Three Months of Wisdom

It’s been nearly three months since my last blog post. I feel like a lover spurning an old flame, but the trap I continued to fall into for the past months is that – my life hasn’t been overly interesting. I haven’t felt driven to chase my muse across the keyboard, though I’ve watched her flit about to and fro.

I’ve considered stories, like one I have working titled “RIOTBall” which explores a world where sports and police forces intermingle almost indistinguishably. It sounds zanier than it actually is, but it’s a concept still – nascent and unready to be brought forth.

I’ve done some travel and I could talk about the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve done, but not yet – there is a story there, but as above… it’s time hasn’t come yet.

My wife and I just celebrated our first year of marriage, a muted but intimate affair. We’re overjoyed that we survived the first year and have agreed to carry on for at least 79 more years.

I have opinions on the current state of politics, the current financial crisis, and the whole #OccupyWallStreet movement but again, none of these are wholly formed and ready to be put down on paper.

There is wisdom all around us. Spun out in bands like radio waves from a tower, if only we are paying attention to see them. The wisdom which resonates in the world comes from the news of Steve Jobs’ passing, and it’s a quote that is now six years old. I remember reading it when the transcript of his commencement speech was posted – but it never resonated with me until he died.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

To me, that’s three months of wisdom. Gained at the cost of three months, to be spent frivolously over the rest of my life.

The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Done

Dean Karnazes
Dean Karzes, image courtesy of UltraMarathonMan.com

Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. – Dean Karnazes

If you’ve never heard of Dean Karnazes, you shouldn’t feel too bad. He’s not a basketball player. He’s not an olympian. He’s not a billionaire. What he is though, is a marvel of what the human body is capable of. He’s the Ultra Marathon Man. He ran 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 states. That’s pretty impressive. In fact he had an episode of Stan Lee’s documentary-esque show about Superhumans, and in it they revealed that his body has developed such a strong system for transporting lactic acid (the stuff that makes our muscles hurt after exertion) that his body maintains or lowers its levels while he’s running. That’s insane!

I love that quote, because it’s so true. I love being comfortable, and for 27 years it’s made me happy.

And it’s what made me weigh 360 lbs.

Yep. I had a pound for almost every day of the year. While not quite morbidly obese, and given that I am rather tall, it’s not the number that would get me on Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, I’m still very unhappy with the condition my body is in.

I’ve yoyo’ed numerous times, I’ve tried gym memberships, I’ve bought equipment, I’ve trained with the wife, etc. I’ve done lots and lots of wrong things and fallen off the balance beam every time.

And it sucks.

So I’ve taken to yet another strategy, this time keying off my buddy Doug, who has been training in preparation of a triathlon. And it’s done amazing things for him! (Looking good Doug!)

However, I’m not training for a triathlon (not yet at least.) I’m training for:

Spartan Race

You only fail when you give up. If you don’t give up, you have not failed, you just haven’t succeeded yet.

I’m training to race three races in January, February and March of 2012.

Now’s the point where I tell you, I’ve never run a mile in my life. Despite having played football, and rowed Crew during high school. I was lazy even then! I did the least amount of work required and often less while making it look like I had done my part.

So, having never run a mile in my life, I’m going to do a 3 mile, an 8 mile and a 3 mile race within 6 weeks of each other. But that’s not all. These races have things like this:

I have no misconceptions. I know this is going to be hard. And I’ve already heard from several people that they don’t think I can do it. Or that they think I’m insane.

But also, I’ve found a growing number of friends who think this is awesome. Who think I can do it. And of them, a small handful who have decided to take on the races with me. That’s the really awesome part. Not only am I being driven to succeed, but I’ve got a group of friends who want to share this experience.

So the race is my end goal, but what about the in between? Where do I want to be when it comes race time?

You have to earn your body, nobody gives it you.

Well, based on my body fat percentage, and estimating muscle gain and target body fat percentage I’m looking to be around 275-290 lbs. I’m not looking to be musclebound, less Vin Diesel and more Jason Statham. Muscled, but not overwhelming, to be so would make my life nearly as difficult as being fat has.

Athletically, for the 8 mile race I’d like to be able to run 10+ miles by then, because the obstacles will absolutely require higher stamina and energy.

Now for another admission: I’ve never successfully down a pull up in my life. Maybe in elementary school but even then I don’t think so. So the obstacles will absolutely require upper body strength, not just fantastic stamina. So between the sizable weight loss, and the gained muscle, I’d like to be able to do 20 pull ups.

So where does this leave me? I’ve got 205 days as of this publishing for the first race. That one is testing the waters. Then a month later I’ve got the 8 miler. And assuming that goes well, we’ve got a 3 mile to do just two weeks later.

I’m stupidly, naively, heart warmingly, terrifyingly excited about this. I’ve got a candle burning, and with the working out and beginning to see results it’s turning to kindling that will soon become a raging inferno of… AWESOME!

And now is the time I tell you, this is hardly the craziest thing I plan to do in my life. So be excited to see what else is in store!

There comes a time during any workout when your mind says, “Okay, we’re done. Let’s go home.” Strength and power is when your body smiles and turns the other way.

Three Weeks Married

I’ve started and stopped writing after the wedding about a half-dozen times. Life has continued on. Money continues to be needed, so I and K continue to work.

The truth is that nothing has really changed. Sure, I wear a ring now. I feel naked without it. But otherwise our lives are largely the same. We already lived together. We already were committed to each other. We already shared and relied on each other.

What has changed though is the future. Where our time lines might have, at some point in the past, spun off in separate directions they have now become inseparably entwined, wrapped around each other in a helix to eternity.

We have always said that this is forever. I believe it.

Yesterday was our three week anniversary. Pretty soon we’ll stop tracking the weeks, but for now we’re enjoying the count. Aiming for 80 years married, it means we’ve got somewhere around 4,156 to go.

I can’t wait 🙂

When the Smoke Clears…

Row boat
Creative Commons License photo credit: wsilver

Life has a funny way of rocking the boat at the most inopportune times. To lose my job two days after proposing to my fiancee is something out of a TV show. However, what it turned out to be was a wonderful opportunity to pursue a job damn close to the job of my dreams. No, it is not perfect, but it is awesome.

Katie and I had hardly realized that we have been engaged for a month. We’ve been so distracted with the new life and adjusting to it, that we both realized late in the evening while we were checking out at a Publix.

Distraction is a frustrating thing. So often I get distracted and forget what I was doing or saying. I have been so distracted by my new life that I didn’t realize just how long it had been since I took a leap and snagged the love of my life. And, when the smoke cleared, from it, from the lost job, from the proposal, from the new job and the travel – I realize that I’m extremely happy.

Love is knowing that you can’t live without the other person. And I can’t live without Katie.

The Proposal

I feel like a secret agent who has had his secret identity revealed. As if a weight has been lifted and I am able to finally reveal the Jason Bourne-style secrets to the top secret mission which I have been working on for the past several weeks. So I apologize if I’ve been distracted for the past week or so when we’ve interacted, I’ve been thinking about this a great deal. I had to make sure that this went off without a hitch, and I think I can say “Mission accomplished.”

success

Continue reading “The Proposal”

Become a Bone-Marrow Donor

My mom was given an extra 9 months on her life through a bone marrow transplant, and with it the potential to continue her life even longer. My mom had a disease called Myelofibrosis where her bone-marrow was slowly being replaced by scar tissue and with it other problems were arising with her health. She had been fighting it for much of my life, and in 2006 she had her bone-marrow transplant. In fact, her transplant took place on July 11th, 2006. It gave us another 248 days with her on this earth, which looking back was very valuable time indeed. Through out the final year and for a few months before, my mom kept a blog online. Something I’ve kept up and managed for her: http://www.jarrett.ws/dale/

Like donating blood and platelets, people can donate their bone-marrow. Bone-marrow transplants (BMTs) are becoming a more routine medical treatment and so the need for an expansive registry is becoming more and more important. I just recently joined the registry, and in doing so I made a five minute video explaining the process (all done from home) to get myself added to the National Bone-marrow Registry.

Want to see what bone-marrow looks like? Below is a photo of the bone-marrow mom received in her transplant.

This is a journal

I’ve always had to fight between technological posts and keeping this as my life journal. The fact is that I’m leaning more towards other mediums as my platform. Any technological posts I want to make end up as comments on Hacker News and I sometimes stop to think I could write a blog post about it, but then decide I don’t have enough to make a post on it. Continue reading “This is a journal”