Fuck it. :)

Routine, habits, discipline… this is how you reach SUCCESS! EVERY DAY you need to grind and put in that 80 hours a week sacrificing anything even remotely enjoyable. Have a 6-pack, make 6 figures a MONTH, and drive a Bugatti. RAIN, SNOW, SLEET… FUCK your off-day. Vacations are for pussies!

I’ll pass.

Nature has but a few things that are routine or habitual. The sun will rise in the morning and set in the evening. The Earth will rotate yearly which gives us the opportunity to experience seasons, whether that be a drastic change (Massachusetts) or minimal (Cancuun). The leaves will drop in the Fall, they’ll grow anew in the Spring. So, yeah, it’s going to have it’s habits. It’s going to have regular occurrences. It’s going to have expected behaviors.

But from time to time there’s the freak storm that blows through, an earthquake that rattles the ground that we walk on, or a bird takes a shit on your head (I’ve heard it’s good luck, but it’s still quite the mess to clean up). Animals can act erratically too. Your pet dog may just sleep all day on a Monday, but then come Friday it has a case of the zoomies. Sound familiar?

“It’s 5am, I need to get to the gym so I can get my workout in before my 9am meeting, but I need to make sure I get a latte-mocha-chino-frappe with my avocado-egg-vegan-swiss-protein wrap on my way and then I have a flight I need to make at noon for the merger and be back home by 7pm so I can watch Johnny’s big game, but I’ll make sure to have my cell phone and laptop so I can get my work done. Then Tuesday I’ll do it again, but I don’t have to fly anywhere again until Thursday.”

I’ve heard and seen this nonsense before. These people are too busy to realize that they need to drink a water or rip a fart. They put the smile on their face but when they finally pull back the curtains they reveal the stress that they juggle daily, the bullshit they endure with their co-workers/peers, and the constant of trying to keep up with the Jones’s. Typically, their physical and mental health reflects it. Tony Robbins once said that, “The words we use is the reality that we create.” The same people that lived a life like that would text me with depressing complaints about a life that’s been formed through choices they’ve made. I entertained it for a bit in hopes that I could shed some light on their train of thought, but some people just loooooove complaining.

Too often do we get so busy that we miss all the beauty that life is laying out for us. I live on a very busy street in the heart of Plymouth, MA that rattles daily with loud cars/motorcycle gangs, first responders that keep their sirens on, and people that can’t handle their liquor. When it FINALLY gets quiet down here… nature’s simplicity and peace finally shines through. The tree out front reflects its’ foliage as the crisp autumn air blows. The ocean gives off its’ deep navy blue color with crests of white sporadically as miniature waves crash. Gray and white clouds glide across the horizon, peacefully as if they’re the pillow to the dark blue comforter that lies on nature’s bed.

When we’re answering emails, phone calls, pushing for our own versions of success, we may see these small gifts of sight that are laid before us on a day to day basis, but in no way do we actually have time to appreciate its’ wonder and absorb what we see. Not to mention the smells that are carried on the wind, the rustling of the leaves on the tree, or the chirps of the small flock of birds that have yet to descend south… reminding us that “winter is coming.”

There are days that I’m up, exercised, meditated, journaled, showered, and out the door to do a million and one things by 9am… but there are ALSO days that I glance out the window and glance at my “to-do list” like a chess match. If my errands and tasks spilled over to tomorrow, would my life change drastically? Am I able to take today and enjoy the peace that I’m surrounded by? Will the world end if I go hash it out endlessly with Verizon tomorrow instead of today?

Nope… Fuck it. Today has become a day of reflection and stillness. Even damning a fast flowing river for a single moment would create more pressure for its’ subsequent release.

People title these times as “vacations” or a “vacation day.” Or most employers do, I guess. You usually have to plan them in far in advance… so come these planned days off you could be stuck with weather conditions that resembled a hurricane or be so inundated with other unexpected stressors that you can’t enjoy it. Ever gotten sick right before “vacation?”

Spontaneous “Fuck-it days” are necessary. You can meditate forever, but there are still going to be emotions that creep up when your mind, soul, and body avoid the rest you desperately need. There’s such a thing as “overtraining” for your body, so there’s such a thing as “overtraining” your brain/soul. Honestly, I hit it that point so quickly I feel as if I should trademark “Fuck-it Days.” Maybe it’ll be “Phuck it Day” and put it on a T-shirt?

Put it this way… I’ve been called “lazy” or “undisciplined” and “dipshit.” The latter was by a random person on the internet, so it hit the hardest. These were mostly on days that I knew I was at work begrudgingly for many days in a row and obviously, not much good came of it. But remember – there is no darkness, just a lacking of light. There is no coldness, only lacking of heat. So is it really “lazy?” Or is it really “undisciplined?” Or is there just a deeper misunderstanding happening? Even sports competitors take unexpected “time outs” when a leader notices that they need a break. Perhaps that should be more widely looked at in professions besides sports?

Maybe your passion does not coincide with whomever spoke the harsh words? Or perhaps, are you easily distracted and your passions fall wayside because of toys, media, and fear that’s manifested as avoidance? Or do you not entirely care that the 711 slushie machine has dust on it? It’s liquid poison anyways.

Artists take a lot of these moments that we’re blessed with and create from their soul and their perspective. Critics lean on the other side of the scale by taking content made by an artist and speaking their opinion on it. Professional critics can get so skilled at absorbing people’s content and spitting out opinions that they may never create anything themselves. Sure, there has to be balance because a 3 year old can’t build a Michaelangelo sculpture… but some can finger paint like a mother fucker.

We all have the ongoing battle of the critic vs. the artist within us. Critics can tell you that the only way to the top is by grinding it the fuck out at that law firm and burning both ends of the candle. You’ll be happy when your bank account says so. You loved playing the paino when you were in school and had more time, but now “priorities” come first. The habit of consuming everyone else’s creations at all time (food, videos, pictures taken by other) feeds the critic. Small doses of such a thing can help spur inspiration and innovation feeding the artist, perhaps even steering you from what’s stealing your soul and helping you create again.

But a man needs to eat! So yes, there are days we get up and do some grinding to put money in someone else’s pocket. It may include travel, unwarranted respect to a superior, or just living in what can feel like an utter waste of time. But with the discipline of working on your passions, creating a healthy set of habits to engage said passions, and mastering your craft through that 10,000 hours of discipline… maybe one day that we do wake up and have to grind…we can be making money for ourselves instead of selling our souls daily for that wretched Mr. Burns.

Love thyself, take care of yourself, and be aware of what your soul needs. Create, admire, engage curiosity, genuinely spread positivity, exercise, eat well, drink water… and STRETCH. Be in the business of understanding there is only one YOU for this world and everyone else in it. When you take yourself your next Phuck-it Day™ remember… it’s just business.

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One last storm…

Before the storm, there’s a calm…

Within that calm is even a sense of anxiety… a suspenseful “wait.” There’s something big coming, looming in a distance of time. Will it bring excitement? Will it bring disaster? Are we prepared? Was the work done before hand… the battening down of the hatches, the food set aside, candles, heat.. are our general needs met… and more?

Further down the timeline, before it reaches us, are we even aware of what we need? The clock is ticking and the grasshopper is still playing. The ant doesn’t give a fuck as his grind has allowed him to always be prepared for most any storm. But he’s also an ant and as far as I’m aware, ants aren’t aware of all that much – ask my childhood magnifying glass. Burn, bitch.

It’s closer now, more time has passed. The pressure of the suspense is starting to push against its’ retaining walls. The clouds are darker, the wind is picking up, the rain is hitting harder. It’s a nice reprieve from the heat and the sun and to enjoy the good, the wonderful times we’re blessed with daily, we need the storm and the chaos… right? The chaos will in turn allow us to see the peace that’s around us. This is what allows chaos to be so beautiful – it’s a tornado, a storm, a whirlwind… pick one. It’s fast and without reason and it’s nothing we can control, but only something we can operate within and carefully flow with. Will we make it out the other side of the chaos? Maybe. While it’s not something we can control and not even always operate well within, we can learn.

Chaos will bring opportunities to learn, but only in hindsight. The speed at which it moves is nothing that allows for time of analytic thought, but that of reflection after its’ passing. The only thing that allows us to move with the speed of chaos is experience… having been there before. There is no replacement. No amount of preparation will always be sufficient. The first storm for any animal, humans included, is frightening as we know not what to expect. It steals our sunshine and our calm airs and then replaces it with the glooming clouds that bellow with their words and scream with their flashing light. The winds are like a slap from nature that remind you to “Wake the fuck up, take care of your space or I will remove you.”

This is not our space, it is not our universe… it is simply for rent. Our landlord collects each moment and there is no rhyme or reason to what she will bring if we don’t pay. We’re collectively here, sharing this space… billions of ants that have no collective purpose. When a few ants get rowdy and stomp on their floor which doubles as the landlord’s ceiling, she makes sure we know who’s building this is.

The storm is coming and it WILL bring chaos. Within that chaos will be opportunity and change. Change isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s necessary. The winds will slap, the rain will strike, the skies will rumble, but after what will feel like being within a blender trying to stay atop the blades, we hope to come out the other side refreshed like the other end of a cold shower.

After we endure the chaos, regardless of how well we handled it… peace will resume and we’ll see more clearly. If you try to control the chaos, thinking it will bend to your will, you reduce yourself to thinking with the ego… which is only setting yourself up for more trouble. Let go, allow the storm to do what it will, and flow through it.

The storm has passed and it was oddly pleasant. The lightening, thunder, and sheets of rain brought excitement. The fear reminded you that you’re still a part of the cycle of nature. We are not kings and queens, but merely civilians in this universe. One day we will experience our last storm, our last downpour, our last blizzard. That is true for each animal that resides on the planet Earth. If we’re lucky, we’ll know it’s our last, and we’ll be able to recline in our chair and enjoy each moment of it. We’ll know that we’re done with change and coming out the other end of the storm will be a blessing within itself. Each raindrop, snowflake, lightening strike will be one last reminder that Mother Nature owns this planet and that we are one with it. Even her wrath brings beauty… whether it’s during or after… she wants to survive more than we do… and to quote the great George Carlin, “she’ll shake us off like fleas on a dog.”

Enjoy the storm, because we never know when it may be our last.

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Don’t Lose your Dinosaur

There’s something so interesting about little kids. Their naivety and ignorant attitude towards everything is beautiful. They want to become astronauts, scientists, football players, garbage truck drivers, conductors of trains… you name it, they want to make that dream happen. Some still want to become dinosaurs when they’re older.

With some kids this “decision of profession” changes with the wind. With some, well… we hear about them later in life and they tell us that they’ve dreamed of becoming X since as long as they could remember. I envy those kids. They work hard all their lives to accomplish this one particular goal because they know that’s what they want. It was in them since birth. Those are the same adults that fix me up when I go to the hospital or we hear about when they’re returning from the first trip to Mars.

I can remember in 7th grade we were asked to write an essay about what we wanted to become when we grew up. Even then I remember thinking, “I’m fucking 13. I have to decide by now? Uuuuuh, I guess I’ll play professional football.” After I turned down the starting QB position for the Patriots out of respect for Tom Brady, I decided that perhaps professional football isn’t for me.

Here we are, 22 years later and I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.

I recently was caught in a very blindsiding and confrontational conversation that still has me irked. Now, there are many methods I use to release these negative emotions. I exercise daily, sometimes more heavily than others with some striking to get that release. Sometimes more meditation and stretching are the recipe to clearing my head. Writing in my journal daily is a fantastic way to keep your thoughts in check. But here we are, almost a week later and I’m still stuck in some sort of loop.

The short of the conversation was that I was getting called out for being 35 and not having some definitive plan for my future. It sounded like a conversation that I’ve had with people that have some cookie cutter lives. Get a good job, buy a house, start a family, retire and enjoy your golden years.

Fuck that. I’ve never wanted it. In fact, the thought of it scares me. The boredom would lead me to some sort of self-sabotage, I’m almost positive of it.

About a year ago (5 months before COVID hit), I relinquished my path of looking to own a martial arts school underneath my former teacher. It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make to date. It was a path that I had walked for 10 years hoping I could walk it for another 50. Unfortunately, I had finally seen enough red flags that told me I had to leave. I still look to get back into martial arts, once this whole COVID thing starts to wrap up… but as a student. Trying to monetize the very things that you love can quickly taint them.

It took me a few months to find a position in something I wasn’t over/under qualified to do, that would offer growth, and reward hard work. I found an industry that’s booming as we enter a new era and then all of a sudden – COVID. 2 months into a new job and I was already laid off. After 3 months of “vacation,” we got back to work. 3 months later, I switched companies within the same industry for more freedom and room for growth. As you can see, I’ve really had a ton of time to set my roots into something after professionally punching and kicking for 10 years. Oddly enough, some of the skills are transferable.

It’s taken about 5 months to truly sink into my new role and things are going well. My pay is unpredictable, but when it lands, it’s a bigger check than I’m used to. I work far less than I ever have but the time I put in is far more rewarding than ever before. It was a bit of a learning curve, but I’m enjoying the balance of time vs. work far more than ever before.

So when I use Tyson’s quote and respond to the question, “What’s your plan?” with “Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face,” I mean it. Paths and goals with smaller intermittent goals along the way make far more sense. The world has dramatically shifted in the past 12 months. Plans have become overrated. Adaptability to an everchanging world seems like a stronger “plan” than the outdated “Let’s live here, in a blue house, with a dog named Jim.”

Entire industries are disappearing. Jobs are becoming automated. College degrees are becoming obsolete. People who spent decades at one company in one field – laid off with no direction of what to do.

What’s their plan? Survive? Pivot? Adapt?

What really frustrates me about all of this? She was 20 years old. A 20 year old girl with no life lessons to speak of… but sits upon a high horse because she’s been in college for a year. Obviously she knows how the world works now. Instagram and tik-tok tell her so. Did you see how many “likes” she got?

I KNOW THIS BULLSHIT. WHY AM I STILL SO ANNOYED BY THE CONVERSATION? WHY AM I NOT AT PEACE WITH KNOWING THAT SHE BARELY KNOWS WHAT SHE’S TALKING ABOUT?

Because there’s some truth to it. She’s not necessarily right, but it’s been a small nagging thought I’ve been battling for years. It probably started late twenties, but it always sunk in harder when I looked at social media.

I spent last summer making up for lost time with my significant other. After 10 years of almost 100 hour weeks and no weekends, it was our mission to live life. The winter is the slow time of the industry and I felt the pain and boredom of it. Just now is business starting to pick up. I’ve been focused on the consistency of good habits, growing said business, and creating financial growth.

Plan? I guess I don’t have one. The goal is to have passive income fuel my life of travel, adventure, and… and living. But society spoonfeeds you to get the job, buy the house, have a family, settle in and eventually retire to enjoy your golden years. Let me tell you about those golden years – I’m watching my parents live them now and they seem so tired from grinding for 50 years that all they want to do is “relax.” It’s painful to watch and I can’t help but be fairly responsible. As a self-aware “child,” I know their sacrifice of their younger years and what could have been was for their family. Admirable but disheartening as well. It’s not my fault, but the guilt is still there.

We’re supposed to learn from our parents, right? Well, in this life, I want time, freedom, and adventure. What profession has all of that? Professional human? SOLD.

Ideally, I want an income flow that can help me continue to grow my income flow (money growing money), I don’t understand how owning a house does that. A home costs money… and a lot of it. Shit goes wrong all the time that costs money and time to fix. Then there’s utilities, a mortgage, and taxes to top it off. The maintenance costs too? The headaches of losing your nice Saturday to deal with a plumbing problem that came up? Yeah, I’ll pass for now.

There are obviously qualities of life, memories, and moments that you can’t put a price tag on… but I guess the costs of owning a home kind of do.

How does this sound like it would yield income or time or adventure? It doesn’t, not to me anyways. Perhaps buying a multi-family with tenants would, but that wasn’t the discussion. A house is a liability (Thank you Rich Dad, Poor Dad). Anything that steals from your income flow is a liability or expense. Anything that can contribute is an asset. I know, I’m late to the game, but when you’re never taught this stuff throughout 16 years of traditional education, 10 years of martial arts education, 8 years of unorthodox business training, not ONCE was this ever taught to me. It wasn’t until recently that I started to grasp all of this.

My current goal has been to enter the “wealthy” phase of my life (healthy, wealthy, and wise), where I learn all about creation and maintenance of finance and then apply it to my day to day existence.

So yes, I’m 35 and I don’t “need to make a decision” as this ever-so-learned 20 year old tried to educate me.

Here’s my decision. I’m going to stay a kid… in certain respects.

I’m going to continue to view this world as I did when I was 5 – with wonder, joy, love, and curiosity.

I’m going to approach new opportunities with excitement and positivity.

I’m going to laugh at myself and anything I find funny.

I’m going to learn from everyone because all I know, is that I know nothing.

But I’m also going to use my “adult tools” to become accomplished at things I love doing. Meaning I’m going to continue to use discipline for growth, perseverance to get through the tough times, and logic to keep my emotions in check.

Again, there’s no “end goal” to life that all of a sudden we’ll be happy once we reach it. Life is 100% a journey, one that we should share with the people that mean the most to us. We could be hit by a truck tomorrow, we could live another 80 years… there’s no telling. One thing I’ll make sure of is that every day, we’re going to smile. Isn’t that the goal for all of us… happiness? Do what makes you happy and cheer on the others that do the same.

Don’t listen to those 20 year olds of the world telling you what to do. It’s your life, not theirs. You’re right where you need to be right now and there isn’t any other way. It all happens for a reason… right? Choose your profession or don’t. You’re doing your best – you’re still here, aren’t you?

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The Process is in Motion

I want to write a book. Goddamn, I’ve wanted to write one forever. Since I was a kid spending countless days in my room losing myself in worlds that were created in my mind from words on a page, I’ve aspired to do the same. Words on paper that could allow someone to create, use, or just generally enjoy – I’ve felt it was something I could do.

It’s something I CAN do. Something I WILL do.

I just don’t know what to fucking write.

Recently, of no searching of my own, this video arrived on my YouTube feed. I know, I know… YouTube takes my data and then throws shit my way to keep me on their site. I know. BUT I ENJOY IT. I’m not raiding the capital, preaching to everyone about my political views, or learning how to make bombs, I’m just browsing a couple videos while I eat lunch. You’ve wasted times worse ways, we all have. Big brother blah blah blah.

REGARDLESS, I watched this video while I was already a few pages into writing a book and afterwards I was filled with self-doubt.

“He’s probably right. What the fuck am I even writing about anyways? Should this be the topic I want to write about? Would I enjoy writing fiction more?”

Questions RIPPED through my mind, all questioning my motives and purpose behind writing a book. Timmy boy brings up some good points. Once it’s down on paper, you can’t take it back. It’s like taking this blog, printing each and every post, stapling it together, and then dropping it at everyone’s front door. The whole reason this blog started was to have a voice that could be heard… even if just by chance. Actually, MOSTLY by chance. It was a solid year before this domain was posted anywhere. I wanted to make sure I would be consistent with it before sharing it with anyone. There have been too many times I’ve started something and then quit out of pure laziness.

But a book, published through Amazon (since it’s so damn simple these days), and then advertised, sold, etc… was it something I felt so strongly about? Whatever was going down on paper, would it be something I could stand behind for the rest of my life?

We all make mistakes. That’s how life gets better – you fuck up, learn from it, do it better the next time. That’s how I was looking at the book. If my first one’s going to suck anyways, shouldn’t I just get to work and pump it out? Rip that bandaid right off. That’s how I addressed the first few pages. It’s not going to be good yet, there’s no way, just start writing and we can make fixes later.

But looking back after watching this video, I questioned whether or not I was ready for a book, whether it would be worth reading for anyone. These are thoughts that come from that critical side of the self, not the creative side. But this same self can save us from a lot of mistakes that we should have already learned from… right?

Consistently writing for a couple years now, I know that my skills as a writer have improved, but just because you can shoot an arrow dead center of the bullseye doesn’t mean you know how to hunt. One helps the other, you need one for the other, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a great hunter or even a successful one.

Honestly, and this whole blog is about honesty, I wanted to put out a book on self-improvement. That’s what was in the works. Sure, there’s a million of these titles out there, but if your voice can help even one person, it’s worth it. But do you have the experience to talk about it? Do you have the information some people will need? Can you fill a book? Is this book for them or is it really for you?

Fuck, man. Just self-doubt and the critical self being aggressive… but asking really good questions. I’ve made drastic improvements in my life and feel that my advice can help, yes. There have been lots of people that I’ve spoken with, successful in their careers – doctors, lawyers, etc… but just some wisdom from a 20-something was something they needed to hear. So sure, I guess I have an insight on life that some people could benefit to hear. Why me? Because why not? I may not have the most life experience, but surely there’s some people out there that would rather listen to a regular dude than Ghandi. Is it for the reader or for me? Both.

I (me) want to spend my time (me, again) helping other people (the reader, listener, whatever) get their head on straight. Some people fight procrastination (yup, me too), some people drink too much (time to time I need to dry out), some people are scared of the world and the people in it (some days I’m riddled with anxiety and would prefer solitude).

These issues are not one’s that I’ve conquered or will seemingly ever conquer, but I deal with them. Over time, I’ve created different mechanisms and habits to overcome whatever struggles I’m dealing with that day. This blog consists of a different day and a different struggle for me. Writing has been a huge help in keeping my mind straight, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all. There are so many things I need to do when I meet resistance. If not done, the mind runs wild… like a little kid the size of the Hulk running a tantrum in a china shop. Cliche, but true.

What about fiction, Kris? Would you have more fun putting all you’ve learned into some poetic story filled with metaphor? Actually, that isn’t a bad idea. Thanks, Kris. I’ve always wanted to make a movie of some sort, tell a story whether through written word of film… but quite honestly (again, all about being straight here), where does one start?

The last time I wrote fiction was on this blog and although it was fun, damn was it time consuming. I guess the things we love take the most time. I remember when I was in 4th grade I had to write a fictional story to get into the extended learning program. It was a nerdy program, but it was where all the “smart kids” got to go during regular class for a couple hours a week. I always wanted to be in that club, just to feel like I had some sort of affirmation that I was “smart.” Well, I got in, but it didn’t last long as I got the boot at the end of the year. I made the really, really smart (and probably autistic, looking back on it) girl cry over her project. Whatever I said or did, it was a music-coming-to-a-screeching-halt moment. Oh well… whatever, nerds. Life goes on.

BUT, I remember the entrance exam and how much fun I had writing. There’s moments like this peppered throughout our lives where we remember creating something, whether it be a moment, a story, a film – whatever – but it holds value in our memories. I’ve made video game highlight clips and had a blast, I wrote stories and enjoyed the fuck out of it, I made my entire class laugh from jokes I told (or impressions I made of the authority figure). These stand out as I look back on my 35 years of life. Not that sale at the store I made, not that time I cleaned up some douchebags table, none of it. The creations we made are what stick out.

So will I write a book? Yes, dude… I already said that.

Do I know what I’ll write? A bunch of shit, I’m sure.

What’s first? This blog.

But then what? I DON’T KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

….I don’t know.

I think of writing, both journaling and blogging, to be like math class. Your teacher would give you equations that needed to be solved. Even with a calculator, you would need to break down each problem out on paper. That’s what writing has become. Not to fill your time with useless metaphors, but life is the teacher and writing is just doing it out on paper. Journaling reminds me of doing homework, where you could fuck around and just see what happened while no one watched. Blogging is more like the quiz or test, where your teacher would see your mathematical thinking exposed and help lead you in the right direction.

Through continuous writing, I’ll figure out what I want to write. But I’m closer than I’ve ever been. And I hope you are too, whoever you are and wherever you are and whatever you’re after. Life is too short to let it pass by. Make your decision and run with it.

I’m going to write a book. Not sure what, but the process has already begun.

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Stay Stoic and Carry On

I put shit off. I put putting shit off… off. I am the KING OF PROCRASTINATION… BOW TO ME PEASANTS! Not now though… later. I don’t feel like it right now. I’m busy playing on my cell phone.

Some days, there’s not even a microcosm of procrastination from start to finish. Those are probably the most satisfying days. You know those days that you sit down on for dinner and you exclaim, “DONE” with a tired smile on your face? That’s the type of day I’m talking about. Those can be my favorite. I also love days where I adventure, travel, eat, goof around, play video games, chit-chat about nothing… but that’s not what we’re addressing here.

Even though there are days that we’re extraordinarily busy, there can be this sense that we’ve accomplished nothing of substance. As if whatever we did throughout the day had no impact on really anything important. Did today bring us any closer to the goals we’ve set? Did the actions today create memorable experiences for us and those around us? Have we made progress? Why do we still feel like there’s SO MUCH MORE TO DO?!

Sometimes the progress is there, possibly even tangible depending on what we’re trying to do. Sometimes we can’t see the progress, but we can feel it. Sometimes we see improvement but it doesn’t necessarily equate to progress. Taking a day to clean the entire house is certainly satisfying and meditative in a sense, but it doesn’t get that book you’ve been dying to write published. Skipping a day’s physical fitness to reorganize the office streamlines a workday but it doesn’t get you those chiseled abs you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to get. Skipping a martial arts class because you’re tired doesn’t get you closer to a black belt.

We can be busy and still procrastinate, with good reasons too!… or so we tell ourselves. It’s like a distraction away from our inner values and thoughts. I once watched someone pick up a pile of rocks and put them in another pile 2 feet behind them while we were cleaning out a building. My question was posed to this person verbally, “What in the actual fuck are you doing?” Their response? “Tidying up!” In their defense, this person was as soft as puppy shit so it was of no surprise, but just another example of them staying busy to avoid the real task of cleaning (which was usually their forte). This person had an inner monologue that told themselves it was a productive idea. On a greater scale, we all do the same thing. We move shit around, tell ourselves that we’re too busy to ______________ (fill in the blank), and decide it was a good idea… meanwhile we’ve avoided real tasks.

But our chasing of perfection or “the right path” can be debilitating too. There have been moments where I think about all the time I’ve spent running on a treadmill and getting nowhere, metaphorically speaking. Literally speaking, treadmills can be quite both the angel and devil on your shoulders. Regardless, the thoughts about not wanting to “waste my time” doing something are thoughts that benefit no one. They only paralyze me. They stick me in a chair browsing the internet for hours while no tasks actually get done.

Watch Mike Judge’s “Idiocracy.” Great Film and we’re living out the prequel.

“Okay… count down from 10 scrolls on Reddit and then you have to go to the gym.”

“10 more scrolls and you have to type out that email.”

“10 more scrolls and you have to get into bed.”

Yeah, this is the “baitin'” bullshit I put myself through… because “I’ll do it later.” THAT MOTHER FUCKER! Whoever that voice is, I know it’s not me. It’s a tool of Satan himself. That red piece of shit wants no progress and for us to all waste away… unaccomplished, unsatisfied, useless, sad, and defeated.

Yesterday I had a particularly unproductive day. From the moment I woke up, very little got done. My mornings typically start with either meditation, a cold shower, some journaling … or all 3 (usually all 3). I journaled, but then I couldn’t bring myself to take a cold shower. That’s a MUST for me daily. If I can sit in that for 5-10 minutes, the day is mine. The hardest part is just stepping beyond the curtain, once you pass the threshold the rest is simple.

To put yourself, willingly, into physical discomfort immediately upon waking… the hardest task of the day is done. When I couldn’t bring myself to just rinse off in some cold water while the entire apartment is heated and full of comfort… it only sets me up for what is bound to be a depressing, downward spiral. Thankfully, there were some minor accomplishments that helped me rebound to deter a deep depressive episode. Had I taken zero action, that dark beast would have gained control of me. I ate the day as a loss, learned my lesson, and decided to come back swinging. Acknowledging that we only have access and control to the present, reminds me that to mentally beat myself up about actions in the past can only hurt the present and subsequently, the future.

Today has been a day in the win column for myself… 90% of my time has been what I consider to be productive (that’s all that matters, damnit!) and even more so joyful. So after a solid few hours of stepping forward, I put myself into a sauna blanket to grab some passive health benefits. When I physically lock myself down from neck to toe, I do 1 of 3 things.

  1. Meditate (60 minutes can be brutal… but also brutally helpful for the psyche)
  2. Listen to a podcast (Tim Ferriss, Rogan, or the BillBert podcast … in that order)
  3. Browse YouTube, fall down the rabbit hole, and hopefully learn something of interest.

Today was option number 3.

I found a few videos that spoke to me and my challenges. These clips were found by sheer luck and at the right time for me to accept their message. There are times where we could hear the information but listen to none of it. This was not one of those times. These videos were a kick in the ass, a slap in the face, a spoon of hot sauce in my cereal (gross). All of which I needed. Anyone dealing with any sort of procrastination, hesitation, or treadmill-esque behavior should take a few minutes to watch and listen. These 2 videos are the reason I sat here for the last hour to write this post. Hopefully it helps someone… besides myself.

Enjoy.

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One Day at a Time

It’s been months since I last posted anything, but thought about it almost daily. For some reason, trying to stick to so many self-imposed rules and goals became terribly overwhelming in such “unprecedented times.” There was no governing board that put the structure of self-improvement into affect, just the one big rule that we needed to remain home. This was the first time most of us had ever been in a pandemic, in a lockdown, in a state of being both physically and mentally stuck. Uncharted waters for most everyone on the entire planet.

Perhaps the self-imposed structure was put into place to keep myself mentally upbeat, to keep the progress I had worked so hard for. Productive habits that took months to build were lost in a day. Because it’s not that a morning routine is lost instantly, but it becomes a matter of procrastination until the day is lost. Before you know it, you haven’t done your meditation, writing, ______________ in 3 days and it becomes tougher to come back.

Sometimes it’s the self-criticism that keeps us away, at least I know it can for me. We can be harsh on ourselves when we slip, like the bully at school with no confidence. He laughs when we fall to keep eyes off himself. If we all point and chuckle at someone else when they fall, we take 0 responsibility for our short comings. If we don’t fall, the bully has no ammo, but it means we never tried either. It’s much easier to keep avoiding the treadmill than it is to muster up the strength to get your ass on it. Excuses can come easy. I’m sure we’ve all heard a saying or 2 about them…

How is it beneficial for us to be so difficult on ourselves? When we’re so critical of our failings that we can’t forgive ourselves for being human… how can we march forward? Failing means we’re trying and through the failures we need to learn. It’s cliche, but I’ve found that it always rings true. No one’s social media is filled with their own personal failures. They’re not glorious, prestigious, or uplifting. These are the genuine times that hide behind the scenes, but are important to admit and share. If we can share them, the sin of not meeting expectations becomes a far more forgivable offense. That voice in the back of your mind that wants to shit on everything you do can be shushed when we’re aware of how common failure is.

I’ve since regained steam from falling off the planet for a few months and have learned that to miss a day of practice or a habit within a day is OKAY. Forgiving yourself for stepping free of routine for a day is more productive than making yourself feel like shit for it. Every movie ever has a protagonist fail in one way. The story would be shit if they didn’t. To quote the ever prolific Joe Rogan, “Be the main character in your own movie.” The dude is spot on. Have you heard about MeUndies yet? Goddamn these things are comfortable…

We’re going to slip, fall, tumble – but we need to get back up. Come back with your lesson learned and your resilience a little bit stronger. Every great at anything never admits that they’re great… they all refer to putting in the time – minutes, hours, days, etc. all honing their craft to get to where they are. Scarily enough, they’re not comfortable where they’re at now, they all want to be even better.

Now, even if you have no intentions of being great, wouldn’t you rather be mediocre at something you love doing than not doing it at all? At least there’s passion in what you’re doing, whatever it may be. Writing, music, finger painting – who gives a shit? We can’t all the be the best at anything, we have limitations. We started later in life, we have families, jobs to maintain… it’s OK. Be happy you’re able to do it at all, be grateful. After teaching martial arts for years, the most common sentence from adults is, “I wish I started sooner.” But they were always appreciative of the fact that they could do it at all.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Is it though? Without knowing about the Wim Hof’s, David Goggins’s, or Mike Tyson’s of the world, we’d always settle for “good enough.” Sure, it can be good enough, but it can be better. There’s just steps to it. We can’t set out to start running a marathon a day if we’re out of shape. Run a little bit each day, set out a program, aim for a 5k, half-marathon, then a full one, just something with steps. But if you like running, just go running for fucks sake. Not everything has to be some massive goal, we can just enjoy shit to enjoy it. I don’t even beat most of the video games I play… they’re just fun to play. Once they’re not fun, I stop playing them. Simple.

The undying need to be creative is one that always gets louder. If this need does not find outlet, it will show itself to us in devious ways. The times that have been my darkest was when I wasn’t writing or creating. These were days without purpose, days where you wake up and it’s like being on the hamster wheel – go, go, go and get nowhere. The discipline to write was lost, the motivation to live was low. These were times that I’ll ever relive, but I learned how important creativity is to my life and also how important structure is to creating.

Ultimately, this post serves as nothing more than a kickstart to my creative flame. By no means will I make a bunch of outrageous goals and expectations for myself, but a promise that I’ll continue to post and it’ll something besides self-motivating redundant ramblings. I’m not saying that they’ll come to an end, just that I’ll write something else for once… maybe from the perspective of being grateful that I’m even able to live a life with my health, family, and cognitive functions?

…or maybe I’ll just review Cyberpunk 2077. Either way, I’ll be writing … and sharing.

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Good behavior, please.

I went to school for criminal justice and legal studies … and parties. Definitely double majored in parties, but who didn’t? What we learned (in the actual schooling) in CJ was about different types of criminals and prisoners, amongst many other subjects, but this is the one I wanted to touch on today.

There are many types of people in the world and a good percentage end up going to jail or prison. It’s the sad affairs we live in today, but here we ALL are, stuck in our own little prison. This is anything but a real jail cell, but it’s probably the first time we’ve all had our movements restricted since being punished as a child.

Now, there are different types of criminals/prisoners. There are the few that make new friends and learn trade secrets – hint: it’s not about plumbing.

There are the types that reform themselves. They sit in their cell reading books, meditating, becoming one with the higher power and dedicate themselves to spirituality.

Some educate themselves and prepare for success on the outside, reading books on law, science, math, etc.

Some become artists.

Some become physical fitness gods.

And then some are termed “chronic offenders.” These are the people that go back to doing the same shit and continually end up back in prison. The majority of criminals fall within this category.

We are not criminals, most of us anyways. We’re simply victims of circumstance. China wanted to cook sick bats (what the fuck, China?), someone created a new type of virus, and now we have to hide indoors until smart people figure this shit out… while dumb people continue to spread the virus and make themselves sick beyond their wildest imaginations. I’m looking at you, Florida and Brazil.

Keeping things brief (it’s about consistency, not about churning out 40 pages a day), what kind of “victim of circumstance” are you going to be?

I hope to find myself in some sort of blended category of them all; not so much one or the other, but finding myself in the middle of a Venn Diagram.

Exercising, reading, meditating, playing video games with friends, eating and drinking with my lovely lady, being creative... but not taking a spoon and digging a tunnel into the guards breakroom.

This will come to an end, our prison sentence will conclude (or we’ll be let out early for good behavior…? PULL IT TOGETHER YOU FOOLS! QUIT GATHERING, YOU’RE MAKING THINGS WORSE) and we’ll be let free. Where will you be? Who will you be? How will your time have been spent? We’re all going to have ups and downs, but if we keep grinding and keeping our sanity, we’ll be smiling at the end of this.

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Keep swimming…

Today didn’t start until 9:30am. It’s probably the latest I’ve slept in since … well, I can’t remember the last time I slept so long. Last night I not only drank “sleepytime tea” but I also had 2 “nighttime formula vitamins.” Out like a fucking light and had no intentions of waking up early.

Sometimes I feel like having less time during the day is better; it’s less time to kill. While we’re staying “safe at home” right now, the less time I have to think myself into a state of fear and panic, the better.

It’s now 2pm and still too early for my next dose of caffeine but I’ve accomplished all I set out to do for the day (minus writing this). Journal – check, exercise – check, reading – check… now it’s dealing with the age old questions – “What’s next?”

Well, I’ll be quite honest and I’m sure you can figure out what’s next: Video games. It’s not that I’m aching to play, but while battling the urge to succumb to your fit of madness, video games make for a great distraction.

It’s a distraction from missing all your friends and family, a distraction from having a job, a distraction from existential dread, a distraction from wanting to get more alcohol… but tomorrow is my friend’s birthday so I’ll make sure to have a few pops – but at our respective homes while playing a game together.

Yesterday I went for a drive and changed my surroundings just for an hour. To be outside my immediate neighborhood was beautiful. The sea looked serene, the beach was empty and undisturbed, the trees were starting to bloom and filled with wildlife.

Wait, I’ve got it – we’re living in M. Night. Shamamamallyn’s “The Happening.” That’s it. NATURE IS TRYING TO KILL US OFF… and it makes absolutely no sense. How’s Mark Wahlberg doing with all of this? Is he looking jacked while making confused faces?

The one goal has been to keep my sanity, amongst setting smaller goals with fitness and creativity. Really, I just want to keep myself from having a mental collapse where I fall to the floor in a fetal position and just cry for hours. There have been a few close calls but conditioning yourself to “be a man” for years now makes it difficult to shed actual tears. Even if my eyes well up it feels like just enough steam from the kettle to keep it from exploding.

Now what? I guess more distractions. My opinions are bare, my thoughts are like balls in a juggling act – keep them moving… any sitting still is like a shark that stops swimming.

Elder Scrolls isn’t going to play itself, guys. Might even mix it up and throw in some Call of Duty…

…sigh.

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Sent to my room

Review of yesterday – An escape. It was an escape from the reality that the globe is facing a pandemic, the economy is taking a stinky shit all over the place, and you’re basically stuck at home until further notice.

Yeah, so I played video games for the majority of my day yesterday. I didn’t end up reading, I barely wrote anything, after I exercised I didn’t stretch, and I had a snack after dinner. For shame, right?

I’ll carry the guilt for it. Jump on board with the stupid shit I said 10 years ago when I was upset, the time I killed a headshotted a chipmunk by accident (hiding in a woodpile RIP), or drove my parents’ car down the street and back when they weren’t home and I was 15.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. No one gives a shit. There’s still positives to take out of the day. There was plenty of exercise, healthy eating, writing, social interaction, no alcohol… another day I clung on to the strand of sanity I have left.

There’s positives to pull. Today was fairly similar – excessive video gaming, nothing major accomplished… but it was another day that I held onto my sanity. Every day doesn’t have to be this massive undertaking, especially with the circumstances were in. If holding onto the status quo without falling behind in what kind of life you’ve built is a success, then I’m winning. I still ate healthy, I stretched, drank plenty of water, wrote words on paper, went running… and there’s hope tonight that the book on my nightstand will still get cracked open.

This page is mostly blank. The few words that were written have little to no bearing on this story. This entry will serve as nothing but proof that I wrote and that today I held on again There was no falling behind and the movement forward was minute, but existent. When struggling with mental health was a battle before, quarantine multiplies it. The battle became more difficult, but there’s no giving up.

We’ll make it. It’s like being grounded on a larger scale. Did a child ever die from being grounded? Probably. But people have died to coconuts too. So let’s take our punishment like big boys and girls, pull out our toybox and wait this out. I’ll be playing video games and doing pullups.

See you guys on the other side.

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One boring little Tuesday

Today’s post is going to be a look into my day to day life in this quarantine. How I’ve been operating, what my thoughts look like as the day progresses, etc. Let’s get started, shall we?

8am – I’m awake but I’m not moving yet… there was a cool dream I totally forget that I’m working on getting back to.

8:30am – Fuck it. I’m up. Time to start slugging water so that I can enjoy coffee in an hour. Where are my pants? Why are pants?

9am – Browsing reddit as I drink copious amounts of water. Telling myself that I’m not going to drink tonight so my body can work on finding its’ baseline again.

9:30am – Shower. I’m covered in stale sweat, grime, and general sin. Let’s put on some normal clothes and pretend I’m ready to go out into the world at any moment being fully aware I’m not going to… at all. Unless going to the liquor store…

9:45am – COFFEEEEE and journaling. Just taking a mental shit on paper so my brain can function a little bit betterer.

10am – COOFFFFEEEE worked. Bathroom and more reddit browsing. Slight guilt about not reading a book, watching stocks surge up as mine go down – goddamnit.

10:10am – Start hourly blog. Considering making more coffee. Remember water is more important. Still considering making more coffee.

10:30am – All caught up. Can finally play video games without feeling completely guilty. ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE LET’S GOOOOOO.

11am – I hopped in discord and bullshitted for a good 30 minutes while falling down a reddit rabbithole. Definitely leaning towards the next cup of coffee coming sooner rather than later…

12pm – My 2nd cup of coffee is almost gone. A 3rd cup is out of the question, but sounds delicious. Instead, I’m contemplating a big salad filled with veggies. With some water. While I continue to level my necromancer in the glorious COVID-19-FREE Grahtwood. 28 and counting…

1245pm – It’s salad time. I can’t say that I’m all that hungry, but some veggies will do me good and the boredom of being home all day is starting to set in. At least this will partially break up the monotony … and keep me from craving junk food later…. hopefully.

1:45pm – I’ve washed my hands an approximate 400 times today. Skin is beginning to become a thought of the past. My salad is digesting while I consider either taking a nap or just resting my eyes for a few minutes…

2:20pm – Added some special “lemonade” to my seltzer. Why not relax a little while I wait for my food to digest… and it’ll help the time pass until I go in the other room for a workout. I can already feel my body giving a sigh of relief.

4pm – Time for more caffeine. Sugar free Red Bull? Sure. I never drink these but once in a blue moon. Since I’m quarantined and sinking into a downward spiral of laziness, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll either have a full on panic attack or I’ll force myself into a brutal workout to kickstart a week of focus on health…

5pm – I’m simultaneously disgusted with myself and want to exercise for the next 5 hours straight and wanting to lay down on the couch and take a nap. Knowing how little I’ve moved over the past month, it’s time to push myself into a sweaty realm of endorphins. Then I’ll be able to play some more video games before dinner. It’s like working out the rationale of a 12 year old.

6:45pm – Energy exerted and calories burned. My sweat smelled like a distillery. I’m exhausted and looking forward to dinner. I’m back on the computer while she gets in her workout and then we’ll reconvene over the dinner table. Stuffed peppers tonight I believe. Bingpot. I guess I’ll kill some more time with some Elder Scrolls until she’s ready… almost level 30….

9pm – Dinner was fantastic. Red peppers filled with bison, squash, and a little bit of cheese with an arugula salad. If I had to cook for myself on night to night basis I’d be sick and tired of chicken tenders fresh from the microwave. Still playing around with Elder Scrolls, but looking forward to sitting down and watching a show before getting into bed and reading before bed.

11:30pm – Death of Stalin: great, entertaining dark comedy that helps tell a historic story with some tongue in cheek humor. It was better than I was expecting it to be and came out feeling like I learned something. I’m currently exhausted and ready to get some sleep while starting all over tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’ll review my little timelog of a quarantine Tuesday and save my judgement for then. It’s too late to judge … it’s time for a little Always Sunny in Philly and then sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

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