Some mornings the Positive Wolf stays tucked in his den, curled up and snoring. He can go out all day, he’s not some working chump like you. So you end up alone in the basement with your the Negative Mind.
It starts with the usual questions. “Why the hell are we doing this again?” And then starts the barter, “hey, you know bedtime was late last night and all we’re short sleep, so you could just do the minimum number of sets today and skip the two extra…”
Sometimes you can’t even hear the banter over the popping and complaining of your 47 year old joints ringing with their years of misuse and abuse. Forget the actual exercises, you pathetically struggle and grunt just to get up off the floor and transition between them. And really, you have no answer for your Mind, you don’t know why you’re doing it except that, if you can remember and remind yourself often enough, it’s to avoid the feelings of regret, disappointment and lack of accomplishment when you don’t.
Those are far worse, and you try to remember that when you’re struggling to even stand up off the floor.
Bit of a late season spring snowstorm dumping about 10cm of snow on our neck of the woods today. That ‘spring snow’ that is very heavy and wet and clings to everything. Huge monster flakes that are hard to miss. Went out for a walk at lunch just because.
I find days like this tricky for cameras on phones. Snowy and overcast, the photos always end up with a lot of blue in them. I adjusted this one in Photoshop a bit, but it’s still not quite what it was like standing there.
I had a dream last night that I was hanging at some sort of house/bbq/pool party somewhere and I’m in the kitchen talking to Martin Lawrence – yeah, THAT Martin Lawrence – and also, Ice Cube was hanging out with some other people in the kitchen as well. Because that’s the kind of parties I hang out at. In strolls Dr. Dre (see previous comment) and I bust out some line of rap that I can’t remember now but it basically described me being there with those guys in that situation and I managed to rhyme ‘nice’ with ‘Ice’ and ‘kids pool day’ with ‘Dre’ and I got a laugh out of them and everyone in the room. I turn back to Martin who’s laughing and I say, “Damn, man, as a white guy in this room who just dropped a line mentioning Cube and Dre in it AND got a laugh out of ‘em, that’s about as good as I’m ever going to get. I pretty much need to quit right now.” And he laughed harder at that. So that’s why I’m no longer in the rap game. You know, because people been askin’.
I am gonna sit here an write this because Titus told me to I don’t know why. I don’t know why I’m writing or what to write about.
I don’t believe in blogs anymore. There are too many blogs. Blogs are dead. Blogs are news magazines. Blogs are old news. Some blogs are fake news. I can remember when there were no blogs. People used to sit and write in their journals and keep shit to themselves. Now we have to tell everyone and it’s become increasingly difficult to find anything worth reading. I’ve returned to books.
I don’t have anything to say. At least nothing that someone else probably hasn’t said already on one of the 350 million Tumbler blogs alone on the internet. More WordPress blogs. Blogspot. Blogger. Blot. Squarespace. Millions. Millions of words and people who want to be heard. Are they getting what they want? What they need? Do they know?
I’ve felt compelled lately to start writing and posting to my blog again. My glob. My glob of words and nonsense. I don’t know why. Few people will read it. I’m not interested in stats. I’m not interested in page views. I’m not really interested in validation through comments. Or confirmation. Or trivial argument. Or “yeah, I feel you dude’s”. This is not an affront to my past commenters, it’s just that social media picked up that comment thread – literally – and wore it the fuck out. For all intents and purposes comment threads are the dumpster of the internet. I’m convinced it’s the worst possible way to engage with anyone on a serious level. You want discourse, email me – and let’s get it on – old school style. Make sure you bring some well thought out and fully composed sentences and paragraphs. Check your damn spelling and punctuation. REREAD what you’ve written for clarity and content. Make sure it MAKES SENSE. If I wanted sentence fragments spouted from your thumbs while you’re in the process of taking a dump I’d have stayed on Twitter.
I’m not interested in my old posts. No one is really. No one goes back and reads old blog posts. I don’t anyway. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. When was the last time you did? We don’t have the time. We are about now. About economy. About disposability. We’ve got notifications to attend to. We read words and if they don’t instantly capture us, we dump them and move on. We don’t even read whole blog posts anymore unless they are confirming what we already believe, filling a need, creating a warm fuzzy feeling or in some other way validating us. If you don’t have your reader by the short and curlys in the first sentence. You’ve lost them. They’re gone. They just went and bought something online. They’ve forgotten about you. I think I will start making posts just a sentence long. And overwriting the previous one. It’s there, then it’s gone. You either get it or you don’t. It’s an instant.
Maybe Titus is right. I just start writing with no idea at all and came up with an idea. Just because I felt like I needed to write. I had some ideas whirling in my head earlier today thatI thought were going to compose a post and none of them made the cut. I don’t know where they are now. Really, when you think about it, that’s about all there is really, to life maybe. One sentence at a time. Call it an experiment. Call it lazy. Call it an idea that someone else on the internet has probably already come up with – but I’m too lazy to look for it.
These are all my coats. Every morning, I walk by these on the way out of my house and I think, I’m ashamed to have this many coats. So many people have no coat at all. I have too many. Yet I can’t figure out how to get rid of even one. I have coats of various weights for various types of weather. Within those weights, I have the ‘good’ coats that are suitable for ‘going out in public’ and then I have the ‘work’ coats for working. These are usually coats that were once ‘good’ coats but got ‘worn out’ and have since been relegated to work duty. Most of these stink of gasoline or oil or dirt as they’re what gets worn to snowblow or work in the yard. I have a coat for when it rains a bit, but is mild. I have a coat for when it rains harder, and is possibly colder. I have a coat for when it rains hard, is cold, and I want to ride my bike. And not get hit by a car. I also have vests. And fleeces. I have coats for when it’s cool or cold, but also one for when it’s ‘really fucking cold’. I sit sometimes and stare at these things and try to decide which ones can go. I can never decide. There was a time when I never thought about these things. That’s part of the problem. If i’d have known then what I know now, I’d never have acquired this many coats. So many things are like this. Particularly hard, important things. I’m reading a book about climate change. Serious, serious shit. How do I start? How do I start to change? “Start with one thing” is the cliché answer. Which thing? If I as a singular person can’t even figure out which coat to get rid of first, how are we as a society – a species – ever gonna make it? Apparently, if I’m to look at the positive, whatever type of killer storm that brings about the Apocalypse – surely I will have the proper coat for it.
I didn’t look or listen for anything in particular, I just let the details of this particular moment in the neighborhood come to me: the quality of the air—heavy and warm, the incoming summer storm kind; birds; two couples having a conversation down the sidewalk; the clinking of dishes coming from inside the house to my right; distant hammering from a construction site somewhere in the blocks behind my house.
My oldest daughter has a job at the local fried chicken joint now. I often have to go pick her up. Her shift ends at time ‘X’, but really she has stuff to do after so I’m never sure when she gets out exactly so I sit in the car in the parking lot and wait.
Usually it’s around 9pm on a moderately busy street corner of a semi-residential section of town with a riverside park across the street. These summer nights at dusk by the river, there’s all manner of stuff going on.
Initially, I’d surf instagram on my phone, read a book, sometimes try to meditate, but eventually I just got round to watching and listening. Doing exactly what he describes here. Immersing myself in that moment and the goings on at that exact time, tuning out all the other irrelevant noise – stuff that is either unimportant or I can’t do anything about at that time anyway – and often yes – I’m sort of startled out of it by her opening the truck door.
I always feel really refreshed, awake and present after.
That moment you get the call. You’ve spent a year meticulously building a website just as the client specified and after much hand-holding, launched it. You’ve prepared them for this moment, strategy, planning, meetings, storytelling. Then, watched – and in some cases aided, over the following year as they proposed and made updates and posted content that you – at first politely, and then, vehemently, advised – was both detracting from their site, and simultaneously wrecking their credibility in their industry, yet they persisted. Then comes the radio silence. Then you hear that the Top Brass at your Client is not happy with ‘the direction of things’. A new ‘marketing person’ is hired at said company. Over beers with their friends, New Marketing Person ponders their options. One buddy pipes up – the one who is currently ‘between jobs’ and sleeping on New Marketing Person’s couch – and notes, “man, your website kinda sucks.” And it’s done. Inevitably, the call comes. “Yeah, hi, this is, uh, Mr. UpstartMarketingGuyLookingToMakeAnImpactFast down at Acme Widgets. Yeah, hi. Listen, we, uh, the work you’ve done has been great, and we’ll definitely be using you for some stuff in the future (b.s), but, uh, we’re having Gigantico Marketing Firm Inc build us a new website. Kthanksbai.” Sigh.
I set out over a year ago (2 years) to try and establish a ‘better’ morning routine and I’ve incorporated many of the suggestions in this article, and have experienced many of the effects and positives discussed therein.
There’s a few things here I’d still like to include, but at the moment cannot due to lack of time. Although I have started getting up earlier (and – even though I’m teased by my wife – going to bed earlier), I still don’t have enough time to do all the things I’d like to each morning. I have considered getting up even earlier, but then I’d probably have to go to bed even earlier and I’m starting to blur the line with regards to what makes sense. Still, I am happy with the success I’ve had so far and the positive mojo it has brought. As time passes – and my kids get older and are more able to get themselves together on their own in the mornings – I’m confident that I can build on the existing ‘habit’ that I have now.
I’m not as interested in a lot of what these articles are usually about – buzzwords like ‘productivity’ and ‘maximizing time’ etc, my main goal has always been what David at Raptitude refers to as “getting better at being human.” I know that focusing on tweaking and improving my morning routine has done just that in droves.
I have a special affinity for Labrador Retrievers. My grandfather had Labs as far back as I can remember. He was a duck hunter and used them to that end (with various levels of frustration and effectiveness I’m sure he’d say). He could be hard on his dogs, but I also have memories of softer, bonding moments with them that resonate with me.
I get Labs and they get me. They are my Tribe – in a way unique to them and them only. I have a relationship with them different even from the peoples in my life – and that’s no affront to those peoples – it’s just that Labs are different. Whenever it’s time to consider a new dog and I start to think maybe I should consider a different breed – it’s only a fleeting moment – I always come back to these clowns.
Labs LOVE this time of year and this kind of weather. Grey, wet, dank, muck. Cold, ice, snow, sleet. They can’t wait to get out into it. To paraphrase Richard Wolter from his seminal book Water Dog – “you can work a lab in conditions and weather that would kill most other dogs – and they ask for more.” I think this is part of my enjoyment and bond of the breed. I like to get out in all the weather, good, and particularly bad, and revel in what Ma Nature is dishing out and most of the Labs I’ve ever come across are completely willing – actually ecstatic – to come along.
I actually enjoy ‘wet dog smell’ and dirty paws. There’s nothing as glorious as a Lab in his element, truly in the moment. For sure they will frustrate the hell out of you at times, but as the years pass, I enjoy more and more each one’s unique personality and challenges. The specific characteristics of this breed – both the good ones and bad – are what continually draw me back.
I can’t think of a better companion to have when you’re “headed out into it.”