A Few Words on Being Useful


Be Useful - It is a wonderful lifeMany people chase happiness as the ultimate goal.  This is flawed in many, many ways.

Many leaders also tell us to follow our passions.  This is not too far from the truth, but not exactly right either.

As humans, we can exist.  We can live everyday by simply eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, and being zombies.  We exist for the sake of existing.  This is fine, but striving for something better usually makes life more interesting.

Over the past week, I found myself sitting in my apartment in San Antonio, enjoying YouTube, books, and all the great things the internet has to offer.

I started to notice how alone I felt.  I started to consider that I was an extrovert instead of being the introvert I always thought I was.  Then I realized something was missing from my life.  Something of use, perhaps.

And that was just it.  Being useful to the world around me.  While I am exploring career opportunities, in recent weeks, I’ve spent quite a lot of time alone, working on projects here or there.  These projects are quite solitary and really useful only to myself.

While many of us chase happiness, I think the real goal in life is to be useful to your community.  That is, you are providing value, giving back, and participating in your community on a regular basis.  Doing these things on a regular basis has been quite devoid of my time for the entire year.

I was sick for six months, I left my job to take time off, and now I am able to realize the value of being useful.  Being useful not only helps us be a part of our community, but also provides us with an opportunity to socialize, build self-esteem, and even make our community and others better.

As you become useful, you will share a bit of yourself and others will share a bit of themselves with you.  This sharing of experience is a vital part of life and is essential to living longer.  Those with high quality relationships with others tend to live longer.

As you go through your day, think of the ways you are being useful to those around you. Engage with the people around you and discover what makes them useful.  Stop chasing happiness, stop searching for your passions, and just be useful. The rest will come.

Change of Scenery


Part of me feels guilty for taking a trip while “out of work.” But the truth is, I am on sabbatical.  I am taking the time I need to recuperate and get my head back into the game for a grand 20-year (maybe more) finish to this life.

When I left that horrible job and horrible company, I contacted a great friend of mine and asked if a visit could be arranged.  The response I got back was, “of course, but come in September”.  So, here I am.

I have been in San Antonio for 2-months now, but it feels like so much longer.  Perhaps it is the heat, humidity and general urban experience.  Urban living is so unnatural, at least to me.   Getting stuck in traffic, being separated from my beloved nature (trees, mountains, water), walking the concrete jungle, and facing my fear of crime, are experiences manufactured by the complexities of modern civilization.

After making some arrangements, the cat and I left for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday the 13th. Luckily, we didn’t die or get slashed by Jason on the trip, but we did arrive in Santa Fe for lots of rain.

Gorgeous New Mexico, food for the soulThe contrast between San Antonio and Santa Fe is mainly in size, beauty and temperature.  Both towns have a remarkable history with native peoples, the Spanish and numerous governments over the years.  The added benefit of Santa Fe include the nearby pueblos, fantastic scenery, and the milder summers (but cold, snowy winters).

Roughly 48-hours in and my soul is happy for the change of scenery.  The intimacy, closeness of nature, abundant arts and culture, and a culinary scene to inspire wannabe cooks, are taking their effect on rejuvenating my soul. With inspiration and relaxation in abundance, perhaps it is hard to truly feel guilty about taking this trip.  Perhaps this trip is an important stepping to the next 20+ years?

Stretch People! Stretch!


stretches for triathletesOMG! It hurts! It hurts so much a grown man wants to cry! Just cut my leg off, PLEASE!

Seriously, it does hurt.  My left quad has a pain like none I’ve felt in a long time.  Why? I overdid my workout and I didn’t take the proper care post workout.

Yes, I had a nice thick luscious protein shake within 30minutes of my workout end.   BUT, I didn’t stretch. Nor did I foam roll.

Stretching is a great way to wind down from your workout.  It is also a great way to get into the workout mindset.  Stretching is about preventing injury to cold muscles and it also helps worn muscles to recover post workout.

So, stretch! Even better, foam roll! A combination of foam rolling first, then stretching will help keep your limbs from cramping up.  Also, drink a protein shake and drink plenty of water.

Stretch again before you go to bed.  Some athletes also start and end their day with a good stretch.  If you need some inspiration, check out these stretches for triathletes.

Stretching and foam rolling is not only a meditative way to keep your muscles in good shape, but they will also keep a grown man from crying. Get to it!

 

An Initial Workout


I had planned for a bike ride early this morning.  A step in rebuilding after tearing down. I did a bit of research last night and decided to check out part of the Medina River Greenway starting at the Pleasanton Road Trailhead.  A nice easy, meandering ride along the Medina River near the Toyota Tundra plant in south San Antonio.

All the best made plans and aspirations tend to fail at times.  With a restless night, a few trips to the  bathroom and finally being awaken by the cat at 9am, I could feel the bike slip away as my feet hit the floor this morning.  Groggy, tired, and perhaps a bit dehydrated, I really wanted a small breakfast and a good cup of coffee. Then we will re-evaluate.

Re-Evaluating the Best Plans

Upon re-evaluating, the oldest trick in the book became my block.  I waited too late and the heat of the day was upon us.  San Antonio quickly gets warm, shooting up into the 90’s and low 100’s by mid-day.  Today was no different.  It was warm and that is my block. I worry about getting dehydrated, sun-burned, and doing more damage than good. On the plus side, the heat sends the rattlesnakes to their rock covered dens.

Finding My Workout Gear

fitness gear for successWhile I wavered on my plans, after walking by the duffel bag, I was inspired to see what was inside.  I had set the duffel bag out next to the bike because I knew my Cookie Monster Jersey was in it.  Upon leaving Colorado, I threw all of my workout clothes, bike stuff, and other related into my workout duffel.  My initial reaction was the clothes wouldn’t fit.  Good thing I looked!!  I found a pair of shorts I forgot I bought, I found some lovely REI workout shirts that fit, and my package of Under Armor super duper workout boxer briefs.  I had everything I needed for a gym workout!

Well, everything but a heart rate monitor.  My Garmin GPS HR device was nowhere to be found.  I think it ended up in one of my electronics boxes during the move.  Finding it would be difficult.  So, I decided to run the risk of using my Amazon Fit Bip.  When it comes to heart rate monitors, this thing sucks.  It only refreshes once per minute (I know I could change that), and it is highly inaccurate.  Typically when my HR is high, it shows me resting.  Would it work this time?

Let’s Do This!

I got dressed and headed down to the “fitness room” of my apartments.  It is more of a fitness closet than a room, but with three machines (treadmill, recumbent bike, and elliptical) and a weight machine, it is really only big enough for one, maybe two in a pinch.

So, here I am, in my tiny little gym.  You know what happened?  I got excited.  I got inspiration.  My inner kid said, “bring it on!”.

And bring it on we did.  But we played it safe.  We initially started with a goal of one mile on the elliptical.  Then the goal increased to 15min.  My quads were feeling it, my lungs were surprised, and my head was on cloud 9.  The Amazon Bip was useless.  It did not record many “steps” and the heart rate said I was sleeping, not working out.  Using the HR function of the machine, the heart seemed to stay around 170 bpm.  That felt accurate.

After the elliptical, I couldn’t help myself, I had to use the weights machine.  I had visions of my workouts from 10-years ago.  I started with a split squat press.  Morphed into an anti-rotation twist, and then ended with one my most favorite exercise, squat and row.

A Corner Stone Established

OMG…  life is good again.  I did it.  My first official workout of my new journey is in the book.  While total time was only 25 minutes, it is a start.  I remember when 25 minutes would just be a warmup.  But then I cannot compare myself today to the person I became 10-years ago, a triathlete.  I can use those visions for inspiration, but not for personal shame. The reprogramming will go on.

And so the workouts with go on.  An initial workout has been checked off the to do list. This is the foundation for greatness ahead.  Or at least until the “runner’s high” wears off.

Tear It Down


give yourself a breakTear it all down.  Go ahead.  It is okay.  Just be a merciful.

After a disastrous first half of 2019 and the need to establish a more positive path forward, I needed to tear myself down.  I needed to reduce myself to my most basic self.  Let go of adult responsibility (to a point) and let my inner kid out.

  • Dairy Queen, oh yes!
  • In’N’Out double double with animal fry, heck yay!
  • Sleeping in till noon, why not?
  • Binge on Hoarders, sure!
  • Wear my pajamas all day and not even shower, YASS!
  • Look for a job, hahahahaha! no way jose!

Let the boundaries, let the rules, let the adult critic inside take a week or two off. Let’s be a kid again. Eventually, the adult in me will come back, fresh and new, and help me rebuild and move on as we near the 2019 holidays.

What will this adult rebuild?  Not sure yet.  Between junk food binges and Hulu outages I have been exploring thoughts.  Some of these thoughts are more realistic than others.  One thing is certain, a career change is imminent.  The new career will not be dependent upon the technology that is tearing up our society.  I have spent so much of my life behind a computer, I feel my time is served.  I just need to listen to myself a bit more and let Mr Adult in me formulate a plan and find more balance between what is real, myself, and that technology no one can escape.

 

A Sunday Quote and Weekly Exercise


One of the things I do everyday as I plan my day ahead is find a quote that draws me in on a random topic.  I write this quote at the top of my bullet journal daily planner page for that day. It is part of my morning routine and sets a wonderful feeling for the rest of the day.

While I would love to publish a daily quote video, or at least a daily quote post, I thought I’d start off with a Sunday Quote.  A quick and easy video with a quote, commentary on why it sings to me and even a small exercise for you to do during the week which relates to the quote.

So, here we go, my first quote video, nicely interrupted by the cat.

You can purchase “Relaxation on the Run” by Jay Winner, MD at the following link: https://amzn.to/33JX2G7

Today’s quote:

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” – Alfred D’Souza, clergy

This week, when you feel like you can’t action on something, STOP and get your daily journal or a sheet of paper.  Write down what action it is you can’t take.  Then spend a few minutes writing down what obstacle is in your way.   Review the obstacles and determine which ones are real and then make a plan to overcome.  Better yet, forget the obstacles altogether and just do the action you feel you can’t take.

Please share your responses here, on YouTube, and Twitter.

Check back next Sunday for a new quote.

 

 

New Video – Kicking Off a New Chapter


After spilling the beans on my life over that last number of years, let’s reboot Aric In Training and start a new chapter of my life journey.

A New Video, A New Chapter

The 10-min video below is from the heart, candid, and the first step to getting back into the swing of life.  Please subscribe, like, and/or comment on my YouTube channel, Aric In Training.