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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Writing a New Story: A Quest for Memorable

A few months ago I heard Donald Miller on the radio and it lit my pants on fire! I came home rambling on about what he said and how it made so much sense and how I wanted to see him speak and I was going to drive straight to the bookstore but it was closed.... (breathe)

When I caught my breath I ran out and bought his latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.  Here's the Dummies Cliffs Note version, live your life like you're writing a story.  A great story has characters faced with challenges and they overcome them or die trying and those truly great stories are memorable.  The books that live in your head for days, the movies you can't stop thinking about, the memorable ones.  At Christmas I wrote that the holiday being should be more about making great memories than giving great presents. This idea of making life memorable has stuck as a mantra for 2010.

I've already got a pretty rockin' life.

I've got a husband that loves me, and even likes me most days, two kids on their way to being fabulous, if I don't screw them up. Icing on my cake, I love my job. I get to help change people's lives and transform organizations. Cherry on top of my icing on my cake,  I'm pretty good at it and it pays me darned well.

But is it memorable? Truly memorable?

I work hard, I cook a pretty mean pasta, I make the bed, I'm not bad at decorating, I throw a decent party.

But is it memorable?

Because I'm also a Type A planning freak, I've got a boat load of goals. Remember, I work for FranklinCovey, for crying out loud. Yes, some are work goals, and thankfully this year I'm knocking those out of the park. This year, I'm going to work on those personal goals.

  1. Get paid to write, yes, you know the magical words, "published author"
  2. Learn to play guitar, not quite as good as Taylor Swift, but to carry a tune for a campfire singalong
  3. Travel to new places, NYC, Oregon, Bangladesh, the local ice skating rink
  4. Be a way better wife, a way better mom
Disclaimer * Not necessarily in that order

So, yes my email may be caught up, and my clients may be happy, but will I remember any of that when I'm 83? God, I hope not.  I hope that's not all that I will have stood for.

Which brings me to today. The snow storm. Kids were released early from school. My guy had been champing at the bit, waiting for them to get home so he could go out and play.  He's a snow storm kinda guy. Drives around in the pickup truck looking for damsels in distress, kind of guy. (Yea, not making that one up.)

The kids came home. The boy was transported to the basement, guitar in hand, before his backpack hit the floor. The girl was curled up in a chair with the cat watching SpongeBob.

There sat my poor husband with no one to go out and play.  He was looking like the new kid on the block that didn't get invited to kickball. He had turned down a championship game, perched on his favorite barstool with buddies frick and frack, to come home and play in the snow.

This was not memorable, this was becoming tragic.

That was it...... I said, "Go get 'em and create some fun enticement and kick their butts out in the snow!" After a few minutes of whinging and gnashing of teeth, I pulled them to the side and gave it to them straight.
Look, your dad gave up a night out with his friends watching football to play in the snow with you, now get your butts out there and have some fun!"

Interestingly, they were moved by his sacrifice and immediately started squeezing themselves into snowpants looking like little "Randy's".

They said, "Mom, you comin?" I gave my standard response, "I've got some work to finish." It was 3:30 in the afternoon, technically I still had 90 minutes left, how could I possibly knock of early?

Picture this.  I work from home. I was still in my jammies at 3:30 in the afternoon sans shower and if I'm honest sans teethbrushing. So I could give up personal hygiene for the day but not 90 minutes of email?  Tragic, not memorable.

So I piled on the padding and trodded off to play!

Our pond is frozen so we could sled down the hill onto the pond for the first time since we've lived here!  That was memorable.  There was still whining and moaning and I'm cold and there's snow in my boot and make the dog quit stepping on my sled and all the usual crap of parenting. But we were making memories.

My fire is fueled. Memories are far more fun. I came in and saw a Tweet that Seth Godin still has tickets available for his speech next week in NY. I picked up the phone and asked my boss if he'd pay for me to go! Then I called my BFF to see if she'd go with me since her birthday is coming up. I called her and said, "Hey, you want to go on an adventure?"

Yep, that's me. 2010 Adventure Girl. Making Memories. Livin' life outloud with some downhill sledding action!

(Yes, the pictures are crap for quality. I was freezing trying to use an iphone which means I had to take my gloves off! Don't judge, this isn't a photo contest!)