And so it begins, again! Embracing the adventure of year 2, summer 2.

Winding down Iris season… bring on the Peonies!

Hello Friends! Remember me?

Time to start anew

Yes, it’s been a while since I settled into a blog post and it’s nice to be back. Reflecting on where I was – physically, mentally, professionally – when I launched my first post (December 2017), it really does seem like a lifetime ago. And yet, as I have been gathering my thoughts about this post… and perhaps those that follow, it’s a little bit like groundhog’s day in that all I really have to offer is an intent to chronicle the journey. Today, June 9th, just another day at the beginning of a chapter – the eve of our second full summer in Saratoga, one month into my second year at the TRF, and on the cusp of marking the close of my fourth decade circling the sun… and the dawn of a new digit in front of my age. A season to begin, again!

But first, a quick look at where we’ve been

All through the Spring, I’ve been pondering how to best commemorate the 1st anniversaries that we’ve noted, celebrated and given thanks for over the course of February through May. Three months chock-full of milestones in my ledger as we found ourselves one year since: closing on the house at 123 Madison (Feb 16), my last TechBUZZ, buying the Subaru & making my first solo trip to Saratoga (with my mattress & laptop), saying farewell to the house at 301 S. Henry (March 19), driving the cats to Saratoga, the movers arriving with our furniture in Saratoga, Bobby’s last day with SAIC, my last day with MAVA, our first day waking up together “all in” to our Saratoga live (April 11th) – and, my first day with TRF (May 1). Phew! Alot to process, alot of ground covered, and above all, a great sense of relief and satisfaction that we have made it through that first big year of transition – reinventing our lives, our careers, our home, and our routines. We did it! Wow.

The anniversary game

As B and I went to Happy Hour on April 11th (at Mexican Connection), I inflicted one of my somewhat infamous “games” on him. The rules were simple. We’d make & build 3 lists, in 3 rounds, consisting of the following: 5 things B is proud of himself for accomplishing in our first year; 5 things I am proud of myself for accomplishing; and 5 things we have accomplished together. The goal was to take stock and celebrate how far we’ve come. This is something I’m always something I’m quick to suggest everyone I love do more often…. and occasionally admonish myself to do so too, when we all know how much easier it is to work on the list of “still need to do” – whether this be at the end of a workday, a workweek, a season, a year. I truly believe we recharge our batteries by looking (at least briefly, and very intentionally) in the rearview at these milestone moments to note, respect and appreciate how far we’ve come… before, the inevitable looking up, ahead, and over the horizon at all that lies ahead.

In case you might be inspired to give this little game a try, I’ll tell you – it’s not easy, but it’s quite satisfying. I’ll caution that I’d originally thought we’d try to think of 10 things for each list (B’s, mine, ours) and I’m glad that I revised to 5. 🙂 Also, I found it easier to give ourselves a little “assist” by starting each other’s list with my by adding one to B’s list with something that I’m proud of him for accomplishing, and him doing the same for me. Food for thought!

So now, where do we go from here?

Indeed, that is the question. With my mind very focused on the process of reinvention these days (more on that in a bit), I think the pause in my writing throughout this season of anniversaries has been due to my strong sense of, really, now what? After all the effort, energy and upheaval we initiated and powered through in 2017 – extracting ourselves from our wonderful old lives, believing we were ready for a new adventure; then after all the firsts of 2018 – arriving in our long-beloved dream place, dream jobs, fresh start and blank slate; we find ourselves in year two… with no excuses. No more rookie status, we’re year-round, we’ve seen (and loved) our first winter, our first Spring… and now?

Well, the answer is simple – if kind of daunting. I believe that now we simply must…. make it awesome. Make it worth it. Make this our best moment, be our best selves, make our greatest impact… carpe diem, with no excuses. How fortunate we are that we are here, that we were able to recreate our lives, to do it on our own terms, to land so comfortably (if not entirely comfortable), to find our callings (both of us, it’s amazing), and to have all the support of friends, family, colleagues and, at least so far, no interruptions from making this our best year ever. That is the challenge. When nothing is stopping you from being your best, truest you, you simply have no where to hide – you just have to go, do, be, shine, give, act, express, and make the world a better place. GO! (Gulp!)

Some sources of inspiration – fuel for the journey

I’m excited to share what happens next, and I think my plan is to deliberately focus on sharing my personal approach to making this next year – starting with the summer – my best ever. I’ll share the highs and lows and doldrums of how I’m going to try to make the most of all of it, and to make my greatest impact. This means I’ll be writing alot more about my work, my approach to my work, my activities/tactics and hopefully some of my successes (as well as, inevitably, my failures), but also how I want to incorporate my work life, which feels so much less like work now that I’m doing what I believe I was absolutely meant to do, into my whole life – integrating home life, health life, spiritual life, community life… all of it into one fabric with many interrelated threads. So stay tuned – it’s going to get really horsie, and race-tracky, among other things!

But, before I start sharing all that, I thought I’d mention a couple of really terrific resources that I’ve been leaning on throughout my reflection on “what next”.

Podcast: Oprah’s Master Class My faves so far have been – Ellen DeGeneres, Condoleesa Rice, Stevie Nicks, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah’s (two part) story, and really, all of them I’ve listened to have been great and left me thinking. What would I teach as my personal Master Class?

Quote from website: “Oprah’s Master Class tells the stories you’ve never heard from the people you thought you knew best. Hand-picked by Oprah Winfrey for their unique impact on the world, true modern masters from Academy Award-winning actors, to Grammy-winning musicians, to ground-breaking athletes, share the greatest lessons they’ve learned along the way. In an intimate setting, they share their successes, their failures, their triumphs, disappointments and heartbreaks.”

New Book: Reinventing Greatness- Leading Yourself & Others Through Change with Confidence by Shari Goodwin. You’ll be hearing more about Shari and her charming retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Lemon Squeezy from me over the coming days – as Shari and I are hosting an event at her beautiful farm in Marshall, VA on June 22nd. For now, take a look at my review of her book on Amazon (link above), consider buying the book for yourself – and any/all friends going through a chapter of reinvention! It’s terrific!

I’d also encourage you to invest the time (1:20) in watching Shari and Lemon Squeezy’s “Reinvention in the Round” workshop on YouTube. It profoundly impacted me, as I experienced it in February this year, right as my season of anniversaries began and as I started asking myself… “after all this change, now what?”

More soon, and a promise to keep in touch

Time’s up for this writing session, as the Maven’s bus is arriving in Albany in 30 minutes, but I’m intent to get this posted tonight (almost!) and to make a habit of sharing my story as it unfolds over the months of June, July and August (for starters). Writing will be a way to hold myself accountable for some guiding principals, and to hopefully encourage my friends out there in blog-land to share their own journeys. I think we’re all in the process of reinvention all the time, it’s just a matter of paying attention to the process and trying to set some intentions for where the journey may take us. We’ll find out!



P.S. Lots of pics of the past few months on instagram #mavenandmagpie

My daily walk thru Congress Park – ducklings!!
Peonies – so brief, but so pretty!