Sunday, January 31, 2016

Filled or Fulfilled

It's easy to fill up a schedule with unnecessary things. I can spend all day trying to buy a pair of pants, playing video games, watching a movie, or riding my bike. Those aren't necessarily good or bad things. They are just things. And they can fill my scheduled up to the point I have no time to read my bible or go to church or pray. It's easy to be filled. There's instant gratification associated with this unnecessary items which makes it difficult to remove them from my schedule and replace them with necessary things that may take longer to show their rewards.

Lately I've come across people, myself included, who's schedules are filled with things, and yet none of us can really claim our schedule is fulfilling. We're too busy doing unnecessary things to be doing fulfilling things. The constant refrain is, "I'm just too busy to..."  How did we end up this way?

I think we've assigned importance to non important things in our life. I'm sure deep down we know it. It's just not easy to admit.

I want to reassign importance to the things in my life. I want to filter out some of the unnecessary items and reorder what is left. I want to add some fulfilling items to my new, less filled schedule and see what it feels like.

This will be good.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2015

A year in review.

I left a job I was great at but hated.
I took a job I love and am good at.
I got engaged.
I got married.
I started sleeping better.
I started eating better.
I started exercising.
I lost almost 30 pounds.
I started swimming again.

I'm definitely happier now than at the beginning of 2015.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

2016

Um, so, these aren't New Year's Resolutions, they are goals for the near future that coincidently happen to be made recently.

1   I will finally compete in my first triathlon. (I really need to work on the  swimming part.)
2   I will weigh 175 pounds.
3   I will go on a vacation, somewhere else.
4   I will not eat a donut.

That's enough for now. I may add some more later. Let's just keep it achievable.

2015 was a good year. I achieved a lot of what I wanted. I did a lot of what I wanted. I have a lot of what I want. I don't need to do or get much of anything else. In some ways I hope this year is much more simple.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The End of 2015

We're coming to the end of another year. 2015 was a good one for me.

I got engaged. I got married. I got a new position at work (which is much more satisfying). I climbed a mountain. I lost 29 pounds.

2016 will be a good year too. My first Triathlon. My first year anniversary. I'm sure there will be some more firsts thrown in the mix.

And the days are getting longer. It's going to be good. I'm going to enjoy today.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Epic Wedding

Well, I'm married now.


That's me beside the girl in the white dress.

I'm still busy, but in different ways. I won't write a lot about marriage, or my wife, at this time. I'm still figuring things out. Different responsibilities, different busy-ness. But it's all good. I'm away from home doing some training for my new job, and with not much to do in my off time I thought I'd put this picture up for you to admire.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Free At Last

I am officially finished my managerial role at my company. It was a good 2 years. I made drastic improvements, increased profitability and organized a change that affected the market to such a degree the final results won't be known for another year or so. I don't usually brag online but I did a good job. I received a lot of thank you letters from my employees. Some I hired had no experience in this field but have excelled and are now valuable assets to this company. Some have changed their future career plans because I found their strengths and matched them with responsibilities that challenged and rewarded them. It was a good experience. It played to my strengths. Unfortunately there was no off switch. I was constantly on call, overseeing many employees, many customers and many side projects. Since my departure my position has had its responsibilities reduced for my replacement and many of my duties have been shed to 3 other managers. Basically, my job is now done by four people. I always suspected I was doing more than should be required of a single person.

The stress is what eventually forced my hand. I was never free from work. With a cell phone and access to the internet I was at work 24/7. And this is an industry that operates 24/7 so I was never free. Even at times where there was nothing to be done, my mind was always on work, on loads, on budgets and balance sheets and schedules. For the first time in 2 years I can now go off the grid and not feel guilty. It took me 2 weeks off just to decompress. The human body (and mind) were not designed for modern day corporate life. I am excited again. I am excited for new and different challenges. I am excited to go swimming and not worry if my cell phone is unattended. I am excited to have free time with no responsibilities. I am excited to live the rhythms of life closer to what God intended.

Inhale. Exhale.

I am transitioning to a new but familiar role within the company. The long term benefits are somewhat financial, but more importantly they offer a better lifestyle. I have been looking for more free time, less stress, less responsibilities, more fun. I'm getting married in 3 weeks and I want a job that is conducive to being a husband and eventually a father. I've been trying to move in this direction for a while now, even before marriage seemed like a reality. It's amazing to think all these things are falling in to place.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Minimalism

I'm looking at reducing the complication of things in my life.

We don't really need that many things to exist in this life. Most of us definitely have more than enough. I never really got sucked into the materialistic wave of accumulation. Even though I fight the urge to add new toys and gadgets and things to my life I have still managed to collect a lot of things. My brief time in the Ukraine definitely has a lingering effect on my life. I was shocked with how little people had in the former communist state. When I returned to North America I was shocked and overwhelmed by the "stuff". There were useless "things" everywhere and everyone had to have them. It almost made me sick.

Growing up, mom and dad had a "thing" for everything. Too many kitchen appliances/utensils/things. Too many tools. Too many pictures and decorations. Too many hardware related items. Bar stools in storage for 20 years because they may be needed one day. Broken record players and 8-track stereos that were fixable, although what was the point? And sheds, garages, extra buildings, basements used to store it all.

And all those things require time and money to fix and maintain and store. It's just not worth it.

There seems to be a movement today to return to some sort of minimalist living. I'm not hopping on a band wagon though. I'd like to think I'm ahead of the crowd. I don't feel like I need to adhere to all the rules popping up like:

-You can only own 100 things
-If you haven't used it in 6 weeks get rid of it
-You're not allowed to travel
-You can't own a vehicle

But I don't find it necessary to own kitchen items like a rice maker that I'll use a couple times a year when a simple pot would do. I don't think I need 2 scales, or 10 vases, or 3 guitars, 12 pairs of shoes, etc. We'll see how this goes.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Delayed Gratification

Accepting something good instead of waiting for something great.

Delayed gratification isn't easy. Watch this:



Even these kids know that delayed gratification makes sense, but they still succumb to the temptation of the marshmallow. There's a lot of "marshmallows" in life. I've been working on my "marshmallows" lately. Funny enough, marshmallows are some of my marshmallows. It's not that I could have had more later if didn't have fewer now. The whole idea is that we will take minimal pleasure from some thing now at the expense of a greater reward later. Intellectually we all know it is a bad decision, but we want our marshmallows now.

Willpower.  There's a lot that's been said about will power. I won't bother writing about that now. I'll just say that it is the ability to make the preferred decision regardless of outside influences.

I've been using my willpower to eat better lately. A little over 3 months ago I was 206 pounds. I haven't touched a donut in over 2 months. I've eaten a lot of spinach and kale. And nothing happened for the first while. But I kept making long term decisions instead of accepting short term gratification. No donuts. One month ago I was 196 pounds. One week ago I was 185. By the end of summer I'll be a much healthier 175. The result of my decisions will have taken 4 or 5 months to fully appear, but it will be much more satisfying than a summer of donuts. I'm sure my 70 year old self will thank me.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Weight

A little over 3 months ago I was 206 pounds. Today, I'm hovering around 186. I've lost 20 pounds. It wasn't easy. It was will power. I've been donut free for a little over 2 months now. That was not an easy task. I averaged about 2 donuts per day last year. This year my total donut count is at 44.When I made the decision to get back in to shape, I decided to limit my donut intake to 10 donuts per month. I exceeded that limit about 3 weeks in to the year. But, seven months later, its amazing to see the difference a few less donuts can make. I'm writing this entry wearing a shirt I haven't worn in over a year, because it didn't fit until today. I'm not so concerned about my weight as I am my health, but weight is a good indicator of my health so it is the thing I choose to measure. By the end of the month I hope to be under 180 pounds for the first time in a couple years. After that, I may end up gaining weight as I exercise and build muscle mass. Once that happens I think I'll transition from solely weight to waste size and weight.

See you at 180!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

VBS Again

I've taken a week off work to help with VBS again this year. It's good. I definitely needed time away from work. This year I am helping with the pre-school kids as well as the grade school kids. That's something new for me. I like it. The kids are so fun. I was a bit nervous as I usually work with older children but this was something that came much more naturally to me than I thought.

I'm going to be so tired by the end of this vacation.