The Chexican

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The Fitness Fraud

Since my post on plateauing on the fitness front, I’ve been in a state of complete lack of motivation. I kept on top of my weekly three 5-mile run absolute minimum, and even overshot the mark with one of them, clocking in at a total of over 7 miles. I didn’t feel any desire to push myself to my 20 mile weekly quota, and what I ran I did mostly to compensate for the horrible things I was doing to my body nutritionally. After clocking in so many miles on a regular basis and failing to see measurable progress, it all started to feel pointless. Getting in shape is something I’ve aspired to do since I was a teenager, and though I made a lot of progress in my early 20’s, it frustrates me to no end how little has happened with my weight loss blogging. Physically because I no longer have the luxury of feeling comfortable in my own body like I used to and am constantly kinesthetically aware of my excess weight, and mentally because of the personal shame of having such a long-running project yielding no progress.
Though I would think that fitness minded people would say that I’m doing well enough running and simply need to make some modifications to my eating habits (which is true), I’m also entirely convinced that it’s because I’ve lacked focus and haven’t been pushing myself enough. When I get home after putting so many miles behind me, I immediately clean up and go about my night. Between my work & sleep schedule and the daily commute, I have approximately five hours of free time, some of which is usually already taken by cooking duties and eating. My running route takes up one hour, which leaves me four hours to cook dinner, eat, handle mundane miscellaneous personal affairs, and try to get some writing done on this blog & my journal, as well as getting in some study time on the various knowledges I’m pursuing. It’s easy to let myself fall in the “too busy” trap and feel frustrated that my one hour isn’t enough, but I’m also aware that output is dependent on input. There are plenty of small windows of opportunity, like doing a set of 25 pushups immediately after getting out of bed, that I haven’t implemented, leaving me with no real reason to complain.
On top of that self-imposed mental stress, I’m now starting to find that people I’ve inspired along the way to start taking a proactive approach to fitness & running are now outpacing me. I have a coworker who’s dropped more total pounds than I have, and friend who’s training to join the military that’s made a highly impressive physical transformation. Meanwhile, I’ve been allowing myself to make the mistake of focusing on the outcome instead of the process, getting frustrated on the fact that I’m not there instead of focusing on doing the work that needs to be done and trusting that I will get there. In turn, I’m getting passed by those who tell me I’ve inspired them on their own workout endeavors, making me feel like a failure and a hypocrite, armed with all the technology and gadgets that I have at my disposal.
Having done my analysis of the problem, and under the pressure of comparison to real-life peers and the accountability mechanism of this blog, it’s time to drive all my planning towards action. As much as I hate the idea of doing it yet again (for what, the third time now?), I’m thinking of hitting reset on the day counter in terms to the overall weight-loss project. I’m attacking it with a whole new angle now, and discounting the time past will do better for me motivationally in the short-term.

Cornered

In this recent lack of updates, I’ve come to the realization just how much weight it carries in my mind. As a tech enthusiast whose primary field of study has been Communications with an emphasis in Marketing, I’m aware of the importance of having a well established online presence. However, after taking so much time to work on myself and living outside of my old life, with strictly information internet usage and minimal social media engagement, the story I had to tell changed. I became less the tech savvy internet marketer who was part of the senior leadership of startup organization that helped bring Japanese rock to American shores, and more the survivor of a prolonged identity crisis. In my earlier years, I used to use writing as a means of processing life’s happenings, a way to collect and reflect intelligently on things. I made the effort to reconnect with that process, and the decision to publish what I wrote openly on the web as well. As a long time internet user, I’ve seen the unintentional and unexpected positive ways in which sharing a story can help other people. As a self-aware internet user, I have no objection to contributing my weaknesses and shortcomings to the version of me that exists in the collective internet cloud. I feel it would be wasteful to not be honest about these things, and throw away the First Amendment privilege we have in being able to openly express ourselves for the sake of appearance, presentation, and personal branding. That may sound a bit naive in ways, but sometimes I’m just a stubborn idealist — I accept that about myself.
All that being said, I feel that in focusing on capturing the present narrative throughout so many past incohesive posts, I’ve delayed pushing it forward. There’s a lot of areas of improvement that I’ve identified for myself, but my efforts have been greatly scattered and unfocused, resulting in very little improvement. Life calls for the actualization of the idealized self I’ve been striving to embody, and I’m ready for the challenge. But I feel encumbered by the story my younger self decided to share. After having painted so thoroughly a picture of myself as a broken individual in the process of reconnecting with his true “self”, I now feel like I’ve got some imaginary mountain of writing output that I have to generate to clean up after that decision. I’ve talked about the challenges and the struggles, but not on the resolutions and the takeways. I’ve been open about my weaknesses and my fears, but I’ve neglected my strengths and my accomplishments. It was a means to help myself sort it all out, and I’ll admit it worked, but everything has it’s cost. Fighting this feeling of obligation towards my writing is the one I’m currently facing, and the ramifications it has on my professional prospects because of its representation of myself as an individual. Overcoming everything that I’ve been struggling with internally the past few years is what’s been holding back my confidence and proudly demonstrate everything that I’m truly capable of.
This past weekend, I spent all of my day Saturday doing some initial business consultation with a friend who’s aspiring to start a catering business. I set her up with a collaborative online workflow for us to work together on, initiated conversations on branding and identity, establishing and communicating a story, and procured templates by which to compile a thorough business plan, and more specifically, a marketing plan. Having engaged in work of that nature and produced positive and measurable results as well as engaging in a new and ongoing project has sparked that old fire. The fact that I spend every workday conducting a routine set of basic administrative and data entry tasks in an enclosed room instead of doing something measurable that utilizes all of my capabilities is suffocating. And at my age, beginning to border inexcusable.
Now that the heavy lifting has been completed, it’s time to bring those chapters to a close and move on. Every day now brings an feeling of great promise that goes unseized and unexplored because I’m not exercising enough focus and determination. I recognize there’s a certain irony to my current situation, feeling inhibited by my past efforts to put my issues with my personal past to rest. Yet, having spent that recent Saturday doing something impactful that I enjoy, and writing about all of this now and getting the actual narrative up to speed, I feel an immense sense of progress and an equal sense of relief. I’ve regained trust in the idea that there’s a wealth of great ideas and talent inside my head. Successive failures in life knocked that belief out of me, but not being able to perform to my true potential is starting to eat away me. Reorienting and reclaiming myself has been my struggle, overcome but not completely told. As a result, what I have to show so far is the introspective lamentations of a troubled personal past and a weight loss project that routinely stalls out.
All I’ve written, to date, traps me in a corner, the image of a self-doubting incapable wreck. Though a lot of it has to do with the personal image I’ve been addressing, a lot of it stems from a personal fear: the fear that I’m not good enough. It’s a message I received repeatedly growing up, and though I’ve made my peace with it on that front, the realist in me knows that the world is not a very friendly place. The last time I actively looked for employment, it took months to finally end up where I am now, and reading so many of the unemployment stories on Gawker, where university graduates have gone months unemployed or having to settle for minimum wage, to desire to want something better begins to feel audacious, considering that despite all of my past professional accomplishments, I have no formal certification that gives entry to higher paying jobs.
But I remember that despite all the failures, things have paid out when I’ve taken bold moves in the past. I have that sense of unyielding confidence and unshakable resilience that I felt I lost so long ago. This corner is a trapping of my own, and I’ve conquered challenges far greater in life.

Joining the Pink Party: Ditching AT&T for T-Mobile

Friday morning, I had a customer service interaction with AT&T that left me so incensed with anger that I took to Twitter, and dropped a good share of f-bombs on the matter. My cell phone carrier managed to break my zen and reduce me to a raging ass spouting expletives on the internet. Rather than leave it at it that, I find it would be more productive to tell the story behind the interaction.

AT&T BIll Jan - Feb 2014
AT&T Bill for the period in question

I started my day by processing my email inbox to zero, which i’ve been neglecting to do all week. As I went through my messages, I noticed one from AT&T notifying me that my account was past due for the amount of $136.94 for the period of January 8th through February 8th. When I looked at the bill in detail, I saw that I was being invoiced for my monthly service fee of $89.99 — $39.99 for 450 Nation Rollover Minutes, $20 for Messaging Unlimited w/ Mobile to Any Mobile Calling, and $30 for my grandfathered data unlimited plan — in addition to a $40 service reactivation fee. My issue with this lay in the fact that my mobile services weren’t in effect during that time period.
 
 
It’s here that I’ll admit that sharing a story that’s resulting from the current financial hurdles I’m finally in the last stages of squaring away is a little awkward. However, considering that that seems to be the narrative shared by the majority of the American public in this present economy , I feel no shame in writing about it; it makes the story all the more relevant. In recovering from the last round of car repairs, I had to forego having cellphone service to get a smog check and pay the registration fees to the DMV. My service was deactivated on January 10th, and wasn’t reinstated until February 7th when I paid the outstanding $183. In turn, AT&T was trying to collect payment on service it was withholding. More concisely, they were demanding I pay for nothing.
On my break at work, I called their customer support line and got in touch with a billing service representative, whose name I didn’t catch because he mumbled it so incoherently. I explained the situation, and argued that there was no sense in those charges being made. I told him I would understand if I were still on contract and that payment was going towards the subsidy on the equipment, but I’m using an unlocked iPhone 4S that I bought on launch date and have been off-contract for a good while now. I offered that I didn’t mind paying the $40 reactivation fee (which is a complete joke in itself, but that’s a different matter for another time) since it’s part of the process, but that I had to draw the line at paying for a month of something I couldn’t access. The phone rep coldly replied that those were charges that couldn’t be waived. I responded that I didn’t agree with that practice, and that they could either take the $40 reactivation fee and waive the service charges or I could ditch them for T-Mobile and refuse to pay their bill. In a bored unaffected tone he told me that it was certainly my decision to do so. We ended the call without successfully resolving the issue, and I decided I was going to make the switch. I’d been interested in jumping over to T-Mobile when they started giving out 200MB of monthly data for tablets for free regardless of whether or not you contract cellular phone service with them. They’re positioning themselves as the company you want to do business with, and their “uncarrier” initiative has certainly done it’s job with me. I’ve stayed on AT&T partly out of the convenience of having existing service and not dealing with the migration process, and partly because of memories of my best friend having terrible service through T-Mobile back in the Sidekick days.
Since the call was so brief, I decided to use the remaining time on my break to cast a line out into the Twittersphere. My inner marketing student enjoys comparing the difference between interactions conducted through traditional customer service channels and those once social media enters the picture.

Sure enough, within minutes someone on their Twitter team reached out, the complete opposite of uncaring Mr. Blow-It-Out-Your-Ass I had just spoken to on the phone. Also, note T-Mobile is so excited they can hardly spell straight.

AT&T/T-Mobile Tweets
AT&T/T-Mobile Tweet in Response

Later on in the day once I found another block of free time, I decided to see what AT&T was willing to do. I’d spent my workday so committed to the switch that I knew the relationship wasn’t salvageable, but if I could get those charges wiped and not have to deal with continuing to dispute them or have them reported against my credit, I wasn’t going to turn down the opportunity. I identified myself via DM as instructed, briefly recapped the situation at hand, then put a mental deadline of “end of business day” on their resolution effort. When I checked my phone again before the end of the work day, I had the following exchange:
AT&T DM
AT&T DM

So, their response was to ask me for details extraneous to the underlying principle that they should be more than capable of extrapolating from their own records. I tried to measure myself so as to not come off aggressively hostile off the bat, but I find unnecessary redundancies like that to be a pet peeve of mine. It’s like when I call my bank and enter my identifying information using their voice recognition and keypad entry prompts, and then have that same information immediately asked for again by the phone banker that takes my call.
I waited until the end of the day at work, and never got another response from the AT&T Twitter team. After making my way home through evening traffic and doing some preparatory research on the web, I made a trip to my local T-Mobile store. I walked in and told the sales rep that I’d gotten fed up with AT&T, and requested that he make the switch as appealing and painless as possible. I got a service fee breakdown: for the lower cost of $70 per month, $20 less than I was paying AT&T, I get unlimited everything, tethering at no extra cost, and international text & data roaming. I signed the paperwork, and we got started on trying to port my existing number with AT&T over to my new service line. Minutes later, I was given a T-Mobile SIM card, and instructed to pop it in once service with my AT&T SIM card went offline.
A couple hours after I got home, the moment arrived, and I swapped SIM cards, officially giving up my grandfathered unlimited data plan and moving off from AT&T’s service.
Homescreen: New Carrier
The Before & After

 
As I mentioned earlier, I was committed to change carriers in spite of whatever retention incentive AT&T would have came up with, and was firmly intent on doing so as a matter of principle (well, that and because they broke my zen & caused me to drop some hard expletives on the web). I was being billed for services that weren’t rendered, and AT&T had the gall to tell me that’s just the way it goes, entitled to take money for nothing. Out of all the various adjectives that I’ve thought of to describe that, the one I’ve found most fitting is Un-American. There was no sense of pride in service or relationship appreciation in my interactions with AT&T, just the usual corporate indifferent scripts. I can’t say I wouldn’t encounter the same thing with T-Mobile in those same circumstances, but I like to believe that part of the “Uncarrier” initiative includes allowing their billing service representatives to utilize logic and moral judgement rather than defaulting to rigid policies and guidelines. Even if that should still prove not to be the case, I’d rather be giving my money to the carrier giving out more value for the dollar and no-strings free data service for tablets than the one trying to charge me for not giving me service.
Six years I’ve been with AT&T, since the launch of the iPhone 3G. I upgraded every year, and wasted so much extra money juggling additional lines to get equipment subsidies that otherwise went unused. And now, all that business (though I’ve admittedly long-since broken my yearly upgrade habit) will be going to the other guy now. T-Mobile’s marketing message would say that I’ve joined “Team Magenta”. On top of sounding a bit too Twilight for my tastes, I find the disruption “uncarrier” is causing in the wireless industry to have more of a political charge. So I’m going to say that I’ve registered and joined up with the Pink Party, and I’m likely to start encouraging more people to follow suit.
TMobile Logo with Stars
Join the Pink Party

Admissions

A few confessions:

Writing

I’ve been purposely writing in an “unattractive” format — long rambling paragraphs with extremely sparing use of media — because of how much I’ve resented my recent circumstances for being my reality. I made myself write about them in order to flex the writing muscles fired up and get back in the habit, but being stuck in a repeating loop of dire financial circumstance limited my written output (and life experiences) in a corresponding fashion. It’s demoralizing to decide to start writing about yourself, only to find yourself having the same pitiful story to tell month after month. So, I’ve been making the effort to capture pieces of it for practice, but have been purposely neglecting to put any real efforts towards readability and aesthetics. Now that that narrative is finally seeing a change, I find myself thinking of great writing ideas and creative projects that I’d like to start turning into something tangible.

Smoking

In spite of all the running that I do, I’ve long-maintained a very unhealthy smoking habit. I tried curbing it in an effort to whittle it down and phase it out last year, but when the car problems started raining on me, the subsequent stress drove me head first back into the habit. My consumption rate is higher than it ever has been, and maybe it’s age but I’m starting to feel the physiological consequences more and more, and the more I align and commit myself to my goals, the more I resent myself for maintaining the habit. Self-inflicted cancer inducing guilt.

Weight Loss Updates

I haven’t been updating, due to the circumstances covered in detail in my recent post. As with my writing, the coming change in personal circumstances is going to allow for a lot more progress on this front.

Reempowered

After a week away from “life” and enjoying this year’s birthday celebrations, I return to my writing another year older and freshly inspired in all my endeavors.
In the time since my last entry, things have improved greatly. I’ve managed to knock out a good share of outstanding financial liabilities, and thankfully no new ones have cropped up to replace those settled. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer, so everything is lining up for me to actively start pushing myself back to where I was at the end of December in regard to fitness, and to keep making progress on my other personal projects.
Now that I can see the light at the end of what’s been an eight-month-long tunnel, I find myself amazed and excited at the shift in perspective that has come with it. Throughout these past months, I’ve been living a very meager life (one that I’ve captured in detail throughout previous entries). In that time, I’ve had a very mechanical and enthused perspective on life. The stresses of having to exert extreme financial restraint in order to make bill payments and other basic life necessities. When I assessed my situation throughout that time period, I always came out feeling trapped and helpless to enact any change in the matter. All I could see were all my rotating debts and circumstances binding me to my current arrangement out of necessity. I’ve been stretching an income stream that’s smaller than it should be for someone of my accomplishments and capabilities, and in the process was rendered a zombie-like drone — fulfilling the daily responsibilities, and waiting for nothing other than the start of a new day to do it all over, one step closer to a pre-spent paycheck.
It’s here that I wish I could offer up some useful tips on dealing with that particular situation, which I find myself hard pressed to come up with considering I didn’t conquer it. If I found myself back at that point in time again and had to do it all over, I would have made a stronger effort to hold to the personal affirmations I would come up with for myself. I’d think things along the lines of “I’m paying my dues in life and struggling at the outset of the journey like everyone else does” and “It’s just one of life’s tests of character, and I’m not going to be broken so easily”. I would muster up an unyielding determination and evoke the inner warrior, but only so long as needed to see it through extremely trying times. Once things got to a sufficient level of “less crappy”, I checked into complacency and lamented what wasn’t instead of continuing to focus on what is.
Over the past week, I’ve had a vastly improved take on my days. With the finish line finally coming within reach and a mini-vacation away from work spent reconnecting with friends and celebrating another birthday, I feel reinvigorated and back in control of my life. Even sitting down to write, just two weeks ago, would have felt like a resented chore. Now, it’s something that I feel an earnest desire to allocate a part of my day to. I’m going to be trained on real estate loan dislcosures at work over the coming weeks, and my studies in my downtime in programming Python are moving along well. While I know things are going to continue to stay on the “hard” side of things for the next few months, I also have so much moving through the pipelines that I expect to be in a much better situation in the not-so-distant future.
Having endured not only the financial hardship, but also the debilitating feelings that come along with it, my heart goes out to all the people out there who are struggling with finding employment in the current economic climate. I recently spent a day at work having my computer read me articles from Gawker’s unemployment story archive that made me feel lucky to have the problems I’ve been contending with. For me, my personal narrative is that of the lower-middle class born self-made man who achieves success without having been able to afford a college degree (despite my personal goal to earn one regardless of my circumstances), working whatever jobs along the way necessary to fund those goals. Simply put, I expect fiercer competition and having to work harder to compensate. Yet, for so many others out there, the narrative one of living at home with relatives, unemployed and hounded by the debts incurred by their continued education. So much time, work, and money invested, and worse off than the guy in San Diego who’s only been able to afford a couple semesters at community college. Despite the feelings of inadequacy that come from comparing my life now to how I envisioned it, the fact that I have a full-time job and don’t have mountains of student loan debt puts me in a far more advantageous position than those who’ve sacrificed so much. As a result, I feel an added pressure to pick up the pace and start meeting all of my goals. My ultimate self-plotted destination is a position in life where I’m not only doing well for myself, but am also leading projects/teams that will hopefully create a few jobs and help independent & small businesses grow.
The storm has been weathered, and now I can start to truly settle back into my life. Knowing that I’ll soon be able to afford to start partaking in social outings, paying credit card debt, saving money, buying new clothes, I now feel completely engaged with daily life, with the same vivacity and promise of bounty that I used to have throughout my childhood years.

Medium.com

Medium.com
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a social writing platform by the name of Medium. It’s like Twitter (and uses Twitter for authorization) for full-on stories and ideas instead of 140-character updates. There’s a lot of talented writers and good ideas out there – I think I now spend just as much, if not more, time reading stuff on Medium as I do reading in my RSS client. 
I think I’ll make it a goal for next month to write something specifically for posting on Medium. 

Humble Beginnings

It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done some writing. I’ve been neglecting both the blog and my offline journal, focusing on the goings of daily life, exercising, and planning my next steps carefully. The last update I posted on the blog was very cathartic for me; getting into a lot of the smaller details about the past couple years and everything that’s changed in that time has given me a sense of finality to a chapter of my life that I needed to bring to successfully bring a close since my younger self decided it was something worth introducing to the web. Moving past it, I feel like I’ve just woken up from a bad dream to a giant mess to clean up.
From experience and what I’ve read on the matter of productivity and goals, journaling and capturing life at its different stages provide excellent points of comparison against which to measure progress made. Here is the narrative at present.

Career

I’m 27, and on the cusp of turning 28. I’ve been in a prolonged state of isolation, almost two years, in my own journey of personal development. I’ve fought to reconcile myself with my past, reclaim my sense of identity, and redefine myself, my goals, and my expectations in life. I fight to give myself the opportunities a person of my capability deserves and to realize my full potential. I also recognize that the road ahead is long, and filled with challenges greater than those I’ve already overcome. Though I showed great promise as a child, I was not raised in conditions that agreed with academic achievement. I didn’t produce the scores and work to qualify for scholarships or even realistically apply to any university. Without any money having been saved by my family to pay for college, I joined the work force immediately after leaving high school. My plan was to take a couple years off to just have fun, and save money to buy myself a car and a computer capable of running software for graphic editing and web design, then return to school starting a local community college, and transferring into a university after a couple years.
From 18–20, I worked a series of jobs in retail and coffee shops. I bought myself a car, which was stolen only a year after I bought it. I came upon the opportunity to work a part of a startup marketing company that a group of close internet friends decided to form at the age of 21. For the first time in my life, I was able to apply all of the technological and organizational skills that I’d picked up through my hobbies and areas of interest for self-study. I spent 12–16 hours a day in front of my computer, writing emails, drafting documents, templating stationary, coordinating teams, managing projects, conducting research, processing data, and compiling business plans and campaign deliverables. The results the team produced opened the doors to some great experiences, traveling to Japan and meeting the bands I used to listen to in high school in a professional capacity.
Eventually, the marketing startup phased out of operation, and I returned back to “normal” life. I worked at a couple of restaurants before landing a job in a tech-oriented field as a support specialist for a local SEO company. At this point, I started making good enough money to buy myself another car, and build sufficient credit to finance a MacBook Pro to replace my aging computer that was unable to keep pace with my performance needs at work. Early last year, I transitioned away from that job, and after a couple of months wading through a highly competitive job market for a replacement income source, came upon my current position as a temp for Union Bank at a corporate office site.
Right now, I find myself frustrated and feeling trapped by my current situation. My job entails duties that are way below my capabilities. I’m constantly bored, and resent that I’m forced to spend my time doing what I do when I could be doing something more meaningful, and in turn, higher paying. I’m at an age where I should have a bachelors/masters degree and time invested with a company, or finishing up a doctorate degree. Since college wasn’t academically or financially viable for me and all that time lost can’t be reclaimed, my path is now forced to be one of the self-made success. I’ll admit that despite my age, I do have a strong intent to obtain the academic dress of a degree. However, the cost of education is something that I’m going to have to find a way to finance myself. Essentially, I’m going to be doing things backwards – getting the job to make the money for the degree, not getting the degree to make the money. Unconventional, but that’s just the way my life is.
Right now, I work my day job to cover the essential living costs. I’ve been in a constant state of financial constraint for almost a whole year now, causing me to further resent myself for letting myself get into this current position, but also motivating me to do something to change it. In my down time, I’m focused on buffing up my knowledge in various disciplines in a systematic order. Right now, I’m concentrating my efforts on getting acquainted with computer programming by learning Python, and soaking up everything I can in relation to finance and taxes. One thing I’ve noticed in all the loan applications I process at work is that successful people applying for high principal loans all have extensive investment portfolios – indicates to me that I need to learn how those work. I’ve also been planning to make a stronger effort to develop my writing ability, both by building a blog with read-worthy content and keeping my private offline journal consistently up to date. Once I can successfully design & build for the modern web landscape, I aim to freelance my development talents to make the income needed for school, and to upgrade my lifestyle. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to make another income stream out of building useful software for computers and mobile devices.

Health

Along with the career situation at present, the subject of health commands the majority of my efforts at present. I’ve been meaning to address my physical deficiencies for a very long time now, and I’ve grown tired of constantly carrying the guilt of failure at actually getting anything done. Over the past year, I’ve been making solid strides in making that part of me that enjoys running a regular part of my routine. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been completing my 5+ mile routes multiple times a week. Admittedly, I haven’t been dieting too well because I’m hesitant to push to a lower weight at the moment – doing that would mean having to buy new clothes, and I’m still not out the woods enough to accommodate that investment. Still, I run regularly now, and have also starting implementing arm and core workouts into my exercises.
This year, I’m going to reach those high goals I set for myself so long ago. I’m running out of 20’s, and while I’ve still got youth on my side, I want to experience the what “the other side” feels like; I’ve been a husky kid and an overweight guy pretty much all of my life, and I’ve got no excuses for letting things stay that way. I want to enjoy runs in different parts of the world. I want to be able to go rock climbing and hike long & difficult trails. To know what it feels like to sprint down a shoreline or lose myself in the middle of a crowd at a dance festival without a shirt on and feel confident.
There’s a giant laundry list of experiences and sensations that I want out of life, and being the pudgy, sedentary, overweight smoker I’ve been over the past few years has outlived its viability as an option.

Relationships

In my time away to myself, I aimed to get myself back to a state of mental/emotional self-sufficiency. Though I’ve proven to myself that I could very well live out the rest of my life in permanent solitude and in perpetual pursuit of a better self, living life isolated and alone is not how I want things to ultimately pan out – one of those just because I can doesn’t mean I will type of situations. So in addition to everything I’ve got on my plate in direct relation to myself, I also aim to start reestablishing my “tribe”. Back before I started focusing on all of this self-improvement, I was a pretty active social butterfly and networker. Now, after so much time apart to myself, staying in touch and constantly in communication with people has come to feel very strange and irregular. Yet, now that I’m once again confident in my ability to create, nurture, and maintain relationships with people, it’s a part of life that I’m very eager to once again partake in.

In Closing

I look ahead at what the year will bring, and I see wave after wave of continuous hardships and challenges. I no longer have the naive belief that I’ll reach some certain “point” at which I’ll feel happy and content. I’ve got a lot of dreams that I want to accomplish and some pretty high standards that I’ve set for myself, and I’ve got a lot of lost ground to make up for. My story hasn’t been a happy one, nor an easy one, but I accept it. More than that, I celebrate it. Had my life played out to all of the better alternative outcomes of my past experiences, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. For a long time, I focused on all the negative results of those experiences – the self doubt, the feelings of abandonment, the unwillingness to fully trust the people closest to me in life, etc. Now, I’ve reconnected with that inner fire, that unwavering confidence in my identity and capabilities. I’m ready to pick up the fight again and start doing everything I should be for myself.
May this year be filled with things that I’ve legitimately earned. I’m ready and willing to hurt, sweat, and bleed however much it takes to get things done.

Discussing the Weather

I was going through my RSS feeds, and read an article on Mashable about the current cold weather blasting through the country right now. I showed him the temperature map, and started laughing at how San Diego is sitting fine and dandy.

US Temperature Map
San Diego vs. the rest of the US

“Yeah, San Diego is hi-lar-ious. Even in “The Day After Tomorrow”, San Diego: fine. That shit just stopped, right up there – Orange County, done. San Diego is always good…unless we got T-Rexes. Then we’re in trouble.”

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