Travel the world

The State Of Your Union

This will be the second State of the Union speech Carrie and I have watched from another country.

Last year, we watched the speech from Panama.

This year, we will watch the speech from New Zealand.

The beauty of the State of the Union Speech is that it reflects on the challenges and opportunities America faced during the previous year.

The State of the Union also gives a chance to say what America has done well and what can be improved upon.

A few quick facts about The State Of The Union

  • George Washington gave the first State of the Union address on January 8, 1790 in New York City, then the provisional U.S. capital.
  • In 1801, Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice of delivering the address in person, regarding it as too monarchical.
    Instead, the address was written and then sent to Congress to be read by a clerk.
  • This changed in 1913 when Woodrow Wilson re-established the practice of giving the address as a speech.
  • Modeled after the monarch’s Speech from the Throne during the State Opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom, The State of the Union is required by the United States Constitution.
    The Constitution does not require that the report take the form of a speech, although virtually every president since Woodrow Wilson has made the State of the Union report in the form of a speech delivered personally before a joint session of Congress.
    By tradition, the President makes this report annually, even though the clause “from time to time” leaves the matter open to interpretation.
  • The actual term “State of the Union” first emerged in 1934 when Franklin D. Roosevelt used the phrase, becoming its generally accepted name since 1947.
  • Since the address is made in the Capitol and during a joint session of Congress, the President must first be invited by Congress to both enter the House of Representatives Chamber and then actually address the joint session.
    This invitation is customary in form as the speech is now a traditional part of the American political and national schedule.
  • During the latter half of the 20th century, just a few presidents have sent written State of the Union addresses.
    The last President to do this was Jimmy Carter (in 1981).

While a good portion of the State of the Union Speech is about America and what is going internally, much of it also deals with America’s connections with every country on earth.

As America remains the dominant world superpower, the state of the union is a talk about connection between nations, and how America is dealing with the privileges and responsibilities which come with being at the top.

For me, it is very important for me to see that I am actively working to be the change I want to see in the world.

I’m taking time today to ask what is the state of my unions.

And I evaluate what is the state of my connection with:

  • Finances
  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Spiritual development (and purpose on earth – includes connection with a higher power)
  • Mental development
  • Physicality (health)

If you are interested, and have not taken time to look into these things for yourself, an easy way to get started is to simply rate each area on a scale of 1-10.

I rate these not on how I’m actually doing in that area, but how I feel about how I’m doing in that area.

It’s different for a country, where everyone’s opinion matters, but because I’m constantly analyzing actual numbers and experiences and results I’m getting, my feelings are based on what I perceive to be reality. 

And my opinion is the great barometer in my own life.

You can do this activity in 10 minutes, though it really warrants an hour or two, or even better a day or two away to really reflect.

This can get intensely personal, and it should. It is, after all, your life.

If you’re curious, here is how I rate these areas of my life for 2010.

Finances – 6
I really thought that by the age 31, I’d have a great deal of confidence in my personal financial position.  While I’m okay with where we are at, there is definitely room for improvement.

At the same time, we’ve re-invested heavily back into our businesses and our own personal growth through all the travel we’re doing.  We’re also taking risks and paying to have experiences today. In the final 3 months of 2010, Carrie and I have made some great progress towards what we really want to accomplish in this area.

Relationships – 7
This is really a mixed bag. On the one hand, I feel like I need to do a better job strengthening relationships with the people we know all around the world. On the other hand, I feel like we do a great job meeting new people and building relationships all over the world. I really enjoy experiencing feelings of excitement about the contributions I make to other people’s lives, and want to improve and deepen relationships. As far as my relationship with Carrie, I’m so excited to have a friend and partner who I feel closer to the more time we spend together.

Work – 6
Because I got sidetracked in the middle of the year, certain projects I wanted to develop and grow in 2010 have gotten pushed into 2011. I’m not proud of getting sidetracked. However, I’m glad that I got some things figured out in October of this year (about myself mostly), and really have developed some excellent momentum within GreenJoyment (a few different projects and opportunities to help people save money through sourcing connections), IdentityTheftSecrets (connecting with people and helping companies market more products and services), and a couple of other projects. The business relationships I’ve built with the people we’ve hired to help us in 2010 have been exciting and are really growing and developing. At the same time, I want to do more to work with the talented people who work with us.

Spiritual Development – 5
I haven’t spent much time in 2010 growing my connection with higher power. For me, connection comes in spaces of quietness and solitude, either out in nature or at least in a quiet space while listening to meditative music. While I have been open to growth here, we’ve spent a lot of time in big cities and I haven’t found/made much time or space to be growing in my spiritual development. At the same time, I have found allies (and adversaries to help me) with similar thoughts about spiritual ideas in many of the connections we have made with others.

Mental Development – 9
12 months ago, I spoke practically no Spanish.
Today I can hold a pretty decent conversation in Spanish. With another month of classes, I will be proficient.

12 months ago, I didn’t understand anything about the “global economic meltdown” even mocking it as something fabricated by the media and the Federal Reserve. Today, I have a much better understanding of why inflation is going to pose some large challenges not only for the United States, but for the world at large. I’m working every day to better understand and take action on this information.

My Physicality
8: from January-May
3: from May until Mid-November
7: Mid-November through end of 2010

In Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru we walked. A lot.
We walked over a mile every day in Ecuador just to get to and from our classes, before sight-seeing and just going about our daily lives.

When we got to New Zealand in May, it was winter. It was cold. We only went outside when necessary. Because we were working on a variety of projects, going out was pretty much only to eat (more than we needed to because we were cold), drink (because we were back in a country with good beer), and visit friends (where we would eat and drink).

Then we drove all around New Zealand in a campervan. I loved it.

So did Carrie. And we did walk at Fox Glacier and Franz Josef glacier and go to see forests and lakes. But as far as having a regular workout, that just didn’t happen while spending 6-9 hours/day driving around.

But in Auckland in November, Carrie and decided to start getting up every day to go walking. And we did this very consistently every weekday for 30-45 minutes. Working at night until 1AM or 2AM and getting up at 6AM to go walking everyday was some days a real struggle. But we did it, and I’m proud of that effort and the results it’s created.

So there you go:

  • Finances (6)
  • Relationships (7)
  • Work (6)
  • Spiritual development (5)
  • Mental development (9)
  • Physicality (health) (7)
  • Areas for improvement, to be sure.  Overall, I’m pleased with what we’ve accomplished in 2010 and believe 2011 will blow 2010 out of the water.

    So how about you?

    How do you rate the state of your union for what you’ve done in 2010?

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