Part One

It felt arthritic. He massaged his hand as if he was shaking off the pain from someone stepping on it. In between the fingers, the palm, the knuckles… they ached. Pulling on the fingers, digging deep into the tissue between them, shaking his hand erratically like a limp wristed _______, something felt off. There was a hematoma-esque bubble there the night before, but with all the exercise, combat sports, and constant clumsiness of just bumping into any inanimate object that jumped into his path, there’s no telling what the root cause was. The Ahnold from Kindergarten Cop shouted, “IT’S NOT A TOOMAH!” inside his head.

“Fuck it,” he said simultaneously with a shrug. There’s no need to be a hypochondriac. Throw some dirt on it and carpe some motherfuckin’ diem.

Rolling out of bed, feeling the aged and slick wood below his feet, pulling the heat from his freshly unblanketed toes, there was a moment that required some mixture of motivation, discipline, and the small victory reward of having coffee. The importance of following a ritual of habits each morning was equally seen as a task but a foundation for a healthier life. Meditation, stretching, cold shower, journaling, followed by coffee and a trip to the local fitness facility. This same system of habits was also responsible for creating slight instant dread subsequently causing his slumber to last longer than necessary. He knew that 8-9 hours was what his body required based on his level of physical activity, but knowing that the hardest part of his day was his morning, it made it easy enough to slap that snooze button.

“9 aaaaaaaaamm?!” He let out a sigh of disgust and shame. But fully rested shame and disgust… at least there was that. Garfield would be proud.

The routine set the tone for the day. He was out the door with his coffee in hand by 10:15. Not the early rise he kept hoping for, but the quality of the time he’s awake for is what he’s convinced himself what matters most, not many waking hours he has.

The grip on the steering wheel sent a wave of dulled pain up into his chest, similar to that of a warmed butter knife running up the forearm to the bicep and then being pushed into his shoulder. Totally normal he thought. It was nothing that a great playlist couldn’t take his mind off of. Eagles of Death Metal? Tool? Twiddle? He rattled off a few as he perused Spotify.

METALLICA.

Headbanging off beat to his place of sweat, he forced himself through a workout that was meant to improve strength, mobility, and stamina… but instead tested his ability to use turkey and stuffing as a fuel source. It was a slow 90 minutes, but it got done. The victory was in showing up today, it wasn’t in setting a new personal record in the kettlebell swing. And that one girl at the squat rack had an ass that made him feel like a bitch… worth the trip for that alone.

Was the pain from inflammation of the foods I ate? It’s moving around. It couldn’t have been impact if now the OTHER hand hurts.

There was now a small bubble on the back of his left hand. The right hand was initially the one that had what he thought was swelling. Immediately he reached for his handheld computer, commonly known as an iPhone, and searched the web for any such answers he could find.

Arthritis at age 36? Doubtful. Excessive heat? It’s the end of November in New England. Pregnant? Excited for the incoming ads for “cooling gloves,” diapers, and dick pills. The dick pills don’t even work.. I would know.

With a quick shake of the hands, some deep breathing, and stretching his wingspan hoping that it would relieve him of the mystery pain, he was back in the car and off to his next destination – LUNCH. His love for food was only superseded by his love for thinking about his next meal. Something about the fantasy of the meal could be far more satisfying than the actual meal itself. The anticipation and excitement of eating was really enjoyed. This sounds very much like many other aspects in life whether it be finally having a drink, the act of having sex with a new partner, or eating a piece of pie after eating clean for a month. The suspense of it all was far greater than the actual act… and in terms of portion, it was also more than it should have been. An egg too many, an extra slice of avocado, or maybe it was the 30 almond crackers he had afterwards. Either way, it was overthought, overdone, and a metaphor for much of how he seemingly lived his life.

The pain was bouncing to his extremities, the feet must have been feeling a little left out. The location of the pain could be compared to that of a bouncing of a pong ball. It felt like something needed to either get out or find a home to lay dormant in. Dormancy felt like a better idea to him. At least then he’d be able to avoid it, just like some of his other problems. If I just ignore it, it’ll go away. If you think about it and give it power, it’ll stay. It never meant to rhyme, just like the puns are never intended.

What a totally rational thought process. If you don’t want to jump the hurdle, just turn the other way. The hurdles will magically disappear. Why hadn’t anyone thought of this brilliance before?

___________________________________________________________________________________

The past weekend, he had taken his female half out to the Berkshires. It was time for both of them to just “get away,” as they call it. Their small city definitely was unlike New York or Boston, but it was a city in it’s own right. The bars filled up at night, the patrons got loud when they drank, and the parking was always a nightmare. And always the cigarette butts strewn across the sidewalks. How were they not trash? Why is that NOT considered littering? Some fucking kind of people that wander our cities are the real pieces of trash…. *steps down from soapbox*

The Berkshires would be different: small town folk, people of the Earth, and silence. They knew that if they could climb a mountain high enough or drive far enough, they’d hear nothing but nature and its’ creatures. Did you know that chipmunks make noises that resemble an aboriginal tongue clacking when they’re alarming the other chipmunks about aerial predators? They had no clue until the little guy on their mountain started going a little bonkers when the hawks started peaking out. No, they didn’t really piece 2 and 2 together, they actually just googled it later at dinner. National Geographic posted a nice video on this a couple years ago.

The hike they enjoyed together was one that brought them a little closer to nature but also offered that serenity that they were looking for. When they reached the top, the wind would shear, but the boulder-ish rocks they laid upon offered them the collective warmth that the sunshine had given for the day. When they peered north, they could see Vermont and to their south was Connecticut. New York wasn’t far either, but trees blocked the view to the west. One misstep and it was certain death, but one step higher and you could see it all. Hawks flew circles around the mountains. First it was one or two, but before you could see them take a full lap, there was 7 or 8. Hawks fly in packs? Or are they gaggles? Or is it a murder of Hawks? Maybe it’s just a flock of Hawks? I hope so, the rhyming opportunity there is far too amazing.

After what felt like hours or a full day, they made their descent back to the bottom of the mountain. Something special had taken place up there, like taking a mental and spiritual shower. The thoughts of the hustle and bustle, the hunt for the next paycheck, even the constant nagging thought of the next meal – gone. It seemed to float off with the hawks, unlike any of the chipmunks, thanks to their ability to communicate in differing alarm noises.

Each step down the mountain felt lighter than the last. Is gravity stronger or lighter in terms of elevation? Lighter at the top, right? It seemed there was still space in his mind for thoughts of zero impact on his actual life, probably knowledge that he got in 3rd grade that escaped him like helium from a balloon post graduation. As dumb as they were, he enjoyed them more than the stressors that looped in his mind before

Sunshine seeped through the treetops leaving blowing shadows on the carpet of fallen leaves and pine-needles. Birds chirped but he wondered if they were actually birds or was it chipmunks listing off lottery numbers. Occasionally someone passed them along the trail and they were met with a meaningless “How’s it going?” with no real intention of getting to know how the stranger was actually doing. In fact, it would have been quite rude to sit there and actually spout how they’re doing at length. No one really cares, but “Hi” always felt empty of enough syllables.

Moments before being able to sit in the car and revel in such a beautiful sequence of moments we had both shared as lovers/partners/best friends, he put one foot in the car and immediately smelled that which could be commonly referred to as a “land mine.”

BOOM.

Good thing this dipshit loves to wear toe shoes. Why would he have stepped on it with his heel? That’s right… it was as if he stepped in chocolate mashed potatoes and wanted to use his toes to put it on his Thanksgiving plate. Think of the portion size.

He tossed back yet another edible and grabbed an over-fermented kombucha (fermented to the casual 7.2% abv) while hopping over to the bench with a pack of car wipes and the most durable twig he could find. The rubber bottom of the shoe was a patented as having MONSTER GRIP. The mother fuckers had a MONSTER GRIP of a massive pile of shit. Considering that the soul of the shoe looked like a 5 year old wanted to paint it in the color “poop,” it appeared as if the patent was worth it. *crack…. gulp*

Between continuously wiping the shoe on the nearby fall grass and slapping it against the platform like the irresponsible dog owner that couldn’t be bothered to clean up after his pet relieved himself in the middle of a well-traveled trail, the poop moved came off similar to that of a stuttering kid at a spelling bee. Fast forward and both the dogshit and the kombucha were gone.

*BRAAAAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAap*

He one-legged-skipped back to the car refusing to put his foot down to the wet and shitty ground. It was bad enough his hiking shoe was covered in some animal’s digestion, but at least that foot was going to stay dry and unsullied, gahddamnit. Luckily, his laziness paid off this eventful afternoon and NOT unpacking all his belongings worked out for him. He grabbed those dumbass sauna sandals and wore them with the toe socks he was wearing like he invented the new version of high school hip. Slides and regular socks? Fucking retro, nerds. “TO THE HOTEL!” he shouted with a cramped and pointed pose sitting in the passenger seat of the Toyota Camry. They were staying in a tent. It wasn’t a hotel… it was someone’s tent in the middle of the unknown woods, on Halloween… with goats.

A recipe for a totally normal and relaxing evening in the Berkshire mountains. There was always some satanic lore wrapped around goats, but they they knew it was all nonsense. Goats are cute!

Turns out… they should believed it…

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Ramblings for the 3 Day Weekend

Monday huh?

Fuck it, talk to me when it’s Tuesday.

There’s something about cruising through the weekend with your foot on the pedal, experiencing life and all it has to offer like a whale eating mackerel. Fast paced workouts, grabbing coffee from your favorite shop, traveling somewhere new, finding a restaurant you’ve never wanted to try, laughing with friends and family, staying up too late on a Saturday, football on a Sunday, eating a bunch of pizza on a Sunday night… then it comes to a screeching halt.

Monday morning arrives and it’s like a swift kick to the junk. Like when when you’re having a good time on the playground as a child and the bully pushes you over into a pile of dogshit, some form of reality comes crashing down upon you instantly. “This was too good to be true” rings a bell.

No more fun, no more excitement. There’s this air of “get up and grind” that seems to get wafted in our direction. Lots of local coffee shops close (on a Monday when we need you most!), lots of restaurants don’t open their doors to the couple people that may join them, and the race to Friday begins again.

Personally, I have a hard time moving from bed on a Monday. There’s very little part of me that wants to go to the gym, do my morning meditation, or even go to a martial arts class at night. Perhaps it’s a form of rebellion from this 9-5, M-F expectation of us. Or maybe I’m just being a lazy fuck that’s avoiding any and all responsibility? Maybe I’d rather live my life in a state of Peter Pan mentality? Or maybe I’d like to go after Tuesday like I got shot out of a cannon and could use a little time to reset after a weekend full of activities? Maybe I’d rather live my life like it’s the weekend? Maybe I have a hard time going from the end of the spectrum that wants to play to the other end that wants to accomplish his dreams?

Maybe I just like a quiet day at home when everyone goes to the office?

But this isn’t about me… this is about us. Monday, Thursday, Septemsundaysaturdayoctoberday. It should all be the same. The weather doesn’t give a fuck if it’s a sunny Saturday or a rainy Monday. It’s the same. Nature doesn’t care. Why should we? Why not blend all 7 days? There’s very few people that actually get excited about a Monday. Garfield set the tone for us many years ago…. mmm lasagna…

Sure, part of it is that I don’t like schedules, but in order for businesses to run, schools to operate, and for most people to have sanity, they NEED schedules. For a business/school/gym/etc. – it’s hard to operate the high pace a capitalistic society requires for success. That’s why a lot of them shut down on certain days for some mental rest and momentum building for their upcoming hours. My favorite coffee shop only operates Thursday-Sunday… but the quality is top notch. Some of my favorite restaurants are only open Thurs-Saturday, but their food makes my mouth drool and my penis erect (we all have our kinks).

You know what would be pretty sweet? If Mondays were always a shutdown day. Everyone worked from home if they wanted to even work, gyms operated on weekend hours, but kids still had to go to school… because they can really drag down a day for an adult trying to experience life. BUT, Mondays could be over-the-top exciting and fun for kids, like a recess all day or a day for kids to get in the building but they were given more freedom of what to do with their time there. Too much freedom and you get Lord of the Flies. It could help reframe their minds to teach them that the lives that they live are not entirely dictated by someone else all the time… like some of us have a hard time doing as adults.

It all boils down to a 3 DAY WEEKEND. The argument has been made by people much more intelligent than myself. There’s simply just not enough time within 48 hours to enjoy life. You spend time unwinding, then you have classes you want to attend, events you want to see, family parties you have to go to, and you choose between things you want to do vs. the things you have to do. Understanding the semantics of the fact that you really don’t HAVE to do anything, but you really shouldn’t skip your son’s soccer game or your mother’s birthday party. No one said the time you spend at these activities won’t be enjoyable… but will it leave you enough mental energy to sit down and read that book you’ve wanted to get to or the home improvement project you’ve been wanting to get to? What about that creative endeavor you’ve been dying to get done? Or that friend you haven’t seen in years you’ve wanted to get together with?

I operate differently, I know that. It’s always been this way. I’m a terrible employee for others, the way life operates for most others makes no sense to me and every time I try to do it I can literally feel it eat at my soul. I’d rather die early and live life my way than do what someone tells me “because they can.” There’s a quote kicking around my brain from years ago that states “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” …. I can’t be bothered to look up who said it because the truth of the matter is that I saw it on someone’s AOL profile when I was a teen. Regardless, it holds meaning to me.

So for the people that enjoy being a part of that system, there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but let’s just rotate it a little bit so that you spend more time outside the “office” and more time with the rest of us degenerates.

For a couple weeks I took a poll about the 3 day weekend. I never actually wrote down the results, but perhaps I should. Some people work “weekends” and some people work “weekdays” so there’s a lot of bouncing around. BUT, if we all decided that we could manage the fulltime workweek within 4 days… how would YOU do it?

Some people chose Monday-Thursday they would rather work. They like to pop off on a Thursday night and rock until Saturday night while winding down on Sundays. That’s cool, but this one doesn’t feed my lifestyle. I typically take a minute to warmup when it comes to getting shit done. I find I personally get more done on a Friday than Monday.

Some people liked the idea of having a Monday off, too… but it was far less than the Monday-Thursday option. They were more on my wavelength and like a quiet Monday to themselves.

Lastly, I saw something else that made a lot of sense too… only working 2 days in a row. Monday, Tuesday you work and Wednesday you have off. Then Thursday and Friday you’re back at it, with Saturday and Sunday off. I’m unsure on this one. This may work for kids in school to give them that breather to digest all the information they took in for 2 days, but to have 3 days in a row to do WHATEVER YOU FUCKING PLEASE is more exciting. It’s hard to travel very far when you’ve got to be back at it in 48 hours.

This is where I start to wrap up. I wanted to write this Monday and here it is… because I had the time to do so. Sure, it’s rambling, but I always ramble. If you didn’t know this then you don’t know me.

So ask yourself (if you read this far, thank you), what days would you operate? What days would you travel? What days would you spend your day on creativity? What days would you spend doing whatever you want?

I’m going to sit in a sauna because it’s MY MONDAY and you can’t take it from me.

…and I’m having lasagna for dinner in tribute to my boy Garf’.

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Guilty as charged

Guilt. Why is there always guilt?

A guilty pleasure. A sense of guilt playing a game on a weekday evening. Having a wank, as the Brits call it.

Are we conditioned to feel this? Is this something we’re born with? Nature vs. Nurture better fucking speak up and give me an answer.

What is guilt? Is it our conscience telling us that we shouldn’t have done that thing that we did? Is it the voice telling us that in order to enjoy something we must suffer first? But isn’t the human suffering a real thing? Isn’t life, by definition, filled with suffering? We live in these bodies that have an expiration date, that require maintenance to the umpteenth degree, they require updates, that can come defective, and they’re ridiculously fragile. People die from choking on food, having an aneurysm while shitting, or auto-erotic asphyxiation that went too far… while having a wank.

Existence is pain. Just life can be hard and agonizing. Waking up in the morning can be a bitch. We experience loss, failures, pain… so why does the mind take all the joy from eating a delicious pastry from your favorite coffee shop? All I can hear is the sugar spiking my insulin, causing inflammation throughout my organs and joints, and putting on a pound. All for what? A tiny bit of simple mouth pleasure?

You’re fucking right. That shit’s delicious.

The pastry is an incredible taste-bud amusement park ride. It’s a small treat and a spark in a life that can be utterly mundane or grindy. Sure, we can make it all more exciting by “living a little” or taking more risks to create the day-to-day life we want… but that takes time, goal setting, direction and yes, you’ll get there. But I want a little slice of pie right now, fresh apples are only in season for so long!

Do it all the time and sure, you’ll become an absolute bitch-titted blob riddled with more health issues than pounds you’ll put on. “Discipline equals freedom.” as the chiseled-chin-military-man Jocko would say. The dude is right. As long as we stay focused, work hard, stay consistent and start to achieve that success, we can SPARINGLY indulge in the treats that life has to offer. The fruits of our labors, some will call them.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All play and no work and Jack can’t keep the cake out his mouth or dick in his pants.

A balance must be struck. It’s a scale. All work towards your goals and you become someone that is of no fun to be around but yet you contribute to society with a service/product/whatever. All play and you’re dragging friends out to drink and eat too much when they’re trying to raise a family and keep a steady job. Here’s the thing – regardless of where you’re sitting on that scale, you’re always able to guilt yourself.

“I was at the office late so I’m missing out on time I could be spending with my friends and family, which is the important stuff in life. But without working real hard, I can’t achieve my goals” (Purposely putting money out of the vision of success. Not everyone wants to quantify their goals with money, and I mean that in a very non-earthy-crunchy vibe. I’d love to have a ton of money, but my goals are not based upon money, personally).

“I’ve drank 5 days in a row with my friends. The pizza we ate was some of the best I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any work around the house done and I can’t take a solid shit.”

Set a limit on the time at the office, the drinks you have (or the nights), the slices of pizza, spend more time at the gym the next day. There’s always a way to strike that balance. This isn’t news for most people… or most self-aware people that I speak with. Keep in mind, a lot of the verbiage I throw up here are the same things I’m telling myself. These are the battles I personally endure, the mental jiu-jitsu I play daily, the void of guilt I wake up with and go to sleep with…

The guilt though, WHY am we still hearing him/her/it/the devil? Is it a sign of our moral compass? That we’re self-aware of the behavior we know that can be improved upon? Being honest with ourselves, knowing we can always work a little bit harder and improve? Does this fall into the same category with failure… that it’s a mechanism for learning? We KNOW that the alcohol is a trade-off for feeling good now for feeling worse tomorrow.The pizza tastes DELICIOUS, but it may make us a little soft around the edges. Do we want to wake up tomorrow feeling supercharged and ready to conquer… or do we want to have some extra fun tonight? Do we want to spend more time at the gym tomorrow and feel a little bloated tonight… or we want to send our taste buds to a realm of astonishing bliss that feels like pepperonis made love to your mouth for an hour?

This has to line up with our goals. What do we want in this life? More short term pleasure for less long term results or do we want to suffer now and grab that high hanging fruit? Do you have goals? Yes? Chase them and let no one step in your way. If the answer is “no,” then maybe it’s time to see where you want to take this life. As long as you’re a good person, helping bring up those around you, putting your shopping cart back, there’s no right or wrong way to live this life. If you want to eat like shit, drink too much, and masturbate until your dick falls off – go for it. Just know, that it won’t bring anything than fleeting and short bursts of dopamine. Trust me, I’ve tried. My dick is still there… for now.

If you want to chase your dreams, take risks, fail over and over again to win, then go for it with reckless abandon. Blaze a trail for yourself. Be patient, be calm, work hard, be kind to others and yourself. Feel guilt, but ignore SOME of it. Everyone that achieves something special has made sacrifices along the way. Discipline equals freedom. I’m not waking up at 4:30am every morning for it, but 7:30 sounds pretty reasonable.

I love my junk food and booze, but I love feeling like I’ve earned it. Which is why I made sure to sit down and write for a couple hours so I could feel entitled to grab a coffee and a pastry BEFORE I EXERCISE FOR FIVE HOURS and simultaneously curse myself out for it. Fuck that guy, he doesn’t have to endure the suffering we do. He can eat a fat bag of dicks while I eat my pastry.

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Mid-life Report

168 hours.

155:11 as of the time I started to write this.

That’s how many hours and minutes left in the week I have to accomplish whatever I want to accomplish.

There’s a blog post written by Tim Urban about breaking your life into weeks. I read this years ago, but it’s always been something I’ve kept in mind, but not as much as I should. Supposing that we see it right in front of us, like a poster that I may have just ordered off Amazon, we’ll be more mindful of the time that we have left. How much of that time do we want to spend building our vusiness, cultivating a good time with friends, spending quality time with my partner, playing a video game, watching a movie, reading, writing, exercising, sleeping or watching porn?

Definitely reading more.

……………………right.

There’s 168 hours in a week. That’s how much time EVERYONE has in total. Let’s think about it like a personal marathon. Not the rat race, but the big picture. Each week is on a timer. So let’s say there’s 4,000 “marathons.” 80 years, 52 weeks to a year, but we may not make it that far and we may make it further… so 4,000 marathons is a much easier number to deal with. 4,000 weeks means 672,000 total hours on these timers.

Think of that… We won’t even live a million hours. Damn. We throw around this idea that a million isn’t a lot of anything these days, but that’s how finite life really is. We barely make it halfway to a million! “There’s always more time,” says my procrastinating mind. But the numbers don’t lie. There ISN’T that much time. So how much are we going to spend working that 9-5, grinding it out to get ahead? No one on their deathbed ever says that they wish they spent more time working on their business.

Confession time: I’m 36 years old and 4 weeks at the moment of writing this. That means that roughly 341,400 hours of my life have passed. Now, let’s reflect upon that. There are some accomplishments I’m proud of. Bachelors Degree (somehow), various martial arts accomplishments, nice apartment, my best friend has been my partner for over 10 years, mindfully I feel sound… I guess I’m just genuinely happy with where I’m at considered the state I was in at the 150,000 mark (18ish). So what now? The stage is set, where do we go?

*As I wrote that, the sun peaked through the clouds and hit me in the eyes through the dreariest of clouds, through the skylight, through the poles on the loft, past the wooden mean overhead … onto my face. The sun always shines through.

Back to what I was saying. *AHEM* So what now?

Setting the foundation is always the most important step in building anything, right? Analogies are fun, let’s use some of those…

When you start to build a home, what happens first? You set the foundation. It gets dug out and the concrete is poured so that you can lay the wood on top of it.

Before you go for a long journey, what must you do? Plan your route and pack for survival and emergencies.

When you workout, you need to warmup first. Unless you want to get injured, but that’s silly.

We can do this forever, but we all get the point, right? Time must be spent first before taking on anything. Energy must be spent in preparation for a more arduous expenditure of thought and energy. Surely there’s some sort of logical equation for that… E=MC2…? Yup, that’s got to be it.

At the end of each race, journey, accomplishment, etc. there’s a celebration of some sort. Hell, people do 5k’s just to drink the beer at the end. There always needs to be a release on the steam valve, otherwise there’s big “booms.” Booms can be bad… very bad. So how many of these celebrations do we take? How long do they go? When have we earned them? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jack a wild hedonist with alcohol issues.

“Life is too short.” “You only live once.” “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”

I’ll wear shoes into 7-11, that’s not the issue. “Work hard, play hard.” Okay, but WHEN?!

Is it about being regimented? Is it about being balanced? Is it about pursuit of purpose? Is it about pursuit of passion? Is your passion your purpose? Is your purpose your passion? Is your erection lasting longer than 4 hours?

FUCK.

What weighs important to us? I need an adult. Let’s check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs real quick…

Safety? Check. Could always need a few extra bucks, but good for now.

Love and belonging? Personally, very blessed and set in this department. If you struggle here, highly recommend finding a martial art that you want to learn and a great environment to train in. Message me if you want more on that. Seen the best of the best and worst of the worst.

Esteem? Check. Wasn’t easy for a while… but definitely in a good spot after many, MANY hours of struggling.

Aesthetics? There’s beauty in everything and everyone. Beauty and the Beast covered that a long time ago. Check.

Self Actualization? “an explicit motive is the objective of a reward-based system that is used to intrinsically drive completion of certain values or goals.” ….. rut roh, Shaggy. Perhaps I should work on setting and accomplishing goals? Maybe chasing a purpose more? Spend more time asking myself what I want my purpose to be?

Transcendence? “In his later years, Maslow explored a further dimension of motivation, while criticizing his original vision of self-actualization.[18][19][20][21] By these later ideas, one finds the fullest realization in giving oneself to something beyond oneself—for example, in altruism or spirituality.”

….wait. Do we need to HAVE self-actualization set to reach Transcendence? Or can it be bullshit and we realize we’re destined for more later? But if we’re a collective and it’s not about me, is even thinking about my role in it all creating an obstacle? Do I need to meditate to find a new purpose, something bigger than myself? How do I get rid of this headache that just instantly came on after writing that?

“Ignorance is bliss.”

/shrug

Takeaways…

  • I ramble too much. Possibly may need to work on my focus.
  • PIORITIZE SLEEP. You naturally heal physically and mentally here. Yes, you’ll sleep when you’re dead, but you’ll be there much sooner without sleeping well consistently.
  • Take care of your teeth. They’re expensive AF.
  • Teach the youth valuable lessons to help them build their foundations as youth is wasted on the young.
  • The big questions are the hardest and become the most meaningful down the life… and we’re blessed that we have the opportunity to ask them.
  • Taking care of the vehicle for the mind (your body) gives you the best chance for the most hours, but it’s all a roll of the dice at the end. An Okinawan phrase I’d hear a lot was “Eat to 70%” and a Taoist priest used to tell me “Food is medicine.” Goes hand in hand with “What you put in, is what you get out.” Wouldn’t put cheap oil in your Ferrari … would you?
  • Read, journal, and find a creative pursuit regardless of where you’re at. This will only help all other aspects of your life… and remember, you’re meant for better things than data input or working for Amazon.
  • Doing SOMETHING is better than nothing. One pushup is better than none. Reading one page is better than none. Cleaning 1 dish is better than none.
  • Put in effort to remember people’s names. A rose is a rose by any other name, but to be remembered means a lot.
  • Celebrate being alive, however you may do so. Eat some pizza, play a little longer, play hooky once in a while…Life is difficult and many were lost too early.
  • Spread positivity. That means…
    • Use positive language inside your mind and outside. The language you use is the reality you create.
    • Be kind.
    • Smile and try to make others smile
    • Throw away your trash and a piece or 2 of trash that isn’t yours daily.
    • Always try to make people’s lives easier.
    • Ask how you can help.
    • Lastly… PUT YOUR GROCERY CART IN THE RETURN

I’m sure there’s far more I could add, but we only have 24 hours a day… and 168 a week, and roughly 672,000 in our lives and I’ve been writing enough for today. Remember, how we use them, how we react to what happens in them, and how we celebrate them is ENTIRELY up to us. Whatever IT is, you can’t take it beyond this life. As we’re all just visiting…

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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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