Tag Archives: happiness

Making Mornings Simpler

There are things which I do to simplify my mornings and make the start to my day a bit easier.  I suppose that some of them may border on obsessive compulsive disorder, but I prefer to think of them as being efficient.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

First, I have a two-level closet in which my shirts hang above my pants.  I’ve culled my wardrobe such that any shirt either matches or coordinates with any pants.  This way, each morning I just grab whatever is furthest to the left on each level and I’m good to go.  No need to stop and mull over the possible combinations.  An added benefit is that it does not matter in what order I hang them up.

Second, I have my breakfast mostly ready to go the night before.  My basic coffee maker does not have a timer, so I fill the basket with grounds and the water reservoir so all I have to do is turn it on.  I also prepare my food the night before.  I often have steel cut oats which take a while to cook, so I leave them soaking overnight.  Then all I have to do is add some nuts and berries and microwave them for a minute.  I also like to make tofu scramble with veggies, so I make a large pan ahead of time and microwave a serving.  And so on.  I may not save lots of time overall but it certainly feels less hectic to me.

Third, I frequently get up an hour early and in the winter, I do 30 minutes of spinning on my indoor bike trainer.  In warmer weather, I like to go for a bike ride outdoors.  I started doing this in the summer of 2017 when I discovered the joy of cycling.  I admit, I need to be a bit more consistent about getting up early and riding, so it’s a bit of a work in progress on that front.   Tangentially related to this is my avoidance of the morning news on TV or radio for the past couple of years.  I have no need or desire to begin my day on a sour note by consuming what passes for news these days.

So there you have it.  These are the three main ways in which I simplify my mornings.  I’d enjoy hearing how you simplify or streamline yours.

             Time can’t be made or found, but it can be prioritized.

Ups and Downs in 2017

It’s been a while since I wrote about my decrappification activities.  To be honest, I had a bit of a lull in that regard.  I suppose it’s like a lot of things in life, in that you can’t be going full steam ahead 100 percent of the time.  If you try, inevitably you will get burnt out.  That seems to me to be a good way to inadvertently sabotage your efforts.  On the other hand, you don’t want a slowdown to lead to stagnation.

This past year I had mixed results.  For three things in the plus column, I migrated the majority of my reading to my tablet, using Nook, Kindle, and Acrobat apps.  This cuts way down on the number of magazines and books I have to deal with either for storage or recycling.  (While I agree that there is a tactile advantage to books, everything has a cost.)  Second, I went completely vegan in January of 2017, so my eating got a lot more thoughtful-by necessity as well as purpose-and streamlined.  Third, I purged some of my accumulated winter clothing of times which no longer fit well or which I have not worn in the past year.  I got rid of the equivalent of two large laundry baskets of good clothes which went to charity.

For three things in the minus column, being honest, I’ve become a bicycle hoarder.   That’s not a bad thing per se, but I rebuilt a full suspension mountain bike for winter road use, adding it to my old non-suspension mountain bike and vintage 10 speed road bike-three bikes for one person.  (For the record, I’ve been told that the appropriate number of bikes is (N + 1) where N equals the number you have at any time.)  Second, I’ve come to realize that I have way too many duplicate tools, especially wrenches and sockets.  So, a project in the near term will be to winnow out the duplicates and pass them along.  Third, silly as it may sound, I have accumulated an over-abundance of tee shirts and socks, so it’s time to purge.   The tee shirts I can pass along or donate, and I’ll figure out a way to repurpose the used socks.

As Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.”.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Hidden Rocks In The River

I was walking along a trail today and an older woman pointed to the nearby tidal river.  “Look”, she said “there are a lot more rocks now.”  She was referring to the large number of rocks and boulders that were visible along the shoreline, since the tide was low.  It occurred to me that there were no more rocks there at that time than at any other time.  They are always there, just sometimes covered by water.  Depending upon the depth of the water, the rocks present varying levels of potential danger to boats.  At high tide, there is little danger because the water is deep.  At low tide, there is little danger because the rocks are plainly visible.  It’s that in-between condition that can be dangerous.

It seems to me that our attitudes about ourselves can be like that.  If our hang-ups or self-doubts are deeply submerged, they have little overt impact.  If they are out in the open, they can be dealt with as needed.  It’s when we allow them a little leeway, and they nibble at the edges of our thoughts, that problems can arise.  They can exert influence upon our decisions and our relationships and we may never even realize it because they are neither quiescent nor overt, but subtle and sneaky.  I guess what I’m saying is, we need to be constantly watchful and not let that in-between condition prevail.

You only see the rocks when the tide is low.

Setbacks and Moving Forward

I’ve been building a home obstacle course the past few weeks which I have been calling my “mini-Ninja” course, inspired by the show American Ninja Warrior.  When it’s done it will look like a grown up version of a kid’s jungle gym.  The problem I have been facing is that the darn thing is so heavy it’s difficult to assemble on my own.

That came home to roost last Sunday when the structure collapsed while I was trying to raise the taller of the two end pieces.  I managed to dodge most of it, but I torqued my left forearm a little trying to stabilize it before I saw the futility of that effort.  I admit, looking at that pile of timbers an pipes I felt more than a little discouraged.   I may even have sung a few choruses of “the old four letter serenade”.

There thing is, it’s not a bad idea-it may even be pretty good!  It’s the execution that has been problematic.  So I have come up with a new idea for stabilizing the two end pieces in two directions at once to help keep them standing.   Instead of trying to man-handle 12 foot long 4 x 4 timbers into place in brackets to connect the two ends, I’m going to use two 12 foot long 2 x 4 timbers which will be much easier to maneuver and will accomplish what I need just as well.

The upshot of this is that when you suffer a setback, it’s OK to get angry and annoyed.  Go ahead and vent-I sure did!  But get it out of your system and get back to what you were doing.  If you need to, rethink the process and come at the problem from a different angle.  Just don’t give up.

Here is my revised plan-bracing in two directions!

Here is my revised plan-bracing in two directions!

I Refuse To Act My Age

I’m 57 years old and 60 is fast approaching.  I was recently told that I don’t act my age when I showed someone a home obstacle course/jungle gym I’m building.  This was meant as a good hearted rebuke, but I take it as an affirmation.  I freely admit I don’t act may age because I’m not convinced that age is a limitation.

There are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who don’t “act their age”.  Daniela Barnea, 73, recently won three gold medals in swimming.   Jacinto Bonilla at 77 competes in CrossFit and even had a WOD named after him.  Paul Tetrick, 85, has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships.  A quick online search will turn up so many “seasoned” athletes it will make your head spin!

Growing older is inevitable barring illness or injury.  To my knowledge there is no law that says we have to grow old in our spirits, though.  Certainly there is nothing that mandates allowing our bodies to fall apart from disuse or misuse.  I honestly do not see myself growing old with anything approaching complacency.  As Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I plan to go down kicking and screaming until I draw my final breath!

It’s almost finished!