Today was one of those days. You know the type I'm talking about.
When the to-do list seems to just keep going and going and going...
When for every one thing you check off, it seems like three more get added...
For every blog post I published or document I created, there was another one that I was reminded that wasn’t done yet. The email messages came in with new projects and things to add to the list. An IM message reminds me that there was another project still lurking out in the background that needs finishing up. Another message bringing a request from someone to know when I’ll finally have a chance to do something I should have done four months ago… the finance department pings me wondering when I’ll finally get to doing expenses… a calendar reminds me that I still need to book the flights for an upcoming trip…
The hits kept on coming and coming...
Not just in my work life, but also in my personal life… the guilt of not being able to meet with someone to help on a project that I helped start, but then haven’t been able to do much more with… drama within organizations with which I am involved… chaos in the lives of those around me who I love dearly… a reminder at dinner time that I need to find substitutes for the curling game I’m not going to be able to play in on Saturday… the lingering feeling that I’m dropping the ball on something else… and then the parent evening tonight… the unfinished email messages...
It was one of those days…
And then when I take a “break” to look in on social media, I find that world is exploding with amazing news all day today! So many things I want to write about… to podcast about… heck, just to READ about…
And the frustration that there are some big pieces of writing that I want to do. There are things happening all around us that I can see - dancing right in front of me - that I know that I can pull together and connect the dots in ways that would help these things make sense to other people. The frustration that I know I could help people understand.
But yet the pieces sit there… dancing just out of range… taunting me… beckoning… calling me to pull them together and make them whole…
It was one of those days…
And as the end of the day approaches there is a sense of frenetic activity… of an unsustainable pace… of burning too many candles at too many ends… of ropes fraying… of the need to do fewer things better… of the need to be more present…
And I must pause...
… and remind myself that sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to simply...
To take that moment to pause amidst the chaos… to have a moment in the madness…
and then to pick yourself up...
put one foot in front of the other…
… and walk on.
There is something beautiful about running in the hour or so before dawn. Everything is still. Quiet. Awakening.
You see the animals coming out for their breakfast. Rabbits. Birds. Others.
The day is yet to begin.
Full of possibilities and opportunities.
Ours to discover. If we choose to do so.
There is something beautiful about running in the pre-dawn hours.
[Photos are from my run this morning at 5:45am in the Woodlawn and Greenlawn cemeteries in Keene, NH.]
For all of those parents like me who travel a good bit, singer Pat Green recently put out this very well-done and quite touching video, "While I Was Away":
I'd honestly never heard of Pat Green before, but a work colleague shared the link on an internal forum. My work takes me away from my wife and kids for about 25% of the time ... so about 80-90 days a year... and it's definitely very hard on all of us. I'm thankful my job doesn't take me away more, as some of the other professions do. But each time I'm away, I do think of all the things they are learning and doing while I'm not there.
My frustration is that it seems that the only real provider for a MacBook Pro is 3M (here's a search on Amazon) and the problem is simply this...
It's very hard to take the privacy screen on and off!
For whatever reason... perhaps the limited space on the edge of the screen... perhaps customer frustration with past implementations... 3M makes the privacy screen go all the way to the edge of the display and then has you mount it using a double-sided tape. There are no clips or anything that you slide your screen in to. You tape it on to the MBP screen.
Now... IN THEORY... you are supposed to be able to take the privacy screen on and off multiple times. The tape is supposed to keep working.
In practice, I've found that you can remove the screen and replace it... but only a couple of times.
After that... the tape loses its stickiness and the screen starts falling off.
With a previous laptop, this was fine. I mounted a privacy screen on the laptop and pretty much never took it off. It worked fine.
However, with this laptop, I've been in several situations where I wound up needing to give a presentation to a small group of people without a projector and so I needed to take the privacy screen off so that people could gather around and see the presentation. Additionally, I had a couple of situations at home where I wanted to have multiple people look at my laptop.
The end result is that the privacy screen no longer sticks to the MBP.
Now, 3M did provide a few extra strips of tape when I bought the screen... but I have no clue where I put those strips of tape.
My solution right now is to just apply a couple of pieces of regular clear tape to hold the screen in place. It works... although it doesn't look all that pretty.
What do any other MacBook Pro owners do for privacy screens?
Do you have another vendor of privacy screens you like? Do you just leave the screen always on? Do you keep re-applying the tape? Have you found a way to have clips on the side?
I haven't written about our journey with cancer for a while because my wife's own journey has been one of the ongoing tedium of Tamoxifen ... another day, another pill... and more fatigue, joint pain and so many more issues. It is, though, unfortunately our "new normal" ... and will be for at least two more years of Tamoxifen. We just try to keep on going through it...
But in truth, it's been a rough period of time for us since I last wrote in July 2014 in regard to cancer around us.
All of this happening around the time of the four-year anniversary of my wife's own diagnosis.
This last one in particular struck me hard because just back in November I had lunch with my friend and her partner... and he was so alive and seemingly healthy. He seemed like a great guy and they seemed great together. And now only a few months later their world is turned so incredibly upside-down.
So very hard to comprehend.
All "younger" people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
No easy answers.
All we can do is, as my friend wrote, "hug your families extra tight tonight".
An audio commentary is also available:
Image credit: a photo of Arlington National Cemetery by Todd Van Hoosear on Flickr
Never. Give. Up.
I was vividly reminded of that lesson last night in the championship game of the Men's Curling League at the Petersham Curling Club where I play. Our team, which had played extremely well together all year, had made it through the playoffs to be in the final championship game against another excellent team.
This was it. The end of the long curling season and a chance to have our names inscribed on the league trophy at the club.
After 5 of the 8 ends (think "innings" in baseball or "periods" in hockey), both teams were tied. Then the other team scored 2 points in the 6th end. Then they stole 1 point in the 7th. So we were going into the final 8th end three points down with a score of 7-4.
We thought we were doomed. It was highly unlikely that there was any way out. Scoring 3 points to tie was going to be extremely difficult based on how well the other team was playing.
In my mind, I had mostly given up.
But part of why I enjoy the sport of curling is the degree of skill it takes... but also the unpredictability of what can happen. A piece of lint on the ice could cause a rock to go off in an unplanned direction. A change in humidity can make the ice slower or faster than it was just a few minutes ago. The skip can call the sweepers on too early or too late and have the rock end differently than planned. The person throwing the rock can throw it wrong... missing the line he/she is supposed to hit or throwing it too hard or too light.
So many variables.
The 8th end began as you would expect. The other team fired their first rock through the rings... just got it out of there. They were up by 3 points - all they wanted to do was knock rocks out and make sure we couldn't score any points.
But then things happened. We made some good shots. They missed a couple of shots. We missed some shots. They made some good shots... the game went on.
But in the end we came down to the final stone of the opposing skip with 4 of our stones sitting in the rings. You can see a photo above that I took of the way it was set up. Our skip had his final stone to throw, too, but we expected the opposing skip to simply come down and sit on our rock that was in the blue "four-foot" ring. Either that or hit our rock out and roll over behind the other rocks where it would have been extremely difficult to get to his rock. It was a comparatively "easy" shot and the opposing skip had made shots like this all the time.
Looking at it I thought we were done.
But... the other skip's final stone was too light! Even with the frantic sweeping of the team the rock didn't make it down to the rings and instead hit the rocks in the front.
Unbelievably... we had just scored 4 points to win!!!
Our skip didn't even have to throw his final rock.
We sat there with our mouths open... uncomprehending at first.
And THEN we celebrated!
Never. Give. Up!
After that I'll have another 4 hours of travel time from Hong Kong down to Singapore... getting me in there about 1:40am Sunday morning, February 8, 2015.
With the funky aspects of timezones, I will be losing "Saturday" almost completely except for the hour or so I will be on the ground in Hong Kong.
Here is what the flight looks like on the Great Circle Mapper, complete with my return trip back through Tokyo:
(With the usual non-intuitive notion (to me) that we are flying north over the North Pole to get to the other side of the planet. My brain always thinks I should fly west... but north is actually shorter.)
I'm off to Singapore for the 52nd meeting of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers, better known as "ICANN". ICANN is the nonprofit organization that oversees the world of domain names and the Domain Name System(DNS) and I have a specific interest in how we secure the DNS. I'll be there primarily for a series of activities related to DNSSEC that I describe here:
There are a great number of other activities happening there, too, and one of my colleagues outlined some of the items related to public-policy:
I will of course be monitoring those issues as well. I expect to be doing some writing from Singapore for multiple sites... and probably some video and audio as well.
I've had the privilege of being able to visit Singapore twice before and have been impressed by what a beautiful city it is. I took some photos on my first trip there that I posted to a set on Flickr:
You'll notice how the grove of "supertrees" captured my attention. Here's one of my favorite photos from that set:
The supertree grove is a rather surreal (and unreal) place to visit - definitely worth seeing! I don't know if I'll be able to get there on this trip... my schedule is extremely packed... but we'll see.
It should be a good week.
P.S. And talk about temperature changes... it was -10F (-23C) when I left Keene, NH, this morning and it will be near 88F (30C) during the day in Singapore!
I recorded an audio commentary about this trip:
It could be today.
It could be tomorrow.
It could be twenty years from now.
It could be in some dramatic fashion such as an explosion or an airplane crash.
Or it could be in some more mundane way like slipping on ice and hitting one's head... or being in a car accident... or being hit by a car while crossing a street... or just... simply... having... one's... heart... s..t..o..p.....
We don't know.
We will never know.
Until the time runs out... and a life is gone.
At which point... it's too late to say all those things we wish we would have said.
It's too late for that extra "I love you" that you wish you could have said, or the hug you wish you would have given.
It's too late.
We need to realize that each day could be our last... or could be the last of those around us.
What do we want those last memories of us to be?
Do we want people to remember us as kind and helpful? Or mean and angry? Or somewhere in between?
Do we want the last words people heard from us to be ones of anger? Or dismissal? or hatred? Or do we want them to be words of love and kindness?
Do we want to live our life regretting that we didn't tell someone how much they meant to us before they passed on? Or regretting that the last words they heard from us where those in anger?
In our every action, we choose whether to build people up... or tear people down. It's our choice.
We don't know how much time we have left. We don't know when the lives of those around us may end.
We will never know.
Image credit: elycefeliz on Flickr
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: