Smarter Investment Choices

I introduced my youngest son to the magic that is a Tool concert last night.

And by magic, I mean religion. Tool definitely ranks as one of the best live shows I’ve seen, and they didn’t disappoint.

The last time I saw them was 7 years or so back, at the E-center in Utah. On that occasion, I didn’t wear ear protection, and my ears rang for a week. Last night I wore earplugs.

Unfortunately, I’ve instilled in my son the idea that life is about transactions. Everything you do has a price, and you need to weigh up whether the time, money, potential damage, etc. is worth it.

I guess he wanted the full experience last night and left his earplugs in his pocket.

I don’t think last night was as loud as the previous concert, and he’s not regretting his decision this morning.

I too am not regretting my decision.

I think we both made good investments!

Stockpiling Emotion

Continuing with the book I’m listening too. This morning, Brene was talking about unhealthy ways of dealing with emotion. Number 4 is stockpiling. You take the negative emotions, and you push them down. Deep, deep, deep down, and you don’t let them come out.

At some point your body says, either you quick stockpiling, or I’m going to shut you down… “And your body always wins!”

Your body reacts with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other symptoms.

Damn!

So, as I continue my daily journal writing habit, I’m going to be adding a daily check-in on my emotional state, and I’m going to adopt Meg Ryan’s advice from French Kiss.

“Express! Don’t Repress”

Trust is Built in Small Moments

I’ve been listening to a couple of books recently on Audible. One of them is Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.

Currently, in my journey, she’s discussing feedback, and our tendency to shine the spotlight on others, especially in areas where we need some work.

The phrase which really caught my attention this morning, was “Trust is built in small moments”. She talked about setting personal boundaries and building up trust in yourself.

It dove-tailed well with a quote I read yesterday by Rob Reiner.

“Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix, but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. And that’s a lot. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect.”

If It’s Good, Just Say It

Some people said some really nice things to me over the past weekend. On Saturday, someone I’d just met said they thought it was rather handsome. It was a little weird and awkward, but I really appreciated it.

Yesterday I got to spend some time with my uncle.

If you’ve followed my blog in the past, you know that I have a very complicated relationship with my parents. I have the utmost respect for my parents and how they’ve raised me, but unfortunately, their religious views and how they apply them to our relationship have created a situation where it’s better that we don’t talk.

I’ve remarked in the past, and I did yesterday, that at the top of my list of wishes is a call from my dad saying… Hey! Wanna grab a beer and talk about life? And my uncle remarked that I’d probably settle for a milkshake or something, and he’s right.

But that wasn’t what really made the impact yesterday.

Last night over dinner, he told me how proud of me he thought my dad would be and listed a couple of reasons why.

I think he’s probably right, and as I’ve been thinking about it since, and kinda tearing up now… I’m hoping to learn to see myself the way my uncle sees me.

We’re not as kind to ourselves as we should be, and we judge ourselves harsher than almost anyone else.

And for that reason, it’s good to have outside voices that build us up and help to reframe our view of ourselves in a positive light.

So, if you catch someone doing something good, or notice something good, let them know you’ve seen it. You’ll have more impact than you could possibly imagine.

Grappling with Relationships

In my spare time, I train as a martial artist. My art of choice is Tang Soo Do, but along the way, I’ve dabbled in various other arts including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which involves grappling and submission techniques.

BJJ – the art of folding clothes while the other person is still in them.

There are lots of things that can be said about Jiu-Jitsu, but I’ve found it to be the perfect metaphor for relationships, especially from the perspective of training.

If you’re training with an equal partner, there will be times you push and they’ll pull, and sometimes they’ll push and you pull. There is a flow and a pattern to it, and when done properly you help each other improve.

When one of you stops pushing or pulling, you lose that flow.

And no-one gets better.

On Solving Problems

Most of the effort that you put into solving problems is identifying them precisely and thoroughly.

You can start solving problems before you fully understand them, but chances are, you’re going to run into additional problems along the way, or end up solving things that don’t need to be solved.

Worst case, you end up making the problem worse.

Side Hustle Ideas

One of my goals this week is to brainstorm some potential side hustle ideas. I’ve built up quite a collection of domain names over the past decade, and one of the thoughts I’ve had is to build one of those out into a full application.

I’ve got some complex web applications that I’d like to build out with microservices. I’ve got a simple idea for an application, that I could sell through the app store for 99c or something, and I have an idea for a community.

The community is the idea that I’m most excited about. It’s a take on the FML (Fuck my life) terms and flips it for personal responsibility. The idea is FML (Fixing my life), and it would be a community with ideas for recovering from burnout, seeking better relationships, and all the things I struggle with and I figure I’m not alone in feeling.

There are similar communities out there, and they charge exorbitant amounts of money to participate. Honestly, if there was one that charged, $9.99 a month, or an annual $100 fee for some real value, I might jump on it, or… I could build it myself.

Front Loading With Protein

I’ve been on and off again with the Ketogenic Diet for the past couple of years. If I can get into deep ketosis, my life seems to go better and I feel better.

But, given my hectic schedule and limited time for meal prep, it’s not always the easiest diet to maintain, and my caloric intake is usually far below what it should be.

Recently I tried a Whole30. I’m in the midst of it right now, and honestly, I’m feeling good. I have developed a rather unhealthy relationship with Lara Bars, but aside from that 🙂

When I’m doing Keto, I get a lot of shit from my vegan daughters. I’ve reduced my bacon intake, which is probably good for all kinds of things, but they’re still not OK with it.

I was talking to my massage therapist 2 days ago, and she’s not so keen on the Ketogenic diet either. I value her opinion a great deal more, because she’s highly educated, and absorbs information like me. She was suggesting that recent research pointed to the benefits of front-loading the day with protein.

I’m considering adopting a weekly meal prep plan, wherein I spent an hour or two on Sunday preparing breakfast burritos and then using them to kick start my days during the week.

Burrito, cheese, scrambled eggs, brown rice, black and pinto beans, cilantro and may a little bacon and/or sausage. Toss them in the fridge and grab one in the morning when I head off to work.

Why I Love Mushrooms

I’ve been a fan of different kinds of mushrooms for a while.

I have a mix of mushrooms that I consume daily to boost my energy, mood, and boost my immune system. Cordyceps, Lionsmane, Reishi, Maitake, and Chaga.

They’re nice to take anyway, but with the burn-out and depression of the past couple of years, they’ve been very helpful.

I tried some other mushrooms this weekend. It turned into one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date, and may well turn out to be a critical pivot point.

The taste wasn’t much to write home about, in fact, I swallowed most of the concoction without tasting it, courtesy of some cool water. It took about 15 minutes to kick in, and… Wow!

I’ve been seeing a therapist in a couple of different capacities over the past 2 years as well. Honestly, it’s helped a little, but not as much as I hoped.

4 or 5 hours on Saturday night, and I experienced more benefit to my mental and emotional wellbeing than I had, considering the totality of the last 2 years.

I’m on a 5-day streak of feeling really good right now!

Experimental Best Practices

As I review the past week, I’m realizing I’m in a good place. I’ve had good days in the past year or 2, but they’ve been very much singular, and few and far between.

When you conduct experiments on your lifestyle, to see if they will bring more joy and accomplishment to your life, it’s important to remember to run 1 experiment at a time, so you can tell what works.

I’ve been trying a couple of new things, and they worked, but now I don’t know if one worked, or they all worked, or 2 together worked and the other 3 didn’t.

Here’s a sampling of some of what I’ve tried and how long I’ve been trying it:

  • Daily supplementation with 5-HTP to enhance serotonin production – 2 weeks
  • Daily journaling, with a focus on gratitude and ideas which emerged during the day. I’ve been thinking about capturing synchronistic clues! – 2 weeks
  • No caffeine – 3 weeks
  • No alcohol – 2 months
  • Whole30 eating plan – 3 weeks
  • Daily planning sessions – 2 weeks
  • 10 minute of meditation – 2 weeks
  • Daily relationship check-in with my partner – 2 weeks

My guess is that the 5-HTP and the meditation are the 2 most potent factors, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point.

I’ve also been trying to get back into running, with various states of success, and… I have an experiment coming up this weekend, which I’m particularly excited about.