Category Archives: focus

I can’t hear you

via Daily Prompt: Noise

What?

Garbled

Covered and muted

Distracted

Sounds

Thoughts

Movement

Outside noise

Noise in my head

Sorting

FOCUS!

Camping

Solitude

Bird song

Wind song

Frogs

Coyotes

Only 1 song in head

Your message is in the song

I love you too!

Inhale

Exhale

Brace.

Take the song with me

Face the world

Face the noise.

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Poor Jack

So of COURSE I watched “This is Us” after the Super Bowl.  Those of you who have not gotten sucked into this TV show, this is the gist of it.  Jack and Rebecca are pregnant with (OMG) triplets.  A newborn baby is delivered to a firehouse and abandoned.  One of the triplets doesn’t make it, and Jack and Rebecca take the orphaned baby home with them.  The newborn is black and Jack and Rebecca’s family is white.  The action takes place in the present when all the kids are now 37 years old.  Through the use of flashbacks and narratives, we discover the back stories of all the kids.  We know that their dad dies tragically.  We don’t know how but we’re given hints throughout the season.

Now EVERYONE loves Jack.  He’s wise, kind, funny and smart.  He’s adventurous and optimistic.  Even when we find out he’s an alcoholic, we forgive him and care about him.  He adores his kids and will do anything for them to make sure they become great adults.  Rebecca is also wise and smart.  She follows Jack into all sorts of adventures with no trepidation.  She’s brave and resourceful.  She cares deeply for all her kids.  She’s the mama bear you don’t want to cross.  Together they are dynamite!  They are the parents all of us want to be.  EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is screwed up.

Kevin is handsome and popular, and doesn’t think he’s worthy of praise and goes out of his way to sabotage himself.  He’s a talented football player that doesn’t work hard in school because he is a talented athlete and then is rude to the recruiter that comes to his house.  His knee then gets permanently damaged and his football career is over before it starts.  Because he didn’t care about his grades, he can not now get into college.  He marries his high school sweetheart, and then cheats on her.  She divorces him.  He realizes that he was stupid and tries to get back with her.  Then, at a reunion, he cheats on her again!  He’s in a very popular sitcom and blows up at the end of an episode because he is incensed that his audience doesn’t mind what he’s saying or what he’s doing as long as he has his shirt off.  Then he quits the show.  He’s in a movie with Ron Howard and Sly Stallone and due to an injury, he becomes addicted to Vicodin and alcohol.  He is honored at a HS reunion and doesn’t believe he deserves any recognition and has a melt down, and loses the necklace his dad gives him in the hospital when his knee was operated on.  He has another meltdown when the woman he had the one night stand with refuses to return his necklace.  He ends up getting and staying very drunk and goes driving with his niece who, without his knowledge, has sneaked into the back of his car.  He is remanded to rehab where, in a mandatory psychological session, he tells everyone what a horrible childhood he had…much to the surprise of the rest of his family.  He’s very fragile.

Kate is a big hearted girl with a gorgeous voice and the most beautiful face and smile.  She’s also 500 pounds.  She binge-eats junk food and convinces herself to hate herself.  It’s just easier to give up and listen to the nasty self talk than to change the self talk.  She meets an amazing guy, Toby, and is planning to get married.  She meets Toby at an Over-eater’s Anonymous meeting, so yes, Toby is also big.  (Shades of Mike and Molly…)  She has a miscarriage due to weight and age and that devastates her.    She’s very emotional and what she can’t handle, she compensates for by eating.  Kate is very fragile.

Randall is the black child in the white family.  Well THERE’S an issue.  But he’s a good kid, a gentleman, deeply caring about his brother and sister.  He’s extremely smart and successful in his work.  He’s always trying to fit in and sometimes tries too hard to please.  He has had 2 nervous breakdowns one of which is just 2 months before he delivers his first child in the living room and he’s cool as a cucumber as he does this!  He is always seeking perfection, and of course that’s not possible.  He is married with two beautiful daughters.  He tends to over-analyze everything and stress over everything.  He had brought his cancer riddled biological dad into his house after discovering him after a long search.  His dad had been a drug addicted, bisexual musician.  (There’s another issue!)  His biological dad dies during this first season.  He and his wife have bought the apartment building where his biological dad used to live, and he’s trying to renovate the place overnight.   Randall and his wife have become foster parents.  They’re taking in the kids that no one else wants–the older ones with problems.  Do you see a pattern here?  Randall is very fragile.

So these perfect parents, Jack and Rebecca, do all the right things when it comes to raising kids.  We all wish we could have had these perfect parents.  So why are all their kids screwed up?  Does that give us hope?  Even though we do everything right our kids might be train wrecks and it’s NOT our faults?  And yet…  Because they lose Jack when the kids are 17, could that be the fly in the ointment?  Well?  They were all showing signs of dysfunction in the flashbacks.  Randall had a notebook where he kept relationship notes not unlike Sheldon in Big Bang Theory.  He’s anxious and too eager to please even at an early age.  Kevin knows he’s popular and well liked and uses that to his advantage, but doesn’t develop well as a person.  For instance:  Kevin knows that his sister won’t get the most popular boy to hold her hand because she’s not thin like the other girls so he bribes the boy Kate wants to get close to with all his Halloween candy.  He feels that his mom prefers Randall because he’s the adopted one, and that Dad prefers Kate because she’s the girl and he feels like he’s on his own.  Kate, on the other hand, gets made fun of by her peers and then jumps in and agrees with their assessment.  She assumes the persona that is put on her by others while in elementary school.  She feels judged by her mom who tries to amend Kate’s fixation on food.  This grows to a feeling of her mom’s judgment on everything she does. All of these incidents happen when the kids are 8/9/10 years old.  So the signs of dysfunction are visible even before their marvelous dad, Jack, dies.

Could this mean that the Dr. Spock books are inaccurate?

Mmmmmmmmmm…could be.

White out

 “Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.”
– writing prompt for today’s CW piece.

White

Silent but for the sound of wind

Isolation

What is it that is so critical that I must be here?

I see the tail lights in front of me, but they swerve

It is slick

I must get home, I cannot stay here

I see my warm kitchen, smell banana bread

Feel the warmth of my fire

My hands are cold

My wipers, ineffective

I’m shivering in my seat

I must get home, I cannot stay here

My radio is playing Vivaldi

The programmer has a sense of humor…playing Summer

I smile just a bit

But I must concentrate very hard

It’s difficult to drive by feel

How slow?

How careful?

How long until I’m safe?

I must get home, I cannot stay here

Blizzards, fun to watch

Not having fun now…

Pull over?

Wait it out?

2 more hours.

I must get home, I cannot stay here.

Trust my feeling

Trust my instinct

Trust the road

Trust those driving ahead and behind

It’s hard to trust

I must, because

I must get home, I cannot stay here

OWWWWW!

So I started out 2018 really well…I broke a toe!  Not the grubby little toe, and not the Big really important toe, the 4th toe on my right foot.  Now remembering that my left side gives me troubles…Broken hip twice after replacement, kidney stone in left kidney and now some sort of muscle problem in my left thigh, I limp on my left leg pretty much as a normal thing now.  How do you limp on both legs?!

You cannot splint a toe.  You just tape a good toe to the bad one.  They must be adjacent.  It is a lovely shade of purple now, but I can still get my foot into my shoe!  Yay!  So I ask my friend how she heals so fast because she’s had some broken bones and bam!  You can’t tell she’d ever been injured.  She says use the D3 plus Calcium and not only heals the bones but strengthens them.  Well of Course!  That makes perfect sense!  So what do doctors recommend?  OMG.  You can’t pronounce these meds!  What do they contain?  Welllllll, you can’t pronounce those either.  Why would they prescribe chemicals that are so foreign and contrived when Vitamin D and Calcium work better with fewer side effects?  The fact is, the doctor wouldn’t.  He’d tape the toes together and say stay off of them as much as possible.  Ice and ibuprophen.  He wouldn’t even prescribe a bone healing agent unless you asked about it.

So what do we see here?  We’re treating the symptom and not the cause.  Do we see this approach in other areas?  OF COURSE!

Scenario 1:  I don’t have enough money.  I must double my hours to have enough money.  I cannot double my hours in my current position, so I must find additional work.  If I work for myself, I will make more money, but it will take too much time from my other job.  I will work a part time job that doesn’t pay as well so it doesn’t interfere with my other job.  It will cost me more in time, and sleep, and child care, and gas and wear and tear on my car and add stress to my marriage and my relationships with my children and my friends.  But, I don’t have enough money.

  • Enough money for what?  Are you trying to pay off debt?  Are you wanting a more lavish lifestyle?  Are you worried about paying your utility bill?  Do you find yourself without heat/light/phone every month?  Prioritize your needs for the money.  If utilities and mortgage/rent are the 1st things you pay for out of your paycheck, and you don’t have the money left to service your debt, you may have to eliminate some things and plug the leaks in your budget.  And even if you have plugged all the leaks, you may have to come up with a unique way to bring in more money.
  • Can you get a raise?  You want more money for the time you expend and the value you bring to this company.  Are you worth more now than you were last year?  Have you improved your skill set?  Have you taken on more responsibility?
  • Can you work for yourself in a way that your schedule is flexible enough to give you the money you need to replace your current income with fewer hours?  How important is this job you currently hold?  Is it your passion or is it just a paycheck?  Is it a means to your passion ie. you make $1000 more than you need for your household and spend it on building ultralights, or skateboards, or helping in the shelters or donating to Doctors without Borders.

For many people, the cost of the childcare and the transportation is 2/3 of the check they’d get from the 2nd job.  If you figure 80 hrs/month at min wage, ($7.25) you’d be working 80 hours for less than $150 a month?  That’s $1.81/hr.  Who can afford to work for $1.81/hour?!!!  So as in every enterprise, you have to look at the cause, not just the symptom.  Is there something that takes only an hour or two per week where you can make $150?  Let your mind go crazy and then pare it down to something reasonable.  For me, that would be 2 students/month.  I would be 1-2 investment clients/month.  It would be 4 books sold.  (Nice thing about books, you only have to write them once!)  Find the source of the problem and work from there.

Scenario 2:  I am fat.  I don’t like being fat.  It causes really stupid problems like not being able to tie my shoes or put on my socks.  I can’t get up out of the couch.  I will eat fewer calories and stay up later so I burn more, and exercise until I drop.  ??  I am not losing weight.  I am eating fewer calories, I changed from my late nights to getting a full 7-8 hours sleep, and I’m still exercising.  I am not losing weight.  I’m eating the RIGHT calories, getting enough sleep and exercising.  I am not losing weight.  It’s hopeless.

  • How are you counting calories?  Do you weigh your food?  Do you cook it so you know how it’s made and what goes into it?  What is the breakdown of your calories–carbs, proteins, fats?
  • How consistent are you on your work outs?  Are they all cardio or do they include strength and flexibility exercises?  Do you work with a trainer?  How do you measure your progress of your work outs?
  • How much sleep do you want?  Do you wake up tired?  What is your typical bed time?  Do you dream?  Do you dream in color?
  • Have you spoken to a doctor?  Had testing done?  Nutritionist?  Recommendations for change in diet?  Watched hour long infomercial about how people are losing 60 pounds in 30 seconds followed by an add for chainsaws and extreme liposuction with a shop-vac…

See?  The symptom is being overweight.  If you cannot determine the cause, you cannot fix the problem.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental problems, cause doesn’t always lead to the same effect.  I’ve become increasingly skeptical that knowing the cause of a behavior can help change the behavior.  It may eliminate a trigger, but only if the trigger isn’t very old. If the trigger goes back to your childhood, I look askance at it.  Unless you can remove a traumatic experience from your past, you have to go from your present condition.  About all you can do for those experiences is to think, “oh…wasn’t that interesting,” and move on from there.  I know that’s harsh.  “When I was in Jr. High, I was thrown into the shower and restrained, wet and naked, and they took all my clothes and put them in the hallway.”  That’s traumatic.  Can you change what happened?  Nope.  Can you get even?  Probably not, and it wouldn’t make you feel better.  How did you cope at the time?  Do you believe that nothing could be as bad as that experience?  Probably.  Have you anything to fear then?  Hmmmm.  The symptom was being the person on the bad side of a bully and (of course) the minions that follow bullies around.  What was the cause?  Does it matter? Nooooo!  Now that’s where the interesting stuff comes out.

So when you find yourself worrying about stuff in your life, sit down, take stock, and ask the questions until you get to the root of the situation.  Then solve the problem, don’t just treat the symptom.

It’ll make you feel better…

I had a scare. Something wasn’t right, and it didn’t seem to be getting better with time.  I went to the doctor and he did an exam and all the tests came back normal!  Yay!  My doctor may be a better GP than I give him credit, but this was the same guy that, when I went in to get a followup on my hip surgery, said, standing outside my door, “Oh My God! Have you ever seen this much metal in one person?” and then nonchalantly walked in and asked me how “we” were feeling.  “I hurt, but how about you?  I heard you panicking outside.  Are YOU ok?”  Anyway, he gave me a prescription and when I got it and opened the box, it had a sheet about 2 feet by 3 feet in mouse point front and back about the stuff in the tube. I spent about 45 min looking for the dosage information.  It was about 2 lines in the middle of all this mess.  Side effects include but aren’t limited to

  • cancer
  • other cancer
  • unintelligible cancer (I ripped a hole in the paper when I tried to unglue it from itself so I could read it)
  • heart attack
  • nausea
  • diahrea
  • death

So it leaves me with a few questions.

  1. Why don’t they put the dosage on the box or on the tube?
  2. Why do they glue the page together when it’s going into a box?
  3. Why would I take something that might kill me so I can feel better?
  4. Why don’t they say in the prescription how long I’m supposed to take this?
  5. Why do they have to name every study and every statistic about the stuff?
  6. Is it a controlled substance?

I can’t wait to be off this stuff.  It does appear to be doing what he said it would do, but it’s a pain in the ass to use.  Do other countries have to put such ridiculous packaging on everything?  I think the box could have been 25% smaller without the disclaimers.

VACATION!

Look at these pictures!  Aren’t they amazing?  Great Sand Dunes, a lovely peak with aspens in full color, another view of the aspens against a cobalt sky, and a church on the top of a big hill.  You know what the problem is on vacations though…food.  I ate food.  I’m not supposed to eat food.  New Mexican cuisine, burritos don’t taste like Taco Bell here.  I even had duck for dinner once!  What does that mean?  It means that now I’m at 218 pounds.  Holy Crap!  Almost 4 years at the gym, averaging 1500 calories/day, and I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was when I started.  That’s measurable.  That’s progress–meaning I’m moving somewhere.  Let’s face it.  I’m NEVER going to be in beach body shape.  But I needed that sound of the wind in the trees, the hawks soaring over, even the Ravens cry in the early morning.  I needed that smell of pine and cedar.  I needed that rain, sleet, snow, hail, 0 visibility, long hours in the car, purse full of postcards and memories of hikes, museums and galleries, and last but certainly not least, time with my best bud, my husband.  We even lost power in the town where we were staying.  2 hours of darkness in the hotel.  They weren’t worried, so I wasn’t worried.  The power came on with little ado.

oooo purdy 178

So yes that’s snow…and it got so thick when we left that we couldn’t see anything but the tail lights ahead of us until we were about 50 miles west of Ogallala, NE.

One week later, I was at a Girl Scout Camp Alumnae Event and we did low ropes activities and archery.  Sore?  Ok, the tops of my feet weren’t sore, but everything else was.  I’m still toooooooo weak on my left leg.  Dammit.  Then of course I had gained all that vacation weight.  I couldn’t transfer weight from good to recovering leg, and couldn’t balance on recovering leg and move good leg.  Couldn’t get to 2nd of the bosun chairs.  Hands hurt, legs and back and tummy hurt, arms hurt, eyebrows hurt?  It was fun because my daughter was there.  It was also a reminder that I am not, and have not made my fitness a priority.  It always takes a back seat to whatever I’m doing at the time.  Dang it.  I don’t like having fitness a priority in my life.  I want my LIFE to have priority–seeing things, doing things, experiencing things!  But OOPS, I can’t see things, do things or experience things in my current condition.

I guess I have to make it a priority until I am in a condition that I can have a life…tomorrow.

 

Gait

I have discovered that when I’m on an elliptical machine, I don’t limp.  I also don’t have to use my hands to steady myself so I don’t lose my balance.  I cannot do that on a treadmill. I went to my PT today and worked on some stuff–my normal routine.  I stretch my hamstrings and my uninjured leg is tighter than my recovering leg.  I lie on my side and do leg lifts with a weight, then on my back.  I did grand battements en croix with both legs. (Not at the same time…) Then, I had to do the 10 second sit down exercise 5 times.   I tend to lean to the right to stand and sit so less of my weight is over the recovering leg.  I have to concentrate really hard to do this.

I added another exercise today.  I stand on a 4″ box with my weak leg suspending my strong leg over the floor.  I then slowly bend my supporting leg until I can touch the ground with my foot, then stand again.  This is very hard for me.  The therapist was surprised that my injury was incurred in August.  Just ducky.  You should be much further along than this if your injury was last year!  Well, I’m not.   So fix me.  Ok, last exercise…walk on the treadmill for 5 min and don’t limp.  Only hold the support with your left hand, adjust your hips and don’t swing your leg.  OK, Walk NORMALLY.

6.crying

Oh NOOOO!

I am so disillusioned!  I thought Sinko de Mayo was when you ate mayonnaise by the sink!  Now I find out it’s a DATE?  5th of May…who knew

Apparently nobody.  Cinco De Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican Independence, that was September 16, 1810.  It is a celebration of an underdog victory–the Mexicans beat the French on May 5.  It is usually celebrated by military parades in Mexico.  In the US though, it is a holiday where all the gringos switch to tequila to get drunk.

St. Patrick’s day is a solemn occasion that reveres St. Patrick who was instrumental in converting Ireland to Catholicism. But in the USA, everyone wears green and they dye the water in the Chicago river green as well.  There’s parades and pub crawls, and it has nothing to do with the celebration of St. Patrick’s day.

New Year’s Day is when we make our resolutions and reflect on the past year.  Unless you’re from the US, then you start drinking Dec 30 and get so blasted that they pass out and miss the momentous occasion at midnight on the 31st.

What is it about Americans that we use every excuse to get a day off work and get drunk or high to excess?  How is that fun?  Why do people look for occasions to escape their lives–either by running away from work or spouse or kids or becoming unconscious?  Being drunk isn’t fun.  You can’t see, you can’t talk right, you can’t walk straight, you throw up, you pass out, you lose your inhibitions and do really stupid things that you regret for a long time after.  Why do they have to make low-calorie beer?  Is it to entice you to drink more since you won’t then gain weight?  What is the matter with people?!

It has a lot to do with how people see themselves.  It is not with a small amount of discomfort that I refer to myself as fat and give my fat “sentience” and a name (Obie) and a personality.  If people see themselves as trapped in a job, or in a relationship, or by circumstance with a family, they will engage in escape behavior.  I’ve been good all week!  I deserve to have that cake, since nothing I do will ever make me thin…  Counter intuitive don’t you think?  I will engage in a drinking binge where I end up in a motel with someone I don’t know and have no recollection of the whole night.  That should fix my broken marriage.  What kind of idiot thinks like that?  Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.  Wouldn’t the end result be continued crying at a louder volume and a longer period of time?  Nobody is addressing the root cause of the issue.    We shouldn’t have to feel a need to escape.  We’re not in a hopeless situation.  We’re not fleeing to Canada or Mexico.  (BTW, Are the anti trump celebrities still here?)  We have 46 million people in the US that are foreign born.  People want to come here.  All those other societies with free health care, and better schools and better understanding of immigrants etc, only have a fraction of the number of people going to the US.  How long will the myth of the American dream last?  Longer than you might think.

They all think we’re rich.  We consider ourselves living paycheck to paycheck and just barely scraping by…with a new car, a 52″ screen TV, food of every imaginable type available EVERYWHERE and for EVERYONE.  No lines for staples like bread and milk that run out.

Our WORST problem is that we’re all fat.  Poor Americans, they have too much food.  But we’re the ones trying to escape our lives?  Good morning America…count your blessings.

What a workout!!!

I went to a certification seminar in Orlando…yes, the same danged place where I broke my hip last August.  Really!  It was the exact same hotel for the exact same seminar.  I did skip the revolving door this time.  They said they only had video from the outside, and I walked in and there was the camera between the entrance and the concierge desk.  I wonder what that one showed?  I also now am curious how many other people walk into that glass thinking it’s the exit.  I talked to several of my fellow attendees and they said they did.

ANYWAY…I got in and got my bags up to my room and then went to find registration.  The 1st time I attended, in August, I thought, “Just get me to the registration desk!  I can tough it out for the next 3-4 days.”  This time?  I walked from the elevator, past the restaurant, down the escalator, past the meeting room and lounge, down a ramp, down a hallway, past the “city” rooms (named after cities) and past 3 entrances into the big meeting room to my door.  I was so glad I brought my cane!  It was close to a mile!  So NO, I couldn’t have crawled to the registration desk last time.  I would have been 3 hours late.  I was exhausted after we had our opening ceremony and then we walked another mile back to the elevators.

The food was good, and plentiful!  I had to remember to take mostly protein, but they had quinoa salad, (Monday) chicken or beef, (Tuesday) turkey, beef or fish, (Wednesday) fish or beef.  It was all soooooo good!  They also had potatoes and pasta and bread/rolls and little teeny deserts, none of which I ate, but they smelled and looked so wonderful.

So the good news is that I didn’t gain any weight, and the bad news is that I didn’t shed any weight.  But this was the part I wanted to stress.  Of the 5 faculty at the seminar, 3 of them had paragraphs in their speeches about how they had lost 50-60 pounds.  Richard Simmons lost a lot of weight before he began his career.  Tim Gard has lost lots of weight and is a professional speaker.  What do I get from this?  Shed weight and become a professional speaker/coach!  What the heck!  I’m certified now so I could do that!

Wait…do you become a professional speaker/coach and THEN shed the weight or Shed the weight 1st.  Dam!

Fail

All that work.  I’m a failure.  How useless am I?  Why even try?

Wow, I read this from a friend of mine and thought that sounded familiar.  Oh yeah.  I said that.  I jumped into my teaching/coaching mode and asked some questions to change the direction of his thinking and then formulated a plan of instruction to lead him to a better conclusion.  Silly me.  I should have done that on myself!!!

Why didn’t I?  It’s harder to get perspective when you’re in the middle of the mess.  When you’re stuck in a hole, all you can see is hole.  You don’t see the birds and the clouds and the trees and the snow and the… see?  All you see is the hole.  Someone yells down the hole, “YOU SHOULD SEE THIS LOVELY SUNSET!”  And of course you’re thinking, “What’s a sunset?  I’m in a hole.”  Someone else yells down, “I JUST HEARD THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BIRDSONG!”  I’m hearing dripping noises.  “YOU SHOULD TRY THIS MARVELOUS DINNER!”  I’m in a hole–there’s no food down here.  The people outside of the hole think that motivating you will get you out of the hole.  Send someone down with a rope!

Failing at something is a normal process.  If you were good at something from the beginning, you wouldn’t grow, you wouldn’t add to your knowledge or wisdom, you wouldn’t get stronger or more flexible.  A failure is not someone that tries and goofs up. A failure is someone that doesn’t try anything new.   Too much psychology spends time in labeling people and situations.  All those silly tests and quizzes on Facebook tend to help you explore your giftedness and then slap a label on you.  Which villain are you?  Which Celtic myth are you?  Which Harry Potter professor are you?  Why do we do these quizzes?  How do you feel when you discover that you’re too wimpy and kind-hearted to be a villain?  Are you disappointed?  What if you find out your not Celtic?  What if you turn out to be the janitor in Harry Potter?  Does that make you feel bad?  I took a Hymn quiz and got 100%.  This meant I was the elite of Catholics.  I took the same test that said I was in the top 1% of Lutherans.  Wait…  It was the exact same questions!  So what does that mean?

We have been led to believe that we must fit into a category or a description.  We belong to this group or that group.  We succeed or we fail.  But that is not the case.  In order to succeed, you have to fail.  It is not the million dollars you’ve saved, it is the person you had to become to save it.  It is not the marathon you finished in record time, it was the hours and hours of trying and failing that allowed you to run the marathon.  It is not the straight A’s, but the student you have to become to get them.  Each journey will have failures in it.  You have to fall short in order to grow enough to succeed.

I failed in my diet yesterday.  Yes, it was mostly protein–cheese, summer sausage,ham and cheese ball with Triscuits.  Then I had homemade eggnog.  Wow!  I love that stuff!  But I am not a failure.  I will eat well today.  I will do my PT exercises.

Failure is not a character trait, it is just a measure against a goal you set that tells you how far you need to go.  Have you reached it?  “Not yet.”

And if you know someone in a hole, get in there with them and work things out together.  Happy New Year.