chance. I was also eating my feeling hardcore at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.

I had interviews, in 2015/2016, but had no luck until someone I knew knew someone else who had a temp/contract job for me. It was a step back, way less money, but I jumped at the chance. I was also eating my feeling hardcore at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.

I'm hoping you can find motivation from my words. I'm not here to brag or ask for pity, I'm just here to share my story and hope that other people feel more comfortable in their situations because it is a real story. I have been following a lot of podcasts and blogs about finance, but most of them just made me even more depressed about my situation. Know that there are people out there who feel completely screwed and that life is an endless pit of hell, but there is hope if you just start crawling out. It's taken me over seven years to get my credit score up and it's only been in the past couple of months that I've felt like I can pop out of the water for air long enough to stay alive. For someone who struggles with finances, and has struggled for the past 15 years, it's been a process and I'm still learning. Be positive, be realistic, and be ready to make changes. May you find motivation this Monday. There is no set path that is suitable for everyone. You and I may have different timelines in life, and that is quite alright. It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that my 30 wasn't the same as someone else's 30. It's the best realization because it is true freedom.

Contact me if you'd like to continue this chat and or swap stories and stuff.

#MondayMotivation - Refreshing!

It's Labor Day, but I wrote this days before because I'm currently not at my computer. You wouldn't have known that if I hadn't just told you, but here we are...

Find something that refreshes your soul. Every now and then, I get a little stuck or a little down and I need to do something to refresh my life. I have been in a hiking slump, because of the gross Texas summer, but I've been lucky enough to get away a few times and it really re-lit the fire under my butt.

Things that I find help me refresh:

  • A good book or audiobook - I did this last week and went through two great books and just felt a part of my brain wake up that had been sleeping
  • New food - eat something different or learn to make something (new) or different than your normal, every day food. Find a new flavor - change it up!
  • Go watch a movie - find a movie to get lost in or something to offer a new perspective like a documentary or a dumb comedy. Amazon or Netflix both have a bunch of random stuff.
  • Travel - if you can afford it, go! I do cheap little camping trips that are nearby when I really need to reset and refresh. I've done flights, too, and I find those help when they're in the budget.
  • Join a new group - find new people to hang out with! REFRESH that friend group! I'm in the process of finally meeting up the meetup people...after months of anxiety.
  • Join a cause to stand up for - Find a candidate or cause and work in support or spread the word! It can be revitalizing to share your beliefs, in an appropriate way.
  • Take a course - I'm currently taking a course on writing a website so that maybe someday I can modify my code to make things more person. It's a lot more difficult than I though, but it's definitely fun to challenge myself - very refreshing.

What ways do you refresh your life? What really gets you going? I hope, if you need a refresh, that you find something that works for you. Feel free to share it with me!

#MondayMotivation - Looking Forward (to it)

I've talked before about how having something to look forward to really helps motivate me to push through and this week is no different.  As I sit here, I have less than 5 days until I board a plane and meet my BFF in Salt Lake City for a weekend of adventure.  Last year, when I was going to book a trip alone, I invited her and since we had such a good time we decided to make it an annual thing.  I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks, if not months, and now that it's finally here I'm so excited and in such an extra good mood as a result.

In a little less than three weeks I'll be boarding a plane to Michigan for an extended Labor Day weekend.  I get to hike, see my family, and hopefully take a quick dip in the lake.  All of these things to look forward to are privileges and I'm aware of how lucky I am to have them.  I don't always have the time or money to adventure so here are the main things I look forward to that keep me going:

  • A day off from work
  • That moment you get home from work and walk through the door unloading your crap, taking your shoes off, and then changing into comfy clothes
  • Dinner (especially if my other half makes it)
  • A funny TV show or anything on Food Network as a mindless escape
  • A walk to the mailbox with the dog
  • Maybe, maybe, exercising... this may be a stretch, or maybe I'm glad when it's over?
  • A hike at a local trail
  • A scheduled friend phone call
  • Rocking out to my jams in the car
  • Listening to NPR in the morning
  • Smelling the coffee brewing as I am getting out of bed
  • Meatloaf the cat bugging me for food in the morning
  • Reading through articles about nature and outdoorsy stuff

Find the little things that keep you going.  Find happiness in the simple things.  Find happiness in complex things... just find something that makes you happy and add it to your day as something to look forward to.  Recently, I started a free online course to improve my skills and now I look forward to learning again.  Really, the possibilities are endless.

Life isn't always fun, fair, or balanced but if we try we can find things to look forward to and enjoy along the way.

#MondayMotivation - Technology Overload

I'm addicted to my phone.  It's plain, simple, and very real.  I always have it with me, rarely make calls, occasionally text and hardly ever use it for emails.  I visit Instagram, Twitter, and occasionally Facebook to stare at things that often don't matter.  I use it to browse Reddit, check the news, take photos, and manage my finances.  I can be found using it for navigating through traffic, tracking my hikes, and logging my meals to stay on track.  It is the most use tech tool in my life.

I am on a Verizon Wireless unlimited plan, meaning I'm mostly unlimited in my data usage until about 22 GB when they often throttle my speeds during peak hours or when I'm in areas with too many users and not enough bandwidth.  By day 17 of each month, I'm hitting 22 GB of usage, meaning the remaining five days are spent using very slow speeds to look at the same thing over and over for no reason.  The problem is, when I need to actually do something productive, it's challenging because I've wasted so much data on the useless and I'm stuck.

I'm easily addicted to things that give me instant satisfaction - my phone, food (for taste and fullness), alcohol, attention, etc.  I'm working to control my relationship with food, so why not try and control my interaction with my devices.  I'm currently downloading an app (seems counterproductive, but hang on) to help train my brain to quit being so dependent on the tech and to help me focus more on life.  I've set alerts for my data usage, early on, so I'm aware and can be informed when I'm indulging too much.  For the sake of value, I want to utilize the full 22 GB, I just want to do it over 30 days instead of 15.  In reality, if I can reduce my usage and keep it consistent for a few months, I'd like to switch to a cheaper prepaid plan.

I know, many people are in disbelief of this whole situation of tech addiction and I understand that disbelief.  As someone that didn't get a smartphone until they were already popular, I didn't think I'd ever spend as much time or money on them as I have in my lifetime, but here I am.

I'm pledging, in black and white, right here...

  1. I will not buy a new phone until this one becomes unusable or 2021, whichever is first.
  2. I will not use more than 22 GB of data, unless I'm on work assignment and do not have access to internet. (as work does pay for part of the phone)
  3. I will limit my usage of social media apps to an appropriate level - may be adjusted as necessary.
  • Instagram - a time limit of 25 minutes per day
  • Facebook - remove the app (done 7/19/2018)
  • Twitter - a time limit of 25 minutes per day, unless a chat is happening

Going forward, when I want to check a social app, I'm going to open my Kindle App instead to get ahead on a chapter in my book - likely a better use of five minutes.  Nothing on social media is worth wasting so much time over.  If people want to connect, they can send me a message.  Fear of missing out is real, but what I'm missing is NOTHING and I need to wrap my head around that.

I'm currently looking for an app to help me train my brain, so any suggestions will be welcomed.  I need to work on my "bored clicking" in Chrome too, but that's another topic for another day.

What are some ways you use to limit the technology in your life?  Leave a comment if you'd like!

This is from our family cottage on Grand Lake - in Presque Isle, Michigan.  With less time spent on social apps, I hope to use that time to re-imagine old photos and write the stories of my past.

#MondayMotivation - Just keep going!

Personal goals are a way for me to focus my direction in life and fun way for me to keep track of activities, health stats, and personal achievements.  I used to set unattainable goals that weren't smart or helpful.  Now, I set goals in a much more logical sense that are both attainable and challenging while remaining flexible.

Current Goals:

  • Prepare to backpack this fall - drop some weight, increase cardio, etc.
  • Plan for an affordable trip w/ my BFF - sometime at the end of summer or fall that fits in to our busy schedules and doesn't cost a fortune
  • Hike 400 miles this year - which would almost double what I did in 2017 (hike your own hike, people)
  • Get back to the Olympic Peninsula this fall/winter, if an affordable option can be found for a long weekend
  • Lose 34 lbs by my 34th birthday, which is just over 6 months (a work in progress)
  • Fit into the puffy vest I bought that's a little too tight, by winter
  • Drink enough water to feel hydrated, daily
  • Stop using online shopping and eating as therapy for stressful days

Not everything goes as planned, but as long as I have the goals I have a path to get back to if I stray too far one way or another.  One day I may eat too much or not drink enough water, but I can correct that action and try again.  It may rain and prevent a hike or outdoor exercise, but I have other days or an indoor gym to use as a backup.  Travel may never be affordable enough in the time constraints of life, but we can always find something less exciting to work for our trip if necessary to hang out for a weekend.  I can always keep going and so can you.

My words of wisdom:  work towards your goals, set them accordingly, and don't beat yourself up if you have to change the plan to get to them.  Setting smaller goals, or levels of achievement towards a final goal, can really help break it down and make it seem less daunting overall.  Be realistic, yet push yourself to a new level.  (I'll be taking my own advice here, by the way)

If you've read this, I hope you have a great week ahead, thanks for stopping by! - Mike

#MondayMotivation - Reflect & Regroup.

I think losing someone you love is a long, slow burn. There's the initial spark of immediate grief followed by the moments along the way when they come up and you remember again that they’re gone.  It's not bad, it's not good, it's just life. I feel eventually it’ll just be a low flicker or that tiny flame that will never go out. For now, with everything so fresh, it’s one of those big bonfires you have one when you drink a little too much.

It's been four years since my granny passed and only days since my grandfather and it's the same “woah” feeling every time I come across some random thing that makes me think of either of them.  A memory, a moment, something they would have loved, or something they helped me achieve. I’m not one to dwell on things, but I have been known to get caught up in a moment every now and then and completely lose it over something so small but so important to my memory.  Today I’m using the grief, the moments, the memories, and the flames of loved ones who have passed as motivation to continue to live a life I love and move forward with purpose. I remember the people who passed as strong, helpful, and wise in their own ways and if here, now,  would only continue to push me forward and motivate me to be a better human. Use your pain, past experiences, and downtrodden moments as fuel to keep moving. If you don’t have inspiration right now, take some of mine and run with it, I don’t mind.

Death has this cliche effect on me that causes me to reflect and regroup.  I think it’s natural, from what I’ve read, but I feel it's still cliche and a little absurd.  I wonder if I’m living life the way I should or taking care of myself enough, among other things.  I really do like the excuse to reflect and regroup, but I need to do it more consistently along the way - not just when I lose a loved one.  Here’s to more reflection, but not too much that I fall into a downward spiral of doubt - a happy balance.

Happy trails and I wish anyone reading this a wonderful week ahead.

#MondayMotivation - Driving helps me organize my thoughts

I'm looking back at the past 18 months or so and I can hardly believe that I accomplished something as simple and motivated as hiking every week for a year.  I finally got out to hike yesterday after being sick to my stomach the previous Sunday and it was as Invigorating as I had hoped it would be.  I went somewhere new, saw new landscapes, and felt the sun beat down on me once again.  I hiked five miles, not the furthest by far, but far enough to find joy again.  I drove three hours to hike and wander for just about the same, but it was worth every minute.  Driving used to be my thing - set some music, open the moonroof, hit the road, process everything in the world, and return in a better place.  The recent drive to the wildlife refuge in Oklahoma brought me close to that old feeling of driving therapy and made the hike even better.  My brain was relaxed, my mind was flowing, and my body was ready for the day.  I look forward to more long drives to hiking destinations to give me a moment with the open road, my thoughts, and nothing else.

I had some thoughts while driving home, this is a snippet of me just getting the words out so I can reflect.  I'm truly grateful to have the ability to live this life and I look forward to building on the experiences of the past year and a half.  I hope you all can find some inspiration out there and keep pushing forward.