The Cost of Technology

I mentioned yesterday the concept of getting rid of things that don’t bring happiness in your life and what that isn’t always applicable. I realized the references I gave and were thinking about generally pertained to living things and that my opinion on inanimate objects is completely different.

I’m currently watching my iMac, which is not really that old, booting up after having to shut it down in an attempt to get things to work. It has been problematic for quite some time but being that I didn’t use it much I would let it slide. Sure there was the occasional 5 minute job that took a half an hour but it was only once in a while.

Well now I’m starting my own business and working from home and using it a hell of a lot more and it’s become quite problematic. So I bit the bullet last week and ordered a new machine. I should have it next week and I’m hoping it severely reduces a lot of annoyance, frustration and stress that this current one is causing. I actually do more writing on my iPad because it’s generally so much easier to work with.

I realize that technology can get really expensive to replace (I also bought a new iPhone 11 Pro earlier this year) but if it’s something that you’re using all the time it just makes sense to have stuff that actually works. Hopefully I’ll be singing a happier tune once I get the new machine up and running.

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Happy Happy

Do you ever stop and think about what would make you happy for a prolonged period of time? Not the “oh my God this crème brûlée is sooooo good” type of happy that dissipates right after the moment but the “oh my God I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t happy” kind of happy.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suffering through depression and sitting in a darkened room with a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream. I just feel like there is enough things that occur in a day that make me not as happy as I would like to be.

I remember one day when I was commuting that I was overwhelmed with this creative flow. Everything I looked at was a piece of art. I wanted to photograph everything and then go sit at a piano and write music and then paint. It was an amazing feeling. In psychology this can be called the “flow” where you are completely immersed in something and at that time I was – all of creativity.

Of course it didn’t last. It was long gone by the time I made it to my desk but it made me wonder how I could achieve that feeling again (it may sadden you to know that I never have.)

I know a lot of time people will indicate getting rid of the things that bring you unhappiness will build a more happy life. Unfortunately the majority of things that can bring unhappiness can also bring happiness. I’m not going to get rid of my dog because she ate half a loaf of bread I baked (true story.)

So my goal is just to become more fluid and try not to let things bother me as much. That requires going against 49 years of muscle memory (you should see how quickly I transform into an angry individual while driving) and forming new neural pathways.

As much as I enjoy being a work in progress sometimes I wish we were fine tuning the edges instead of still revealing the sculpture in the granite.

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I Can’t Help Myself

I’m a health coach. It’s my job to help other people. I’m good at what I do.

So why do I suck so bad at helping myself?

Currently I’m straightening things out. I mentioned I lost my job of 27 years which was fine because I didn’t want to be there anymore anyway. Now I have all this work that I’m doing to start my own business which is also fine – I like being busy, it’s kind of my thing.

The problem though was I lived the highly structured work life thing for so long and it made me miserable so I no longer want to do that. Instead I wanted to have a very loose structure so I could do what I wanted which in theory would make me happier. However, when not provided with any structure I tend to flop around without purpose and never really accomplish anything in an efficient manner.

So I set myself a structured schedule so I can hold myself accountable for different things I need to do every day – business stuff, education, self-care and art. And the first incarnation of this schedule was terrible.

Why you ask?

Because the number one first thing I discuss with a client who is trying to establish a routine is if they are a morning, afternoon, evening or night person. You want to schedule the tasks that require the most energy around the time that you have the most energy and are the most productive.

It makes perfect sense right?

Well I ignored that whole thing and put my more taxing tasks around the time that I want to do nothing more than sign off and pour a little rum into a glass.

And it wasn’t until I had a conversation with a coach that I’m working with that the lightbulb went off. Why don’t I just follow all the things that I propose to my own clients.

Life is always a learning experience and this week was a good one. I now know that once I define my structure and what this new work / life balance I can then mutate it into a free form structure that will provide me with the most happiness.

Looking at the clock it is currently 5:00 p.m. and my schedule is telling me I’m supposed to be on the front porch with a glass of rum.

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I Forget

When I started writing again I had all of these ideas that I wanted to get down but I only sit to write once a day so I needed to remember everything else. Historically speaking I have not had the best memory so I’ve implemented a whole slew of ways of reminding myself. I have digitally to-do list apps, notebooks strewn al over the place and even an entire wall of my office that is a chalk board.

Do you know what all of those things have in common? I rarely utilize them to remember things.

For me it’s less about remembering what I wanted to do and more about remember to put the processes in place that will enable me to be the most efficient. Self-awareness is a great thing but you still need to act upon things for there to be change.

So this post is another gentle reminder to myself to create the process, actually utilize the process, modify the process if necessary and then trust that the process will work.

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Without A Net

I recently lost my job at a company that I worked at for 27 years (and three days). I’m not upset about it as I really wasn’t happy there. It started as summer help when I was in between jobs and turned into multiple careers. Mine was a great mobility story and the type of story that most companies promote but not mine.

You may be asking “if you were unhappy why did you stay?” And the answer to that would be fear and conditioning. I was brought up in a lower middle class family and working is what we did. I got my first job when I was 13 and there hasn’t been much time in the 36 years since that I haven’t worked. Even now I’m working (more on that later). I’ve always have had this need for stability and security which has kept me from taking any sort of risk when money was involved.

I stayed with the devil I knew because I had fairly good job security and that was better than potential happiness and the unknown.

Now that devil is gone and though I am in a good place financially there are still moments of panic. I know I don’t have to but it’s there and it’s different and a little scary and I am prone to running a negative narrative through my head.

Breathe

It’s all fine. Working without a safety net shows you’re confident in what you are doing and also not afraid of the consequences of failing. That’s not entirely true for me right now but it’s getting there.

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Small Medium Large

I’ve been thinking about the world and compartmentalizing everything in regards to the overall impact on people. There are three significant points in my life and I’m breaking them down to small, medium and large. Let’s go in the reverse order.

Large: COVID-19 is a global pandemic. It’s touched the entire planet and yet in the grand scheme of things my life (besides life in quarantine) has not been greatly impacted. I know a few people that have passed but no one that I was really close to or that was an immediate family member. It’s almost easy to believe that it doesn’t really exist (I know it does) because I have been so far removed from it. Besides being cautious if I decide to go out I don’t really think that much about it anymore which means the largest thing has the smallet effect on me which I’m very greateful for.

Medium: The protest that have started after the killing of George Floyd are pretty significant but mostly in my home country of the United States which is why I put it at medium. There’s a lot to unpack here and this post is not the time for it. I will say that I have spent a lot of time thinking about it. I do not however live in a major city where the violent outbursts have taken place so it’s not always on my mind but moreso than Coronavirus these days making the medium item as having a medium effect.

Small: I lost my job a week ago and you might be thinking; that’s small? In the grand scheme of things it is because it impacts very few people besides myself. This has been occupying a lot of my thoughts (rightfully so I believe) as I try to navigate where I am and where I am going. That means the smallest item has the largest effect.

What does all this mean? Probably not a lot to you because they are my thoughts and my life. It does show that events that seem inconsequential to you may be much larger to someone else and vice versa.

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Confusion

It’s been a while since I wrote last and at that time I using life in quarantine as a preview for the future. Then life changes.

There’s so much going on in the world that I haven’t really been able to process a lot of it in any sort of coherent manner. Thoughts have flown through my head and then right back out before I even have a chance to process them into anything.

As much as I enjoy stream of consciousness writing I still am an over thinker and prefer to have a general outline in my head before I start typing. Usually that outline has ben written and re-written several times before I even sit down at the keyboard.

That may have to change.

There’s just too much going on and spending too much time on one thought ends up being at the sake of several others that never get written down.

I need to make some sense of the confusion in my head and I find that writing it all down helps regardless if anyone (besides you, my faithful followers) reads it or not.

I won’t apologize for any rants because that’s all this world (to me) lately. A series of talking points and frustrations and misunderstandings that we all have to live with.

Does any of this make sense? Perhaps not or perhaps you’re right there with me. Hopefully as I get things out of my head more frequently it will.

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Retirement Plan

I’ve been thinking about this living in quarantine a couple of different ways and the latest incarnation is as a preview to retirement.

I always wonder what I’ll do when I finally am able to retire. I know myself and probably many others would like to travel but if we’re being realistic you’ll most likely still spend more time at home than you will travelling.

I have lots of things I want to do such as paint, play music, read, cook, etc. But I wonder if that would be enough to fill out my days and leave me with enough sense of fulfillment.

While I’m still working, albeit it from home, this is not a bad preview. I am both keeping myself occupied and not keeping as much done as I would like. I would imagine without a job I would have more free time to find a harmonious balance.

So if you happen to be sitting at home going a bit cabin fever-ish during all of this try thinking about what you want your later years to look like. What are you interested in? What did you always want to learn how to do? The work you put in now will pay off.

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Hierarchy of Needs

Recently I have been doing a look of reading and the interesting aspect of it has been a. Lot of information that pertains directly to either the current state of myself or of the world. One of those things which I was only recently introduced to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which was original proposed in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.”

In it he proposes that as each of the five needs are met (Physiological, Safety, Social Belonging, Esteem, Self-actualization) a person can move on to the next need. For the purpose of this discuss I am only going to talk about the first three and how it pertains to our current environment of sheltering-in-place.

Physiological we’ll define as food, water, shelter. When COVID-19 was announced and the though of being quarantined was proposed this is where everyone went first. They bought toilet paper. They bought canned food. They stocked up (hoarded) for fear of not having the basic things they needed. Once that was taken care of they could move on to the next need.

Safety we’ll define as health, personal security. Once we had a sufficient surplus of toilet paper and flour for baking then we moved on to worrying about our own health. This is when we went on a mad spree to find gloves and masks. We even learned how to make our own masks. Once we were convinced that we were safe from this virus then some of us were able to move on to the next need.

Social Belonging we’ll define as frienship, family, intimacy. I think there are a lot of people here now. They feel safe and taken care of and now they need that social interaction that staying at home cannot provide. This is why there are protests all over the country with chants of re-opening up the economy.

Unfortunately we are seeing hot-spots flare up in areas that didn’t have stay-at-home orders in place which means we’re really not safe yet. We are at that tipping point which makes this a dangerous time. As much as I love cooking I do enjoy a nice meal out at one of my favorite restaurants and I know I’ll get there at some point but now is not the time.

I’m not saying I have any good answers because I’m not a medical person or have a background in pandemics. I did really find this concept of a hierarchy of needs interesting though in watching human behavior during al of this.

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Happy Easter

This is going to be a difficult day for a lot of people. I myself am not a religious person but I do respect tradition and formality. Much like my Jewish friends who had to figure out Seder in a world of social distancing a few nights ago, so too will my Christian friends today.

Do the best that you can because that is all that we can do. Perhaps use this as an opportunity to eliminate a bit of commercialism from your holiday and return to the meaning.

Most importantly embrace and connect with your loved ones today.

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