Changes for the New Year

Last year I resolved to read a book a month. I failed that resolution as is tradition. However, I did manage to read seven or eight books which is better than I normally do and that figure is not including audiobooks, so it’s definitely an improvement over attempts to keep resolutions in previous years.

The day after Thanksgiving, I resolved not to have anymore alcohol for the remainder of 2019 and I have succeeded at that. In fact, I still have not had a drink and don’t really have a desire to. Joanna has stated that she has seen a definite change in my personality for the better. Knowing and achieving this has given me confidence to making real change in 2020.

In November, I decided that my main goal for 2020 was to get down to 14% bodyfat. At the time I made that goal, I was sitting around 24-25%. Since then, I’ve managed to get it down to 22-23%. That’s with putting in little effort and no exercise. Now that the new year has begun, I’m going to get more aggressive with it. My wife and I are kicking it off with a No-Junk-January. That means no white bread, candy, chips, crackers, ice cream, etc. The only “cheat day” would be her birthday for obvious reasons. We just need to make sure we don’t gorge.

I also plan to give up tobacco completely with only the occasional cigar on special occasions. I had my last smoke on New Year’s Eve. Sorry, Black & Mild. It’s for my own good.

Another health focus goal is something I call GOWAD. It’s a play on GOMAD which stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day. It’s somethings some bodybuilders use build their bodies. In mine, the W stands for Water. I don’t expect to achieve this everyday, but by shooting for a GOWAD, I hope to have an overall healthier body. Better hydrated. Less hungry. Peeing a lot. Goodness there will be so much pee.

All of these combined I’m hoping will get me in a better mental state. The lack of alcohol has already shown improvement. With this better mental state, I expect to be more calm, less easily agitated, more focused. This in turn I hope will make me more productive as well as a better husband and father.

I see a lot of up for this new year and I’ve already shown I can accomplish my goals if I put my mind to it. Here’s to a new me.

Pain and Growth

I am a fuck up. Probably always have been, most likely always will be. But I’m trying. With every screwup comes a little improvement, or at least that’s what I hope is happening. I have messed up a lot in life. It’s led to an awful lot of insecurities and it’s caused me to ignore or shutout all of the wonderful people around me. It’s caused me to reject or miss a lot of great experiences. Experiences I was a part of, I often completely missed the wonderful and beautiful things about it. When faced with challenges, I would back away or lash out at them. All this, in turn, has caused me to mess up even more. You can see it’s a vicious circle that spirals downward until change or demise.

I used to have a big problem with empathy. I had a great difficulty feeling it. As such, my emotions and responses were very cold, unfeeling. Feeling sympathy for other’s misfortunes was difficult. I couldn’t relate to things that shouldn’t have taken a lot to relate to. I had difficulty picking up on simple social cues and I was stubborn to the point of blinding myself to the obvious. It was absurd how much I blinded myself to what was clearly around me. I was, to put it bluntly, a detriment to myself and those around me.

In recent months, I have woken up to that fact and it hit me like a truck full of bricks. Somewhere along the line, I had stopped growing. Perhaps it was living alone for so long with little to no outside social life. Perhaps it was a growing dependence on alcohol and tobacco. The fact is, somewhere along the line, I went stagnant. Even major life events didn’t change me as much as they should’ve. I’m growing now, but it is very difficult.

I think I have a lot more understanding and compassion than I used to, but I believe that I am having trouble regulating. Having lived so long without the basic social skills and emotions that a person needs to grow, I find it difficult to determine where the lines of too much and too little are. I try and I think I’m better at reading social cues than I once was, but I can’t be certain.

One thing I am certain of is that I’m a much better person than I once was. Everything is now exciting and new to me. Looking back, I don’t like the person I was and I’m pleased to say that I’m relatively sure he’s dead. Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of great qualities the old me had, but there were also a lot of bad ones. A lot of things I’m ashamed of and embarrassed about. I like to think I’m keeping all the good qualities while carefully burying the bad ones.

If someone asked me what I wanted out of life a year ago, asked me what were my goals, the old me would have said that he didn’t know, that he already had everything he wanted and to an extent, that was true. I had married the woman of my dreams, had two wonderful children and bought a home. However, that would’ve been my own stagnation speaking. Yes, I had achieved what I wanted and they were absolutely wonderful, but I didn’t see a need for goals from there. If you asked me today, I would tell you that I want to have a loving, long-lasting marriage. I want to make sure my children grow up into wonderful adults. I want to try new experiences, including those things that I outright rejected in the past. I want to go to another country for my 10 year anniversary. I want to go on exciting new journeys in life. And I want to write.

That’s one of the things that has been something of a blessing to me; a renewed interest in writing. I used to write all the time, but somewhere along the line, I stagnated and stopped. Every once in awhile, I’d start typing and write whatever came to mind, but lately, I’ve had more focus. I’ve been able to work on short stories and develop them a bit before posting. Writing has always been something of a passion and now that this passion has been re-kindled, I’m hoping I can keep this flame burning long. I’m not looking to become a big author or anything like that. I just want to get my stories out and know that people have read it and said, “Yeah, that was a good story.”

For the past few months, I’ve been looking at the world through new eyes. It’s a wonderful and beautiful world. It’s also got a lot of pain, but with pain comes growth. It should’ve happened much sooner, but I think I’m finally growing into the man I need to be.

Shameless plug…

If you’d like to read any of my stories, head on over to Taradiddlesoup.

There you will find an ever-growing collection of tales that I have written. I have two more short stories that I am currently working on that I hope to post soon with hopefully many more to come after that. I’ve recently posted a delightful story about photography and why you should never attempt it.