I used to be bad at planning, to the point I’d have to pick on of three things on a Friday night and be genuinely shocked that I put myself in that situation. Michelle wasn’t a part of this, she went where I went and such. No that wasn’t a control thing, she has social anxiety disorder and my social life became our social life because it was easier that way. These days I’m not so bad at planning and she manages to remind me when it looks like I’m going to over-commit. This weekend I put off grocery shopping until Monday night because stuff just kept popping up. What I didn’t consider was the rest of the family’s schedule. Children’s Museum, Teen Time at the library, and music lessons in the evening which all add up to my plan being exceedingly ill advised. I got the shopping done but didn’t get home until 11 PM. The only upshot is that we got rid of a bunch of leftovers by delaying the shopping.
While my plan was ill advised I’m really proud of Michelle right now. She has stuff planned for the kids almost every day of the week that coincides with their school stuff. She has really upped the game this year on the school front. The kids were doing fine last year but the work was bland. It was all computer based and the same every time. You can learn that way but it appeared to be dome of the most boring stuff I’d ever seen. This year almost everything is hands on, from math manipulatives to read actual books and not just passages. Toss in regular field trips, homeschool park days, videos, and more and school seems pretty exciting right now.
She originally asked me for help but as it turns out all she really needed was a little advice. I did what I could but once you get her going there’s no stopping her. She uses me for my library skills because I can put words in to Google and get back exactly what I want pretty easily. I’m fine with her using me for that, as an assistant or a reference, I’m good at it. And she’s really good at what she’s doing. The kids are really enjoying themselves as well. Sure there are hiccups and off days but that’s life and we all learn how to take those days in stride.
Right now I am sitting at work, staving off the long blinks, and regretting my poor planning. I am very happy with the reasons my planning was poor. I couldn’t be happier with my life at home right now. I’m struggling with the ADD a little bit at work but that too shall pass. I may be making a lot of changes but it’s all to make my life better and not because I’m unhappy with where I am in life. Actually it’s probably due, in part, to where I am in life that I’m able to make the changes that I’m making. I’ve a little less than an hour and fifteen minutes left today and I can’t wait to get home. I’ll probably pass out pretty early tonight but I’ll do it with a smile on my face.
And I’ve learned a valuable lesson about planning things on weeknights, check with Michelle first about the sanity of my plans!
Don’t you ever make the mistake of thinking of the past as the good old days
It’s a son of a bitch being young and holding your youth like a loaded gun - Micah Schnabel
As I took Roisin for a spin around the dining room tonight, to a Cory Branan record on an actual record player, I got to thinking a little bit. It was the record, part of my growing collection, that kicked off a spiral of thought. Vinyl is making a comeback and it been for some time. I think the why of that is interesting. Some folks honestly believe it sounds better and some of the current collectors are hipsters who I honestly don’t believe couldn’t tell vinyl from lossless digital in a blind test.
I think the real reason is that it’s physical, more than anything else. I have a 1TB hard drive full of music, it’s quite the collection. But in the evenings, recently, I’ve been going through the ritual of putting a record on the record player. There’s something about taking it out of the cover, slipping the sleeve off, placing it on the player, getting the needle in the right place, and being rewarded with music. There’s an appeal to it that I can’t explain.
I’m not one to shun technology for the good ol’ days. I’m writing this post on a tablet while streaming House Of Cards on Netflix over a Roku 3 to an HD TV. I have read 62 books this year, every one of them on the same tablet I’m writing this post on. At the same time I use a Moleskine to take notes at work and play records at home. I preach using the right tool for the right job which doesn’t jive with using handwritten notes in my choice of careers.
I think that there’s something about the physical that appeals to us on some level. I can’t explain why I don’t care about books when I prefer handwriting notes. It honestly doesn’t make sense to me but it is what it is.
The quote from Micah I used at the beginning of this piece is where my brain ended up after all of that. People live in so much fear these days that it’s staggering. It’s truly awe inspiring. We are inundated with fear from all sides 24/7 and most of us never stop to try and actually process anything beyond our first gut reaction.
I think that might be the connection between the things I do that seem outdated and the things that don’t. Physically writing something down makes you think about what you’re writing, putting on record is a commitment of sorts, and reading slows down the whirlwind regardless of the medium. There’s something personal about all of those things and they are meaningful in some way. They also command a certain attention.
This is a little disjointed and that’s alright. I started this not knowing where I’d end up and it’s not as well thought out as some of my recent pieces but that’s alright as well. I have a little bit more of understanding of why I do things. I think some of these things need a little more fleshing out but that’s part of the process.
The last two weeks have been rough on the getting healthy front. Actually it’s been three weeks. Now it’s not that I’m not losing weight, I’m still on track there but I haven’t been walking and have been moving calories around and eating badly, while still meeting my goal. I really feel it today. I’m more lethargic and not in as good of a mood as usual. I’ve been on some sort of auto-pilot and it’s not working. Just letting the day move past as you as do the minimum is not any way to live and that’s what I’ve been doing. I am grateful that I know what not doing that feels like so that I know what I’m feeling can be corrected and I can do better.
I can identify the point at which this started, it goes all the way back to when I hurt myself exercising. It was right around that point that I had some depression and didn’t manage to fight it off as well as I thought. I think I’m back on track now and I intend to go back to walking every morning, Mon-Fri, along with actually getting up on time so I’m not just phoning it in.
So as scattered as this is (it’s actually two posts mashed together) that’s what’s been going on with me as of late. I’ve got some stuff percolating that I’m going to need to write about as well and I may come back to this and follow some of the threads but I was feeling like I couldn’t go anywhere else until I posted these. Yeah, I’m a little silly, but it is what it is.
I’ve been making a lot of changes lately, at least when you look at the aggregate. In reality I’ve been making these changes over a long period of time, using milestones to know when to try and change the next little thing. My whole goal is to change the things I don’t like about my life but to do it in a manner that’s sustainable. I don’t want any of these changes to be temporary. I think that realizing how I absorb change and how I form habits was an important piece of the puzzle for getting my life in shape.
Of course the underlying reason for these changes is that I wasn’t happy with my life. I’m not happy with it yet but at this point I can see how I’m going to get there. There’s still a lot wrong that’s not my health or fitness. I am holding together a house I shouldn’t have bought to begin with and every time something else falls apart it takes a little more to stay positive. Actually, if I’m honest, I’m not all that positive. I put up a good front because the things I’m not feeling upbeat about aren’t really things I can do much about right now, but at the same time there are things I am genuinely positive about. I let that come through and use it to fight the minor depression running just under the surface.
The house is the major cause of that depression. I shouldn’t have bought it, I’m underwater on it, and it’s falling apart. It’s not unlivable, it’s just not pretty. I have to get the majority of the house re-floored, there’s a decent amount of sheetrock that needs replacing due to various plumbing issues, painting that needs to be done, and various other bits and pieces. I can do some of it but some of it I’ve got to bring in help and that costs a decent amount, at least for competent help. I can’t see the end of that, yet, but it’s because I can’t see the beginning. We had started getting ahead of things but then I lost my job and things screeched to a halt.
This isn’t a complaint, I love my new job, but the fact is I make quite a bit less money than I did when I was at M.D. Anderson. Some of that is mitigated by getting my insurance, for the whole family, for nothing out of pocket and a little is made up by only driving 1/3 the distance to work but not all of it. So money is tighter than it was before and this time of year we’re laying out for school and so on. In the end, I can’t do anything about the house right now but I’m not willing to accept the state it’s in, not even until I can change it, because that leads to complacency. Now that’s only a little bit of negative side of things but the other stuff isn’t stuff I’m going to going to air in public.
What keeps me going is the other changes I’ve been able to make and maintain. I can look at those and realize that while things aren’t perfect, and likely never will be, that I’m making progress and I’ll get there eventually. For a couple of weeks before my birthday party that wasn’t enough and I was pretty depressed. I’m glad that changed and I know it’s chemical but I don’t why it did. I have no choice but to keep moving forward and maintaining the changes I’ve made so far. I’ll get there, I’ll make it happen, it won’t be easy, but I don’t think I have any other choice. The short term upshot is that I’ve got a show this weekend that’s not outside of the budget, at which I won’t be drinking, and that’ll give me a boost.
I don’t know who all, if anyone, actually reads these but it’s nice to have a place where I can write this stuff out, it really helps me think through it and sometimes someone offers decent advice because I wrote something here.
I had my birthday last weekend and it was totally amazing. I got to see a bunch of my friends and make my last night drinking for a while very memorable. The drinking thing isn’t an alcohol issue, it goes back to my post about excesses. I’m going to lay off and try to gain some discipline in that respect, in other areas, and then go back to have a cocktail or two when I go out, like a normal person, instead of a dozen like I do now. It’s all for the best really and I feel ready to make this change. But I digress…
The point of this missive is to talk about support. I’ve mentioned the personal changes I’ve been making and I don’t think I could have changed this much without the help and support of my friends and family. Every time someone likes the FB post about my morning walk, offers advice on working out, or mentions that they can see that I’m losing weight it add to my resolve to keep going. They are all little things but every one of them adds up. When I’m debating getting out of bed and strapping on the HRM, those are the things that are in my mind.
When old friends take the time to message me and give me really personal advice that’s predicated on years of friendship it really helps all the more. None of this has been easy and I’ve had to develop discipline at a level of which I’ve never known myself to be capable. I’ve kept at this longer than I’ve kept at trying to get healthy any other time and it’s working.
I have come to realize how much a support system is necessary. Doing it because I need to should be enough but some mornings, it just isn’t. One day it might be but since this is a marathon and not a sprint, the day to day is hard sometimes. To say I’ve done this without struggling would be a barefaced lie. I don’t know that anyone makes these sorts of changes on their own. The strength and dedication I have comes from the people I have surrounded myself with and that have chosen to associate themselves with my particular brand of sanity over the years. Every one of them is indispensable to me.
I’ve got work that needs doing so I’m going to wrap this up with an admonishment. Take a look at your support system, those people you love and who love you as well. Those folks are a large part of what make you who you are. They help shape you in small ways over time and hopefully it’s for the better. I hope you take the time to let them know what they mean to you.
I was going to write about Ferguson, MO this morning but to be honest I’m can’t be arsed to do so. Now it’s not even about the young man who got shot. It’s law enforcement against the Constitution. I usually could go and on about that topic but to be honest there’s a point at which things become saturated and trying to add more ire to the situation is just a waste of energy for me.
As this story progressed it’s become more apparent that the office in question might have been legally justified in using deadly force. For the record, even with the latest witness statements, I don’t think it was necessary but the situation has gone well beyond on that with law enforcement trying to control the narrative with what are blatant unconstitutional tactics. They have ceased wearing name tags and there is little to no accountability for them at this point. This could be the flash-point for something much bigger as the cops are attacking the press so the organization that usually backs up the cops is actually reporting on what’s happening without the usual pro-establishment narrative. This is the sort of thing that usually gets me going and it has. However the media saturation, the very thing that might make this lead to change, is the reason I am not adding much more than I’ve already said.
It’s not just political things or rights violations that can reach a saturation point. Take, for instance, religion; I have some friends who I have unfollowed on Facebook due their constant attacks on religion. These aren’t complaints about people pressuring them or anything, they are seemingly random attacks just for the sake of attacking religion. It does cut both ways. I’ve unfollowed people who claim to follow the same religion as me and spew hatred for anything remotely LBGT or Islamic and they do it constantly. Once it reaches a certain level of saturation or they folks involved aren’t willing to engage in reasonable discussion I simply hide their updates.
Now this is not to say I want to live in an echo chamber, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is reasonable discussion that changed my mind on a lot of the things I’ve mentioned since starting to write here again. It’s the folks who are so set in their ways that anything that challenges their worldview is met with with derision and mockery. Those people I can simply do without.
Somehow I think this ties in with the living to excess. I’ll go through cycles with some things and then stop doing them for a while. Video games are a good example of that. I’ll get involved in a MMORPG and read up on everything, learn my class really well, play to the level cap, and keep going. Until one day I just lose interest. I don’t mean I lose interest in that game, I mean I stop playing video games for a while. I find something else to fill my time.
The only thing that doesn’t really happen with is reading but it happens within reading. I’ll consume a huge amount of a single genre and then maybe not pick it back up for a year. I don’t ever really stop reading though. It’s an interesting data point and I think it ties in with the topic of this post and the previous one.
At some I think this particular issue ties in with my ADD, at least somehow. Although the things I’m talking about are not becoming bored with the topic or task at hand. I know it may sound like it but it’s really not. Saturation is the best word I can think of to describe it. I’m starting to get a little scattered on this issue so I think I’ll stop here. Writing has been helping me think through things and this is no exception. Although I did end up with more questions than answers this time.