Finally posting this incoherent post because I am tired of looking at it in my drafts
Recently, I sat through a meeting I didn’t really want to be at. I noticed that the person who required me to be there wasn’t attending the meeting. When I asked where they were I was told they were on a skiing vacation in Europe. I thought, “that’s a nice life if you can get it.” There are two different roads I could go down after that comment. And two different types of people that will take one of those two roads. I could be resentful of their life and think about how lucky they were, or I could take a positive attitude and see their life as an accomplishment. I could have given blame or praise to external things and not individual agency. If I thought this way I would not be taking personal responsibility for my life while not giving them personal credit for theirs.
We encounter these two types of people often: those who think life happens to them and those who think they create the life they have. From my experience the later tend to be more successful and happier. There are all sorts of platitudes about this phenomenon. You can make complaints or you can make changes. Is the glass half empty or half full? People who let themselves be defined by their circumstances and people who make the best of every situation.
Telling the two apart
We can tell a lot about the attitude a person has by they language they use and their reactions to events. Do they complain a lot? Do they consider other people’s success as a threat or a commentary on their own failures. They use entitled language and talk about how they deserve things. For example: If a friend wins something the response will be one of negativity that good things only happen to other people. A positive person would genuinely celebrate the other persons success even if it was unearned. Positive people talk about opportunities not obstacles.
Life is complicated
Obviously, life is a mix of both things you control and those you don’t. We have all heard the serenity prayer.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Many things in life we cannot control: from the qualities of our birth to perhaps a freak accident. But what we can control is our reaction.
Is it a choice
I can’t speak for anybody else but I can tell you in my life it is a choice. There have been times when I have let life drive me and times when I have ruled my life. As I’ve gotten old, I’ve realized the only real way to be happy and accomplish things is to live with intention. To own your life. That is a lot of what the Slackers Guide to Life is about. It’s someone who has often let the flow of life lead him will it would finally taking the rudder and trying to steer the ship.
So my birthday post this year is not actually on my birthday. Deal.
Like usual I had taken the day off for my birthday. I needed to renew my drivers license. They had recently shut down the DMV in my town so I had a twenty five minute drive to a neighboring town. It was very windy but sunny and I drove down listening to people on the radio pontificate about sports. I experienced a DMV miracle. The people were nice and joking with me. I was in and out in twenty minutes with my new drivers license. Yes it is the worst picture of me ever taken. I think there must be a law requiring drivers license pictures to be bad.
I went for a long walk when I got home and enjoyed the sunshine. After doing some stuff around my place I stood out on my balcony just soaking up the day. Then..I felt.. something. A lightness in my chest. I could not pinpoint this feeling. It seemed vaguely familiar. Am I hungry? Is it gas? Am I gassy? It’s gas isn’t it? Am i having a heart attack? Am I passing out? What is this lightness I feel? Joy. This feeling is joy and contentment. It was a good day
Every once in awhile I make myself I nice big stack of pancakes from. So last Saturday I decided to make myself some and I accidentally discovered a recipe for crepes. How does one accidentally discover a recipe? I got the stuff together for the pancakes and noticed I was out of baking powder. I looked at the ingredients and wondered if crepes were basically just pancakes with out the baking powder. So I gave it a try.
Mix in a bowl 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flower, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon white sugar.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. I put it in the microwave for about 40 seconds then let it cool for a bit.
To the dry mixture at 1 1/4 cups of milk and 1 egg. Start mixing. After a few seconds start slowly adding the butter while continuing to stir. I finally stir in a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
At this point I thought the consistency wasn’t quite liquid enough so I stirred in a 1/4 cup of water.
I heated up a cast iron skillet and added a small amount of butter to melt. I didn’t measure out the amount of batter I poured into the skillet. I just guessed a good amount and used the back of a spoon to spread it out a little bit. I cooked them 1 minute on the first side and then 30 seconds on the other. Viola crepes. They came out very tasty. This makes enough for two people so I took about half and put them in a ziplock bag and tossed them in the fridge. Next morning I just popped them in the microwave for 60 seconds and they were good to eat.
Awhile back I ran a self improvement blog called the slackers guide to life. I still own the url www.slackersguidetolife.com. As you can see it just redirects to here. As with most of my blogging attempts it never quite took off the ground. I ran it for over two years and had maybe thirty posts ever. Every few months I would hide all the posts and schedule them to reappear as if the blog was a running concern. I did not give up on the idea of self improvement. I just got tired of not succeeding and having nothing useful to write about.
There are several reasons why I didn’t want to announce the return of the Slackers Guide to Life right when I first started making positive changes. Studies have shown that just announcing the intention to change can satisfy the desire for change. I wanted to have some success under my belt before starting to write. I also wanted to concentrate on the actual changes in my behavior and not worry about having post worthy things going on.
So what successes have I had over the last few months? With one fairly long break do to weather and sickness, I have been running somewhat regularly. My resting heart rate has dropped from around 100 bpm to the mid 60s. I have moved up a notch on my belt and even started wearing some smaller pants I had lying around. I’ve taken to rarely eating out, maybe one lunch and 2 dinners, this has helped both my health and my wallet. The last three months I have, amazingly, been within my budget.
So look forward to some more posts in this series.