60 Times Around

The last time I walked the Camino, I cried on my first day.  That’s how hard it was.  The first day especially.

The 10th day was the hardest.  On the 10th day, I hit the wall from not getting enough protein.  I had to rest on the 10th day.  I literally couldn’t move.

I have to walk 25 kilometers on that first day.  Break that down into America’s language, that’s 15 miles.  One mile is 4 times around a track.  4 times 15 is 60.

It’s like walking 60 times around a standard track.  Yesterday I walked 12 times around so, 3 miles.  And my feet started to ache and my left knee cramped up.  On a technologically advance cushioned track with no ups or downs.

I did wear my ankle weights.  Only a pound and a half on each foot.

The thing about walking the track is the boredom.  I forgot how boring walking can be.  And since I already walked the Camino once already – I’ve seen all that stuff, it’s nothing new.  Which only compounds to the boredom I’ll have to face.  I’ll be in pain and I’ll be bored.  At the end of the day I can look forward to a bland simple dinner, not enough to satiate my hunger and on top of that, I’ll be bunking with 300 strangers in a dank gothic style church.  On that first day, there’s no shopping plaza’s or restaurants around for miles.

I have to pack more food.  Extra food for dinner and a little something for the following mornings breakfast – stuff I wish I knew the first time I walked.

15 miles equates to walking from my house to the middle of New Haven, possibly a little further than its middle. It’ll take me at least 8 hours.  It would take me 6 hours without breaks and if the path was completely flat.

I can’t believe I’m walking this shit again just to lose weight.  I hated it the first time.  I loathed it.

I’ve been keeping up with walking every single day.  My stomach looks like it’s slimming down, but I still weigh the same.  And my slim stomach may just be an optical illusion.  My pants don’t feel any looser.

Today I will attempt to hike up my big little mountain with my ankle weights on.  It’s going to be torture.

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Holy Shit I’m a Millennial

People constantly complain about Millennials not wanting to work but still expecting everything to be handed to them.  I never suspected I was one of these people until last night.

I don’t want to do anything.  I don’t want to work.  And I expect I will be taken care of, always.

But what happens if all Millennials are like me?  Who’s going to make our buttons?  Who’s going to sell me toilet paper?

The people who are stuck in debt and/or have to take care of a family.  Those people can make buttons and sell toilet paper.  I ain’t doing it.  It’s not for me.  I deserve better.

I’m a goddamned fucking Millennial.

I was born in 1980.  The tail end of generation X and the start of the new era of Millennials.  I got the best of both worlds.  Kids of generation X consisted of punks dressing up like homeless rockers and the girls dressed like farmers.  I dressed like a homeless farmer which I still do most days.

Gen X’s only culture is that of pop.  We basically have no other culture.  Our culture is fleeting and superficial.  Based purely on enjoyment, on looking cool.  Idolizing famous people simply because they are famous.  We are a generation without substance.  A generation that lacks any real hardships.  If you consider our holidays as culture and tradition, we are gifted presents on those days – presents we didn’t earn, but expect we’ll receive none-the-less.  We feel like we deserve them.  Are entitled to them.

Our parents come from a different era.  An era where if they didn’t work, they didn’t eat.  If their family grew in size, the husband would build an addition to the house himself.  Not expecting anyone else to do it for him.  And he’d take pride in it.

I believe my generation lacks pride.  Kids who grew up playing video games 24/7 and crying if they didn’t get a toy in their happy meal, how can they have pride?  They grow up soft and doughy, needing glasses from having their faces shoved in front of a computer screen all day.  They don’t care if they can’t lift a 2 by 4, someone else will do it for them.  They’ll call their Grand-pappy over to have them fix their plumbing problems or electrical work.

In our parents (possibly grandparents) generation, women weren’t treated equally in the job-force which in turn made them devout mothers and care-takers.  Our Dad’s brought home the bacon and our Mother’s served it to us on expensive plates ironically made in China.

If you broke a plate, you would get scolded.  Not like today where parents tell their kids, “don’t worry hun, it’s just a plate.”

Respect and appreciation for material possessions has plummeted.  That’s one key factor that give Millennials their attributes.  Their appreciation lies with what they don’t have.

Back in the day there were no cheap Walmarts, no GPS, no cell phones.  No franchises that cut labor costs.  A pair of shoes cost a weeks wages. We are a generation of Walmart shoppers who never get lost and all our friends live in our pockets via smart phone.  Have we ever known fear?

The best part of the day for a husband was dinner-time and the best part for the wife was afternoon soap-opera’s and putting the kids to bed.  Simple pleasures and a simple yet less convenient life.

The revolution started over a hundred years ago.  The womens suffrage movement which completely obliterated marriage as the sole means of survival for upcoming generations.  We’re a generation standing on that movement.  It’s our foundation.  We are born in freedom that we didn’t earn ourselves and we don’t know what to do with.  Divorce comes easier with each passing year.

We’re a generation expecting choice and freedom.  If something goes against our expectations (such as work), we get confused and don’t understand what we did wrong to deserve such hardships.  And since we’re not a prideful generation, we’re not above whining like spoiled doughy brats with ruddy cheeks and buggery noses.

And I’m one of them.  I’m a stupid lazy Millennial.  The only thing I have to contribute to the future of the world is my uterus which I refuse to do on accounts it will stifle my freedom and kick me back into the middle-ages of having to make buttons and sell toilet paper.

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I’m going to be 50 in 12 years.  I just realized that today over lunch with a friend who will also turn 50 in 12 years.

The first 12 years of my life were monumental.  They lasted a lifetime.

Me thinking – “Wow I’m only 12 and I know so much already!  I’ll be a freaking genius by the time I’m 24!”

I remember thinking that when I was 12.

Little did I know that my brain would stop developing that year.

12 years ago I was 25.  I’m still that same 25 year old.  In fact, I’m still that same 12 year old.

Knowledge doesn’t accumulate.  It doesn’t double every 7 years like with a savings bond.  My question is why?  The first 12 years (not counting my 13th year since that’s the year hormones kick in), I learned everything I needed to know for the rest of my life.  I understood the basics of it.

All I’ve done since then is refine and enhance the knowledge I learned in my first 12 years of life.  The only thing I added was inches to my height.

It doesn’t have anything to do with how much I retain over the years.  It has more to do with values.  In those first 12 years, I established my values.

This is all my opinion, not backed up by science or surveys.  Read for entertainment purposes only.

I believe my entire personality, my true character is established solely on my values (maybe I learned this in psych class?  I don’t know).

And if my values were instilled in me by the tender age of 12, all the subsequent years that followed has either hardened my resolve or weakened my soul.  In other words, since my beliefs have already been established, they are either reinforced or broken down over the course of time since adolescence.

I believe (still, this is all conjecture), that we go through cycles of being broken down and built up again.  Like a spiral, the golden ratio.  When we start sucking our spirals back into ourselves like a strand of spaghetti, back to its origin – we break down.  But when we exhale it all out, like we’re giving, not receiving, we are essentially growing and strengthening our character.  Widening it enough to fit in more of the world.  Until that is, we get scared to death and have to suck it all back in again.

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The older we get, the harder it is to break us.  Like a bone that’s already been broken, we’re harder to break the second time.  And because of this, we become less pliable, more set in our ways, afraid to venture outside protocol.  We lose our fascination and wonder because we’re too tired to break down our belief system yet again only to have to rebuild it once more.

Unsubstantiated pride is the glue that holds belief structures together.  But it doesn’t make us stronger, it makes us brittle.  Stubbornness equals brittleness unless the pride that binds has merit.

If my beliefs, my value’s, my personality and character were all imbued in me by the time I was 12, that also means that what I dream of most in life has also been determined.  My fascinations and curiosities were apart of me from the start.  Before I threw them overboard to the wretched urchins of the sea.

It’s our fascinations and curiosities that contain our unique gifts.  And because of their fragility, they are the first to go when life gets messy.  “Jettison all that is unnecessary for fear it will sink us.”

The generations that came before us, most of the people who lived in those times were tied to a repressed culture.  A culture in which they had to work in order to survive, their well deserving pride provided them with existential purpose.  They worked hard to figure out puzzling problems, knew how to read maps and stars.  They couldn’t refer to a YouTube channel on how to make the perfect turtle soup, they had to learn by trial and error.

They had to chop off the chickens head themselves, sort of speak (or literally).  A type of appreciation Millennials know nothing about.

These days, every answer we seek is a mouse click away.  Every inch of the world has already been mapped.  All the awesome idea’s ever fathomed can be admired on Pinterest while you tilt your head in envy and murmur, “I wish I thought of that.”

We might be the very first generation who got an applause for using the potty.  We get applauded for accomplishing small everyday necessities while not having to use our heads for life’s most intricate problems – we have Google and psychiatrists for that.  All the legal drugs at our fingertips accompanied by copious amounts of information that we didn’t work out ourselves.

There’s an answer for everything and it’s either in the form of a pill, or a YouTube video.

Millennials didn’t earn their stubbornness the good old fashioned way by trial and error.  They learn it from pop culture, they are swayed by the popular vote.  They go with whatever thought process is in style at the time.  They depend on others to tell them how to think or how to feel because they never had to work out problems on their own.  They value the information inside a computer more than they value their own judgment.  And this was infused in them before they turned 12.  The most crucial years for discovering individuality and purpose.

They’ll become brittle, weak adults with no heart in the marrow of their bones.  No merit infusing their belief system.

We’re sucking in that strand of spaghetti more than we’re expanding its reach.  We’re more likely to kill ourselves over feeling helpless and hopeless rather than take pride in what we already have or do.  How can we have pride if every 6-year old can earn a black belt simply by showing up for class and paying his dues on time?

Unsubstantiated pride is the blunder of todays youth.  And I’m sitting on my throne as the Mother Queen of all Millennials.

I was born lazy.  It taken me 2 long weeks passed my due date just to leave the womb.  And although I was 14 at the time the internet went global, it became the love of my life.  Almost as if I knew it was coming and I merely waited all the preceding years until its arrival.

I don’t think, I click.

I don’t create, I copy.

I don’t cut off the proverbial chickens head myself, my mom buys Purdue at the grocery store.  And the chickens of the future won’t even have heads.

You don’t have to expend your energy by judging or hating me for any of this, I already hate and judge myself.

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Everyone is born with a gift.  Everyone’s life embodies Joseph Campbell’s philosophical story map.  The same map that every story ever told has used.

This image is where I got the idea for the spiral I mentioned earlier.  Constant change and constant adaptions that spiral out and build off the old.  In my depiction of it, you’ll never arrive back where you started, it’s never a full circle.  Eventually the Hero gets tired and decides to plop down once and for all.  He’s done, he’s had it.  Enough bullshit.

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I drank coffee today.  You see what happens when I drink coffee?  Almost 2000 words, that’s what happens.  The majority of it gibberish.

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Just Another Gut Wrenching Normal Day in the Life of Mel

I hardly work, but I still find myself busy every stinking hot sticky day of the week.  I woke up a few days ago and decided I needed to start a food truck business as soon as possible.  I spent hours pouring over any information I could find online.  None of it was in one place.  I wrote down every possible license I’d need, every possible permit and searched for used food trucks on eBay and Craigs list.

I had an insane urge to open a food truck business – an INSANE urge.  A scathing, stressful, eye-popping urge.  Why did I have this toe curling, life or death asphyxiation towards starting a food truck business?  Because I’m broke as shit.  I can’t even cook!

I hired a financial planner, so now I can finally get a sense of how much money I have in the bank.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  I’m one broke ass bitch.

Last month was quarterly taxes, property taxes, and I bought a plane ticket to Spain.  When I realized the impending financial doom I was facing, I nearly clawed my eyes out.  My answer was to open a food truck.

For at least the last 3 days I was obsessed with this food truck idea.  Every moment was spent on my laptop in my hot musty room frantically pouring over my options.  Did I mention I was stressed?  Oh yes, there was stress.

When I wasn’t stressing about my newest venture, I went hiking up my little big mountain.  I went 3 days in a row and each time I completed it, while I was walking back to my car, I didn’t have that fresh feeling of relief or accomplishment, no, I had the most rueful scowl on my face.

Me – “This is such bullshit.  Fucking bullshit.”

Again, the trail has kicked my ass.  I go almost everyday to hike up that god awful place, risking my precious ankles from rolling or cracking my skull open on a sharp rock (they are everywhere pointing out of the dirt like daggers!)

But it doesn’t matter how many times I attempt it, it’s not getting any easier.  Granted, if it was cooler out it may be a different story.  I don’t know.  I just don’t fucking know.  I can feel those 30 extra pounds every time I walk up that hill and have to take those large steps up the rocks – the same rocks I used to fly up 5 years ago.

Me – “I can never let myself get like this again.  Never again.  I have to diet God dammit.”

And when I’m not doing any of the above activities, I’ve been keeping social and hanging out with friends.  Seriously, who has time to work?  I’m freaking exhausted!

Tomorrow I’m stopping in at work to check the phones since my office manager isn’t there on the weekend, then hike up my big little mountain, stop at the grocery store for a snack to bring to my friends cabaret play later that day.  It would be wise to not shower in the morning and to wait until after my hike.  I hate showing twice in one day.  I never needed to before, when I was 30 pounds lighter.  I never sweat like I do now.

I keep fantasizing about how awesome I’ll look after walking across Spain.  Not just look, I don’t care how I look.  But I feel like a lazy fat shit is what it is.  I want to feel better.

I’m trying to amp myself up for the Camino by listening to audiobooks about trekking.  Right now I’m listening to Wild by Cheryl Strayed and it’s depressing the shit out of me.  Much of it is about her having to deal with the loss of her mother – something I never want to think about or deal with ever in my life.  The book is too wishy-washy and makes me miserable.  I cried while listening to it during my hike today.  That’s not invigorating.

Can you imagine seeing a 170 pound woman with a beat red face, sweating her balls off while crying into her water bottle and meandering through the woods alone?  That was me today.  Go on, try to picture it, I’ll wait.  It’s a sad sight, see what I mean?  Now picture me trying to hoist myself up over the rocks with my fat ass.  Go on, picture it.

But the book did end up amping me up for the Camino.  So much so that I want to go on another pilgrimage in March to Shikoku island in Japan.  That one is much more expensive than the Camino but only if I stay at Minshuku’s, paid accommodations, everyday.  They have free places for Henro’s (pilgrims), but you should call in advance for them and if you don’t know Japanese, you’re SOL.  The biggest shit stick about trekking Shikoku is having to call accommodations in advance.  At most, Shikoku will cost me $100 a day for 60 days, so $6000.  The Camino costs $2000 for 40 days.

Damn, it’s already midnight.  I’m going to watch the season finale of Fear the Walking Dead and go to sleep.  Damn damn, I forgot I need to buy lotion for the business – there goes another $100 freaking dollars.

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Interactive Game of Thrones Map

I thought this map was pretty cool.  You can check it out here.

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Eye contact

I was at the bar the other day.  Not sure which bar on which day, but the devil is in the details so I try to forget them.

Anyway, I was at the bar and a grown man playing Pokemon on his iPhone looked up at me as I strode by him.  He took one glance before resuming his quest of capturing monsters.

I, like him, have trouble figuring out what to say to people if I accidentally make eye contact.

With my breath held, his sweaty eyes beaming into mine, the awkwardness, the itchiness, it was soon over when he turned back to his game.

I exhaled.  Whew.  Thank you for turning away.

My day is littered with these little moments.  Or episodes I should say.  They vary in degree’s of severity.

I find my friends sitting at a table and I join them.  I join them by sitting down and politely sipping my beer while listening to them talk and balk and…..make eye contact.  The more eye contact is made, the politeness of my sips become more and more aggressive.  Beer dribbles down my chin and onto my shirt.  I excuse myself to the restroom to tidy up but I’m not actually tidying up.  I’m making eye contact with myself in the mirror.

Eye contact with myself is my specialty.  I can do it for long stretches at a time before my face starts to look distorted in my peripherals.

“It’s just eye contact Melanie.  The windows to the soul, the depths and breadths of man, truth incarnate, intimacy.  A commitment to either do or don’t.”

After my secret pep talk, I rejoin the others in our shared quest to see who is the funniest and wittiest in the bunch and crown them king or queen for the night by bequeathing them with unrelenting eye contact.

 

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Laying Around and Buying Shit on Amazon

That’s what makes America great!

It was too hot to hike, so I laid in bed listening to Awaken Online: Catharsis, an audiobook that got really good reviews on Audible.  I Love it.

And I bought shit online.

One such thing that I bought is my plane ticket to Spain.  I decided to buy it now because I was worried the price would go up.  It cost $566 which ain’t bad I guess.

I bought a round-trip ticket to Santiago, that’s where my walk ends.  I can bus it to the airport in less than an hour for my flight home.  No fuss, no muss.

On the way there, however, I have a layover in Madrid which works out perfectly since I can hop out at Madrid and take a domestic flight to St Jean Pied de Port for $66.  I found a small airport next to St Jean Pied de Port, I swear that airport wasn’t there last time I hiked the Camino.

I’m already dreading it…..the hike.  I leave October 10th and come home November 19th which leaves me with plenty of time to complete it.  It just sucks, having to do it again.

Okay, we all know how lazy I am, right?  I’m fucking lazy.  I worked today for a total of 20 minutes and for the rest of the day?  Nada.  I woke up at 12 noon and listened to my audiobook for about 8 hours.  After the 8 hours, I bought a plane ticket to Spain so I don’t have to exercise or diet on a regular basis.  I can lose the weight all at once in one month.

I’m too lazy to exercise so I’m hiking 500 miles across Spain.  That makes about as much sense as me starting my own business because I don’t want to work anymore.

I’m accomplishing more as a lazy person than I’d ever hope to accomplish as a productive one, that is, aside from having babies and getting married.  You either do or you don’t with those things, there’s no in-between.  You can’t push a baby back into your uterus and I believe in only getting married once, otherwise, what’s the point?  It’ll be like dating with a shared bank account.  No thank you.

My Aunt Marie died Monday morning.  If they did an autopsy, it would conclude she died from a drug overdose that the hospice kept pumping in her.  She would’ve had a few more weeks, if not months – years even, if not for all those meds.  But she couldn’t live with the pain.

These next two days are going to be hard.  Wake and the funeral split up in two days.

She’s why I’m hiking the Camino again, really.  Life’s too short.

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I Slept Until 1:30PM

Shit……I just woke up.

I had bad dreams today.  I can’t remember the specifics, but they weren’t good.

I always dream of vibrant colorful aquariums filled with beautiful exotic fish and today that aquarium shattered and cut up my hands as I tried repairing it.  That’s the only dream I can really remember.

My Aunt Marie got diagnosed with terminal cancer and now she’s at a hospice center in Branford overlooking the water.  She’s on so much medication that she can no longer speak and when she does, it doesn’t make any sense.  When I was there, they shot her up with two vials of something.  One was for anti-anxiety and the other was for pain.

It’s crazy how all this happened.  The steps leading up to it.  She was turned away 3 times by doctors telling her the pain was all in her head, until the 4th doctor told her she has 6 weeks to live.

Her daughter is my age, Christina.  Her only child.  Her husband died in the 80’s.

We have a huge family.  Yesterday I met two cousins I didn’t even know I had.  And last Friday there were over 20 of us visiting her in her hospital room.  But it’s still not enough.  We all went back to our normal routines after our visit, figuring out the next time (if) we can make it, while Christina is there everyday.  All she really has is her daughter.  No one else will be there to go through her belongings once she’s gone, or know what to do with everything, Christina is alone in it.  No siblings and no more parents – completely alone.

It’s my job as an awesome person to make sure she never feels that way.

Yesterday during my visit, my cousin and I took a walk outside the hospice to gaze at the ocean.  It’s there where she told me everything.  My Aunts best friend from high school, Joan, stopped talking to her 5 years ago because my aunt had trouble getting around.  So Joan dumped her for someone who could get around.  She completely cut her out of her life with no explanation.

Christina – “She broke my mom’s heart.  She never been the same after that.”

Me – “You’d think by that age people learn a little compassion.”

I know Joan.  I used to work with her at a restaurant in Meriden.  I always considered her weird.  Always busy, no time for deep conversations, shallow really.  She was always focused on the next big thing.  Nothing seemed to sink in when you spoke to her.

I know exactly how it feels when a friend leaves you for no apparent reason other than them not needing you anymore.  They become aggressively indifferent towards only you.  It’s probably in the top 5 worst pains a person goes through.

My Aunt became increasingly depressed as she got older and needed to see a shrink.

Christina – “She’s been suffering long before she got her diagnosis.”

The old woman sharing a room with my aunt is 94 years old.  A whole 24 years older than my aunt.  If my aunt wasn’t so depressed all these years, she would have another 24 years to go.  But 24 years of what?  Of more depression?  More suffering?

Depression…..if you seen my life up until these past few months, you’d say I had every right to be depressed.  People would see why and understand.  But it never quite got a hold of me.  Rational Brain would call me a pussy, a cry baby.

Rational Brain – “Don’t wuss out on life you pansy.”

Sure I got lost a bit in that whimsical world of spirituality, where broken hearts go to get restored (clearly you can see those days if you scroll back a few years in my blog).

But I got up, dusted myself off, and focused all my efforts into a goal and dreamed of a better future for myself.  That’s the trick right there.  And now I’m living in that better future and life is wonderful these days.  And now I have more goals, and an even brighter future than this one.

As for the p90X goes……I made it to day 2.  Day TWO!!!!  Before succumbing to summer mojito’s, parties and hangovers.  And then this thing with my aunt….

I decided it’ll be a hell of a lot easier for me to just walk the damn fucking Camino again.  Even though it sucks, it’s hell, it’ll be easier in a way.  I won’t be distracted by Netflix or sleeping late.  And I have everything I need for my trip.  I don’t need to buy anything.  The only thing I really need is a travel fork since the one I got is rusty.  And one more pair of travel undies.

Last time I walked the Camino, I did it on one pair of underwear.  My spare pair got stolen on the first day.

A huge reason why my aunt was so depressed was because of her health.  She’s obese and can no longer exercise even if she tried.  I’m vowing to never get like that.  That’s why I have to do this now.  I have to do it now before I start working again to save for a house.  I never exercise when I’m loaded up with clients.  It has to happen before then.

And I can’t go balls to the wall with my business, raking in fat stacks, not until this lawsuit is over.  There would be no point to buy a house only to lose it in the end.

I’m shooting for September.  I’ll buy my plane ticket last minute (because of the whole lawsuit fiasco) and fly Royal Moroc airlines.  They are insanely cheap!  I’ll fly straight to Madrid for $400, then hop a plane to Pamplona for $100, then taxi to St Jean Pied De Port.  The whole trip will cost me around $2500.  And I did it all before, I know exactly what I’m in store for and how to prepare for it.

Is losing 20lbs worth $2500 dollars?  Now that’s the real question.  But if I’m going to do it, September is the best time.  And if I don’t do it, I’ll be struggling with this weight for years to come.

If my Aunt Marie decided to walk across Spain at some point in her life, that may have been the turning point for her to keep the weight off and discover how easier life is when you’re healthy and fit.  There wouldn’t be any depression or cancer.  All because of a measly 35 days spent in agony.  I shouldn’t say agony, it can be fun.

My friend wants me to watch her house for two weeks in September, so I’ll have to leave after that.  Shit, she just texted me back.  I won’t be able to leave until October 5th.  Oh well, it gives me more time to save and prepare.

Shit, it’s my friends birthday dinner today.  I have to be there in an hour.  I didn’t even shower yet.  I’m a shitty person sometimes.

 

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Day One of P90X

I’m not posting any pics.  Screw that shit.  I know people love looking at before and after photo’s, but maybe I’ll post those at the end of the 90 days, not during.  I don’t even know if I’ll make it to the end.

Day one was back and chest.  A lot of push-ups, chin-ups, and pull-ups.  I did what I was able to, which was a lot less than the last time I attempted P90.  It feels like I’ll need a lot more than 90 days.

When I first did P90X, it kicked my ass.  I was sweating profusely, super hot, drank a bunch of water – the works.  It was great.  But this time however, I physically couldn’t do what I did last time.  There’s not much of a workout if I physically can’t do one push-up.  5 years ago I was able to do 20 push-ups!  It whooped my ass but I was still able to do it.

I did what I could this time.  I had to do modified push-ups.  Not the girly kind that has me on my knee’s, but the kind where I don’t go all the way down.  And I used a chair to support my weight when I did the chin-ups.  I kept doing reps of 5 for everything which is hardly anything that can work up a sweat, but that’s all I had in me.

I didn’t think I’d be sore today but I am.  I’m feeling it.  Not horribly, but enough.

I’m going to attempt day two of P90X and after, if I’m not too worn out, I’ll hike up my big little mountain.

 

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Entering into the Glory Days: My New Chapter in Life

My Dad woke me up today at 8am after I had a late night of 7-8 beers and little sleep.

Dad – “Mel”

Me – no answer

Dad – “MEL!”

Me – “Yeah…..”

Dad – “We’re leaving now for Atlantic city.”

Me – “Yeah….”

I fell back to sleep for what seemed like a few hours until I hear my Dad again outside my bedroom door….

Dad – “Mel”

I waited for the second, more boisterous MEL to jolt me awake, but it never came.  Then I thought to myself, “what are they still doing here?  Didn’t they leave?”

Me thinking – “Oh God, they did leave.  So who’s outside my door?”

Rational brain – “It was an auditory hallucination, don’t panic.  You’re still half asleep.”

Then my alarm went off about a minute after I heard ghost Dad calling me.  I slammed on the snooze.

My brother’s in Rhode Island with my dog and I’m all alone in the house until Tuesday.  I’m already creeped out.  It sounded so real!  An exact echo of this morning when my Pop first woke me.

I’ve had auditory hallucinations before but never like this.  The crap I hear is usually heavy machinery, 20 TV’s turned on and blaring, one time when I was a kid I heard a news bulletin but I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.

I only hear stuff when I’m super stressed, I drank too much, and/or had little sleep.  It’s annoying when it happens.  It is NOT a spiritual awakening, it’s science that we haven’t figured out yet.

But anyways, I made a pledge to myself that I’m going to start the p90X workout tomorrow.  90 days of pain.  I don’t want to do it because it cuts into my laying around time, but I have no choice.  And plus I left behind my only pair of sneakers in Italy – I need to wear sneakers or my ankles get sore (learned from last time I did P90X).  So now I need to buy a pair of new freaking sneakers.

I’ve been hiking up my big little mountain most days.  I push myself to do it and it has gotten way easier, but I still feel like a fat slug.  I still don’t feel my best, my confidence is low.   My pants aren’t getting any looser.

It’s taking way too long is what I’m getting at.

I’m highly determined when it comes to certain things but I’m equally as lazy.  How can I be both?

I’m determined when it comes to things infringing upon my laziness.  I can’t enjoy being lazy if I’m fat and progressively getting fatter – the enjoyment plunges and morphs itself into self-hate.  I swear to god, I know I sound dramatic but it’s true.  My favorite activity (laying around) becomes tainted, no longer care-free enjoyment if I can’t run to save my life.  Eventually I’ll need one of those electric chair thingy’s to do my Walmart shopping in and clearly that’s unacceptable.

Why do I enjoy being lazy?  Because that’s the place where everything settles at the bottom.  The waters become still.  I can finally think and clear my head, to see straight down into the muck of the person I am.  No other activity welcomes me as much as mucking around the still waters.  It demands so little of me (none of me if you want to get zen with it).

My laziness started around mid-May and now it’s June 25th.  The chronic worry I faced during the initial onset of my retirement is subsiding and being replaced with insomnia.

I’m a night owl by nature.  Night is when I come alive.  And since I don’t have to wake up early anymore, the combination of being awake at night and sleeping in is seriously messing with my circadian rhythm.  I had insomnia 4 days in a row last week and I haven’t suffered like that in years prior.

So tomorrow I’m going to FootPrints to buy sneakers, then heading back home to start day one of the P90X.  It should quell my insomnia to some degree.  Seriously, P90X is no joke.  It’s an hour of pure ass-kicking.

These past 4 years of working 70 hours a week has taken its toll just as I knew it would.  Yet another reason why I hate giving massage – it makes me fat.

But what blows my mind is – I foreseen all this happening.  Almost like I planned it.  I knew my body would be a wreck at the end but I also knew as soon as my time freed up, I would do something about it.  I’m not just all talk.  I’ve never been all talk.  I planned for this and I’m actually following through.

As far as my business goes…..

Have you ever looked back on a certain time in your life when everything seemed easy and fun?  Like an old job you out-grew, but loved the time you spent working there?

I’m horribly sentimental to a fault and I kept wondering over and over again ever since opening my business; “if I look back on this time in my life, would they be fond memories?  Easy and fun, filled with loving people?”

The answer I always found myself with is No.  No this is not a fun time and no I would not look back on it fondly.

That is until now.  I’m living in that time right now.  The time when everything is perfect.  I can look back on this present moment and say, “Best time ever.”

I’ve been waiting for this moment since opening.  And if you completely disregard the pending lawsuit, things will only get better from here on out.

I think things are good now but you just wait…it’ll get even better.  You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

My receptionist has a lot to do with it.  She ties everything together.  She’s even throwing us an employee party at her house which is ultimate in strengthening the bonds we share.  The stronger the bonds, the more powerful the business.

I feel like I’m reliving my 20’s.  The ease and flow of life when you’re young, it’s all coming back.  Complete with care-free’s, no responsibilities, and following the fun.

When I look back on last summer, the only thing I remember about it is my spontaneous 5 days off.  I had 5 days off in a row, it wasn’t planned.  It just happened.  The rest of the time was spent on stress and one disaster following another.

So far this has been the best summer of my life.  Well, technically 1986 was my favorite summer since I thought it lasted an entire year (I was 6).  I graduated kindergarten and waited for first grade to start but it never came.  I remember asking someone if I had to wait a year until I can go to the first grade and they said, “it’s not a whole year, just the summer.”

But yeah….this is the best year of my life.  I can’t get over it.  And it’ll only get better!  As long as I keep the weight off and stay healthy, age won’t be a bother.  I have nothing but the best years still ahead of me.  And it all began last month.  It’s only been a month of this!

And according to my poor math skills, I’ll have an extra $2000 in the bank starting next month.

Don’t get me wrong, life still sucks.  I can never stop the suck completely, it’ll always be there.  All I’m trying to do is make the best out of the suck.  Despite the suck, I will enjoy what there is.  I laugh in the face of the suck.

******************************

I sat outside on our back porch today – just for a few minutes.  I went out there to throw a recyclable away and as soon as I slid open the sliding glass door, I was hit in the face with a beautiful day.  Literally, I felt it hit my face.

Me – “Wow, it’s so nice out.”

Me thinking – “We are floating in pitch-black darkness surrounded by nothingness.  No air to breathe, no plant or animals, not even gravity.  Nothing.  Just coldness and the sporadic clump of debris that formed into an orb due to gravity.  We are on such an orb.  One orb of debris out of infinity.

I HAD to sit down to think about this.  To look at the tree’s, the sky, feel the breeze, the colors and brightness, hear the birds chirping.  How are we even here?

I’m part of the earth, it made me.  I’m a natural part of it.  But why me exactly?  Why Me specifically?  My thoughts don’t feel natural, they don’t feel born from the earth.

Language, which I feel is the deciding factor between beast and man, allows these unnatural thoughts to occur.  Language creates a barrier between us and the universe.  We are not it and it is not us.  Language is nothing more than an evolved form of basic survival.  It came strictly from ego, our fear of death.  It’s both linear and restrictive and forms us into everything we are.

The sad truth is that there is no me.  I’m nothing but just another animal born from science.  No better or different from any other animal that lived.  Language is the biggest obstacle that makes us think otherwise.  Like we’re special, we’re separate.  It’s the biggest lie ever told.

Once you grasp this, I mean REALLY grasp it, it shatters your world.  You will suffer ego death (which feels like dying for real) and reemerge as the buddhist monk who ordered his hot dog “One with everything.”

It’s like you have to study really hard, learn all that you can and when you’re ready – forget it all.  Wipe the slate clean because it’s all false, it’s limited thinking, it’s not as real as now.

But now you have a base-line to shoot from.  If not for all you learned, you wouldn’t have a place to plant your feet.  Language is a place holder.  Until you swap it out for something better, what existed before you will continue to exist unchanged.

I’m clearly transfixing dammit.  I hate when I do that.

Shit I hope I sleep tonight.  I’m hungry.

Tomorrow is a big day filled with new sneakers and kicking my own ass.

 

 

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Keep on Keeping on

I’m legitimately happy these days.  Mainly because I stopped thinking about the lawsuit.  I shouldn’t even bring it up.  But the thing is, when something bothers me, I don’t shy away from it.  I allow the emotions to sink in and I wallow.  I feel the full spectrum of it, all the emotions have to offer.

Emotions, to me, are equivalent to experience.  And since you only learn from experience (via an emotional connection), denying yourself the opportunity to experience all the shit storms life throws at you, there’s no point in living at all.

I’ll be a better person because of it.  Not only better, but happier.  I’ll have all my mental faculties in check since I didn’t deny the truth or dull my senses.  And I’ll never get the Mean Red’s.

We’re subconsciously driven by pain and pleasure.  This drive is so powerful that it’s not just in the subconscious do we experience it (or not experience it I should say), but we consciously decide pleasure over pain on a daily basis sometimes knowingly and sometimes not.  And when things get too tough to handle, our brains shut down the neural pathways associated with the pain, virtually all of them in some catatonic cases.

You become a non-thinking vegetable.  Non imaginative, non-creative, boring, defensive, stupid, scared vegetable.

I’m not much of a fighter.  I go with the flow.  I don’t even fight off nasty emotions that normal people struggle with.  I feel EVERYTHING.

A nasty thought or emotion is like a parasite entering your skull and feeding off whatever supplies its nutrients.  It’s a battle.  But if you don’t fight it, there is no battle.  And the initial nutrients that first entertained the idea eventually run dry once you turned it over in your mind so many times like kneading dough.

The trick is to always land on hope.  And once you convinced yourself there is more hope than there is worry, you can let it go.  You don’t even decide to let it go, it happens on its own.

And that’s where I’m at right now.

I consulted the I-Ching a while back, months and months ago, before I received the papers that I’ve been served.  And the I-Ching said something bad will happen in August but it’ll clear up shortly after.

So I’m thinking August is the month this will all go down.  My big apocryphal battle that took 3 years leading up to.

Anyway, until then, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing because whatever it is, it’s working for me.  I’m happy.

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