by Charlie D. Harper on April 16, 2013

Every ounce of the hard, grueling, exhaustive work necessary in the conversion from promises made to dreams fulfilled is the sole responsibility of the dreamer.
-Sidney Poitier

I had a milestone this weekend.

I’ve dreamed and worked for a long time about building a boat.

Novice, over whom I labored and toiled, and into whom I poured heart and soul and love has finally launched.

Dream Fulfilled.

She’s been finished since the first of January, but I hadn’t had an opportunity where good weather and free time coincided to put her in the water. This weekend it all came together, and we launched.

I loved it.

It’ll take time to learn her quirks and foibles, the most effective ways to get her quickly to and from the water, and how to best work with her hull to achieve, as Phil Bolger put it, the most enjoyment out of a given unit of time.

Saturday, though, I worked her away from the muddy bank of Eagle Creek and into open water. I reached forward, dipped the oars, and took a solid pull.

She leaped forward, light on her feet.

Even now, two days removed, my heart catches in my chest as I think of her surging at my request.

Rowing Novice was an affirmation of Building Novice.

With my family of five aboard Novice became 17 feet of adventure.
The kids didn’t want to turn back. They wanted to keep going, to find a new shore.

We become who we are through what we do and what we think.
Living the Good Life means doing and thinking differently than everyone else. Being, in short, eccentric.

Saturday, rowing the boat I created from a stack of wood and a list of numbers, was one of my highest moments in this pursuit.

The Good Life made manifest.



Goals for 2013

by Charlie D. Harper on April 1, 2013

In my last post I talked about how No Goals wasn’t really working for me.

The real problem is that I want to do too many things. If I don’t set goals then I am stressed because I feel like I’m missing out on the other things that interest me.

Here’s everything I could think of that I’m interested in doing in 2013:

  1. Build another boat
  2. Get my Security+ Certification (Computer Network Security)
  3. Start meeting more people
  4. Travel
  5. Run a Marathon (1st ever)
  6. Go backpacking again
  7. Do $50K in Amazon sales (at work)
  8. Write
  9. Learn Javascript
  10. Get involved in the Puttytribe online
  11. PR 1/2 Marathon
  12. Camp Cruise Novice (the boat I just built)
  13. Get my French really good
  14. Catch up with people on Facebook & LinkedIn
  15. Do an adventure race
  16. Take Novice to a boat show
  17. Hike
  18. Get Network+ Certification
  19. Get involved in online boatbuilding communities
  20. Rowing
  21. Learn Spanish
  22. Start Strength Training
  23. Yoga
  24. Learn to Juggle 4/5 balls
  25. Learn Mandarin
  26. Learn ASP
  27. Learn PHP
  28. Play guitar again
  29. Try a gluten free diet
  30. Learn to cook
  31. Start cycling again

This list isn’t really comprehensive, just a quick run-down of what popped into my head.
It also leaves out things I’m not passionate about, but feel compelled to do (for example, our sewers flooded so I’m re-doing the damaged basement).

The list is just too big. If I try to do it all I can only devote 10 days to each by the end of the year, not enough to really enjoy any of them.

I grouped the list loosely and came up with 5 big picture areas of priority:

  1. Strengthen my Mind
  2. Strengthen my Body
  3. Adventure – I want to do stuff
  4. Create – I want to make stuff
  5. Connect – I want to talk to people

I’d like to keep a single goal going in each area. That will help me focus, allow flexibility, and keep me moving forward.

Here are my initial goals for each area:

  1. Strengthen my Mind – Pass my Security+ Certification Test
  2. Strengthen my Body – Yoga twice a week – I’m already juggling daily, so this is cheating a little by adding two goals.
  3. Adventure – I’ll go on 4 adventures before the year is out. None are currently planned.
  4. Create – Remodel my Basement (This sucks. I’m not excited about it, but it’s too expensive to outsource)
  5. Connect – FB daily 5 minutes

I’m already working on Juggling, Security+, and remodeling.
That means the only habits I’m adding today are Yoga and Facebook.

Wish me luck, and tell me about your goals this year…


No Goals

March 15, 2013

I’ve read several authors who champion life without goals. The most notable for me are Leo Babauta and Joshua Fields Milburn. They declare that removing goals takes away stress and performance anxiety. It allows them to do only what they enjoy and be productive in the process. It’s not working for me. I decided to […]

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February 3, 2013

Tonight is the SuperBowl. I love it. I love watching the NFL. I love the tactics of the game. I love watching each play unfold. I love the ads. Tonight I’ll watch, but for two years I’ve almost given the game up. I’ve had a higher priority, and the only way to make time for […]

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A Really Lousy Blog Post

February 1, 2013

It’s time to write a really lousy blog post. Lousy writing is easier than good writing, but much harder than not writing at all. For exactly three months I’ve been taking the easy way out. In retrospect, it’s been a great three months. I visited the middle east, finished building my boat, presented at one […]

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On the Cusp

November 1, 2012

Two weeks from today I will be in Amman, Jordan. I’m a little bit freaking out. Am I gonna be ready? What have I forgotten? Have I made all the right arrangements for my dad’s dietary needs? Things are looking up though. I’ve been trying to contact EgyptAir all week. Because of the storms in […]

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I’m Right, You’re Wrong

October 6, 2012

The thinking that says “I believe what’s right, therefore anyone who disagrees with me must be wrong” is flawed at it’s core. Our problems, and the excesses of individual groups, don’t stem from beliefs. Our problems come from how we believe. Few of us are content to believe for our own sake. Instead, we challenge […]

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What is Adventure?

August 16, 2012

My recent trip to Montreal changed how I thought about my family and our travels. In recent years I have felt like we were building up to something, or getting prepared.   No More.   I’m ready to own it…We are Adventurers.   But why should that be? There are people who would regard our […]

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Adventure #4

August 9, 2012

I know my most recent Adventure Post was Adventure #2. There was an Adventure #3 in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee but I’ve neglected to address it during my long writing hiatus. I promise I’ll get back to it, but I wanted to write about this adventure while it was fresh in my […]

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Can I help you start?

June 30, 2012

“That’s more impressive than anything I’ve ever done.” The man who said it was faceless, passing my house at twilight as I worked on my boat in the driveway. I wanted to wave away the mystique of accomplishment and told him he could do it too. “All you have to do is start.” That’s what […]

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