NakedLiving.me

Trying to live a naked life

Deliberate Actions

So, in general I am feeling much better than I did in my last post. But not great; so I am trying new things.

As the title of this post suggest, I am attempting to be much more deliberate in my everyday actions. I am trying to make conscious choices and actions about everything I do and in doing so I hope to improve my focus on whatever it is that I am doing at any one time.

For example; this morning as I was cleaning up after breakfast I felt the urge to run off and make my bed since I had not already done so, but instead of stopping one action to immediately jump to another just because I thought about it, I stayed where I was and finished cleaning and then I made my bed. Same goes for writing this post; unfortunately I had forgotten to turn off my email and all of a sudden I got a new message. Rather than switching over to take a look, I am going to finish this first.

I am also trying to adopt some new habits that are much more deliberate and slow in nature. Meditation, yoga, and keeping a journal are all things I am going to start and make habits out of. The meditation is in hopes that I will begin to clear my mind of so many distractions and learn to focus once again. The yoga is to continue to improve my health by adding a new type of exercise to my routine that will focus on different types of strength and improve my flexibility. The journal will be a daily personal exercise to assist me in finding patterns and triggers. The journal will not be anything I publish, it is simply for my own benefit.

These are first steps with only one goal in mind — being a better me.

I wish I were happy

I am not happy and I wish that I were.

I am not depressed, nor am I miserable and grumpy — at least I hope I do not come across that way. But I am certainly  not happy.

I want to live a useful and fulfilling life, but I do not know how to achieve those things. I have no passion in me anymore and my feeble attempts to find something I can be passionate about have not panned out so well.

And I am lonely. I have family that I am close with that love me and worry about me, but I have a major absence of friends and a severe absence of romance.

I had thought that by getting on top of my health that the other parts of my life would fall into place. I thought that it would be easier for me to find something that I could be passionate about and that I would be able to interact with people more easily. But it has not worked that way.

This year I left my job of seven years to try to make a living working for myself and the only thing that I have accomplished during that time is that I am now working freelance for the company I just left. I have had no other clients. And why? Partly because I do not want to. I am so tired of the work that I really have no desire to continue. But at the same time, I cannot even think of what else I  would like to do. There are times that I can still find enjoyment in it, but they are few and far between.

Same goes for everything else. My “hobbies” are no longer satisfying and when I want to try something else, I just cannot find the energy or passion or whatever you want to call it.

I feel lost.

Back to Counting Calories

After some false starts with getting my eating habits back in order, I am going to revert back to what I know works for me –  counting calories. I am certain there is debate on the subject but calorie counting is what I used in the past to drop a significant amount of weight and it what I would do at other times when I saw my weight creeping back up. My goal this time around is largely to get the portions back under control so that I do not sabotage my exercise efforts.

Visible Motivation

I recently picked up a Jawbone Up to help me to keep track of my daily activity. In reality it is not much more than a pedometer; but what I am finding useful at the moment is that is serves as a good reminder to get up and stay active. I got an orange one and it is an item that you wear on your wrist and since I am not one to wear any type of jewelry is really does a great job of being that reminder.

I have only had it a short time so I am going to save my impressions for a later date.

A Week of Meals

I am trying to start a new habit; I am trying to put together my week’s menu in advance and do all of the shopping necessary for that week in as few trips as possible. I have never really approached it like this before even though it is a recommendation I have come across numerous times in articles and sites discussing health living and eating habits. I have also come across the ones that tell you to buy fresh everyday, so there are options to explore.

This time I am testing out the weekly method and I am going to pursue this for the next few weeks hopefully making it a habit.

My reasons for this are two-fold. One is money; my grocery bill is a lot higher than it should be. There are many reasons for this but it mainly stems from me buying the wrong things and then wasting them.  The other is to get back on top of my eating habits. I have really let my diet slide back into convenience foods and junk foods over the past few months. I have not gotten to a point where it has been detrimental to me, but I was not far off and I have worked too hard for too long to start backsliding now.

So on Sunday morning I browsed some of my favorite paleo recipe blogs and decided what I would eat this week. I put it all into a text document, created a shopping list organized by food type, hit the grocery store and the only thing I picked up from the aisles were canned tomatoes and some spices I was low on. The rest of my purchases were fruits, vegetables, and  fresh meat. I left the store with food for a week of dinners and lunches all for less that what I had been spending when just picking up odds and ends for the weekend.

This exercise is also getting me back into cooking again which I used to love doing but simply fell out of the habit. I am trying new recipes again and working on ones that I know I like.

I will likely follow this up with the meals themselves and recipes or links where applicable. I am also rating the meals and taking notes to know what I want to try again later and which items need work.

The Therapy of a Clean Home

This past weekend I partook in a little self induced therapy; I cleaned my house. I am not one to let my house get overly dirty or cluttered, but it is almost inevitable that during the day-to-day items do not get put away, or laundry accumulates, or chores are skipped with the intention of doing them later, but of course later never comes.

So I spent about three or four hours on Saturday moving from room to room cleaning up. Getting rid of clutter, cleaning floors, cleaning window sills, and on and on. And when I was done, I felt so much better.

I often find that I feel better after cleaning. Quite often the act itself gets me into a meditative state as I tend not to think too much and just focus on what is in front of me and the hours pass by.

Unfortunately all of that comes to and end. I have a clean house when complete and can feel better about my environment, but that detachment from the world quickly fades and I come back to reality.

Off Track

For some reason my efforts to change my lifestyle have fallen a bit to the wayside. Not entirely, but enough that I am disappointed in myself. So I am trying again.

I feel that one should always be willing to try again if you fail at something. It is an age-old notion, but I think it works. 99 times you may fail, but that 100th time may just be the one where you get it right.

So… how am I going to get back on track? Well for starters I have canceled my Netflix subscription… again. This time I plan on leaving it canceled. I have also removed some other content from my computer that was proving to be a distraction.

There are two main areas that I am going to focus on for the next few weeks; reading and eating. Reading because without an instant source of entertainment, I am going to need something to do in the evening. Eating is a little more complicated.

Lately my eating habits have been horrendous. I am not cooking very much and have fallen into the trap of convenience foods. I gave into a sweet tooth craving a few weeks ago as well and have not been able to break out of that cycle yet. Breakfast is not usually an issue for me, but lunch has been problematic and good dinners are sporadic. Today for example, I have nothing in the house that would serve as a good lunch and since I have been working again, lunch time is back to being a little more rushed than it was for a while. Now I have the option to take a longer lunch, and I am going to work on that, but I find that a quick lunch routine helps me to stay on track while working.

Overall I am have to say I am disappointed, but not defeated. Some of the lifestyle changes I have made are still holding and others are on the verge of breaking, but taking care now should resolve these issues.

I am also going to be updating this site more frequently even if no one ever reads it. I do find that I tend to have a good burst of motivation on the days where I consciously think about how I live and this is a part of that process.

Boredom and Moving On

I was taking stock of some bad habits that I have and in doing so I was looking at that the triggers were for each habit. What was really surprising is that almost all of them had an element of boredom associated with it. I did not realize I was that bored, but taking a more objective view on my life, I guess that I am.

But why? There is so much to do and see and here I am reinforcing bad habits because I cannot be bothered to do anything else. I waste hours on the internet or in front of the television because there is nothing else to keep my interest.

I am calling bullshit on that right now.

So I know one of the main factors that reinforces these bad habits and now I need to do something about it. But what will that be?

There are quite a few articles online about eliminating boredom and many of them have good suggestions for combating boredom. I have put together my own list of actions to take when I am feeling bored:

  • Meditate – Just take some time to stop everything and let me brain cool down a bit. Chances are I will discover that there is something else I need to be doing
  • Learn a Skill – There are lots of things I want to learn how to do; sewing, wood working, leather working, programming, gardening, etc. Instead of wasting time on the internet looking at funny photos of cats, start learning something
  • Clean Something – One bad habit is that I do not keep my house as clean as I would like, so when I am bored, clean the damn house.
  • Learn Something New – An offshoot of learning a new skill is just to learn something new. Science, math, history; there is a wide variety of topics to explore.
  • Exercise – Go for a walk or run; do some squats or push ups; do anything to get moving and naturally boost your energy level. It is good for you regardless and provides extra energy for doing something that matters.

Those are just a few actions that can be taken. There are plenty of other to add to this list and I may expand on this at a later date, but for now there really is no excuse to ever say “I’m bored.”

What Matters

Following up on this, I decided that I needed to determine what matters to me and my life so that I can try to do something every day to feel like I am living the life I want to live. This is in no particular order and I will likely ramble a bit as I am working these out in my own head.

Usefulness
I want to be useful. The realistic part of my brain says I should be content with being useful to anyone; friend, family, stranger. The ego wants me to be useful to the world. I want to be able to step back at the end of my life and have provided something to the world to make it a better place in some way. I do not need to cure cancer or write the next great novel, but I want to be able to point at something that I did and have someone say, “thank you for that.”

My “job” does not provide anything like that for me at this point. Do I get satisfaction from my work? Sometimes, but is a very shallow way. What I do for a living is build websites. Pixels on a screen that so not provide the world with anything of value. If all the work that I did over the past ten years was gone this instant, it would not matter. Heck, most of the work I have done over the past ten years is already gone and I have nothing to show for it.

Quiet
My head is too filled with noise and so what matters is finding some quiet in my own brain and in the world at large.

I feel I need to explain this some, but am having difficulty in breaking it down. I suppose one item is the literal noise of life. I live an area of the U.S. that is relatively well populated. Not nearly as densely so as some areas, but enough so that it is a real challenge to get away from people and the sounds of the world around me.

I live in a tightly packed neighborhood and can hear the sounds of other people’s lives all around me at all times. There is a major road within spitting distance. There are pets begging for attention; inane conversations held over the phone where no one can keep their voice down; gas-powered lawn tools; motorcycles and trucks; just stuff always happening.

Then there are the other distractions; the other noise of life. Email notification; text messages and phone calls; advertisements; visual clutter of road signs and billboards; endless pieces of mail.

I am tired of it all.

Simplicity
I want to live a simpler life. Many of the items that I listed above that contribute to the noise also contribute to the general complexity of day-to-day living as well.

There are so many distractions and so many ways to get instant gratification that just turning off for a while is almost impossible.

Health
My health is very important to me and yet once again it is something that has become increasingly difficult to deal with. So many people including myself have issues dealing with weight. Even something that should be as straight forward as eating has now become so complicated that from day-to-day I feel as if no one knows how to do it right anymore.

Family
Family always matters and this is one of the few areas where I am doing ok. My family is close and we get along well enough. Everyone is willing to lend a hand when needed.

My main regret at this stage is that I do not have a family of my own. I have no kids and no one in my life to share my successes and failures with. I try, but once again this process has become so hopelessly complicated.

Knowledge
My brain is almost always seeking out new sources of information and stimulation, but most of the sources are repetitive and trivial. I want to learn new things, but I also want to be able to understand them as well.

There are other items that I will probably add to this list later.

Next I am going to figure out what to do with this information.

Starting Over

Some days I wish I could press the reset button and just try again. More often than not actually, which is probably not a good sign.

Today is one of those days.

I woke up feeling rather sombre and realized that on the large scale and small, what I did yesterday did not matter one iota. I just existed in my own little insular world not making any progress on anything worth a damn.

So here is sit now trying to figure out how to make today matter.