motivation

Keep Living.

Keep Living

I’m not a competitive person.

But, I’m in competition with myself.

You reaching your goals motivates me.

But, you reaching your goals is your achievement.

You reaching your goals doesn’t make me want to reach your goals.

I love myself.

I love my body.

I love what I can do.

I love what I’m capable of.

I love being lazy.

I love being active.

Some days, I just can’t.

Some days, I just can’t try.

Some days, I just don’t want to.

Some days, I do.

Some days, I’m motivated.

Some days I fucking crush it.

I want to run.

I want to hike.

I want to ride.

I want it to be fall.

I want to be fit.

I want, I want, I want.

I need to try.

I need to be fit.

I need to try to be fit.

I need to try to be more fit.

I need to be good to myself.

I need to stop being self-destructive.

I need to keep living.

I need to live.

I need to live well.

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#MondayMotivation - Trail Run?

I’m not a runner, not really.

I haven’t ever run more than a mile at once, and I haven’t done that since high school. I have done the Couch 2 5K for about 4 weeks, before petering out. I’m not a runner, but I’m trying it on for size now.

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So… I signed up for the LBA - Little Backyard Adventure trail race sponsored and hosted by The Outdoor Society in Olympia, Washington. It is Saturday, August 10 and I’m going to train until then in hopes of coming in better than last place. It’s a simple motivation today - try harder, work for it, and don’t come in last place in August. I’ve already started incorporating little spurts of jogging into my daily dog walks and I don’t hate it.

Observations:

  • My dog maxes out at about 16 minute miles - if we REALLY hustle. He’s more comfortable around 17-20 minute miles. He’s kind of holding me back, but I love him so I’ll have to train separately or just drag him.

  • I am to the where walking fast is more annoying than just running slowly. Yeah, I run slowly, but I am still in the motion and it’s still running.

  • My self-centered notion that people are judging my running ability is just silly. EVEN if they are, who the fuck cares? Not me, from this moment forward anyway.

  • Running on a treadmill is absolute horse shit. I hate it. I was like, why do I hate running? It’s because I did Couch 2 5K on a treadmill and that was the dumbest thing. I mean, not THE dumbest thing, but dumb enough for me. Running outside, though probably slower, is just so much better feeling in my body. I will save the treadmill as a last resort, when it is storming or I am unable to go before triple digit temps for the day.

  • I sweat a lot. I sweat walking through an air conditioned building, but running really soaks me. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this doesn’t matter either. Re-hydrate and move on, Mike.

As someone WHO never did ANY sport or any fun running, this is kind of cool. I know, so many of you ran in high school or run for health. I just never did, and it is kind of exciting for me. I have a goal, a real motivator, and I’m ready to commit.

#MondayMotivation - New pants!

April didn’t quite go as planned as far as leveling off my eating habits, but I did exercise more than March. Hiking was not the main form, but an important part nonetheless. The real winner, which will make hiking even better, is that I found some new pants that fit well and move with me. This is a link to the pants I bought, the Columbia Pilot Peak Pants at rei.com. (this is not a sponsored link or anything of that nature) I just wanted to go on and on about these pants.

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  • I snagged them on clearance, which means I didn’t pay too much

  • They flex and bend with my body as I climb hills, bend over to pick up trash, or need to maneuver around trees/rocks/etc.

  • They are durable!

  • They are SO comfortable - almost like wearing a lounge pant.

I go on about these because it’s SO difficult to find pants that fit me well. I have plenty of pants and shorts that fit okay, but eventually they just feel annoying. I’m talking, halfway through the first mile of hiking, most pants/shorts feel terrible. These pants from Columbia are a game changer. I’m not the biggest dude, but I’m not athletic build either. I wear a 42-44 waist in most brands, and the length various based on how it fits around my behind. 32 inseam usually works, but sometimes I need a 34. XXL shorts work well, but even some of REI’s shorts and convertible pants fit awkwardly in that size and get uncomfortable as my mileage increases. It’s good to know that Columbia is making pants and shorts that cater to the various body types out there - not just the athletic, outdoorsy dude. I know, most companies go where their business currently is, but I’m thankful for Columbia branching out and encompassing all bodies.

I’m motivated to keep moving and now my body will move freely. I hope to get my hands on some of Columbia’s shorts in the future to test out for the summer months ahead.

Find your comfortable clothes, find your happy place, and get out there!

#MondayMotivation - Illinois Park Project

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join my friend Jen on a hike/cleanup with her passion project called the Illinois Park Project. She created this organization to help the parks of Illinois with their trash, trails, and whatever else they need. You can read all about their mission, ideas, plans, etc on the Illinois Park Project website. If you want to get in touch much faster with them, hit up their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re in the Midwest and want to help make a difference, they’ll be doing more cleanups throughout Illinois.

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I’m promoting and sharing and going on and on about this weekend, this group, the affiliate groups, etc because it was such a motivating and inspirational 48 hours for me. I arrived to low 40 degree weather with the chance of rain and very high winds. I arrived to a parking lot with damn near 10 people ready to make a difference. People came from all over Illinois and I came from Texas because we all believed in the same cause and I am a sucker for a road trip.

It’s easy to say you agree with someone’s idea, or join a virtual group, but when you cement it in person with hugs and actions, it elevates to a whole new level of something else. I’ve only had a handful of experiences that are so deep and motivational, but this one was easily the best.

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I’m using this high point to motivate myself. I’ve already reached out to my friends about starting a cleanup here and I’m brainstorming. Now that I’ve seen one in action, know what to expect, and know what I want to get out of it, I’m ready. Let’s clean up Texas, y’all. You want in on cleaning up trails, parks, roadways, etc with me? Get in touch.

Side note, I’m going to add some links here of various websites from participants at the cleanup. Check them out if you want, they’re all good people just loving life outside. And, to everyone who was there, I genuinely enjoyed meeting you, connecting, and of course scheming for our next hang out.


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#MondayMotivation - Happy Birthday Nikki!

Happy Birthday, friend!

It’s my friend Nikki’s birthday today, so we’re going to celebrate her with some good memories! Nikki came into my life in 2012 and I’ve been better for knowing her ever since. Speaking from my view of our friendship, I’d say we connect on a pretty deep level. Beyond the daily happenings and surface shit, we can really get into some real topics. We can talk about the weather, but that’s boring. I like that we dive deep, to the core of everything and explore topics freely without judgment and criticism. Nikki is one of my favorite hiking buddies, road trip buddies, and overall hang out buddies. She is a lot of things - wife, mom, friend, daughter, etc - but she’s human and sees the value in other humans and treating one another with respect and dignity. I wish her a very happy birthday and cheers to many, many more.


Some of my FAVORITE memories (of all time)

This was my first trip to Big Bend. Eric and I drove out earlier in the day and Nikki got off work and hauled ass out there. We camped, we hiked, we drove every main road in that damn park - in one day. It was quite a day!


That time her, Eric, and I went on a Road trip through Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then Zion. Something I can’t wait to do again someday!


Nikki’s bachelorette party took us to Austin and was also a birthday celebration for her. What a fun time. We hiked, we partied, and we went home. HA!


One of my favorite hiking buddies - we ford rivers together! (physically and metaphorically)


Thanks for doing fun 5K walks, hikes, and everything else. Keep on keepin’ on! Happy birthday! <3 Me

#MondayMotivation - Fancy Mixed Nuts

I often lose sight of my goals when I get caught up in the work necessary to achieve them. I constantly forget why I’m doing what I’m doing, so I create lists and trackers to help me along.

One of my goals was to save for a kayak and also drop a few pounds for said kayak. You can buy heavy duty kayaks, but I still wanted to be a little lighter so I could bring a cooler or camping gear along. I’m slowly making my way to the goal, both in saving and losing the weight, and I was reminded of the “WHY” I wanted to do this beyond getting healthier and not adding to my debt. It’s an attainable goal, with no real end date so I’m setting one. I’m going to drop 30 lbs and get the kayak by my birthday this year. Added mini goals to the big goal are to find a way to store the kayak at my apartment and save enough for the car rack and paddle. I have ropes, PFD, and water clothing already. Attack a goal bit by bit, right?

On the topic of goals… I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a trail race. Mind you, I’ve never even run an entire mile in years (decades) or on a trail beyond maybe running up a hill to get it over with. I hike, I jog intermittently, but I haven’t really done much beyond those things. So, if I can whip myself into shape and get in the runner mindset over the next month, before the race registration goes up in cost, I will register. I don’t care if I come in last, I just want to participate and complete one in the near(er) future. I finally participated in a 5K last year, though it was mostly intermittent running. I wasn’t last, and it made me want to do more of them because no one cares how slow or fast you are they’re just worried about themselves and their goals. I think if I get back on the wagon and just start doing it I’ll be able to do the smallest loop of the trail in the course by the August race date. I’m putting this all out there so I remember and so I can have some public accountability. Back on the treadmill this week, unless I get the courage to try the outdoors.

What are some goals you have? Do you lose sight of them or lose track of them if you’re not vigilant? Keep it real—istic. You can do it, people, whatever “it” is.

A NOTE: From the time I came up with the idea for this post (about 9 hours), to the time I finished writing it and posting it, I binge ate a lot of Kirkland fancy mixed nuts. Sigh. I remembered I hadn’t finished this, remembered I had goals, and then went for a walk. On the walk, I regretted the fancy mixed nuts and also the fact that I forgot to write/publish this before going for a walk. Either way, mistakes happen - accidentally or not. It’s all about going with the flow and remembering the goals. Carry on and don’t let a little bit of fancy mixed nuts stop you from your dreams.

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 4 - a day late)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week four

  • I’m thankful for REI dividends from both REI shopping and my REI branded credit card. I’ve earned enough points with spending and paying off that I have new shoes coming that I didn’t pay for!

  • I’m thankful the month is closing and the projects are wrapping up too.

  • I’m thankful people were nice to me even if I got real grumpy with the stress of work projects

  • I’m thankful to have 450 miles on my hiking shoes before needing new ones.

  • I’m thankful for the privilege to visit Big Bend in one day, even if the 18 hours of driving was a little insane.

  • Thankful for visitors from Michigan and an excuse to day drink

I may have had limited amounts of time and funds this month, but I look forward to what April will bring with a little more time and a little more cash flow. I have a park cleanup in Illinois and some good ideas for hiking planned. May will bring even more fun with backpacking (my first time) in Arizona and potential work adventure. I’m hoping to save and plan for some random weekend in Michigan and maybe even a quick trip to California in May - pending the right conditions (plane ticket prices).

I’m thankful for all of the opportunities I’m afforded and work for. I know I’m at an advantage and I’m constantly conscious of that and grateful for everything in my life. Have a great week and a wonderful rest of your month.

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#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 3)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week three

Inspired by the wonderful Pattie Gonia on Instagram (link here) and my group of outdoor blogger masterminds (Inner Compass) (Jenny the Trailhead) (Indoorsy Camper), I’m thankful for every outdoor experience no matter what it is. Everyone’s version of the outdoors is a little different, but as long as you’re following the laws of public lands and leave no trace, it doesn’t matter what you prefer. Live your best outdoor life. Love the outdoors in any way you can that suits your abilities and desires.

Some of my favorite ways to get outside:

  • Road trips - sometimes even without hiking because I don’t have the time

  • Camping - state parks, federal land, private campgrounds… it doesn’t matter!

  • Hiking - both (soon to be) backpacking, local trails, loops, in and out, short hikes, long hikes

  • Nature walks on paved paths in the metroplex through the various trail systems - there are a ton of birds to watch, that’s for damn sure!

  • Walking my dog in the neighborhood nearby and/or visiting the city park

  • Boating with the family on the lake - this includes just cruising, swimming, or any combination of the two

  • Sitting in someone’s back yard with a bonfire, having a drink, and listening to the frogs in the nearby creek

  • Standing outside in my freeway-adjacent parking lot staring at the sunrise - sure, it’s not ideal, but it’a all I got on a Monday morning before work!

I get outside as often as I can, in any form that I am able to do so. I love every minute I get, even if it’s not exactly what I dream of doing at that second in time. I know, parking lot sunrises probably don’t hold a candle to backcountry sunrises, but sometimes you just take what you get and you love it for what it is. So this week, be thankful for any experiences you get outside and own them.

Have a great week, get outside if that suits ya, and enjoy yourselves!

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#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March (week 2)

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week two

I’m genuinely so lucky to know such wonderful people. Some are people I know well and see often, some are virtual friends, and some are long time best buds who I don’t get to see very often at all. I’m just lucky. I’m thankful. I have a circle of people who represent a wide range of life experiences and who bring different bits of expertise to the table when it comes to getting through all that life has to offer.

THE CLOUD

I don’t have the luxury of unlimited vacation time or funds, so I don’t get to see this wonderful circle of people as often as I’d like. Living in DFW metro area is a bit nuts, too, as I have family just 70 miles southwest and rarely get to see them because it just takes forever and battling traffic on a Friday night is almost more work than working for eight hours. These are all small problems to have, I know, and I realize it’s my cloud and not everyone’s dilemma.

THE SILVER LINING

Sometimes, I get to power through a Friday drive and visit my family at their respective houses here in Texas or even do the 20 hour drive to Northern Michigan. I am lucky because I have a flexible work schedule and paid time off so I get to utilize that time to visit with friends (new and old) as well as family all while seeing new places along the way. I have reliable transportation and I accumulate airline miles as well as set money aside for travel. The real silver lining is that I have people in all sorts of places and I’m lucky to be able to visit them and vacation at the same time. That’s winning at life, in my book.

My point, I knew I had one, is to treasure the relationships you build that work out. People, near and far and of varying connection levels are important and truly wonderful. You just never know who you’ll meet, virtually or not, so dare to be bold about it and make the connection. Say YES to invitations, say YES to offers, and say YES to life. Also, be the one that makes it happen and make an offer to your circle; advice I’m going to take more seriously this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

Met some folks from Twitter and am lucky enough to be adventuring with some of them this year.

#MondayMotivation - More thankful in March

MORE THANKFUL MARCH - week one

This month, and generally speaking, I want to work harder to motivate myself and others through being more thankful for something I already have. I personally lose sight of things when I get overwhelmed, and I’m sure that is a common reaction to stress. I’m going to try to focus on some silver linings of situations that are less than amazing, but unavoidable for me and maybe it’ll inspire you to see the other side of your situation.

THE CLOUD

Today, and probably for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be busy working. It is what we in the biz call “Greenhouse Gas Season” as all companies who have to, must report their greenhouse gas emissions before March 31. I’ve been doing this since 2015, which isn’t long, but the first quarter of the year is devoted to it and the work can consume my brain. It’s affecting my attitude and sleep, but I don’t know why and the only reason I can think of is that I’m doing the work in a new way this year and it’s taking a lot of getting used to overall?

THE SILVER LINING

I am learning so many new techniques with the work this year and at my new job in general. I can EASILY say that in the few months I’ve been on board, I’ve learned more than I ever did in two years at my previous job. Now, I’m not here to talk shit about it, it is just two different companies and their employee development focuses are different. As mentioned, I have an excellent support system at work with experts from all backgrounds who can usually help me fix an issue or answer a question quickly. This will all be over, also, and a new project will come along and I’ll be busy with that and I’ll have to remember things always keep going!

I’m going to try my best this week and I hope you find your way down the best path for you!

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

From this week back in March of 2016 (Lake Granbury - Granbury, Texas)

#MondayMotivation - Going Forward

I’ve been on a quest to improve my overall health.  I’m eating less crap, moving more, and exploring my thoughts more thoroughly.  It’s been a great move, as I am feeling better and more motivated than ever in all aspects of life.  I’m using my newfound motivation to strengthen my financial health now too. I have been terrible about money management and have tried and failed with budgets and living within my means.  I’ve overextended myself and that stresses me out, which leads to overeating and laziness. So, since I’m trying to be more active and trying to be better, I’m going to work on managing my money in better ways.  I’m going to start with a simple budget and move on to more complicated things like actual long-term saving, home ownership, and investing. Financial health will mean I’m going to have to get creative with my travel and really prioritize places and people for the year.

Disclaimer: 1) I prefer car travel any day of the week. Flying can be the worst if you’re not frequent enough to have all the perks, so let me just say that my Outback is my number one. I’m not here to shit on flying, because most of the time it is fine, but… the scenic route and stuff. 2) I love camping more than hotels, but again, when flying to a destination camping is sometimes out of the question with time and planning. 3) I already utilize my Texas State Parks pass monthly, but I want to explore those trails I’ve not hiked and parks that have been on my list for a while. I’m also going to use the hell out of my Annual Pass and visit those NPS sites in Texas this year that I’ve been casually learning about too.

What are some things you’re changing on the fly this year? What is motivating those changes?

#MondayMotivation - What's the big idea?

I was in the middle of a hike on Saturday when I started to feel the burn. This hike wasn’t particularly strenuous or anything, but there were some minor hills and it was a total of 10 miles. I was on mile 7 or 8 and I was thinking I need to get more hikes this long and intense in my life. I also thought I needed to include more strenuous hikes weekly and cardio into daily life. I thought I needed more healthy choices in my life and I thought I needed more random drives to random locations. In the peak of my hike, with light dancing off canyon walls around me, I had all the great ideas.

Today, while I made smart food choices and bought plenty of produce for the week, I didn’t do much in terms of cardio or exercise in any way. All of the big ideas I had during my hike usually don’t translate to reality, but I am going to do a few things inspired by them. I’m going to restart the Couch 2 5K program and continue on my quest to reduce my calories and increase my nutritious items. I’m going to visit more locations that require leaving in the middle of the night and I’m going to see more sunrises.

Motivation comes in many forms, sometimes it lasts and sometimes it fades. I’m hoping to run with the momentum (pun intended) from my hike on Saturday and at least half-ass try to be better at things. I want my hiking pants to fit better and I want that hoodie to be a little loose. I want to to have boundless energy and I want my body to hurt less after 10 measly miles. I want to run that trail from Saturday and hike even further every weekend. Big ideas that translate to a bunch of small steps that hopefully lead to big results.

Do you ever have big ideas during a hike or adventure that you have to find ways to translate into real life ideas? Feel free to leave a comment!

#MondayMotivation - Take a break!

Take a break, get up from whatever you’re doing if you can, and walk around. Or if you’re standing all day, go sit down for a minute. Just take a break. Stop reading the news for a few minutes and look at some cat videos. Whatever floats your boat and fits your situation.

During the work week, I get up every hour and do a lap around the office. Sometimes, if I have the time and/or the weather is nice, I take it outside and do a lap around the building. I used to walk on my lunch hour, but I’m taking shorter lunches because I want to be here less and anywhere else more.

Find what works for you. When I’m at home, I try to take the dog on a longer walk for at least one of the three or so he gets in the evening. You deserve a break!

#MondayMotivation - Personal, but maybe relatable?

This is from my road trip to Texas, in 2011 when everything changed for me.

This is from my road trip to Texas, in 2011 when everything changed for me.

**This topic is personal, revealing, and leaves me a little vulnerable. I beat myself up a lot about money, debt, and piss poor life planning but I'm excited and motivated about it all now.**

My first vehicle purchase, at an interest rate I'm not comfortable discussing. After moving and getting a new job, this was the next big credit builder for me. I loved this little car, and in hindsight, I love it even more now.

Having an end goal, a payoff date, or just a solid plan to get to the end of a financial path is exciting. I've spent years paying on my student loans and I finally have an end date in sight. It's not near, and it's still not the most ideal, but it's a finite date in which they will be paid off and in my past. By the time I'm 50, in 16 years, I'll be free of student loans. By the time I'm 40, I'll be free of personal and auto debts. The thought of these end dates really motivates me and excites me in terms of the new possibilities. In the next ten years, I may be able to buy a house, move to another state, or buy a small camper. Who knows?

I'm making a point to focus on the positive aspect of this, but don't be silly and think I'm immune to the negative thoughts. I still have hard days when I think it'll never go away, when I think I'll never be done. Some days feel like I'm in a hole and I just wish someone would bury me - that's dark, but it's real. I'm choosing to focus on the fact that, thanks to refinancing, I have an end date for my student debt. Thanks to refinancing, I have an end date to my personal debt. Thanks to improving my credit, I have a very low interest rate on a car that hopefully lasts me until my student loans are paid off. The hardest part in all of this is knowing I did this to myself. I made all of the choices to buy the crap or go to school. Some things in life are unavoidable, but that is not that majority of my problems. Coming to terms with habits and setting goals really helps me stay out of the negative mindset regarding finances.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015: I was laid off from a job at a company I thought I'd be at for a while. I didn't love the job anymore, but I certainly didn't hate it enough to just leave without other options. Sigh. This was a whirlwind of a time. I had to cash in my 401K from the past 5 years and still barely made it through the 3-4 months without an income. This experience forever changed me. I didn't have an "emergency" fund nor did I have other sources of income, and I still don't have either of those yet but it's a goal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015: I was laid off from a job at a company I thought I'd be at for a while. I didn't love the job anymore, but I certainly didn't hate it enough to just leave without other options. Sigh. This was a whirlwind of a time. I had to cash in my 401K from the past 5 years and still barely made it through the 3-4 months without an income. This experience forever changed me. I didn't have an "emergency" fund nor did I have other sources of income, and I still don't have either of those yet but it's a goal.

I honestly don't care if I ever own a home, and who knows if I'll ever be able to do so, but I have days when I really want one. I know the value and I know the benefits, but it's not something I must do to feel fulfilled in life. I will aim for that goal, and at the very least, have some money saved for some purpose or another. Speaking of saving, I'm working on a few things related to that which also motivate me. I'm saving for a kayak and a bike in 2019. This is also the first time, in a long time, I have money in my savings account. Again, it isn't much, but it's a start and it's automatic so I don't even have to think about it or pretend not to spend it.

I still have months when I eat out too much, weeks I use too much gas, and days I buy stupid shit online just because. There will always be a desire for travel and adventure, and that doesn't come without cost. There's the whole deal with most of my family living 1300 miles away that also requires funding as well as friends getting married across the country. There will always be a bill or surprise expense I'm not excited about but I'm getting better about managing my financial anxiety. Learning to be content with the things I have and taking small steps to spend more consciously really helps. I read a book by Cait Flanders called "The Year of Less" and it it helped spark some introspection about what we need and what we have and how they relate. I'd highly recommend it for anyone looking for a little inspiration into finance, consumerism, or simplifying their life. This is not a sponsored post, at all, I just loved the book and her general message as a human in this world.

I had interviews, in 2015/2016, but had no luck until someone I knew knew someone else who had a temp/contract job for me. It was a step back, way less money, but I jumped at the chance. I was also eating my feeling hardcore at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.

I had interviews, in 2015/2016, but had no luck until someone I knew knew someone else who had a temp/contract job for me. It was a step back, way less money, but I jumped at the chance. I was also eating my feeling hardcore at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016.

I'm hoping you can find motivation from my words. I'm not here to brag or ask for pity, I'm just here to share my story and hope that other people feel more comfortable in their situations because it is a real story. I have been following a lot of podcasts and blogs about finance, but most of them just made me even more depressed about my situation. Know that there are people out there who feel completely screwed and that life is an endless pit of hell, but there is hope if you just start crawling out. It's taken me over seven years to get my credit score up and it's only been in the past couple of months that I've felt like I can pop out of the water for air long enough to stay alive. For someone who struggles with finances, and has struggled for the past 15 years, it's been a process and I'm still learning. Be positive, be realistic, and be ready to make changes. May you find motivation this Monday. There is no set path that is suitable for everyone. You and I may have different timelines in life, and that is quite alright. It took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that my 30 wasn't the same as someone else's 30. It's the best realization because it is true freedom.

Contact me if you'd like to continue this chat and or swap stories and stuff.

#MondayMotivation - Refreshing!

It's Labor Day, but I wrote this days before because I'm currently not at my computer. You wouldn't have known that if I hadn't just told you, but here we are...

Find something that refreshes your soul. Every now and then, I get a little stuck or a little down and I need to do something to refresh my life. I have been in a hiking slump, because of the gross Texas summer, but I've been lucky enough to get away a few times and it really re-lit the fire under my butt.

Things that I find help me refresh:

  • A good book or audiobook - I did this last week and went through two great books and just felt a part of my brain wake up that had been sleeping
  • New food - eat something different or learn to make something (new) or different than your normal, every day food. Find a new flavor - change it up!
  • Go watch a movie - find a movie to get lost in or something to offer a new perspective like a documentary or a dumb comedy. Amazon or Netflix both have a bunch of random stuff.
  • Travel - if you can afford it, go! I do cheap little camping trips that are nearby when I really need to reset and refresh. I've done flights, too, and I find those help when they're in the budget.
  • Join a new group - find new people to hang out with! REFRESH that friend group! I'm in the process of finally meeting up the meetup people...after months of anxiety.
  • Join a cause to stand up for - Find a candidate or cause and work in support or spread the word! It can be revitalizing to share your beliefs, in an appropriate way.
  • Take a course - I'm currently taking a course on writing a website so that maybe someday I can modify my code to make things more person. It's a lot more difficult than I though, but it's definitely fun to challenge myself - very refreshing.

What ways do you refresh your life? What really gets you going? I hope, if you need a refresh, that you find something that works for you. Feel free to share it with me!

#MondayMotivation - Looking Forward (to it)

I've talked before about how having something to look forward to really helps motivate me to push through and this week is no different.  As I sit here, I have less than 5 days until I board a plane and meet my BFF in Salt Lake City for a weekend of adventure.  Last year, when I was going to book a trip alone, I invited her and since we had such a good time we decided to make it an annual thing.  I have been looking forward to this trip for weeks, if not months, and now that it's finally here I'm so excited and in such an extra good mood as a result.

In a little less than three weeks I'll be boarding a plane to Michigan for an extended Labor Day weekend.  I get to hike, see my family, and hopefully take a quick dip in the lake.  All of these things to look forward to are privileges and I'm aware of how lucky I am to have them.  I don't always have the time or money to adventure so here are the main things I look forward to that keep me going:

  • A day off from work
  • That moment you get home from work and walk through the door unloading your crap, taking your shoes off, and then changing into comfy clothes
  • Dinner (especially if my other half makes it)
  • A funny TV show or anything on Food Network as a mindless escape
  • A walk to the mailbox with the dog
  • Maybe, maybe, exercising... this may be a stretch, or maybe I'm glad when it's over?
  • A hike at a local trail
  • A scheduled friend phone call
  • Rocking out to my jams in the car
  • Listening to NPR in the morning
  • Smelling the coffee brewing as I am getting out of bed
  • Meatloaf the cat bugging me for food in the morning
  • Reading through articles about nature and outdoorsy stuff

Find the little things that keep you going.  Find happiness in the simple things.  Find happiness in complex things... just find something that makes you happy and add it to your day as something to look forward to.  Recently, I started a free online course to improve my skills and now I look forward to learning again.  Really, the possibilities are endless.

Life isn't always fun, fair, or balanced but if we try we can find things to look forward to and enjoy along the way.

#MondayMotivation - Technology Overload

I'm addicted to my phone.  It's plain, simple, and very real.  I always have it with me, rarely make calls, occasionally text and hardly ever use it for emails.  I visit Instagram, Twitter, and occasionally Facebook to stare at things that often don't matter.  I use it to browse Reddit, check the news, take photos, and manage my finances.  I can be found using it for navigating through traffic, tracking my hikes, and logging my meals to stay on track.  It is the most use tech tool in my life.

I am on a Verizon Wireless unlimited plan, meaning I'm mostly unlimited in my data usage until about 22 GB when they often throttle my speeds during peak hours or when I'm in areas with too many users and not enough bandwidth.  By day 17 of each month, I'm hitting 22 GB of usage, meaning the remaining five days are spent using very slow speeds to look at the same thing over and over for no reason.  The problem is, when I need to actually do something productive, it's challenging because I've wasted so much data on the useless and I'm stuck.

I'm easily addicted to things that give me instant satisfaction - my phone, food (for taste and fullness), alcohol, attention, etc.  I'm working to control my relationship with food, so why not try and control my interaction with my devices.  I'm currently downloading an app (seems counterproductive, but hang on) to help train my brain to quit being so dependent on the tech and to help me focus more on life.  I've set alerts for my data usage, early on, so I'm aware and can be informed when I'm indulging too much.  For the sake of value, I want to utilize the full 22 GB, I just want to do it over 30 days instead of 15.  In reality, if I can reduce my usage and keep it consistent for a few months, I'd like to switch to a cheaper prepaid plan.

I know, many people are in disbelief of this whole situation of tech addiction and I understand that disbelief.  As someone that didn't get a smartphone until they were already popular, I didn't think I'd ever spend as much time or money on them as I have in my lifetime, but here I am.

I'm pledging, in black and white, right here...

  1. I will not buy a new phone until this one becomes unusable or 2021, whichever is first.
  2. I will not use more than 22 GB of data, unless I'm on work assignment and do not have access to internet. (as work does pay for part of the phone)
  3. I will limit my usage of social media apps to an appropriate level - may be adjusted as necessary.
  • Instagram - a time limit of 25 minutes per day
  • Facebook - remove the app (done 7/19/2018)
  • Twitter - a time limit of 25 minutes per day, unless a chat is happening

Going forward, when I want to check a social app, I'm going to open my Kindle App instead to get ahead on a chapter in my book - likely a better use of five minutes.  Nothing on social media is worth wasting so much time over.  If people want to connect, they can send me a message.  Fear of missing out is real, but what I'm missing is NOTHING and I need to wrap my head around that.

I'm currently looking for an app to help me train my brain, so any suggestions will be welcomed.  I need to work on my "bored clicking" in Chrome too, but that's another topic for another day.

What are some ways you use to limit the technology in your life?  Leave a comment if you'd like!

This is from our family cottage on Grand Lake - in Presque Isle, Michigan.  With less time spent on social apps, I hope to use that time to re-imagine old photos and write the stories of my past.

#MondayMotivation - Long Drive Ahead

Tahquamenon Falls - Upper Falls - December 2015

The trip to Michigan for my brother's wedding is finally here!  We leave tomorrow, Tuesday June 12, in the evening and will hopefully be to my hometown by Wednesday evening.  In the past, driving across the country or back to Michigan seemed a lot easier.  Nowadays, I'm exhausted by hour nine and ready to pull over.  Most of the time when we go to Michigan, we have such a limited time frame, we can't really plan for multiple day drives up or down.  Powering through is the only option ahead, and I'm going to use my upcoming hike at Tahquamenon Falls as motivation.  Oh, I suppose seeing the family is motivation too, but those falls...dang.

This will be the first big adventure for Oliver the Outback, and I couldn't be happier about our destination.  It will be good to get some adventure miles instead of just the obscene amount of commuter miles I've put on since last July.

This is my first step in getting back on track with my outdoor plans and personal goals.  I'm using this trip, this drive, and this upcoming hike as motivation to get back to my normal existence.  I've had plenty of great days and fun destinations locally, but there is just something about a trip out of state to shake things up and make you appreciate life all over again.  Once I accomplish this hike, I know I'll want to keep going even once back here in the hot, humid, sun drenched land that is known as Texas.

These routes take anywhere between 19-24 hours, depending on traffic and weather.

#MondayMotivation - Slacker Edition

Self-inflicted bullshit is the easiest to create and hardest to destroy.

I've been slacking.  I've been kind of out of control with certain aspects in my life and it's taking a toll on me.  Yesterday, I started to clean and organize the apartment and that brought some clarity to my brain.  It's time to take control and stop living in a free fall.  I need routines and structures and it will take a little while to build them up, but I'm working towards it as an overall goal.

Back to my hiking routines, cleaning routines, morning routines, and cooking routines.  I've been avoiding cooking, leaving laundry all over, not cleaning up after the cooking I do, and generally being a slob-lazy-bum.  It's easy for me to blame this on whatever, but really it's only I who can snap the hell out of it a get into a better head space.  I'm working to find the positives, find the organization, and crawl back up to a normal existence.

It's been a weird few months with the death of my grandfather, the onset of hot weather, the general boredom of local trails, too much alcohol, too much fast food, and the general dislike I've been feeling towards my body.  I'm certainly past due to get my shit together and get to hiking regularly, living within my means, smiling more often, eating food for fuel, and sleeping well again.

#MondayMotivation - Driving helps me organize my thoughts

I'm looking back at the past 18 months or so and I can hardly believe that I accomplished something as simple and motivated as hiking every week for a year.  I finally got out to hike yesterday after being sick to my stomach the previous Sunday and it was as Invigorating as I had hoped it would be.  I went somewhere new, saw new landscapes, and felt the sun beat down on me once again.  I hiked five miles, not the furthest by far, but far enough to find joy again.  I drove three hours to hike and wander for just about the same, but it was worth every minute.  Driving used to be my thing - set some music, open the moonroof, hit the road, process everything in the world, and return in a better place.  The recent drive to the wildlife refuge in Oklahoma brought me close to that old feeling of driving therapy and made the hike even better.  My brain was relaxed, my mind was flowing, and my body was ready for the day.  I look forward to more long drives to hiking destinations to give me a moment with the open road, my thoughts, and nothing else.

I had some thoughts while driving home, this is a snippet of me just getting the words out so I can reflect.  I'm truly grateful to have the ability to live this life and I look forward to building on the experiences of the past year and a half.  I hope you all can find some inspiration out there and keep pushing forward.