Green goals are my “emotion” goals, the “feelings”, the warm fuzzy side of me. Not my strongest area, but not quite as weak as my normal “yellow” / social ones. In 2016, I limited myself to only three.
MY GREEN GOALS: Stick to the knitting
Under the general heading of Andrea, I had hoped to have some date nights out, a few game nights and to take a family trip. We had a few date nights, but nowhere near enough, and much of that is my fault. I often like to go out for dinner, etc., but I am not looking for fancy or anything, just eating out, and Jacob is old enough to come without too much distraction. So we usually do things as a trio than as a couple, and truth be told, I like exposing Jacob to new things. But most of the time, Andrea and I commute together which is good, hang out with the cub from supper to bedtime, often in the office together for a half-hour or hour or so after that, and then I tend to watch TV while she works, surfs or reads. We did some family trip stuff this year, wouldn’t say it was awesome sauce. It’s a toss-up between yellow and red, and we have a family trip to Mexico booked, but I’m looking back to 2016, not forward to 2017, so I’m coding it RED overall to remind myself of the priority for the new year.
My second area in my list was engaging with Jacob, and some of it was a complete bust. I had hoped to try a bunch of different things with him, looking for something that could be “our thing” together, and most of the things we tried from boys nights out to going for hikes just hold no interest for him. I got a bit of a start with some DIY projects, and he liked parts of them, although it is a bit more “me” than “us” for the first couple. He enjoyed them though, and is open to more, but I also don’t want to ram them down his throat and have him get bored or resent them, so gentle dosages is the plan. We didn’t end up doing anything on the sports front, and that is entirely my fault (more to come on this in the red goals section). So, I made some progress, and I can’t let my disappointment cloud that too much. And we ended the year well — we have an XBox 360 that we picked up at Black Friday, and he got Disney Infinity for Xmas, which we have been playing TOGETHER. He loves to play together and he has completely been ignoring NHL ’14 which he loves but I suck at and have no hope of playing well with him, so it’s kind of boring for him (he’s better off playing against the computer). So I’m going to give myself a small pat on the head and call it YELLOW for the year.
The third area was listed as “Website Support“, but that is the specific role I play in my limited “community engagement”. I provide web services for two sites, one for a school and one for a non-profit, and while I met the minor needs for one, I’m behind on the second. Call it YELLOW overall.
Overall, that lands me somewhere between yellow and red, and with the plans for 2017 and a small base to build from, I’m going to cut myself a bit of slack and go YELLOW overall.
I spent a bit of time thinking about the green sections, the “emotion” side for intuitive introverts, after I had finished the draft model. It wasn’t really “singing” to me. I reworked it below to focus on three streams — one for family, one for the intellectual outward-facing side (?) of emotion leading to spiritualism, and one that is more about community. I don’t know if it is quite the right model, but it works better for me than the previous one.
One of my big items in the last year was connecting more with Jacob, and I wish it had gone better. I had hoped that Jacob would be interested in “big” event style evenings where we did a project or something together, maybe crafts, something. But that wasn’t really grabbing the cub’s attention. He did like helping me build some shelving, but that was the exception rather than the rule. Instead, we’ve settled into a bit of a father/son routine going out for dinner once a week while Mom does other stuff, often to some place like Lone Star. My favorite memory of the past year was sitting at the bar with him, having fajitas, and he was watching a hockey game or something while listening to the music, and he was bobbing his head, just rocking out to the tunes while we sat there. We chat about his day, eat some good food, and I let him play on his (or my) tablet when he’s done while we’re waiting for bills and things. Not the active event I was hoping for, but it’s something. He has also upped his abilities for playing video games, so I got him started on the Playstation One games that I have, of which he really likes the racing games. I’m trying to get him more into “first person” adventures like Crash Bandicoot as that will open up some other things we can do together too, but we’re both having fun just playing. I’m also constantly amazed by his abilities to integrate information from multiple sources, pull it back out of his head, and drop it into conversations at the right moment. Not to mention hearing my own limited teachings about sports parroted back to me, often right on cue. My son, the analytical sponge.
The other item was for supporting Andrea while she finished her Masters in Education, and I think we’re both glad she’s done (her obviously more so than me!). But we’ve also drifted somewhat in the last year too. Somewhat because of the M.Ed., some because I’ve been doing more on social media for reviewing TV episodes etc. and we haven’t been watching anything together. I think we’ll probably have to make more effort to schedule things like game nights, maybe even (gasp) go for lunch together once in awhile since we work in the same building. It’s nice to have her back in the car for the morning commutes. But I’ve also drifted in the last year too much on food preparation, she’s been doing almost all of it. I get the groceries, and make sandwiches / chop veggies for lunches, but dinner has been mostly her. Mainly because she gets home an hour before I do and by the time I’ve driven home at night, I’d like to sit and decompress for a bit before diving into anything. And the fact that it’s easy to let her do it, particularly with all the new Epicure recipes in the last few months. We’ve been going for NAC outings, but I think we may have to start scheduling more outings just the two of us, maybe even once a month. Hedonistic self-indulgence, I know!
Andrea and Jacob are also my lifeline for connectedness. With isolation from friends and extended family, as I discussed in the yellow goals post, they’re the only proof that I’m not a budding sociopath. While I can’t “use” them to compensate for my social deficits, they do help me pull my head out of my ass often enough to be sociable. But, like most dominant blues, I find green energy both rewarding / supportive AND draining / exhausting. I like going home to Peterborough, visiting with the in-laws etc., but Christmas was exhausting. I just could not keep up the pace of social interaction, and it wasn’t that high, but I frequently had to absent myself to the bedroom to just disconnect and read/relax. Which is partly why I took this week off too. I needed a week just mostly to myself to get my blue energies going again. Honestly, I probably need a month, but I’ll have to settle for a week for now. The sense of ennui that has enveloped me for the last three or four months was starting to look like low-grade depression, and I have struggled to get my focus back.
Green (Connections, emotion, family)
Affection, extended family
Morality, lack of prejudice
Acceptance, affiliation, connectedness
Community, respect by others
But it has slowly returned. And while I held off on my “slogan” for the red and yellow until the end of the post, the overall message that keeps ringing in my ears for green is a very simple “stick to the knitting” metaphor. Jacob and Andrea are my core priorities, really my only priorities. So I’m probably somewhere between Tier One and Tier Two overall, not fully reaching Tier Three on all aspects yet.
We’re hoping to take a trip sometime this summer, hopefully out West or North, but we’ll have to see how Jacob’s schedule works out for that (he might have some procedures done that would limit walking for a spell, so we might be in need of a staycation). So, I can’t quite commit to that one.
For community, I still maintain the website for Astropontiac and sit on the board, but there’s not much to do for that. I’ve also taken on web support for the school council for the cub’s school since Andrea does the newsletter. It isn’t much work, a few updates here and there in WordPress, but it’s something. I mentioned earlier (in the yellow post) that I killed my big “awareness” campaign for last year, and not planning one for this year either. Web stuff is a good role for a blue introvert, and I can even do all of it by email, no in-person interactions required! Plus it is time-shiftable, mostly. I had thought about doing something too around “charity hacks” or fund-raising via a polar plunge, but those are not likely to ever happen, and I’m taking them off the list.
So, three priorities again:
Reconnecting with Andrea;
Boys nights out with Jacob; and,
Website support for BGPS and Astropontiac.
Not getting too ambitious and overtaxing myself. Core priorities, nothing more, nothing less. Sticking to the knitting.
For my green goals, I’ve talked about most of them already, or at least the two big ones. I did also vague book about one of the smaller ones, and I’ve now explained in greater detail (Men who like meat!). But the ongoing stuff for green has been relatively absent. I’ve already noted in a previous blog entry that “green” areas are really hard to plan for in some ways, and not conducive to goal setting, tracking, “managing” in normal sense. Case in point — I have no green “bucket list” items to add this year. Let’s start putting the other pieces together though.
GREEN PRIORITIES (Emotion, family, friends)
My two big goals on this for the year are “Jacob and Me” and “Random Acts of Romance (RaR)”, and I have already blogged about both of them.
For the on-going, day to day commitments, I have three general headings:
Family — with the death of my Mom two years ago, the family lost some of its natural cohesion, leaving any remaining interactions up to us to spark. My brother Mike lives here in town, and we tend to see each other mostly for outings for dinner, so will have to organize those. Sharon and Don live in Peterborough, and I’ll make an effort to continue to engage them both by phone and when I’m in town;
Friends — I’ve blogged today about my plans to re-kickstart “wing nights” with the guys, and we’ll do another corn roast this summer. I’m looking forward to dinner with a friend from out of town next week, but other than that, we’ll have to make more of a concerted effort to reach out, create “events” to allow get togethers in smaller settings that aren’t giant free-for-alls (which I don’t normally enjoy);
Community — I want to develop a more systemic approach to charitable giving, although I’m not totally sure what it looks like yet. I will also continue to be involved in the AstroPontiac astronomy project that my friend Stephan is leading. But I think my big contribution will be my social campaign for November. I’m not ready to share details about it yet, but it’s going to take a fair amount of time and energy.
That’s it, that’s all for the green…On to the yellow!
On my vaguebooking list, I had an item for men who like meat, and tagged a bunch accordingly. This probably wasn’t that vague for most of them as I started an outing a number of years ago called “MMMMM”. It stood for “Mid-Month Movie Madness for Men”, basically a guys night out to grab some dinner beforehand and then a movie. But attendance varied depending on the movie, location, timing, etc. I tried kickstarting it a few times, but it never really gelled as an outing.
Later, it morphed into an occasional wing night here and there, and the MMMMM transformed into “Mid-month Madness for Men who like Meat”. Why limited to men? No real reason other than that I frequently get to do outings with friends and couples, but rarely just the guys. It isn’t just about seeing friends or eating wings, it’s also an opportunity to just have a guys night regularly that I won’t do if I don’t schedule it. Which is weird in a way. It’s not like we’re talking dirtbikes and power tools, there’s nothing about it that makes it “guy”-ish, it’s just guys that are invited.
But I feel like I don’t put enough energy into it, despite liking the time. People don’t know about it far enough in advance, other things crop up, etc. So if I want people to be able to attend, it helps not to spring it on them 3 days ahead. Of course, by contrast, if it is a regular thing, it’s easy to say no one month and come the next. Which is fine too. I really won’t be hurt, sniff sniff. 🙂
But I do want to give different people a chance to participate, and some can’t make Mondays or Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so I’m going to rotate it through a bit:
Monday January 19th
Tuesday February 17th
Wednesday March 18th
Monday April 13th
Tuesday May 12th
Wednesday June 17th
If all goes well, I’ll schedule the next six months too! Now I just need to post, and copy the guys who are invited (although open to other guys too). Maybe if there’s interest, the women could come one of the months (March maybe?).
The “Heart” category is one that is represented by the Warm Green of emotions. It is the feeling me, the how-I-relate-to-others me.
In the past, some of my successes in this area have been getting married, having a child, more structured relations with my extended family, travelling with Andrea, becoming less squirrelly, career support (2-way), some mentoring, outings with friends (like MMMMM), house parties, holidays together with others, outings with Jacob and Andrea, and generally learning to be a better husband, father, and (hopefully) son.
Last year,I held myself to just six priorities but I made almost zero progress. Sure, I continue to support Andrea in her career relating to her M.Ed., helping to make sure she has the time to do it without having to do it as a complete “add-on” or trying to kill herself. I wanted to do more lunchtime outings with Andrea, and it did happen sporadically. I am not, however, doing much on Jacob’s night time routine…Andrea tends to get him ready, and I read him a story or six. I set up the website for Astro Pontiac, but that was about as far as I went in helping, other than to give some seed money. I had really hoped to have a Remembrance Day party, or a corn roast sometime, but by the time that period came along, I was in survival mode for dealing with my mom’s stay in palliative care. And I did nothing about figuring out an overall charitable giving strategy.
However, if I am truly honest with myself, there are three things that I did this past year that overshadow everything and so I’m chocking up one giant “win” in this category. First, I said goodbye to my mother. Actually, I said goodbye six or seven separate times (depending on how you count) and it didn’t get easier each time. But I did it. Second, while my mother was in palliative care, I went and hung out with her for a week, staying overnight to keep her company. It was way easier in some ways — I thought I would be freaked out by the issues with her, but I wasn’t. By contrast, I hated the hospital itself, by the fourth night, I was completely squirrelly. Hard to sleep, claustrophobic almost. Jumpy, quick to pounce on any opportunity to do something, particularly if it took 15 or 20 minutes. But I spent the week with her. I’ll talk more about this next fall when I do my first annual tribute to her, so for now I just want to give credit to myself for doing it. It was only one week out of six, but still.
Finally, the big one. I did the eulogy. After having done my Dad’s eulogy, I said to myself, “Never again.” I figured when it came time for my Mom, someone else could do it. For my Dad’s, I cried all the way through it. I was almost incoherent. Lord knows what anyone understood. However, because of some odd quirks of the family dynamics, I ended up doing the one for my Mom too. I made it as clear as I could that I was willing to do it, but not insisting — if anyone, a grandchild perhaps, wanted to do it, I was good to defer the honour. But no one else stepped up for that item, perhaps not wishing to deny me that opportunity, so I did it. For a week afterwards, I kept saying to myself, “You did it! You made it through without losing it!”. It was such a different experience than for my Dad’s. Obviously, I’m 16 years older. Hopefully more mature, more grounded, more experienced with life and, unfortunately, the death of a parent. I also practiced out the wazoo — full walk throughs, out loud, six or seven times. Each time through, I put stars and notes where I lost it emotionally, so that I would know when it came time for the real reading that I should pause there, or slow down, or just focus on breathing. More importantly though, I had support. When my Dad died, I was single, lived in Ottawa, and without much of a portable support network. This time, I stayed at my inlaws most of the time my mom was in the hospital, which was amazing support. Andrea’s grandfather came to the funeral too. I had a friend, Seb, who drove all the way from Ottawa to Peterborough and back the same night, just so he could come to the visitation. Nine hours round-trip, and did I mention he had a broken foot at the time and was on crutches? Of course, the biggest supports were Andrea and Jacob. There are no words to express how much they supported me, particularly while they too were experiencing the same loss. But somehow, we all got through it.
So I chock all of that up as a win for the year.
For new priorities, most of last year’s will roll over to this year too…continuing to support Andrea on her M.Ed, becoming more involved in Jacob’s night-time routine, supporting Stephan on the Astro Pontiac initiative, figuring out a charitable giving strategy, and organizing a Remembrance Day party or a Corn Roast. However, I am adding four additional ones this year in a slightly different nuance.
Three of them are about better connecting to Andrea and Jacob. First of all, Andrea is spending the first 9 months of the year at home with Jacob, which is great, but it will also might limit the interaction her and I have — less time spent commuting together, less time sharing, perhaps. So we need to kickstart some date nights somehow. Not entirely sure how to get that organized in terms of babysitters, etc. without making it too “scheduled”, but we need to do it, just to stay sane. Second, this year marks our 5th anniversary and I’d like to do something special to celebrate / commemorate the occasion. Could be merged with our house party option if we want to keep it casual, or maybe go larger. Not sure what Andrea would be interested in yet. Finally, I also want to take some extra leave this year to give the three of us more time together before Jacob starts school in September (ack! he’s starting school!).
The fourth addition is a duty I must perform, and to be honest, I wouldn’t describe it as a pleasant one. My mother appointed my sister and I as co-executors of the will. Which means for the first six months of the year, we’ll be doing a lot of organizing to get the personal items distributed and the house sold. Separate from the challenge of just getting it all done in a reasonable amount of time, we also have the fun that the six kids named are rarely in agreement on anything. We’re trying to avoid anything that will be “nasty” or unpleasant, but it deals with issues tied to raw emotion, so it may happen. Nevertheless, I will do my duty, as my mother asked me to do at the end.
So, with those goals in mind, here’s my working to do list for the Heart category: