Someone recently asked me what I’m excited about. “Oh, I don’t know,” I lied. Not because I didn’t have an answer. I just hadn’t articulated it yet.
After further deliberation, here is my answer:
- Two of my children becoming local track stars. My wife registered our 10 year-old daughter into track this spring. While competing against girls in junior high, she finished first in all age groups in both the mile and 400 meter. By a wide margin. It was exhilarating to watch. Immediately after, her coach ran into the stands to tell my wife and I how proud and impressed he was with our daughter. “We’re going to get her to the state finals!” he exclaimed. A week later, that same daughter plus my eight year old daughter finished first and third respectively in a small 5k race. Many of the adults were surprised by their showing and equally complimented them. More than just being winners, unexpectedly having your posterity excel at something is ineffable.
- My weekly travel column. Over the last 18 months, this bundle of joy for a small but influential magazine has taken me to three different continents, over a dozen destinations, many remarkable meals, even more adventure, and introduced me to a lot of interesting people. After publishing 56 columns, South Africa, Newfoundland, and Oregon are standouts so far. Next up: Hiking The Alps, Glacier National Park, Banff, Costa Rica, Japan, and if the stars align, Antarctica! Either way, I’m head over heals for planet earth.
- Professional affirmation. There’s this great Disney adaptation of Aesop’s fable on the value of hard work and planning ahead. Well, I went partial-Grasshopper recently and paid the price this winter. The good news is the experience made me hungry again, so I reached out to lots of new people and landed several new clients. On top of that, I’ve increased my number of speaking and coaching engagements, which is a wonderful way to feel professionally valued, appreciated, and respected for the writing-related things I’ve learned over the last 11 years.
- The Manthology Show. I launched this podcast with two of my friends last month. Here is the latest episode. Although still budding with a small following, it’s a lot of fun to record and one of the highlights of my week. You should listen to it. I think you might like it. In addition to growing into what we hope is a vibrant, smart, and playful community of men who are at least trying, we ultimately hope to host epic field trips once or twice a year as an excuse to make new friends.
- Board sports. While working on a story to be published later this year, I fell in love with snowboarding again this winter. So much so that I spent 15 days on the mountain, which — as you might have guessed — contributed to my aforementioned Grasshopper status. Nevertheless, my family and I all rode skate or long boards to a nearby skate park the other day (boys rode their bikes). Last year I wake surfed for the first time. And this weekend we all went paddleboarding on the Provo River to Utah Lake. Whether surfing or something else, I really enjoy board sports, even though I’m average at best.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: New foods my wife cooked up (pepperoncini beef sandwiches, chicken valentino, and almond cherry cupcakes). Corn Hole and Smash Ball, both of which have overtaken horseshoes and croquet as my favorite lawn sports. This song.