creating the future, accepting the past

Assessing the Present Situation

I reside in Gulfport, Mississippi. This is where I am stationed and where I have chosen to create my life. I have very few friends, but I have made several acquaintances through my work and hobbies. I have recently become single. I separated from Caroline before the middle of last month, and I do not intend to return to that relationship. I feel lonely at times – I want to search for love. I want to go on hinge, or connect on instagram. I want it to be reciprocated because I am struggling to be alone. I am too connected with the superficial image of relationship and companionship that I eye girls like Sammie and Jess as potential partners, but they are false gods. Basing my desires on a faulty foundation – chasing people, things, way out of my reach, has left me feeling empty, unsuccessful, unlovable.

In times of difficulty, boredom, or loneliness. I turn to porn. I do not write as much as I could. I barely read, though I buy books more frequently than in the past, and I do not study. Porn is a way to fill those empty moments, but the most vulgar way to cultivate the inner spirit. I hate myself for watching it, and I feel scatterbrained, unfocused, tired, and weak after. I must eliminate this vicious habit before it completely destroys me.

I am living in a mess – my digital life is unorganized. I don’t have a clear reading plan, I pick up a book, read a page or a paragraph, and then I switch to another book. I scroll endlessly on instagram, then facebook, then twitter, then strava, then I repeat the process. I realize that those hours add up to between a sixth and a quarter of my life – and in the end, is that something that I would be proud of. I do not feel that I am creating a future – I am slowly, deliberately consuming myself.

I wake up and I don’t floss or make my bed anymore. Sometimes I do, but I lived with an enormous amount of discipline and now it seems that I don’t. But what I lack more is self-respect than discipline.

Yesterday was a difficult day. I don’t like to be around people unless it is conducting business or doing work. Except for the group bike ride that I went on yesterday and the occasions when we play basketball. Maybe the better way to say it is I enjoy people’s company only when their company involves a primary activity that I enjoy. I enjoy basketball first, and people playing basketball secondary.

Accepting the past

Last night I received a text from Diana. I responded to her and the conversation shifted toward why I have such aggression or animosity towards her. It’s simple, there are things that she did in the past that made me feel so unworthy. She slept with one of my best friends. Lied on countless occasions, and I wonder what do you expect from me now. I feel that way about Caroline, in the end, things happened in such a way that I was never able to recover and see and love these women in the same way. I became disillusioned, and now I understand. I do not need to block them. I don’t. But I need to be very clear about where they stand in the hierarchy of important people in my life. At the very bottom. Because I no longer care to understand the past, I no longer try to make sense of it or justify it and while I fully acknowledge that this may not be a representation of who they are as people, I do recognize it as an accurate depiction of how they were in relationship to myself.

Doubtless, I am no saint. But I am also not texting anybody asking for forgiveness or for them to explain why they have such animosity. Frankly, I do not care. But the essence of this piece is to assess the present situation, and while I do not care, the wounds are still fresh.

The wounds remain fresh because they began when I was a 13-year-old kid who fell for Amanda. At 13, I saw a boy slap her butt in front of me in my middle school classes. I didn’t say anything, but it hurt me, and then she left me to date my best friend at the time.

In my next relationship, I fell for a girl named Florangel. But I remember seeing her get carried by a boy in my school hallways, and then she also flirted with a kid that I never knew she would go on to date right after we broke up.

The situation repeated itself. Public humiliation followed public humiliation – Natasha and Jordan who started their relationship a night at a party the day after we kissed. I didn’t understand why she chose him over me. But in that same span at Colgate, I found messages on Diana’s phone asking Chris to go cuddle with her. He sat across from at the dining hall to tell me he fucked her. Kevyn Lee called me to tell me she slept with a boy named Joshua from my swim team. And then the things that happened with Caroline – when she called me by another man’s name, she gave her phone number to another guy while I was with her, and well… things like this are hard to move forward from. The wounds have not healed, and now I need to let them.

Jumping into a relationship would be a huge mistake. Barring that I am afflicted by some fatal flaw that leads me to these relationships, I have little else to provide as an explanation. Things have just not worked, but I have to accept my past and not strive to delete it or block it.

I want to be very clear – do not call me or text me or connect in any way if you have very clearly offended me. For it is my right to tell you to leave me the fuck alone.

Creating the future

The future – what I want it to look like – has to be more organized and compassionate. I need to clearly communicate my expectations on the way I want to be treated. I need to not allow tolerance for disrespect. By learning to love and stand up for me, I am learning to love and stand up for others. For I am no longer defenseless and have no say in what I allow to take place in my life. I have a say. Right now I have the brush in my hand, and this is my canvas.

I want to choose love, free from coercion, free from doubt, free from the hands of others. I want to choose a life without porn – without distraction. In a positive framework, I want to choose a life of focus and distinguished effort in the pursuit of my goals.

In fitness, I want to be faster on my feet, and on the bike, I want to be faster in the water and continue to grow athletically. I want to consume a wholesome diet filled with vegetables, fruit,

In learning, I want to read one book per week. I don’t want to break this habit ever again. Come rain or sunshine, I will read one book each week. I will become a subject matter expert at work. I will cultivate uncommon discipline, and I will treat everyone with respect. First and foremost, I will never doubt my ability to create a valuable product.

In spirituality, I will seek to understand my purpose. I will learn and study my belief systems and question how they have been cultivated and with what purpose in mind. When I feel empty, I will avoid filling the void with basketball scores, tv shows, or internet videos/porn. I will seek to find those answers in contemplation with my own person.

There is more to life than my past. There is a future that I must choose and create.

In April, my intentions are:

  • Read 1 book every week (5 books in April)
  • Run the 5K on April 15 in under 20 minutes.
  • Run the 1.5 mile run for my PFA in under 9 minutes.
  • Write in my blog 3 times per week.
  • Go on cycling group rides every Thursday at Woolmarket.
  • Organize my documents in a manner that makes sense
  • Complete my first murder board on April 18. (Study every day until then)
  • Cook and prepare my meals at home. Eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Stay away from porn/instagram/hinge and using my phone in general.
  • write, write, write
  • run, run, run,
  • stretch
  • Continue to draw and enforce boundaries.

time management and early rising

I have started waking up at 0400 most days. Being up this early grants me several privileges, but the most important is that I have the time to get in a full work out before my work begins. The problem with this early start is that it requires an earlier bed time, and I am usually delaying my bed time until I pass out, exhausted, and drop into a deep slumber.

I haven’t yet figured out this trick. Time management is at the essence of all of this, and its usually what I struggle with the most. In college, we discussed that the biggest leap in efficiency comes from when you switch over from task management to time management. Rather than work until you’re done with a task, you should try to work for a certain amount of time on a task. Whether that satisfies completion of the task is irrelevent.

I’ve noticed this mental attachment in all areas of my life. I feel it even hurts my self-confidence when I set a goal to row 200 calories and I only complete 190 calories. But if instead I row for 15 minutes, that can be a consistent amount of time, allowing time for other tasks, and it won’t eat up all of my time. Aside from that, I set specific amounts of pages I want to read. If instead, I block off time for reading, then I can just do what needs to be done in that amount of time and I don’t need to worry about the rest.

So tasks won’t drag on, and I can get to bed on time. I’ll need to make some adjustments.

december, december, we’re making it through

I read it in Naval’s text, “Impatience with actions, patience with results.” Life has a natural lag in results. You may not see the consequences of your decisions until much after you have made your choices. This has been incredibly frustrating for me, as I have struggled to maintain simple habits such as flossing every night, running consistently and building up mileage with time, and even writing in this blog. When your habits are not sharp, these small things can seem like insurmountable obstacles. Simply getting up to go floss after a long day of working, running around, and completing errands, can seem like a chore.

There is another quote that I have learned from reading books like these. “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our preparation.” That one was by David Goggins. Again, our preparation, more than anything, will dictate our results. Our expectations are hopes and dreams, but our preparation is the daily rituals. Whether this is packing the clothes for work the night before, or ensuring you have a sound nighttime routine, these small things are as important to meeting your fitness goals as actually running that extra mile or adding an extra plate to the bar.

Today, I witnessed results, both good and bad. All of my studying and review efforts allowed me to pass my written examination for a Special Qualification for work, but all of my sleep deprivation led me to crash as soon as I returned home. This made it harder for me to complete my other habits because my sleep schedule was thrown off. But it’s all a process, and the good often comes paired with the bad. The key to this will be to make the proper adjustments and keep adding good things to my routines while subtracting/eliminating harmful things.

Onto books, and reading. I keep saying that I was an avid reader before. But perhaps I still am. I think that identifying to a past result can be detrimental to current goals. The people who say, “I used to run 3-4 miles per day.” Are focused on a past version of themselves and implicitly stating that they cannot meet those requirements anymore. Instead, I am an avid reader slightly out of practice. My arrows are sharp, but my accuracy has been off a bit.

Nevertheless, I will continue to read. Perhaps I will drop to 5 pages per day. 15 seems too much. Once I get some momentum with this habit, I will surely go up.

And here is an update on my December progress:

In December, I plan to move toward:

  • Finishing reading The Almanack of Naval Ravikant. (Complete)
  • Finishing reading Jay Shetty’s How To Think Like A Monk. (25% Complete)
  • Complete listening to David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me Audiobook. (Complete)
  • Finish listening to the Exhalations Audiobook. (Not started. Currently listening to Atomic Habits by James Clear)
  • Writing a blog entry daily, whether its a poem, my thoughts, or some intentions such as these. (9/13 – I missed 4 days of blogging.)
  • Writing daily in my journal, a sort of meditation, but when done consistently it is very valuable for my wellbeing. (9/13 days completed.)
  • 150 squats 5 days a week. (6/13 days completed. More like 3 days a week at this point.
  • Run at least 10 km weekly. No more than 5 days of running. (Completed.)
  • Wash the dishes every night. (Good so far!)
  • Brush and floss every night. (5/13 days. Needs Improvement.)
  • Make my bed in the mornings. (13/13 days!)

In December, I plan to move away from:

  • Going to bed past midnight. (This is getting worse)
  • Skipping work outs. (I have missed 2 work outs)
  • Spending over 5 hours per day on my phone screen time. (This is improving)
  • Netflix – for the most. (improving)
  • NBA Games and Stats tracking. (way better)
  • So much Nintendo Switch. (way better)
  • Having a defeatist attitude. I can do all of these things that I am setting out to do. (so much better)
  • Putting off reading. (still a thing – dropping down to 5 pages per day)
  • Not folding laundry immediately after washing. (so much better)

Here is to continued positivity, and a strong conclusion to the year. Usually, these lists are so much more condensed. But I have a lot of bad habits that need changing, and it helps to lay them all out.

Dear September

Dear September,

Thank you for granting me two beautiful days so far. After a brutal August where I experienced emotional lows, I feel balanced, renewed, ready to begin to pick up where I left off in the journey towards happyness. 

The recipe is very simple, and it only gets complicated a little bit when I try to do more and balance too much. But here it is, for reference. 

Happyness = read + swim + write

That’s the internal happyness criteria. How much of each depends entirely on me, but I like how I have allowed myself the fluidity to dance with each parameter. Some days I’ll read more. Some days I’ll have a lot to communicate through my writing. If I could swim every day, I would. So I’ll work to craft a life where that’s possible. 

How else will I be seeking to express myself in the next 28 days? Financially, I’d like to be more mindful of my spending. Today, I felt an urge to order food from Dairy Queen. A craving for sugar zapped my attention, and I felt I needed to act on that need. Thankfully, I didn’t. I saved my money, and I ate food that I had already purchased. So I had my first zero-spend day in a long time. A long string of those will lead me to the path away from negative-income months. 

Then there is the habit of tea. My first cup in the morning made me feel relaxed, at ease. The yogi green tea antioxidant with a touch of caffeine helped to keep me focused on the day’s tasks. 

This month I am committed to learning about statistics and readin a book on mental health issues. It’s called Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. It’s allowing me to learn about the trauma that my parents may have endured in their life, but also about some of the emotional responses I’ve developed as a mirror of their behavior. Needless to say, this can be traumatic. But I am grateful for the opportunity to introspect and reflect so that I can maybe one day be more happy. A happy person. 

I’ve felt better being alone, and maybe changing to this new room was a good thing. I feel that it served as a reminder that no situation is changeless, and we should keep that in mind. A movie I watched this weekend had a very powerful message. Just float. A metaphor about swimming too! 

How I struggled so much to float when I swam. I feel I’ve never let myself fully trust the water. I love the water, I love being with it, but I realize it’s ultimate power over me and I am cautious still. Will I let myself go, trusting it to carry me?

Who knows… I am looking forward to you September. 

Ledimir

july intentions

Something needs to change… July intentions

It’s taken me a while, but this weekend I am going to set my intentions not only for July, but for the rest of 2021. There are certain things that I want to accomplish, especially while in home port, but I will not accomplish anything if I can’t focus and prioritize those ambitions. Everything needs to be put into writing.

Officially, I want to be reading way more than I am browsing. I haven’t read a full book in a while, and I am dabbling in like 6-7 books at a time right now. I need to focus in on one book only. Then continue in that manner. That means that I also need to schedule time for reading. That which does not get scheduled, does not get done. 

Goal 1: Read more books

Here is how I feel about the gym, right now. I am really good at Calisthenics and I am really good at swimming. But why not get better and spend less time. I am failing at showing up to the pool 9 times a week, but I can be consistent with 4 intense morning sessions on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. My ultimate goal is to break the record in the 100 breast, which is 1:16. So I have to swim at least a 1:15.

Goal 2: Swim 4 times per week, and break the 100 Breaststroke Record.

I want to continue writing in this blog as well. Interestingly, today will mark a 30 day streak of blog posts. I have written some beautiful poems, interesting dialogues, and introspective thoughts that challenge my ego and selfish responses. This is a low maintenance habit, but one that yields so much. I want to show up every day, and I want to write a new post. 

Goal 3: Write. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes my mind is racing, and I know that I can benefit from perhaps a morning meditation session. But how do I not fall asleep? Meditation is one of those things that I say I will do, but I never make time for it or get to it. I am always putting it off. Like reading too, and so I never finish books, and I never really meditate. Actually, this won’t be a goal. And neither will lifting heavy weights. Instead, I will continue to hone my skills in calisthenics at most 3 to 4 times per week. I will get in, do the work, and leave. I won’t linger. Because aside from my personal goals, I have professional goals that I need to make strides on. 

Goal 4: Calisthenics 3-4 times per week.

In the coming month, I will track my progress with these goals. I will pay attention to reading books, even if they are re-reads. I will swim during those 4 morning sessions. I will write in my journal and on this blog. I will practice calisthenics following Eric’s program. 

We’ll see what happens next.

w25 re-cap

Earlier this month, I set my monthly intentions for the month of June, see below. Today, I’d like to take some time to thoughtfully reflect on my progress thus far with my goals.

I’ll be moving away fromI’ll be moving towards
• Netflix, HBOMax, basketball Scores
• running and basketball
• sugar, candy, soda, juice, dairy
• stupid purchases, supermarket sushi, take-out meals
• reading, journaling, meditating, blogging
• swimming, stretching, calisthenics
• water, and fruits and berries
• saving what I earn, paying off cc debt

Giving Up the Internet and Explore Mindfulness

Grade: B-. 

YouTube is blocked, but Netflix remains a threat. I will add Netflix to the list of restricted sites so that I can shift away from the screen and move more towards books, writing, and meditation. I am still following basketball scores, but I am not watching the basketball highlights. This effectively saves about 20-30 minutes per day, or 3.5 hours per week. 

I ended my reading streak on Saturday. However, I have written and published a post 18-days in a row now. I am setting aside 45 minutes each day toward writing, and 15 minutes each day toward meditation. These are going to be good habits to incorporate daily. When I felt anxious today, I thought about meditating, but I never made time for it. Instead, my room is a mess, I got very little done, and I watched way too much Netflix. 

Recommended Action(s): 

  • Add Netflix to list of restricted sites.
  • Add meditation and writing to the calendar. 

Put A Stop to Running and Basketball and Swim More

Grade: C-.

I played basketball for far too long this week, and I ended up injuring myself. I found it hard to get out of bed on Saturday and Sunday, and then I was able to do less than I wanted to do this weekend. In short, I was very unproductive. I have not run in a long time, which I am happy about. 

This week, I foam-rolled and stretched multiple times. I also swam multiple times, and I performed the three lifts in my program; the bench press, the squat, and the deadlift. 

I showed up more than the last week, but I was still not consistent. 

Recommended Action(s): 

  • Add Swimming to the Productive App and Calendar to track consistency. 

Avoid Sugar, Candy, Juice, Soda, Dairy (SCJSD) and Intake Water, Fruits, and Berries (WFB)

Grade: A. 

I went to the market this weekend, and I did not buy any SCJSD. I felt tempted to buy yogurt (my favorite dairy item), but I did not. I also did not buy ice cream. Instead, I bought two containers of blackberries and a container of raspberries. I bought 5 avocados, and my own ingredients for my special salad recipe. 

Water has been my friend. I am hesitant to add water-drinking to the habits that I am tracking because it might make things too stressful for me. I am starting out slow and going at my own pace, but for now I am drinking enough fluids.

Stop Wasting Money/Time, Start Building the Future

Grade: C. 

I did a lot of nothing this weekend. I didn’t make progress on my motivational statement after delaying attending to it throughout the week for lack of time. I wasted the one thing I won’t get back, my time. I purchased a pair of Vivo barefoot lifting shoes which I probably could have done without, but I have already experienced so many feet injuries in the past 2 years that I am hell-bent on not skimping on footwear. Other than that, I haven’t really spent much money, but I have wasted a lot of time. 

Recommended Action(s): 

  • Use your Calendar more. Plan a full day of activities so that you don’t waste your time and find yourself behind with other things.  

Weekly Performance: B-.

This week, I want to focus on swimming and writing. I will track the habit using the productive app, and I will build the rest of my schedule around swimming. Other than that, I will aim for another week of daily blogging.

w24 re-cap

Mid-month check in

Earlier this month, I set my monthly intentions for the month of June, see below. Today, I’d like to take some time to thoughtfully reflect on my progress thus far with my goals.

I’ll be moving away fromI’ll be moving towards
• Netflix, HBOMax, basketball Scores
• running and basketball
• sugar, candy, soda, juice, dairy
• stupid purchases, supermarket sushi, take-out meals
• reading, journaling, meditating, blogging
• swimming, stretching, calisthenics
• water, and fruits and berries
• saving what I earn, paying off cc debt

The Systems

Grade: C-. 

They’re not always working. I have some work to do to limit my exposure to those sites and minimize my time on Netflix, Youtube and following the basketball scores. When I have unaccounted time, I typically fill it with basketball highlights and interviews on Youtube. I need to block these sites on Safari, but curiously it blocks me from Skype as well when I turn the parental controls so I end up having to shift on and off of it because I need Skype for my REV call on Tuesdays.

While it wasn’t featured on this list, I did eliminate social media (instagram, facebook, strava). This has been a big step for me, and so far I think I like this decision. I am becoming comfortable with it.

Running and Basketball

Grade: C+.

I have been avoiding running, but I haven’t avoided basketball. Today, a particularly rough day for me mentally, I needed to go and shoot the ball around. I feel like it’s the closest thing to meditation, but the consequence is that I miss out on the lifting, or the swimming, or the calisthenics. Tomorrow morning, I’ll try something new. A morning workout at the gym at 0500. I added it to my calendar (I have the google calendar app now). 

Sugar, Candy, Juice, Soda, Dairy

Grade: F. 

Slipped up on all of these. Frosted Flakes cereal with evaporated milk, Whataburger Bacon Cheese Burger and Large Coca Cola Drink, Lot’s of Cheese Sticks, Juice at the galley, Pop Tarts. All in one week. Making too many exceptions to my diet, and I’ve felt my mood shift toward the negative spectrum. Yogurt too, which wasn’t good for me. A positive note. I ate a lentil soup for dinner, and I have been including mushrooms in my salads. This cleaner food is exactly what I need more of. 

Wasting money, wasting time, waste, waste, waste

Grade: C. 

The What-A-Burger purchase was a stress-meal that I didn’t need. I need to surround myself with people with healthy habits, and continue to build on my own strengths. I bought sushi at the market, not the best purchase, expensive and not very nutritional. On the whole, I have been managing my money a little bit better and my credit card debt is down to $400 so I can eliminate that within the next pay period.

Reading, Journaling, Meditating, Blogging

Grade: B+.

I have been having a really hard time emotionally. But I am able to make time to read, journal, and blog most days. With blogging, I have been extremely consistent. I’m at like a 12 day streak, which I can’t say I have ever done. I have also been reading, sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 15. But I am intentional about this. On the weekends, where I should have more time to read and meditate, I stress out and waste the time. I don’t know how I will get out of this emotional hole, nor how I will handle these feelings of emptiness, but I think writing is going to play a big role in all of this. 

Swimming, Stretching, Calisthenics

Grade: C.

It’s the inconsistency. I have the ability, but I don’t seem to have the patience, the focus, or the drive to show up consistently and work on these goals. I swam maybe twice this past week. I did calisthenics around the same amount of times, and I didn’t stretch at all. When I do show up, I am happy with my efforts. But the inconsistency will prevent me from ever making real progress. I need to drop every thing else and make the gym my second home. Show up with a plan and execute.

Water, Fruits, and Berries

Grade: B+.

So many fruits! So many berries. I ate a Mango! I ate about 3 containers of blackberries, a bunch of bananas. I skimped out on water a couple of times because I was too lazy to go refill my bottle down at the laundry room. I need to get better at that. 

Savings and CC Debt

Grade: B-.

Making progress on my credit card debt. I spent very little this weekend, I think $25 at the most. I bought a book and bought a few things at Walmart (Pickles and Oatmeal). I’m getting better at not spending too much, but I need to lock in this week and keep the grocery bills low.

Weekly Performance: C+.

I know the areas for improvement. I could really benefit from the use of the calendar and the productive app to organize my days. Consistency will be the key for habits like swimming and strength training and meditation. If I can make those improvements, I’ll be solid. I need to learn how to reward myself for good efforts. 

sitting

I crave a serene quiet which I imagine to be a peaceful expression of self. To find this quiet, I must take a deep dive into my own thoughts and fears to learn to sit and do nothing.

Sitting in silence in search of calmness. A metaphor: the water in a lake becomes unsettled, creating ripples and waves. You cannot settle the waters by trying to iron out the waves with your hands. If you want the water to return to its natural, calm state, you must simply do nothing. It will settle on its own accord.

The loneliness, feeling unlovable – are moving forces that create unsettled waters. There are also distractions, most of which are found in technology, that cause me to feel unease.

I have been using sites like Netflix, NBA, and Instagram to cure boredom and loneliness for as long as I can remember. But yesterday, I decided to remove myself from social media to experience life without these distractions. Doubt appears.

Can I give all of this up? Will I be able to find peace in the quiet hours of a Gulfport night?

june, i love you

May was a very difficult month. I struggled to focus, and I was plagued by the worst plantar fasciitis ever which limited my running. I struggled to maintain a budget, but at least I had the chance to travel home to family and friends in New York City.

Usually, when a new month rolls around, I like to make an effort to build on my success. That would have led to an increase in my running mileage. Instead, this June I will focus on recovery and self-love.

Mainly, I will shift my cardio to swimming or the stationary bike. These are low-impact options that will help me maintain endurance and protect my poor, aching feet. I will also stay strong in my war on sugar – limiting the sweet tooth strictly to berries and fruits. These choices support my long-term health and energy levels! Lastly, I will carve out time for reading, meditation, and attentiveness.

In short, here are my monthly intentions.

I’ll be moving away from
I’ll be moving towards

  • Netflix, HBOMax, basketball Scores
  • running and basketball
  • sugar, candy, soda, juice, dairy
  • stupid purchases, supermarket sushi, take-out meals
  • reading, journaling, meditating, blogging
  • swimming, stretching, calisthenics
  • water, and fruits and berries
  • saving what I earn, paying off cc debt