Hello again: Work / Life Balance

I’ll skip the part where I list all the reasons excuses for why I have posted in a while. I’ll also accept your forgiveness for my absence and my learning to write again. My paucity in posts could essentially be boiled down into one reason: a lack of work / life balance. This blog was never work but more about life; it lost out when I took on more responsibilities at work. Over the past month, I have recognized the problem and am taking necessary steps to resolve the issue.

The past year I have become immersed in work. This is due, but not limited, to an excitement about the possibilities, an inability to say no, an avoidance of other potential problems in my life and a lack of a fixed schedule. Being so involved in work meant losing out on relationships, events and most of the enjoyment that came along with them. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enjoying work but unhealthily neglecting everything else; even to the point of beginning to resent the work.

Recently, I have take a few steps to remedy this. Recognizing the problem is a big part of resolution, so I am on the right track. I have also begun meeting with a mentor, that understands the work that I do. He had some good advice regarding some beginning steps to take.

  1. Do not be an item on somebody else’s to do list. I would reply to texts, phone calls, and emails immediately, regardless of the urgency, time or day. One could argue that I was almost waiting for the next one to come through. Moving forward: I will have a certain time of day where I check and reply to emails. I will update my settings to eliminate every email from coming to my phone will put my phone away at night, only responding to personal (non-work) calls and texts. These two actions are combined with the new expectations and boundaries I will set with colleagues and clients.
  2. Take some time for yourself. I did not have a regular day off; a day that I could take care of me, relax, explore, learn or enjoy. I plan to take at least one day a week and also capitalize on the time I have during the summer.
  3. Set a schedule. I had failed to define a daily schedule. So I was flexible, which is good (yes, very go with the flow), but it also allowed me to fall victim to the flow. It didn’t give me any reason to say no – which meant I was overeager and vulnerable to overuse. My schedule will be another post altogether but involves: running, coffee, writing, learning, community, etc.
  4. Live with a Growth Mindset. In some aspects of life, I felt I was open to change or development. With others, I was closed off, thinking it is what it is. This topic is also post in and of itself. I look to continue to nurture that mindset and a “not yet” mentality.

An additional bonus is that for my job next year, I will be at set location so my vehicle will no longer be a storage unit. It will be nice to have my vehicle and my life back.

Looking forward to finding that balance.

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something new

I had driven my sun & hail damaged ‘06 Volvo s60 for far too long. The A/C had gone out, needed new struts and several other costly repairs. It was time for a new car. Since the temperature was beginning to rise, I was more motivated to look into new vehicles. Though Volvo had been good to me and I enjoyed several of their other models, I decided it was time for something new.

When considering a new vehicle, I was concerned with safety, comfort and, of course, style. The car would also need enough cargo space for my massage table. I looked at some sedans and also SUVs. The sedan that I was most attracted to was the Audi A4 (well any Audi for that matter). The new A3 was more within my price range but lacked the cargo room I needed. The A4 would suffice on that front but lacked the horsepower I desired. This would mean for Audi I would need something like the S4 or the A6. With that A becoming an S and the 4 becoming a 6, the $$ became $$$ or greater.

A sedan that caught me by surprise considering its ride, pick-up and additional bells & whistles was the Kia Optima Turbo. I enjoyed how well it handled and the price was far easier to swallow than the luxurious Audi. The rear window is smaller though and can’t see why that large of a blind-spot would be a good thing.

When it came down to it, I really wanted something more than a sedan. I missed being higher-up like I had been in my Durango from long ago. I really wanted an SUV. Once I had settled on an SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee really fit the bill when considering what I was looking for in a vehicle. Additionally, I really liked the Granite Gray color, knew I wanted leather seats, and also wanted the 4×4. Those last two additions raise the cost a little but insured that I was getting precisely what I wanted.

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The dealership didn’t have an exact match on the lot but found one in Katy and drove it here. After they looked things over, they handed the keys over to me. I love it. Specifically enjoying being higher up for the first time since my Durango which I drove 2001 – 2006, like that it is 4 wheel drive but AWD the rest of the time; and it has an eco mode, which kicks it down a couple cylinders, shifting sooner, saving on fuel. The Satellite Radio, navigation system, and back-up camera are also wonderful features. I truly look forward to enjoying this vehicle for years to come.

 

 

running

Running is an essential part of my life. It is so much more to me than exercise; it is a drug that allows me to remain balanced in a number of ways. When I fall into a running rut, I will run every day for a week; much like I am doing this week with the blog. The regularity gets me back on track, helps me get back to where I want to be.

For the remainder of March, after the ½ I ran in Little Rock back, my running had struggled. I was still running three or four times a week but without much purpose; meaning without much promise as well. Going into April, I knew I needed to get back to running more regularly. My brother and running partners have helped with this in several different ways.

My brother, Joe David, is a Physical Therapist at the Texas Physical Therapy Specialist Bee Caves location. He invited me to try out their AlterG machine. As you can read more about if you click on the link, this machine fights gravity – taking away your weight – allowing you to run while your body recovers. I started with running on the treadmill with 100% of my weight then took it down to 85 – then to 70 which is really where I could begin to feel any stress on my joints begin to disappear. I continued to increase the speed and eventually the incline. At 50% of my body weight I compared the way I felt while running to that of my youth soccer players. By the end of my run, I was running with only 30% of my body weight.

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The AlterG also has cameras surrounding the legs to allow its user, and the doctors standing nearby, to analyze stride, foot-strike and balance, among other things. The side view showed my stride or gait to be pretty well in sync with what I though it should be. The view from the front just looked like someone was going to trample my face. I found the rear view to be the most helpful. With this angle, I noticed that my left foot falls out a little as a step. My anatomical and functional training as a massage therapist interprets this to mean that I need to strengthen core, gluts, and hips to remedy this. Honestly really returning to full body strength training altogether will help.

In addition to that strength training, I am also getting back to running regularly in general. Currently I am focused on building up mileage.  Primarily I have been running with Sarah a 3:16 marathoner that prefers, and excels accordingly so, to run the half. My other regular running companion is Lesley a 3:19 marathoner. Off the road, I am part of a regular-texting-group of guys that are very serious about running. They keep me excited, motivated and accountable.

The thing that has proven to keep me more responsible to running regularly is a race on my calendar. I am leaning toward the Chosen: Marathon for Adoption in New Braunfels. Though an out-and-back course, it is beautiful, peaceful and for a great cause. This year our Ninja Running Team will compete in order to support our friends, Chad and Cris Yarbrough, in their adoption.

 

hydrogen peroxide phenomenon

Last Wednesday, nine days ago, I played in a softball game with my roommate Jacob and brother Joe. The fact that I hit 3 singles and a double, scored a couple runs and hit in another couple RBI is less important than the effects of sliding into second during my double. As a soccer player, I am used to sliding with my whole body, on grass (or mud or snow) and able to get up again to continue playing. At the softball fields, this slide is on a gravelly dirt and is interrupted by a base. This particular slide wasn’t my worst sustained softball sliding injury of all time but it was quite a bloody, dirty mess.

Naturally, I went home – showered, cleaning scrapes – then applied hydrogen peroxide afterwards. The Hydrogen Peroxide did what seemed to be its job: burned and bubbled. The wounds, scabbed over and pain free, gave me no other trouble or worry.

This past Wednesday, two days ago, the next softball game, Jacob came home scraped up. I handed him by bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and he cleaned his cuts. He told me yesterday how much it burned and even woke him up during the night. I relayed to him: “bubbles and burning means it’s working.” Last night, he dug deeper into his bathroom closet and found a different bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide. He used it this time and it burned significantly less. His bottle had expired in 2012; mine in 2007.

Whaaaaa? 2007?! but it had worked on my wounds only a week prior. Yes! I understand that something from 2007 should not still be in my medicine cabinet but it had been ‘working’. Did his burn less because it was less infected than the night before? Does Hydrogen Peroxide lose its effectiveness over time? If so, in what way? Why did the older bottle burn more?

From what I could find, Hydrogen Peroxide does expire and if you leave the bottle open it will turn to just water. Furthermore, Hydrogen Peroxide is no longer recommended for treatments of wounds. The Hydrogen Peroxide can damage the skin cells from such scrapes. Soap and water will do. The threat does not worry me but I am baffled by the expiration phenomenon does. If anyone knows why this happened the way it did, please let me know.

miscellaneous monday: running

Running keeps me mentally and physically fit. It is my release; it works me out while I work out life. It is my medicine. It is my escape. When I run, there is no right or wrong, no disappointing others, or misunderstanding. I always feel better after a run than when I began. It heals me, holds me, gives me peace. So many things have been written about the positives of running. I am not trying to out-do those but maybe add a little to or affirm what has aready been written. Without running, I become irritable, impatient, inappropriate, in-a-state-un-fun-to-be-around. This blog is to not only log my running adventures but to keep me accountable; to keep me running regularly, for me and the people in my life.

So I run.

I wrote the above in an old blog that was more of a running journal. http://runningjd.blogspot.com  Of course, I don’t keep up with the blog anymore but it was good to read my initial post (which is the copied segment above). Sometimes I take my running too seriously. I get in my mind that it isn’t worth running a race if it isn’t my faster time at that distance. That said, last Friday I registered for next Sunday’s Austin Half Marathon (my 34th birthday). As a running friend and my words from 2007, I will do so for fun, enjoying the city and the ability to run. “No pressure!” Celebrating my birthday in a way. Should you see me out there, I may need to be reminded 🙂

Finally, I want to encourage you to go for a run. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast, but that you give it a go. Hopefully it can become for you, what it means to me.

miscellaneous monday: bicycle

For the past several months I have been on the hunt for a commuter bike. I was easily able to find one or two that caught my eye but there was always something I didn’t quite like about it. Some of them were too small while other had the shifters on the lower part of the frame. I decided to sit down and chart out exactly what I desired. As I made my list, things like brand and color fell behind other qualities.

I wanted vintage look and feel, classic but still easy to use – shifters in a convenient comfortable location. Additionally it would be best for it to be affordable yet well cared for. A good fit would be the final requirement.

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On Craigslist, I read that there is a 58cm (I’m tall, so this is good.) Motobecane – army green – in mostly original condition with new shifter cables and tires. The body doesn’t hide the fact that this bike is indeed used but it is listed for only $125. ((Looks awfully similar to the Merriam-Webster diagramed bike))

I immediately claim it and arranged the meet up. I ended up paying only $100 and found a couple other things to love about the bike.  It has two set of brake on the handlebars, one is in the front of the curl bar when you are in the tuck position like most road bikes but the other, icing on the cake pair of brakes are horizontally lined up with the top of the handlebar, where your hands usually sit while comfortable commuting versus hauling ass.

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Though I love my new-to-me bike I may soon make some upgrades: brown leather seat and rewrap the handlebars with matching leather. Oh the places we’ll go.

*image from Visual Dictionary

miscellaneous monday: cyber…

I suppose it is best to have this ready to read in the morning, like the newspaper. I’ll try to make that my standard, or at least come up with a standard. When do people read blogs: morning, lunch, when they get that 2:30 feeling, after work, all of the above? Is there a way I can track that? Should I track that? So much newness, so many questions. Back to standard, I’d like for Mondays to become  “Miscellaneous Monday.” This will most likely create a problem of my then having to narrow down my topic choice for a given day. Of course, I could write about multiple topics on a Misc Mon should the need arise.

Today is Cyber-Monday, the day that you can get all the great deals and discounts with free shipping.  I must admit that I was able to make some online purchases, saving plenty. But who wants, what they can have, right? The purchase that has my mind all tangled in Christmas lights is the one that I couldn’t make.

This morning I went to see what Killspencer was doing for Cyber-Monday so I could purchase this http://killspencer.com/weekender/korean-war-era-weekender-2-0.html

I was greeted by a great deal, 20% off. Perfect I thought, wonderful you might agree BUT this deal was for Black Friday Weekend ONLY… meaning it ended yesterday. That’s right, my Cyber-Monday gift from them was the regret of not visiting their sight only hours earlier.

I did e-mail them with my dilemma with very high hopes of them replying, “Why OF COURSE we will extend the discount!!” but this was obviously not the case. Don’t get me wrong!! I still very much desire this bag and admire its design. Here is what some friends of mine had to say about it http://www.carryology.com/2011/08/17/drive-by-killspencer-weekender-2-0/ However, without a helping hand (discount), it will remain financially just out of my reach.

…and KUDOS to them for not always discounting their craftsmanship.

Happy (regret-free) shopping to you all.