James Olon

Hello friends.

I’m on a quest for the perfect every day bag. All roads seem to point to Peak Design .

Minimalist Me

Around this time last year I started getting into minimalism. I was wondering around YouTube and I came across a video about a male minimalist wardrobe. It really spoke to me so I started looking into more. A lot of the info I found was geared more toward the higher end of products. That just wasn’t going to be doable for me. I set out to achieve a budget friendly minimalist wardrobe and I’d like to share my guide with you.

The first step was going through all of my clothes and seeing what/if anything could be used. I started with T shirts, having worked at a screen printing shop for a few years I have acquired hundreds of shirts. Most of which were just sitting in a box. What I was looking for was natural color solids. I only had a few, but that was a good thing. Next up was bottoms. Again neutral solids. I had some thankfully. Finally was shoes. Full disclosure I am a shoe whore. I have at least 60 pair if not more, I’m afraid to actually count them. I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of them all so I worked out a rotation that I’ll explain later.

Ok, all the clothes I don’t need have been bagged up and are ready for donation and I’ve limited my self to just one small dresser and a few hangers. Here’s what I have.

T Shirts- 2 solid black 2 grey 1 white 1 navy 1 maroon

7 shirts for 7 days of the week. The grey and black are fruit of the loom and were around $15 from my local target. The white, navy and maroon are also from target and are the Goodfellow brand. They were bought on sale for less than $10 each. I picked the colors because they basically will go with everything bottom wise.

Pants. It’s really hard for me to find pants that I feel like fit me well. I had A few Goodfellow chinos thatI liked the fit of so I went with them to start. I also found some selvage dark wash denim from target and a light wash pair from old navy. Honestly I’m not crazy about either pair but they were cheap and what I call place holders for until I find the “perfect” pair. I only wear denim in the winter so it wasn’t too big of a deal.

Pants- Grey Chinos Black Chinos Navy Chinos Dark Denim Light Denim

Unfortunately I live in gathering south and it gets crazy hot and humid in the summer here. So short are a must. A few years ago I set out to find the best shorts for me. What I found was Hurley dry fit shorts. They are basically swim shorts with no liner and a button, pockets and zipper. They are light weight and much cooler than regular shorts.

Shorts- Khaki Maroon And a pair of proper swim trunks

Shoes. This has been the most painful part. And the most expensive. It took me some time but I think I have it sorted. In the winter I only wear boots. I have a desert boot and a Service Boot. For the summer I narrowed it down to just a few pairs, blue vans, Chaco Sandals, and a pair of rainbow flip flops that I’ve had for 10 years.

Since I started doing this I’ve honestly felt much better, not having to decide on what I’m going to wear is one less thing for me to have to deal with. My thoughts and energy can be used for more important things. I really think everyone should at least try it, pick out enough clothes for a week put them into a duffel bag or a suit case and live out of it for that week. I think you’ll find it very enjoyable.

Photo Bug

recently got the photography bug. Now I’ve always had a camera of some sort around, besides whatever phone I have. I’ve had an older DSLR for 8 years and have used it from time to time, I’ve also had a point and shoot laying around. I’ve decided to make it a point to take ant least one with me anytime I’m out of the house and to take pictures on it instead of my phone. I have an idea for a series of photos that I one day hope to share.

I’ve been using the 6th get ipad with just a keyboard and mouse the past few days. I’m gonna have a good blog post about it at the end of this upcoming week.

Delete all the old things

A few days I go I decided to delete all my tweets. Well, my first thought was to just nuke twitter all together because it’s such a time waste, but I do enjoy it. My patience for short form posts has become quite small. I still think its a decent place to find out what’s going on. I just don’t see it has much more at this moment. I’ve said in the past the twitter is a bit like shouting in a over crowded room, Norbert someone hears you maybe they don’t. It may have something to do with valuing my time a bit more. I don’t want to waste the day shouting in that room. I’d much rather take my thoughts and time and produce something that’s more meaning full to me and if no one reads it then that’s fine with me.

I also recently deleted facebook from my phone, again its just such a time waster for me. I kept messenger because I do have a small business to run and promote. I still check it a few times a day but its. A necessary evil. Instagram is still installed but tucked away in a folder on my second screen. Circling back to twitter, I think its honestly kind of foolish to keep tweets from 10+ years ago. I’m not 26 anymore and I don’t think like a 26 year old any more.

ssl status: requested what does that mean do I need to do anything? @help

A Day In The Life

I’ve tried a few times today to write a “Day in the life” post, and I’ve failed at every attempt. Then it just hit me, write about today. This way its fresh and accurate. So what follows is as close to a typical “Day in the life” that I think I could ever manage.

6:15am

I really wish I could tell you that I get up this early because I’m the most productive person in the world, but we have a new puppy and she is up and ready to go the second the sun comes up. So I get out of bed and take her out and feed her. I’m really quiet so I don’t wake up the entire household. After that I try to lay back down, I check twitter, instagram, all that jazz but no email, I’m only doing that on my computer.

7:30am

By this time I’m full blown awake so I get up and make coffee and turn on CNN and sit at my desk. I check email and check in on my Nerd Chat (Telegram) and see what they are up to, the people in that chat are all over the world so there’s always something going on.

8:15am

At this point my youngest is up and having some cereal and hanging out with me. My middle child has art camp at 9 this week so I woke her up and got her ready for that. I made some cinnamon rolls. She told me she wasn’t hungry. After that I get dressed and get the two of them in the car, I leave my oldest sleeping and I drop her off at her camp.

9:10am

Back at home now I get started on my daily stuff. Today is laundry so I get that going. I set my youngest up with some Netflix and I try to sneak in some XBOX with my cousin. On this morning it all actually goes as planned, we play a few games of Apex. When my youngest summons me I call it a day and her and I play with the puppy. My wife has been working overnighters she got home a little bit after noon.

12:00pm

Wife comes home and makes some lunch while I finish folding and putting away laundry. Her and I catch up and hang out for a bit then I have to leave to do pick up from camp.

1:00pm

On the way home we stop for a coffee and a glass bottle orange soda. It’s a great time. She tells me all about her camp and she’s just smiling ear to ear. She loves to paint and make art. After we get home she chills out and I’m back at my desk writing this.

3:00pm

This is the lull in the day. The kids are bored, its hot out, friend are nowhere to be found. This is my least favorite part of the day. On this day we end up watching a movie and having some snacks. That helps get us through that rough part of the day.

5:45pm

Now its time to start dinner, tonight is Brinner. My wife makes the pancakes and I fry bacon and scramble eggs. Its one of the only times of the day where her and I can talk with out the kids bothering us. Tonight we actually eat together at the dinner table, during the summer that’s a rare event. We talk about or day and the girls take turns being silly. This is my favorite part of the day.

6:45pm

Shower time for me, it’s the only part of the day where I can be just alone. I listen to music while I shower. I like to air dry lately so after I shower I just sit on the edge of the tub in my towel and scroll through twitter or apple news.

7:50pm

It’s now bed time for our youngest. I still co-sleep with her and I know, I know but she’s the baby and nobody puts baby in a corner or her own bed. We read a book and then she rolls over and goes to sleep. I really enjoy it to be honest. She’s so still and peaceful its really nice.

8:30pm

Now I’m up and the big girls, my wife and I hang out for a bit. Tonight we get the kids to bugger off and we get to watch one of our shows. The Handmaids Tale, we are slowly working our way through the newest season. There’s something comforting about being able to sit and watch something with someone and not have to talk or anything like that. No phones no distractions.

10:00pm

Now I’m completely knackerd. I take the dogs out one last time and start to get ready for bed. Tonight I take my laptop to bed to finish this up. Some nights I catch up on my podcasts and scroll through reddit until I get tired.

11:30pm

Lights out. 6am will come early.

Why is it so difficult to find a freelance writing gig?

I’ve deleted all of them and only kept the most recent stuff, I decided to keep it all here the place I keep coming back to time after time

holy cow, I had like 5 wordpress blogs, 3 I completly forgot about

I deleted all my old tweets. I was gouing to just nuke my account but I found a sight that deleted them all.

Why I Had To Get Sober

I’m an alcoholic and I’ve only just became sober. It took me a long time to actually realize this. I knew I drank too much and for the wrong reasons but it never really dawned on me until I quit drinking. And even after 6 moths of not drinking I still hadn’t “dried out” as it were. I think this is important. Has of writing this I have 514 days with out a drink. Thats like a year and a half, and it took me a good 6 months to get myself out of that state mind, the one where I would make bad decisions and say things I didn’t mean.

Drinking for me was the only way I could function. I even joked about being a high functioning alcoholic. I’m a stay at home dad so it was super easy for me to drink at any time I wanted. Weekends were especially easy, I’d wake up super early to watch soccer and start my morning off with a Guinness, then move to liquor in the afternoon. If I had a function at my kids school I’d do a shot and a beer right before I had to be there. The thought of having to be there, and be social and be sober was too much to bear. My wife and I are known in our group of friends as the people that have all the best parties. Thanks not a humble brag its just what we do. Halloween, we shut down our street and have a festival, we get a keg and have face painting and hay rides its a scene. 4th of July we have a massive pool/block party with cooler full of beer and liquor everywhere. That’s not even taking into account the regular holidays. During the big parties I’d be black out drunk well before the end and on holidays well before the “main event”. I always knew I had a problem, I just thought I had it under control.

On January 1 2018 at 12 am I quit drinking cold turkey. The last beer I had was a bourbon barrel one. It was always one of my favorites. I had it around 8pm on the 31st. I didn’t get sick the first few days, and I didn’t have DT’s or anything like that. I just slowly came to realize that drinking wasn’t my only problem. It was just masking the real problem that was my depression and anxiety. All the social things that I had to do felt like these impossible tasks that no human could complete. My mind was still drunk, it had been soaked in IPA’s and brown liquor for so long it wasn’t ready for me to be sober. After that first month my wife thought I was going to start back drinking again, I had doe a “Dry” January in the past. I hadn’t told her that I was done for good, I hadn’t even said the words out loud. “I’m an alcoholic.” I hadn’t hit my bottom yet. That took a good 6 months.

It was during that 6 months where I nearly lost everything I care about. We were on vacation and I got in touch with an old girlfriend on our way home, it wasn’t the first time I’d done something so stupid. At this point I was lucky to still have a wife that loved me and let me see my kids. I disappointed her time and time again. I’d get drunk and wonder what an old girlfriend would be up to, so fucking stupid. I had no business doing it, we had had such a good time but my state of mind was still that of thinking I didn’t deserve this life. When we got home late that night my wife and I had a fight, a bad one, the worst one. I hit rock bottom, I punched a cabinet and broke my hand, and had to drive myself to the ER. My underlying problem, the reason I was drinking so much was because I was depressed, and I was making bad choices because I didn’t think I was worthy of the love and life I had.

From the outside looking in you would think why on earth I would feel that way, I have such a beautiful family and a wife that has put up with a life times worth of my bull shit. But still I drank and I drank. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to throw up and spend the day reeling from a hangover, and down right neglect my kids. During the first 6 months of sobriety I was helping my wife get our house decorated for one of our yearly parties and she asked me to get a table cloth, “The one we always use for this” she said. I had no idea what she was talking about I didn’t even know we had a table cloth. That’s when it really sunk in. If I had spent years not knowing about a table cloth, what else had I missed? As the year went on and my involvement in all the things that my wife does for us increased I realized I was too drunk to notice all these events. Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas I’d been there, but I’d missed it. That thought alone was enough to make me want a drink. Although I cant really remember those events the thing I regret the most the thing that I just cant let myself off the hook for is disobeying my wife’s trust. I’ll carry that with me forever.

My depression was consuming me now. Knowing all the things I had missed, and all the people I had disappointed it was just eating away at me. I begged my wife to make me an appointment with a shrink. She flat out said no and that I had to do it. I’m really glad now that she didn’t do it for me. At this point she still couldn’t tell if I was serious about getting my shit together. The office where I go to get my antidepressants from also has a shrink I had to make more of a change and address my depression properly. So I made the call and went to my first psych appointment. That first appointment was so emotionally draining. I came home and went straight to sleep. When I woke up I had this feeling of relief like, I know is sounds cliche but it felt like a weight had been lifted in the short hour. My doctor was astounded that I had quit drinking cold turkey like I did. I was able to talk to my doctor about all the problems my wife and I were having my infidelities, my spending habits and all of my insecurities, as well as my feeling that I didn’t deserve this life. And while it maybe obvious to you reading this, my self destructive behavior.

During this time I was also seeing my pill doctor and trying to balance out my meds. I am a believer in meds, to an extent that is. I believe that they can be helpful but I also believe you have to change other things about how you’re living in a edition to them. Prozac for me, 20mg then 40mg and finally 60mg. I honestly see where it has helped me. My overall disposition improved. Sure I still get down and things still bother me but I’m able to deal with those feelings better now. The side effects are present, I’m lethargic sometimes, I had zero sex drive (I hardly ever think about it) I have trouble sleeping sometimes and I’ve been gaining weight but I’d rather those things than feel absolutely hopeless all the time. Getting my meds sorted out was a huge part of my recovery.

Major Mood Disorder was/is my diagnosis. Described by the Mayo Clinic “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.”

Having a label for it, something tangible has helped me. Knowing that it can be helped and it can be treated, it gives me hope. My wife and I haven’t so much as raised our voices at one another in the past 7 months, not since that huge fight late last summer. That night while driving to the ER was the first time I thought about killing myself, like actually thought about doing it. I had thought about more passive aggressive ways in the past, let me run this red light or not wear my seatbelt. Better still, drink myself to death. I thought I could just steer the car into a tree or off an overpass. I think about that night often. Writing about it now makes me upset, I’ve never told anyone about that part of that night not even my shrink. I was ready to end it. I decided not to, I don’t know why. Maybe I was just too afraid, maybe I’m a coward, I think maybe it just wasn’t my time.

This isn’t the part of the story where I get self righteous and say God has a bigger plan for me, because frankly I’m sure sure I believe in that. What I do know is that isn’t how I want to go, how I’d want to be remembered. That night was awful, and so were the following weeks, I wanted to drink so bad. I wanted to roll over and give up. One night in late summer my wife and I went out for a date night, and it was really great at least I thought it was. Dinner was nice, we talked about all kids of stuff and then when the check came my wife gave me a gut punch to end all gut punches. If I didn’t sort myself out, and get my shit together, around the house, with the kids, and with myself, we were finished. She laid it all out so calm and collected. I was equal parts impressed and terrified. She played it cool the whole time, and then bam. Like she was ordering her food, audible, clear, and composed. I was shocked. I was frightened.

My whole life I felt like I was capable of being better. I thought that as long as I was changing I was changing for the better. I never lived a day in my life at my full potential. I half assed my way through 35 years of life and 10 years of marriage and 9 years of fatherhood. That’s what this was meant to be about, parenting. It quickly turned into this. I sit here knowing that things aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect. I know and accept that, I’m good with it. Ever since that dinner, I made a choice to actually try and live up to the person that my wife thinks I can be, that my kids think I am. I’ll always be an alcoholic. I may always have Major Mood Disorder. I know I’ll still disappoint people in life. But, I’m trying. I’m actually trying to be the best version of me I can. Its like I’ve rewired myself, I think back on those many past mistakes and I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, I cant even pretend to put myself into that frame of mind. How could I do those things?

Overall I feel like a much happier person, a much different person than at this point last year. Alcohol was ruining my life. It was determined to take away all the things that I was oblivious to, my wife, my three daughters, my everything. If I hadn’t quit I wouldn’t be sitting here at my desk listening to my kids play. I have no doubt that if I hadn’t quit I would be dead by now. Every time I think about having a drink, I think about that. Me dead. I know that if I do ever have another drink I can kiss my family goodbye. Cause I know I wouldn’t be able to have just one.

Some days its easier than others. Some days it feels like my life is in complete shambles. When my bank account is really low and my credit cards are near their limit it feels like the end. On the bad days I speak up and say so. I don’t feel guilty about having a bad day, or about sitting out on an event. When we go to friends houses and they are drinking and I feel like I’m close to having one I know I can just leave, I know that’s the right thing for me to do. If I’m nervous about something I say so. Changing my environment as well as changing my state of mind is key. I’d love to one day not have to take medication twice a day, but for know that’s just as key. Even writing all of this, is helpful. I keep coming back to this and wonder if its something I want to share. It’s naive to think that the whole world would see it and read it, I know that. I honestly can’t see it hurting anything for me to publish it. If I have and by some chance I don’t know you and you’re reading it and maybe you are in the same place I was and maybe you found it helpful. You are not alone in whatever struggle you are going through, things can and will get better.

Me, Productive

So one of my monthly challenges this year was to work on my productivity workflow. It was my April challenge, It took me the better part of the month to really nail it down. That was in part of getting and returning a 21 inch 4K iMac and then purchasing a 2011 MacBook Pro. I also updated from an iPhone X to a Xr. So lets start with that.

My X was fine but the monthly payment was a bit more than I could stomach for “older” tech. Thats not to say the X is old or obsolete in any was shape or form. And being that we lease our phones through our carrier I looked into what I could do to get that price down. The X was $43 a month. I decided on the iPhone 8 in the 256GB flavor for $13 a month, thats just absurd. Once it arrived I set it up and used it for a few days but I knew almost immediately that it wasn’t going to work out for me. I spend the majority of my device time on my phone and for me the 8 wasn’t going to cut it for me. As far as LCD vs. OLED I honestly can’t tell them apart, Apple makes great LCD panels. I got fortunate and Was able to take advantage of special monthly pricing on a 128GB Xr, $30 a month. SO thats where I ended up. My wife has had her Xr since last November and it seems to work just fine for her so I figured why not?

Now that my phone is sorted here is what I’m using on it. My main todo/task manager is GoodTask 3. All of my daily reminders for meds, feeding the pets, bills that need paid, it all goes there. Thats its home. It also lives on my Apple Watch in the form of a complication. I tried and failed many time over trying to use more complex apps like Things and Omnifocus, I tried to implement the GTD method with them but in the end I found it very overwhelming. GT3 also shows me Calendar events and appointments which is great because on my phone I only use the stock Calendar app. My reasoning for that is If I have a date or something that needs a date I input that info into Drafts, which I check every evening. “Event 5” goes into Drafts, then it goes either to the calendar, GT3, or Notion. Simple as. I use Drafts as a inbox of sorts, I know that I could just as easily use Things or Omnifocus for inbox and tasks but I just seem to work better my way. It gives it more of a separation. An d I like that.

Notion has recently come to my attention. I’m using it in a few different ways. Let me try to explain, The first page I created is a list, like a schedule of sorts for my days during the summer. Its like an outline, I don’t have to check it every day but I do keep a window open on my MacBook at all times. For me having it open helps me stay on track for the day. The second page is a list of summer activities to do with my family, its a running list I’m adding stuff to it very often. The last page is where I’m keeping track of books I want to read and books I have read this year, thats really just for piece of mind for me. I run the app on my phone just to have access to it if I need it.

The heart of my productivity lives at my desk. My battle station. I got a wild hair up my ass toward the end March and decided that I needed a new iMac. So I went to Best Buy and bought one. It didn’t last 24 hours and I returned it. The main reason for the return was the price $1400 is a lot of money. My wife was not happy about that at all. Plus I figured I could do just as good for a fraction of the price. Enter my 15 inch 2011 MacBook Pro, Bought it for $299, upgraded the RAM to 16GB and installed a 256GB SSD.

And I love it, its perfect, no it won’t run Mojave but I can live with that. I have it hooked up to a 24 inch Dell LED display and its my go to machine to get things done. GT3, Drafts, and Fantastical run the show. I keep Fantastical open on the MBP full time, again it helps knowing whats going on, it also shows the reminders that are input into GT3, because GT3 is based off of the reminders app. So at a glance I get all the info I need. So good. If I’m home my desk is where I get most everything done. Otherwise you can find me outside on my iPad.

I recently picked up a 6th gen iPad with 1st gen Apple Pencil support. I picked this up through my cellular provider, it was free with a 2 year data commitment, I know I started out trying to save a few dollars and ended up spending more that before. The main reason for this iPad was for my 4 year old, she does ABC Mouse on our old iMac but its from 2009 so its on its last legs, and she prefers a tablet and her Kindle just doesn’t have the power to run that app. So, enter the iPad. She uses it during the day and I use it after she goes to bed or when she isn’t using it. ABC Mouse is the move if you were wondering, my two older kids used it and they are both on the honor roll at school. I have it set up for a work/media consumption device, I pair it with a cheap Bluetooth keyboard and I can actually write and schedule stuff on it. I had an original iPad Pro years ago and during the time I had it it was my main machine. For a lot of people its very doable. I do wish apple made a keyboard for it but the one I have works just fine.

So that’s my productivity setup. I hope that I was able to explain it in a way that makes sense to the reader. I’ve also submitted a set up interview to thesweetsetup.com so potentially be on the look out for that.

It’s been a while, but we’re back in style

I’ve spent the last few months neglecting this but I’m here now and thats what matters. I spent March working on my productivity work flow and I think I have it dialed in, just in time for Apple to release new software and mess it al up. I’mm do another post about that workflow soon. In April I tried and failed to eliminate all artificial sugar from my diet. It was awful and I would not recommend it. Maybe I’m just not disciplined enough for it but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever tried. The take away from that failed attempt was that I can survive eating less sugar, and I’ve been making better choices when it comes to what I eat.

That brings us to May. I spent the month of May not spending any money on anything that wasn’t essential. Meaning no new phone case, clothes, games, or anything that I didn’t absolutely need to survive. I did a pretty good job with it I think. I’ve had more money to do fun stuff with my family And thats a good thing. Earlier this month I also started a kind of small business, for a few years now I have been the default “Can you watch our house/pets while we go out of town?” Person in my neighborhood and among our group of friends. So I decided to make it as official as I could. I started a facebook page for it and its been going really well. Its really making me actively look for work, that means I’m not laying around all day not really doing anything.

In Like a Lion

February was a really good month, I managed to run 26.5 miles. And I signed up for two 5K’s one this month and one in may. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. My longest run was 3.5 miles and I did it in 36 minutes. Thats not too bad. Now that its the 8th of March and I haven’t ran all month, but it has just been bitter cold out. I’m starting back up on Monday when the weather improves.

That brings us to March. In like a lion. March really creeped up on me. I hardly had time to find something to do for the month. I finally decided on productivity. For a long time I wrote everything down, reminders, dates, and todo’s. Mid February I started reading David Allen’s GTD book and I realized that my “system” wasn’t really working for me. So I went all in on digital. Things 3 to be exact. It really seems to be working well for me. Between things and fantastical my time and tasks finally feel under control. I’ll do a follow up post later this month and detail my workflow . It was important to me to get this little bit out there, I needed the accountability. I’ve also dipped my toe into making art again. More on that to come as well.

Social Status

For the month of January I deleted all my social media apps off of my phone and signed out of them on all my devices. This was my last post of 2018. I wanted to do this for a few reasons, namely it was the first time I publicly spoke about my alcoholism and my mental health issues. I wanted to put it out there and just kinda walk away from it. The other reason is I waste so much of my time scrolling through feeds it makes me feel like a zombie. I wanted to pick up a book or spent more time with my family instead of having my soul taken by my phone.

At first it was really hard, I wanted to know what people were saying about my post, if they were saying anything at all. I wanted to know what was going on in the world, twitter is my portal into the news and what my friends are doing, I wanted to share the cool pictures I was taking of all the real life stuff I was doing. I felt like I was missing out for sure. I set up an RSS reader app to try and stay up on the news and current events, and that worked well until it didn’t.

At some point towards the end of the month I lost interest in trying to be up to date on everything, I started not to miss instagram and twitter. I noticed that even in theory short form updates and snapshots just didn’t interest me anymore. It lacks depth, and substance. That being said I did stay up until midnight on the 1st so I could check all the things. I didn’t get the feeling that I used to get when doing that. It all seemed like static. I purged myself of social media for a month and I think it cured me. Sure I’ve checked them the last few days, but I haven’t been as interested in them, I’m not living through them. And I think thats a good thing and its something that will stick with me.

February Run Update

So, I have a bit of an update on my run everyday in February deal. First of all I really love running. Theres just something about it for me right now, like it has been the missing piece of my puzzle. Now Ive only ran twice but it has already made this impact on me. Friday was the 1st, I went to a big box sporting goods store and bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19’s they felt comfortable enough and did really well for my first run, 15 minutes 1.17 miles. It only occurred to me after that first run that I should have done a little more research on my running shoe. I don’t want to use something that could be painful in the long run. So I went to a local running store and got myself fitted properly. Turns out the GTS was a support shoe and I needed a natural shoe, the brooks Levitate 2 was the most comfortable one that I was shown. My Saturday run, 15 minutes 1.20 miles confirmed that it was intact the right move.

Saturday night I was very sore, which I had expected. I talked with my wife and we decided that if I run everyday a few things can and will happen. I’ll get hurt, a pulled muscle, shin splints some kind of injury will be inevitable. And most importantly I’ll burn out, and hate running. After some research and thinking I decided to buy a couch to 5K app and use it as a template for my running schedule. Three days of running a week to start. I think thats a good way to go. There happens to be a local 5K next month that I want to do so that works out. I ran a 5K about 10 years ago back when I was slimmer and smoking a pack a day so surely doing one now that I don’t smoke shouldn’t be a problem.

My thought process for a monthly “challenge” for lack of a better word, is to improve my self. So even if I only run once or twice a week for the next year I consider it a win. I’m still reading frequently I’m still taking time away from social media (that will be my next post) I’m committing to these things for a month and they are becoming part of my life after the month is up.

“Better”

Lots of people, myself included do certain things during the first month of the year that they wouldn’t do otherwise. “Dry January” for instance, not drinking for the entire month. Or maybe they do whole 30 for the month. And less often people start the year off with high hopes of making them self a “better” person. Make no mistake. These are great things to do but more often than not they don’t last. For example I’ve desperately tried for years to have a proper blog. Only for it to fall by the wayside in March. And if you’re reading this in March and it’s the most recent entry then, well you hey my point.

Last year I set out to do Dry January. I always over do it between Halloween and Christmas. About midway into the first month of 2018 I realized that the running joke I had with my friends and family that I was just a “super high functioning alcoholic” was actually tue and not remotely funny. As the month ended I just kept on not drinking. I didn’t go to meetings, I didn’t try to make a big deal out of it and it took a few months for me “dry out”. That’s a story for another time. The point I’m trying to make here is after just 15 or so days of not drinking I realized how much better my life could be going forward. I didn’t really think about it that way until last month. That’s when it all clicked.

I decided I wanted to try and see what other long term improvements I could make. So I made a list, then another and then finally I came up with something that made sense. Short term and long term. This past month I “gave up” social media. I deleted all the apps from my phone and signed out of them on my phone, tablet and desktop. It was hard at first but it allowed me to put down and be away from my phone more. The long term result being that I can in fact live without them. That was my short term goal for the year. 31 days with out my face buried in my phone. Now for the long term. Reading. Reading an actual book. 1 a month for the year no matter what. Even if I don’t like the book. And so far that’s going much better than I would have expected. I’m on my 3rd one of the year and it’s still January.

With it being the end of January I’ve now been thinking of something positive I could do for the month of February that would have the potential to become a new good habit. Running. I plan to run for 15 minutes everyday. Rain or shine, hot or cold, I will run everyday for 15 minutes. I used to run, but that was 70lbs ago. I remember liking it so there’s that. I still plan on reading and not spending too much time on social media (I’m gonna blog more about that soon.) And I’m gonna stick with blogging more. It’s nice even if nobody reads it.

Night

I finished reading the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel today. I knew what it was about and I knew about the author but I never put 2 and 2 together. What a grim book. What a grim thing to have happened. Amazing is a word saved for great things but in this case, his story is just that. Amazing. Amazingly tragic.

I was deeply saddened by this book and yet I couldn’t stop reading it. It really was as if I was there with young Elie and his father. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the “trilogy”

New year, newish me.

One of the things that I wanted to do this year is read more books. I read plenty of stuff on the web but I’ve struggled in the past to finish any book I start. That’s a shame. I have a good friend that has written 2 books and is working on his 3rd. I’m proud to say that before the end of the year I read the first one and a few hours ago I finished the second one. I’m planning on starting my first full book of the new year in just a few minutes. Quitting social media has been really liberating as far has having all this “extra” time.