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Living Unabashedly from the Top of Kilimanjaro

Why "Unabashedly" on a Introvert's website? Because we are tired of being bottled up, of giving a shit about things we shouldn't let take control of our life. Perhaps it's time to lead OUR life!

Finally...relaxed and enjoying life on my terms.

For years I stifled my thoughts. I ruminated over my concerns. I critiqued myself and most everything I did.

It was self-defeating. It was crippling. It was exhausting.

But in the past couple of years, with the support of family, therapists, coaches, introspective writing, and work managers, I've reflected, become more aware of who I am, and have proudly embraced my self.

I'm shy. I'm an introvert. And I have addictive tendencies. And in part because of those things, I'm also caring, thoughtful, determined, creative, loyal, and a bit silly. Now, I'm striving to live Beyond Introversion. I'm aiming to live UNABASHEDLY.

My amazing writing coach, Roger Leslie, shared that phrase with me. But what does it mean?

Most of us are taught to be unselfish. To think of others first, to give to others, to make space for others' thoughts and perspectives. For a shy, reserved introvert like me, it was easy to embrace this license to recede into the background.

But this alone did not make me happy. Not completely. And I don't think I was the best husband, parent, leader, or co-worker through this approach.

First and foremost, we must take care of ourselves. Be a bit selfish! Being healthy, happy, and self-aware will help us to be strong, supportive, authentic, and confident to both contribute and lead, as well as also to follow and support.

Living Unabashedly!

In my quest, I've identified 10 Ways to Live Unabashedly:

  1. Be mindful (aware) of my body- choose to eat what, when, and how much I truly want.

  2. PST! Positive Self Talk- It might sound like malarkey, but instead of talking about my pudgy stomach or the chores I didn't do, I remind myself of my accomplishments, my mindfulness, my happiness. Having a cheerleader inside my head is much better than living with a nagging critic 24/7.

  3. Consider my view/position on topics and then, SHARE- The room needs my voice.

  4. Set big goals- for me: 1) health, 2) family, 3) writing, 4) financial control. Then set 3-5 smaller quarterly goals for each. I put them in my OmniFocus planner so I don't forget. I review my progress periodically and then celebrate success.

  5. Identify what makes me happy- family time, reading, writing - and be sure to carve out time for these. Review bucket lists and hobbies and passions of old!

  6. Exercise flexibility- choose the kind of exercise I like and do as much as I like. Don't run if I don't want to. Don't chase speed and distance markers if I don't want to. Creating a variety and selecting what I want to do is empowering and fun. I'm doing some light running, elliptical, Pilates Reformer, and Yoga every week. Aahhh!

  7. Seek, create, and enjoy social situations I like- I like substantive conversations and game nights with family and small groups of friends. I've probably had more enjoyable 1-on-1 lunches with work friends since I retired than I did in years at work.

  8. Conversely, don't get trapped in social situations I don't like- I have disavowed large cocktail parties with strangers or socials of any size with overpowering, disrespectful people.

  9. No regrets- I don't want to reflect back on a meeting, a party, a relationship, or life in general wishing I'd done something differently. If I adhere to who I am and live unabashedly, I should have no regrets.

  10. Be in the moment and ENJOY- Whatever I'm doing, I'm trying to be in the moment and enjoy it, without regard to what others might think. Truly, why should I care if others look strangely upon my choices. They are my choices - for me. And life is too short.

Like many things, this is a journey. But my Blood Pressure is down to 114/62, my resting Pulse is 45, and my family and friends say they haven't seen my calmer or happier, so I must be doing something right!


EXTRAS include:

  • Climbing KILI: an update on my journey with my daughter in preparing to climb Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, in 2020. This month, Evaluating Options.

  • Our Day: saluting a nationally recognized day that celebrates an aspect important to us introverts. September 21st is National Dance Day!

  • INTROVERTLink: a weekly link to insightful news and views for Introverts. This week's link shares a Be Fully and Unabashedly What You Truly, and Already, Are.

  • Aspects in Artan introvert’s perspective on a new piece of inspirational art each month. THIS MONTH'S IS MY FAVORITE COLLAGE...THE TRAVELER!

CLIMBING KILI- Choices, Choices, Choices...

Climbing Kilimanjaro - Africa's tallest point at 19,341ft - includes a 5-8 day trek through 5 distinct climates (Bushland, Rainforest, Heather, Alpine Desert, and Arctic)

As my daughter, Madolyn, and I contemplate our Kilimanjaro trek, it's time to evaluate options:

Many different routes up and down Kili, each with its own pros/cons.

Choose the Climb- there are six routes up Africa's tallest mountain and several more derivations. We are aiming to narrow our focus based on our primary criteria:

  1. Provides greatest likelihood we will reach the summit

  2. Offers the most diverse and beautiful scenery including alongside glaciers

  3. Easiest on the body. While there's no true mountain climbing, some trails are steeper than others and can raise havoc on joints and bones

  4. Comfortable accommodations on the trail but also in the village before and after.

  5. Cost

So we've our routes to two:

Amazing scenery trekking alongside a melting glacier!

  1. Marangu: only trail with cabins (vs. tents) and called "Coca-Cola Trail" for its ease and popularity. Shortest trek (typically 6 days) so costs are lower.

  2. Machame: called the "Bourbon Trail" for its relative challenge, but it's 8 days which helps to acclimatize for the higher altitudes and therefore chances of summiting are best. Treks alongside glaciers and takes different route down so scenery is best.

So leaning toward Machame but seeking input from past Kili trekkers!

The Summit! 40-80% of hikers reach the top, depending on route.

We are also learning more about training for our trek. Acclimatization is KING: getting to the top is most dependent upon how your body may handle the higher altitudes. Hence, longer climbs are better. But older, heavier people theoretically have just as good a chance to summit as younger, fitness buffs.

However, to improve our chances and the condition we may be in when we finish, two training areas seem to be recommended:

Acclimatization is the key! The solution is to go slow to help your body adjust to high altitudes.

  1. Cardio: improved overall fitness condition will help for those long days (6-8 days of 4-6hrs of hiking each day) and improve our confidence, which will be critical on the exhausting, high-altitude surge to the top. So walking, running, elliptical are all recommended.

  2. Stairs: while vertical climbing is not part of Kili, some sections can require crawling and some sections appear to be rough on the knees, especially descending from the peak. So StairMaster or building stairs up and down will help in conditioning and knee and bone survival.

As training progresses, tackling these exercises in our hiking boots and with 20lb day packs will also prepare us for the expedition ahead.

For the next couple of months we will be further researching our options in order to book our route and trekking agents, who coordinate the details before and during our trek, by early 2020.

It's all quite surreal at this point. But the research is building excitement and once we book arrangements, we will have 6-7 months to train for the challenge ahead in August.


September 21st is NATIONAL DANCE DAY!

A slow dance with my bride as I recover from shoulder surgery.

September 21st is National Dance Day. I found this to be perfectly aligned with this week's theme of Living Unabashedly. Dancing, as much as any time, brings out one's authentic, untamed self. I never took ballroom dancing as a kid and attempted dance classes with my wife years ago before my uncoordinated self overwhelmed my desire to do that for her. Yet, when I'm at a Wedding or Bat Mitzvah party, I'm ready to let loose, just moving and shaking no matter how I can. You'll find me on the floor most of the night (except for line dances) jumping and swaying and singing and living unabashedly!


by Julie Daley / The Blog

Nothing reveals "living unabashedly" like a smile. And no one is more carefree and authentic as a kid!

Julie's post is spot on and well aligned with our theme this week. My favorite excerpt:

"We have the ability to self-reflect and when we are young we tend to come to believe who and what we are is not enough, is flawed, is in some way wrong. We create false identities to cover up this deep wounding around our sense of worth.
Consider how much energy it takes to cover up who you really are, constantly try to convince yourself that who you are pretending to be is who you really are, then attempting to be that in the world."

She provides some excellent observations for everyone, with a specific section addressing women's particular challenges. A great read!

ASPECTS IN ART: The Traveler

I hope this added content provides you with some insights, inspiration, and perhaps a chuckle too! If you enjoyed...please SHARE!

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