Usually I write fact-driven blog articles about news and trends in energy, environment, sustainability, etc. to inform and prepare you for what’s new. I hope I’ve been helpful. But I want to take this opportunity to be a little different and share some personal thoughts for 2017 and beyond. Some of this is based on the recent presidential election and what it may do to our livelihoods, and some independent of that.
I want to start off by sharing with you an unusual activity I really enjoy doing, something unconventional. I am 60 years old, yet I play in a pickup, full-court basketball game weekly and I love it. I go up mainly against guys who are less than half my age. This is certainly not a “normal” activity given my age and body type (I am not in the best of cardiovascular shape and, yes, a bit overweight), and friends and family try to convince me to stop.
But I love it so much. The competition, the intensity, the camaraderie. At the end of an evening of basketball, when I walk to my car and into the night and even the next morning – even when I’m very sore – I feel absolutely great. Why does it make me feel so good? I don’t know. The physicians out there may say that the intense activities on the court and all causes me to produce endorphins that lift my mood, presumably to counter the pain. Maybe some who are very religious may say that doing such a physical activity prolongs life (of paramount importance) and God is participating in a positive feedback loop. I happen to subscribe to another theory (and it’s just a theory) that one of the worst things a person can do is be in a rut. Do the same thing day after day, week after week, year after year. From an evolutionary point of view, it is hard for a species to survive if it does the same things all the time. So I think the good feelings from my brain is an evolutionary reward to encourage change. Again, just my guess.
As if this were not enough, I also participate in another activity that is a bit unconventional for someone like me, dancing, specifically Israeli dancing, on a regular basis. 60-year old men generally do not go out dancing; we sit by the TV and watch ball games and movies and talking heads. But again, I find it fun and uplifting, too.
So, as we enter a new year which is often a time when we self-evaluate and think about our lives, I want to urge each and every one of you to pledge to do something a little unconventional this year. No, it doesn’t have to be playing basketball or doing Israeli dancing (they’re certainly not for everyone). Perhaps it’s saying one or two evenings a week you will not sit on the couch and watch TV, but instead read classic old books or study new philosophies or take a course in a new subject or spend more time with your kids or do a volunteer activity with other kids or groups or be involved in local (or national) politics, or pick up that musical instrument you always liked or have not played since high school. Do any of these as a different, regular activity in 2017.
And the same for your careers. Declare in 2017 you will do something a little different; study something you normally do not get too deep into, or expand your comfort zone in your workload and go down a different “route” to benefit your company, or look into doing something new in the office.
Whether personal or professional or both, doing things unconventionally in 2017 should get your endorphins flowing, make you a little more nimble, and make yourself happier and more productive.
Thank you very much for allowing this indulgence. Have a happy, productive, unconventional 2017.