Taking Stock

Al_NewportOR_2015
Any kind of life change affords one the opportunity to do some reflecting, a little looking forward, and the chance to contemplate what’s next. And what’s here now. It may seem silly, but how often do we pause to look around right where we are?

Earlier this year, I shifted my focus to more cerebral pursuits – I wanted to make creativity a priority again, to get in a better mindset overall. At the gym, I had had my foot on the gas for too long, so to speak. And so I did. I eased up a little. I still trained – but only three or four times a week instead of four or five. I stopped going heavier, instead making sure my workouts were consistent and made me feel good, not whipped. And when I got home, I read books on creativity and did some writing. Nothing worth publishing, nothing for public eyes. And while it didn’t seem like I was accomplishing anything at the time, it allowed me to grease the wheels and just start. Along the way I closed up the blog and excused myself from social media – just to quiet my mind for a little while. Enough with all the external information, it was time to just look around at the here and now – in my neighborhood, in my own world, in my head. Or, as I explained it to a friend:  just do me for a while.

So here, taking stock a couple months later. I’m in the middle of my “plan” and so far it’s going well.

In April I finished up at my most recent job. There were a lot of feelings involved, different emotions to sort through. Not quite animosity, but a quiet remorse. Simply put, it was time to go. It’s fascinating to put your talents on the table, and see where you come out in the dog-eat-dog world of things. It turns out my competitive nature is maybe fleeting at best and isn’t interested in the corporate environment.

Being the industriousness-at-all-costs nation that we are, the natural question I received was “what’s next?” My barest-bones answer? Nothing. A pause. People were at times congratulatory and dumbfounded.

Al_Spence_Newport2015

So what have I been doing? Working with my hands. Landscaping. Fixing things. Reading. Writing. Studying. Learning. Experimenting in the kitchen. Reaching out, forging new social bonds.

I am well aware of my good fortune to have this opportunity. To create this opportunity. I have a loving, supportive partner who, at the mention of this plan, stoically nodded and said “seems pretty good to me.” I will continue to hold up my end of the bargain as I always have, building our empire on the domestic front. Minister of the Interior. (And exterior!) COO of Our Empire. And that role, whose very mention elicits raised eyebrows is one I’m excited to keep working in for a bit. I’ve quite enjoyed taking care of myself while taking care of a man who has always taken care of me. Anachronistic? Possibly. Foolhardy? To some. Trust. It’s high time I practiced some.

Now as of late July, I’ve poked my head back into social media a bit, and am playing soccer – which I haven’t done in a decade. I’m about ready to ramp things up again in the gym. I can feel the overall mental and physical reset working its magic.

Al_Spence_Newport2015_2

There’s about six weeks left of summer, give or take. I’m going to spend that time doing some more of the good stuff, the stuff that makes the soul smile. But overall, fewer external accomplishments for a while. They were well-earned accomplishments, and I’ve certainly done and learned a ton in the last few years, but now it’s time to just BE. I’ve never let go without having a plan. No plan is the new plan. This is the summer I stop hustling for my worthiness.

What about you? Have you ever taken a few months to reset things in your life, maybe take stock? Do some internal pruning, if you will?


These photos are from my trip out west last fall – I still need to write a post about that amazing trip. These are of my brother and I frolicking on the Oregon coast. Talk about the good stuff!

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