Bucket List Or A Game Plan?

September 15, 2014 § 3 Comments

hotairballoonBeing on vacation recently, I had a chance to talk to a lot of people – family, friends and even some new contacts.

Some of my older friends and family are in the throes of determining how their futures should unfold. Often, they have been busy caring for others – children, spouses and elderly parents – and have never really carved out their own niche.

A few younger friends are also busy charting their own courses, trying to weigh all the possibilities and capitalize on opportunities. One young marketing and communications professional has a small business sideline. Another is employed in the restaurant sector contemplating how to parlay her post-secondary education into a relevant career. A third is exploring human resources related prospects in between positions.

I noted that while decades separate the people involved in these conversations, one thing is common – bucket lists include some similar themes: world travel, seeing favourite entertainers live and even pursuing new hobbies or interests.

This got me thinking of my own bucket list and I determined that in order to qualify, entries must be achievable – without intervention of circumstances such as lottery wins or acts of God – thankfully I don’t cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

For brevity, I have narrowed my list to 10 and there are some commonalities with friends, young and old. These are in no particular order:

  1. Bruce Springsteen is a favourite performer and I’ve seen him do a solo acoustic show but now I want to see him play with the E Street Band.
  2. Like my friends, global travel is on my list, but I will be specific: I want to travel to Belgium and Luxembourg – my grandmother and grandfather on my dad’s side were from those respective countries. I have no links there, but would love to see where the Olinger legacy began.
  3. I also want to travel to every region of Canada. I have yet to visit Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut, and the Yukon so I have a great start.
  4. Now that I have begun going to the gym, I want to get rid of the pot belly.
  5. Eliminating my dependence on diabetes medication and pills for related afflictions, for that matter.
  6. To ride in a hot air balloon.
  7. For blogmate Wendy and I to complete a book(s) from the content of these blogs.
  8. My short story on my dearly departed furkid Jasper will be published as a book.
  9. Retirement to Vancouver Island. Joyce and I have travelled there four of the last five years and a few times earlier. It appeals greatly to both of us as a place that has it all.
  10. Finding another #furkid for our home. This is not just a matter of getting another dog. Both of our previous pooches and their personalities have been an integral part of our family life.

Now, of course, achieving any goal means setting realistic action steps.

In his Book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey referenced the second of these as:  Thinking with the End in Mind.

Completing a book, for example, takes investments of time, money and courage – we need to be certain others will be as excited about our writing as we are. Similarly with Jasper tale, I have to take the necessary publishing steps, most importantly, completing the task of converting the short story into book form.

Committing to bring another dog into the home, likely a puppy, takes a lot of time and energy since we truly believe pets are part of the family.

Taking on diabetes with a plan of eliminating medications means a daily commitment to exercise, managing diet and controlling stress (the heredity factor is already there). Admittedly, the necessary dedication has not been there.

I must admit that health-related items really shouldn’t be on a bucket list. They should be musts to pursue. However, having them there helps to set priorities.

So, the question I have to ask myself or anyone else, what are you willing to do to cross items off your list?

Since most of us have multiple things we want to achieve, maybe we should view our bucket lists as an action plans.

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Dream Cycling: Moving Myself From Thought To Action

September 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Navigating a dream into reality is a lot like bringing a sailboat safely through the water! You've got to plan carefully, map out the terrain and expect to throw your timeline out the window.

Navigating a dream into reality is a lot like bringing a sailboat safely through the water! You’ve got to plan carefully, map out the terrain and expect to throw your timeline out the window.

It’s Labour Day and I just achieved an epic feat of following an incredibly long line of traffic through dark, foggy, rainy mountain roads. I was in Vancouver finishing off a road trip through BC. I had planned to stay until mid-week. But there’s something about the Labour Day long weekend that sets my wheels in motion, it’s the marker to the end of summer and feels like the right time to dive into new ideas–after a summer of fun and dreaming, there’s now just so much to DO.

That transition from thought to action is an important step for me. I don’t come by it naturally.

I spent a few days with my aunt and uncle on their boat on Vancouver Island this last week. They were teaching me about the tides and the waves and sailing their 45 ft sailboat across various types of waters. They talked about how much planning and work goes into manoeuvring their dream home through peaks and troughs of various wave cycles. They’ve got to watch the height of the water to ensure there’s enough for the 7 ft of the hull to pass safely over any rocks or other objects in the water.

All of that work and care they take to plan their journey through the depths, that’s the kind of strategy I take with moving myself from thought to action. If I left my mind to its own devices it would quite happily float up there in the clouds dreams are made of, bouncing from rosy dream to rosy dream.

Thankfully there are days like Labour Day. Ones that remind me to pause for a moment, come back down to earth and do some work in this realm.

And so, this day marks for me the first day of transition. The one where I rally my energy and my focus, carefully align my stubborn nature with my dreams and set sail towards creating what’s been simmering on my back burner for the last few months.

What am I up to? Well, a few things, but my main focus will be on exploring some pieces of history closer to home (think Prohibition and Canada’s role in smuggling alcohol across the border) tied in with a 4 week bar tending course I’ll be taking in Amsterdam in October mixed with my talent and love of the online social sphere. You can only begin to imagine what will come out of that, right? Me too! But I’m jumping in feet first!

I’m so very excited for the “doing” half of this year!

On that note… what do you know about Canadian locations where alcohol smuggling may have taken place? I’m going to need all the help I can get on this one!

Reconnecting

November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Nodal Relationship

Image via Wikipedia

I grew up in a dysfunctional family where I was disconnected with many uncles, aunts, cousins and second cousins. That was, in addition, to the internal strife.

Since becoming an adult, I’ve always found that my better friends became closer than family. I never really made an effort to reconnect with any relatives, located mostly in B.C. and Alberta and the Western United States.

However, about five years ago, I made an exception to my rule. I followed my curiosity and, this summer, brought my sleuthing on an impromptu family search to a happy conclusion. No sweat for a former newspaper reporter. Ironically, it is Joyce who is the genealogist in the family.

It all started when I Googled myself. I do this every once in a while to see how articles or information containing my name appear on the World Wide Web since I am routinely quoted in the media. Also, there is a David Olinger at the Denver Post. I have never connected with him, but since he’s a journalist, I like to follow the trail of the scribe with the same name.

As I was scrolling down through the entries on this one occasion, I came across the name Kelley Olinger in Victoria, B.C. I was intrigued by this name since there are many Olingers in Southern B.C., particularly the Okanagan. However I couldn’t remember seeing the name Kelley.

So, I dug a little deeper and discovered that Kelley is a real estate agent in Victoria. I sent a note via email just to see if she could be part of my extended clan, particularly in Kelowna.

Sure enough, she is Peter Olinger’s daughter.

Kelley and I emailed back and forth several times and later connected via Facebook. Then when Joyce, Peter (our son) and I moved to Grande Prairie in 2007, there was always a greater chance we would get to the West Coast in the not-too-distant future. Kelley long ago suggested that if we ever got over to the Island, we should look her up.

So, when we knew would be going to Vancouver Island in August, we followed up on that invitation. We met for a lovely lunch in Victoria.

It was during that encounter that Kelley reminded me that she had located her father’s birth mother through Facebook a couple of years ago.

As a result, Kelley facilitated a reunion in Edmonton and the families continue to correspond. It also closed chapters for both mother and son. As well, Kelley now has more family background for medical purposes.

It was a terrific story that would never have been possible without technology. In fact, my connection with Kelley would likely not have occurred without Google and my curiosity about my own name.

I have no idea what prompted me to reach out and enquire specifically as to Kelley’s connection with me. God knows, there are closer relatives than a second cousin I could have tracked down. Family dysfunction does that to you. Someone has to make the first move.

It just seemed right at the time. I am glad I did. Kelley is, too. After our visit, she offered to be our tour guide if we returned to Vancouver via Victoria. With balmy conditions in Parksville, however, we stayed extra time there and returned to the mainland via Nanaimo.

Next time, Second Cuz!

Making connections with long-lost family is a tricky business. Certainly, it was a lot more challenging for Kelley to connect her father with his birth mother. There is always the fear that they don’t care to be reunited. In my case, Kelley had never heard of me until consulting with her parents when I first contacted her. I could have been some wacko.

Having gone through the experience and hearing the story of Kelley’s family, I would certainly encourage anyone with the urge to reconnect to long-lost relatives to do so. Sure, you might get turned away. But looking at the cup half-full, you are more likely to be opening up a whole new world to yourself.

Go ahead, hop on the phone or get typing!

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