De-Feeted, but Not Defeated. (Yeah, that just happened.)

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I was flying high on Christmas Day.

I’d just graduated a client to open a ton of free time heading into prime hiking season. My 3-1-3 plan (three days work, one day service, three days play) was within reach.

On Christmas, I flew up Camelback mountain, joked with Camelback Santa and his elves, and helped him haul his stuff down the mountain after his shift. Winter was all set to rock.

And then… Crunch.

On a light hike with two guys and a 7-year-old the next day, I mis-stepped and badly sprained my ankle. The next morning, I woke up with a cold I wouldn’t shake for two weeks.

The ankle sprain – which is still with me – threw me for a loop. I was ready to live big. Big hikes. Big trips. Big everything.

Suddenly, a Winter of playing in the desert transformed into weeks watching TV on my arse. I’d never watched so much college football in my life. Boohoo…

We met our service requirement by collecting $1500 and 2000 clothing items for Tempe teens at the Neighborhood Olympics.

Then football season ended.

Then a two-week minimalism project ended.

Then I got my taxes done. In January.

Then, de-feeted, I became defeated. (See what I did there?)

Finally, I realized that I was like way too attached to my ankle – not just physically, obvi, but emotionally too. My well-being was tied to walking and I needed options for when walking wasn’t one.

A Wasted Winter.

The injury came right around New Year’s Eve – a time for reflection, and anticipation, and making bullshit promises to ourselves. I’ve never been one for big hairy audacious resolutions.

I prefer to set intentions for incremental progress.

My injury forced me to do just that. I needed to fill three days of play with activities that didn’t require good weather, interesting landscapes, and a healthy body – none of which are guaranteed to us. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Work that core, ladies!

My calves are always lookin’ good thanks to Camelback, but my body is a little too soft for shirtless hiking selfies. Now, I’m working out nearly daily with weights or in yoga. Even if it’s just a half-hour, I stay active to stay happy and to defend against early onset dadbod.

2. Books, Jerry. Books.

I used to run at Tempe Town Lake or work at Cartel just to get out of the house. With a bad ankle and a light workload, I’ve discovered books as an excuse to be among humans. It turns out you can read in coffee shops and parks!

I’ve still got silly Game of Thrones for bedtime and a stack of spiritual books for the morning. Now, I’ve committed to a meatier read for times I need to get my body into public or into my hammock.

3. Do this more.

I was once asked in a job interview how many words I’d written. My answer: Most of them? In 15 years as a professional, I’ve never written so little for my job. I’m picking up the slack with more journaling, more blogging here, and more professional posting to The DRIVE and to Medium.

Side note: The blogging isn’t always easy. I’ve been working on this post for three months and I’m still not happy with it. Thanks for sticking with it!

Waste Not, Want Not.

These are not resolutions. They’re not measurable goals. I’m not setting out to lose 10 pounds, read a book a month, or sign a publishing deal. (Unless you know a publisher…?)

They’re just intentions.

I salvaged a wasted Winter by laying the groundwork for good things to happen. I dusted off my free weights and found a yoga studio. I picked up a few meatier reads at Bookmans – starting with 1984 in honor of you know who.

When I sprained my ankle, I didn’t know what to do to stay sane. Now, I know when, where, and how to do the good stuff when the need for good stuff arises.

Winter ended last week with PHX Startup Week and the Oscar ceremony.

Sitting on my patio, I think how excited I am for Spring.

The garden is producing. The sunsets are rockin’. My calendar is filled with staycations downtown plus weekend trips to hike Chiricahua National Monument, kayak the Colorado River, and backpack across Catalina Island.

That last one should be especially epic. I just hope my ankle is ready to haul around a forty-pound pack for four days.

If not, thanks to an un-wasted Winter, I’ve got fallback options now.

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On his only hike of the season, the male of the species spots two females approaching on the horizon, sucks in his gut, and prepares his opening line. Thus, the mating ritual of Hominidae Meanderus begins.

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