Day Omega / Alpha…

I started this daily blog for two main reasons: First, to get myself into the habit of writing daily in order to regularly work on my skills.  And Second: To get back to writing thoughts, advice, etc to my kids – an extension of the book I had started a very long time ago. 

I’ve done a great job of maintaining my daily regime, and (after re-reading them) I think that many of them were quality entries for my kids.  But, in hindsight, much of it is crap.  

So, I’m freeing myself from the obligation to plug in an entry here daily, and will now concentrate on writing longer chapter-length entries of much higher quality.  

Onward…

Day #117(21) – “The countdown…”

I’m doing two countdowns at the moment: The longer-term = The countdown to my daughter’s wedding / the beginning of her new life away from home. This occurs in August of next year.  I can’t do an accurate daily countdown yet because they haven’t firmed-up The Date yet.   The second is much more immediate = The countdown to my son leaving home again to rejoin his wife and daughter in California. 

In short – This time next year, only my wife and I will be left in our home. 

The father in me dreads this image. The husband in me relishes it. 

Is that mean?

Day #116(20) – “Thanksgiving – Part 1”

Thanksgiving has  been a total family day for my family ever since our first child was born.  No matter what was going on in the world or in our lives, that was the one day we were all together, at least for that day.  Then, of course, our kids grow up and it gets tougher to be all together on that day. 

This year, it’s almost impossible for us to be together on the traditional Thanksgiving day, so we decided to make our own day. 

So this year, October 24th is our Family Thanksgiving Day. We are turkey and stuffing and all the fixings, and we sat together and watched a movie (Jurassic World). 

Perhaps, going forward, we need to make Family Thanksgiving Day whatever day we can all be together. 

Deal?

Day #115(19) – “Home sweet Home?”

I’ve lived in the same house for 21 years.  Our kids spent most of their lives there.  My in-laws lived with us there until their passing.  It’s the home I dreamed about ever since I was a little kid – I’ve always dreamed of living on a hill overlooking the world.  I’ve collected a substantial library there.  I can walk every inch of that house in pitch blackness and not stub my toes.  I know every creak and groan and pop it makes.  That house is truly home. 

And, this time next year, my wife and I will be the only ones living in it. 

Do we stay?

Day #113(17) – “Like a bad rumor…”

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly illness will migrate through our home.  Normally, since my daughter works with children daily, she is the one to usually bring a cold or flu or other bug into the home. Then, it’s the wife who will get it next.  At this point, I’m surrounded, and the likelihood is high that I’ll be the next to fall. 

But often, it doesn’t end here. 

By the time I get “It”, my daughter is near-healthy and my wife has hit bottom and has begun to recover. That’s the time that my daughter will relapse, and the cycle starts all over.  

Constant hand-washing and attention to cleanliness and promoting a level of distance does little or no good.  The Cycle persists. 

Should I build a Quarantine Room? Perhaps fill it with books and games and cable and wifi and a stocked fridge and functioning microwave?  Then, on Day One I could deposit Patient Zero there?

Hmm.  Worth considering. 

Day #112(16) – “Blink of an eye…”

The passage of time, I am constantly reminded, is such a relative thing.  When you want to leave work early, the seconds drag by. But when you are enjoying yourself, hours disappear. 

I had the opportunity (blessing) of seeing a good friend today that I hadn’t seen is years – too long.  As is normal with us, the conversation was easy, relaxed, candid, and thoroughly enjoyable.  He’s one of the very few good people I’ve known in this world, and one of a very select few that I implicitly trust. 

I need to ensure it’s not as long between visits, and I need more people like him in my life. 

Day #111(15) – “Turkey Day…”

Thanksgiving used to be quite the gathering at my home. Not only would all of the family be there, but each year would constitute a different assortment of additional feasters: extended family, current girlfriend or boyfriend, church members, classmates, and so on. And nearly every year, I thoroughly enjoyed doing most of the cooking.  

But the last couple years have been very anorexic, with only a handful of people coming.  This year, since my son is in town for another week or so, we’re gonna have an extra Thanksgiving this Saturday – just so most of our family will be complete. 

After Donday gets married next year, I can foresee our Traditional Family Thanksgiving coming to an end – no need to go through all the fuss just for me and my wife.  

Sad. 

Day #108(12) – “I Love It when Dreams become Reality”

As a kid, I was most definitely a day-dreamer. I’d walk into walls, miss conversations, completely zone-out during meals, solely because I was journeying in my mind. 

Self-driving cars. Space ships.  Self-aware robots.  All of mankind’s knowledge at my fingertips.   These were only some of my dreams, sparked – in part – by the uncounted SciFi volumes I consumed. But many of my dreams were the result of unrestrained imagination. 

Sadly, I’ve lost some of that carefree creativity.  But, days like today serve to keep that flame alive and bright.  This morning I watched a news video if the new Self-Driving car by Tesla; watched it maneuver through midday New York traffic with a squirming passenger behind the wheel doing his best to keep his hands off the steering wheel and his foot off the brake pedal.  

It was scary.   It was awesome!!

It’s the product of day-dreaming, and will serve as the fuel for the future dreams of others. 

Well done. 

Day #107(11) – “Tao of Lee-June-Do…”

  I first saw this drawing in my late teens.  Bruce Lee had drawn it as a portrayal of himself as an old man. From that day forward, I was obsessed with this image. I decided that I would look the same when I’m an old man; the funny part (now, in hindsight) is that, then – in my teens – “old” meant when I’m in my 40s or 50s.  That seemed so far away at that time, and completely reasonable. 
Now, at the age of 55, my mental “old man” picture has changed quite a lot. But the internal image that Bruce’s drawing sparked in me is still very much the same.  I want to be that old, patient, wise sage. Completely calm.  Completely confident. With the knowledge of the world within me.  

Maybe, when I’m actually “old”, I’ll be that person.  That’s the road I’ve chosen. 

Day #106(10) – “Choices…”

I used to be very reactive.  If someone asked me a question, I immediately responded with the first answer that crossed my mind. If someone did or said something offensive, my response was normally of equal-or-greater measure…and again, it was immediate. 

Thankfully, people I respect showed me (in words and by example) the value of waiting a moment before responding, even in simple non-threatening situations. “Take time to let your brain engage” they advised. 

There’s a wonderful saying that I always keep in mind…

“Don’t make a permanent choice to a temporary problem.”  

Great advice.   Another one?

“Take a breath before you respond.”

Those two phrases of wisdom have saved me from years of anguish. 

Day #105(9) – “I can be your hero…”

At a very young age (10?), I decided I was going to be a policeman.  In my eyes, they were heroes.  Why?  Cause they were literally Crime Fighters.  Who did mom always tell you to run and find if someone hurt you or tried to kidnap you or if you got lost?  A policeman.   In my youth, there were still commercials that reinforced this.  In my youth, TV shows still portrayed cops as heroes. 

This decision remained firm for quite some time.  I joined the military at 18 and that’s what I told the recruiter: “I want to be a policeman”.  He said, “No problem” and pointed me in the direction of military police.  I was overjoyed!  I was finally gonna be a hero. 

Now, granted, military police is (in my opinion) a “light” version of being a cop, but I didn’t care.  I had my uniform, my gun, and most important – my badge.  So in my head and heart, I’d made it.  I was a policeman. 

Now Phase II of my Plan was to serve my 4 years as a Military cop, then I’d get out and join the Real Police Force.  And, in the interim, I’d get my degree in criminal justice. 

Everything was going according to Plan. 

That is…until I actually started doing the job. 

It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to spend 100% of my day fighting crimes and saving people.  In reality, I spent 80-90% of my day either: waiting for something to happen, or serving as a social worker.  Specifically, when I did actually do something, it was: dealing with drunks, breaking up domestic disputes, and taking crap from spoiled officer’s brats who thought they were better than everyone else in the world.  

Wow!  That nearly popped by bubble.  But I was still determined. So, I went to visit the local police station in the city I was stationed. I needed to know the truth.  I needed them to tell me that my military police experience wasn’t going to be the same in the Real World. 

They were very polite and patient, and one particular officer took the time to sit down with me and answer all my questions.  But, in the end, the truth was… Yes – it’s pretty much the same, but with a little less waiting around.  

Sure, they busted robbers and drug dealers and so on, but the vast majority of their interaction with people involved drunks and domestic issues.  

It took me years to find a new career dream, and it has changed several times between then and now, but nothing’s ever felt as overpowering as those years when I dreamt daily of being a police officer – a hero. 

Police officers are still heroes to me, without doubt.  But now, I see much more clearly what they do and the many additional reasons to consider them heroes.   Their sacrifices are voluntary and enormous.  Their courage is undeniable.  

They are forever my heroes.  

Day #104(8) – “Perception is a tricky thing…”

I know…that my son is 31 and my daughter is 24. 

I know…that they are adults and already deep into their individual adult lives. 

But, right now, both my “kids” are living with me (albeit, briefly), and I simply can’t help looking at them with eyes that see “…my kids”.  I tease them in the same way, spoil them in the same way, as if they were far younger and far less mature than they really are.  

And I may be imagining it, but it seems, at times, that – living at home with me and their mom, under their childhood roof – they’ve reverted back to the “kids” they once were, if even for a short time.  

They’ll both be gone too soon: my son back to his wife and daughter; my daughter moving on to a life with her new husband.  But…for this moment in time… they are simply…my “kids”.

Day #103(7) – “Chim-Chimery…”

Even at my age, I often feel like a kid at heart.  No more so, lately, than today. 

I recently ordered the 50th Anniversary edition BluRay of Mary Poppins from Amazon.  I’m at church now, but I just received an auto-text notification that it’s been delivered to my home. 

It’s in my mail box right now…waiting for me.  Yah!

All week long I’ve been picturing me, my wife and kids, planted in front of the TV, bowl of popcorn nearby, as we enjoy this classic; singing along with every wonderful, magical song, if not aloud (cause we’re all adults now, right?) then loudly in our individual heads. 

I pray I’m never too old to feel this young over and over. 

Day #102(6) – “Am I OC?”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve eaten my food in a particular way – most times: I each one thing, perhaps the mashed potatoes, and when that’s gone, I’ll move on to the chicken; when that’s gone, I’ll eat the corn, and so on.  I normally – unconsciously – finish one thing completely before moving on to the next, and the next. 

Is it a compulsion?  Or simply a weird habit?

There’s no anxiety as a result of temporarily breaking this habit. In other words, if I catch myself eating this way, I’ll intentionally stop eating (say) the mashed potatoes before it’s gone and I’ll take a few bites of my chicken, then I’ll nibble some corn, just to test myself, see if it drives me nuts.   But it doesn’t.

Still, even though I’m completely aware that this is a strange way to eat food, I can’t seem to break the habit.  When I think it’s gone, suddenly, unexpectedly, it’s there again when I’m not paying attention. 

Is this a mild form of OCD?  

Probably gonna be one of those mysteries that I take to the grave, like how I occasionally hum when I eat.  

Day #101(5) – “Now comes the tough part…”

I’m on the 5th day of my new Health Cycle.  I’ve lost 8 pounds as of this morning, and many of the negative physical symptoms I normally feel after jettisoning simple carbs and processed foods are beginning to subside. 

Now the real challenge begins. 

The weekend!

This is when the risk of binging is the highest.  I’m not occupied by work, there’s no familiar and controllable routine established, and normal binging triggers (going to the movies or BN, boredom, social gatherings, etc.) are much more present. 

If I can be s good boy, I will lose another 2-3 lbs over the weekend. If I can’t, then I will gain back about half of what I’ve lost. 

Here we go.  

Day #100 (4) – “In- or Ex-?”

I heard a very fascinating discussion today that deeply explained the differences between and characteristics of introverts and extroverts.  Before today, id always resisted (rather vehemently) classifying myself as either because I believed (rather vehemently) that I possessed and exhibited both shadows.   

However today, for the first time, the discussion I was listening to clarified that these terms should not necessarily describe how s person behaves, but rather, how they “…recharge their individual battery.”  

So, if you’re tired and worn out and need solitude or quiet or peaceful surroundings to recharge and reenergize, then you’re an introvert. If, however, you derive energy and solace from groups and personal interactions and activity born of community, then your are an extrovert.  

So…

My name is Lee Jackson and…ehem… I’m an introvert. 

(How long before I get my first chip?)

Day #99 (3) – “Say it out loud…”

When I was young (teens, 20’s), I used to beat around the bush a lot when it came to offering what I felt was constructive feedback.  I went miles around the mountain to avoid hurt feelings, potential misunderstandings, sad faces, etc. 

In my 30’s and 40’s I swung gradually but radically the other way, eventually employing the “Tough Love” method; a paradigm that leaned heavily on: complete candor, simple but blunt-force language choices, and a suck-it-up-and-stand-tall form of advice.  

Now, halfway thru my 50’s, I’m learning to meld elements of both, but I focus MUCH more on the art of listening.  I’ve learned that most of us already know the best course of action to take; we usually just need to talk thru it – audibly.  

We hear our thoughts, we listen to our inner conflicts, and that act of physically, literally listening to ourselves explain the problem, options, obstacles, etc., helps us get 95% closer to actual and appropriate courses of action; action that we can own and accept. 

This method, I’m finding, is leaps and bounds better than giving ‘advice’ or any form of life-instruction.  

Let ’em talk – Let ’em get there themselves in their own time – Let them enjoy the success of that personal triumph…so that, eventually, when needed, they can do it again without you playing Sound Board. 

Day #98 (2) – “The definition of Insanity…”

I’ve been through this weight-loss-reboot-process many times before, but this one seems the most difficult, so far.  

Days 1 thru 10 are normally the easiest for me, even with the migraines.  I always knew what to expect during this phase: headaches, yes.  Severe cravings and hunger, yes.  Other assorted negatives, yup.  But they were “knowns” and, therefore, expected.  But on the extreme UP side, there’s also: quick weight loss, great belly-size reduction (usually about three inches smaller after the first 10 days), better sleep, increased focus and energy after day 3, and severely decreased joint pain at around day 6 or 7.   

It’s normally after the end of week three that I start to feel depressed and iffy about the weight loss process cause that’s always been when all measurable progress (weight loss and belly size reduction) comes to a screeching halt.   Then there’s the inevitable 2 or 3 more months of useless effort with no positive results before…inevitably…I quit (normally ceremoniously celebrated with 2 or 3 days of binging, howling migraines,near-crippling joint and abdominal pain, and a week-long course of tums and alkaseltzer. 

But this is just day 2.  Everything’s going along, as expected.  Lost 5 lbs overnight (almost all of it water weight), I slept great last night, and there are no new or unexpected pains or sensations.  

So, why am I SO apprehensive?  Why am I afraid?

Likely because — everything IS business-as-usual.   And I guess that’s the problem.  I’m scared to death that all will continue as it always has before, the bad along with the good, culminating in my eventual failure.   

Probably best to keep Einstein’s advice in the forefront every day, going forward.   

Change things up!  Keep my body guessing.  Shake the tree!  

Or else…I will get the exact-same results.  

Time to change the Plan. 

Day #97 is also Day #1

I’ve lost count of the number of my Health Reboots.  Gotta be around 100 or more, by now.   

Very normal stuff for me:

1) Three days of cleansing, which involves a lot of water; regular intake of protein, veggies and fruit; escalating headaches and joint pain due to Carb Withdrawals; as much sleep – quality sleep – as I can muster; and, if possible (depending on headache intensity and energy availability), some workouts. 

I will likely lose about 10 lbs in the first week, about 5 in the second week, then progress will come to a screeching halt.  THAT’S when I’ll have to try something different so that I can get a different result. 

Still trying to figure out what that “something different” will be.  But, I’m 97.324% certain it will involve severe discomfort – which I’m 101% okay with, as long as it moves me forward.  

Here – We – Go!

Day #95 – “Deja vu…”

How many signs do I have to see, how many symptoms must I experience, before I dive completely back into a healthy eating and training lifestyle?

I have that now-very-normal American attitude of: “I just want to enjoy my life”.   But the increasingly intense body pain and insomnia and migraines all contest the view that I’m enjoying my life as much as I could and should. 

So… Monday = Day #1. 

Day #93 – “The Real Sequel!”

Okay – First, we had Pitch Black. Awesome movie that scared the crap outta me over and over.  Then there was Chronicles of Riddick.   Huh?    Then came Riddick = the REAL Sequel to Pitch Black (imho). 

So if (When!) you watch Pitch Black, you should watch Riddick next. 

But wait….I just realized that if you watch ’em in that order, you won’t understand the beginning of Riddick: what a Necromonger is, why he’s leading them, what Underverse is, and…

Okay – scratch my original statement.  Watch Chronicles… second, but keep in mind that Riddick is really (kinda) the better, more true sequel to Pitch Black…mostly. 

Clear?   Good.  😀