The best time to start getting into shape, learning to play the guitar, starting a meditation practice, quitting smoking was 10 years ago. The next best time now is right now.
Yes sure, I started running back in 2016 and just ran a half marathon and didn’t die. But you know what I didn’t keep doing from way back in 2016? Push-ups.
In my flurry of “I’m gonna eat better, and start running” excitement, I also downloaded one of those “do a 100 push ups a day” apps. I stuck with it for a few weeks, then… just sorta stopped. If I would have kept with it, for over two years?! Damn, my upper body would be stoked right now.
But I didn’t love doing push ups, I loved running in the woods. So, I ran.
These days I want to run farther, and a little bit faster. And allllll the advice I see out there is… doing strength training (that includes push-ups).
I think with any of this stuff, overlooking the temporary pain in the now to get the completely unknown thing in the future. Somehow I figured if I keep running then someday I’ll be able to run farther. Right now, mentally, I can’t put together that equation; if I do a few push ups today, a few years from now I’ll have more upper body strength which will help me run better.
Yoga has always intrigued me, but even as a white man with a bit of a belly I still feel like I don’t fit the proper look. I know I’m wrong, of course, because as a white dude I “belong” everywhere. But damn, these wonderful humans are inspiring and powerful and wonderful. (via, Kottke)
Over the past few months I’ve done my best to use my time better. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks, “where did the time go?” at the end of the day. And since I work from home, it’s easy for Parkinson’s Law to kick in and then I find myself working at 9pm.
I started using Pomodone App, which syncs with my tasks from Todoist. I then focus on one task at a time, in 5 / 15 / 20 minute bursts. Then when I’m wasting time scrolling through websites when I should be working, Pomodone alerts me. I really like that.
Then I installed the new iOS 12 and started using the Screen Time app. GULP. I averaged 2 hours and 43 minutes of screen time this week. Almost three hour a day, and most of it social media. That’s 21 hours a week.
That’s a lot of billable hours, or reading, or hiking.
I’m still using the iPhone SE – I just like how it fits in my hand, and in my water bottle pouch when I go running. Sure, the new iPhones look amazing, and then paired with a shiny new Apple Watch? But… I think the Screen Time app will actually keep me from upgrading anytime soon.
Since I signed up for a half-marathon in October, I’ve been running a bunch more miles. I’m following a training schedule, too, so there’s some “tempo runs” and “cruise intervals” in there, terms I’ve had to look up, really. I still don’t really know if I’m doing them right.
I know they hurt, that’s for sure. They’re definitely getting me out of my comfort zone, which as “they” say, is a good thing. It’s allowed me to appreciate how short that pain can be, though. Like, running faster than I normal do for one mile is tolerable because, well, it’s a mile. And then I’ll be done (at least for three minutes), then I’ll do it again.
Like so much in life, things look easier when I can look at them as temporary. And sometimes temporary really means five years, or a decade. Technically that’s temporary.
It’s as simple as holding the door for someone. Being kind to retail workers. Eye contact.
Life is fucking hard, so being nice is almost a radical act these days.
There are fights to be had, protests to enact, rage to stir change, but if we’re always fighting, always clenching our fists, there’s no room for softness, tenderness, and kindness.
This is not a call to cower, to back down, to put our tail between our legs and submit to evil. Not a chance. That in our down moments, when we can afford to be off guard, let our defenses down, let us be kind to one another and remind ourselves why we fight in the first place.
In feeling lost at times, I’ve tried to focus on giving. Getting outside myself. Being helpful.
Does “the answer” magically show up? Nah. But your efforts helped the world, and that counts. I spent nights questioning. Shaking my fist at the universe. Eh. The universe does not care. It continues existing, a massive void of indifference.
These tactics worked for me, so your results may vary. Life is short, and trying to “figure stuff out” just felt wasteful to me anymore. Yeah, I still get sad. Lonely. Of course. But I can’t stay there. I need connections and friends and I need to give, even when I don’t think I have anything left to give.
This was hard, as not many folks put their Venmo / Cash app / PayPal link out there, but dammit they should (here’s mine: PayPal / Square Cash / Venmo).
If people want to think this is cheap, or “expecting a handout,” fuck them.
Life is short and times are tough. Sure, an artist should just “make paintings and sell them,” or a writer should just pitch more outlets and get paid that way.
But hey, maybe the artist doesn’t want to come out and say they can’t afford paint right now. Or the writer is left too exhausted after a 12 hour shift at a mind-numbing job that they have zero energy to even make a microwave pizza, let alone pitch an editor.
Don’t like when people “beg for money?” Great. Move along, mind your business, and stop talking shit.
Don’t like Patreon and Kickstarters? Great, you’re so edgy.
Instead of putting down everyone who explores various means of funding (and sometimes fucking surviving), shut your face and donate to a charity – or wait, is that somehow offensive as well?
Change the world a day at a time. Buy an album or tshirt from a band. Text someone a song you like. Don’t let social media get you down, because it’s designed that way to keep you clicking and commenting. They make $$$ from misery because “misery loves company” is fucking true.
I say “text” someone deliberately. Social media companies aren’t in the biz of sending you clicks. They wanna charge bands, labels, and small biz (big biz, too) lots of money to reach their own audience.
So while you CAN tweet about a band you like, chances are it’s only being seeing by 10% of your followers anyways. Better to start an email list (which usually have 20%+ open rates). Or text a few pals. Make a zine or a podcast and send it around.
Your world was changed years ago before the internet, right? Well, we can still do that.
I’m often asked how I just keep at things. How’d I stick with Buzzgrinder, or posting metal trivia questions since 2011? Sending out over 1,200 nerdy metal newsletters since 2012?
We all get 24 hours in a day. If I choose to spend 15 minutes scrolling through Instagram, that’s 15 minutes not doing something else.
In fact, this post was written a few days ago, but then I came back and deleted the whole thing and wrote it from scratch. Was that previous effort wasted? Nope. It was a foundation to build on, that’s it.