I just got off the phone with a dear friend and realized I have long neglected this blog. It’s not been out of anger, frustration or any other emotion. It’s been life. That’s a good thing. As my friend pointed out to me, Interaction is the opposite to addiction. Staying plugged in to life has kept me moving, active and healthy. For a guy who spent the previous 26 years fairly sedentary, I see this as a good thing.
It’s been interesting to plug into life and walk the paths set before me by others, instead of trying to get to new places by using my own failed paths. Whether it’s trying a calorie tracking app, walking at a new park, listening to a new album, watching a new TV show or realizing I do actually like pro basketball, there has been no shortage of exciting new opportunities.
I’ve also discovered (finally) that I don’t have to keep trying the same paths to failure, hoping they will turn to success. This has been the hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around. I didn’t realize I was such a creature of habit, but I am. Changing these habits has been up to me. There is no shortage of people who are happy to keep you on a treadmill, always walking but never going anywhere.
12 step programs talk about changing your playgrounds and playmates. Sound advice, as long as it is followed. It only takes one trip to the old playground to undue weeks, months even years of progress.
Surrounding myself with positive people has been tough. I hadn’t realized how cynical and depressed I had been. I didn’t think that the smaller pants were due to a bigger waist. I didn’t think that the reason my personal relationships felt empty was because I was spending all of my energy on unhealthy relationships with people just as unhappy as I was.
Our Facebook/internet driven world has promoted an idea that you don’t let go of friends, you simply remove them from your news feed. To me, that’s like trying to build a house by using a piece of rotten wood as your center floor joist. It may bear the weight for now, but eventually it will cause everything else to crumble.
When we would play war simulation boardgames in the late 1980s, one of the best tactics was to use scorched Earth when withdrawing from an area. This removed any resources your enemy could use against you. The same tactic is used to great efficacy in daily life. Leaving any opening for unhealthy people to intrude in my life is a recipe for disaster. I can’t be afford it. I have to nail those doors shut.
Staying engaged is only half the battle. Getting off the sofa has been the other. I have become a fan of walking. It’s easy (essentially anyone can do it), it’s cheap (do invest in a good pair of shoes) and it allows me to multi-task without getting stressed. I walk/exercise, listen to music and think about life. Three things done at once. When I’m done, I feel better and the increased dopamine release is an added bonus. Plus, my pants aren’t as tight as they were before.
I have found like minded folks to share time with. I’m still a nerdy metalhead who drools over sci fi and superheroes, but I have found there are versions of that mindset that have successful jobs, happy families and healthy lives. I have aligned myself with them and no longer find myself working hard to explain why I am friends with the people I hang out with. Instead, My wife will happily listen to what I did on my day off, instead skeptically wondering which part is the lie.
This is a bit more confessional than I typically make this blog. I haven’t given my review of the BOC show last week or discussed concerns regarding the upcoming The Sword show. There’s nothing about the awesomeness of the new Dr. Strange comic or who I want to play James Bond next. This is more about that last blurb, “life in general.” I’m finding that an enjoyable life supports the hobbies, but still has to continue forward.
I’ll write more later this weekend about music and movies and shows and games. Today is about gratitude. It’s humid and overcast, but the rain has stopped and I think it’s time to lace up my walking shoes and see if SO FAR SO GOOD SO WHAT is as good of a walking soundtrack as KILL ‘EM ALL or HELLBILLY DELUXE.