Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Joy Makeover

This girl's dance on Halloween is pure Joy!

In Season 2 of my podcast, Carpe Diem Connections, I'm going to be doing a deep dive into finding joy.  I've become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop.

She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

I know 2020 has been a difficult year, and there have been so many struggles. However, those struggles are what help us build resilience and learn more about ourselves, to grow, to persevere, and the overcome challenges.

I'm really enjoying Podcasting, but I want to hear your thoughts and have more of a discussion than podcasting really allows. I hope you'll come join in the discussion on Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group.

Let me know if any of you also are participating in the Joy Makeover and let's share what we're learning! Here are my responses to the first 4 "pre-work" questions.

Joy inventory What parts of your life bring you the most joy?

  • Friends

  • Relationships

  • Playing

  • Warm Weather

  • Time

  • Learning

  • Health

  • Food & Drink

  • Beauty

  • Kindness

  • Whimsey

  • Home

  • Creativity

Joy Goals What parts of your life would you like to transform for more joy?

  • Snowbird Home

  • Deeper Relationships

  • Travel

  • Learning

  • Adding value to society

Joy Barriers What is currently getting in the way of you feeling more joy?

  • Politics

  • Covid Worries and Restrictions

(Other things that can be Joy-Suckers)

  • Financial Stress

  • Other people’s hardships

  • Grief

  • Disappointments with Relationships

  • Fears

  • Bad Health / Pain

  • Rejection

  • Decline with Aging

  • Loneliness

Joy Vision What would happen if those obstacles were removed? What does a more joyful life look and feel like to you?

A feeling that I was always experiencing the comfort of security, gratitude, and love. A continual feeling of awe and excitement at experiencing and learning new things and connecting with people.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Carpe Diem Connections Podcast - The Joy Makeover Spinoff!


I'm loving participating in the Joy Makeover and I bet you would, too! In Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections we'll be doing our own deep dive into finding Joy, starting with finding Joy in the election season! 


About 12 weeks ago I started a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I'd procrastinated because I knew nothing about podcasting and was worried that I'd be embarrassed by how amateurish it might sound.

However, with any kind of new hobby, if you go into it realizing that you have a lot to learn, and not having high expectations, you find the learning process and the improvement is usually fun!

When I'd gotten laid off in 2009, a suggestion at a lead's group was to host a blog and interview people who I admired.  This turned out to be awesome advice and it was how I ultimately got a job as a Site Editor at TechTarget and was able to network with a lot of my industry's thought-leaders. Ultimately, I ended up with a successful consulting career and a wonderful network of mentors, friends, and colleagues in the world of Agile Leadership and Quality Assurance.

Chapter 3 of Life

Now, I'd like to do something similar in the field of Positive Psychology, particularly as I'm entering a new stage of life.  I'm hesitant to call it "Retirement" or "The 60's"..   Maybe "Chapter 3"? 

"Chapter 1" was childhood and college, "Chapter 2" was career and raising children. Now, in "Chapter 3," I'm a 60-year-old empty-nester, grateful for the opportunity to discover and experiment with what it means to live life fully. 

I left my full-time contract at USAA in November, 2018, shortly after getting some bad news about degenerative back conditions. After a review of my finances and lifestyle, I came to the conclusion that, thanks to my ultra-frugal ways (and paying house-mates), I could afford to "retire."  (I wasn't sure I really wanted to retire since I loved my job but..  I also wanted more time to travel, visit friends, and be as active as possible while I still felt healthy, energetic, and pain-free.

I had an awesome 60-weeks-until-60 set of celebrations, full of traveling, adventure, and new experiences. My kids and family surprised and honored me on my 60th birthday, Feb.26, 2020, by gifting me with "Carpe Diem Day," officially proclaimed in the National Archive of Days! 

Carpe Diem Connections - Season 1 - Interviews with Happiness and Connection Experts

As the proud recipient of Carpe Diem Day, I promptly bought and have experimented with social media and activities related to"seizing the day."  I also started a Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group, Carpe Diem - Single Snowbirds Facebook Group- and, again, 12 weeks ago, the new podcast.

During this past 12 weeks, I used the same strategy I'd used in 2009...  I looked for guests who I admired and were living life fully.  Most were coaches or somehow involved in the field of Positive Psychology. I'm very excited and grateful to those who I met and interviewed! It's been enlightening to hear their thoughts on what it means to them to live life fully and foster deep meaningful connections, particularly in the midst of the pandemic.

Carpe Diem Connections - Season 2 - The Joy Makeover Spinoffs

On Tuesday (Election Day!) I flew back to Sarasota, Florida, for "Snowbird Season." I'm so lucky to be staying, once again, with wise and witty Becky Burns!  It seemed the perfect time to also start a new season on my podcast, hopefully, with continued learning and improving over Season 1.

Becky has agreed to be my co-host as we talk about Finding Joy.  I've become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop. She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

Becky and I are going to do our own deep dive into these topics and add a few more that are particularly relevant for the times or for us.  For example, this week, we'll talk about Joy and Politics since the election is causing so much anxiety for so many people.  As I write this, the vote is still undecided. I find it interesting that the uncertainty is causing so much anxiety, both with Covid and the election..  Uncertainty and its affect on Joy might also be part of that first podcast of the season.

Getting Feedback

In order to learn and improve, we need feedback! One of the few things I don't like about podcasting, is that it's difficult to get feedback.  We base results on how many people listen or subscribe, so, of course, it's helpful to see those numbers go up.  However, what I really want is listener comments and feedback!!

I know that many of us listen to our podcasts when we're out and about, so it's not a very convenient medium for giving feedback.  

However, I would appreciate any feedback you'd like to send my way by email:,  by using the "message" button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM'ing me on Facebook.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Goodbye Beautiful October!

As everyone keeps saying, these are crazy times! Like the rest of the world, my emotions have been all over the map. Besides all of the stressful things going on in America, we had the worst fires Colorado has ever experienced, and I had some personal stresses this month as well...  friends and family who are suffering from major health problems and grief.  

With all this going on, it can be hard to stay positive. In fact, it can seem almost insensitive to be 'promoting' a Carpe Diem attitude, when so many people are suffering so much.  On the other hand, we only have control over our own minds and actions. Succumbing to depression doesn't help anyone.

I've been keeping a journal of "good things" and "not so good things" that happen each month and at the end of the month, I review and go through all the pictures I took over the month. When I had my end-of-October ritual, I recognized that despite those sad things that are out of my control, there were so many happy things that happened and that I'm so grateful for.


A highlight of my month was participating in WALKtober Bingo put on by Walk2Connect. Every morning, the talented leaders would fill our inboxes with a beautifully written post and prompt of how we could celebrate each day of "WALKtober."

Daily Hikes and Walks - Rediscovering 10,000+ Steps a Day

On October first, we were asked to set an intention for our WALKtober challenge and mine was to walk at least 10,000 steps each day. Since I did this every single day of 2019, I figured doing it in October should be a piece of cake.  It actually wasn't that easy! On days that the weather was bad, I didn't sleep well, or I just felt depressed, it was really hard for me to make the time to get out and walk.

But every single time, I felt better and happier, for getting out! I have to admit that a couple of years ago, when I had to give up running, I felt like walking was such a wimpy substitute..  it didn't feel like much of a workout. But I realize now that it's more beneficial for my mental health than running ever was for my physical health.

Being in nature... seeing the beautiful colors.. exploring new trails.. seeing the sun rise while breathing in the crisp early morning..  witnessing smiling neighbors, beautiful yard decorations, cute pets, and all the treasure of my neighborhood..  all of it is food for my soul. I realize that there is so much goodness and beauty in the world.. so much to be grateful for.

Enjoyed beautiful Fall colors!

Found new places to hike thanks to The Best Urban Hikes:Boulder by Darcy Kitching!

Snowy walks were appreciated, too! They helped get the fires under control!

Working with American Red Cross

This month I finally stopped procrastinating about doing the on-boarding training for ARC so that I could become an active volunteer. I am SO impressed with all the volunteers and hard work that goes into this organization!

As soon as I had the training finished, I was immediately put to work, helping get all the spreadsheets up to date for all those who had been evacuated from their homes because of the fires.  Though this isn't the most "exciting" job, I know that many people aren't comfortable with installing new apps and working with unfamiliar technology. I felt proud that I was quickly up and running and able to help in a way that was needed.

Joan Cernich has been in touch every day and I immediately felt part of a useful team.  I realized this is something I've been missing since I've stopped working at a traditional corporate job. Joan is amazing and is juggling communication and handling the logistics of all the work that's being done with the area's fires. On top of all of that she hosted volunteer (social distanced) get togethers at her home!

Joan Cernich hosts volunteer orientation

Carpe Diem Connections

This is the first time I've posted on this blog for months, but I've been quite active on my new site:  I've interviewed a guest each week for my new Carpe Diem Connection Podcast! It's been fun and exciting for me to meet, reconnect, and learn from all the people I've interviewed! I've also learned a lot about podcasting (but still have a lot more to learn!)

I also have been having fun with my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook group and love the pictures and posts people add as a result of my little prompts.

Socializing and Halloween

This month I was able to have some very welcomed 1:1 celebrations with friends! I really miss the Pre-Covid parties and traditional celebrations, but I also love having some individualized time with friends.

And Halloween turned out to be better than usual! Socially-distanced street parties and neighborhood displays with safe and creative way to deliver treats to the trick-or-treaters!

Costumed girl joyfully dancing while a band plays for the neighborhood

Trick-or-treating goes on in creative new ways!

Pasta Jays on Pearl Street on a sunny Halloween

And now we're into a new month and new adventure! I'm heading to Sarasota again to start snowbird season on November 3rd!