Thursday, September 22, 2011

Upmteen Things I Re-Learned This Summer

Summer arrives with a length of lights
Summer blows away
And quietly gets swallowed by a wave
It gets swallowed by a wave

-- “Summersong,” The Decemberists

Think outside the box.
The T-Pain Green Team unraveled the day of the concert. My usual volunteer base who were already consumed with boating and wine parties, so I went to T-Pain’s base (ie 20-somethings) and lined up a Green Team team in record time.
Keep it simple, stupid.
Most of the hiking trails I’ve pursued have jogs and junctures where you can choose between a few simple, well placed steps or a web of complicated ones to get to the same spot two feet ahead. Way more often than not, the simple way is better, not only in hiking but on life’s trail generally.

Urgency is an illusion.
When I was first divorced, I learned the concept of “waiting for a better offer.” This of course means saying “maybe” to allow time to weigh options. It isn’t always best to chart your course weeks or months in advance because inevitably you’ll be denied other opportunities. I bought tickets to Journey months before the concert and thereby gave up the chance to hear The Decemberists, for free. What a pricey opportunity cost that was.
Live in the now.
On my first rock climb and the subsequent ones, I learned you need to know where you’re going, but you can’t look too far forward or back without losing focus. And looking down may have disastrous consequences.

Bliss has no economic value.
The Uros people live in reed huts on manmade floating islands in Peru’s Lake Titicaca. Despite no creature comforts and few sources of income, and … no bathrooms, they smile from their toes.

The biggest and hardest blind leap of faith you take may be to not leap at all.
Why do we always have to do something to feel like life is moving forward? If I’d made the forceful choices in April I was contemplating, I’d have quit my job, sold my house, and wandered the world. Within the next few months, life brought me “aha” moments, unexpected visitors, and conversations I visualized but thought could never happen.
An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.
Bring bug spray. Use lots of sunscreen. Make sure your clothing is weather-appropriate. And be ready to run from a moose or a bear or a lightning storm at a moment’s notice.

Get over your past.
Revenge and resentment about hurts and wrongs are toxic to your body and spirit. And … all of the above cause wrinkles. Give someone another chance, even if you think they don’t deserve it, and the results may please you immeasurably.
I caught pneumonia in August. I’m not sure if it was 12 airplane rides in three weeks, playing golf in the rain in Delaware, running through Peru in winter without a warm jacket, or too many early mornings and late nights spent catching planes and buses. Let’s just say, I’m going to be way more careful about getting adequate rest going forward.

What you think about, you bring about.
When I sold Mary Kay (and no, I never earned a pink Cadillac), I tired of hearing this dorky phrase. And yet … it might take months or years, but your thoughts more often than not play out in your life like a script from a made-for-television movie. So pick the good ones. Visualize running into someone you danced with months ago. And whatever you do, don’t visualize that the guy (or gal) you’re dating is in love with someone else!

Silence is golden.
Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, hold it close, think of it, savor it ... don’t tell. The one exception would be those times when you feel in your heart you need to let someone know how much they mean to you. And you should.

Embrace the intangibles.
This summer I had a few frustrating discussions on the have’s and have not’s. What the “have’s” have could all be taken away in a flash, so why should the size of our bank accounts divide us? Whether we have or have not material wealth, however, matters little. Tangibles get lost and rot. Intangibles – joy, love, affection, caring, compassion, passion, friendship, honesty, respect, integrity – are the real treasures life offers us.
Life is full of surprises.
When I left for Peru, I thought I was leaving behind an unkempt yard with a handful of gigantic weeds. By the time I’d returned, my “weeds” were covered with my favorite flowers, sunflowers.

You never know when it will be your last chance. Sadly and unexpectedly, my Salt Lake friends and I lost a sweet friend this summer. When I go, I want to transcend to my next world dancing, maybe not jigging to the Young Dubliners but a soft and gentle slow dance.

It's okay to change your mind.
My boss keeps Dove and other chocolates in his office as a treat for the employees. I had gotten into a three-chocolates-a-day habit to keep myself and friends in those infamous Dove fortunes. Then one day, I decided I was done. My longstanding love for chocolate evaporated in a single day as if it had never existed. And it’s okay to change your mind, too.

Perspective is everything.
When I returned from my trip to Peru, it seemed as if someone had shrunk the Wasatch Mountains during the ten days I was gone. The giant rise of the Andes I saw and hiked through during the previous week made “my mountain” seem diminutive by comparison.
Life is more than fair.
I believe this with all my heart. Even those in the most humble or difficult circumstances have something amazing in their lives – unique experiences and opportunities, splendid natural surroundings, or wonderful relationships, to name a few -- to offset their difficulties or pain. As I watched a woman in Peru pick up trash in her neighborhood, my thoughts turned to her view of the beautiful Andes Mountains.  The awesome Sacred Valley was her “office.”  Look for the “more than fair” in your life and you will find it.


  1. You amaze me. Where do I sign up to be your sidekick??

  2. Hey beautiful, I hope that the fall brings you as much joy and wisdom as the summer has. xxoo

  3. It's difficult enough for me to keep my schedule, so not sure I can take on a sidekick! The soothing September energy is already a welcome relief from August and I am looking forward to new adventures. ;)

  4. Beautiful! thanks for sharing.