Tag: Lists

Discipline Equals Freedom

If you’re not familiar with Jocko Willink, he’s worth following. He’s a very frightening former navy seal commander who’s written a number of books, has a very popular podcast, and famously posts a picture of his watch on Instagram at 0430 every morning as he starts his daily workout. His mantra is discipline equals freedom. The more disciplined you are at getting your shit done, the more freedom you’ll have at the end of day. Admiral William H McRaven gave a very popular speech saying something similar – “Want to change world? Start by making your bed”. Life coach Jordon Peterson says to clean up your life, start by cleaning your room. They’re all advocating for some derivative of adding structure to your life.

Exactly seven months ago we made the decision to begin divesting from work and starting the move towards retirement. And exactly seven months ago I wrote a post lamenting that I needed more structure in my life. And how has that gone? Well, I, uhm, errr, ahem… haven’t done anything different. I wake up every day with exactly zero plan for the day. Of course there’s always the random appointment you need to keep, or a trip that was set up, or a social get-together. But my plan for the week is never anything more than a vague thought in the back of my head. I know it’s going to get hot later in the week so I’ll mountain bike Monday and Tuesday. I should probably mow the lawn before the weekend. It looks like Wednesday is going to be a powder day, so I’ll go cross country skiing today. We’re out of salad dressing, so maybe I’ll go to the store on the way home. Or maybe tomorrow. That’s it. That’s the sum total of my structure and planning, week in and week out.

It’s pretty hard to complain about that. I truly have a blessed life. It feels like I’ve been pretty damn busy the last seven months. I certainly haven’t had any shortage of things to fill my days. I think it’s clear I won’t be one of those guys who retires and then has no idea what to do with himself every day. But what have I actually done? I’m not actually sure what I’ve been doing all this time. There’s been some focus around the new ginormous motorcycle, but the rest of my time has been a bit of a blur. I know I’ve kept myself occupied, but doing what?

I had grand visions of making gourmet meals most nights and being on top of all the shopping and various household errands. There’s a number of household repair and yard maintenance things that need to be done. Getting back in the swing of a regular workout routine was high on the list of things to do. Being more focused on hobbies was also something I wrote about seven months ago. None of that has happened.

With a complete lack of structure, I’ve drifted along with whatever random thought came into my head on any given day. And like a spoiled child, most of my thoughts have been about playing and not necessarily taking care of business first. While it seems idyllic, I think the edges are starting to fray a bit. My weight has gone out of control without any sense of routine. Free feeding is not a recipe for success. The less I take care of business (home repair, cooking, yard work, etc…) the harder it is to be motivated to do those things. It’s hard to think about long term plans, like travel for Mrs Troutdog and I or even the next trip on the ginormous motorcycle when I don’t even have a plan for tomorrow. Even my copious playtime is starting to simply repeat the same things over and over. What happened to rediscovering some of my other hobbies that have been back-shelved for a while?

This is an incredibly fortunate and first world problem to have. But nonetheless, one I suspect I need to sort out before too long. As Jack Torrance said in The Shining, “all play and no work makes Jack a dull boy”. Ok, maybe that wasn’t exactly what he wrote but you get the gist. I still don’t see myself restarting a bullet journal or getting up at 0430 each day. But adding some level of structure to my week is looking more and more important. Maybe it’s just committing tasks to the calendar at the beginning of each week? Wait, that’s sort of the bullet journal isn’t it? Sigh… I don’t know. It’s terribly hard to become disciplined if that hasn’t been your nature. Maybe I’ll invent a new planning/tracking/goal setting methodology for newly retired folks. Become a retirement life-coach. This blog has been searching for a focus ever since I started writing it, maybe that’s what it should be? Can I practice what I’d preach? Hmm. Check back in six months and see if my new best selling “Life goals for retirement” book is underway. Meanwhile, I’m going mountain biking today. I’ll look at the calendar later. I promise.

What Have You Done Lately?

  • I am constantly amazed at the number of my elderly patients who never traveled further than a 100 mile radius from where they were born. It’s a way higher number than you’d think. We’re here on this planet for such a short time, how do you not have even the slightest interest in seeing beyond your little town? I’m honestly not trying to make anyone feel bad, it’s just that you realize you’re only here once, right? And that expected expiration date is not guaranteed. What made me think of this is the story of the Black Swallow. I stumbled on this and highly encourage you to read it. (it’s a short read) The life this guy had is like straight out of a swashbuckling fiction novel. This is a Netflix series just waiting to happen. What makes it more amazing is the time period he did it in. Reading his story just solidifies my desire to maximize the time I have left. In the adventure and experience department I’d rate my life as maybe slightly above average. I’ve had the opportunity to do some things that not everyone has done. But at the same time I also spent years never taking a vacation, toiling away for the corporate overlords, because I thought that was what was important. I don’t have regrets because it’s afforded me the opportunity to do things today… but part of me wishes I’d been a little more adventurous back then. I look at the youth of today and worry that the adventurous spirit is gone. They’ll have spent a chunk of their formative years locked down, tethered electronically at all times, afraid to interact with other humans. I feel fortunate to have grown up in a different time. I saw a tweet that expressed it perfectly:
    “Today – Son: I’m going outside to play.
    Mom: Ok, check in every thirty minutes so I know you’re safe.
    When I was 11: We’re going to the dump, someone said the hobos killed one of their own there and we want to find the body.

    Mom: Ok, but do not bring a dead body back to this house”
    I’m a little too old to chuck it all and travel the country living out of a van, or go join the French Foreign Legion, but I can keep my vow to start seeing and experiencing as much as possible in time I have left. How about you?
  • I don’t understand how the crunchy granola, global warming crowd, doesn’t rise up in outrage over John Kerry being appointed Climate Czar. The man is a gazillionaire via marriage, who lives in multiple mansions and jets around the world in a private jet. Yet, he’s going to lecture us about doing our part to “fight” global warming? And don’t give me bullshit about “carbon offsets”. That’s one of the biggest scams ever produced. And he uses it only so he can self-justify his carbon footprint and not have to fly commercial with the common folk. “Private jets are the only option for a man like me” he said. What a pompous ass. Think about that as you’re dutifully washing out your used mayonnaise jar to recycle and car pooling to reduce your emissions output.
  • Continuing with the experiences/adventure theme, I started collecting a list of trips in my, and surrounding, states. Single day and multi-day trips with various attractions and sights. It’s addicting once you start looking at the possibilities. It’s already a several years long list. Time to get cracking!
  • As a wanna be photographer, there’s something that you may not realize. Every photo you take, regardless if it’s an expensive DLSR or your phone, contains what’s called EXIF data (exchangeable image file format) imbedded in the image. It’s metadata that shows what kind of camera or phone it is, the time of day, where you are, GPS coordinates, exposure settings, etc… When you post that pic to social media they do strip it out, but they also use it. This is how Instagram knows how to suggest a location when I upload a pic from my phone that I took a day ago. I wonder what else they do with that data? Just saying…
  • Continuing the theme of big brother tracking you, we all know that social media uses your search history to serve up ads. Well, at some point I looked up catheters to show Mrs Troutdog a picture (she’d never seen one and didn’t believe me when I described the size. “You put that big tube up there?!?!”). Anyway, ever since then I’m continually served up ads for catheters. Usually the ads go away after a while when algorithm figures out a new topic to start serving you. But not catheters. It’s been months and I’m still seeing them daily. What is Facebook trying to tell me?
  • Speaking of keeping lists, the Bullet Journal is officially dead. It’s just not for me. I like making lists of things, but the act of having to maintain something daily just doesn’t work. Great idea and I can see how it’s perfect for lots of people. I’m too scattered for it to be effective. I will continue with making lists of ideas, projects, and travel however. That’s been a positive thing. Giving some structure to the randomness that is my brain is a positive step.

Song of the day: SKRILLEX – Bangarang feat. Sirah [Official Music Video]

Notions Of Cool V.015

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • The dermatologist took one look at my sunburned, peeling, self and deadpanned “well, I guess we don’t need to have the importance of sunscreen discussion do we?”. Other than that, got the all-clear. I feel better having been checked out.
  • I mentioned before that I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos on travel bag reviews. Unclear why, since I rarely travel. I had settled on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Anyway, I used a simple duffle bag for this last trip. I realized that carrying stuff on your back sucks. For the little travel I do, I’m going to find a minimalist wheelie.
  • I got my passport photo done. Like an idiot, I let it expire. Renewing it, you know, in case I need to flee the country.
  • I loved this quote from David Goggins. “People ask me how I lost so much weight… I didn’t hire a trainer… I didn’t go to Jenny Craig… basically I just stopped eating so much fucking food.” Made me laugh. It’s simple, but true. People make weight loss too complicated. Speaking of which, unless there’s a nacho blowout I’m about a week away from my weight goal. So there’s that.
  • I gave Instacart a try for grocery shopping. Loved it. I’ll certainly be using it again. I’m a busy guy you know.
  • One of the hardest things I do as an RN is care for a patient who is a truly horrible human being. Spending twelve hours making sure I give the same quality of care to that person that I’d give to a sweet grandmother sucks the life out of me.
  • Rebecca Rusch was the first woman finisher in her first attempt at the bike category of the Iditarod 350. That’s badass. I wimp out after shoveling the driveway for an hour.
  • No further Instagram stories. The Twitter experiment has yielded exactly 2 followers. Good thing I’m not in marketing.

Song of the day: “Im gone, Joyryde”

Notions Of Cool V.005

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Extreme hot weather, and the number and intensity of hurricanes, tornados, and wildfires, has not increased. Please change my mind that this is not true. Because if it isn’t… how is climate becoming more “extreme”?
  • The first bendable phones will be pricy gimmicks. The bendable screen technology however, will fundamentally change how we interact with all devices – not just phones.
  • I have new skis, and it looks like I won’t be able to get to the mountain because there’s too much snow. This is a cruel irony.
  • Delirium Tremens, or the DT’s, are a serious thing. Dealt with two of ’em yesterday. Trust me, you don’t want to go down that road. If you currently have a drink every day… it may be time to take a break.
  • I stumbled on a video showing the trek to the Everest base camp last night. I don’t think I’d ever do it, but it is intriguing.
  • I started using a grocery list app. Why did I not do this before?
  • I’ve never understood why the first planetary outpost should be mars? Trialing technology on the moon seems far more practical than waiting for ~ a year+ travel time to mars. Cool to see a private company getting the ball rolling.
  • Still haven’t done an Instagram story. Can’t get past the awkward, self-consiousness of talking out loud to my phone. Maybe tomorrow.

Song of the day: Portugal. The man. “Woodstock”

Notions Of Cool V.004

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • My new favorite way of thinking critically about things is a statement from Scott Adams. When you read or hear something that doesn’t jibe with your point of view, ask yourself – what would it take to change my mind?
  • Sympathy level for Hoda Muthana… zero.
  • Something Tim Ferris said got me doubting I was in ketosis. Per my new monitor I’m at 1.3 mmol/l this morning. Not definitive and needs more data, but I feel better that I’m on the right track. Next up, blood lipids.
  • A patient had an odd skin blemish on the forehead that turned into a melanoma that metastasized in the brain. I will be making an appointment with a dermatologist today.
  • Yo, politicians and journalists who were early to jump on the Smollett issue – if you aren’t publicly apologizing or admitting you were wrong, you’re an intellectual fraud and a blindly biased hack.
  • My new skis are ready today. I’m giddy like a little schoolgirl.
  • A week until I hit Hawaii where it’s currently 72, which is not the same as the current 14. Damn global warming.

Song of the day: Dirty Heads “Swim Team”

Notions Of Cool V.002

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • Listened to a fantastic podcast about twitter and general journalism group think. The interviewee is a journalist I wasn’t familiar with, Tim Pool. Following him now.
  • Our debt is now $22 trillion. The debt service alone is greater than the federal budget of Canada and Mexico.
  • I find it odd we’re willing to dump billions of dollars in aid to foreign countries… but not do the same for failing cities like Detroit.
  • There’s a guy who walks a three legged dog through my alleyway every morning. There must be some deep meaning there.
  • We had a bonfire in the snow last night with my nephew. I was kinda grumpy about it because the temp was in the teens. We ended up having a lot of fun. Sometimes the simplest things are the best.
  • For the aforementioned bonfire, we used a Solo stove. Can’t speak highly enough about these. Great product.
  • This is now the third patient I’ve had that decided to kill themselves via a gun… and ended up paralyzed instead. I can’t imagine mentally making the first decision, let alone the emotional weight of waking up and finding yourself even worse off. That’s heavy.
  • It’s hard to describe how happy it makes me to spend time cross country skiing with my dog. Putting the little skis on him is a pain though.

Song of the day: You know why – Trent Cantrelle

Notions Of Cool V.001

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old guy (who still thinks he’s 20) finds cool or worth pondering.

  • YouTube has ruined my attention span. 3-5 minutes max. Beyond that and I’m fast forwarding or moving on.
  • Filed under toxic masculinity, the Kelly Turnbull series by Kurt Schlichter is worth a read. An almost comical parody of the left that’s too much at times, but Turnbull is a good modern day Dirty Harry.
  • Biolayne is a meathead, bodybuilder, powerlifter who has a PhD. Great channel for breaking down the science behind diets, etc…
  • I just re-watched the Matrix trilogy. The first one… amazing. The next two, meh.
  • Greta Van Susteren is a journalist that never connected with me back when she had her own big time show. Stumbled on her Twitter and she’s surprisingly balanced.
  • I went skiing yesterday and was scared to go down through a new route in the trees because it was foggy and I couldn’t see. I’m still mad at myself for being such a sissy boy. What was the worst that could happen?
  • Ann Coulter is correct. Trump signing the spending bill was the death blow to his presidency. He just gave Pelosi all the power.
  • I wasted an hour debating to buy a small carry-on wheelie or a minimalist travel backpack. I’m still paralyzed. I rarely travel.

Song of the day: Legalize The Herb (no, I don’t smoke other than the occasional cigar)