Merry Christmas to you and yours! Here in Sweden we had our celebration yesterday. Good food was eaten, toys were opened, and the merriness was abundant.
By this I mean I’m half way between being 25 and 30, and I would like to check in and see how I’m doing on my 30 before 30 list.
Ideally, I’d be half way through…
- Topping off my 25 before 25 list means two international trips. One to Italy and one to Greece, these have yet to be completed or even booked. Though I have gotten married, watched some IMDb movies, and found a great lasagna recipe. I’m still working on running a marathon, painting a painting, learning to play the guitar and doing a handstand push-up. 3/9 – not quite half.
- There are 20 items on my Things to do in Sweden list, and I have completed 16 of them. Though I’ve only posted on 11, so stay tuned. I’m definitely more than half way done on this one, so that feels good.
- Still going strong on reading a book a month.
- I’ve only read 10 of the 24 books that I own and have not yet read, so that’s certainly not half way.
- And I have yet to read a single one of Francine’s “Books to be Read Immediately”.
- I have my Swedish driver’s licence.
- As well as my Swedish passport.
- I have not seen the Grand Canyon.
- Nor have I gone to Vegas.
- Evelina and I went to Iceland on our honeymoon. We highly recommend the helicopter rides.
- I still need to build a savings plan in order to strictly follow it.
- My family tree is still just a seed, in need of soil, water and sunshine. To be honest, I haven’t even been to the store to buy the seed. That is to say, I haven’t even begun.
- I did my best running å-loppet this summer, but my training was not up to par (a.k.a. non existant).
- The long list of posts that I’ve promised to write is not so long anymore, I only have 8 of 26 posts to write to get everything wrapped up and tied with a bow.
- Four of five things to DIM (do it myself) off of Pintrest ain’t bad, I’m definitely pleased to be well on my way with this one.
- No cruises completed or planned, unfortunatley.
- With one of ten movies watched, I can’t exactly claim to be half way on my IMDb movie list.
- And zero of five Nordic movies watched is certainly not the percentage we were looking for.
- I have started my university studies, soon to be 1/3 of the way through my degree, so this one is definitely a check plus.
- Baking a princess cake is still squarely in the “To Do” column.
- Seven of ten things to cook from Eggtons blog is a great place to be at my half way point.
- No barking dogs here.
- I did get a brand spankin’ new pair of glasses, that time I accidentally got an eye infection. (Does anyone purposefully get an eye infection…?)
- No graduation to attend yet.
- And no Ice Hotel visits.
- No Northern Light sightings.
- And I am a long way off from getting 100 burpees in.
- Of course, that big birthday surprise was an event to remember! Cross that one off the list.
- There’s no need to start planning my big birthday bash yet.
- My 35 before 35 list is also still a long way off.
With only 6 things completed, and 4 items half way completed I’m more than a stone’s throw away from the halfway point on this list. That’s okay though, still two and a half years to go!
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Seven words, one concept, discussed in many of my childhood classrooms. Today I am in the position to choose. To choose where I want to live my life. Where I can find my liberty and pursue my happiness. A country where equality is a priority. Where respect is a valued concept.
I choose to live in a place that has free education. I choose to live in a country whose minimum wage provides a respectable standard of living. I choose somewhere in which affordable healthcare is a cornerstone. I choose a woman’s right to choose exactly what healthcare she requires. I choose legal marriage between whichever two people who together think they can beat the odds. I choose over one year of paid parental leave. I choose a border policy aimed in aiding and supporting those people who need it most. This is my pursuit of happiness.
Forever an American, I did make the choice over six years ago to move over seas. Tonight, my fellow Americans have also made their choice. “While progress isn’t guaranteed each of us has the power to choose our path. Not just on nights like this but every day in between,” as my main man Obama said. The ability to choose, to vote, is an amazing power, Obama phrased it well: it is a beautiful and fragile gift.
Though tonight’s election results are not enticing me to a quick homecoming, I do hope that America can move forward with “respect, empathy and kinship” among all Americans. Because who says it better than Barack Obama?
Now, my avid blog readers will already know the ending of this story, but I’m gong to tell it anyway. The journey is the destination, man.
I don’t know if you’ve explored the baby side of social media recently, but according to that, gender reveal parties are all the rage. From the get go it sounded to me like an awesome opportunity to eat cool colored cake, so I was in.
Gender reveal parties can be done one of two ways. Either a special someone is designated to find out the gender of the coming baby, keep that a secret from the couple and all other humans, and help make the appropriate color schemed surprise. Or the couple finds out the gender of the baby and no one else knows until the big reveal during the party. Evelina and I went with the latter option.
After deciding that we needed to figure out how to do the big reveal. Pop a balloon filled with blue or pink confetti, open a present/box whose contents reveal the gender, be sprayed by our loved ones with the correct color of paint…the list is almost endless. We went with the tried and true method of cutting into a cake, and letting the cake do the talking.
Now, for games and entertainment. A prerequisite of attendance was a specific dress code, everyone had to wear pink or blue, depending on which gender they thought the baby would be. When our guests arrived they were conveniently divided into two teams as determined by their clothing choice. Before dinner was served our guests could guess the baby’s name, by writing it on the appropriate colored paper. We also played a quiz game where Evelina and I had written questions about common superstitions about pregnancy symptoms that can reveal the baby’s gender. Each team answered the questions, and the winning team won the honor of being victorious.
After dinner it was time for dessert, or as we say in Sweden, fika! Since Evelina and I knew the gender of our little one, we were the ones to order the cake to match, covered in white with the words “It’s a…” glazed on top. That evening our guests gathered round in suspense as we cut into the cake, finally revealing that we were expecting a little girl!
While on my blogging sabbatical Evelina and I travelled to the good old U S of A. We attended my cousin Maegan’s wedding, celebrated the Fourth of July, went kayaking, ate frozen yogurt, and lots of other summery fun things.
It’s nice to reminisce on long summer days, especially now that the darkness has fallen upon Sweden as winter quickly approaches.
I sort of can’t believe it.
- There are full humans that have existed for a shorter period of time than I have lived in Sweden.
- I meet people today who I only ever speak Swedish with. Never English.
- I sing along with all the annoying jingles on the radio – in my second language.
- I fika regularly and don’t get hung up about it.
- I can name (and have visited) more than five cities in Sweden.
It’s madness. What once seemed unusual and extraordinary has become just a day in the life.
My wife recently suggested that I cut down on my activities. It was really good advice. What she was getting at is that I do a lot of things, activities we’ll call them, though many of these activities are self-imposed “things to do”. I agree, I have a lot on my plate. Many of these “things to do” do not need to get done, or certainly not right now, today.
I’ve decided to prioritize just a few things, and be sure to rock these things.
The title of this post is FOCUS. Both because I am narrowing my FOCUS to just three things: work, play & PN. But also because the name of the PN team I’m in is called team FOCUS. It all fits in nicely.
Thus far I’ve posted three PN posts under that PN tab up top, (one, two and three – if you’re interested). I’m really enjoying the program. If you’ve read the posts you’ll recal that we focus on three things in PN (that’s where I got the magic number three from – no historical mythological connections here). The three PN things we FOCUS on are: lesson, habit & workout.
I’m extrapolating this tactic to the other areas of my life. Hopefully to find some personal balance and success in my endeavors. What this means for the blog: in the coming months I will be posting less. I post about 7 posts per month, but for at least the next three months I’ll be posting fewer than that. I certainly enjoy writing and posting, so occasionally writing a blog post will fall under the category of “fun”. But I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to post a particular post at a particular time.
See you in the fall! When I’ll be sure to tell you all about how much I’ve rocked my work, play & PN over the summer.