What Happened When I Took On A Year-Long Quest To Change My Life

Today I finished a year-long effort of abstaining from alcohol while simultaneously improving myself in five key areas.  It’s been a year of tremendous self-discovery.  If you are unaware what the hell I am speaking of, I called it “The Quest,” and I started it on October 3, 2017.  “The Quest” started quite differently than how I am now finishing it.  I did, however, layout that it would be fluid in nature and I would change things as I saw fit.  I lived up to that much.  

As of now, I have decided I will be doing four quests in total, treating each quest like a year of college and adding onto the learnings and accomplishments of the year prior.  This gives me a direction to take my creativity and life goals, as well as an outlet to write.

I learned so much this past year and the results were resoundingly positive.  If you haven’t been following along on my path, the goal was to create lasting change by removing distractions, turning bad habits to good, and focusing on five “silos” for growth.  The five silos were: Mental Health, Physical Health, Creativity, Career/Learning, and Relationships.

Accomplishments (the five silos)

Let’s start here, with all the good things that I accomplished over the past year in the five key areas.

First, and foremost, I did not take a single sip of alcohol in 365 days.  I’ll call that, Accomplishment Number One.

Physical Health: Lost approximately fifteen pounds, maintained strength, increased endurance, aesthetically look as good as I’ve looked in years.  I feel healthy… very healthy.

  • My diet has been mostly on point.  I eat far less sugar and carbs than I used to.  Due to my activity level, I may actually need to increase calories, but I have become quite comfortable being leaner than my past bulky self.
  • Worked out approximately 4-6x a week over the course of the year.
  • Sauna, Steam and Cold Therapy 3-5x a week.
  • Regular outdoor activities and exercise (also mental health).

Mental Health:  Noticeably altered my perspective, removed negativity, gained clarity, learned to reframe my thoughts and how to fix a negative mental state.

  • Drastically increased my ability to meditate, which in turn has positively impacted my mental health more than anything I have ever done.  This is a habit that I practice about as often as I go to the gym.  Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more.  I, as a result, find myself breathing through negativity and am less anxious than before.
  • Journaled regularly, which helped digest feelings, prioritize goals and work through emotional baggage and thoughts.
  • Regular exposure to nature.

Creativity:  Wrote more than I had written in many years, something I have always loved to do, but had been neglecting.

  • I started and continually expanded and defined a blog and vlog.
  • Improved my video editing skills.
  • Wrote blogs, book chapters and journal entries.
  • Recently started painting.

Career/Learning:  Started a new career, became truly self-employed, and had some early successes.  Learned a range of topics, read books, and applied new knowledge.

  • I committed to, put in the necessary 90 hours, studied for and passed the Washington state real estate exam, allowing me to start a new and exciting career.
  • Significantly cut back on indulging in unimportant time sucks and always try to choose the option at that moment that creates a better or more productive outcome.  This has led to many more hours reading, workouts, more informative viewing options (such as watching a show that teaches rather than just entertains), etc.
  • I read or listened to the following twenty books:

1. Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

4. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

5. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

6. 4:2 Formula; Getting Buyers Off the Fence and Into a Home by Jeff Shore

7. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahnuik

8. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

9. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

10. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

11. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

13. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

15. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

16. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

17. I Can’t Make This Up by Neil Strauss and Kevin Hart

18. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babbin

19. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

20. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

21. All the other books I have indulged in, but either got distracted from or put down in favor of another before finishing.  This was probably the longest book I listened to or read all year 😆

  • Outside of actual book studies, I learned how to manage a blog, meditate efficiently, exercise better, control my weight, and other miscellaneous things.

Relationships:  I have cut out of my life most of the toxic people and have been working to improve my relationship with my girlfriend.  This is more of a personal endeavor, and one that is harder to articulate progress in.  I do feel closer to the people in my life that are meant to be there, and less worried about trying to fit people in that do not try to do the same for me.  Lastly, I am less worried what others think of me.  Although, I am unsure if this was ever a severe ailment of mine, everyone suffers from this on occasion and I can definitely can be a people pleaser.

Where Did I Fall Short?

  • Still a Procrastinator:  Using this post as an example; I should have wrote this last week and then easily posted it today by clicking a button, instead, I have had to write this all up this evening, which took an immense amount of time to do.  I procrastinated.  I tend to do this with most things.  A habit that I will be looking to address in Quest Part Two.
  • My God-Damned Thumbs: I still pick them constantly.  This must stop.  It’s such a bad habit, but I don’t know if it’s rooted in anxiety, or more so, just something I have started doing while I’m thinking or listening.  I did conquer this habit for about two months out of the year, but somehow it came back, probably around when I started practicing real estate.  What a fucking creature of habit, I am. 
  • Patagonia: Unfortunately I have some time before I will be able to afford this trip. 
  • I Like My Sleep:  God damnit, I need to get up earlier.  I, think, this week, I figured out the hack to this: Get excited about the day.  We’ll see the progress that comes from such an epiphany.  I realize that I dream really deeply and have a difficult time breaking from my dream and placing value on getting out of bed over the comfort I feel while lying in it.
  • Money:  Not where I want it, yet.  This will be one of the main focuses in Quest Part Two.
  • Feeds and Screen Time:  I know I just stated this as a positive thing that I have gotten better at.  That’s not entirely true, as I didn’t even have social media before I started real estate.  What I am getting better at is how to better manage this.  It really has to be a cognizant effort or it doesn’t resolve.
  • Writing:  I have, yet, to finish writing the book I said I was to write.  This will, also, roll over into Quest Part Two.
  • Yoga:  My weekly yoga practice never stuck and became something I do on occasion, rather than part of my weekly exercise routine.

What Did I Learn From This Process?

Mostly, I learned that anything I put my mind to, and fully commit to, I can accomplish.  I, also, learned that things happen faster than they seem to, but not without effort.  Patience is, however, key to seeing a goal all the way to fruition.  A year is less time than it seems to be, but longer than most attention spans can hold.  More can be done in a year than expected, but five years of continual progress results in a landslide of change.  I heard this somewhere… probably Tony Robbins or some shit.. but, whatever, it’s relevant.

Would I Do It Again?

100%, absolutely.  As I stated above, I will be taking on another three years of quests that will be different in structure and objective, but build off of what I have completed this year.  This is, again, in attempt to simulate a college-type learning scenario.

Abstaining from alcohol was not difficult once I got started, and though I am looking forward to having a couple beers, I do not plan on overindulgence and know that I have the ability to cut it off entirely at any given point.  I could happily go the rest of my life without ever having another sip of alcohol. 

What Would I Do Differently?

Pertaining to quests, less is often more.  I loaded too much shit into the outline of “The Quest” from the get-go and that resulted in periods of inefficiency where I became frazzled with all the “to-dos” and started neglecting things that were much more pertinent to take care of.  In fact, when I started this whole thing, I was more focused on writing blogs and making sure that I meditated than doing taking care of much more necessary tasks.  Structure is good, but too much structure kills creativity, progress, and is hard to sustain.  In regards to journaling, this was especially true.  As I made my journal more complex, I ended up abandoning journaling for a period.  Keeping a checklist and writing a daily or bi-daily entry seems to keep me on track enough; overcomplicating the process killed the habit entirely, exhausted the free flow nature of it, and was ultimately unproductive.

The same was true with other aspects of “The Quest.”  For example, trying to meditate every single day became a chore, albeit one that I enjoyed, but when it was left unchecked off my to-do list, I became disappointed in myself.  This is actually the opposite effect than the one I was trying to create.  I translated that into a learning experience not to force things and have found that if I just fit my meditation in where its comfortable, I get it done.  With that said, trying to keep on schedule for the first couple of weeks is a good way to kickstart the habit.

I, now, find that I meditate, read, journal/write more days than I do not. 

Exercise is the one area where this does not apply.  If you do not feel like going to the gym, then go to the fucking gym.  A workout, simply, solves most problems and clears the cache.  Also, if I do workout, I am more inclined to meditate and do a heat/cold rotation.  If you are injured or need a rest day, there’s always room for exceptions, but don’t compromise on your commitment to your health and well-being.

Linking these habits to one another, also, seemed to improve the likelihood that I would get them complete. 

What Aspects of My Life Changed the Most Drastically?

Well, first off, I look completely different than I did when I started this.  I wasn’t in terrible shape then, but there is a stark difference in fitness level.  I worked out pretty regularly before I started “The Quest,” and had already started a pretty solid regimen.  What I did not foresee was that I would somehow get down to, and sustain, my body weight at +/- 180 pounds.  Putting weight back on has actually become a difficulty, this is partly because I just don’t like eating a crazy amount of food, but also, my metabolism resembles more of what it did during my high school years than my post-thirty ones.

My overall well-being has significantly improved.  I feel much more dialed and cognizant of how I spend my minutes by actively trying to live in the present.  My perspective is positive and most of my negative thinking is kept at bay.  I, ultimately, learned to control this by noticing who and what I am talking about, stopping myself from gossiping, and framing things in a manner that end in a specific point, rather than some flow of consciousness-styled rant.  Mainly, I have stopped ranting entirely; something I used to do daily.

I have become a much better writer.  Exercising that muscle either through this blog or in my journal has become an irreplaceable outlet for my thoughts.  I will further curate this into an actual talent in the coming years.  Writing a book is still something I long to, and will, eventually complete.

Preparation, as mentioned in an previous post, is something I now consider necessary to advancement.  As well as, taking action.  Learning to balance the two to become more efficient is a necessary skillset that I has seen development.

Random Side Effects:

1.  Foul Language: I cuss less… like, much less.  I have been called out in the past for using “fuck” three-plus times in a single sentence.  The other day, while discussing some random topic, I realized I hadn’t swore in multiple strings of paragraphs.  This was not a work discussion, this was talking to my girlfriend.  Don’t get me wrong, I still probably cuss more than your average Joe, but much less than I used to.

2. Articulation:  My language and conversation skills seem to have greatly improved.  I feel as if I am talking, and perhaps, writing clearer and with more purpose.  That could be my perception, but it could also be from an increased mental acuity coming form mindfulness techniques and the knowledge gained from reading books.

3. Listening:  I’ve become a better listener.  I don’t know what combination of new habits to attribute this to, but I am less likely to cut someone off in conversation than I used to be.  I, also, try not to automate my responses.  I think listening to Audible is part the reason for this, as there is no place to interject oneself when you are listening to a book.

4.  Emotions:  Control, is what I most notice.  I am able to better control MOST of my emotions.  Especially anxiety or unease, as well as lurking depression.  When I do suffer full blown depression, it becomes harder to rebound from.  I have found the cure though, and that is becoming productive when it arrises.  Usually I can tie my depression to some sort of burden I feel I am carrying.  Once I make the burden actionable, it lightens the load and I can move past it.

5.  More Open to New Ideas:  I stopped shutting down ideas that I found imbecilic, and instead embrace new ideas with curiosity.  If for no other reason, to learn why people think the way they do.  So, although I find Alex Jones to be an absolutely insane, crazy person, learning what makes people believe in such obvious falsities intrigues me.  He is still a piece of shit, but one that can be shrugged off.

6.  Funny:  I cannot confirm if this is true or not, but I feel less funny than I used to be.  Maybe it’s an unfair statement, but I used to consider myself a pretty funny guy.  Now, I just feel more focused on accomplishing goals, and much less on making people laugh or being clever.

7.  Narcissism:  I am aware of the narcissism involved with blogging and vlogging, hash-tagging and just social media overall.  I would have relentlessly clowned on this very blog just a year ago, but I also wanted an outlet to write and a way to hold myself accountable to stay on track towards my objective.  It worked.  So, fuck it, I now blog and vlog…  I know it is self-indulgence at its finest, but until I accomplish what I have set out to, that will have to be an asterisk.

8.  Loss of Interest in Media:  I, currently, hate spending time watching TV.  More so, I hate spending time staring at my phone.  Although, I do still find myself on the couch watching Netflix, I have started turning it off when I am disinterested.  I had this conversation with my friend Jarod this week, and we both were on the same page here.  When I am watching TV, I should commit fully to watching TV.  No phone in hand, no searching for hours for something to watch.  Just turn on the show, watch the show without distraction to completion, TV off, next task.  This really should be applied to any activity.  Be present in everything you do.

What Habits Will I Continue?

Most of them.  Removing only the overly-structured constructs that I initially put around goals in an attempt to accomplish them. 

What Habits Will I Discontinue?

I think, when I started doing this blog, I said I was going to run regularly.  I don’t think that will stick as a regular activity.  I have no intention of running much, as it can hurt my knees.  Plus, I find hiking, biking, or even rowing, more enjoyable.  I do like trail running though, which I would gladly do more of.

What Would I Like to See More of Next Year?

More Alpine.  More Stability.  More Money.  More Adventure.  More Mountains.  More Learning.  More Yoga.  More Mindful.  More Hustle.  More Patience.  More Love.

What About the Future Most Excites Me?

I am done worrying about the past or the future.  Even getting pre-maturely excited about the future tags it with an expectation that may or may not conclude how it plays out in actuality; resulting in disappointment.  The excitement that I feel is towards the opportunity to tackle the goals right in front of me, right now.  I am excited to do that everyday, with everything I decide to do.  I am excited to approach every task with an enthusiasm and vigor that continues to grow as I further learn to hone my presence in the moment.  Balancing all the different aspects of my life gets me excited, too.  As does, increasing my knowledge.  This all fills me with a significant amount of purpose.  That purpose brings a sense of calm, and that calmness is better than excitement, it’s contentment.  Contentment is balanced and consistently a good place to be.

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

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A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass

Time is probably the most precious commodity that we, as humans, have.  As it passes by, our lives go with it, leaving only memories and wisdom behind.  It’s interesting to watch how many people fill their days with activities they otherwise hate, and their minds with worries of the future or empty entertainment that keeps them distracted from the present.  People that I know and love spend much of their lives worried about how they’ll retire, and often, they skip past the part of their life where they are the most capable and able-bodied.  Others don’t take any time to do this, live only in the moment, and are miserable because they have yet to find how to properly fit into this world.  I watch as people circumvent their own dreams and aspirations for the realities of others.  They do this by using their time to watch television, scrolling Facebook or Instagram feeds, or gluing themselves to the always BREAKING cable news programs designed to breed anxiety and further division.  I still fall into these time-sucks, but I am now cognizant of what they’re accomplishing and how their accomplishments change me for the worse.

Other ways this can be emulated is in the working of a nine-to-five for a company that often does not align with one’s own ideals.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with watching your favorite show on television, and we all need to put food on the table, but the truth is, most of the time we spend in front of digital media is 100% useless and is just a method of escapism that keeps us from fulfilling what is authentic to us as individuals.  The goal here being: to create a reality that is preferable to the one we are told, by society, to follow.

Preparation, however, should not be skirted, and it is important to take steps to create a stable future.  Dwelling on it as life’s main objective, however, seems to lead to missed opportunities, as well as a somewhat bland, and perhaps, meaningless life.  Often, with people who follow this course, once in retirement, purpose is still missing.  Family seems to make up for some of this, as well, a family lends itself to a larger purported purpose, however, with one’s individuality unfulfilled, even the most accomplished businessman, might feel unaccomplished if their true desires and potentials were never fully met.  If they never tried to write that book or taste the snow on top of that one mountain.

As I close out my first “Quest” —the year of self-improvement that I started following my brother’s wedding on October 3, 2017; a day that began with a hangover as I moved to cease my consumption of alcohol and focused to redirect bad habits into good ones— this has been one of the take-away lessons that I have learned.  Last night, as I was journaling, I wrote about it.  Below is that entry.   img_4436

With little more than a week left in my Quest, I will be sharing the changes that have occurred in myself, and the lessons that I have learned along my path.

For me, finding my internal compass has been one of those lessons.  A lesson that can only be learned void of distractions; when one clears their mind and turns off the outside voices.  There are so many profound and exciting revelations that have come from this year’s experience, and I cannot wait to share with you what those have been and how I plan on continuing my growth in my upcoming Quest Part Two.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Quest Update: As Summer Adventures Come to a Close

I haven’t been blogging or vlogging in quite a while.  I put a pause on this while my friend was supposed to update my website, but since my website still hasn’t been updated, and while my Quest inches closer to completion, it is time to bring you a compelling story of… well, okay, it’s just an update on things that I’ve been up to.  Super provocative stuff here, guys!

Prelude

I am down to the last couple weeks of alcohol-free living.  I feel fantastic overall, and had an incredible summer full of camping, hiking, peak scrambling, biking, backpacking, a wedding, but mainly, working.  Much of my time in the last few months has been dedicated to growing my real estate business, maintaining my fitness, staying consistent with my Quest objectives, and some hiking/adventures when they could be squeezed in.

The Last Little Bit

So, let’s rewind a month when I was in the Enchantments for five days and then came home, grabbed my pre-packed bag of wedding garments and jumped on a plane to Cincinnati to celebrate my friends, Zach and Meghan, tying a knot.  I stood beside Zach as his (co-) best man and had a wonderful time meeting his friends and family.  Also that week, I saw my friend, Steve, who I had not seen in years.  It’s odd how with certain people it doesn’t matter the duration of time that passes between visits, when you get back together with those people, it’s as if nothing has changed.  Zach and Steve are two people in my life that that applies to.

Going back about nine years to when I met them, I was not too keen on Mister Zach.  I determined he was a pompous know-it-all ass before I properly got to know him.  I figured out, however, that he was just socially inept and had a pretty tough initial guard up.  However, once I broke through that guard we became great friends.  We even ended up all living in the same apartment building.  During that period I was their “Kramer,” not because I used the n-word on stage like some raving lunatic, but because on a daily basis I would just open their door and walk into their abode without so much as a door knock.  Much has changed in our lives since I had last saw them… especially with Steve who now has a toddler.  Together, in a group again, it was as if it no time had passed at all… with the exception of Zach’s ability to grow a beard, my inability to retain my hair, and Steve getting … errr… a little rounder.  Ha.

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Zach on his big day biting my girlfriend’s arm

After Zach’s beautiful vows, and my appropriately hilarious and oh-so touching speech that shattered the expectations of everyone involved, but most importantly, the bride and groom 🧐, Steven and I woke up the next morning and drove my bishhh to the airport.  We proceeded to kick her wiggity-wack ass out the car and then drove to Cincinnati’s very own King’s Island.  King’s Island is a theme park.  I’m 34.  Steve is like 38 or some shit?… Basically, two full grown adult males had a date going on all the rollercoasters and rides that a midwestern theme park had to offer, and it was the best day ever!

But let’s not so quickly leap over the Enchantments, as it was an incredible trip through a beautiful, albeit smokey, region of the Cascades.  During our stay we visited all the different alpine lakes, swam in a few of them, climbed Little Annapurna, night hiked up Prusik Pass to watch a very unimpressive meteor shower, slept next to mountain goats  with their rambunctious kids in my hammock, and did some other miscellaneous scrambles.  We were very lucky to get permits, and although the smoke was a hinderance, it could have been much worse.

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Brandi’s signature hiking pose.
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My towel and his vistors

 

Full Enchantments Post coming soon with video footage.

So, that was a month back.  This past week Brandi and I attended a double header baby shower (one after the other) for two of my dudes.  I, then, packed up and went camping near Winthrop, WA, on Monday with my good friend, Adam.  We hadn’t spent any time together this summer so we had planned a couple days in the North Cascades.  The weather decided to be a cranky biotch, so we shifted our trip to the eastern side of the park where it is not quite as rain prone.  We hiked along the PCT and spent a couple days eating, as Adam likes to say, some “good food” in the woods along a creek.  With the weather starting to change, it’s probably the last multi-night camping trip for a while, but I was able to not miss much work at all.  It’s somewhat convenient taking most of your days off in the middle of the week.

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During one of those weekends in there we went camping with our friends Jon and Bre.  On this camping trip we found an amazing riverside camp spot that was completely isolated from other passer-byers.  Jon was generous enough to bring along some delicious stogies he had picked up in the Dominican Republic.  Unfortunately, I had Open Houses to attend on both Saturday and Sunday that weekend so I had to drive back into civilization both mornings and didn’t get to disconnect on this particular trip like I normally would.  It was a very long and deliberate route that I wish had been avoidable on Saturday morning… but, hey, when duty calls.  Clearly getting outside hasn’t been much of an issue for me lately, so no harm no foul.

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My dooooood Jon and I thumbin’ up & hangin’ loose

Beyond that… work + gym + plus a random weekday outing here and there is what my life currently consists of, and I a pretty okay with that.

The Quest

As for the Quest… As I had stated earlier, and as of today, I am two weeks out from completion.  That’s a huge benchmark and I am getting pretty excited to, again, be able to drink a cold and delicious beer.  Although, I am admittedly still wrestling with the idea of continuing with the absence of alcohol, that is seemingly a wrestling match I will lose.  Not because of some innate need to drink, but instead, because I do like having beer and a certain amount of alcohol is probably beneficial to things like my career and social life.

What has changed? 

There is more that has changed than that I recognize, but, simultaneously, not enough has changed for me to give up and go back to my post-Quest life.  Many of my new habits will stay with my for the remainder of years I have left.  Especially meditation, journaling, consistent exercise, hot and cold therapy, writing, and reading.  In fact, a couple weeks ago I realized that I am a completely different person than when I started this a year ago.  I, also, found out what doesn’t work and what I was just doing to say I did it.  Having some crazy journaling schedule… yeah, that did not come close to sticking.  Reading a ton of books a month became more of a chore and hindered performance in other areas.  Not watching TV sounds fun until you get bored out of your mind.

I am, however, in drastically better shape, I feel smarter, better read, more consistent with my mood, less anxious, less depression, I have started a completely new career where I work for my self, and I am better fit to deal with adversities that I face.

I do have a few new Quest concepts that I will further define and start once this one comes to fruition.  My next quest will focus on my shortcomings and areas of my life I wish to further improve.  Unfortunately, my current quest will not be 100% completed quite yet, as I still have some saving to do until I will be able to afford to make it to Patagonia.  That is still going to happen, however, and hopefully at some point in 2019 I’ll make it a reality.  Of course, it has to work out seasonally as well.  Stay tuned.

Summer is out, Fall is in

The seasons changed rather quickly this year, going from incredibly hot to rather cold overnight.  Summer is officially over this coming Saturday, and I am stoked to see some yellow and orange leaves and have some cooler weather to go hike in.  I used to call the fall shoulder season, now I just look at it as the cooler time of year to go hiking.

Lastly, congrats to my sister and her boyfriend on their engagement.  Ditto to my friends Jake and Jen!

IT’S ALMOST SKI SEASON!!!!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

The “Halfway There” Evaluation; Goals for What’s Ahead

I’m in the driver’s seat, speeding through my checklist of daily tasks, accomplishing more each day than the day prior.  No longer am I procrastinating on things that I have been fearful of… Taxes?… call a bookkeeper, find a CPA… Credit sucks?… repair that motherfucker.  No new leads?  Call all your friends and setup coffee dates.  All my new found habits are, now, routine… Work, exercise, meditate, journal, write… Turn the TV off.  As Gary Vaynerchuk stated in Tribe of Mentors, “squeezing the fuck out of the seconds [of my day].”  And, that’s what the goal was, but there are times when it feels kind of boring or lackluster.  When I’m not motivated.  That’s when I need to keep my eyes on the prize.  So, with that said, it is time to reevaluate my Quest, see where I am at in each vertical, and see where improvements can be made.

MENTAL HEALTH:
Depression is gone, I haven’t had it in a while now.  I stay busy, exercise, meditate and journal, and with that, my mental clarity has never been better.  I can say that this was the outcome I have been wanting out of all this.  Happiness coincides with mental health, and a positive disposition is key to my growth.

One thing I have learned over the past six months is not to hold resentment against myself for not completing one of my tasks.  If I flup up, I just look back at where I was when I started meditating and regain my footing.  It’s very easy to forget to take care of mental health when I get busy, but it’s also very easy to meditate and doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes out of my day.

GOAL:  Now that I have built somewhat of a foundation, I want to take it up another notch.  My goal for the remaining six months would be to continue with the habits I have made and use them to alter emotional responses that I have.  Those responses include: anger, anxiety, frustration, impulsivity, impatience, and others.  

My lovely girlfriend pointed out that I am picking my thumbs, again.  I had completely quit doing that for a couple months and, all of a sudden, I’m back gnawing those nubs like a squirrel gnaws a nut… Fuck.  Done.  Quit that shit and move on.  I had a short stint where I wasn’t meditating regularly, and for whatever reason, that’s when I started picking my thumbs again.  That also coincides with when I started my new career.  Whatever the root cause, this habit can be put in check, as I recently had it in check.  No more lapses.

PHYSICAL HEALTH:
I have been consistently lean and strong for a while now.  Aesthetically I look pretty good, as well.  My gym routine is solid; I get some cardio (rowing, running, hiking, skiing, etc.), have progressed in my yoga practice, lost weight, have almost rehabilitated my shoulder (I think), and eat an all around healthy diet of proteins, healthy fats and vegetables… with the occasional pizza binge. 🍕

This, simply, just needs to continue.  I’m satisfied with the results, but would like to put a couple pounds back on.  That is going to be dependent on how my shoulder and neck feel.  If they continue feeling better week after week, then I might be able to start lifting a little heavier, again, which would allow me to obtain some mass.

GOAL:  Get in climbing shape.  I want to climb some mountains and I need to train for that.  That is the last missing link in my fitness routine.  Adventure routine, more so.

Which brings me to my second goal here which is something I have been trying to do throughout this quest, and that is to complete one adventure per week.  Whether it is skiing, hiking, biking, etc., just one adventure a week and I feel better in so many ways that I would almost put this under mental health if it weren’t for the profuse amount of sweat that trickles off me.  Anyways, hiking season is now upon us, and I plan on hitting the trail regularly, which I have already started doing.  Mount Saint Helens is coming up in May. #ADVENTURING


CREATIVITY:

I write pretty regularly now.  I am working on writing a book.  I write this blog.  I write in my journal.  This area could still be worked on though.  I spend more time watching TV than writing, so it would make sense to flip those habits and write more than I stare at a big screen

GOAL:  Turn off the TV and write, paint, edit a video, etc.  My goal here is to put whatever time I put into TV & video games, instead, into my creative outlets.

Also, in the creative vertical, my goal is to finish writing a book by the time I get back from Patagonia.

CAREER & LEARNING:
I have started my new career in Real Estate.  I’m ecstatic about that, and although I started off slow in this vertical six months back, I feel like I’ve made insane progress here in the last two to three months.  I have some definite goals (which I’ll keep to myself for now) and way more room to grow here than all my other categories combined.  Watch out world, I’m getting after this one.

As for learning, I am learning a bounty of knowledge about real estate.  I’m, also, reading multiple books a month and applying what I learn to my life, business, etc.  It’s interesting how much reading does for your brain overall.  More or less, my vocabulary seems to be expanding, and my ability to read faster and for longer periods is strengthening, too.  A lot of my ideas start with something I read and expand from there.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER, BITCHES!

GOAL: I want to keep on with two books per month goal that I set for the New Year.  It’s helping me commit to a certain amount of Audible/reading.  I would prefer to spend more time actually reading, but right now, with the new career, I am going to have to commit to the hybrid approach that I’ve been doing thus far.

I don’t know where to put this one, but I think it fits best under Career, since it will likely benefit my career the most, but I need to get up earlier.  630 AM would be a good time, but that also means I need to get to bed earlier.

RELATIONSHIPS:
Oddly, or not so oddly, starting a career selling real estate has helped me reconnect with many people that I had otherwise lost touch with over the years.  Having kind of been a hermit for the last two or so, it’s nice to reemerge from my shell and be socializing again.

My girlfriend and I are on the same page now more than we have been in a while.  It probably helps that I am having some success at work — haha.  I love her and she’s pretty (she made me write that, but I do and she is).  Beyond that, I should probably spend more time with my family and go visit a handful of friends I haven’t seen in a while.

GOAL:  I cannot tell you what my goal is because my girlfriend would get mad at me.  🍑🍆 .  Hahahaha.  Just kidding…. Or, am I?  🤨  No, I totally am…. Or, am I?  I am.

IMG_2487.jpgGirlfriend and me at a show in Seattle meeting my favorite folk singer, Austin Basham.  He was a super rad dude.

In summary, I have completed so much in the last six months, but have no time to rest and way more to do.  I think that once my quest is complete, after I feel that I have maxed out my verticals, well, then, maybe next year I enter TIER TWO.  Also, there are some other verticals that are not included in my quest that I probably would include if I were to revise it…  Financials (money, investments, savings, credit, etc.), adventures (although this is somewhat prevalent), organization, productivity.  I guess you’ll just have to wait for what I conjure up six months from now.

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

PS ~ I have a ton of vids to make a great VLOG, but editing that shit takes so long that I keep putting it off… So, coming soon!

 

Dealing with Boredom; the Realities of Sobriety

I have been saying how great I am doing with the “one year, no beer” challenge that I have taken on.

“Killing it,” I say.

“Feeling great,” I brag.

I am over 90 days deep and physically feeling pretty fantastic as the alcohol has left my body.  People notice it in my face, I can see it in my skin, I look a little different than I did three months ago.  The truth of the matter is, however, that there is one major side effect of drinking from 15-34 and then just stopping cold turkey. . . boredom.  I am “out-of-my-mind” bored.  I am filling my time with new habits and replacing the time I spent drinking with other more exciting things, sure, but on a regular Tuesday night when I am a little stressed out, I do not have a beer in the fridge to turn to to help dull my senses or make me giggle for a couple hours.  That couple hours of being buzzed, tipsy, or even drunk, seems like a waste of time, and it is, but sometimes it’s a nice release from the realities we face on a day to day basis.

I used to be, or at least thought I was, the life of the party.  The hilarious guy who would say outrageous things and get all my friends laughing hysterically with stupid antics.  Hold-nothing-back type jokes coupled with clown on a stranger’s haircut type rudeness often left me beloved by my peers and hated by the unfortunate targets I came across.  Granted, I was becoming more tame with age regardless of the break I am taking from the bottle, but that guy is gone now and has been replaced by a more serious person who would rather spend time with his dogs than a pub full of drunk strangers.  Sure, I still have some good zingers here and there, but it’s not the same… I’m not the same.  The normally restricted zones that alcohol lets you step into are now roped off.  I find myself often pondering life, meddling through depressive states, writing, reading, running, lifting weights, staying at the gym for hours, and, generally, being boring as fuck.  What has happened to me?!

I turned 34 a week ago.  So, I guess that’s probably what happened to me; age.  Mid-fucking-thirties… Boooo!  Even if I were not taking on this quest of no alcohol and self-improvement, I simply cannot party the way I used to.  Drug infused Saturdays are a thing of the past.  The idea of doing some of the things I did in my twenties not only doesn’t sound like something I want to do, it gives me anxiety just as a thought.  Drinking a fifth of alcohol over the course of a day sounds like a humiliating and terrible experience that will end with me wincing in pain for days after.  Add recreational uppers to the mix and I can feel my kidneys shutting down.  With that said, a couple beers after a long day, the same doesn’t quite ring true.  The opposite does; it sounds wonderful.  I do not really think of it much -although Christmas was a little challenging with my drunken silly siblings- because I feel better than I have in a long while and have committed myself to accomplish a goal.  Committing myself to accomplishing a goal does not make the boredom just disappear, though.  It’s there and it can be hard to deal with.  This is also why it’s easy to get sucked into something like video games or some other unproductive activity that seems harmless but is a huge time suck… because I am bored and seeking the same level of entertainment that was once fueled by ethanol and debauchery.  That’s the reality.  That’s the struggle.  And I will keep doing just fine and persevere through it all, but in the back of my mind I know why I am feeling how I am feeling.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane U.