Life is an ever evolving journey that will keep me on my toes right up until the day that I die, which I hope to be many years from now but in all reality who really knows?
I have been doing a lot of soul searching, reflection and subconscious thinking about my future over the past several weeks. At times in my life I have been caught in the cycle of the nothing, but this period of time was completely different… when I am in the grip of the nothing, nothing happens, I don’t do much (usually zero exercise) and I feel sorry for myself, a little depressed, just generally not a good mental place.
Again this was different, I know BIG changes are coming and my mind has been planning things out getting ready for today. Today is the first day of the next evolution of my life as things seem to be falling into place, perhaps not the way I originally planned or intended but that is life isn’t it?
It’s kind of funny to me when I sit here and think about things, rolling with things, being a bit of a free spirit has never been my strong suit and something I have really struggled with in the past. I would fight against what I had planned, and what life was presenting to me, it was a struggle and it would usually end up sucking the joy and excitement of whatever it was I may be doing. A very small change in my own mental perception of things has helped tremendously when approaching life.
Using my oldest daughter as a perfect example, as I have struggled with her or more correctly my own mental perception of what I thought her teenage years should be, and as time went by and I struggled with my vision of my daughter’s life, the way I thought it should be, and what ultimately it turned out to be were two completely different things. The more I would fight against what was reality, and what my vision of that reality the further apart we seemed to grow. Having accepted the situation for what it is, for accepting the way my life has turned out now I can build from here.
The next four months are going to see a lot of HUGE changes coming in this guys life, and I am very excited to see where I can end up come the end of this summer. It’s going to be awesome!!
I didn’t quite understand just how much my actions would influence my children’s behaviour until very recently when I had a numerous of life hard truths that I had to first face, and then overcome. The last few months I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing the results of a positive, action lifestyle. A few weeks ago during one of my MasterMind group calls, the topic of doing things in front of your children. One in our group is learning to play the guitar, and it was suggested to practice while the kids were around so they could see Dad practice… Interesting concept.
This has now translated into working out with Austin each day as opposed to lifting weights at the gym, I have the ability to do this at home. Each day he gets very excited to join Daddy in building muscle downstairs in my home gym. Today will be no different as Austin and I will soon be crushing chest day.
The opposite effect of something like even writing this blog post is that Austin is lying here beside me watching his Ipad, or his cartoons on the TV. If I am not actively engaging him he can get lost in the electronic world, and I’d much rather have him based in the real world. With most of the snow now melted up here, Austin has also started asking to go the park, as this is when my “training” will get to be really a lot of fun. As beneficial as lifting weights has been to my overall strength it does get rather repetitive and boring for me. Perhaps lacking a true workout partner to push me harder and further… who knows… but what I really enjoy is jumping on my bike with the boy in tow, and then stopping at parks for him to play and me to get some working out in on the playground equipment.
It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of weight based movements with lot’s of pushing and pulling involved, I challenge you to try to the kids monkey bars the next time you find yourself passing a playground. It’s tough.
While Star Wars A New Hope, which was released when I was five years old has been my favorite movie of all time, it is only recently that I discovered many of the truly important lessons in life can be drawn directly from the films over the last 40 years. And while I am sure there are many more lessons you can draw from these wonderful films, here are some of my favorite…
“Do or do not… there is no try.”~ Master Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
Perhaps my favorite life lesson, and a long time source of inspiration for me as there is a framed plaque of this quote right on my recreation room wall. In life you can either do something or not doing, there is no middle ground. It is a mentality I try to take into everything that I do, I am not going half ass anything. I am going to run 100 days in a row, I am certainly not going to just try to do…
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”~ Darth Vader, A New Hope
You need to surround yourself with people that believe in you, and will blow wind into your sails. Life is far too short to listen to the haters, the doubters, the people that just want to drag you down to their level. Surround yourself with amazing people that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
C-3PO “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is 3,720 to 1.”
“Never tell me the odds.”~ Han Solo, The Empire Strikes Back
If you had told me ten years ago that I would have completed an Ironman triathlon, I would never have believed you. At the time I was 234 pounds and completely out of shape, but with the proper training plan, and the motivation from deep within myself I crossed the finish line on Aug. 29th, 2009 and will forever be an Ironman finisher. I have the medal to prove it!! From this experience I learned that there is nothing that you cannot do in life when you put our mind to it. It’s a belief in yourself, a belief that you can accomplish anything. Believe and your will find a way.
“Strike me down and I will be become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”~ Obi Wan Kenobi, A New Hope
Success in life can often be attributed to failure, or several failures in life. It’s about getting back up after you have been knocked down, it’s about getting back on that horse after you’ve been bucked off. Life is hard and at times cruel, it will test you, it will push you to your limits, it will knock you down. From each failure you can learn from you will evolve into a much more powerful version of yourself.
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”~ Yoda, The Phantom Menace
Even the worst movie of the Star Wars franchise can teach us something, Don’t let fear guide your life, don’t let fear control your decisions. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future can cripply you into inaction and nothing. You know what happens when your afraid and do nothing? Nothing happens. I sometimes call this the Negative cycle and it has had it’s powerful grip on me for too long at some points in my life. I now longer fear the unknown, I embrace it. I wake up and look forward to each and everyday and what it may bring. With this changed mindset, I’ve seen my own anger slowly fade away…
“One thing for sure, we’re all going to be a lot thinner!”~ Han Solo, A New Hope
Humor in life can go a long way, and can make a stressful situation for tolerable. This would be one lesson that I would want to incorporate more of into my own life, and not get stressed out at things beyond my control. Laugh about, make jokes and make the best of whatever situation you may find yourself in.
“All his life he looked away. To the future. To the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing.”~ Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
Being mindful, being present in the moment can go such a long way. Imagine you are spending quality time with that special person and you continually picked up your phone to check your social media feed, only giving that other person some of your attention. Now imagine that same interaction with your phone turned off, and the other getting 100% of your attention, your body language, and where your mind is at. Being mindful, being present can go such a long way in a relationship and can make that special person truly feel special.
“Let go of your hate.”~ Luke Skywalker, Return of the Jedi
There is a time and place to put the past in the past and let go of ill feelings that you may have been holding onto and taking away from other areas of your life. By embracing the hate, it prevents you from growing in the other direction. It forces you to focus on the negative as opposed to embracing the positive aspects of life. Letting go of the hate and anger doesn’t mean forgetting, it means focusing on the bright future ahead that (if you let it) can be filled with love and happiness.
I personally believe in the power of the force, and while I may not be able to levitate boulders with my mind, despite how hard I tried when I was a child I certainly believe that there is an energy that as described by Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, “…an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.” This energy you can tap into, you can use to power yourself to great and amazing things, there is also a dark side energy that can, when you start down it’s path will forever dominate your destiny.
The light side, the positive energy in life is such a powerful thing. It is powering me to run 100 days in a row, it is powering me to change my life in such a positive way. I have such a strong personal connection to Darth Vader, as my life was filled with anger and hate until one day I was able to come back to the light side of the force and embrace all that is good in life.
At some point last November I woke up with a sore left hamstring, and to be truthful it still hasn’t healed fully. It is not what I will call painful but I am always aware that it is sore, somedays much more than others. Today being one of those days…
Yesterday was day 51 of the 100 day running challenge, and well because I am slightly stupid I decided to go all out on my run around the block instead of the nice and easy 4km that I had planned for the start of recovery week. I had a done a nice 12km run the day before for run 50 but it was on ice covered trails and I could only manage half stride as I was worried about the icy trails, slipping, falling, rolling an ankle, injury! So the run itself was not very taxing on my legs, it was a great ankle and support muscle run however.
So yesterday I guess I wanted to spread my wings and fly, or in runners speak expand my stride length and see what I was capable of. For run 49 a few days before, I went as fast as I could over a 5km run setting some personal best times along the way. Yesterday, I just destroyed those times by 22 per kilometer over my best km, the difference between the two runs would have been the temperature outside (it was much warmer yesterday), and the run itself just felt more natural. For run 49 I was fighting myself the whole time, and it was a struggle, for run 51 I was fighting my breathing and trying not to have my heart explode in my chest (figure of speech) as it was a maximum effort.
What I didn’t do and certainly should have was warm up properly, as I have a tendency to step out the front door and RUN! I also now have the ability to have a close understanding of my pace when I run, I don’t need my audio cues in my ear to tell me how fast I am going. I pass the same mailbox each run at exactly the 1 km mark, and I can usually predict my time to within 5 seconds… Yesterday I didn’t look at my watch or the pace until I was finished the 3 km sprint, and was truly marvelled at how fast I had gone. I had mentioned to Megan that 14 and half minutes would be an excellent time, but 13:41s was just outstanding! With km’s of 4:32, 4:24, and 4:28 and the real awesome thing is that I can even go faster still.
I started with a pace average of around 5:45 per km when I started and I’ve seen that drop over the last 50 days, and am very excited where it will be in 50 days from now… for the rest of this week it is very small, easy pace recovery runs as I attempt to rest up the forever sore left hamstring. Nothing longer than 5km, nothing faster than 6 minutes per km with some stretching, massage rollers and easy bike rides thrown into the mix. This coming Sunday I will attempt another maximum effort 4km run this time with a proper warmup and we shall compare the results.
Many people have expressed to me, including the Nike coach that sometimes whispers in my ear as I run to start off easy and build into the run. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, and even after all these years I am not sure that I still even get it. Let me explain, back in 2007 when I was a 234 pound coach potato and had yet to do my first triathlon I started to run. I can visualize the run corse still in my head, I would start on my driveway head about 150m down the street with a left turn and a kilometer down the street to an Esso gas station, turn around and return home. Two kilometers in total.
When I started I could not get to the end of my street without my heart pounding, a stitch developing in my side, and me being completely gassed. What I was doing was leaving my driveway and not running, sprinting at full speed! My inexperience with anything athletic at that point in my life, had me dazed and confused. I didn’t know how to run, my goal was to run as fast as I could, I still shake my head sitting here over 10 years later that I couldn’t understand the concept of how to run…
So here we are 11 years later, and I am smack dab in the middle of a personal 100 day run challenge. I had heard of this challenge a few years ago, and have tried it in the past. My mindset was that if you could run 100 days in a row, it would put you into fantastic physical condition for the upcoming triathlon season. I believe I tried this challenge two or three years already and never ever made it into double digits. I gave up, I quit, I missed a day, I left life get in the way…
So what is different this year? How have I made it all the way to day 50?
That is a very good question, something I will reflect upon today during run 50. What immediately comes to mind is the support circle and system of accountability that I have surrounded myself with. The changes that I have made in my life both on a personal and professional level. The fact that I know own my shit, not all the time but it is definitely a work in progress. The MasterMind group I have joined, is an amazing place for support and accountability led by Jeff and Jason have encouraged me along the way. New friends like John Bauer inspire me to keep going on this crazy adventure feeding off each others positive energy and good vibes.
Most importantly is the man I see staring at me in the glass each morning. He inspires me to be better, he inspires me to try harder, he inspires me to run further, he inspires me to grab my shoes and go for a run each and every day for the last 50 days. He will continue to inspire me to run for 50 more!
The hands on the clock are always in motion, even sitting here today totally unmotivated to do much of anything I still am very aware of the passage of time. You see there is still time to salvage this day and get a few things done as opposed to laying on the couch and watching yet another episode of Mantracker. It’s been an emotionally tough week on several fronts…
I was future endeavoured on Feb. 15th, the day after Valentine’s Day and I couldn’t help but think about the timing of life rearing its ugly head which has been a constant theme throughout my entire life. For example you meet a fabulous person, and they are happily married kind of idea… On the flip side I have seen this principle actually save my life, one example in particular comes to mind when my boss a few years ago gave me the day off work due to the crazy weather we were having. If I had gone in that day I would have been right in the middle of a 100 car pileup that happened later that day on the exact route and time I normally would have driven to work…
Definitely gives you a moment of pause and reflection…
While I had an amazingly productive day yesterday, I just don’t feel the love from my body today. When the spirit is low, the energy level is also low as well. I lack motivation, I lack inspiration and it is going to be a tough weekend for me. A couple of kid free days, a couple of days of work, and then Family Day with for the first time since its inception as a Statutory Holiday I will not be working, and I will be home kid free.
I just may have to pile my hiking shoes, mountain bike into the back of my Jeep and make an adventure of the day.
So as a single guy a day like yesterday kind of sucks. Everywhere you turn love and happiness is being thrown in your face, to make matters worse I was also trying to capitalize on this day by pimping my sugar cookie business to anyone that was interested. To spend the day before (all day) baking, icing and decorating, then packaging up all these tasty treats was a lot of fun but just drove the point home even more.
It was a perfect storm of life events as well, both little kids went back to their mom’s house as it was Wednesday. The eldest two wanted to spend time with their friend and boyfriend so I had an empty house.
Honestly sitting home alone was not so much fun, and it allowed my mind to wander into some rather dark places. I didn’t like where it was going, and I was questioning a lot of the decisions that I have made over the last few months. I immediately recognized this as the beginning a what could have been a very nasty negative cycle. These patterns of thinking have been very self destructive for me in the past, and it is so easy to fall back into them and let the nothing just carry you away.
Good thing for me I have learned a few things these last few months about myself and how to handle this negative energy. As it was February 14th most of my support circle was busy last night having the most wonderful time (I hope), so I had to look at the man in the mirror for some guidance and help. I fired up Titanic on the big screen, grabbed my trusty journal and wrote a bunch of pages to purge my mind of the evil thoughts stirring around in there.
Those thoughts are now out of my head and will be translated directly into actions today which is a great thing. These intermittent thoughts that I would argue we all have from time to time can be self destructive when allowed to take hold, its comforting knowing that I can now recognize the onset and not allow myself to get trapped, but even more so be a source of energy and inspiration to drive me forward.
Today we have 80 sugar cookies to bake this morning for a client tomorrow afternoon, and some for my daughter and her class tomorrow as she is star of the day, then it will be some quality kid time tonight with swim lessons and some family fun at the YMCA followed my Marvel movie night!
It was a baking kind of morning, as the bananas from Sunday’s grocery shop were finally ready to be turned into some delicious loaves of banana bread, my children like to gobble down. They were bright green when I bought them and have patiently waited for them to turn…
And while those bad boys were baking away in the oven it was time to decorate some cookies for the Valentine’s Day cookie rush of early next week…
I have learned that decorating a sugar cookie is definitely a learnt skill, and one that can be greatly improved upon with a whole lot of practice. And that is what this morning was dedicated to with a fresh batch of icing, learning the correct consistency for both flooding and writing, drying times, etc…
I will also say that also with the strength training that I have been doing recently, it has increased my upper body strength and allowed me to hold that icing bag with a steady head. Results posted below, my only issues is that I like to sample a lot and eating sugar cookies is not a great part of the triathlete’s diet!
Interesting question? And one I was forced myself to ask this past Sunday. I woke up around 6am to get ready for work, and as usual I pick up my phone to see if there is anything important that may need my attention. I see a message from FaceBook messenger from an old girlfriend from about 10 years ago, definitely not the normal notification I would get on my phone so I gave it a read.
Not the way that anyone would want to start the day. While I believe the underlying reason for sending this message was concern the wording and overall tone of the message was just plain wrong. I don’t even care to cut and paste it here as it basically was calling me out, my actions, this blog in particular were all BAD THINGS for me. That I was in serious denial about my anger, mental health issues and depression and if I continued down this path I would be broke, homeless and unemployable.
She of course then blocked me so I couldn’t send any sort of reply. Since I know that she is stalking me online, and will eventually read this this reply will have to do.
I am living my own life, and the choices that I make (while you may not agree with) are mine to make. Spending this time now with my son is my driving force in life, the day to day interaction that I get with him (and my other children), I wouldn’t trade for the world. I was a miserable nasty who hated his job, and hated the person THAT I WAS. I walked away from all that life to save the future of my children, had I continued on that path I would have been broke, homeless and unemployable.
I have spent considerable time resolving the issues that I had been dragging around with me, I have sought out help and found it in the most incredible and unexpected places. The friends that I have met and made are of such quality they won’t let me fail, they hold me accountable and I have such a network now that I can lean into when times get tough, to bounce thoughts and ideas off of, to lift me up when I am feeling down. The MasterMind course that I am doing had taught me how to be a better man, father and one day again husband. The community of support in these “FaceBook groups”, which I understand are closed for a reason.
And lastly exercise and triathlon are a bad thing? Seriously? I have learned more from the sport of triathlon about myself, self confidence, a healthy lifestyle and showing my children a way of life that they will learn from watching their father participate in. A lifestyle that will allow me to stay active and keep up with them as they grow into their own lives.
So thank you again for your concern, I’ve taken away the underlying message and adjusted my course with a few things, so thank you for that. The rest I am going to leave in the past, with you and the memories of our relationship. I will continue to focus on the positive things that are in my life and that I can control, you , your thoughts and feelings I cannot and I will not your fears and concerns become my own.
I have three coaching calls to look forward to today, each with a slight different area of focus, a bike/run brick workout to get in, a cookie order to bake decorate and ship, some website updates to do while the boy naps, and then an afternoon of fun and games with my children when they get home from school.
The only person I need concern myself with is the man that I see in the glass. Have a great day everyone.
PS – this is why I blog, to clear my mind, to set my focus for the day and then crush it.
How are you ever going to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going? ANother example, going for a drive without having a destination in mind. Sure you might see some nice things along with way, and there is something to be said about going on instinct and feel and at times this can turn out to be the most awesome adventure.
My time away from a career and spending all this amazing time with my children has been like going on that long drive without a destination in mind, and yes I have seen and experienced some pretty amazing things over the past several months. Time that I would not trade for anything, but now that we are a good month into 2018 I’ve started to feel the call back to work, being productive and being a little social as well.
My exercise for the week in my men’s mental health group is creating a wildly important goal, and leads you through the process of getting it accomplished within a certain time frame. We will be doing this exercise twice, the first time through as kind of a test run if you will to completely understand the process, and then again over a longer period of time. I’ve decided to use the first run through for my side hustle as advertised below, my online bakery.
The past week I have been using Facebook and Instagram to advertise, and the business has gotten some great exposure. One of the ads has more Instagram likes than I have ever gotten before, but this has not yet translated into any orders. The site only has Valentine’s Day cookies for sale, as this is the next holiday I am looking to capitalize on but there are many other special days throughout the year, and countless baby and bridal showers, birthdays, special events, you name it… I would very much like my website to reflect all the cookies (with photographic evidence) that I can make. When I counted I actually have about 180 different shape cutters to use.
I honestly believe that some Valentine’s Day orders will be coming, and us men are notorious for waiting until the last minute to take care of things, I would like to be ready for repeat and referral business after Valentine’s Day has come and gone with products ready for the rest of the year. I believe that one sale leads to two more, and then five and so on, I really do and I want to be ready for WHEN that happens.
I am sending out my first package through the mail today to see if the product survives, I have packed them safe and secure and now it’s on the post office shoulder not to destroy my work’s of art. Years in the comic book business should help with this! But over the next four weeks I will be baking and decorating a portfolio of cookies, and I really look forward to it! A month from now I will have an awesome website, my decorating skills will have improved ten times over and I will be ready to turn my side hustle into a full blown business. I cannot wait… well two more minutes anyways before the timer in the oven goes off. Hmmmm, delicious!