Time to get serious (and this time I mean it)

I’m talking about discipline. Self-discipline, to be specific.  I’m 60 pounds overweight.  My old punctuality problem is back.  I’m not working out, and as you may have noticed, I’m not writing much. Ugh. It’s a constant struggle, isn’t it?

Part of the problem is that with my weight at my personal max, my sleep apnea is worse, and the lack of energy has made it very difficult to get other things done. I’ve had several naps rage out of control lately. I plan on 30-45 minutes and end up losing 3 hours, or more, even going so far as to reset the timer on my phone to sleep a while longer.

So, I’m not really blaming myself, or being hard on myself, but I am determined to push forward. Don’t worry, I’ll get medical attention for the sleep apnea worsening, but I’m not waiting for that to be wrapped up. I’m forging ahead with my discipline renewal now.

Am I setting myself up? I don’t think so. I’m very determined, tenacious, a little stubborn, perhaps. I know I can do better. You’ve got to do the best you can and allow for some minor slippage when you’re working on life improvements.  Don’t beat yourself up. The world does enough of that.

One thing I managed to figure out years ago, is that discipline is an interconnected thing. It’s hard to be disciplined in one area while completely lax in another. For example, sticking to a diet and exercise plan will actually help me work on my writing.

You don’t want to take on too much all at once, but you do want to have a brand spanking new mindset, one that accepts the reality of the occasional setback, but marches on relentlessly to the goal, knowing you’ll get there. That’s what I’m going to do.

Who’s with me? We’re all in this together, after all!  Go to it!

Father Time Fly-by

Did you ever get awakened by your bladder in the “wee” hours of the morning? Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun. It happened to me this morning at 4:30, about an hour before I get up for work.  My sleep apnea allows me to always get right back to sleep, so that wasn’t the problem. It was the fact that I merely blinked and the alarm was going off. Seems that way sometimes doesn’t it? So, off to work I went. Friday! Only a voluntary OT, half day tomorrow. Whoop, whoop!

To the newcomers, my day job is microfilming material for preservation. It’s mostly newspapers, for historical purposes. Not that anyone goes to the library to use a microfiche reader to pore through old papers. So, anyway, I was working on a project that involves various titles from all over Missouri, mostly smaller, regional papers. The issues were from just the last couple years, so I remembered a lot of the news since it’s not that long ago. It’s been a tumultuous couple of years for our nation, and the world really, but I’m not going to talk about the specifics.

Instead, I just wanted to share the perspective it gave me. Like that hour that passed in a blink this morning, I went through events of the last couple years in a couple of hours. (Only scanning over headlines as I worked. That’s all you have time for.) It got me to thinking about how little time we’re here, relatively speaking.

World conflicts, brutal regimes, scientific discoveries, medical advancements and all the grand spiritual experiences along with the crushing emotional agony of humanity, countered by the ebb and flow of progress and reactions. Is that what it’s like for God? A day is but a thousand years, according to the Bible. Mountains push up and fall, oceans form and dry up, civilizations come and go with a raucous cry that, cosmically, goes as quick as “the wave” at a stadium. (Do people still do that?)

Some people affect the entire world, for better or worse. Most of us toil away in obscurity. But the people around you feel your presence in the world. The majority of the masses will continue their family line and be remembered that way.  Others are remembered for their accomplishments or for the many kindnesses they extended. That makes it all worthwhile. To connect to one another and the world around us allows us to prepare our souls for the journey beyond, whether you believe that’s heaven or hell, a higher spiritual plane, or something else.

I speak to myself more than anyone when I say, make good use of your time here. Fill your days with meaning and it won’t feel like the days have slipped by too fast and empty. That’s why I’ve finally started to write more, and to engage more with others. We can actually slow down time in a sense, by deeply experiencing each day, absorbing and reflecting on events. Don’t just push everything out of your head because you don’t have the time or the energy to think about it. Live it!

Whatever you’ve been putting off, pushing down inside, denying or shutting out, stop!

Look up an old friend, make time to read, visit an elderly neighbor or relative, get back into that hobby you used to love, and most of all, seek out humanity in the fragile, flawed, awesome travelers around you. And as always, we’re all in this together!

 

One swim forward

I work at a place that does digital scanning and microfilming of materials such as books, newspapers, documents, photos, slides, negatives, etc.  Almost a year ago, I switched from digital to the film department, where most of the material is newspapers. (Yes they still do microfilm, but it’s just for preservation, whereas digital is for access.) I don’t think I’m allowed to mention clients, projects or titles, but I’ll just say I was working on a project today that involves a variety of local papers from just the last couple of years. There was a lot of high school sports coverage.

It got me to thinking about my very un-athletic school days. In particular, some articles triggered my thinking about swimming, and the fact that I didn’t learn until my mid-20’s. Even at that time, it was just kind of learning on my own and not very well.

My sister had swim lessons when we were kids. She was the oldest, and she did nothing but complain about having to take the lessons. I guess that’s why my brother and I didn’t get them. My mom gave up.

There were many times over the years, when it became an awkward and embarrassing issue for me.  We were invited to friends of the family who had pools, and there were the pool party invitations, camp, school trips and such. Seemed like everybody knew but me.

I resented my parents for things like that for a long time. Then, I forgave them and learned to swim, even going pretty far out from the beach when I was at the shore one year. In fact, I got the whistle blown at me by the lifeguard to head back in.

Why didn’t I just do that as a kid, you might wonder? Well, I was very inhibited, shy, meek, and as mentioned, not at all athletic. I needed help. I was able to do it as an adult because I had overcome a lot of my issues. Not all, mind you, but a lot.

I feel blessed to have an independent and tenacious spirit. That helped me to conquer swimming, and many other things. With all of them, the first step was to put aside issues like self-pity, jealousy, and resentment. You have to take a good hard look at yourself sometimes and see your own part in things. Sure, it wasn’t my fault as a young kid, that I couldn’t swim, but couldn’t I have done something about it sooner than I did?

Maybe I shouldn’t have had to, but “shouldn’t have to” is the most useless phrase in the English language.

I’d be lying if I said I have no resentment left toward my parents about any issue. I still think about how little guidance I received as a clueless teen.  I’ll continue with that in another post.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best and try to keep looking forward, not back.