August 31

How I want to live my life

Cover of "You Only Live Once"
Cover of You Only Live Once

The common terms that I thought of when deciding how I really want to live my life were these.

  1. YOLO
  2. Live in the moment
  3. Live everyday like it were your last
  4. Carpe Diem
  5. Bucket list

I would like to break each one of these terms down, just a bit.

YOLO is You Only Live Once. This is a common expression that encourages a person to go out and experience life. Since it comes with no specific guidelines, you can apply it to anything you want to try. This is really about enjoying your life through short-term goals and quick pays offs. The good: sometimes you have to get out of your house, stop watching TV and playing video games. That is a YOLO moment.

Live in the moment is also mindfulness or right mindedness. This terms isn’t at all what many people think it is. Going to a bar and having shot number ten while spewing out “live in the moment” doesn’t actually make sense. Living in the moment means being present for whatever you’re doing. If a friend is talking to you, you are truly listening. You aren’t thinking of anything else, and you aren’t texting anyone. You’re just listening. That is living in the moment. It just means that to truly enjoy what you’re doing and be happy, you have to actively take part in that and nothing else. Count how many times a day you actually live uninterrupted in a specific moment. I’ll bet you don’t even need all the fingers on one hand. The good: if you’re using this term the right way, it’s basically all good.

Live everyday like it were your last is probably the easiest to understand. This is a guideline for life that suggests you live everyday as though you would die within 24 hours. Although it seems to make sense and many people agree with it, it’s actually a fools concept. If you were to truly live everyday like it were your last, you would surround yourself with all of your family and friends while  they cried uncontrollably and said goodbye. Instead, people use it as more of a YOLO. The good: same as YOLO’s good.

Carpe diem is seize the day. This is more of a business executive approach to YOLO. People tend to say this term more about accomplishing something. However, the term is still for short-term goals, and it was originally meant as enjoy the day, which is basically just YOLO. The good: this gets people away from the routine of their day-to-day and makes them do something different.

Bucket list is a list of things you will do before you “kick the bucket” (die). Some people make this list when faced with terminal illness. Other people just make this list because they want to accomplish everything they want in life. A bucket list is as selfless or selfish as a person makes it. The good: Although many items are short term goals on a bucket list, the bucket list itself is about accomplishing goals, wants, and needs over a long-term period.

1 year list

A 1 year list is my concept, based on the bucket list. The 1 year list is a list of 10 goals. I have 1 year to complete a goal from the time it goes on my list. Anytime I complete a goal, I add another goal, so the list always has 10 goals. My goals are selfish, selfless, long-term, and short-term. The only rule is that a goal isn’t a dream. It’s something that is obtainable through normal circumstances. In other words, if you want to make $1,000,000 in the next year, that is not obtainable for most people. Unless you’re already making close to $80,000 a month and can work harder to increase your earnings, it isn’t a goal. My list is below.

  1. 200 lbs Dumbbell Press: I’m currently pressing 160 lbs, and my body weight is between 185 lbs and 190 lbs, so this is easy enough to do within the next year. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  2. Write 36,500 words: in the past, I’ve tried to write everyday. It doesn’t always workout, and then I end up with a defeatist attitude. I can’t write everyday, so why bother. This way, I never get defeated, since I can always catch up. I’m counting all writing that is for the public. This means that anything I write for money, this website, or future publications will count. Occurrence: I might have done this while in school. This was more than a decade ago.
  3. Run 520km: before you laugh, remember this is not all at once, this is over the course of a year. It works out to 10km a week. This is a reasonable and conservative goal, but it means running every week, which I don’t do now. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  4. Complete French lessons: this is something I do in my free time. I learn French. I’m able to do it, but language is the one area where I’m a slow learner. I often put off lessons to do something else. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  5. Visit my mom: she lives almost 4000km away, so it’s financially difficult to see her often. Occurrence: she moved several years ago, and I’ve only been to see her once.
  6. Family charity event: simply take my wife and kids and take part in a fund-raising charity event. Occurrence: never accomplished before.
  7. Get below 185 lbs: my current weight is about 187 lbs. I know this sounds easy, but I’m muscular and 6′ 2″. Losing a few pounds of body weight when you’re slender is actually quite difficult. Occurrence: I’ve only been under 185 lbs when I wasn’t lifting weights.
  8. Make a new friend: I know how this sounds, but most people who I truly call friends, I met when I was 19 or younger. I’m now 36. This might be my most difficult goal. I consider someone a friend when the two of us can hang out without anyone else there, and there is no business relationship. Occurrence: it’s happens, but hardly ever, definitely not yearly.
  9. Reunite with an old friend or family member: this is just reconnecting, in person, with someone I haven’t seen in a long time. Occurrence: it’s happens, but hardly ever, definitely not yearly.
  10. Help a stranger in need: this might be anything from helping a lost child find a parent to pushing someone’s car out of the snow in the winter. Occurrence: this probably happens more than I think it does. I never take note of helping someone, so I have no idea how long this will take.

That is my list. Judge it how you will, and feel free to write your own 1 year list. I’ve written a list of very achievable goals, most of which I’ve never accomplished before. I believe this type of long-term thinking is a better and happier way of living your life, and anything I write after the list is pretty much just a way of me getting my word count closer to 36,500.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
June 14

Father’s Day

The cool thing about father’s day is not giving or receiving gifts. The cool thing is having great people to celebrate with.

My dad and I don’t have a great relationship, but he did help me with my love for writing. Thank you dad and thank you to my wonderful wife and children for what I know will be a wonderful day.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
March 16

Progress

English: Olympic-style weight lifting training.
English: Olympic-style weight lifting training. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last post was about my no grain diet. It has been a bit over a month. Although I’ve eaten a few grains along the way, when no other option has been available, I’ve stuck to the diet whenever possible. Less than 1 out of every 20 meals has included grains.

I’m no longer taking any supplements or protein shakes. My weight has increased by five pounds, but I’m weight lifting, and my lifting increases have been substantial. Most importantly my waist size has not increased.

The diet has been and will continue to be of huge importance for me. I’m healing faster, making gains faster, and I feel way more energetic. I’m not a “body builder.” I just looking to stay healthy and be strong. Most of my weight lifting goals are nearing completion, and my next goals will be focused on running.

Just to be clear, this is not a low carb diet. I eat a lot of fruit, quinoa, potatoes, buckwheat, arrowroot, and squash.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
February 6

No Grains?

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

I hit a significant three-month plateau in my exercise regimen. A couple of months back, I started taking protein shakes to get past the bad situation I was in, muscles getting weaker and constantly getting sick. The protein shakes worked well. I was restored to my healthy self, but I had no progress.

Lately, within a few days without grains, I’ve already noticed a fair bit of progress in my workouts. Without grains, I’ve been eating more dairy, fruit, vegetables, and meat. This is high nutrient food, and I suspect that the change in nutrients is mostly responsible for the gain in strength and energy.

The challenge is getting enough carbohydrates. With 100 minutes of cardio and about 200 minutes of strength training per week, I’m not about to try a low carb version of this diet, so I’ve eaten quinoa (not an actual grain), potatoes, and a lot of fruit (especially bananas).

Now, I just have to make sure that I eat enough and I eat often. Hunger is will be the thing that can stop me from continuing down this path. I’m certainly not militant about the way I eat though. Certainly, if I’m with people who are eating pizza, I’ll eat pizza. Still, most of my meals are at home, and I’ll continue to benefit from eating this way.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
January 28

Montreal, Friendship, and Realization

English: Montreal City Hall Français : Image p...
English: Montreal City Hall Français : Image panoramique de l’Hôtel de Ville de Montréal. Panorama constitué de 20 (5 x 4) photos réalisées avec un Canon 5D et un objectif 85mm f/1,8 réglé sur f/8. Türkçe: Kanada’nın Quebec eyaletinin en büyük ikinci şehri olan Montreal’de bulunan bina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to Montreal this past weekend. Whenever I go there, I feel completely inspired. Not every situation or encounter is wonderful, but every time I’m there, it’s a vacation for me. To me, a vacation is time to heal, time to think, and just generally time to breathe. I have good friends in Montreal. They are different enough from me that I get to experience new ways of thinking and being, but they are similar enough to me that I never have to feel bizarre around them.

I’ve also recently begun talking to an old friend from the past. I think we would have always been friends, but we took different paths and simply fell out of touch. She is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known, and she’s the only one I’ve ever really cared about falling out of touch with.

I even have a new friend, a relationship that is just beginning.

Friends aren’t everything, but this weekend has been a good lesson for me. Friends are important. They shape my outlook, and help to make me a different person. This decade around I’ll remember to hold on to the good people in my life.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
January 24

Eat More

Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried po...
Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried potatoes (AE) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a candy bar that my Dad used to eat, when I was a kid, called “Eat More.” I gave it the less than fond alias of “Eat Less.” This candy bar is by far the worst tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, even with how many times I’ve “been around the block.”

The point of it is that the more palatable something is the more a person will want to eat it. I enjoy eating healthy foods, and I like the taste, but I also like french fries, perogies, chips, cake, pie, and anything with a lot of melted cheese on it. In my journey of healthy eating and six days a week of exercise, month after month, I keep forgetting that it’s easier to get calories from these bad foods. Yes, I’m eating healthy, and yes I like healthy food, but I eat less of it, and it’s lower in calories. This is becoming a problem for me. With massive energy dives, I’m getting moody, tired, and angry.

I have to keep reminding myself to eat more, which is tough, as the portion sizes for healthy food are very large when exercising six days a week.

I’m a bit full right now, but I feel good, and it’s sunny outside, not a cloud in the sky.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
January 7

Is it too late to talk about New Year’s resolutions?

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard
English: New Year’s Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I see a resolution more like an epiphany, an awakening even. Telling myself that I’m going to give something up for 365 days is not a resolution. We’re not talking about lent here; we’re talking about a resolution. This is where we reevaluate our lives and decide on changing forever. I tend to think that the first day of the New Year is one of the worst times we could make a resolution, but if all your friends are doing it, I guess you should too. After all the alcohol, relaxation, and gluttony, we decide that we’re going to suddenly change direction and live a disciplined life.

In April of 2012, I decided to start exercising 6 days a week. I’ve kept it up all of this time. I didn’t say that I was going to give up my lazy ways or be strict with myself. Instead, I set a goal. I decided how much I wanted to lift in 1 year and how much I wanted to weigh. I’m meeting my goals because of a strong sense of realism and a serious want for improvement. This challenge was never about suffering for me; it was about reward. If you can do that with your challenge, your resolution can be successful, no matter what time of year you make it.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
November 20

Yes! We have no love for racists who make fun of fruit vendors.

Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism
Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got a song in my head today: “Yes! We have no bananas.” I love the tune, and I thought I loved the song, so I listened to it on YouTube.

I quickly learned that this is a horribly racist song. People argue that it wasn’t racist in its time, or that you just have to understand the context – it’s somehow good-natured. The song deliberately makes fun of people who are different from the person who is singing the song. I can’t see how it’s anything but racist.

Now, I’m stuck with a tune that I enjoy and can’t get out of my head that is obviously racist. Listening to old songs and watching old movies are like that though. I remember a time that I was watching an old movie with my wife, and I hate old movies, but she said they were great, so there we were watching a movie that was 20 years older than us.

The men were terrible to the women. The kept telling them not to think, not to worry, and not to try to make decisions for themselves. The thing is – there was no obvious social justice going on, the women just ended up giving in. The moral of the story was do what the man says and you get a happy ending.

OK, full disclosure here – I’m a white male, but I hate oppressive crap, especially oppressive crap that is disguising itself under the pretense of art or entertainment.

November 19

@SHO_Dexter, I’m quitting #TV, but not until your season is over

Dexter (TV series)
Dexter (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m usually watching TV at this time, but instead I decided to write an entry, and I’ll probably go to bed early – well, early for me, anyway.

I’m quitting TV. Yes, it really is like quitting smoking or maybe even heroin. OK, I went too far there; it’s nothing like quitting heroin, but I’m not taking the smoking remark back. I remember when I quit smoking several years ago. I probably quit more than 20 times, and I only smoked for about 5 years.

I’ve tried to quit TV a bunch of times over the last few years, never successfully. Right now I’m weaning myself off TV. I’m only watching Dexter at the moment. That’s a difficult show to give up. Giving up smoking comes with a lot of benefits and so does giving up TV. I’m not overweight to begin with, but when I stop watching TV, I go from average looking to lean. The idea when giving up TV is to replace it with worthwhile endeavors. There are many people who don’t watch TV, but nothing is gained if they are spending their days and nights playing computer/video games.

I plan on replacing my TV time with writing, a bit of meditation, more house work, better quality time with my kids, time with friends, and more time outdoors. The writing, housework, and meditation come in to play around the later hours when my entire family is asleep. I know more housework sounds like a terrible endeavor, and I don’t really enjoy housework; however, a clean house means that I’m not mentally distracted. It actually helps a lot with my writing.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending an hour a day watching TV. In fact, I did that yesterday. Ideally, for me, I would like to spend no hours a day watching TV. I watch it as a way to relax and unwind. It doesn’t do a very good job of either, but it’s a great distraction from what’s actually on my mind. I’m at the point where I’m willing to make big changes in my life. This is the time to nix TV and regain hours of my week.

Stay tuned to see how this ends.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT
November 17

Does @DCComics know that real #life is better than fiction?

Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent
Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It feels official now. I met with a key member of a local charity yesterday, and I’m now writing for that charity. I’m offering my services mostly to help with their newsletter, but I’ll also help out with the website and probably some communications.

I couldn’t ask for anything more ideal than this. To me, this is the launch of my writing career. The next big milestone is a paying job. I know that’s a lot to ask, but I’ve seen real human beings that actually make a living off of writing. There aren’t many of them, but they do exist. I could be one of those people. By day, I could call my self Clark Kent, and at night . . . well at night I write on here, so the alter ego thing would actually go away. I would write during the day and at night. Sometimes real life is actually better than fiction, but I would love to fly and burn crap with my eyes.

Category: Diary | LEAVE A COMMENT