Shit I Learned During 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when people reflect on the previous year…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overall, 2018 was really good for us as a family. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every single day was smooth sailing. So, I’ve compiled this list of shit I learned during 2018. It’s not written in any particular order.

We All Get Exactly What We Put Out to the Universe

And noooo, I am not talking about religion, prayer, deities, or etc. I’m not even talking about the law of attraction. So, then, what in the fuck am I talking about? The amount of work we all put into our lives, of course. If you want success, you can’t work one day and then decide it is smooth sailing from there. If you want a better tomorrow, take care of shit today. What you do today will affect your life tomorrow (and, depending on what you do, for years to come). Getting more money, more happiness, more anything requires us to actually, you know, do those things as opposed to just thinking about it or dreaming about it.

You Can’t Trust Just Anyone

As usual, I had a year of wanting to believe the best in people and give people a chance. The problem, for the most part, is that people want certain things out of life, but once they figure out it’s hard, they quit. They make excuses. They want things handed to them. Or they lie to you and try to cheat you…and then try to make you into the bad guy. I’m incredibly glad I’ve always been a good record keeper. That will always continue. It provides a certain level of protection for what I do and for my reputation.

Time Off Is Essential

Honestly, this is kind of a catch-22 when you’re self-employed because if you don’t work, you’re not getting paid. In 2018, though, I found out just how much time off does for me. In general, I’m a “writeaholic.” I’d say workaholic, but we did my yearly calculation of time…but I’m always thinking about what I write for my clients or for my audience*…or for myself.

I took a few weeks off over the course of last year. Some of that time was planned. Some of it was not, but was necessitated between devastating migraines and the youngest kid being sick. (And 2019 just seems like the year that everyone will catch everything going around…) It took a lot of constant reminders to myself to stop worrying about that time off. So I could rest. And when I returned to my work, I was far more productive.

Better Nutrition = Better Overall Life

We keep improving our diets. In July of 2018, we started “clean eating.” Which, if you don’t know what that is, think about how back in the day our grandparents (great grands for some of yall) would KNOW what was in their food. They ate what they grew…and it was back before most food was comprised of 87 ingredients most of which we can’t pronounce. We weren’t strict clean eaters. We were common sense ones. More fruits and vegetables (oddly, we look for produce from Mexico and other foreign countries because remember all of the recalls on American-grown produce? Funny how that happened, huh?). Reading labels and not buying shit with a fuck-ton of ingredients we couldn’t pronounce or identify.

But, it kept moving forward. We bought a juicer. Bull and I had already cut back some on meat. We ate a lot of chicken because of its lean nature. Heart health was important for me. Physical fitness for BJJ competitions was important (and is important) to him.

Now, we’re vegetarians. Again, not super strict. It’s not a moral issue because, let’s be real, two more vegetarians isn’t going to stop the slaughter of animals (and trust me – I do not like the inhumane conditions of most places that process meat). We’re back to heart health, physical preparedness, and, as we’ve learned, feeling better overall. And, yes, we ate turkey on Christmas. We still go out and have the occasional hamburger. Although I learned yesterday, the hard way, that I should probably just pay the upcharge and get a vegetarian patty. Talk about feeling sick.

I Need More “Me” Time

I told Bull in late December that I planned to be selfish in 2019. He looked at me weird because I’m not a selfish person. Pretty much everything I do is for someone else. That’s not a complaint, by the way, it’s just the nature of who I am.

Basically, the more “me” time is shit I do that I want to do because I like it. I’d give you a list, but I’d sound like your grandma (read: quilting, crocheting, embroidery by hand). I’ve got some other things in mind for the summer while my 18 year old is at basic training.

Clarity in Goal Setting Is Crucial for Success

This is something I’ve always known at some level, but it wasn’t until around September when I bought myself a birthday present (Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Edge) that I started getting really clear about things I wanted to do in my personal and professional life. So, I bought a special notebook and that keeps my morning and evening power questions as well as my goals. I revisit my goals periodically and also do monthly goal setting (which then breaks down to what exactly must I do for each week).

I also chose three words for the year that I want to represent my life. I did this last year around September and set reminders on my phone. That was very helpful for me.

Meditation Is Life

This last year, I’ve also realized just how important that both meditation and yoga are for helping with the severe anxiety I deal with. It helps me remain calm and recenter my thoughts. I’ve been pretty good for a few years now with countering my thoughts and even not having a lot of negative thoughts, but sometimes they still creep in. I’m only human. Meditation and yoga are integral for me now.

So, that’s really all I have except:

And I Thought, “This Is How It Ends!”

So, two nights ago was some straight, next-level Final Destination bullshit. Pandora, my biggest dog is always under my feet. She will start off on the bed with us and then eventually move to sleep in the floor on my side of the bed. Also on my side of the bed is a nightstand that once belonged to Bull’s grandfather, a chest of drawers, and a juicer.

I know, I know – why the fuck is the juicer in my bedroom? There is an explanation for that. Baby Bull has gotten to the point that he doesn’t tolerate loud noises from pretty much anything. That includes lawn mowers, weed eaters, vacuums, washing machines, and…the juicer. (Our juicer isn’t even loud, by the way…) So, to just make life easier on school breaks, I remove it from the kitchen and put it in our room since I won’t be using it with him almost always home with me. I have no intentions on terrifying our kid…and, yes, I miss my juice. But, whatever.

Anyway, throughout my day, I constantly have to maneuver around Pandora. She will sleep as close to my feet or chair or desk or whatever as she possibly can. You’d think that, by now, she’d be used to me stepping over her.

The lamp was on the other night (because I’m always worried about accidentally stepping on the dog) and around 2 am, I had to get up and go to the bathroom. I carefully placed a foot down between Pandora’s paws (because of how she was splayed out). She looked up at me and I said hi. I kept getting up (because it’s not like we haven’t done this dance a million times in the past together) thinking she was just gonna let me step over her.

Oh no…not that night. She tried to stand up right when I did and tripped me. I thought, “Oh fuck…this is how it ends. She trips me. I fall backwards and slam my head on the nightstand…and then, just like Final Destination, somehow the juicer ends up in the air, comes apart, and the blade will come out and kill me!”

For the record, even IF the juicer would have somehow come apart, there’s no way that could have happened. The blade is stored within the metal filter thing that separates the pulp from the juice. But, at 2 am, my brain doesn’t give a shit. I was SURE I was going to die. Also, I didn’t fall. Miracle of miracles.

Crazy What Can Trigger a Memory

I turned on Spotify while working. In all its robotic “wisdom”via the shuffle feature, it decided to play what felt like every single depressing 90s alternative ballad in existence. Eventually, it played Mr.Brownstone (from 1987 – Guns N Roses, Appetite for Destruction).

In 1987, I was nine. It was right before my 10th birthday because I didn’t yet have an Undertaker poster on my wall. My cousin gave that to me for my birthday. My brother was 14. And he brought the Appetite for Destruction album home. To this day, it’s still the only Guns N Roses album I like.

I can tell you the location of the trailer park we lived in with our parents and where in the park the trailer was located. Shortly after marrying Bull five years ago, I drove through that area…and the sad thing is that the place looked the exact same. Still drug infested. Trailers falling to pieces.

I had one friend, Erica. She was the younger sister of one of my brother’s friends. I was also bullied by a girl named Misty and her little brother who went by Bubba. I’ve always been extremely introverted and even then I pretty much just wanted to be left alone. This girl? She wasn’t having it. She was a few years older than me…she was about 12 years old. Her brother was my age. And they loved to try to physically hurt me.

That summer, the pool was open (the pool is no longer there;it’s now a courtyard) and my brother went with me to the pool. I wasn’t much of a swimmer. (I’m still not – I know how to swim. I swim well. Just not something I really enjoy.) Andddd the bully girl tried to drown me. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I remember her holding me underwater. And I remember my brother pulling me out. I can’t tell you how much time had gone by. Enough that I thought I would die.

Not long after that, I learned how to fight. And one day,she pushed my buttons and I beat the brakes off of her and her brother at the same time. From that point, I never really went looking for a fight (unless I saw someone being bullied)…but I also wouldn’t back down if someone hit me first.

I’m 40…and that’s the memory that’s associated with Appetite for Destruction.

Fat Axl

Also, I kinda feel like the fat Axl Rose pictures could easily be Rosie O’Donnell dressed up as fat Axl. I laugh so hard every time I see them.

Buzzword Killer: Biohacking

“Biohack” your life for a better experience! Be faster! Be better! Be happier! Be more productive! Blah. Blah. Blah. I mean, sure the word sounds cool. And if using a cool word gets you excited, by all means please do it. I’m all for whatever helps you as an individual. 

But I want to dissect this buzzword “biohack” (or “biohacking”). The root of the word is bio. You know, life. We all know what “hacking” is in the sense of life. I’m sure all of you have heard of Life Hacker. Maybe you’ve watched the TruTV show Hack My Life. Even if you’ve not read / watched those, you’ve found a shortcut that you use to make your life easier. 

Biohack = Doing What Works for You

Some of the articles I’ve read on biohacking list some crazy shit. Well, what I would find to be crazy. For some people, it might work perfectly well. And that’s kinda the point I want to make with this. Don’t get overwhelmed by a buzzword especially if you look into it because people seem to be raving about it and getting up at 5 am, running 12 miles, and drinking black unsweetened coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil (okay, I get up early most days and I like the butter coffee shit) and that shit isn’t anything that interests you…or that you dread it. (Although if you’re struggling with time management, stop hitting snooze. Get up earlier – self-discipline!)

Try out productivity methods, morning routines, afternoon routines, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, hot baths, or hanging upside down from a tree by your toes (be careful) if that’s what interests you. Find the little things you can do in life that make you look forward to your day and that make you feel better. 

My Routine

Out of the blue, I was asked about what I do in the mornings to prepare myself. I don’t mind discussing it. I have CPTSD and AFib. Working from home can be a repetitive and monotonous experience. I enjoy it most of the time, but there are times I don’t. It can be hard to separate yourself out when you live where you work. Amirite? So, my “biohacking” (routine) looks like this:

  1. Hour of Power, as Tony Robbins calls it. I get up, take my supplements, drink some water, feed the dogs, and workout in some way. Sometimes, I go to the gym and sometimes I just do yoga at home. I meditate after. I also answer the Morning Power Questions.
  2. “Bulletproof” coffee. You can make it yourself. You don’t have to buy it. I buy a ghee / coconut oil blend I use to put into the coffee. Make sure you do your research before doing this. Some people get an upset tummy if they get too much oil. Don’t make yourself sick. If you don’t like coffee, don’t do this. I love coffee. I like it as dark as my soul. 
  3. I drink my greens. Good nutrition is an important component of my life. I get dressed if I’m still in workout apparel. You feel better if you get dressed. It’s science
  4. While either drinking my coffee or my greens, I plan my day. I have a Panda Planner. I also have three notebooks. I’ve also used OneNote. I also have a project management software I rely on during my day. I think about my end goal. What do I want to get out of this day? I take 1% of my day (15%) to plan out the other 99%. My plans are also based on my monthly goals which I set with a group of ladies every month. I write down, in advance, all appointments and such that I must attend. I work everything else around it. I also think about Brendon Buchard’s four questions that help high performers continue to perform at a high level.
  5. I work when I am most productive. I embrace the deep work concept to some degree. Because I have AFib and CPTSD, some days are better than others. I am usually focused in the morning and early afternoon. If I have a lot of appointments or errands, I rest during the day and do something fun…and I work in the afternoon / evening when everyone is settled. 
  6. I drink a fuck ton of water during the day. Turns out, that AFib causes your body to use more water. I drink close to 100 ounces of water today (and no, I don’t force it). It helps me feel better. I also take certain supplements three times per day (for AFib support). 
  7. When I get stressed, I am learning to take a break. My favorite break is to take a hot bubble bath in the middle of the day. Sometimes I go out into the backyard and just hang out. I’ll work on my loom. I just try to recharge. 

Those are the things that work best for me. What works best for you? Leave a comment!

We Didn’t Choose the Real Food Life. The Real Food Life Chose Us!

So, because I know my blog is watched by certain people who know who they are, I thought it would be prudent to educate people on a couple of things.

  1. Yes, we eat primarily fresh fruits and vegetables in this home…particularly during the week. We eat meat maybe once or twice each week. And it’s usually for dinner.
  2. We are clearly not vegetarians, pescatarians, vegans, ovovarians, or any other variation of anything other than omnivores. Even if we were, it’s not against the law.

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