Over the past six months or so I've been giving a great amount of thought to what exactly I want to be doing - in many different aspects of my life. Part of that came about as part of looking at my role within the Internet Society and thinking about what makes the most sense for my particular skills and interests. But perhaps a larger part came about in some of the reading and discussions my wife and I have been having around what many call "minimalism" or variations on that theme. Basically... looking at how to do fewer things better. We only have so many hours in the day and we choose how we are going to spend those hours... and we choose what we give our attention to. My wife's ongoing experience with cancer treatments has certainly changed our overall perspective and made us think about what is most important to us.
This year I want to continue that effort into distilling things down to what are really the "essentials" in my life upon which I wish to focus. This may mean focusing more and putting aside some side projects... or admitting that some project ideas may just never happen - and that's okay.
To go back to that wonderful quote from the poet Mary Oliver:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
And even more so... what will I do - or not do - in pursuit of that?
Given that my last book was published four years ago back in 2011, I do feel a bit of a desire to have another book come out some time soon. An obvious candidate is to pitch O'Reilly on doing a Second Edition of Migrating Applications to IPv6 given that a lot has changed in four years and that there is much more that can be said about IPv6 based on the deployment experience to date. I also have several ideas for books in the telephony/telecom/VoIP space.
I also have several ideas for books outside the pure technology space... more in the public relations / marketing / social media space. And there are some other ideas I have floating around my head...
Ideas for books are easy... it's making the time to create the book that is the challenge! I'd like to see what I can do in 2015 to at least get some book project underway.
"Health" was actually one of my three words back in 2010 and as I noted in my 2011 post I went far in 2010 dropping 45 pounds and starting to get into running. Last year "running" was one of my words and I'm now pretty confident that running is part of my lifestyle and just part of what I do.
But... now this year I need to focus a bit broader than just running. It's been a while since I've had a physical and there are some other health issues I'd like to address. It's time to do a bit more to ensure I'm around for the long term.
This is not so much an aspiration as an admission that this year may more heavily involve the sport of curling that I enjoy so much. There are two aspects here. First, my soon-to-be-13-year-old daughter enjoys curling and shows some interest in doing more competitively. IF she does that (and it's still an "if"), that will set us on a potential path of bonspiels (tournaments) and camps that may set the tone for much of our family activity for the year. We'll see. Second, I very much want to see this be the year when we start making some headway with starting up the Monadnock Curling Club and looking at bringing the sport of curling to our region of New Hampshire.
That's what I'm thinking about right now for this year... I have a sense that 2015 could be a big year on a number of different fronts... we'll have to see how it turns out.
Meanwhile... Happy New Year! May 2015 be a great year for you!
An audio version of this post is available:
If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:
On this final day of 2014, I thought I should reflect back on my "four words" for 2014. They were:
How did I do? Let's take them one by one...
The good news is that I did make running more a regular part of my life. By adding up the monthly totals in my iPhone app I see that I ran over 288 miles this year. It was spotty, though. I only ran 6.2 miles in September yet I ran over 56 miles in July! I finished the year doing 26 miles in December... which works out to be about 6 miles a week. Good... but not great. Next year I'll aim to do better.
It was also a strange year in that I ran only one race... and that was the short 1-mile "Pumpkin Mile" that was part of the Keene Pumpkin Festival and that I ran with my five-year-old daughter. For all the other races I wanted to do I either had a schedule conflict or in one case it rained harder than I really cared to race in.
My goal starting off 2014, though, was to get running more a part of my life... and I think I can safely say that I did that.
Back at the beginning of the year I wrote:
... but pretty much NONE of them say ANYTHING about religion.
There are a lot of reasons for WHY I have been silent about the religious side of my life in my online activity... and I'll write a post about that at some point (probably soon).
But I've realized that in being silent and hiding this aspect of myself I'm not really letting myself be truly whole.
So I'm going to start... I've been letting pieces of that side of me leak out into Facebook lately. THIS blog post is a huge step for me.
I'm not going to be "in your face" about religion or anything (that's not the UU way! ;-) ). But I'm going to stop hiding that side of me. I will treat it instead just as yet another facet of the complicated person that I am (and that we all are).
We'll see... this will, in all honesty, be a bit challenging for me... but is an area I'd like to grow personally.
This has been hard for me, but I have started to be more open about this side of myself. For instance, I participated in a panel that was recorded on video distributed on YouTube where I talked about our church and my involvement in the "community breakfasts" that we do for the homeless each morning during the winter months. I also shared on Facebook and social networks when I was giving a sermon at our church in late October on the subject of "Facebook and Fox News: Escaping the Echo Chambers of Affirmation". I actually recorded that sermon but have yet to put it online... perhaps in 2015.
I also shared out more links from our church's web site and social media feeds into my own feeds... which was a big step for me.
Baby steps... but at least I'm no longer hiding my this part of me. We'll see where this goes from here.
Unfortunately this area remained a bit of an "aspiration" this year. I had hoped to do more with audio this year. Now I did do more with my "The Dan York Report (TDYR)" podcast... producing over 155 of the short episodes. I also didn't miss a single week of For Immediate Release (FIR) reports, producing 52 of those reports. I also started using several new applications on my iPhone to more rapidly produce podcasts
... I'd had aspirations to do more. Here's how I wound up with what I had hoped to do:
We'll see if this gets better in 2015. I thoroughly enjoy audio and would like to get back to doing more!
I wrote in January:
Finally, there is an exquisite irony to me that while my job title at the Internet Society is "Senior Content Strategist", my own personal content online is severely lacking a strategy. I am inconsistently writing across 8 or 9 different places online - and I'm adding more sites like the Monadnock Curling Club... and there are a few other projects in the works.
Yes, this is a bit of a case of the proverbial "cobbler's shoes", but in 2014 I'd like to pull some of this together a bit more and have a bit more discipline about what I'm doing with all my online content. I'm at least aggregating my online content at my danyork.me site, but this year I want to do more with getting more consistent with the creation of content.
Alas... still a work in progress...
So there I was for 2014... good progress with two of my words... less so with the other two. How did your year work out?
An audio version of this post is available on in my "The Dan York Report" podcast:
If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:
Today was an amazing testament to the power of today's mobile Internet. We traveled to Connecticut today to visit some friends and family, but we also wanted to watch the live video stream of one of the youth in our Petersham Curling Club youth program playing in the national Playdowns up in Rochester, NY. So, while my wife drove I set up my iPhone as a personal hot spot and used my iPad to display the live video stream from the Playdowns.
It worked out great... and was just amazing to think about!
Some thoughts via audio:
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful day of celebration... I did with my family today and I am so thankful and grateful for all that I have in my life today. And if you don't celebrate Christmas... well, I hope you had a wonderful day!
What I so love about this time of darkness in the northern hemisphere is all the "ceremonies of light and dark". Because it is so dark, we seek out times to celebrate the light.
To drive back the darkness.
To celebrate with friends and family.
To embrace the wonder of the flame.
To shine out as a beacon of love and hope.
And there are so many different ceremonies of so many different religions and faith traditions:
- the advent candles and candlelight services of Christian churches, along with the Christmas trees.
- the menorahs of Judaism.
- candles and fires of earth-centered faiths.
... and, of course, all the lighting of our home decorations....
I enjoy the candles the best... the simple flames, burning as they do.
This is one of my favorite parts of the season.... the light in the darkness.
A time of hope... for the light that is yet to come.
Today I made on change on this "DanYork.com" site to move it to a new theme that uses "responsive design" so that it will look good on a mobile device as well on a large screen. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time because any of a zillion reports out there will tell you that an increasing majority of users are viewing websites on their mobile devices. I can just see that in my own behavior where I use my iPhone or iPad for viewing so many sites.
The challenge I have is that this site, and my other major personal blog sites, are all still hosted on TypePad, one of the early blog hosting providers where I started writing back in 2005 or so. Some year I'd love to consolidate them onto one of the other hosted sites where I run WordPress... but the amount of work to do so is quite substantial given the hundreds upon hundreds of posts between my various sites. Some day...
Meanwhile, I figured out enough about TypePad's one responsive design theme to be able to move this site over. At some point over my holiday vacation I'd like to move these two over to a responsive theme:
They are where the bulk of my personal writing occurs. The challenge with any move to a new theme on TypePad is that you need to rebuild the menus, sidebars, etc., so it does take a bit of time.
I also want to move my writing aggregation site to a responsive theme:
That site is hosted on WordPress and so there are many options... I just have to find one that I like and spend the time configuring it.
Most of my other WordPress-hosted sites already are responsive, including:
Out of my various websites where I write that will really just leave CircleID, where I have no control over the formatting, and my 7 Deadliest UC Attacks site that is also still hosted by TypePad. If I have the time, I'll probably just move that one during the migration of my DisTel and DisCon sites.
And then, of course, there is my Deploy360 site at work... which is a MUCH bigger challenge that will be dealt with sometime in 2015...
The end goal will be that people will be able to read my writing with ease on whatever platform they use - mobile phone, tablet, desktop... or anything else.
It's been quite an eye-opening experience for my wife and I, both in terms of learning about the quantity of people in our region who are homeless... but also in hearing some of the stories and knowing that while often it is very definitely choices that get people into these situations, sometimes it is instead circumstances - job losses, medical expenses, family issues - and that the line between those who have and those who have not can be very thin and fragile.
Recently a local community TV show recorded an episode with several of us who have been involved with the community breakfasts. I represented our church and spoke about some of the changes that being involved has brought about with me and our family.
Give it a listen... and if you are in the Keene, NH, area and interested in helping, we're always looking for people to help during these cold winter months!
P.S. For the purpose of including an image for this post in the "carousel" at the top of the site, I'm including this screenshot of me talking:
In our every action... each moment of the day... we make the choice to build people up or to tear people down. The choice we make determines the type of person we are - and the type of world we want to live in.
Today I was reminded of one of the truly awesome and wonderful aspects of youth curling bonspiels (tournaments) - when the kids go through the door out onto the ice, the game is ENTIRELY up to *them*.
No adults are allowed out on the ice. No coaches. No parents. No one.
Just the youth.
Unlike other youth team sports there are no coaches helping call the shots or determine the flow of play. There is no one to consult with. (Although we are nearby if there is a rules question that needs addressing or if there are safety issues.) From the initial start with a shaking of hands and a coin toss all the way to the end... it is entirely up to the kids.
The strategy. The scoring. The flow of the game. The making of the shots. The interpretation of the rules.
All of it... by them.
Of course we as coaches work with them to teach them all the different aspects of the sport and to prepare them for the games.
But when they go through that door... it is entirely up to them!
We are left to just watch from behind the glass... to celebrate... and sometimes to cringe... but there is absolutely nothing we can do but watch!
Pretty awesome for the kids!
Tonight begins a new era in our lives as parents as our 12-year-old daughter competes for the first time in a curling "bonspiel" (tournament) that will go all weekend (or, at least, we hope so!). Over the past three years that she has been involved with the Petersham Curling Club youth program in nearby Petersham, MA, she's been in the "Little Rocks" program where she has played in typically three or four one-day bonspiels around New England.
But now that she has reached the age of 12 she is in the "Juniors" program... and they play at a much more serious level and in events that take a much greater amount of time!
The event this weekend is the Broomstones Junior Bonspiel at the Broomstones Curling Club in Wayland, Massachusetts, about two hours away from where we live. She's on a team with three other youth with whom she has been playing for three years. For those who know curling teams she'll be playing the "second" position in the team. (It's the second person of four to throw stones for a team.)
The games are full 8-end games, which means they'll be on the ice for a full two hours! Their schedule right now is:
The bonspiel is arranged in a series of brackets with the outcome determining who will play in the playoffs and finals on Sunday. We're certainly hopeful that the team will do well enough to be in the games on Sunday.
I'm excited for her... and as a parent I'll be there on the sidelines cheering her team on! (I'll also be posting updates and a few photos to the Petersham Youth Curling Facebook page.)
And then, yes... we have probably 3 or 4 more of these all-weekend events coming up over the course of the winter, along with some one-day events, too.
Let the curling season begin! :-)