205 // Mindlessness

Spent most of the day lounging about and finding it hard to get up. Mindless TV has been running for hours keeping me mindless too. The urge was near impossible to fight, so I chose not to and gave myself a time limit instead. Mindlessness for the next hour and then no more.

By midafternoon I was up and heading to my niece’s 5th birthday party. My sister-in-law is working on building a party planning business and she does her best work for her kids. This year’s party was movie theater themed complete with a projector and concession stand with hot dogs, popcorn, and all the boxed candy favorites.

I had a good time overall, but it’s hard being going to these kid events when you are childless yourself. I sit awkwardly among the moms hearing them go on about pregnancy and early milestones, about the difficulties of the last one and the hopes for the next, all the while wondering how weird it is for you to be there and when would it be appropriate to leave.

It’s hard to relate to the lives they lead. Any comments or thoughts I add aren’t much welcome and any mention of my own difficulties or accomplishments are quickly dismissed. It isn’t their fault or mine, we’re all just traveling vastly different paths. I get it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

The evening is better. I’m happy to be back with my wife and pets, my own little family in our own little home. Mindless TV is still running, but I’m so easily persuaded this time. I’ve chosen to read a little instead.

I’ve been so overwhelmed by how far behind I’ve fallen in my reading goals it’s taken months and months to begin again. The trick, I realized, is not to pick up the same book you keep putting down, but to pick up something new. I chose an old favorite with a new twist: The Odyssey, translated by Emily Wilson, the first woman to tackle the epic. The introduction alone has pulled me back into literature in a way no book has this past year.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. After being on vacation there’s very little cleaning to do and having learned my lesson today I’m resolving not to let mindlessness tempt me so again.

204 // Back From Fantasy

It’s been a little while since I’ve been here, properly. I’ve been busy, as usual, not that business is ever any real excuse, but then I was off vacationing with my wife and I wanted to be present for her, and for me. I wanted to try being in the world rather than thinking about the world for a while and it turns out that’s exactly what I needed.

My wife and I were more than just vacationing. This past week marked our third wedding anniversary, and we chose New Orleans for this year’s celebrations and it was one of the most vibrant and wondrous experiences of my life.

We went looking for good food and rest, and that is exactly what we found. Both my wife and I are adventurous eaters. It’s one of the things I love most about her. We found duck, rabbit, chicken livers, all the oysters we could eat, and more together. When we weren’t eating we slept the rainy parts of the day away and lounged poolside with mimosas.

It was beautiful and even with the heat, the humidity, and the rain, I desperately want to go back. Maybe one day. Maybe one day I’ll make it there and never leave…

For now, I’m trying to work my way back from fantasy. The readjusting to real life, and work-life, has been jarring, and a bit depressing, but much of that is only the circumstances I returned to.

There was work stress well before we left, and it waited patiently for me to return. I had dreaded these last three days for the past month and I find myself feeling quite proud to have gotten through them. Next week will be the real test of my new calm and confidence. I’m stepping well outside of my comfort zone and taking on more than I ever have.

I have strong worries about my ability to do my job well, but I’m doing my best to push them out of my mind tonight. Tonight is time to rest. To ground myself a bit better. To find balance and make room for all the ways time away has changed me.

187 // Marking the Growth

The only thing worse than starting the workweek on a Monday is starting the workweek on a Tuesday. It’s an easy day at least and there is a real possibility it will be an early day too. At least I hope it will be. There’s a growing list of to-dos I’d love to check off and writing projects I’d like to make some progress on.

I was in meetings all morning and though meetings are never anyone’s favorite way to spend their time; I was at least among friends and left feeling more appreciated than I have in a long time. There are things I want to do better, and people whose respect and admiration I’ve yet to earn, but I know I have done my best and outperformed many of my peers, all while surviving one of the hardest years of my life.

My team was informed of big changes coming our way, including higher expectations and more involvement from upper management. I appreciate the advanced notice and I’m marking the growth I have undergone made clear by the calmness with which I took the news. My confidence is growing and some of that old spark I used to feel for my work is returning, ever so slowly but surely.

Too much of the afternoon was wasted with unnecessary chores and napping, as always, but I acknowledged the little voice in my head urging me to think, create, and learn on multiple occasions. A few words were typed and a few more read. It wasn’t enough, but it was better than most days and miles beyond none.

Goals // Week 27: Again, and Again, and Again

This week is the second of the new school year and the work is ramping up again. We’ve recovered from the holiday and we’re looking out through the end of the season and the end of the year. We’re heading to the finish line and whether we’re ahead or hopelessly behind the new year and the new beginning are closer than we imagine.

So, I’m letting go of the last six months and taking the next day by day, hour by hour even. The result is lighter weight and a way forward. There’s no reason why significant progress can’t still be made. I only have to swallow my pride and forget my failure. I only have to love myself enough to keep trying again, and again, and again.

With that being said, this week I will:

Wake up with the alarm. I miss out on at least 30 minutes to two hours a day, or about 8 hours a week of me time by hitting snooze or sleeping through my alarm. That is time to think, to process, to plan. That is time to read, or write, or learn something new. Hitting snooze never results in more rest but it does deprive me of time to achieve my most important goals.

100 squats every day and a walk around the neighborhood every evening. I’m on a mission to regain muscle tone lost to both chronic fatigue and simple laziness. Beware, overdoing it only ever leads to pain, resistance, fear, and failure. Take it slow and spread the squats throughout the day and keep the walk to under 30 minutes.

Take one direct step toward your July writing goals every day. Most days that means doing one thing, showing up, and typing for as long as you can, but there will be other days that call for input more than output. This means reading, listening, and experiencing mindfully and with a clear purpose. This means knowing not just what you are doing, but why.

Take no direct steps at all. Just as muscles need rest between workouts in order to grow, the mind needs rest too. There is not just input and output, there also needs to be periods of pause where the subconscious does its work, connecting concepts and generating ideas all without your knowledge. Take no steps and watch the path clear on its own.

Limit snacking. It’s been a long road to remission from ulcerative colitis and hard work to heal the gut and get back to some semblance of normalcy. It feels good to eat again, too good, and the numbers on the scale, and my increasingly ill-fitting clothes are reflecting that. Time to rebuild a mindful eating habit and I’ve got to start by limiting the between-meal snacks.

This week I will not say yes when I mean to say no. I will give myself time to think before answering and I will remember both that the lack of planning on another person’s part does not constitute an emergency on mine and that doing for others is not the only way for me to show love.

I will not overextend myself or allow my boundaries to be disregarded. I ask so little of others, but what I do ask must become non-negotiable. My well-being is not up for debate nor is it subject to compromise. Other people seem to forget that I am a person like them with feelings and needs in return. I think it’s time I start reminding them that love and connection both depend on boundaries, therefore, enforcing them is doing the right thing for me, and for them.


186 // An Extra Day

Well, I wasted another weekend on the couch but thankfully powers that existed long before me saw fit to make the day after the 4th of July an “observed” holiday. Meaning I got an extra day off from work and another chance at my weekend goals. But first, coffee!

We’ve spent these last days running ragged from one side of town to the other and back, trying to buy all our needs and wants for our upcoming vacation. I worry we’ve overdone it, but it’s the first trip my wife and I have taken in a very long time and the first time we’ve flown out of state together at all. We’re understandably excited and overzealous.

There is still a lot left to do, but I’ve in danger of pushing my body too far. It’s better to choose to rest now and be back on my feet tomorrow than to keep going until I’m forced to rest and I’m in pain for days. I’ve got a busy work week ahead and personal projects that have already fallen behind schedule. I can’t afford not to do nothing today.

Nothing, of course, still includes some light cleaning, meal prep, and scheduling the week. I’m looking over my planner, making lists, and counting the hours I have to work, write, and rest. They never equal out the way I wish them to, but I’m thankful to have enough to give both to others and to myself. Looking out through the month and the season, I feel a sense of sadness.

Summer is waning. There’s still much of it left, but not as much as I’d like or not enough of it I can use to explore the mountains, the city, or the night. I want more, but winter will make her way. I’m not ready for this time to end and I don’t know whether it’s better to pretend it never will or to keep the end ever in my mind?

185 // Summertime

This is summer in Colorado.

Hot dry heat the settles in early and clouds that build by the hour through lunchtime. The thunderheads make their meandering march down from the mountains and east across the plains, throwing lightning and turning the skies alternating shades of bright and blue to dark and grey. When the rain begins it confounds, falling softly in the darkest hours and flooding the street while the sun shines.

This is my favorite time of the year. Soon, hopefully, the clouds will part and the illegal neighborhood fireworks shows will begin. Most people hate them, and I understand. If my anxiety were triggered by the loud booming or if my pets were freaking out, I might hate them too, but it’s quite the opposite.

Both our dog and elderly cat practically sleep through them, and I am awed by both the sound, the light, and all the pretty colors. They are illegal, so I don’t actively encourage them, and I don’t buy or light them myself, but I appreciate those willing to risk a fine and a finger or two to light up the skies tonight.


We left to walk our little street after sundown and the locals didn’t disappoint. We attempted to bring the dog, but we learned she has her limits. The sounds and smells of fireworks going off directly above is overwhelming. She was sent inside, where she promptly forgot all about them.

The neighbors all had their garages open or their kids in tow while they walked the streets. I love the feeling of community on nights like these. No one calls the cops and all get to enjoy an exciting show. On the flip side there seems to be a mutual understanding that setting these off after midnight is unacceptable.

I’m sad to read on social media that other communities don’t have such unspoken understanding. Many called the cops, and many more complained. Many called them out and many more argued and argued and argued.

I realized that my community is, perhaps, a good one, and I am grateful today for my home, my place, and the surrounding people. Though they are little more than strangers to me, they make me feel a sense of peace and connectedness. This and only this is what I celebrate tonight.

182 // A Second or Seventh Chance

It’s the first of a new cycle here at work, we’ve officially moved on to the 2021-2022 school year. A lot of changes go into effect, including new bosses, new team members, new expectations, new anxieties, and new possibilities too.

I’m thinking this muggy morning of my life outside of my work and how I might take advantage of this new beginning, a second—or seventh—chance to get it right, depending on how time appears to you and how desperate you’ve been to begin again.

I’m feeling pretty desperate myself. I have some big goals for the second half many of which look nothing like the goals I set out at the beginning of this calendar year. A lot has changed, and that’s okay. I never want to go on wanting what I used to. I want to change and my life should reflect who I am now. The hard part is only keeping up. I have to start moving a lot faster, and with a lot more confidence if I want to accomplish anything before I become a new me again, and again, and again…

I’m grateful for the chance to start the month off slow. With the 4th of July just around the corner, little has been expected of me this week. I’ve had time to reflect, to set out some concrete goals, to think about what progress will look like for me.

As for today I have a little work, but time is flying and I have a feeling I’ll be back home before I know it. I started a 100 squats-a-day challenge and already got 35 of them in. I’m writing this post and my goals for next week are taking shape. Later I’ll get 500 words in toward a new post and get some of these fragments from my notebook organized. After I’ve made it through these hours of daylight, I’ll reward myself with a glass of wine and a walk through the neighborhood before bed.

Looking out at the many hours before sundown I feel excited rather than afraid, motivated rather than overwhelmed, capable rather than helpless. The only way today could be better is if it were tomorrow.