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#100Days, Day 23 and Weekly Accountability for May 31st

Well, it happened. I missed a day by not posting yesterday. The thing is, I didn't even realize until I was already in bed ready to go to sleep. I'd actually considered getting up and going to post at least something.

But, I wanted to avoid an argument with my wife before it even started, so I settled in and went fast to sleep. Today required me to really think about what missing a day of posting meant. First, it meant not keeping my word to myself and to anyone who may be reading these posts.

That by itself didn't sit well with me. This feeling had me taking some time today to think about what happened, why, and what it really meant. Then, something occurred to me.

What occured to me was that, yes, I did miss a day. It does mean that 100 days of posting every day in a row isn't going to happen. However, it doesn't mean I can't still post for 100 days.

At the risk of rationalizing, I dove deeper into this. What came to mind was that although I missed a day, I still have a chance to keep posting every day for the rest of my challenge. That means that even though I stumbled, I can still finish strong. In a challenge like this, I think even finishing at all says something.

Not satisfied with this realization, I went even further. I equated this to all endeavors and life in general. What I came up with was that when I finish this challenge, I won't look back only at the day I missed. I'll likely look at the days I didn't miss, and give some time, a fraction overall, to the day I did miss.

This means that no matter where we are in life, it's never too late to finish. It's never too late for us to write the story of our lives that we want for ourselves. Not in the made up sense, but in the action and accomplishment sense.

If I want to be remembered a certain way, it's not too late for me to "write" that story so that when I leave this Earth, the story I wrote for myself was through the actions I took to be remembered in that certain way.

Whether it's a slow start, no start (yet), of a start without a finish, we can still write the story we want for ourselves. This makes the finish and the journey as a whole that got us there is so much more important that the stumbles and the mistakes.

I never like to let myself off the hook too easy, so I'm not one to just let these realizations be an excuse for me to stop trying. The story can only be written when the there's a journey and a destination has been reached. There can be many journeys, and several destinations, but I won't get the story of either one unless I take action on both.

It's weekly accountability time:

Weekly Accountability for May 31st, 2019

This Week's Goals (31 May 2019)

  • Enroll in that darn copywriting course! (So overdue)
  • Actually do some decluttering (Overdue)
  • Branstorm value propositions (Overdue)
  • Continue to apply realistic expecations to my everyday dealings and surroundings [Complete - and much less stressed when out in public]

Next Week's Goals (7 June 2019)

  • Enroll in that darn copywriting course!
  • Actually do some decluttering
  • Branstorm value propositions
  • Continue to apply realistic expecations to my everyday dealings and surroundings

Goals For The Month of May

  • Complete half of my copywriting course (Failed)
  • Define business niche and create ideal client profile (Failed)
  • Establish content strategy for upcoming business writing service website (Failed)
  • Made at least 4 contacts for upcoming business writing service (Failed)
  • Solidified professional freelance profiles for LinkedIn, Upwork, etc. (Failed)
  • Continue 100 Day Writing Challenge (Failed, but not quitting)

Goals For The Month of June

  • Complete half of my copywriting course
  • Define business niche and create ideal client profile
  • Establish content strategy for upcoming business writing service website
  • Made at least 4 contacts for upcoming business writing service
  • Solidified professional freelance profiles for LinkedIn, Upwork, etc.
  • Continue 100 Day Writing Challenge

Short Term Goals (within 6 months)

  • Complete a professional copywriting course by July 1st, 2019
  • Become a professional business and copywriter by August 1st, 2019 (by obtaining first paying client)
  • Establish processes for lead capturing
  • Develop client experience workflow from prospect to final delivery of product

Long Term Goals (a year or longer)

  • Be able to quit day job and go full time freelance by December 31st, 2020

What Went Right This Week

  • Capped off a great 5-day weekend with my wife
  • Kept up with work load and pace despite being out for two days this week
  • Used my coping mechanisms rooted in Stoicism and having realistic expectations to remain calm all week

What Can Be Done Better Next Week

  • Strive to get more done each workday
  • Be more deliberate with each day and plan for the next day the night before
  • Do something that will get me closer to achieving my overdue weekly goals.

#100Days, Day 22

Today was my first day back after a very welcomed 5-day weekend. I didn't dread coming back like I usually would, mostly because I'm in a rhythm at work. Not a lot of weird surprises, and just enough people are resisting the necessary changes I'm bringing on them, that this project is dragging out several months past the original deadline.

No fault of mine, well documented via email and weekly status updates, so I'm feeling pretty good about all this. And honestly, I tend to wonder if any projects for the foreseeable future will be as stressful as the one that took me out of commission for several months.

As this was Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., I always take some time on the holiday itself to reflect on those who lost their lives in the service of my country. It's the least I can do on a holiday such as this, as it's meant to honor and appreciate the many service men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

It would be hard to reflect on something like that without wondering, how did I come out of the same conflicts so many others didn't. It wasn't like I was better at any particular skill, or tougher, or even more brave than any of those that didn't come home alive.

And with that, there's always a fair amount of guilt in that I seem to have won some sort of lottery that so many others didn't. In the past, that guilt would have consumed me to the point of depression and anxiety.

I do believe that so many other combat veterans, and survivors of disasters that took lives, struggle with this same type of guilt as well. In fact, U.S. military veterans are taking their own lives at a rate of 22 per day. I'd find it hard to believe that overwhelming guilt wouldn't be at least a contributing factor.

With the demonstrable growth I've been experiencing in the past year, this year I've been able to cope with the guilt by doing one new thing. This year, I gave thanks for being given the life I've been given.

Combat experiences aside, I've endured some very trying and sometimes traumatic experiences outside of the military. And yet, when I look back on all these experiences, from my times overseas as well as other times in my life, sometimes during childhood, I can now allow myself to be grateful.

Grateful for so many things. Where I live, how I live, who I'm married to, who I'm a father to, who I'm a friend to, and so much more. I'm grateful for all of this. I still grieve for those that didn't make it home, but I'd like to think that they would want these things for me and for everyone else that was able to come home and especially for those that didn't serve.

That's pretty much the definition of "sacrifice", isn't it? They sacrificed their lives so that our freedoms and way of life can be preserved. As someone who was also willing give his life for the same reasons, perhaps I do deserve to be a beneficiary of their selfless sacrifices after all.

The other good things in my life are nothing short of some kind of good Karma or Blessings that go beyond the typical preservation of freedoms that I may never feel that I truly deserve. And I realize that.

So when it comes to guilt and gratitude, they now can co-exist in my world. And while I wish I could have done more, I did do everything that was asked of me. Not just at the minimum level, I gave it my maximum effort in all things. But, I still wish I could have done more anyway.

I hope more of us that came home will be able to experience the same gratitude I've allowed myself to experience. If only that would happen, so that 22 vets taking their lives a day would be no more.

#100Days, Day 21

Great day, today. Slept in again to enjoy my last day of an extra long weekend.

Celebrated our wedding anniversary today with a big breakfast we helped each other make. Chilled out and just relaxed. Nowhere to be, nothing to have to do.

Back to work tomorrow, but also back to exploring thoughts, feelings, and realizations. For now, I’ve enjoyed this extended period of relaxation. It’s helped clear my mind and give my spirit a really nice break.

See you tomorrow.

#100Days, Day 20

Today was another pretty easy day. I did get a sort of a workout in as my wife and I went to her parents house so I could help my father-in-law remove a busted fridge from their house.

It wasn't their main one, it was an overflow fridge elsewhere in the house, and it was older than my marriage.

Taking it out was fairly easy, but they had a spare one in their garage that they wanted to move into the old one's spot. We tried to bring it in, but it was too big to fit where the other one was, so we had to take it back to the garage and put it back and hook it back up.

That gave me my workout because I'm usually not very active. So, moving the heavy fridges around was definitely some exercise I needed. I was also in a fasted state, so I hope the extra activity helped burn off some extra fat cells, too.

We took the old fridge to a charity donation drop-off, and then the four of us went to dinner. After coming home, back to relaxation mode, and so, here I am.

I'm about to settle into another episode of Chernobyl. I started it last night and watched two episodes. Very gripping movie about an event I remember happening when I was still in high school.

Well, I'm off to the show, and then to bed, then tomorrow will be my last of a beautiful 5-day holiday weekend/mini vacation. It's been pretty damn good so far, I must say.

Have a good night.

#100Days, Day 19

Just spent the day relaxing and spent some quality time with the wife. We also spent a good part of the day doing our own projects around the house.

Then we watched a movie, which just ended, and now I might watch one more before heading to bed.

Overall, it as just aother lazy day of several in a row with no stress, no worries. Not hatin' it. Not hatin' it one bit.

Good night.

#100Days, Day 18

Let's see... last night I stayed up and slept in big time. Got up around 10:30am. That's living the good life in my book.

I need to keep a notepad by my bedside because everytime I wake up, I've got ideas in my head that I want to explore. But, by the time I sit down to write, the ideas have escaped me. So, yeah, I need to either write down, or better yet, use Standard Notes on my mobile phone and capture my thoughts as soon as I wake up.

Today was great because even though I slept in late, the wife wanted to look at furniture. I needed to pick up some packages at our UPS store anyway, so we decided to make an outing of it. Run errands, look at furniture, then head over to a nice restaurant for an early dinner.

While we were out and about, I did notice something. I noticed that while I was driving, I'd normally be cussing and yelling at every little driving infraction I'd see other drivers making. Not today. I mean, yeah, sure, I'd say something, but not nearly as often, and not nearly as loud.

It was more like calm observation, and remembering that thre's nothing that I myself can do about what other people do and don't do. But, then I noticed something else. I noticed my wife being very impatient with traffic, and other people's driving. She was way more vocal than I was today.

I just enjoyed being with her, the fact that we got out and about today, and that I didn't need to be in a hurry for anything. So, the surprising thing for me was that I was calm, relaxed, and accepting of the other people on the road.

There was a weight lifted off me as a result as well. If I don't spend all that time and energy calling out everything and everyone I see, I felt less anxious and stressed. When I step back and really think about it, I was also less judgmental of others, and that seems to be a freeing experience as well.

It's as if I'm no longer the monitor of everything that everybody does. I just cared about me, my wife, and the moment we were in at any given time of the day today. Therefore, I really enjoyed my day more than I probably would have before challenging myself to take a different view of "expectations" and working on controlling my responses and reactions to things I can't control, and instead working on better controlling the things I can control, like me, my mind, my mood, and my gratitude.

Just took my time, soaked it all in, enjoyed the quality time with my wife, and for the first time in a very long time, I was able to focus on us, and not everyone else. Today, it was just the two of us in my world, and frankly, no one else really existed.

Here's to growth and progress!

#100Days, Day 17 And Weekly Accountability for May 24th

Today was a pretty good day overall. As luck would have it, I got a call from my team at work this morning. It was at least late enough in the morning that I was already up after sleeping in.

So, about 30 minutes of work today to put out the fire at work, then resumed my rest and relaxation. My wife was supposed to leave early today, but instead, drama erupted at her work and she ended up leaving an hour later than her usual time.

It's almost like there a force out there that senses the energy of people that are about to do something enjoyable like leave early, or try to take a day off, and then the energy says, "Well, we can't have that now, can we?" And then proceeds to shit all over our plans.

I laugh as I write this because, well, because it kinda seems to be the case.

Anyways, I binged on a bunch of YouTube, and just vegged out. Not a bad way to spend my day. Just some peace and quiet, and learning stuff on YouTube, especially about Stoicism. There's a video I found that was a whiteboard animation set to a Time Ferris talk about how he found Stoicism, and broke it down into practical terms. Great talk.

Ok, now for my weekly accountability.

Weekly Accountability for May 24th, 2019

This Week's Goals (24 May 2019)

  • Enroll in professional copywriting course (STILL, and yet STILL Overdue)
  • More decluttering and minimizing (Overdue)
  • Relax over the weekend [Done, yay me!]
  • Brainstorm value propositions I can offer as a professional business/technical writer
  • Give my roadster a bath and a nice polishing (Overdue)
  • Take one step toward additional decluttering (Overdue)
  • Apply the "realistic expectations" principle I wrote about yesterday [Done, and have noticed a big different in my patience levels]

Next Week's Goals for May 31st

  • Enroll in that darn copywriting course!
  • Actually do some decluttering
  • Branstorm value propositions
  • Continue to apply realistic expecations to my everyday dealings and surroundings

Goals For The Month of May

  • Complete half of my copywriting course
  • Define business niche and create ideal client profile
  • Establish content strategy for upcoming business writing service website
  • Made at least 4 contacts for upcoming business writing service
  • Solidified professional freelance profiles for LinkedIn, Upwork, etc.
  • Continue 100 Day Writing Challenge

Short Term Goals (within 6 months)

  • Complete a professional copywriting course by July 1st, 2019
  • Become a professional business and copywriter by August 1st, 2019 (by obtaining first paying client)
  • Establish processes for lead capturing
  • Develop client experience workflow from prospect to final delivery of product

Long Term Goals (a year or longer)

  • Be able to quit day job and go full time freelance by December 31st, 2020

What Went Right This Week

  • Found solace in spending quality time with my wife and a friend
  • Discovered something about myself I didn't realize before and could perhaps help me with my anger and anxiety (personal development)
  • Kept busy throughout the week to get some really good work done

What Can Be Done Better Next Week

  • Move closer to short and long term goals by enrolling in copywriting course (STILL!)
  • Show more patience towards others, especially towards less than cooperative co-workers (failed last week AND this week, but maybe next week)
  • Commit to even more to personal development

#100Days, Day 16

I made it. I got through the short week, and today was by far the busiest day I've had in months. So much to do today to insure a guilt-free 5 days off, but it all got done.

Well, there's always a chance I missed something, but since I don't know what that is, it's guilt-free because I won't know until I got back to work next Wednesday.

It was a huge relief to be done for the day. Usually, the day before a vacation or a holiday weekend, people cut out a little early to get a head start on their weekend. I wish that was the case for me, that wasn't meant to be.

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist today that I'd forgotten about, until I got a reminder from his office yesterday. And, it was in the afternoon, so I had to leave the office early, go see him, then come back home and finish everything I didn't get to finish before having to leave.

So, I got home around 4pm, and worked until about 5:30, then called it a day. Hardly an "early" start to my long weekend. In fact, my wife got home before I was done for the day, and that almost never happens.

Oh well, I'm off now and it feels fantastic!

My visit with my shrink went really well. I was in the best mood I'd been in for the past several visits. And, a big difference from when I was at the worst of my anxiety and depression relapse.

I just felt good... felt upbeat, well rested, not angry or frustrated. I even shared with him that lately I haven't been hating Sundays as I dread Mondays. I also told him that I'm writing every day, and how that really helps. More than I realized that it would or could.

It seems that my plan to pursue a path that I've been wanting to for some time (proessional copy and business/technical writing) has also been a healthy pursuit for me. It's got me focused on more positive outcome for my life and career.

I'm in a pretty good place right now, with work, with home, marriage, friendships, etc. Just talking with him today, I felt so good, so energized, and full of hope. Pretty much the exact polar opposite of how I felt even a few months ago.

Again, busy, busy, followed by a great visit with my doc, then busy again... but the thing is, I felt like I was really effective today. Like I contributed some tangible results to my work project, but also to myself. I was useful, and really in my zone.

There's no better feeling than that, and now I get to enjoy a nice 5 day break. I can't remember the last time I was this content. Sure feels good.

See you tomorrow.

#100Days, Day 15

Not sure what I want to reflect on today. A pretty uneventful day, and believe me, I'll take it over a chaotic one any day.

Was able to get my most difficult meeting of the day out of the way pretty early. Not first thing once I log in (which I can't stand), but a good hour and a half after starting work. That works great so that I can read my emails from the night before, and settle into my day.

After the meeting, I had nothing else on my calendar, so I was able to complete a majority of my work before lunch again. Did some more research on acoustic treatments and sound proofing rooms. Learned more about the distinctions and nuances between them, giving me some better direction on that to do for my rooms.

I'm just so happy to be off this Friday and the Tuesday after the holiday. A nice 5 day mini vacation for the price of only two vacation days.

I think on Friday, I'll sleep in (of course), and since my wife has to work, I'll treat myself to lunch at some place my wife always says no to.

Then, when I'm too full for dinner, she'll really start to squawk.

I've also noticed while linking to a previous post that all my images have somehow stopped loading. Not sure if the image host I'm using changed URLs on me, or what, but I guess I'll need to look into that at some point. Not really a priority at this point, but one more thing to add to my to-do list.

Other than that, not much else going on. This may sound boring, but believe me, I'm totaly good with that.

#100Days, Day 14

Not sure this one will blow anyone's socks off, but an overall good day. Was busy with work projects the first half of the day, then was done with my work by lunchtime. So, I spent the afternoon reading up on ideas for soundproofing my home office and TV room. Found some semi-affordable options that are already done for me, or I can DIY them myself and save some money.

Thing is, I don't really have any tools (except computer repair tools), I'm not very handy, and I don't really like doing that stuff. Then I realized, my co-worker is from Nebraska and he loves working on shit. He build a "shed" for his riding mower, and a workbench and extra storage, and I kid you not, it's a smaller replica of a red barn. Not much smaller than the real thing, but small enough to have it be allowed in a residential area.

He's built his own headboard, and he works on his own cars and saves a ton of money. It might not be a bad idea to see if I threw a few bucks his way, if he'd make them for me, and maybe I can still save some money, while also not having to build them myself.

Yeah, I know, why not just build them myself? Well, I wrote about that earlier in in my blog, and it really captures the reasons why. Sure, some could call me lazy, but I call myself smart for not spending too much time, if any, doing stuff I don't want to do, in favor of spending the same amount of time doing what I really want to do.

That's mostly learning new stuff, or maybe just hanging around watching sitcom reruns with the wife. Either way, I consider that a much better use of my time than to be doing something I don't really care to do. So, I think I'll hit him up later today or tomorrow and see what he thinks.

See, that's why we all have our strengths. While he may jump at the chance to build something for me involving wood and fabric and such, that's not really my bag. However, when it comes to the things I do like to do, like write, work on computers, and stuff like that, I could be the one jumping at the chance to do something that someone else would really not rather do.

I guess it's all part of the circle of life, and what makes the world go 'round, isn't it?

#100Days, Day 13

Aaaand, I'm back. Yesterday was not the best day for me to write. Mostly because I got so engulfed in working on mailbox encryption and decryption for all my devices, and spent some time working on my eventual writing business.

Next thing I know, dinner's ready, and right after that, Game of Thrones. My wife and I were pretty happy with the final ending of the show, and it sort of redeemed itself for so many missed opportunities to tell a much more powerful story in the previous couple of episodes.

However, we still feel robbed over one thing that never came to fruition, and so I guess we have to take the good with the bad. If you're a fan of the show and have watched to the end, I think you'll know what that one thing I'm referring to is.

In any case, yesterday was also the first time for as long as I can remember, that I didn't dread a Monday. Maybe it's because I have a better understanding of all the various of what could be considered a "good job" with my project, when I thought it was really just one.

Or, it could be because I know what I've got to do for the project, and the people on my team a really great to work with, even if our "customers" are spoiled little shits.

Then again, perhaps it's because I'm taking this Friday off, enjoying a holiday on Monday, and taking Tuesday off just because it feels good.

Think it might be all of the above? I'd bet good money on it. Regardless, it just feels great to not be all tense and full of anxiety when going to work.

I will say that the time I spent on getting my encrypted mailbox from Mailbox.org working with all my devices was well worth the effort. I'd started poking at it here and there since a few weeks ago, but never really gave it my full attention.

The issue was that I could see all the mail in my encrypted mailbox just fine as long as I was using their web interface. But, whenever I'd try to connect my laptop/desktop/mobile email apps to it, I could never see the encrypted contents of my emails.

And for a while, I thought that was perhaps a "feature" and not a bug. Where if you wanted true privacy and security, use the browser and not third party email clients, like ProtonMail and Tutanota do. But, I thought that to be quite limiting, and somewhat defeating the purpose of having a productivity suite bundled in that you can use from any device.

I also thought that for some reason I just wasn't grasping the concept of managing encryption keys, and that maybe it is just that complicated. Then I started reading more about the issue I was experiencing, and started piecing it together.

If you're interested here's what I found, and how I fixed it:

In Mailbox.org, you can choose to have Mailbox.org create your PGP keys. It's called "Guard" and it makes it very easy to encrypt your emails and receive encrypted emails. Another benefit, however, is that Guard will also encrypt all incoming messages to your mailbox (even if the sender didn't encrypt the email to you), and it will also encrypt the files you store in their cloud as part of the productivity suite.

Using Guard and having Mailbox.org create your keys is the easiest way to get this all done. So, when I was having issues using 3rd party email clients, I really thought I was kind of stupid for not understanding how this should be done.

Ok, so here's what happened:

  • When I first signed up for Mailbox.org as a trial, I used a different username and that username became my email address at Mailbox.org.

  • In order to set up Guard to encrypt my mailbox and cloud storage, I needed to copy and paste my public key to a setting in my Mailbox.org account.

  • Not long after setting all that up, I created an alias to use in conjunction with my primary email address.

  • Then, I decided to change my alias to my primary email address, and my primary email address to be my alias. Yeah, I like to complicate stuff, don't I?

  • After doing so, new encryption keys were generated by Guard for my "new" primary email address.

  • Once the new keys were created, I could still see all my email when logging in with the web interface. When I confirmed that it worked, I revoked the keys for the original primary email address that is now my alias. No need to use the key any more as I didn't want to really use the alias anyway. I just wanted to promote my original alias to be my primary account name and email.

  • Every time I'd try to connect an email client with PGP support, I couldn't decrypt the emails in my mailbox. Again, on the web: just fine. Anything else: Nope.

  • I'd pasted or imported my public and private keys into these email clients, and even my keyring on my laptop and desktop machines. For iOS, I was using Canary Mail and that's a simple upload from my Files app to where it immediately recognizes the key and knows everything inside the key.

  • But, no matter what, I couldn't decrypt my emails when using anything other than the web interface. I'd paid $10 for Canary Mail and I thought I'd wasted it because no matter what I tried, I couldn't get it to work.

  • I started reading about querying for public keys on keyservers. Seahorse for Gnome, of course, doesn't support the hkps protocol, only hkp, the non-secure version. So, I installed Thunderbird and Engimail, since Enigmail supports querying public key servers with hkps.

  • Did my query and found me on the Mailbox.org key server. Found my current primary account, and my alias that used to be my primary account and had since revoked.

  • Decided to export both private and public keys for both identities (primary and alias) on Mailbox.org. They've got a very easy way to do that with their web interface that manages your account.

  • As I set up the private and public keys for my current primary email in Enigmail, I saw a funny message on each of my emails in Thunderbird. Since it couldn't decrypt any of my email contents, it would keep telling me the message was intended for my current alias, which used to be my primary account.

  • I thought that was really weird because I changed my primary account away from that identity. And, I'm able to see and decrypt all my email when using the web interface.

  • Decided to try something. If Thunderbird and Enigmail think the encrypted contents are for my old primary email address, what if I imported the key pair for that old one that has since been revoked?

  • Turns out I can't use revoked keys on my laptop or desktop, but Canary Mail didn't care. As long as I had the contents of the key to upload to the app, it took it. And guess what.... I could see my emails in Canary Mail!

  • Not done yet, if I can see my emails in Canary mail that are clearly addressed to my current primary email, why do I have to use the private key of the current alias identity to read those emails. Shouldn't email that gets encrypted with my keys in Guard automatically know which account the encrypted contents of the message would be intended for?

  • Then it hit me. After I promoted my alias to primary, I didn't paste the new public key that Guard created for my new primary account in my encrypted mailbox setting on my Mailbox.org account settings! Once I pasted the public key of my now current account, messages with encrypted contents were now encrypted for my actual primary account.

  • The public key I'd pasted in before never got changed, so it thought my alias was still my primary.

  • Once I could verify that new emails coming in were indeed encrypted and meant for my now primary account, I saw that I could see my older emails that were encrypted for the wrong identity. I didn't lose access to my emails during the time of misconfiguration.

  • On my email clients, I uploaded the key pairs for my current primary as well as the revoked key pair for my alias, and now I can see all my emails, and from here out, incoming emails are encrypted for the proper identity, so my current primary key pair is now the right key pair, and I can use any damn email client I want that supports PGP.

DONE!

I love figuring shit out. It was a stupid mistake, an oversight really, and it turns out I was managing keys the way I understood it from all the websites I'd visited. I was just managing the wrong keys! D'OH!!

So now that I'd borked something up by making a change, and figuring out how to fix it afterwards means that using public and private keys for email really isn't all that hard.

Never gonna forget that little lesson when securing emails and mailboxes. So, all in all, Sunday was a pretty great day.

#100Days, Day 12

This one will truly be short. Watched Game of Thrones finale, quite a few things to process.

More tomorrow. Good night.

#100Days, Day 11

Just a quick reflection of the day before I settle into a movie or something. Been working on my desktop computer all day today. I got some new entry level studio monitors for it, and a DAC (digital audio converter) a couple of weeks ago. I had set them up when I got them, and enjoyed some tunes, but after that day, I was mostly using my laptop.

Today, I spent the day on my desktop listening to tunes on the new speakers and DAC, and just soaking it all in. Wrote some emails, did some online research for movie posters, and found a place that has a ton of them, and they do different framing and mounting options, which is really cool.

I plan to buy several movie posters, and turn them into sound absorbtion panels for the media room. I saw a YouTube video that inspired me, and while the guy uses a towel as the outer display material, I'm doing movie posters, and filling the backs of each with the material this guy tested as being the most sound absorbing. And, quite surprising to say the least.

No doubt I can do something very similar for my home office, so I can listen to my monitors a little louder than I'm able to now without disturbing the Mrs.

This morning I slept in, and it felt great. Had a bit of a rainstorm, and we all know how much I enjoy those, so that was nice, too. After I post this, I'll probably watch some YouTube and a movie. I watch a lot of YouTube but not for the crazy cat videos or the Dude Perfect stuff, I watch it to learn new things. I enjoy learning about new technologies, or life hacks via TED Talks, and even some creepy paranormal stuff on Slapped Ham.

While I do enjoy watching UFO sightings as well, it's hard to find a good channel that isn't an obvious fake. Yeah, you might thing, but dude, they're all fake, but I disagree. I like watching unexplained things caught on video, like possible ghosts and UFOs and stuff. And while I do have a belief in them, I also like to think about what else it could be if it's not that thing I think it is and my brain is telling me it is. That's a fun exercise to help me with my critical thinking.

I can have a belief in something, which for me means little to no reason to doubt, until something comes along to prove that thing is false, fake, incorrect, etc. So, while I have beliefs of varying kinds, I'm also open to the possibility that the things I believe are real, good, healthy, harmless, etc., could in fact be the opposite... and vice versa. But, I'll hold the belief until I can find some evidence to disprove it.

And, if someone should happen to disprove something I'd believe in, with facts, not emotion or hysterics or shaming, but with actual facts, then I'll be the first to admit that my initial beliefs in something I thought to be true were in fact, wrong. No problem with that, whatsoever. Thing is, there's no conversation anymore where healthy discussion can turn into lively debate, and a mutual exchange of ideas.

With perhaps even both sides respecting each other all the more for sharing their reasons for leaning one way or the other.

Nowadays, it's you're either this side or that side, and if you're on what's percieved to be the wrong side, you're a complete asshole with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Well, if you've been reading my blog and my pursuit for a less-stress, simpler, and more fulfilling life, you'd know that Homie don't play that. If you can speak with me (not to me, or at me) like I'm a coherent and semi-intelligent human being with the capability to continue learning even in his older years, then I'm happy to engage.

Otherwise, if I'm going to be talked down to, condescended, mocked, or shamed, then I just don't have time to hear your point, no matter how valid it may be. So, I guess that really does boil down to, "It's not what you say, but how you say it." And sure, some believe it's time to get loud and angry and show the world how fed up (or scared) you are, and the only way to do it is to shout down others, because otherwise your anguish and disgust wouldn't be genuine otherwise. But it's really not the way.

Sure, be passionate. Believe strongly. Even take action. But like in all things, there are healthy ways to do all of the above, and there are unhealthy ways. To be completely honest, I do see both taking place. But, the unhealthy ones that think they're making a difference could actually be doing the exact opposite.

Because when you rant, and explode, and throw things, and basically act like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum, no one has time to listen to you. Even if you do have a valid point. You're just making it harder for you to be heard, because no one, and I mean no one really likes dealing with someone who can't control their emotions.

And, I can speak from experience. Not from a political standpoint, but from a general kind of everything around me standpoint. As a combat veteran who must cope with many things experienced in the service of my country, combined with shattered ideals, and the oh so many things I can not control, it has almost consumed me to a frightening degree... to an almost tragic degree. Not to the ones I love, but to myself, which I guess would impact the ones I love.

So, whatever... you hold some things to be true. That's great, take a stand, believe in something, but if you really want to be a badass, be willing to listen to someone else speak for a moment and see if they might just teach you something you didn't know before. Maybe it won't change your mind, but maybe it will give you a better understanding of the larger picture, or why the person across from you believes differently than you do.

And no, the reason for someone disagreeing with you isn't simply because they're a moron. Although, I've been guilt as charged for thinking that very thing... even as recently as last Tuesday. I joke, but the point is still valid. Just as is your opinion, your beliefs, and your struggle, as well as everyone else's.

Not sure how that spiraled into a rant about what I call "The Death of the Conversation", but it felt good to get it out. Agree, disagree, I dont much care about your stance as much as I care about you. Approach everything in the healthiest way you can. It may not be popular, or even easy, but the healthy way is always the best way. For me, for you, and for all of us.

Mmmmkay, a quick "post" of what I thought would be about 300 words turned out to be close to 1,200. Guess I had more on my mind today than I thought. But I do feel better, and hope you do too.

Live well.

#100Days, Day 10 and Weekly Accountability for April 17th

Ok, 10 days straight, and today I'm pushing to write this. Mostly because it's been another busy day of getting shit done. Making progress on my work projects, so enjoying the busy right now.

I've gone over 25 days in a row my April challenge to post every day for the month, and missed my full goal by two different days when I didn't write. However, I wrote for a total of 27 days for that month. WOW.

For someone who used to make writing an "event", it's now a daily thing. Sure, the quality will vary, but that's to be expected with this form of writing/journaling.

And like with most things, doing anything daily becomes a challenge, sometimes even a chore. The thing is, I want to take my writing to the next level, so writing every day is for me, like practicing an instrument, or a martial art, or anything that requires practice and time invested to achieve mastery.

I looked at my word count the other day, and it was like over 40,000 words. It kind of shocked me because I didn't think that would add up so quickly. Keep in mind that just because it's 40,000 words, it doesn't mean they're all good or effective, or even useful words.

But, it does show me in a tangible way, progress toward my goal. So, not for vanity, but merely for measuring growth. A year ago, I'd write maybe a few times a year. Can't believe I ever thought I'd reach any kind of goal by only doing that thing once in a while, and usually around the Holidays.

Well, I'm in it now... I'm all up in that. It feels good, but as I can only measure progress right now by the number of words I'm committing to this journal, I'm not sure of my progress as an improving effective and engaging writer.

I should probably go back and read some of the few things I wrote from last year and further, and see what that looks like. If it' the same, should I be depressed and think there's no growth?

Or, would that mean that my voice is consistent, and can still attract business clientele like I'd like it to? We shall see. Now, on to...

Weekly Accountability for April 17th, 2019

This Week's Goals (17 May 2019)

  • Enroll in professional copywriting course (STILL Overdue)
  • More decluttering and minimizing - (Overdue)
  • Continue to support my pro bono client with new content this week - [Done]
  • Do the minimum required at my current day job, allowing myself to not have to be the best - [Done]
  • Do something for somebody unexpected and positive - [Done]
  • Continue to post every day for the 100 Day Writing Challenge - {In Progress}

Next Week's Goals (24 May 2019)

  • Enroll in professional copywriting course (STILL Overdue)
  • More decluttering and minimizing (Overdue)
  • Relax over the weekend (yes, it's harder for me than it sounds)
  • Brainstorm value propositions I can offer as a professional business/technical writer
  • Give my roadster a bath and a nice polishing
  • Take one step toward additional decluttering
  • Apply the "realistic expectations" principle I wrote about yesterday

Goals For The Month of May

  • Complete half of my copywriting course
  • Define business niche and create ideal client profile
  • Establish content strategy for upcoming business writing service website
  • Made at least 4 contacts for upcoming business writing service
  • Solidified professional freelance profiles for LinkedIn, Upwork, etc.
  • Continue 100 Day Writing Challenge

Short Term Goals (within 6 months)

  • Complete a professional copywriting course by July 1st, 2019
  • Become a professional business and copywriter by August 1st, 2019 (by obtaining first paying client)
  • Establish processes for lead capturing
  • Develop client experience workflow from prospect to final delivery of product

Long Term Goals (a year or longer)

  • Be able to quit day job and go full time freelance by December 31st, 2020

What Went Right This Week

  • Found solace in spending quality time with my wife and a friend
  • Discovered something about myself I didn't realize before and could perhaps help me with my anger and anxiety (personal development)
  • Kept busy throughout the week to get some really good work done

What Can Be Done Better Next Week

  • Move closer to short and long term goals by enrolling in copywriting course (STILL!)
  • Show more patience towards others, especially towards less than cooperative co-workers (failed last week AND this week, but maybe next week)
  • Commit to even more to personal development

#100Days, Day 9

Another busy day, but again, it was a good busy. I'm enjoying a lull in the action right now, but things could pick up at any moment. It's a really nice day today so I drove my roadster to work. When I leave the office, the top is going down and stereo volume is going up! Since I haven't had a chance to enjoy my little sports car in a while, I'm glad I get to drive it today.

This morning as I was getting ready for work I was thinking about a couple of instances where I thought I knew someone, and they turned out to be not completely who I thought they were. It's disappointing to say the least, but then that leads to another thing: expectations.

When I think about it, all my anger, all my frustrations, all my disappointments, and yet all my joys are rooted in expectations. If someone, something, or a situation doesn't meet my expectations, I get mad, sad, pissed or, any number of negative emotions. When my expectations are met, I'm agreeable, happy, and in a good mood. When my expectations are exceeded, then I'm on Cloud 9.

For me, this is a tremendous realization. Because what started as disappointment in people not being true to their initial selves, at least in my perception, expectations are tied to every single part of that. Does this mean I should lower my expectations? I don't think so, as that could have a negative outcome overall.

I once had a girlfriend who used to live by the mantra, "I always assume the worst so that I'm never disappointed." Yes, others have said it, and it's somewhat cliche, but it seems to have it's roots in Stoicism. Really only so far as meditating before starting the day and thinking about the worst things that could happen regarding your dealings with other people, and the circumstances throughout the day. This way, when you've already explored "the worst" you can think of, anything less is a pleasant outcome.

But I don't think an all or nothing approach like lower my standards so low, that anything not resulting in pain, injury or death is a great answer. Nor is the constant setting of expectations of most things I can't control so high, that they could never possibly be met.

Then what about something with more of a balance?

As an example, when I drive into work, I hate traffic. I dread it, yet I can't control it. And when I get stuck in traffic and people are driving like they left their brains at home, I get really pissed off. But, in peeling that onion I can see that my expectations of my drive to work being blessed with no delays, less cars on the road, everyone moving at the speed limit or above, and everyone paying attention to the road rather than anything else but, aren't realistic because I can't control any of it.

If it's a weekday, and I'm going to work, so are tons of other people. Love it or hate it, that's reality. So, what if instead, I created more reasonable expectations of the drive to work that I can control? I love music, so I can expect to have a great playlist jamming while on the road. That's on me to be sure I've got the right playlist I want to listen to loaded up and playing.

I like always being at a comfortable temperature, so I set the heat or AC to a setting that will insure I'm comfortable while driving.

Now I get that the larger premise here is that Stoicism teaches that each person should control what they are able, and not be emotionally attached to the things you can not. But, when I frame it in the context of expectations, this somehow makes it more manageable to (hopefully) be able to focus on the source of my negative feelings and reframe those sources as things I shouldn't have such high expectations about.

We'll see how that goes, but at this point, I'd like to have a little more calm in my soul, so it's worth a shot.