Left Foot, Right Foot

When I was in 5th grade, we started doing the Presidential Physical Fitness test in gym class. Pushups, sit-ups, the reach-past-your-toes thing, the rope climb, and running. I was tubby with no upper body or core strength. I did like 15 pushups, maybe 10 sit-ups. No way I climbed the rope. I think I did ok on the flexibility thing. But when it came to running… hoo boy. I remember it took me 16:30+ to run a mile. I was 2nd to last in my class, about a minute in front of a dude with awful asthma. I was unbelievably embarrassed, and I’m pretty sure I went home, told my mom, and cried.

Fast forward to 9th grade. I’d been running around my block pretty frequently, playing more sports, growing, and so on. I knocked out 40 pushups easy. I did 106 sit-ups, which got my name up on the board. I did great on the stretch thing. I climbed the rope (!!!!!!!). And as for the run… well, they had switched to a 12-minute run by then, seeing how far you could get in that amount of time. I did 1.5 miles in 11 minutes, and called it quits. I was super stoked with myself.

But that was 9th grade. I’m now 27, and haven’t been able to run in forever. Pain and discomfort in my ankles, knees, and/or hips, plus a general shortness of breath, made me disheartened and prone to giving up. I tried on Tuesday and could barely go a half mile before my leg started to kill.

Come to find out, it was my shoes. A new pair of light stability shoes later, and I just knocked out 2 miles in 23:30 (running and walking). Not exactly world class, but I can’t even describe how good it feels to be able to run that distance without pain anywhere in my body.

Becca and I decided that we’re going to run a 5k together at the end of June. That gives me about 13.5 more weeks to get into shape. I just did day 2 of the 9-week Couch to 5K program, and so by my math, I’ll have roughly a month to improve my pace a bit before giving it a shot.

It just feels great to finally hit my stride with something (pun totally intended). Between eating healthy and exercising, I feel great, and can’t wait to see all the changes. I’ve got 30 pounds I want to knock off, and I’ve taken the steps to make that happen.

A Life Update

For ages, I’ve been thinking about blogging again. I’m notoriously bad about it… I’ll go for a week or two blogging with regularity, and then I’ll go completely silent for weeks. Believe me, this isn’t intentional; it just kinda happens. I get wrapped up in different projects, the sport of the season, a new video game, or other aspects of life, and just don’t carve out enough time to actually write up a blog.

So… what’s new in 6 months? Quite a bit, actually.

New roommate, since the old one graduated and moved away. This guy is here working an internship through the summer. Not really sure where I’ll end up once this lease ends… staying in CF? Moving away? Who knows.

Still playing at church, but taking time away from playing guitar, since we have an influx of electric players right now. Playing bass and drums (DRUMS!!!) now. Played drums at the beginning of March for the first time in 8 years, when I tore a tendon in my wrist and had to leave the music ed program. Great feeling.

My newest EP is… still not started. It’s named, the tracks are named, but the recording process just hasn’t gotten off the ground yet. Need to do that.

I started a food blog. Yesterday, in fact. I cook all the time, love cooking, and am flabbergasted by all the people that say “but cooking is haaaaaard”. No, it really isn’t. Cooking is fun. Just like anything in life, you start by following the directions to the letter, but eventually you start branching out and adding this or that, and suddenly your recipes are all your own. My blog will have recipes, as well as tips & tricks I’ve learned over the nearly 2 years I’ve been living on my own. If you’re curious, you can follow it over at http://thefoodweb.tumblr.com.

I feel like I’m missing something important…

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Oh yeah! I’m dating this nice lady named Becca, and she’s super pretty. I met her this fall through a friend, and we started dating in January. If you follow my Instagram or Twitter feeds, no doubt you’ve seen pictures or references to her popping up everywhere (sorry, not sorry). She’s a chiropractic student down in the Quad Cities. She has a pretty swell taste in music. Her cat is the coolest cat I’ve ever met. She laughs at my jokes. She pushes me to be a better person, in many aspects. She’s pretty cool, and I think I’m gonna keep her around for a while. (Sorry, ladies.)

I promise I’m going to try and be better about my blogging. I know there’s a lot of people out there that enjoy it quite a bit. I used to try to keep a hard separation between my tech, my music, and my personal life, but I think that’s all going to change. This is my blog, right? I can do what I want. So, you might see posts about this or that cool thing that happened, or about this new game I’m playing, or about music, or sports, or whatever. But hey, that’s better than nothing, right?

The Best Gift

I know the best gift that you can give to anyone.

It’s not something physical. You can’t touch this gift. No one else will ever see it, so you can’t give it and expect the recipient to show it off.

No, the best gift you can give to someone, anyone, is the gift of listening. Not just hearing, but listening. Understanding. Comprehending. Showing them that you pay attention and care.

Sometimes this can manifest as a physical gift. “I really like this watch” is a subtle hint. “Man, I could use a break” is an excuse to take your friends to a movie or out for a drink. “____ is my favorite color!” …. Yeah, you get the idea.

But more often than not, showing the person that you genuinely care what they say is a gift beyond measure.

So shhh. Just for a minute.

And listen.

The Small Things

Calling that friend you haven’t chatted with in a while, just to check in.

Texting someone, instead of waiting/expecting them to text you.

Visiting your parents unexpectedly.

Cleaning/picking up for your significant other.

Helping out someone on a big project they have due.

Driving to jump someone’s car in the dead of winter.

Everyone always puts the big things on their list… “Remember our anniversary.” “Get that birthday present.” “Don’t forget your lunch meeting.” etc. But it’s the little gestures that you make for someone that will mean the most. Always. Every time.

My best friends are my best friends because of the little things that they did for me. It’s not necessarily how much we have in common or the big extravagant things we did, but rather the times we could vent to one another, go grab food, or other little things that solidified our friendship.

Take care of the small things. Everything else will fall into place.

Set Your Expectations

For those of you that don’t follow me on any form of social media, yesterday was 6 months since my mother lost her battle with cancer. I’ve spent that time being the strong one for my dad, moving home (and then into another place in town), changing jobs, and a bunch of other stuff.

I decided earlier in the week that I was going to bypass the VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) topic for yesterday (which was “show us your baby pictures”), and instead do a tribute to my mother. It seemed like the right thing to do. But as the day grew closer and closer, I realized that I was anxious, nervous, and kinda scared about sitting down and recording.

By Thursday, I had convinced myself “yep, Sunday is going to suck”. I started warning people about my impending grumpiness. I didn’t make any plans, specifically so I could just sit at home and mope my myself.

Saturday night, a friend of mine gave me a push. She doesn’t know me all that well, but I know she could sense my hesitation about recording it. There was no demanding or coercing, but more of a “hey, go do this now while you think you can”.

And I did. And it turned out pretty well. And it lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. Sunday actually turned out to be a pretty good day, full of far more smiles than I expected.

I took one very important thing away from this… I need to stop setting low expectations for things. “I’m going to be grumpy and sad today, because of reasons.”, “Today is going to be so boring at work.” and so on. I need to reach higher and make this a life worth living.

p.s. Thank you to everyone for the kind words on the video yesterday, and for all the support over the past few months. And sorry if I’ve been a grump. Mom never would’ve wanted that out of me or my dad. So I’m doing my best to fix it.

5 Months

We have 5 months until the end of the calendar year. How the heck did this happen?

To say that this year has gone by in a blur would be a huge understatement. With my mom getting cancer/passing away, I’m not sure where the first quarter of this year went. Then apparently I’ve been at my new job for 4 months now. No clue where that time went either. Actually, it’s hard to grasp where all my time has gone since I graduated last May. Yeesh.

Anyway, I have a HUGE list of things that I still want to accomplish between now and the end of the year. In no particular order, other than what comes to mind first…

  • Successfully complete VEDA
  • Accomplish my goal of reading 25 books this year. If I keep trying to read all the Game of Thrones books, it may not happen… but they’re SO GOOD!
  • Record my 2nd EP. Song ideas are there. New gear will be in place Monday. I have no excuse.
  • Don’t screw up my very custom fantasy football league I’m the commissioner of. Once the draft is over, I think I’ll be ok. (D&D for sports nerds)
  • Get back in the f***** gym. Get on the bike or the treadmill or grab some weights. Someone yell at me.

There’s some other minor things, but those 5 top it. I just feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day. Womp womp… first world problems, right?

VEDA 2013

So those of you that have known me for a while might remember that I participated in something called VEDA, or Vlog Every Day in August, for the last two years. You MIGHT not remember, simply because I didn’t make it very far… I think I got a week into it one year and 11 days the 2nd.

Anyway, I’m going to be giving it a shot again this year. Fun people + fun topics + willingly making a fool out of myself on video? Yeah, I’m all about that. (I totally twerked in my first video. Whoops.) Plus, I am visiting a couple of VEDA participants in a couple weeks in Chicago, and figured I should get in on the fun again.

You’ll be able to follow all the fun over on my YouTube page. And most of the people commenting will be participants themselves, so you can always go watch their videos as well.

Here’s to a great month.

Start

You have to start somewhere. Sometime.

Only you know what it is you want.

Find your end goal. Work your way back step-by-step. What needs to be done in order to get from where you are to where you want to be?

Money? Get a job. Knowledge? Find a resource. Motivation? Tell a friend that will challenge you and keep you honest.

Honest. That’s the best thing. Be honest. With your friends, with yourself, with your time. “I can do it tomorrow…” but you won’t. And you know it.

The only person holding you back from what you want is you.

Ladies and gentlemen… start your engines.

Adulthood

I think people (myself included sometimes) view “adulthood” wrong.

Being an adult doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It doesn’t mean that you stay in every night, go to bed at 9pm, work the typical office job, and nothing else. It CAN, and for a lot of people, it DOES, but it doesn’t have to.

Being an adult means that you’ve learned how to say “no” to things. Not to be a fuddy duddy or whatever, but instead to allow you to say “yes” to other things. Things that matter more. Or cost less money (which, as we age, we discover matters more).

I say “no” to staying up until 2am so I can say “yes” to not being a zombie at my day job. Because I like paychecks. And the cute girl in the office shows up at 8am sharp, so I like to get to work around then anyway.

I say “no” to going out to eat all the time so I can say “yes” to spending money on musical gear. Except for burritos… if you ask me to go get a burrito for you, I’ll probably yell at you to hurry up.

I say “no” to getting a kitten so I can say “yes” to all sorts of things. Going out. Buying nice things. Not ticking off my landlord. I mean, I love kittens, but that’s just not something I need to get right now.

Say “no” now so you can say “yes” later. Just don’t be afraid of actually saying “yes” when the time comes.

Beginning Anew

Yet again, another claim of “oh I’ll start blogging again!” Yet another opportunity to see if I’ll actually follow through…

Figured I’d recap what has taken place since the last time that I actually blogged, nearly 4 months ago. Here goes…

The new job (.NET programmer for a company that provides insurance and other services to credit unions and credit union customers) is going ok. I just went through 2.5 weeks of being the primary support for a product line, and only had 1 issue that was easily fixed. Not sure how satisfied I am, but the job is improving every day and the pay is great, so I can’t really complain.

Working out hasn’t gone well. I pulled my hamstring pretty bad during the 2nd week of my workout program (it’s freakin’ INTENSE), and then went out of town for a couple weeks for work, so that was pretty much the end of it. Tried to start it back up again, and just can’t get into it. By the time work is over I have minimal desire to hit the gym or run or whatever. Need to fix that.

Clearly I’m not blogging more. Sorry. :(

More reading… um… I’m about 2/3 of the way through the 2nd Game of Thrones. Getting back into reading more, though. I need to finish this book and polish off 20 more books in 5 months (1 book/week) in order to meet my yearly goal. Definitely doable.

Music making is going, albeit slowly. Once I moved, I made some huge overhauls to my gear, and all the pieces aren’t here yet. I’ve got plenty of ideas, though… 2 of the 5 songs are about 50% done (structure complete, but parts not recorded), and a 3rd is pretty well fleshed out. 5 or 6 songs will be on this one.

I figured it was high time to write again. In about a month, I’ll be visiting Chicago in order to meet Joey, Kitty, Rachel, and hopefully a couple more blogger friends I’ve made over the years. Everyone else I know is taking vacations, so I figured a weekend away would be a good idea.

I’ve also updated my 2013 goalsfinished the EP, doing ok on the recipes, and miserably failing on the rest of them. Whoops.

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