time

365 Challenge: Day 52 – Wasteful

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Wasteful: using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose

At different points in our lives, we all say aloud (or hear someone else tell us) “that was wasteful,” referring to something just done that we carelessly minimized when others so desperately needed it. Often we should have known better, but we do it anyway without thinking about the consequences because it’s become habitual. That said, as much as it is habitual for many of us, there are several people who work hard not to be wasteful and teach this to children at a young age.

To kick this one off… a few places I recognize I am wasteful — not all the time, but enough that I should call myself out.

  • Water
    • I run the water the entire time I’m washing dishes, rather than try to use only the amount needed and re-use where appropriate until the final rinse.
    • I leave the water running when I brush my teeth when I should leave it off  until the last second.
    • My showers are entirely too long and often run for a minute or two for the water to get hotter before I get inside. I should deal with the cold, stand to the side and wash my hair.

 You don’t care about my bathroom habits?

  •  Energy
    • I tend to leave lights on when I don’t really need them. Sometimes it’s for the dog, but a little goes a long way.
    • My building keeps the heat on from October thru May, and because I get so hot, I open the windows which likely makes the heat work a bit harder since I’m on the top floor. Can’t really change this…
  • Time / Money
    • I spend way too much time watching TV or on the computer when I should be out with people, in nature and learning.
    • Time is money, and therefore I’m wasting earning potential and income.
    • I can be frivolous when spending and should save more or donate more.
  • Food
    • I sometimes eat too much. And we all know how to fix that. (Shh… don’t say it aloud or it may come true)
    • I make too much food when I cook and am not good about eating leftovers.
    • I buy stuff, it expires, and I end up throwing it out. I need to be more pragmatic and plan meals in a better way.

And if they can do it, so can I!

Not so bad admitting faults, is it? I’m sure that only touches the surface of the areas where I’m being wasteful. And quite honestly, some of those are easy fixes that I should be more consistent about in the future.

Sometimes I get caught up realizing how unfortunate it is that I haven’t fixed this sooner, especially knowing the limits of these resources across the world. And while these posts are not meant to make anyone feel guilty or to preach, sometimes a gentle reminder helps implement positive changes. And that’s all I’m intending here… for any reader including myself.

This is me talking to myself right now!

Life is complicated. We should all figure out how to be part of the continuous cycle of improvement. And when we don’t work in jobs or volunteer in roles where we have direct impact on re-cycling, re-use or proper waste disposal, perhaps we should take 5 minutes a day to focus on it as a human being who cares about the world around us.

It begins with learning this as a child, so it feels almost inherent. Good habits will occur and help propagate even better ones with each year and generation. But there’s no time to start like the present if this hasn’t been built into you already. And with that, I’m off to see how to tone down my wasteful usage of time — it took 30 minutes for this post and I’m supposed to be down to 20 minutes a day at this point. Ugh… I hate missing the target.

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. 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 39 – Frustrated

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Frustrated:  feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something

I usually take about 5 minutes to think of the characteristic or word I want to blog about each day. Today, it was an immediate word… no thinking… no reflecting… just appeared in my head. Then I thought… nah, I’m just exaggerating, I’m not really frustrated these days. But… I think I am.

Frustration occurs over so many things in our lives. Inability to meet our goals, delays, disappointment, worrying, etc. The form of frustration I feel today, and lately, is over response time when it comes to trying to move things forward. Though I’m not always perfect when it comes to responding, I am always timely on something important, especially when I know the recipient is expecting feedback or an update from me.

I have a few areas of frustration right now. One is my job search. For those that don’t know, or haven’t read any of the specifics on my sites, I left a corporate technology position last summer after working with the same family of companies for about 17 years. I needed a break, things were changing, and I thought it was time to look for something new and to focus on some writing. I fully expected to have a long period of time off, but along that path, I found people weren’t as responsive as I have always been.

When I was a hiring manager, I worked closely with our HR department to ensure all candidates got some level of a response. And once I interviewed you, you always got a follow-up, even when you didn’t get the job. Sometimes I wrote it, sometimes it was the generic HR response, sometimes HR called to explain why. Now that I’m on the other end, I expect the same treatment. Perhaps that’s too much, as we know I’ve said my expectations are often too high… remember that post… Ha!

But in all sincerity, this system is really in need of improvement. Hundreds of people thrust resumes and credentials… somehow a handful get picked out… even when you know people at the company, it just doesn’t feel optimal. And so I’m feeling quite frustrated that I want to get back to work, I have many skills, I have a lot of roles I can fill, but I can’t see to find that right angle or hook.

Part of it may be my fault as I’ve split my focus these days on writing and technology, so I’m half in and half out of both worlds. But there should be flexibility for that, right? So while I’m not necessary complaining here, I am just expressing frustration at an inability to make a situation easier — not just for me, but in general.

It’s not all that different from trying to get published. You dream up the idea. You write the book. You get good feedback. And then when you try to find the agent, sometimes you never even hear back. I totally understand that an agent may have 500 query letters to read each week, and that’s an impossible task.

I’m just saying what my frustrations are out loud, knowing I’m not trying to make a difference or even look for sympathy. I’m just expressing what I’m feeling today on this 39th day of the challenge. I’m sure by the end of the day, I’ll be back to “Both will happen… you’re not in a rush… enjoy your day and wait for the next step to occur naturally.” I’m a pretty even-tempered guy, so this is just a slight bump in the meter of my expressions this week.

I tend to get like this over a lot of things. I remember before I met my significant other… dating was a nightmare. It’s not all that different… you try try try… nothing comes along… you get frustrated… and then it happens. What is it people say? “Don’t watch the kettle while it’s boiling?” I think I just totally said that wrong, but I’m not going back to fix it. “Water doesn’t boil while you’re watching it?” LOL  Eh… hopefully you’re laughing at me over this.

All this said…somewhere in my next step, whatever it is, I hope I improve these things… perhaps find a way to create better opportunities or connections. But, in full 360 view, I do need to look at myself. Am I doing everything I can to be successful? Am I creating the right moments to help this along? Am I under the impression “It will happen because I am a good person.”

Yeah, but so are millions of other people. It’s not a matter of who is the luckiest or who works the hardest. Sometimes it’s just the right time and the right place. And so, frustrations will always creep about because you have an expectation. And unless you are absolutely perfect at controlling your feelings and emotions, or just the happiest person on the planet, you will feel disappointment. And I guess it’s about pushing yourself to keep on trucking along. And that’s what we need to do.

Hmmm… random rant today. Little organization around it. Just wrote without thinking or correcting any grammar or punctuation. Let’s go back and see how I did. :}

That looks about right! Not every post can be perfect. See I am learning… and not so frustrated anymore.

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.

365 Challenge: Day 35 – Genealogist

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Genealogist: One who is actively engaged in the study or investigation of ancestry and family histories

We’ve made it through another week and on this fifth Sunday, it’s time to wrap up the first month’s focus on my genealogical heritage. See below for a picture of my Ancestry DNA results.

genealogy

In the last four weeks, I selected the 4 countries where I believe my ancestors hailed from, as well as picked the top stereotypical traits people assumed about the people from those places. A quick summary:

  1. Irish: 20%
  2. English: 33%
  3. German: 33% (Includes the Scandinavian as some of relatives were on the border)
  4. Scottish: 13%
  5. Other: 1% (West Asian – I think everyone gets that!)

While the DNA results and the documentation have a 10% disconnect, it’s a very clear picture of who my people were and where I came from.

Why do I study my genealogy? Take a look at this post on my professional website. It will give you some insight into my historical nature and great big quest for the past.

I often wonder why I’m so persistent on it… do I doubt who I am? Do I need more details about where I came from? Is it trying to understand how it all began?

Ultimately, this interest goes back to more than just people… it’s how did the USA begin. What happened to the dinosaurs? What were the original continents like? How did Earth form? What other galaxies are there? It’s more than being curious. It’s more than dedication or obsession. When I’m researching a family member on my laptop, tons of windows open to compare and contrast records, and I stumble upon a find… my eyes light up, I can’t sit still and my fingers can’t keep up with my mind. The discovery is brilliant and I’m ecstatic.

I’m a linear person. I like to start at the beginning. I have to read the first book in a series. I prefer straight lines. I like to create project plans with a starting point and an ending point. I love watching time pass on a clock, counting down to the re-start of the 60 segment process.

I believe it’s the same orderly structure that drives me to research my roots. I like seeing things improve, gain strength, drive forward. Adding more knowledge with each successive chain or generation. I’m sociological, I suppose.

Seeing a family tree, learning how people survived, how they met… what types of jobs and families they had. What made them move? These are all details I enjoy searching for across the internet.

Can you imagine watching from the sidelines as your ancestors moved through their lives? What if we had a time machine and could go back not to change the past, but to watch it unfold on warp speed? Quick enough not to see the tedious things, but slow enough to watch how each generation changed. To see your 4 times grandparents meet on a boat and decide to marry within days. To know your 6 times great-grandmother suffered so many miscarriages due to the poor conditions of medicine and health, but then she finally gave birth to your 5 times great-grandfather. To know how wars impacted your family. To recognize who touched royalty at some point.

It’s not unlike my interest in mystery fiction. Investigation. Detection. Research. As I draft each of these posts, hitting number 35 today, several themes are starting to appear. I’ve always known about them on a smaller scale, but the picture is becoming more clear.

So now I throw it out there… where do I go next?

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.

365 Challenge: Day 16 – Punctual

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Punctual: happening or doing something at the agreed or proper time; on time

You’re all in for a treat today… well, that may be overselling things. I’ve discovered and decided to add animated graphics and GIFs to my posts. I searched for a few fun ones this morning and will drop ’em in throughout today’s topic. And since I am a voracious reader as you recently learned, and well, this picture is just great, the first one, obviously someone intelligent checking their watch to see who is late and who is on time:

Bbc GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Who doesn’t love Sherlock?  Just started watching this TV show recently and posted a review on here, too! You can find it by clicking here. Back to punctuality.

Ever since I was a small child, I was fascinated by time. But get this, I never wore a watch. I don’t like things dangling on my arm or wrist… distracting… and then you have something else you need to match to whatever you are wearing (and I’m no good at that)… I digress a lot today. Time is so simple yet so complex.  The second hand clicks around 60 times, then the minute hand moves ever so slightly. Once the minute hand moves around 60 times, the hour hand has moved to the next of the 12 hours on the clock. It could be AM or PM. But so many people have such a hard time with being punctual. Forget DST… that could cause some people a trip to the asylum.

Adventure Time GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I have no sense of time when it comes to looking at the sun or the sky. I can’t tell what it means to set in the east or west, what shadows are being cast, et al. For me, being punctual is some internal clock that just knows what time it is.

I rarely use an alarm clock. Unless I’m sick or traveling, meaning time change hasn’t settled in quite yet, I wake up at the same time each day (usually about 7am) and start feeling tired about 10pm each night. I can tell throughout the day what time it is usually within 10 to 15 minutes, even if I haven’t looked at a clock in hours. And for those reasons, being punctual has always been innate in me.

It’s a sign that you care enough not to waste someone else’s time. It’s evidence that what you are showing up for is important. It’s considerate (ah…. remember that post!) by showing you took a few minutes to plan your arrival rather than just show up whenever.

Suits GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s not an option for me to be late. I get nervous and uneasy if I’m going to be late for some unavoidable reason. I get frustrated with train or plane delays because it throws off my timely plans. I feel like it says “he didn’t care enough.”

Happy GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It’s not about counting the minutes or planning to the moment. It’s about ensuring you are not causing any inconvenience to other people. Punctuality helps things run more smoothly. You can often accomplish more as a result.

That said, I’m not 100% punctual. On occasion, if there’s no impact to someone else, I might arrive a little later than planned. For instance… there’s a party from 8 to 11. I tell the host I expect to arrive around 8:30. If I show up at 8:35, I’m not gonna freak out.

Panic GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But if I am meeting friends for lunch and we say 12… you bet your ass I’ll be there by 11:55. Unless the person I’m meeting is always late… and I have a few friends like that… then, I… well, no… I show up at 11:55.

Some laughs for you about how punctual I’ve been:

  1. Created an itinerary for a 2-week trip to Italy. Arrival times and departure times were noted on a schedule to the minute. I never made that trip, but when I do re-schedule, I’ll be thrown off if I’m not on schedule. And one of those places was the Amalfi Coast where La Dolce Vita is the way of life: you just enjoy the beauty and forget about time. Ha!
  2. I once kept a log of all my times at the gym, noting when it was scheduled and when I actually worked out — each activity, set, rep. Wanted to see if I was using the time the best way possible. NERD!
  3. I’ve timed it so that I walk around the corner for a restaurant reservation so that I could walk right up to the host or hostess at the precise time. Yes, I am a little obsessive.

How about you frequently late arrivals?  What’s the scoop?

Review: The Time Machine

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The Time Machine
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

H.G. Wells‘s The Time Machine was required reading in high school for most when I was in 9th grade (about 25 years ago), and one of my teachers chose this book as 1 of 10 books we read that year in an English literature comparative analysis course. Each month, we’d read a book and watch two film adaptations, then have discussions and write a paper. At the time, I thought, this book is a little cheesy… I mean, not that I was a huge Star Trek fan (although I did love me some Voyager), but even I know time machines were a lot cooler than what I saw in the movie and read about in the book.

THEN, I realized HG Wells published this book in 1895… an entire century before I started watching TV shows about time travel. And that’s when you realize what a priceless book this was. It was the advent of a new genre’s blossoming into fandom. And I became fascinated with these types of stories. But there was so much more to it than time travel.

It’s a commentary on society and values. Are you ostracized when you think differently? What if you look different… like as in your skin looks blue. Do you know what a Morlock is? Check it out (thanks the original GIF source in link!)

What I loved about this story was the thoughts and ideas of an 1890s man writing about the potential for traveling to the past and the future, suggesting what happens to humankind over time. In the era of Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species, or perhaps a few decades later, this book covers those ideas and helps activate a reader’s imagination outside their own limited world. It was the 1890s… no TV, not phones, car engines being built for the first time, indoor plumbing had just become common in regular homes… life was every different. That said, it’s the words and imagery that catch you in this book. You have to forego current life and pretend you were still back in time.

View all my reviews

Review: Outlander

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Outlander
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In late 2015, I saw a book in Barnes and Noble (Written in my Own Heart’s Blood) by Diana Gabaldon and thought “This sounds amazing.” I picked it up (and it was nearly 1000 pages in harcover) and suddenly realized it was the most recent book in a series with books that were all practically a thousand pages long. I can’t read a series book without doing it in order, so I put it back on the shelf and said “Another time.”

Fast-Forward to 2016…

I sign up for the 2016 Reading challenge: 52 books in a year (1 a week). I can do it. Great start in January. Epic fail in February with 0 additions. Get myself started again in March. Epic fail in April with 0 additions. Epic fail in May with 0 additions.

OK, I’m not one to easily fail so I get myself back on track in June. June is going well, I’m averaging about 1 book every 4 to 5 days so that I can catch up by September. I finish reading a book in late June and realize I don’t have anything new to read… I head downstairs to my building’s small library and peruse the shelves (about 1000 books to choose from).

I see Outlander. I decide to buckle down and read the nearly 1000 page paperback version. I can do this. I can’t get it done in a week.

It took a little longer as I added in a last minute family visit / trip where I didn’t read for about 4 days… (but still had a great time!)

And I loved it! I suspend my disbelief at some things and at the amount of necessary repeated violence… then think perhaps I am a little whiny given what these characters go through without complaining. Could I take that much blood loss and hits? Vanity would probably kick in and I’d likely not make it through.

I am excited to read the series, but I need to catch up on my 2016 Reading Challenge before I take on another 1000 page book. Target: November when I hope to be almost ahead of where I should be with my 44 of 52 books at that point.

Read it. It’s part historical fiction, part fantasy (the whole time portal thing), part romance (without too much focus on it) and part pure character study.

View all my reviews