goals

365 Challenge: Day 205 – Focus

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Focusa central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity

focus.jpg

I returned from vacation, ready to focus my efforts on key next steps. I asked myself this morning: what are they? Before I left on the trip, I planned my days very specifically to accomplish as much as possible on meeting my goals; however, it wasn’t the case for my days after the trip. I will need to spend part of today focused on choosing the short term goals for the next three months, as it’s important to keep myself on a path towards the ultimate end goals I’ve determined throughout the last year. At the same time, it’s a rather calm feeling to know that while I have several important things coming due before the end of the year, I also have the freedom to choose how to spend this time without feeling the intensity of past pressure.

Focus is important to me. I am driven by success and achievement. Without some boundaries around my key activities, I experience dissatisfaction and distraction. When I climb into bed at night, I want to know I did my best that day. My best could run the gamut from relaxing and reading to writing and marketing, but the point is always to know that I had a fair amount of direction set and a course to navigate. I started reading a new book called ‘Simply Does It’ by an author I met a few months ago via this blog: Melanie Mole. I completed 25% before bed last night and it was a great reminder of things we have been told for years but often forget. I’m going to make an effort to keep these ideals on the forefront for the next few days, as I pull together the details in support of my next quarter’s objectives. Life is not meant to be all work, nor is it meant to be all play. There’s a fine balance to it all, and I’m focused on finding my equilibrium. What about you… anyone focused on their journey and willing to share tips and ideas?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 184 – Halfway

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Halfway: at or to a point equidistant between two others

halfway

If you read the Ryder’s Rants post from yesterday, you know that we met the halfway point in the 365 Daily Challenge: 6 months completed over 183 posts since March 13, 2017. I’m really not sure how time flew by so quickly, nor how I came up with that many words to describe myself or things going on in my life. But I did, along with the help of many fine online friends who threw out a suggestion or two from time to time.

To honor the challenge, I thought I’d share some metrics of the Best and Worst Posts, keeping in mind that as the number of followers grow, the posts get more viewers… meaning the early posts probably will always be in the “worst” category because I didn’t interact with a lot of folks back then. But let’s see… this will be interesting!

Best Posts

Worst Posts

 

Question For You:  What were some of your favorite posts along the way?

 

As we embark upon the second half of the 365 Daily Challenge, the words are going to become harder and harder to come by; I’ll have used similar ones, and I don’t like to be too repetitive. I will be focusing on my upcoming novels, so I can’t let myself spend too much time researching words or finding pictures and graphics.

I would love to hear any suggestions on the type of content you’d like to see included in the coming months. Please share anything you can think of. And thank you very much for everyone’s contributions and support during this effort.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 164 – Work

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Work: mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment

work.jpg

As I began preparing my Sunday post for the next round of jobs, I realized that I never covered what the concept of a job means. I found something I had drafted in part awhile ago, realizing it was apropos to dust off and release as a clean and new version to stimulate our 365 Daily Challenge discussions. For most of us, jobs exist to provide money to meet the basic staples of life:  food, water, shelter, warmth, etc. For some of us, jobs aren’t a requirement (That’s not me!). We may have a significant other, parent or spouse who pays the bills. We may be retired or amassed an income of wealth where work is no longer necessary.  We may be too sick to work.  For those of us who work because we need to “put the roof over our head,” there is an extreme variance between selecting a job we like and selecting a job we do not like.

Our jobs are generally chosen early on in life… or at least the general type of job or industry we will work in.  When we finish school (be it grammar school, high school, college or graduate work), we enter the workforce in some fashion.  Many of us choose — and are lucky enough — to go to college for 4 years right after high school.  By my fourth year, I was tired of school and wanted to enter a true workforce.  And I did, but I never went back for a graduate degree, which I do regret in many ways and find myself contemplating whether I should do so now.

Regardless, by choosing college, we choose to enter a certain type of workforce where we are in the business world putting in a typical 8 to 9 hour day, 5 days a week and the occasional night or weekend overtime requirements… (ok, for me it’s more like 12 hours a day and way more than occasional nights and weekends — but that’s an entirely different thread from this one.)

Whether we’re in technology or finance or sales or marketing or human resources doesn’t matter.  What matters is that there is a fairly routine expectation of putting in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.  Our pay grows as our experience and commitment grows. It’s up to each individual person to find their own work-life balance, at least in the USA where they like to work you to the bone!

But what if it’s still just a job.  We may have good days. We may have bad days. Sometimes the unsettled feelings we have can go on for years.  We can blame the culture of the company, or we can blame ourselves for staying for so long.  We can blame our family for living in the same place, making it hard for us to want to move somewhere else, or we can blame society for making changes and transitions too difficult.  We can blame a lot.

And that’s probably part of the issue.  We really should only blame ourselves.  And blame only goes so far.  We can choose to leave. We can choose to move on. We can choose a different path.  Yet we haven’t always done so generally for fear of losing money or not being busy.

So I started thinking… do we know what will make us happy in a job?  We’d all like to think so, but are we really sure…  Is it about the hours?  Is it about the pay?  Is it about the people?  Is it about the volume?  Is it about the benefits? Well, actually… shouldn’t it be about the actual work?  Shouldn’t it be about tasks that we enjoy doing?  Shouldn’t it be in an industry we relate to?  Shouldn’t it be about something in which we have strong interest?

The answer is  generally “yes” for most people; it is undoubtedly “yes” for me. Some folks want a job that is different from all the things they need or choose in their life simply to have variety or to not get too invested or attached in any one single thing.  For most of us, it needs to be something we have passion for.  Passion not in an obsessive way. Passion in a way where we enjoy doing the work all day and although the day is over, we want to go home and get away for a bit because we know it will be there again the next morning and will continue to keep us happy.

Back to blame…  we can’t blame others for not letting ourselves get to that “yes.”  We have to make the plan. We have to prioritize all the steps and pieces. We have to weigh each item and possibly decide some needs won’t be met immediately.

If we keep telling ourselves this and thinking beyond the immediate perimeter, we will eventually start to believe.  But it’s hard. And it always will be unless we keep at it every day until it becomes part of our routine and experience. We need to get away from blaming, complaining and getting frustrated.   We have to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and accept all the decisions we need to make to move forward.

I chose to follow my heart last year around this time and left a very promising career in technology (you’ll hear all about it in Sunday’s post) to become a writer (which you’ll hear about in the following Sunday’s post). It’s not easy. It’s scary. But there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t realize how grateful, lucky and happy I now am.

How have you chosen your jobs or made the changes necessary to get in the driver’s seat for your career? What’s next in your occupational world?

 

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 163 – Inventory

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Inventory: a complete list of items such as property, goods in stock, or the contents of a building or container

 

 

invento

People who own or run a business often take an inventory to understand how much product they have available at any given moment. Sometimes it’s weekly or monthly, others at a random interval or annually for determining a true financial picture of the business. As I lay in bed this morning, I wondered why people don’t more frequently think about doing an inventory of their life. We have many ‘products’ around us that are essential to our survival and happiness. Sure, we take inventory of toiletries or groceries, so that we can purchase whatever supplies we need on a fairly regularly basis, but I’m pushing the limits here with my definition of inventory. Life is important. Valuable. Why wouldn’t we want to know where the important things stand on a more frequent basis?

Most of us would agree that apart from whatever reasons we as humans exist, a major component of our life is to be happy and pursue goals to help further the planet and society. To do so, we should want to have the best plan or approach in each of our individual lives. So why not keep a running inventory of the things that we need to achieve such goals? When I think about the areas of life we could apply such logic, it includes friends, hobbies, keepsakes, dreams, passions and feelings. When you take it down a level lower, perhaps it’s volunteer programs, books, movies, flowers, foods or vacations. Most of this seems obvious, given we all do these things informally without realizing it. But when I took a moment to think about the inventory of my life this morning, I wondered what it really said about me. Am I maintaining stock in the appropriate places to have inventory at maximum levels?

In the world of friends, have I surrounded myself with the people who I enjoy being around and want to socialize with? Or have I retained people in my life who I feel almost forced to continue a friendship with? Do I have friends in each of my passions or hobbies? If I answer no to these questions, then there’s something wrong with my inventory. If I enjoy reading mystery books, shouldn’t I have a few friends who love those things too, so we can bond and grow and have fun together? If I want to be friends with people who have done things I want to do, but I’m stuck seeing people out of some odd sense of duty, maybe I’d be happier if I reorganized the deck to align things in a more proper manner.

I would suggest the same approach for all the rest of the things in my life. Or your life. Knowing where you stand in comparison to where you want to be is essential to forward momentum, positive change and ultimately happiness. While I’m not suggesting we embrace anything too formal in our approach, or even throw out the baby with the bath water, I am saying it might be time to prepare our own inventory of where we are today and where we want to be in regard to all the things that make us happy. In my world, I tend to comb through these things in my head every so often, which is helpful for a large guiding force towards my end goals. But I’m not actively measuring it or verifying at proper intervals that other people or unexpected consequences didn’t get in the way or throw things off balance.

An example for me lately is reading. I love to read. I have too many books in my TBR. I have too many sitting on my physical bookshelf waiting to be picked up. But I haven’t prioritized it among everything else going on in my life. But I could do a quick inventory and set some goals for myself and get to at least one of those books each week, as in the end, it will make me a happier guy. Completing an inventory can be hard. It can be easy. But it starts with two things: (1) what do you have and (2) what do you want. With those two items, you can solve the puzzle. My initial thought was to treat it like a plan, a path or a line of sorts. There is a start and a finish point. As I drafted this post, it occurred to me, more from instinct, that it’s not a line. There isn’t really a true start and end when it comes to pursuing things in your life. Life has a start and end, but in between, it’s rather continuous.

It’s a circle. There may be a point on the circle where you begin, then you travel 360 degrees until you get back to that same place you began; however, the cycle doesn’t end. You can keep going around and around as much as you need to tend to your inventory while you are still on the planet focused on achieving your goals. Let’s not make this effort something that feels like work or a difficult task. Let’s make it something we feel helps lay the next few steps on our path towards the future we want as opposed to the one that just happens based on how the day progresses. I will start next week with two things:

(a) Cozy mystery books

  • I love to ready cozy mysteries, and I have tons in my TBR but no one to share them with. A few online friends I chat with enjoy them, but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about them. So if any friends want to participate with me, let’s pick a few books to read together for the rest of the year and have fun talking about them.

(b) Meditation

  • I am generally a very relaxed guy. A few things will set me off, but underneath the calm exterior lurks the jitters over not being able to accomplish all that I want to. I have no tools to help navigate those nagging reminders. Exercise doesn’t always help. Food does temporarily. But I don’t have any other tools to find a way to expel those nerves. I need to find a few things to place in a bag of tricks that will help relax me, provide a calm retreat or learn how to meditate. I’m open to suggestions.

How about you? Any thoughts on how you’re managing the inventory of your life? Areas you want to participate with me during this little re-adjustment in our life circle?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 90 – Resolutionary

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Resolutionary: Reflections over the things you’d like to change during an upcoming period; often things are listed on New Year’s Eve as a way to start fresh for the upcoming year

{Aside: It seems I’ve gone and made up another word in order to suit my own purpose. I should probably stop doing that. Although, the word was in the graphic, which someone else created, so maybe it isn’t made up!}

piccs

With my focus being on delivering interesting content and a twist every so often, I’m going another alternate route today. While I was searching for a document yesterday, I stumbled across the New Year’s resolutions that I wrote for the then upcoming 2007 new year. Since we’re just over a decade since that event, I thought it might be fun to do a little check on what’s happened since then.

  • 2007 – Seek counseling or therapy to work through several issues that continue to cause me discomfort and pain.
    • I did not. All I can recall is that I was going through a very difficult break-up and thought the world was going to end. Ah, youth. All better now.
  • 2007 – Begin working on a graduate degree program to further my education.
    • I did, but I did not finish it. I decided I wasn’t certain what to explore a graduate degree in, so I put it on hold. It seems I’m still trying to decide if I want to do this, as I love the collegiate atmosphere and want to be back in it either as a student or a professor.
  • 2007 – Learn how to date without jumping into a relationship.
    • I don’t think I ever learned this skill. I had a 5 year relationship that ended. I dated for 6 months, then had another 5 year relationship that ended. I dated for 3 months and then got into my current relationship. We’ve been together for 5 1/2 years so far — and it’s going very well!
  • 2007 – Bring more friends into my life to have a better social life.
    • I’ve done better in this department, but it’s very compartmentalized. I had large group of childhood friends whom I don’t see very much anymore. I had a large group of college friends whom I don’t see very much anymore. I had a large group of post-college friends whom I don’t see very much anymore. I now have a large group of friends that I’ve met through my significant other and we do socialize at least twice per week. Usually dinner with someone during the week and then some event on the weekend.
  • 2007 – Write every week and begin expressing creativity more often.
    • I’ve certainly done a lot of writing. I wrote a book last year. But for a good 6 to 7 years of the last decade, I was not writing. I’m finally in a good routine now.
  • 2007 – Find something spiritual or religious to relax my mind and body.
    • I really haven’t turned towards anything to address this one. I am much more calm now than I was in the past, but it’s still just me on my own. I should look into some sort of yoga!
  • 2007 – Exercise more frequently, including cardio and with better form.
    • Yes! I am doing this one. I have bad days and cheat days, but I’m in better shape than I was in college. I was a scrawny little guy back then.
  • 2007 – Cook more often rather than eat quick meals that aren’t very healthy.
    • I’m doing OK here. We go in spurts. Sometimes we cook a lot, sometimes we eat out a lot. All depends on how stressful work has been. We both sometimes push for that dinner out with a few drinks during the week when we really should be a little more mindful that we’re both now 40.
  • 2007 – Donate my time to charities to improve the lives of other people, not just my own.
    • I’ve done this haphazardly, but I’m back on track as discussed in the 365 Daily Challenge post – “Generous.”
  • 2007 – Spend time becoming more culturally-aware, artistic and educated.
    • Yes! We go to museums. We go to Broadway shows. We try new things from time to time. Probably not as much as we should be, tho…
  • 2007 – Learn the art and value of patience.
    • How funny… I just blogged about this in the 365 Daily Challenge. It seems I’m thinking about the same things today as I did ten years ago. I’m much more patient than I used to be.
  • 2007 – Learn how to stop my mind from controlling my actions so much that I feel powerless to living without fears.
    • I’ve done a little better with this. I used to think every time I did something risky or tried something new, something horrible would happen. At least now, I realize it’s to just live and enjoy life. Less worry.
  • 2007 – Find a way to bring more income into my life so that I can begin saving for a better future.
    • I’m happy in this area. We all need and want more money, but from where I was ten years ago to where I am today, things are looking up.
  • 2007 – Be more honest with people in my life about my feelings, fears and interest.
    • Wow… yes, I’m much more direct now than I was in the past. Years ago, I couldn’t ever tell someone news or information that would hurt them. I now know how to handle these situations much more easily and with the right amount of ease and comfort.
  • 2007 – Spend time traveling around the country or world to be able to see how other people live their lives differently than I live mine.
    • I have done this! I’ve been to about 20 countries, some that are still developing nations and some that are economically strong. I need to travel more, but I’ve been lucky to get to some of the places I have thus far.

So… what have I learned? Yikes… I am a control-freak. At nearly 30, I was locking myself into these 15 things I should be doing better instead of just having fun. Ha… some things never change. What about you? Where do our resolutions line up or separate? I’m curious who else gets a little nutty at the beginning of every new year… as we’re about to hit the half-way mark in 2017. Time to see how I’m doing this year!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 89 – Humble

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Humble: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance

humility.jpg

In my apartment, there are 2. In my building, surely hundreds. On my block, thousands. In my neighborhood, perhaps one hundred thousand. In my city, a few million. In my state, probably twenty million. In my country, over three hundred million. On my continent, nearly six hundred million. And on my planet, there must be seven billion. People. I am 1 person. There will always be a reason to be humble.

The word humble has two parts to it, at least from my viewpoint. There is how you feel about yourself and how you feel about others. Both are separate and distinct, yet they are very connected in how you interpret this powerful characteristic. Let’s start with a focus on others.

  • People often say they feel humbled by witnessing another’s selfless actions
  • Seeing someone do or share something beautiful without any expectation in return is a humbling experience
  • Understanding the achievements of those with little demonstrates humility at its core

And when it comes to your own humility:

  • Recognition of the value you bring without overselling or highlighting it to others
  • Stepping aside for others when you feel they’re more deserving
  • Content with the simplicity of what life offers without a reliance on always reaching for more

Those are the things that come to mind when I think of my definition of someone who is humble. To me, a humble person doesn’t ever think about whether they have true humility. It’s a natural essence that materializes about them, not unlike an effervescence or glow from something that shines or bubbles. Innate. Inherent. Honest.

A quick trip through the land of InterWebs brings an article I found interesting. You can see it via the link, but I’ve listed just below the seven qualities that the humble exude.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/benefits-of-humility_n_5578881.html

  • Focus their energy on others
  • Conscientious
  • Moral compass guides decision-making
  • See happiness as a journey
  • Excel as leaders
  • Know good things lie ahead and are okay waiting for them
  • Have strong relationships

Rather than dissect each one to determine if I am humble, I’m going on instinct with this one. I am not nearly as humble a person as I should be. I certainly exhibit some of these qualities, a few to a lesser extent that the others; however, a humble (wo)man should not ask how to be more humble. It should just happen as though the inner guidepost deep within your body and mind takes you to the destination.

This is a journey I believe in. When I look around and see all that we’ve achieved, I am humbled to witness the strengths of others before me, beside me and in front of me. I included no GIFs in today’s post, as I want it to speak for itself. I am one (wo)man. I am grateful for those who show us how to be more humble. Thank you.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 38 – Passive

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Passive: accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance

Passive is a tricky word. We’ve adopted it across so many aspects of our lives. Passive meaning we do not stand up and fight in a war. Passive meaning we prefer to relax and rest more than rush around. Passive meaning we are lost in thought. For today, I plan to focus on my energy level, which means I am much more passive than I am active.

There are lots of people out there who are energized by running around all day, constantly involved in something and unable to sit still. Folks who get up super early (4am?) to find the time to accomplish all their goals. Those who can survive on 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. And some who must be doing some physical activity throughout most of their day. That is NOT me. But it isn’t all that bad.

I’ve always required 7 to 8 hours of sleep per evening. I can survive on less, even for a few days in a row, but I’m a bit listless and slower than usual. Productivity and quality probably decrease in all that I do, so I know my limits and try to put myself into bed around 10pm each evening, read for 30 to 60 minutes to relax and fall asleep somewhere between 11 and 11:30. I am not a quick sleeper… it takes a while for me to nod off. I’ve never been able to nap. I’m usually awake between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning, without an alarm, as my body says “let’s start the day.”

I’m good with about an hour of exercise each day. I try to walk if I need to handle any errands, or when traveling on my way to/from work where possible. But when I’m done with work or errands, or socializing at meals or events, I am a passive person. I much prefer to be sitting in a chair / couch / bed, where I am reading, writing or watching TV. By no means am I lazy. I certainly go out to do things, take trips, try new opportunities, play with the dog (he likes to run around the apartment in circles… therefore so must I, it seems). Generally, I could sit for 8 to 10 hours keeping myself busy without feeling the need to get outside and go for a jog, run off to the sports center to play tennis or plan a trip to climb some mountain. I’d rather go walk about a museum, drive through and stop at view points, or poke my head in a few stores for an hour and call it quits for the day.

Some of you are thinking… wow, he’s boring. Yes, probably true. But it’s part of who I am. My brain or body don’t need constant physical stimulation, as they’re both content to express creativity and action in my head. When I am flying in an airplane or in a long car ride, even up to 8 or 10 hours, I can go without needing to stop for any sort of break or even getting out of my seat. Part of me thinks it is “mind over matter,” meaning I can tell myself “this is your plan for the next 8 hours… no need to try to change it.” And then I am capable of sticking closely to it. Of course, this isn’t always the case… and sometimes on a weekend when I have no plans on a Saturday or a Sunday, I get a little stir crazy. Then it’s time to take the dog for a walk, find a store to dash into or look for a friend to go out and do something different.

I certainly wonder how these affinities develop in people. Of course DNA and health have a large factor in it, but how much of one’s upbringing defines how passive or active they are in their activities? Is it about availability of money and time? Or is it about how much you’ve been forced to do as a child that determines what you want to do in your future? Do you choose these behaviors yourself or do they develop as a byproduct of those around you?

I am an only child, so I often spent time alone. I had friends and saw them a lot. But rather than go play hoops on the driveway or climb a tree, I stayed in my room to read or watch TV. It may have contributed to me being shy, I’ll acknowledge that part of the impact. I was a really good child, never asking for things or to be entertained, so my parents never felt the need to yell “go outside and play,” just so they had a moment’s peace. They certainly pushed me every so often to be more active and get outside, but only when they thought I was spending too much time shut up in my room.

If I had a child, it would be about balance. I don’t agree with setting up activities all day and evening long for your kids to be busy. Whether it’s 50/50 or 60/40 (either direction), alone time is important to help develop your analytical skills, as well as build your ability to learn things other than what someone else forces you to focus on. I’d limit the amount of reading, TV and computer time, ensuring at least an hour a day was some sort of physical activity. Maybe even an hour a day of some group activity or sport. Weekends would be 1 down day and 1 up day, meaning they’d go to some cultural or community event, but also need to focus on the whole eat/pray/love theme.

When I started this post about 10 minutes ago, I never intended to discuss parenting styles, but I let the words take me where they did today. And if I were to interpret what I’ve written, I’d say perhaps I’m being a little too passive in my own days. I should challenge myself to try something new every month, get out at least once per weekend to some physical activity other than my normal trips to the gym, and I should probably join a group (book club, writer’s group, museum or community thing) to help expand my self-imposed limits.

How often are you out and about versus home and relaxing? Do you find yourself with 15 minutes of free time on a normal day or 3 hours of free time? How do you balance it all? What’s your preference? For those who can’t just sit still, what’s happening in your mind and body when you just need to bounce?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.