Seven Shifts for February

  1. Take yourself seriously. Your dreams are not silly and although you are only starting out, and you have no idea what you are doing or where you are going, nothing about your journey is trivial. What you do is of the utmost importance, you have to be the one to acknowledge it as such even when no one else will.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ruin what is perfect. Mar that journal with your ugly words. Destroy that sketchbook with as many imperfect drawings as you can. Spoil that perfect dream by bringing it into this messy reality. Destruction is a facet of creativity after all.
  3. Chip away at it. Think past one day’s work to a week’s worth, a month’s worth, a year’s worth of daily work. Do not move too fast or burn out by trying to pack more than you can into 24 hours and likewise do not forget that there are only so many days you are given to work in.
  4. Stop taking the convenient viewpoint, stop spreading the easy explanation. Don’t accept oversimplification, isolated sound-bites, headlines, and quotes. Champion context, dig into the nuance, give the story, the idea, the concept the time.
  5. Make for yourself some small happiness, something no one can take from you. Make for yourself a small place of peace and joy in the world and within yourself to run to, to ground you, to heal you whenever you need.
  6. Don’t believe everything you think. Your thoughts don’t always come from within you and it’s not always clear why you think the way that you do. You carry biases, prejudices, and beliefs that are not your own and do not accord with whom you wish to be. Examine them. Question them.
  7. If you care about your thoughts, keep them. Don’t keep them on an app, or a timeline. Don’t keep put them where they don’t belong to you. Keep them in notebooks, carry them with you, display them on bookshelves, and pass them on to the next generation.

Post inspired by Nicholas Bate

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

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041 // A Memory for the Week

With the warm sun coming through the west window above us we laid on the couch together sharing your headphones, the right earbud for me and the left one for you.

We closed our eyes and shared a playlist of your favorite love songs. I nearly cried when the ones from our first years played and nearly fell asleep as you played with my hair. The entire world melted away. There was just us, our home, our love, our memories, and nothing else.

I’m not sure how long we laid there, not speaking, just laying and listening, but it sure didn’t feel like long enough. I wanted to stay there forever. I wanted nothing else for the rest of my life but…the dishes had to be washed, dinner had to be made, laundry had to be folded.

The week is about to begin and as much as I loathed to leave that couch with you, at least I will have the memory of the sun, and you, and those songs to get me through.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // A Scholar at Heart

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday and welcome. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’m happy to have no reason at all to leave the house today. I have a short to-do list, a podcast or two to catch up on, and Emily Dickinson’s poems for the late afternoon, if I can stay motivated and focused that is. There is always the possibility the lure of the couch and a few good movies I’ve seen a hundred times already could become too strong to resist and nothing at all will get done. I’d be happy either way.

In the meantime, pull up a chair and, please, help yourself to a cup. I’m missing my espresso machine today but the Moka pot is almost as good. I’m adding a bit of coconut cream if you’re interested or I’ve got strong cold brew and vanilla soy milk too. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee justifies the existence of the word ‘aroma’.”

― Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my work week was a tough one. I was much busier than I had expected I would be and that got in the way of all the things I had wanted to do for me.

We’ve been hiring a lot of new people and that means I have been doing a lot of training and helping. We’ve also had a lot of bad weather lately and that means I’ve been returning later from my route in the morning and leaving early in the afternoons. Then arriving back to the terminal late again and more and more exhausted as the week wore on.

It doesn’t help much that our department is cracking down some on overtime and many of my coworkers weren’t available to help me out. On the other hand, it’s kind of good a good thing too because I’m never expected to work for free or for more than the standard 40 hours. I may be busy, and I may not have a lot of help, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are breaks and the work ends at the end of the day no matter what. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Tuesday I was pretty shaken up by a rather gruesome car accident I witnessed involving a child pedestrian.

I didn’t see the child hit, thank God, but I did arrive just moments after it happened and say the young girl laying in the road unconscious and motionless. It saddened and disturbed me deeply and I took some time to get over it.

I have no updates on the girl except that she survived but had to undergo surgery. What worries me is that it won’t be long before I see this tragedy play out again. To be honest, I’m shocked I haven’t seen it before. This is an area where kids cross daily to go to school by darting across 6 lanes of traffic. There are crosswalks just blocks away in each direction but both take students out of their way. The kids prefer the more direct though dangerous route and as these are middle and high school student’s parents rarely accompany them along the way.

I have heard rumors that the city is looking into finding a solution. One of which might be installing a pedestrian bridge over the street. I hope they do, and sooner rather than later. I never want to see what I saw that day happen again. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was the first time since New Year’s that I’ve had alcohol, and I kind of hated it. Friday night was “Margarita Friday”, a day, once a month or so, when 6 or 7 of our friends get together to try a new Mexican restaurant, have a few margaritas, and blow off steam. I drank one margarita and felt pretty sluggish and cruddy Saturday morning.

Then, having not learned my lesson at all, I split a bottle of champagne with my girlfriend at our pre-Valentine’s Day brunch yesterday. Initially, I felt great but by mid-evening I was once again feeling sluggish and cruddy. I had a headache and a sour mood too.

So, maybe Dry January did me some good after all. Maybe it’s just like when I had quit smoking for some time and after a stressful day, I would think I could simply go back to smoking for relief. I would light up and immediately be disgusted by the taste and smell and my body would instantly feel terrible, so too with alcohol. I now know that even occasional drinking has consequences, and, I’ll, I imagine, be less inclined to indulge going forward. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have completed week one of Social Norms, Social Change I this week and I really enjoyed it. It’s not a hard course at all but there is enough work and enough new information to help me practice staying focused and managing my time to get it done. Two things I sorely need work on.

It feels good to be learning again. It feels good to think about not just my culture but other cultures and why people do the things they do, even when, especially when it seems so obvious to me that their actions are morally wrong or backward. Norms are hard to change and it isn’t as easy as learning new facts or understanding the harm. 

I have a feeling that this small course is truly the beginning of a long journey for me. I was talking last week with a coworker who, it turns out, has a degree in engineering. He was impressed by the way I spoke of my love for reading and learning and encouraged me to go to school, not just to advance my own career, or to make more money, but simply because he felt deeply that I would love the experience.

He said he felt I was “a scholar at heart” as in “someone who is intelligent or good at learning by studying”. As in, someone for whom learning is a passion. It was the most genuine and beautiful compliment I’ve received in a long time.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this was not a great week for reading and writing. I published pages to this blog that used to be up on Zen and Pi. Both are simple lists. 100 Dreams is a kind of bucket list that includes both the big and seemingly impossible dreams like publishing a collection of essays or swimming with humpback whales to everyday ordinary dreams like getting a library card or learning how to compost.

Am Reading is an ongoing list of books I’ve read with the rating I’ve given each out of five stars. When I start writing reviews again each book there will link to its respective review post.

After our chat, I’ll get a head start on this week’s posts including a couple of Monday motivation posts, a summary of my Dry January experience, a piece for Zen and Pi, and a long-awaited (at least by me anyway) newsletter. I’m also going to revamp and republish my “Now” page here. I pledge to update it at least monthly with new projects and habit changes I’m working on. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s time for me to get up and get to work on all the things I would love to check off the to-do list today. It’s time for me to go clean something, write something, read something, and maybe eat something too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you stayed warm. I hope you made progress in all the ways you’d planned to and I hope any setbacks are easily overcome. I hope you had time for you and I hope your coming week will be even better than the last.

Until next time. 


Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by David Lundgren on Unsplash

040 // An Early Valentine’s Day Celebration

I woke up with a lot of anxiety. There was so much to do, so little time to do it in, and what little time there slipped away from us and the next thing I knew we were running late, or so it felt. I was tense, I was frustrated, I was angry, and suddenly, everything turned out just fine.

We made it to our early Valentine’s Day brunch even earlier than we’d planned. We opted to drink an entire bottle of champagne’s worth of mimosas between us which was both a very good idea and a very bad one. After brunch was over—and still with plenty of time to spare—we walked over to the Opera House for a very fun Colorado Ballet performance of The Wizard of Oz

Afterward, we headed home to spend the rest of the day doing nothing but lounging on the couch and watching stupid movies together until we can’t keep our eyes open anymore. We can’t hold out as long as we used to. We’re getting older now and busy days and late nights have become mutually exclusive.

So, we’re calling it a night and heading off to bed early feeling very much in love.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

039 // Writing Has to Be Work

I may not always like the things I have to do. I may be tired and grouchy a lot of the time, but I pride myself on always doing my best work regardless of where I am emotionally.

I do this for my day job easily. When the work is hard or frustrating or unfulfilling it doesn’t I put a smile on and do everything I can to exceed all expectations, even my own. It’s my superpower, one of many but I need to learn how to take that same attitude and apply it to writing.

I need to be able to do it when it’s difficult, or frustrating, or unfulfilling too. I want to sit down, exhausted and out of ideas, put on a smile and exceed all expectations, especially my own. I think writing has to become a job for me, even if it is only so in my imagination and not on paper.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

038 // Doom and Gloom Mood

I’ve realized since I started writing these journal posts every night that I have a lot of bad days. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just a negative person and I’m always focusing on the bad, or if it’s some kind of high-functioning depression maybe? Maybe I’m just so tired, or too sensitive, or maybe I’m in some kind of rut.

Maybe it isn’t a me thing per se but a human thing. Maybe the bad, the sad, the hurtful and the frustrating just have an easier time sticking with people through the end of the day.

Today was another bad day. It was a long, frustrating, and exhausting day. I felt lonely, and irritable, and angry. It was the weather, and the delayed school schedule, and the stupid rules at work. It was nobody I wanted to talk to having time for me and all the people I didn’t want to talk to wasting my time. It was the fatigue, and the joint pain, the cold and the snow. It was the traffic, and the news, and my own stupid mistakes.

But it couldn’t have been all bad. I don’t want to be anyway. I have to get back to seeing the good even on the worst days. I have to get out of this doom and gloom mood!


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

037 // I Needed a Good Cry

It was a weird weather day here in Denver, Colorado. We woke to frigid temperatures and a second day in a row of thick fog. The wind picked up just as the morning rush hour began and the freezing fog quickly frosted every tree branch and grass blade. Luckily, the roads stayed dry, but only just until lunchtime when the full brunt of the snowstorm hit us.

I spent most of my day indoors trying to stay warm. I was still upset about yesterday’s trauma when I woke up and by the time I got to work I was in tears.

I think needed a good cry in order to move on. I’m a sensitive person and the only way I can get through anything is to allow my emotions to flow freely and at full force for a time. After the tears stopped I felt better, and even more so later in the day when I heard the city may take tangible steps to prevent this horrible accident from ever repeating.

In the afternoon the snow picked up and murmurs of a possible snow day rippled through my workplace. I don’t think we’ll get one but I’m so thrilled by the idea that I can’t give up hope. An unscheduled day off, one with no expectations, a day unplugged and off the calendar feels like a true blessing.

Unexpected, undeserved and always appreciated.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

036 // Caught in a Split Second

This morning I witnessed the aftermath of a rather horrific car accident. A child pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing near a busy intersection just moments before we arrived. The scene was pretty upsetting to see.

At first, I didn’t even know what I was seeing. I saw cars stopped and a street light down. I thought I was looking at a terrible but typical car accident. Then I noticed there were a lot of people walking around. Then I saw six or seven people crouched near the sidewalk. Then I saw the small bundle of scrawny limbs awkwardly piled in the gutter. I noticed the backpack and the flower shirt. I noticed a child who wasn’t moving. I wanted to help her. I was getting up to help her…and then the fire truck was there, and we were moving, and it was over.

I returned to work. I did my job. I moved on with my day. I was shaken, but I thought I was fine. I tried to put away the memory of that girl scrunched up in the gutter, but as time passed, I became more and more disturbed by what I had seen. It’s still with me even now, as if I am still caught in that split second between realizing what I was seeing, and deciding what to do.

First responders arrived before I had to make a choice, but I wonder what might have happened if we had arrived just a minute or two sooner. If I had seen the child hit and what I would have found when I ran from my bus with my limited training in first aid and CPR.

I wonder if she is okay? I wonder, are her parents by her side right now? I wonder how her life will be shaped by this moment and how long the memory of her will affect me.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

035 // The Afterglow of a Good Day

It was a strangely productive day today. I woke up feeling much better than I had when I went to bed and that gave me some hope for the day, but then I was asked to do real work, and that bit of awfulness threatened to ruin my good mood and sap my energy.

Then I remembered, I’m tackling the dreadful with enthusiasm now. A little of spirit got the job done in record time and I was able to move on to the things I wanted to do.

I made it through a few more of Dickinson’s poems. I blasted through some Spanish on Duolingo, and nearly finished week one of Social Norms, Social Change I. Not a ton of writing got done, not in any structured way anyway, but some ideas were sparked and preliminary notes were taken.

I’m hoping tomorrow will be even better, I still made mistakes after all, but for now, I’m simply basking in the afterglow of a good day.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

034 // Growing Old While Young

Ending the night in pain. The joint that connects my middle finger to my palm has swollen and the joints in my feet are protesting against my weight.

I’ve taken ibuprofen even though I know I’m not supposed to because it’s the only thing that helps. I’ve got two heating pads going and I’ve put myself to bed early hoping to wake up in a better state.

I’m doing my best to stay strong because know I’m only going to get worse while I wait for financial assistance from the new drug company. I’ve got my fingers crossed for that phone call sometime this week.

Damn, it’s depressing to grow old while you’re still so young.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren