Mile a Day challenge – Day 2

Days Ran consecutively – 3 days
Miles ran today – 2.3 miles
Total Miles – 4.8 miles

I mentioned the onsite gym that my workplace has – and I’ll come back to this.
So every job has it’s moments of downtime. My position at this company happens to be brand new, meaning there is no precedence and I’m kind of forging my own way. This allows me to be as busy as I want, or, allows for a lot of slack time. I’ve struggled with lack of supervision in the past, but for the most part, I’ve been pretty solid staying on task.

Except for certain days. You see, for a month they wanted me to come in at 3pm and stay until 1130 pm. It was an interesting schedule. Especially since, for 4 out of the 5 days I worked, I had absolutely nothing to occupy myself past 8 or 9 pm. That left many hours during the month to goof around on the internet, or catch up on some books from my Kindle.

Luckily, they switched me from that schedule to where I now work noon-830pm. This is much better, and I’ve increased my productivity as a result. However, there are still certain days where there just isn’t a whole lot going on past 7/8pm. Tonight was one of those nights. It hit 6:30pm, the last of the other people in the office left, and I was gearing up for another 2 hours or so of mindless clicking about the internet.

Today, I changed that up. I thought to myself, “Hey! I’ve got this challenge I’ve imposed on myself. If I’m going to just putt about, why not head down to the gym?”

And that, gentlepeople, is what I did. Went down to the gym and banged out 2.3 miles on the treadmill. I figure this is much less wasteful for the company, as consistent exercise gives me more energy and better mental health, which makes me more productive during my days.

Still, I’ve got to find ways to contribute more during downtime.

Few things to note – I caved on both smoking and drinking during the weekdays, so I’m going to refrain from adding that to the beginning of each post. I don’t want the snowball effect to kick in where I feel bad about my progress in one area, and allow my progress in other areas to fall by the wayside as a result. Besides, when I stay active, it makes it much easier for me to eliminate the bad habits. So my main focus is going to stay on running on the daily. The rest will come, I’m confident of that.

Last note – While I’m feeling good about getting to the gym tonight instead of completely slacking off, I didn’t come prepared with any spare clothes. So, I had to throw the sweaty shit back on after my workout. There are few things more discomforting than stewing in your own sweaty clothes. I’m dying inside. It’s nasty. I’m sure you all can relate, remembering that one time you forgot to bring clean clothes to the gym and had to endure the ride home in your full sweat gear. On to day 3.

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Mile a day challenge – Day 1

I’ll call this day one, even though I’ve technically ran for two days in a row. Ran tonight, and yesterday as well. BUT who cares. Let’s see about that template thingy from before –

Days Ran consecutively: 2 days
Total Miles: 2.5 miles

Drank?: Yes – I did on Monday. Grabbed myself a tall boy on the way home. Luckily, this didn’t stop me from running, as I convinced myself to go for that run, and then allow myself to have a drink. Good stuff. Just need to keep cutting back on weekdays.

Smoked?: No. Nice. That makes it two days in a row. It’s tough to quit smoking because I seriously enjoy the smoke break. Just stepping outside and sitting by yourself for a few minutes. It’s a great refresher.

I won’t include the journal part of the template because, well, the answer is yes if I am typing this out.

So yesterday and today were pretty good. After tapping out the initial challenge post and feeling all ready to get stuff done, I immediately lost motivation on the walk from my work desk to the car.  Stopped by to grab a beer since “it was a long day” and was fully prepared to become a vegetable for the evening. However, I got home, looked about, and didn’t feel content to do nothing. Cut to me finishing laundry (folding and putting away! holy what?!), talking myself into a run, meditating, showering, and reading for the evening. Of course, I sprinkled in some Battlefield and a beer in there because, you know, baby steps. Overall, pretty decent evening.

I like a mile run. It’s just enough to get the blood pumping, and it’s easy enough to where I feel comfortable really pushing myself at times. Trying to get going full speed is one of the things I love about running. So I think, when I feel like it, I’ll treat these mile runs as a HIIT sort of thing. Help my speed out. Gotta love that ache deep in the legs you get when you’ve pushed it extra hard.

Today was solid as well. Work went by quick enough, which is always a plus. Also found out I have a surprise 3 day weekend since they switched me from a Sun-Thu to a Mon-Fri schedule. Means I get the normal Friday and Saturday off, then the Sunday since it’s the beginning of that new work week. I won’t complain, although I did enjoy having that weekday off for errands. It made everything so easy and much less crowded than on the weekends. I’ll also miss working Sundays as well, they were just relaxed with half the workforce here, made for a great buffer day to start the week.

After work, I went and hit up the company (onsite) gym that is okay. They just have some dumbbells, treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and room for yoga. It’s enough to get me feeling like I’ve moved some heavy stuff, so it’s not bad. Just wish they had some bars and free weights. Maybe I can talk to HR and see if they’d be willing to put in some equipment if I paid for it? It’s too convenient to not use, but I’d really like more options for workouts.

Anyhow, went after work tonight and did some chest/arms/shoulders. Ran my mile there, on the treadmill, at a decent clip, and then finished all that up with some yoga and meditation. Came home, slammed out some dinner and did the dishes, most of which weren’t even mine. Because that’s how I continue on the path to be a normal functioning adult!

Two days down, and I’m feeling much better. Crazy how much a thing like exercise can really whip you into shape, mentally and physically. Onwards to day 2.

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The Mile a Day challenge – 60 days

There is a lot that I want to do.

There is a lot that I have trouble bringing myself to do.

I find it easy to do the things that are bad for me.  I find it hard to do the things that are good for me.

That’s annoying.

One of the things that has been kicking around in the back of my mind lately is to try to get in shape. You see, I just recently moved from my hometown to Seattle, and while things have been going pretty okay since, there’s still a lot that I want to do. Like I said.

Now, I happen to be taking a visit back home soon, that will be around the 6 or 7 month mark since moving. I have about 60 days until that return trip, and I want to do this “Mile a day” challenge. I think I can do it. A mile, on its own, is not really a challenge for me. Being consistent, however, is the biggest challenge for me. So I want to give it a whirl – see what happens.

I also want to quit smoking, again, for those 60 days. Oh! And eat better. Oh! And taper back my drinking (remove drinking during weeknights). Oh! And…well there’s a lot I want to do, you see.

But I think this mile a day challenge is good. I think it’s just the proper amount of challenge that I can tackle without feeling too overwhelmed. Oh! And I also want to try to publish an update every evening regarding my status. This is to help jump-start my writing as well. So you see, quite a lot I want to do.

I need to figure out some sort of template to update on my progress. I believe I will begin tomorrow, or tonight even, if I am so inspired. Let’s see:
Days Ran consecutively:
Total Miles:
Drank?: Y/N
Smoked?: Y/N
Journal?: Y/N

There. I’ll even take a picture tomorrow of my current shape to see if I make any progress through these next 60 days. I also plan on biking to work like normal and supplementing in some workout days. If I stay consistent and avoid the slip ups turning into fall downs, I think I’ll be pleased with my progress.

I’m a little scatter brained currently, and it has been way too long since I’ve tried a post. I’m super really good at guilt tripping myself into starting something, and even better at becoming too afraid to continue and abandoning the current project.

I’m sure I’ll dive into more detail as I warm myself back up to the whole process, but there’s just a ton of stuff. A ton. Or I guess I should say that it (more importantly) feels like there’s been a lot of stuff. And what is reality but what we perceive and so on.

Alright, I’ll call that good for now. I’m excited to bring an actual update tomorrow.

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Groundhog’s Way.

Sometimes I think of my life as a poor man’s version of Groundhog’s Day. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, shame on you. Go watch it.

I make this connection because I find myself in the same situation over and over again. Beating myself up for the same mistakes. Falling into the same bad habits. Lamenting my current state but rolling out of bed into the same shit. This happens over and over again. This blog is full of the same complaints. My journal (it’s a manly writing tablet, not a diary, dammit!) is almost a broken record. Why do I continuously think one way but act so differently?

At least in Groundhog’s Day he’s improving himself. Learning new skills and figuring out how to avoid repeating his mistakes.

Me?

I don’t know, man. Obviously some part of me must like the frustration and misery that comes from years of the same old. Otherwise, wouldn’t I find a way to avoid these mistakes? This time around, it’s coupled with living with my girlfriend in a new town with her relatives. Before, in these situations where I grow frustrated with myself, I would essentially hit the “reset” button and try to start fresh, but I don’t have that luxury. I have to keep supporting her until she figures her stuff out, and keep pandering to her relatives so that I may continue to live there. Not ideal.

But wait. Maybe I’m using that as an excuse to let myself wallow in self pity though. My brain is adapting to the new scenarios and finding a way to re-frame the same old narrative and keep me from feeling like improving things. I’m sure the latter is more likely than the former.

I’m allowed to change for the better any time I want, situation be damned. In fact – on that note, I recently wrote this little note to myself:

There is no secret to success.
People aren’t more successful simply because they know more than anyone else.

Think about it – most people have an understanding of what they need to do in order to achieve their goals. Or some people have “dreams”. But what is a dream but a goal for which you haven’t prepared?

People like to talk about these goals and dreams. They like to talk about waiting for that “perfect moment”, for a break to go their way, for motivation, or for things to “calm down” in order to achieve their goals.

Successful people don’t wait. They don’t have a laundry list of excuses. They simply act.

No matter what your goal in life is, you can’t achieve it by simply talking about it. Every moment where you aren’t actively working towards something else is a moment that can be used to further yourself in your own life.

But you’d rather watch some Netflix. Check the latest update on your favorite blog. See what’s trending on twitter. Maybe you’re feeling so very tired and need to just relax.

Meanwhile, the successful person is elbow deep in the grind. They understand that time is all we get, and a very limited amount at that.

Your priorities are what you do in your free time.

People like to say they prioritize exercising, creative arts, achieving whichever goal they have.

But if you spend all your free time wasting time, then how can you possibly say that and mean it?

Or are you saying it because you don’t want to admit you prioritize being lazy. Being unaccomplished. These are your priorities because these are what you work towards in your free time.

Time.

So very little of it is ours for the taking, but there is one silver lining.

It consists entirely of the present moment. You are not tethered to your past. You are not stuck waiting for the future. You are present.

And the gift of presence is ever rewarding. Have you been lazy? Take this very second to get up and change that. You are not who you were. You are who you are. You are given each minute to change your life as much or as little as you’d like. That decision is always and completely up to you.

So.

What will it be? Will you turn on captions for Netflix so you can talk loudly about your dreams?

Or will you roll up your sleeves and use every precious moment given to actually accomplish them.

It’s like – the more I don’t want to do something, the more I should realize that I probably should do that exact thing.

I can sit here and write the perfect motivational speech to myself all day, every day. But motivation comes after you start progress. Not before. I’ve got to decide if I want to fully live my life or simply exist, and lament how “I’m not where I want to be”.

I’m going to try scheduling my weekdays out. See if that doesn’t get me in a groove. And I’m serious about it this time, which is nice. I’ve said “my life needs more structure” a billion times before, but never done anything about it. This time, I’ve at least written out a schedule and set alarms to go off on my phone for each new item on the schedule.

I think it’ll be good for me. But here’s hoping I can stick to it.

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A comedy of profound sadness

I recently watched some of the John Oliver stand-up series. As a stand-up fan, there are some great moments, and I’ve been introduced to some new faces that I’ll be sure to follow.

One moment in particular stood out to me. The comedian was Michael Che, and he joked about how he finds that love is overrated. He’s content to like people, because love is just like + obligation. He continues on with that bit with some hilarious insight, and I highly recommend it. In fact, here’s the link.

But after I laughed, I sat. And then I stewed. I almost missed the rest of that great bit, because (like most great comedic bits) there was truth there, and I could not help but dwell on how that truth relates to my personal situation.

DEPRESSION – A new angle for me 

I’ve mentioned my depression and anxiety on here before. In fact, come the 1st of 2015, my new work insurance kicks in and I plan on having a doctor visit to check in with how I’m doing on that front. But I digress.

Where depression has taken a new angle for me is that it has overcome my girlfriend. And I don’t know what to do.

We moved to Seattle together from Alaska, and let me put it right out there that neither one of us have regretted that decision. Where things get tough is that she was feeling depressed before we moved. She was hoping that moving would magically make her feel better and kick her life into gear, but that was not to be. Instead, she’s been severely depressed since we got here. Hasn’t made any efforts to establish any sort of life in this new city. No networking, no real socializing, no job hunt. No nothing.

Maybe I should have pushed more, but a month became two became three and nothing has changed. I didn’t want to press her, because with my history of depression, I bristled at the suggestion to “move on” or “toughen up” or “snap out of it”.

Over this period of time, my enthusiasm for our time together has waned. She’s not herself (obviously, as is the symptom), and I find it hard to relate to this person that I fell in love with. She became argumentative and petty. became argumentative and petty. Over nonsense. Like, whatever the internet happened to be outraged about for the day – we’d argue over. I was getting frustrated.

Then her mother passed away. And I wish I could at the very least say it was expected, but it was a car accident on Thanksgiving. That’s not easy. Her entire life hasn’t been easy – with awful things like that being more common than not.

So I backed off. Even though I was frustrated I knew to step back and just be there for her. And let her cope.

But that frustration has been creeping back in. And I’m torn between wanting to yell at her to do something, and feeling completely ashamed at even having that thought.

Depression keeps you at an impasse, because it makes you never want to go out and do anything, and then shits on you for not doing anything, making you feel even worse and then making it that much harder to go out and do anything. Rinse, repeat. A vicious cycle, to be sure.

But for me, and this is just how it was for me, once I became aware that I was depressed, I was able to fight back a little bit. Be more aware of my negative thoughts. Try to accomplish one thing a day, no matter how small, just to say I didn’t waste a day. I would make exercise a priority, because of the huge, huge impact it has on boosting your mental health.

Basically, I would start taking steps to get better. And no, it certainly wouldn’t happen overnight, and there were instances of regression, but I tried.

My current frustration lies with that I don’t think my girlfriend is trying. It got to the point where I had to voice this concern with her, even though times have been tough, because I couldn’t stand to come home and tip toe around her again. I didn’t want to come home from a day of work to babysit her.

Our discussion, if you can call it that, was brief. She mainly shrugged and said that she was waiting for it to blow over (depression never just “blows over”) and seemed content with that. I see that as giving in. Had the last 3-5 months not indicated to her that once depression takes hold, it’s hard to shake loose?

I could tell this talk was upsetting her, so I dropped it.

Emotionally, I feel like our relationship is the equivalent of a toddler throwing a tantrum by going limp. Doing that “dead weight” thing. I keep exerting myself trying to drag her along, but I can’t force her to support herself, and I only tire myself out in the meantime.

And now, now I’m back to feeling terrible, because I know just how difficult depression can be and for me to say such things about her is probably unfair. And rinse, and repeat. Frustration, shame, guilt. Frustration, shame, guilt. I keep cycling through these each day and it is completely tiring me the fuck out.

Both of us have insurance kicking in on the 1st of the year and I so very desperately hope we each get what we need through doctor visits and possibly therapy because I don’t know how much longer I can live like this. I want to support her, I want to be there for her, but I don’t also want to burden myself with a lost cause. I need to look out for me as well. Frustration, shame, guilt.

I wonder if I was attracted to her so strongly in the beginning because I recognized the dysfunction in myself reflected back through her – and I thought, hey, I can fix her! Getting together under the pretense of fixing someone never works out. With my own struggles of depression, I worry that I’m burning myself out.

Ironically, with her being so depressed, it has kept me (mostly) out of falling into my usual winter depression. I think that’s because I realize a household of constantly bickering married couple, a screw up of a son, and a severely depressed couple is a terrible idea for a sitcom, let alone our actual lives.

So I trudge on and I try to be as understanding as I think I need to be but it is becoming so burdensome. Even the act of going out to the grocery store is an ordeal with her and I try to be supportive and I want her to get better but if this continues, I don’t know what to do.

Frustration. Shame. Guilt.

I’m so tired all of the time now. This love has got me feeling so obligated to stick this out and be with her until something changes. Either her, or me. But I know I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I just happened to be in like.

So that Michael Che got me to thinking, pretty hard. At least he made me laugh about it.

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I like lists

I like jotting down all the things I think I need to do in a list. I like crossing those items off. Problem is, I think I like making lists more than I like completing lists.

I need a list of all my unfinished lists.

I think I have a problem of thinking too big. It’s like I see a large river I need to cross, and plan on making it in one leap, instead of taking time to give myself some stepping stones. I want to write more? I write down “finish X stories”. I want to exercise more? I write down “be 30 pounds fitter”. I want to meet more people in a new town? I write down “make friends and network”.

You might be able to see the problem here. Where is the process? How can I make these goals obtainable instead of just putting the end result as a “step”?  You know the saying, can’t see the forest through the trees? It’s talking about getting caught up in the minutiae of something, and missing the big picture.

Well, I’m like the opposite. I can’t see the trees because of the forest. I’m like, whoa, cool a big forest! And while I’m staring up in wonder at the overhanging canopy, I walk face first, smack into a tree. Then get deterred from ever coming near said forest and try to find ways to walk around the forest instead of just making sure I pay attention to how I’m getting through.

This way of thinking keeps me paralyzed due to the extreme undertaking I put in front of myself. Better to do nothing than fail at something so big, right? Terrible way of thinking, I know.

So I think I need to start super small. As Dr. Leo would say : baby steps.

First, I want to make a kind of ‘daily activities’ list. This should be the smallest of small stuff, that I can make sure I get into the habit of doing. Stuff like specific exercises (run 1 mile) or quantifiable activities (meditate for 10 minutes / write 500 words). Then, I can move on to the short term goals type of lists.

This list can work in tandem with the dailies. If I stick with the daily type stuff, I should be able to accomplish the short term goals relatively easy. This can be like “finish a short story” and “run for 30 miles for the month”. Stuff like that.

Then I can swoop in with the big, overreaching goals that I put forth originally. Make those the long term goals. This way I can have the steps laid out in front of me on just how to accomplish these long term goals. I can start big and work my way back to see how to accomplish a goal, or I can start small and look forward to see what kind of achievements are possible if I stick with a process.

Alright, cool.

Side note – perhaps my favorite thing to do besides making lists is making suggestions for stuff I need to do. I’m always saying, I need to do this and that and I should be more whatever and I should be like….

I talk the talk. As much as I like to think I am not one of those people that is all talk and no substance when it comes to achieving personal goals – I don’t have much of a history when it comes to proving it. Instead, just a whole lot of talk. Eh. At least it’s my talk.

But, seriously. I need to walk the walk. Helps to start small. Just need consistency.

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I think I’m becoming an adult

I believe it started with my priorities. Before, my priorities were to get through the work day as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Then, I had all that free time after work to go ahead and get messed up on alcohol and weed while playing video games until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I would pass out. That was fun, or so I thought.

Now I find myself with all these new (desired) priorities and habits. I find myself playing video games less and less, and on  the times that I do – my attention wanes quickly. I still get excited for new and upcoming games, not as much so, but it’s almost as if I enjoy reading about and watching games more than actually playing them.

I also find myself not running away at that mere hint of the word “responsibility”. It was weird going through the interviews that I had when I first arrived to Seattle. I made it a point of emphasis that I wanted “responsibility” and that I was seeking the opportunity for advancement. Where this came from? I have no idea. But it wasn’t just interview speak, it was something that I felt.

I’ve long suffered depression and anxiety and lowered self worth, and I think one of the reasons could be because I never had faith in myself to BE responsible and to get my priorities straight. And now I find that the more I come around and steer towards these goals, the more my self worth is creeping towards ideal levels.

I find myself wanting to structure my life. I have several goals for myself this week, including building a personal budget and setting up a weekly planner to help keep track of what I want to accomplish for the week. I’m not content to sit around and piss away hours on the internet anymore. I’ve found that if I’m going to read, I’m wanting it to be a book, and not some “Top 10 lists of hilarity found on the internet between the hours of 2-4 pm on this day” or whatever. Those lists are usually too specific, and the hilarity is way overstated. And what do I get out of them? I usually forget every single thing that I read the moment I hit that little Red x.

So I find myself wanting to read, and exercise, and meditate, and accomplish things. I find myself cleaning more, and not just to put on airs for my girlfriend and her family (whom I’m staying with). But for myself. I find myself wanting to cut back on habits I know are bad for me. I find myself, becoming more and more….responsible.

Like, for instance – I recently spent time in NYC with my brother and his beautiful (now!) fiance. And I’ll admit, I was a bit jealous. While their schedules were pretty hectic and the stress resultant wasn’t necessarily the thing that I wanted, I found myself appreciating that they were pursuing their interests. They had a wonderful apartment in a fantastic neighborhood and great friends and all these places they were regulars of that they loved and…. And I want that kind of lifestyle.

I want to quit blowing off work and working for the weekend, when all I do on the weekend is fuck off. I find myself wanting to spend time writing more, something that scares the shit out of me (which makes me know I need to do it more). I want to read more.

I don’t even fall into the old habits as quickly as I used to. During said visit to NYC, I was at the party where all the friends showed up to celebrate the engagement. Normally, in a situation such as this where I know practically no one, I would turn to alcohol early and often and hide in the corner, until I felt sociable. This would usually be after one too many drinks, and I would stumble and slur and make a fool of myself, causing me to keep drinking to chase the shame away. Not ideal.

This time, however, I sipped on a few beers and even went empty handed at moments (something I wouldn’t dare to do in the past) and made sure to go up to people and make small talk. Some of the conversations weren’t earth shattering, of course, but practice makes perfect and that’s something that I can be proud of. My brother even commented on the fact that I seemed so “laid back” when it came to that evening. He’s seen me when I’ve had too many, and we both know it ain’t pretty. I seemed to have ditched the crutch and started relying on my own muscles to get me moving.

And that seems to be the case for a lot of things in my life. I’m wanting to kick away my safety nets and try living, truly living, for the first time in, I don’t know, ever? I find myself wanting to quit caffeine because I know it exacerbates anxiety. I find myself wanting to get myself out there and throw myself into uncomfortable situations, simply because I know that it’s impossible to know how I’ll handle them until I actually do it!

All these changes, and they haven’t necessarily been at the forefront of my mind. They’ve just gradually happened. I’m staying with my girlfriend’s family, and they have a son (Also named Joe, go figure) who reminds me so much of me from a couple of years ago. Always wanting to get high, to go drinking, to fuck around with his friends, to skirt his responsibilities, getting into arguments with his parents, coming up short at his job and currently jobless….

Reminds me so much of me. And I can’t help but shake my head and be thankful that not only am I NOT that kind of person anymore, I don’t want to be that kind of person anymore. And I think, is that what it feels like to become an adult? It doesn’t happen with a bang, like a balloon popping. It happens slowly, over time, like a bucket left out in the rain, slowly gathering what life has to offer. I think I’m finally going to use that bucket to water some of these new seeds that I’ve gathered in my last couple of years. Feels good.

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