Five for ’15: The Year to Chill

Last Saturday, shortly before midnight, I left my newspaper gig and was welcomed by a snow-covered van, on a snow-covered street.

Actually, to be fair, the snow was covering the ice that covered the street, but that’s not really the point. The point is that I’m not real fond of driving on snow or ice-covered streets, and knowing that my house is an 18-mile drive from work, I had a decision to make.

Do I take the Interstate, a straight shot to our house, and likely with roads that had been recently sanded, or do I take an arterial road, one that is also a straight shot, but one that would definitely be covered in snow?

I chose option B – the arterial route.

Why? On the Interstate there will be pressure for me to sustain a decent speed. I’ll have people behind me, semi-trucks on the side of me, and everyone else will be attempting to do the speed limit, despite the news that 5-8 inches were headed our way.

On the arterial route I could take my time. There would likely be no pressure of people behind me, or wanting to pass me. I wouldn’t be expected to do speeds at more than 25-30 mph. It would be less stressful. And it was; less stressful, more relaxing, and actually quite peaceful.

And thus a prime example of why I’m dubbing 2015 as “The Year to Chill” … or was it “The Year of Chill” … or did I like “Keep Calm and Chill”? It’s a work in progress, which reminds me, if you have any ideas on how to corporate “chill” and 2015, then please feel free to let me know. Donations are gladly accepted.

Please don’t send me “Let’s Chill,” a reference to the 1990 hit by Guy that pops into my head every friggin’ time I think of “The Year of Chill.”

I know at least two occasional readers that will respect my reference to the trio from Guy, so let’s roll the video from the hit single featuring uber-producer Teddy Riley, crooner Aaron Hall, and the one dude I had to look up because I could only remember 67-percent of their names, Damion Hall (Aaron’s brother).

As I do every year I follow-up my Year in Review with my annual Five Goals for (insert year). Thank you to those that finished my 10,000 word, three-part miniseries that was my Year in Review. I promise this won’t go 4,000 words. Actually I won’t promise because I never know where my fingers or mind might take us. How fun! I know right?!

I also take a look back at how I failed (because I mostly fail) at the goals I set the prior year.

Let’s briefly, I said briefly, take a look back at 2014’s goals and move onto 2015.

Going All In
I was tired of stressing and worrying, so I was going to do things my way, the way I wanted to do them when I first started my little office. I was going to join networking groups. I was going to market. I was going all in. Except that lasted two months until I fell behind, got stressed and worried and months later I decided that instead of going all in, I’m getting out. Grade: D

Lead Them
Inspired by the Sanctus Real song, I was going to work on putting my family first, to be a man who both my wife and kids could respect, to be an example to them as a husband and father. I think I did okay, and in the end I led them to our move across the state, and to an area I felt will be better for my family in the long run. Grade: B

Be Positive
Though some people may disagree, overall I did okay with this. As the Rascal Flatts’ song “I’m Moving On” said:

I’ve lived in this place and I know all the faces;
Each one is different but they’re always the same;
They mean you no harm but it’s time that I face it;
They’ll never allow me to change

The people from your past will always see you just as they saw you in the past. My friends still see me as goofball Kevin. My family still sees me as short-fuse Kevin, who spouts off or says what is on his mind. What they don’t notice is that the last two years I’ve kept pretty quiet. I haven’t had blow ups. I’ve kept things inside, or between Lis and myself. I’ve been more positive, and less likely to say what I thought or was feeling.  Like anyone that is working on improving themselves, there have been moments of relapse, but overall I felt I’ve improved, my wife knows I’ve improved (just double-checked with her), and the Man Upstairs knows I’ve improved, and that’s all that matters (and my kids, but they still think I’m great no matter what).

There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I’m headed in the right direction. Grade: B

Monitor the Stuff I Put Into My Mind and Body
It’s one of those things that comes and goes. One night it’s Tosh.0 the next day it’s all Christian music on the drive into work. I know I did a better job of keeping things out of my body, but I also know I had moments where my guard was down and I let things in. Yes, I’m being nondescript for a reason. I can’t let you entirely into my world! Grade: C-

Spend Christmas and New Year’s in Brazil
Ha! Midway through 2014, knowing that we were likely moving, and noticing that airline tickets were not going down, we realized we weren’t going to have enough money to travel to Brazil. Feliz Natal! Grade: F

Now to this “Year of Chillaxing and Relaxing” … nah, not feeling that one either; what do I mean by “The Year to Chill”?

As you might have skimmed through in my Year in Review, 2014 was pretty darn hectic. I stressed, I worried, I kept busy with community events, church events, coaching basketball. We went on vacation. We moved. We felt like we aged 5-8 years.

It’s time we chill.

Before I move into my five finalists, let me remind you that of course my goal every year is to better my relationship with Christ, my wife and my kids. That is and always will be the first thing on my heart and mind. I’m a father of three and a husband of one, first and foremost.

Like everything else in our life, it's time to move on from this as well.

Like everything else in our life, it’s time to move on from this as well.

Second, there were a few honorable mentions that didn’t make the final five. I want to upgrade our GameCube console. I want to get out and ride our bikes more, and enjoy this area we moved to. I want to celebrate Lis’ 10th anniversary of being in remission. I want to read and write more (Can I do 10 books in 12 months? Can I post weekly or bi-weekly?). I want to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens at midnight on December 18 with my eldest son. I want to introduce my kids to their generation of Star Wars characters, and take the entire family to see the movie maybe more than just twice (and watch my youngest son’s face light up when he sees the actual movie and not just the trailer).

And in the immortal words of Mr. Freeze, “Alright everyone chill!

Chill … Less Stress, Less Worry

As my snow example showed, sometimes I need to think about the less stressful or worrisome option and do that instead. That means not letting other peoples’ actions get under my skin. That means removing myself from conversations or situations that may bother me (notice I have had no I Heart Andrew Luck posts lately?). That means not reading comments under certain stories, or social media posts that may annoy me. You get what I’m saying right? Doesn’t matter, I do.

The move over here will be helpful. I’m sure eventually we’ll meet more people, and those people may annoy me at times, but no longer will I have to wonder why my buddy drove past my house, to visit our other friend, after traveling 3 hours, and then wants me to come visit him there. I’m hundreds of miles away. I don’t have to care anymore! All of these less stressful and worrisome situations will hopefully lead to …

Chill … Get Your Chest Pain Under Control

I spent about 348 days last year with tightness in my chest. I went to bed nearly every night last year with pain in my chest. I went for walks in the cold and had pain in my chest. I woke up one night from a chest jolt. Ever have one of those? Me neither until my body was jerked awake in the middle of the night as if I had been struck by a defibrillator. That was interesting! What’s causing all this pain? I’m sure most of it was stress. I’m sure most of it was my GERD (and the whole “Don’t Eat Anything That Tastes Good” or “Don’t Eat After 6:15p.m.” ordeal). But still, it’s worrisome (darn you words from the Worry Family), and something I need to get under control before it’s too late. A physical is in my near future. When I had a 10-hour GERD episode in 2012 they said things were fine, but that I need to watch what I eat, when I eat. Hopefully that’s it. Hopefully I just need to chill.

Chill … Don’t Get Involved
Raise your hand if you’d like to volunteer for coaching basketball! *Hand raised*

Raise your hand if you’d like to volunteer for teaching Sunday School! *Hand raised*

Raise your hand if you need to chill for a bit and take time for yourself and your family. *Pause. Hand sheepishly raised*

Basketball season is coming to a close (currently I’m 0-8 as a coach this year, coupling that with my 0-7 finish last year, and poor Lukas has yet to win his first basketball game) and it’s time for me to step back. I’d rather watch Lukas from the sideline than have to watch him and eight others from the sideline.

I went to a Relay For Life meeting and was eager to get involved. Then I went to another one where nobody showed and thought … it’s a sign. Just chill!

I teach Sunday school every other month. I actually enjoy that, it’s not that demanding, I’ll stick with this.

But that’s it. I already have a second job, and after the years and years I put into helping others, it’s time I spend a little time with the Johnson Five. No worries, I’ll be back, but not in 2015.

Chill … Social Media Less
I’m sorry, I haven’t figured out Twitter. I’ve been tweeting since it was introduced, but I don’t get it. Why do I need to pop on there and write what I’m thinking in 140-characters? Really there are about two people who notice what I write anyway.

I’m sorry, but Facebook drives me batty. I took two separate sabbaticals from the site, only returning because it is helpful when you want to share pictures of your family with your family on the other side of the mountains, or bottom half of the world (and it’s attached to all my Spotify playlists!). We easily fall in a trap where we need to post everything we’re doing in hopes that we get validation, gratification and attention for who we are, what we’re doing, and what we’ve become. Don’t lie and say that you’re on Facebook for the advertisements. Fine, I’ll use Lis’ excuse that I use it to keep in touch with our family and friends, when in all honesty we’re doing it for the above reasons. Trust me, I’ve seen your posts and you’ve seen mine, and I know how you feel when someone doesn’t click the LIKE button. It’s okay, we all want the same thing … love.

No there won’t be any disappearances, like I said, all my Spotify playlists are attached to my Facebook login, plus then I get 3-4 emails wondering why people can’t stalk me anymore, because after all, I’m so stalkable.

I’ll still post pictures but I don’t need to share what I’m doing seconds after I’ve done it. I need to just chill, post pictures monthly, then worry about why a picture of a dog licking himself is getting more likes than a picture of my awesome trio of kids.

Chill … Plan for the Future
Okay, so this might not be a “chill” goal, but I’m closing in on 40 (2.5 more years), and it’s time for me to start thinking about getting older (not growing up, I’ll never grow up). It’s time to settle down, start putting money away, start thinking about a career, and that one day the kids will be gone and it’ll be Lis and myself and well, I’d love to chill in different countries every couple of years.

Things are looking promising already, so we’ll consider this a tease until next week’s post titled “Last Stop.”

Happy belated New Year!

One thought on “Five for ’15: The Year to Chill

  1. Admirable pursuits, all. The chest pain sounds a bit worrisome. Get that checked out as soon as possible. Take care of yourself.

    Also, I’m already on my third book of 2015. #showoff

    I decided to not make any public resolutions this year. For me, I’ve discovered it’s more important to walk the walk than it is to talk the talk, so I’m trying to focus on that almost exclusively.


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