December 13

15 great things to do

I’ve created a list of 15 great things you can do.

  1. Give money to a charity;
  2. Donate blood;
  3. Help push another person’s car out of the snow;
  4. Loan money on Kiva;
  5. Hack a website that causes harm;
  6. Give a consensual hug to someone you’ve never hugged before;
  7. Reunite with a family member you haven’t seen in years;
  8. Be there for someone when they die;
  9. Tell someone you truly love about your feelings for the first time;
  10. Go 24 hours without using any power of any kind;
  11. Put money in another person’s parking meter when it’s empty;
  12. Give food to a homeless person;
  13. Ask someone who is alone at a restaurant to join you;
  14. Help a stranger bring their groceries in;
  15. Push someone’s car out of the snow for them.

What are your 15 things?

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December 4

Toilet App

A toilet app is something you use when you’re bored, on the toilet, waiting for a meeting or appointment to start. My toilet app for long time was Facebook. Once I realized that I was giving way too much of my time, and by extension, outside advertising money to a psychopathic billionaire, I decided to change my toilet app.

Every writer will tell you to write everyday, and everyone who isn’t established will tell you they don’t have time. For some, this is still true, but for most of us, we spend quite a bit of our lives waiting for things, so do what I did, take a poop and write a blog.

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October 13

Can a stranger change your life for the better?

Grocery Store

Most people know that a person can change your life. Think about how different your life might be if you were beaten as a child or instead maybe nurtured. Imagine if you married a person who constantly enriched your life, made everything better. These things seem obvious though. A stranger could certainly change your life for the worse. I’ve been stabbed, and I don’t take anything positive away from that. It was just three guys trying to rob my wife and me. I walked away with my wallet, everything inside it, and a hand hanging open. My wife left with no physical injuries, and I got stitched up without any lasting damage, other than a cool scar and some pretty weird trauma.

I had a cashier today with a cool arm tattoo at my local Metro (grocery store). She asked me: “how is your day going so far?” Never in my entire life has a stranger asked me that question in that way. You get the repetitive “how are you” or “how are you doing today?” It shook me up a little bit, made me smile, so I said: “it’s going good so far. How about you? How is your day going?”

The dialogue felt very honest and real. She might say that to everyone, but that’s OK too. She found a way to connect by pushing a very subtle boundary. A stranger got me to emotionally connect with her, and I really appreciate that. Those subtle little things that we can do to connect with someone we don’t know can have a ripple effect.

A few kind simple words made me smile and think in a different way, think about how I can connect better with others. She left me with: “I hope the rest of your day goes well.”

It’s all very subtle and simple, and I know that people have more impactful stories than this, but anything a person can do to make another person’s life better is just awesome.

Thank you to the woman with the cool tattoo and life changing words.

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July 13

Happiness is just an emotion

Sometimes people will watch a really sad movie because they want to cry. I’m not generalizing. I know that watching a sad movie doesn’t make you the kind of person who wants to cry. Schindler’s list was pretty fucking sad or any movie ever where some poor asshole dies of cancer. There is a value in watching these things, but there are some people who will set out to watch a sad movie because they want to have a “good cry.”

If you’re like me, which you’re most likely not, you’re asking yourself “why in the name of Buddha would I ever want to feel sadness? It is an all consuming shitty emotion that makes you want to put a mother fucking gun in your mouth and snuff out your own personal universe.”

I hate sadness because I’ve had too much of it, so I can understand why people would want to chase happiness. You want to feel an emotion that you don’t get enough of.

A few people who have read 14 self help books and smile at themselves in the mirror every morning might disagree with this as they continue to look at themselves and say some shit like: “you’re the best you, and today you’re going to make a difference.” To those people, please destroy the post dated cheque you’ve written to yourself for a million dollars, and wake the fuck up.

I smile when I’m happy. Smiling doesn’t make me feel happy. Telling myself lies doesn’t make me feel happy. Smiling is a result of happiness.

I aim to feel contentment. To me that means that I’m good with where I’m at and what I have. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever strive for more. Aiming to feel happy all the time is as ridiculous as trying to feel sad all the time. They are nothing more than fleeting emotions.

That’s my experience. What do you think?

May 12

Day 3 Without TV

Fat Boy

I’ve gone through 2 days without television. Overall, my happiness level has improved, although I’m a bit more irritable, and I find myself wanting to be more productive, which is difficult when you have children of any age, as they are constantly pressing you to do simple tasks for them. I truly love them though. The increased irritability is just speaking right now.

A notable change is that I’ve gone from 201 pounds to 199 pounds. This might not be significant, but I’m not purposely doing anything differently. I’ve just quit TV.

Memory: 5

Physical fitness: 7.2

Focus: 5

Happiness: 5

Fulfilled: 3

Due to the slight weight loss, I’m counting that as a physical fitness gain. Focus has also increased, while everything else remains the same.

What are your thoughts on TV? Do you watch a lot? Do you never watch it?

May 11

No #TV – but for real this time…

I sit quietly in an empty waiting room, waiting for my daughter to finish her therapy session, not wanting to leave and go shopping, just in case I’m needed, just in case she needs to leave.

I was recently asked how my life changed after my teenaged niece died. I ponder that even more, in this vacant space. I want to truly live my best life now. I don’t want to waste a single moment.

The rules are a bit different than the last time I tried. I can’t watch TV alone, and I can’t suggest to anyone that we watch TV together. If someone wants to watch TV with me, that’s OK.

I don’t have to be productive in the time that I take back from the gods of television, but during a lot of that time I naturally will be.

TV is about the only thing at home that makes me want to sit still. Although I enjoy reading well enough, I’m the kind of person who needs movement, so I would rather listen to an audio book or podcast while doing something physical, even if it’s going for a walk or doing some chores around the house.

TV takes me out of my natural self. It makes me sit still and be someone I’m not. I forget that I need to move. When I’m reading a book, that doesn’t happen. I’ll get anxious waiting for a chapter to end so I can go and do something.

I imagine this first half of my life and how it might have been different if I didn’t give 20 to 40 hours a week away to watching someone else’s story. I could have created more of my story. I could be more me.

I plan on writing a daily follow up piece to let the world know how the last half of my life goes with all this extra free time.

Today, I’m a muscular, not cut in anyway, 201 pounds, nearly 6 feet and two inches. Out of 10, 10 being the best, here is how I would describe myself.

Memory: 5

Physical fitness: 7

Focus: 4

Happiness: 5

Fulfilled: 3

Usually, my memory, physical fitness, and focus will improve without television, while my happiness will decrease. The happiness is a big one for me. It’s what drives me to wake up in the morning, and it’s why I self medicate with the TV pill. I’ll have to find new ways to stay happy.

What do you do to stay happy?

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April 13

The inspiration of death

Ambulance

On a lovely summer night, three days after I moved into my beautiful new house, back in July of 2018, the most wonderful soul left this earth. After that, I drank more alcohol, smoked more weed (it’s cool – totally legal here), watched more TV, and ate more junk food. My niece overdosed on Aleve, but she realized she had made a mistake. She wanted to live, and held onto life the best should could, but a paramedic accidentally gave her morphine, instead of the life saving drug he meant to give her, twice!

She was the kind of person who would make fun of you then snuggle right up into you, the marshmallow with barbed wire on the outside. She seemed tough, but she just loved you completely, and that was all she needed. Close your eyes for minute, actually close them and imagine how you would feel.

Although I would do anything to take her death back, it has given me a lot of perspective, changed me. I don’t turn into a giant ball of stress when work piles up, and I know that every moment counts. I’ve been given purpose by her mother, my sister. We are starting an amazing organization together to help children and prevent future deaths. The weird thing is, I don’t even want to watch TV anymore. I don’t want to smoke weed or drink. I love junk food though, but hopefully that will decrease as well.

I want to work on being the best person I can be. I want a life of purpose and meaning. I want everyone in my life to know that I fucking love them so damn much, and the people I don’t love and don’t care about – well you’re probably assholes. You know who the fuck you are, so GFY.

So what will the last half of my life look like? I don’t really know, but I’m excited to find out. I’m helping to start an organization that will improve the lives of people, especially children. I’m writing, which is something I’m very passionate about, and I’m getting a lot of very cool technology projects for my day job.

People often ask: “if you could go back and give advice to yourself as child, what would say?” That child and the young adult who came after that, they taught me everything I know. There is no bit of wisdom that I’ve gained that wasn’t because of them. I’m nothing more than the sum of their knowledge. I should be asking myself: “what can I teach my future self?” The answer is everything. If I realize that I’m the teacher, and I’m responsible for who I’ll be, it makes me think in a very different way. My future self isn’t going to just bail me out of a miserable existence; he’s just going to keep doing whatever I’m doing.

My niece’s death was a clear sign that everything changes. I won’t let circumstance change me in an uncontrollable way. I’ll change how I want to change.

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December 23

No TV – Attempt #3?

TV

I’m on day 4 of no television. I think this is the third time in my life that I’ve seriously attempted it.

The Rules

  1. No Netflix;
  2. No YouTube, unless it is for instructions or work;

That’s pretty much it.

Exceptions

I can watch Netflix if I’m with people who have for whatever reason chosen to watch Netflix, and I can’t really get out of it or find anything else to do, but in good faith, I have to try to avoid those situations.

Why?

Why the hell would anyone ever want to give up TV? I had successfully given it up in the past, and the other two times I did, I wrote novellas. They were highly productive times for me. The longer I give it up the more things I’m able to achieve. I even had a budding, paid, fiction writing career.

What Happened Before?

The reasons I failed to stay away from TV in the past are pretty much the same reasons that people get back to alcohol or heroin. I just wanted to be happy again. I get out of my own head – don’t have to think, feel, and do. I can just checkout at the end of the day.

What’s different?

I guess I will find that out in the days, weeks, and months to come. I’m getting a lot more done now, and it’s only been 4 days. Let’s see what happens!

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October 22

Suicide Fucking Sucks!!!

TV

My youngest daughter is suicidal. I’m managing it well, and I think she’ll be all right, but this is easily the worst time in my entire life, likely hers too.

It makes me wonder about how I spend my time though. Is there any value in watching TV or porn or whatever other bullshit ways I spend my time? Hell no! I’ve never given up TV for more than a year, but every time I give up TV, amazing things happen in my life. I make new friends, write a book, change careers. Why am I watching TV? Why am I doing half of the stupid things I’m doing. I don’t have free time, nobody does. All you have is time and how that time is spent.

I love you youngest daughter. You know this already, and I will make significant changes in my life because of you and because of my niece who ended her life earlier this year. I want every minute of the next 40 years to mean something, and it starts right fucking now!

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July 26

My Only Niece

My only niece, who was wonderful, kind, caring, good to her family, and loved horses, took her own life recently. It’s the only death I’ve experienced that has impacted my life in a very negative way. Other people I cared about have died, but they were older, and I was prepared for it. Suicide isn’t an act of selfishness. It isn’t a crime. It’s something that happens to a desperately sad person who just can’t continue on living. They don’t understand how much everyone aches after they are gone.

To my niece, I would like to say that I love you, and I forgive you for all of the pain I feel right now. To anyone else who is contemplating suicide, you don’t know it now, but people will hurt for the rest of their lives the moment you die. The pain you feel as someone who is suicidal is the pain that people who knew you feel after you die, except it doesn’t go away for them.

The words that I write are coming from a person who has been suicidal, has had a father attempt suicide, has had a friend attempt suicide, and has had a niece kill herself. In every single case, they were sure that death is what they wanted, but after the attempt, every person, even my niece, decided they wanted to live.

In the end, everyone wants to live. That’s the strange thing about suicide. You can never be successful in completing suicide because all people truly want to live. For those who do complete suicide, they just died before they got a chance to come back from near death. My niece, in the end, wanted to live. She, like every other suicidal person I’ve known, begged for her life to be saved. She went from being sure she wanted to die to sure she wanted to live, but it was too late for her. Her family and an excellent medical team couldn’t save her life, even though they did everything right.

Her parents had recognized the signs and were doing absolutely everything they could to improve the situation. Everyone did everything they could, but in the end, it is the suicidal person who makes the decision. If anyone who is suicidal reads this, please know that there is a better way out than ending your life. Realize that, although you don’t feel it now, you do want to live.

Now, I try everyday not to cry, but the tears keep falling.

To my only niece, I love you, goodbye forever.

Suicide Prevention

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