The Year With Two Summers

One tree

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

~Albert Camus

This year is my 29th year on earth, and I’ve decided to make it the most memorable and remarkable year I’ve ever had.  My entire adult life I have felt the unsettling feeling that I am not living up to my potential, and finally — just this year — that feeling is gone.  I’m cruising, not treading water like before.

The choice to build a blog emerged as part of a personal renaissance of sorts, a shift in priorities that has changed my life dramatically over the last year or so.  I’ve finally reached a point where I’m organized and clear-headed enough to be continuously moving towards what I really want in life.  I’m learning a language, getting in shape, getting fantastically organized, and honing skills I’ve long neglected.

Creating and nurturing Raptitude has been one of the most rewarding ventures I’ve ever undertaken.  I’ve dropped all sorts of unnecessary and under-exciting activities from my life in order to create time to write.  I have never been this happy, but I’ve also never been this busy.

The time I spend writing is certainly time well-spent, but it sure does take a lot of it.  My process is slow: the average Raptitude article is about 1600-1800 words and takes four to six hours of writing and editing time.  For a while now I’ve been on a schedule of three per week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday.)  Investing twenty-some hours a week into Raptitude is something I am absolutely willing and able to do right now, but those three articles (and the promotional work that goes along with them) tend to take all of that time.

I want to keep most of it a surprise, but I’ve got huge plans for Raptitude, and I need time to create more high-quality content, as well as explore future endeavors.  As it stands now, I have no articles in reserve, so I’m only one personal emergency away from a stagnant blog.  I’m working a full-time job too, and though this current pace is (barely) manageable, it does not leave me much room to be working on other projects, or to write some in-case-of-emergency articles.

Now the cool part

There is another reason I’m overwhelmingly busy.  I’ll disclose the details later, but I’m planning an epic trip to the southern hemisphere.  Beginning this October, I will spend a year in a foreign country where I don’t know anybody, blogging as I go.  I want to throw myself into a new nation, explore the people and places there, and report my findings.  I’m tremendously excited about this, but there are about a thousand things to do first to make it happen.

In order to continue to bring you top-notch writing, I’m going to alter the schedule a bit, starting next week: full-length articles on Monday and Thursday morning (North America time) and an occasional smaller post or two on the other three weekdays.  I just want to create a little breathing room.  Many of my articles I finish only minutes away from my self-imposed (but strict) deadline.  This is not good enough; many of them deserve an extra revision, and I’d like to have them ready to go a few days early.

This will continue through the summer at least, and then I’ll re-evaluate what is feasible time-wise.  Quality is more important to me than quantity, and I don’t want to release any rushed articles, and I absolutely refuse to let this blog fall behind my chosen schedule.  I appreciate each and every one of you, dear readers, I won’t let you down.

Two Summers

Here in the Canadian Prairies, summertime is almost upon us.  That’s a big deal these parts, seeing as how winter is five deadening months long.  I love the summer so much, and it’s just so short here.  I get such a buzz from an approaching summer; it has that kid-on-Christmas-Eve sort of feeling to it.

But this time, I get two summers in a row.  In the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed, and I’ll be leaving here as the leaves are falling, and arriving there as the tulips (or whatever) are blooming.  So I’m vibrating with excitement.

To steal a line from Paul Simon, this is the spring time of my life.

R

***

In other news…

Experiment No. 2 is going strong, comrades!  I’m flinging kettlebells all over the place in here.  Check out my Experiment Log.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this post.

Photo by kwerfeldein



Jess May 27, 2009 at 2:30 am

Congratulations on your trip, that’s so exciting! Can’t wait to hear what all you’ve got planned for it!

Glad to see the kettleball is coming along nicely – my stepmum and I are going to start using them soon.

And lastly, do you take all those photographs? They’re really nice.

Jess’s last blog post..A Little Bit of Wisdom

Jay Schryer May 27, 2009 at 4:27 am

Wow! Exciting stuff, David! I’m jealous. If I had my way, that’s the way I’d spend all of my years – in eternal Summer. Which country are you going to?

Jay Schryer’s last blog post..Mama I’m Coming Home

Roger - A Content Life May 27, 2009 at 6:57 am

David,

You’re not a good writer – you’re a GREAT writer. I have told several of my friends this very fact. I don’t know what your day job is but if it doesn’t involve writing, I think you’ve been wasting your time.

I’m very excited about your plans and now I’m really curious about all the other plans you have for the blog. :)

Keep up the great work!!

Roger – A Content Life’s last blog post..Meditation for Beginners (Week 4) – Loving-Kindness Meditation

Lisis May 27, 2009 at 7:49 am

Hey, David! I think a year with two summers sounds fantastic! I’ve often thought about living in Vermont for spring through fall, then spending the winters in Costa Rica. (I think I may be allergic to snow and any temps below 50 degrees!)

I’m going to have to agree with Roger’s point above: if you aren’t writing for a living, you must be wasting the rest of your time, because your work is exquisite!

I look forward to seeing pictures of your epic journey (and your kettlebell experiment).

;-)

Lisis’s last blog post..Follow Me Over To Urban Monk

Sherri (Serene Journey) May 27, 2009 at 8:17 am

Hey David
This is so exciting! Two summers certainly beats two winters :) I very much look forward to your stories from abroad and the pics to go with it!
Congrats on finding your groove and choosing to do things that are making you so happy! :)

Sherri (Serene Journey)’s last blog post..How To Choose Goals And Ensure Success

David May 27, 2009 at 8:46 am

Jess — I have convinced my mom to try out kettlebells too. No, I generally don’t take the photographs, I wish I was that good. They are almost all Creative Commons photos from Flickr. This one was taken by a great photographer by the handle of kwerfeldein. Check out his other work.

Jay — Oh I love summer so much. Where I live, the winters are brutally cold. We’re talking Siberian cold. And long. Being able to walk out the door without putting on extra clothes is so precious to me. I will announce my destination in a future post.

Roger and Lisis — Wow, thank you. At the moment I do not make a living writing. For most of my life I didn’t think it was feasible to do what I love for a living, so I made other plans. Only within the last year or so, I’ve begun to see far more possibilities. I’m just getting started, but I plan to be fully self-employed within a few years. Writing will be an integral part of it.

Sherri — Thanks Sherri. You’ll see tons of photos, I promise. At least Manitoba is getting some great weather finally. It’s a beautiful day today.

Writer Dad May 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

Wow, David. That sounds really really super duper cool. I’d love to travel. I can’t wait until life and opportunity agree to meet in the middle on that one for me. I look forward to seeing where life takes you.

Writer Dad’s last blog post..How to Easily Keep Your Family Connected in 20 Minutes a Day

Positively Present May 27, 2009 at 9:50 am

This sounds very exciting! I’m really looking forward to the new schedule and the big things in store for Raptitude! And I’m very excited for you, getting two summers. In my 25 years, I’ve never had that and I LOVE summer!!!

Positively Present’s last blog post..living my happily ever after now

Nicole May 27, 2009 at 10:48 am

You say you’ve never been this busy and happy. Nor have you been living up to your potential until now.

I wonder if in order to do the latter people need to find the former?

Nicole’s last blog post..character flaws and their naysayers

David May 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Sean and Dani — I am super duper excited. It’s still quite a way off, but I’m sure the time will fly by. Summer’s like that. Of course.

Nicole — There is a weird relationship between those things, I’m still trying to figure it out. This is the way it’s working for me: I got busy on activities that bring me closer to my potential, and spending my time that way makes me happy.

Josh Hanagarne May 27, 2009 at 2:49 pm

David, I’m going to find a way to skip town and come hang out with you down south. We’ll snatch our kbs all the way through the Amazon.

Josh Hanagarne’s last blog post..10 Essential Strength Books: Part 5 – The Art Of Expressing The Human Body

suzen May 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Hi David!
Thanks so much for the visit and comments on my blog! I am so excited for you and your plans – how wonderfully adventurous! Much like your story, my blog evolved out of my own personal renaissance as well. Everything around us changes and I think it is great that we, too, have the opportunity. Whether its reinventing, recreating or refreshing one’s self, the actual doing of it really DOES bring a zestful happiness as you are experiencing! I’ll be following your blog and eagerly awaiting the travel blogs! Go for it! Your cheering fan base expanded by one today – no doubt many many more in the near future! Excellent writing!

suzen’s last blog post..The Trip to Contentment

Nadia - Happy Lotus May 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Hi David,

Good for you for going after what you want and making the changes that you feel are in line with what works for you. As for your travels, I have no doubt you will have lots of fun. I have been fortunate to have traveled the world and it is the best education ever! :)

Nadia – Happy Lotus’s last blog post..Got Optimism?

Tim May 27, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Hey David:

Congratulations on your opportunities! I can really identify with your blog challenges – I am a pretty new blogger and have put a great deal of thought into what I write and my blog direction and design. I’ve had plenty of conversations with friends and colleages who want to create a Website/blog/business, but it has only been until recently (now that I am in transition between jobs) that I realize just how difficult this is. Best wishes on your new direction – I’m very curious to find out where you are headed.

Tim’s last blog post..Kim and Jason Escaping Adulthood

ann elise May 28, 2009 at 5:37 am

Oh David,

I am very excited for you. There are so many exciting possibilities in the Southern Hemisphere… South America, Africa, Australia. It would be so hard to choose where to go.

Then again, why choose?

I’ll be joining the others, travelling vicariously through your blog.

ann elise’s last blog post..30-day meditation commitment update #1

David May 28, 2009 at 6:33 am

Josh — Hey Josh, sounds good. The Amazon is definitely on my list, but it won’t be my destination this time around. I’m probably going to have to find a KB down there, I’m not going to take one. Or maybe I’ll do Naked Warrior only.

Suzen — Hi Suzen, and thank you! Welcome to Raptitude, and its cheering fan base :) Hope to hear more from you.

Nadia — This is something I could not have done a few years ago. I didn’t have the discipline to save, or the courage to leave my career and make a life somewhere else. I know there will be some challenging parts, but that’s part of the reason for going. One day I will get to India, too.

Tim — Yeah I am pleased with my decision to cut back to two main articles a week. It will give me a chance to really refine them and get ahead a bit. It’s more important for me to stay consistent and good than to post more often. I envy people who can write posts in an hour, but at this point I’m not even close to that.

Ann Elise — You’re right, why choose? I’ve got a growing list of destinations I am determined to make it to, but I still have to choose one at a time. I’m happy to be taking you all with me, in a virtual sense :)

Laurie | Express Yourself to Success May 28, 2009 at 6:45 am

How exciting! And to take us with you via your blog will be such a treat. I’m looking forward to our eAdventure. :)

Laurie | Express Yourself to Success’s last blog post..The Importance of Greeting Others in the First 90-Seconds

Lori May 28, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Hi David~

I’m impressed to learn you maintain this site and have a full-time job. The commitment you’ve made to your vision is just the inspiration I needed today. (Especially since I’ve gathered that you and I have a lot in common). Thanks for what you do. I’m looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures!

Also, regarding people who write posts in an hour: I think that’s great, and I don’t mean to take anything away from them. But most articles that involve research and undergo proper editing take far longer than that–which is why your content is so amazing :)

Lori

Lori’s last blog post..Inspiring Video: Find Your Inner Entrepreneur and Change the World

David May 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Laurie — I’m pleased to have such gracious people as an audience to my adventure. Thanks.

Lori — Hi Lori, and thank you. I’m slowly getting the hang of the writing process, but I think the most important part is to just create a little bit of space between writing content and posting it. Until now I’ve been getting it up just in time. I’ll never get articles done in an hour, but I suspect I’ll get a lot faster as I get more experience behind me. I’m still a real noob when it comes to writing. I wrote my first article seventy-five days ago.

Always good to hear from you :)

Veronica Gran May 31, 2009 at 5:53 am

Hey David!!

Here Vero from Spain. Congratulations for your blog!! I am living my second summer too and I feel happy with it!
Nice to read that you feel good.

Thanks for sharing!!

Smarti June 4, 2009 at 1:05 am

Wonderlust! It’s sneaky and it’s chronic. Once you have it you can’t get rid of it. So you might as well taylor your aptitudes and wants and needs around it. For it will forever drive you to new sunrises, around interesting masses of humanity, and into its web. I wish you good travels, interesting companionships, and may you be into the next parrallel before writer’s block ever figures out where you are. Many people are cheering you on from a thousand points of light. Via con Dios!

David June 4, 2009 at 6:12 am

Thanks, Smarti. I have the bug, that’s for sure. I feel a very strong need to explore the earth’s surface, and get to know the people on it. I’ll take you all with me, virtually.

Vero, thank you and enjoy your second summer!

Jared June 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Amazing quote, I used the same quote to inspire an article way back in Jan, In the midst of winter: finding my invincible summer

I too hate winters!! I live in the Midwest, Kansas City, MO. Cold winters hot as hell summers.

Today is my last day of school and tomorrow my wife and I are going to Curacao for week. I too am looking forward to writing more. I really think a good balance is important. Even though the last few years (schedule wise) have been the busiest of my life, they sure don’t feel like it. I’m living more in the moment than ever and am growing spiritually daily!
.-= Jared´s last blog ..Update 06-10-09 =-.

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