Two years ago, Andrea and I married here in the mountains of northern Spain. We didn’t know it at the time, but less than a year later, we would quit our jobs, sell and donate most of our possessions and move to Spain. Less than a year after that, we would have a baby and find ourselves with a home in the mountains of Norway. It has all been one great big adventure and looking back, as we did tonight on our wedding anniversary, a reminder of time’s fleeting nature. It feels like just yesterday we were greeting guests as they arrived to Casa Arana, or like just yesterday we were exchanging vows on a nearby hillside a few days later. And yet it was two years ago! So much can (and did!) happen in two years time. So much can happen in two weeks or two months time, as we all currently know and feel. So let us live fully and make the most of the time we have, while we still have it, one adventure at a time.
I squeezed in the Trail Costa Brava marathon this past weekend as part of a long training day within my current training block. The point-to-point race starts in Pals and tracks the coastline south, ending in Palamos. The race covers ~43km with ~2.100m in elevation gain and includes some of the most beautiful running in all of Spain (imo). Parts are surprisingly technical: steep, rocky descents and ascents to and from the coastline, many requiring rope or chains with not insignificant consequences if you make a mistake. I’m not much of a beach/water person, but the sounds and views throughout the race were soul-charging (I was not listening to music; the ear-buds were for the run back). I finished in 5:24:48, good enough for 14th place overall, before starting the 20km run back to the car to finish off a long training day.
Here’s a video from Klassmark, the race organizers, that gives you more of a sense for just how beautiful the course is.
The American Life is Killing You (Medium)
The Comfortable Life is Killing You (Medium)
Agnes Martin on How to Be an Artist (Artsy)
Banish ‘Eat Local’ From Your Environmental Playbook (Bloomberg)
Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink? (The Guardian)
The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake (The Atlantic)
The Uninhabitable Earth
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Man’s Search for Meaning
The Bhagavad Gita
OKRs, or “Objectives and Key Results,” were an integral planning tool during my time at Opendoor. We did these quarterly to align the company top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top around specific goals (Objectives), while setting measurable outcomes (Key Results) to track our progress towards each – an organisational “where do we want to go?” (Objectives) and “how will we get there” (Key Results). I decided to apply these to my personal life in 2020.
OKRs are not for everyone. As my Grandfather put it to me a few weeks ago, “Blake, my goal this year is just to make it to the end upright.” Fair enough 🙂 Or like me last year, sometimes letting things unfold is the way to go. I kept 2019 fairly open-ended outside of training for UTMB. Coming out of 2019, however, I had a clearer picture for where I want to go this year, what space I still want to explore and fill, and how I want to focus my time and energy. In this case, OKRs are a great fit for keeping me focused and pushing me along!
If you are interested in creating some of your own, feel free to use my OKRs and process, described below, for inspiration!(more…)
Wild is my word for 2020. I came across it twice while flipping through magazines in late November as Andrea, our moms and I began piecing together our Vision Boards for 2020 from cut-up parts of magazines in what has become a fun and creative annual pastime in setting our intentions for the year ahead. As a part of this tradition, we also choose a word for the year – a capstone to our final boards that captures their essence, and our year ahead, in a single word. “Wild” spoke to me.
Already I knew 2020 would include spending time in the mountains of Norway, where Andrea and I had a few weeks prior bought a home to fix-up, as either a summer home or forever home. Our time last summer in a tiny cabin just below the glacier in Bionnassay, France was intimate, cozy, simple and connected to nature in a way that I’ve yearned to get back to ever since leaving, and that Andrea was open to re-discovering in a more permanent way with our home in Norway. The more I read and think, the more I slow down, the more I yearn to be wild, to break free. Of what I am still discovering, but I know at a very deep level I feel most peaceful, most grounded and most connected to everything around me when I am part of nature – part of its pulses and rhythms and equilibriums.