All posts filed under: Journal

Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in catastrophic levels of death and illness. Fortunately for me, the chaos and extreme loss of this illness have remained far away, at least for the time being. However, I have not entirely evaded the impact of this virus. Whereas I consider myself to be an introvert, I–like many others–have been feeling the strain of semi-quarantine conditions. Although I consider myself fortunate to have escaped the worst of the pandemic, I have seen many of the good habits and practices I put into place start to wane or slacken. I can see how many might think that good habits are unimportant right now, but these activities tend to lessen my anxiety and lead to greater stability, which makes them all the more essential in times like these. It might be clear why I’ve been unable to stay on track. Despite having more opportunities than ever to institute good habits and make the most of my days, I find myself overindulging in some practices and neglecting others. I’ve also miraculously revived …

Apps

I only keep apps that I use. And I keep those apps all in one folder on my phone. That folder is aptly labeled “Apps.” Admittedly, that’s a bit on the nose, but I couldn’t think of anything better. Collecting phone apps I don’t use frequently is not something I like to do. So, periodically, I search through them and decide whether or not I need them all. Then, I trash them. (I should note that it aggravates that my phone doesn’t allow me to delete all of its apps.) When it comes to displaying applications, I oscillate between form and function. I know someone who goes so far as to color coordinate his apps, arranging them in a rainbow-like pattern. That’s just about as form as it gets. I tend to put my most frequently used apps on the front pane and arrange the rest alphabetically. It’s an attempt at function, but it’s not ideal. When I delete an app, the others can no longer be found via rote memory. I may not have …

Beer

I sometimes wonder if there will be a point in my life where wine becomes more important to me than beer, but I’m not there yet. And I think there will always be a place for a beer after a long week of work. Unfortunately for me, most beers are out of my reach due to a gluten allergy. So, gluten-free beers and ciders are my mainstays. However, I can also drink rice beers. And of those, Sapporo is my favorite. I’m just lucky that this Japanese beer with the gold star on the bottle was one of my favorites before I learned of my gluten allergy. It could be seen as depressing to have such a limited beer palate. And there are certainly times when I wish I could try the latest beer on tap at my local brewery. But I think–and I may just be making the best of a bad situation–it’s not so bad to have one goto brew. I don’t drink frequently, and when I do drink, it’s rarely more than …

Goals

I recently realized that I have a pretty specific set of goals that I’ve frequently verbalized and languished over for some time. (By languishing, I mean that I’ve suffered for not having achieved them.) But one thing I’ve never done is write them down. First, it’s been my goal on and off for the last twenty years to become a full-time fiction writer. I want to be specific. A full-time freelance writer is not the same thing. I want to be a novelist or someone who makes a significant portion of their income from their creative works. I’ve not been under any delusion about this. I realize that very few people are successful in this regard. In the past, I’ve compared it to wanting to play in the NBA or Premier League football. It’s a goal that is extremely difficult to achieve. What has caused me a significant amount of suffering is that subsequent goals seem to hinge, more or less, on my attainment of the first goal. For example, I would like to create …

Gluten

Let me start by saying that I would prefer to eat gluten if I could. I’m not an advocate for avoiding the protein just because it might make you sluggish or drowsy. Unfortunately, I have to avoid it for other reasons. Eating above a certain threshold of gluten causes my skin to break out and gives me an upset stomach. It’s a serious issue. I can’t drink many of my favorite beers without starting to itch. I should say these beers used to be my favorite. I developed a gluten allergy in my mid-twenties and went to a dermatologist on multiple occasions, was prescribed steroids, and, subsequently, met with little success when it came to a remedy. In the end, I was fortunate enough to meet someone who suggested a gluten fast. It helped, but it severely limits what I’m able to consume, which may have resulted in one of my first extreme exercises in discipline. But now, by default, I’m receiving all of the benefits of a low carb diet. I’ve not gone on …

Cleaning

Keeping a clean house is a necessity for me. And whereas I wouldn’t say that I enjoy the process of cleaning, I am able to find satisfaction in the results. More than satisfaction, actually. Cleanliness brings me a certain amount of clarity. I work and think better in a clean environment. Thus, I’ve been able to come to terms with the fact that it takes effort to keep a clean space. I give myself both daily and weekly chores as well, as several tasks that occur only periodically. Staying on top of the daily and weekly cleaning is relatively straightforward, but I find that it helps to put the less routine tasks on a calendar. Chores, like cleaning the refrigerator, straightening the pantry, and vacuuming and washing our vehicles, are performed every other month or so. (I clean the exterior of my car less frequently than the interior. It seems like a waste of water, but I believe it will help the resale value.) My daily tasks include washing the dishes and some basic tidying …

Quitting

I’ve been thinking about quitting lately. I’m not sure if all writers feel this way from time to time or not, but I do know that it’s started to cross my mind with some frequency. The problem is that it may be a pointless thought. Writing is a constant for me. And, at present, I’m working on a new novel. That’s not exactly “quitting.” At the very least, I want to finish the project I’m working on right now. So, it would probably be a good idea if I rid myself of that thought and approach the notion of giving up with a bit of Zen. Admittedly, that’s going to be difficult. I’ve not reached the level of success I would like. And I have to wonder if the continued effort is worth it. Does anyone want to read what I write? Are there other things I could pursue that would bring me the success I desire? Or should I just use my spare time to enjoy other hobbies? This debate has resulted in a …

Resolutions

Believe it or not, I didn’t always believe in self-improvement. But that may have been because I didn’t realize the concept existed. For a long time, I spent my time in the moment. That may sound Zen, but it isn’t. Any given moment was chaos–usually brought on by the aftermath of some kind of self-destruction. There was no peace. Instead, there were brief moments of ecstasy, or what some would call delusions of grandeur, followed by a swift downfall. Those times are behind me now, for the most part. Since chaos was my state, there wasn’t a good deal of planning that went into the future. There were a few exceptions. For example, I had some investments. And I was able to outline and produce an occasional screenplay and make a short film. Things finally changed when I chose to become serious about my passion. This effort required (and forcefully dragged me into) organization and near compulsive-levels of commitment to the craft of writing. This commitment, combined with a deep dive into minimalism, may explain …