Switch On the 25th Day

Day 25: There comes a time in every man’s life where he just feels…meh. He’s not happy about things, but he’s not depressed either. In fact, it’s probably a place where many men spend most of their lives. Take a look at the 5 switches of manliness — the things that ignite passion within us to live fully. Which of these is missing from your life? It’s not likely that all five are fully present, so take some time to jot down ideas on how you can better integrate these switches into your life so that you can have the motivation to seize each day as it comes.

It took me about 2 hours, but I’ve read through the entire series in one sitting. and here’s what I’ve got for my own life:

  • Switch #1: Physically – This switch is pretty present in my life, I’m running and I regularly exercise with BW exercising and just recently have decided to go to a gym with Greggy. I’d like to take up a Martial art, or learn Parkour, but I need to meet some requirements first. So this Switch is definitely “ON”.
  • Switch #2: Challenge – This Switch is definitely in the “OFF” position. It’s also the reason for the my stagnation, I don’t have much to challenge me. Mentally, I have no classes, no textbook to try to learn, nothing really academically there to pressure me. Spiritually, I pray every night, and I’m starting to read the Bible, I really need to volunteer again, and I’ve no money to donate to church. Physically, all I have is exercising regularly, but I don’t have something to exercise towards. No Tough Mudder or anything that will test myself physically. Socially/Emotionally, I’m really lacking here, I’ve got plenty of friends that I haven’t spoken to, in a long time. I’ve always had some problem talking to strangers, especially beautiful girls, and ultimately, I say “should” a lot more than necessary. So this is evidence all pointing towards this Switch in the “OFF” position.
  • Switch #3: Legacy – For this Switch, I don’t have any children to sire, but I do have a “blog/journal” that will last longer than I will, but that’s about it, I don’t have any people to mentor, no Bible study group, and no business to start of on my own. So this blog/journal is pretty much the only thing I’ve actually “created” to pass down to the ages. Switch is “OFF”.
  • Switch #4: Provide – This is all about planning ahead. And I used to have a plan, but it fell through and I’ve never had a new one since. There are a lot of triggers on this one, that requires me to sit down and think about it. So I’m definitely going to be trying to find ways to get this one fulfilled. Switch in the “OFF” position.
  • Switch #5: Nature – Heh, ironically enough, this Switch is “ON”. My morning view is a beautiful landscape that’s full of mountains, right outside my front door is a rocky hill that I can hike up at any time, and it seems like all around me, there’s some form of nature that does more than make this Switch in the “ON” position.

So that’s it. Three of the five Switches are OFF, these are the three aspects of my life that need to be activated in order to help me feel more like a man, and not so stuck. I’m going to have to come back to this post and review it later on, so that I can fix these Switches.

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One day for the Hands, One day for the Heart

Day 18: Identify one project you’d like to complete with your hands. There’s something special about a man doing work with his bare hands, and most men today have lost that. Maybe you want to start a garden, or build a workbench in your garage. Maybe you’ve been meaning to upgrade your bathroom on your own volition. Once you identify that one project, write about what you have to do in order to complete it. Detail the steps, the resources, the help you’ll need, etc. Then, set about doing it. Come back to this entry as motivation when you see yourself wavering.

Heh, Projects, Elbow Grease, getting down and dirty. I love it! To pick one that needs to be done soon, I suppose I’d go with changing the oil in my car. It’s a really simple process.

Since I drive a car and not a truck/SUV, I’m going to have to lift up the car with a Jack, identify the locations of the Oil Plug and the Oil Filter using the book about the details of the car, then putting a piece of cardboard underneath I’ll slide under with a 13-inch socket and some rags, I’ll ratchet the plug loose, then place an Oil pan underneath the plug, remove said plug, and let all of the oil come out, then replace the plug after some cleaning with a rag, thoroughly, then place the Oil Pan under the Oil Filter, and remove the Oil filter trying to spill as little oil as possible. Then I’ll take out the new Oil Filter, and open an Oil can, and dip my finger in it, and spread the oil on the ring on the Oil Filter as well as on the treads that attaches the filter onto the car. Then attach said filter to the car after cleaning up the designated location and then checking that everything is set and tightened. Once that’s done, I’ll take everything out from underneath, and lower the Car so that I can refill it with 5-6 cans of oil. I like to look underneath to make sure no oil is leaking as I’m pouring the oil, and once that’s done, I turn on the car and, while still in Park, accelerate a little to get the oil to spread throughout the car, after a few mins, I turn off the car and walk away knowing I did a job well done!

Day 19: Reflect on your romantic relationship(s), and identify one area in which you’d like to improve. Be it your wife, fiance, or new girlfriend, there’s sure to be something you can do to make the relationship even better. If you don’t have a romantic partner in your life, perhaps you can identify past failures that you’d like to improve in your future relationships. You can choose to talk about this with your partner, or not. Either way, you’ve now put your relationship top-of-mind and will be more attuned to being intentional about keeping it healthy.

Ha ha ha, Romantic relationships. I don’t suppose improving my entire area under “Relationships” is an option. So it tells me to look at past failures. Well that’d bring me all the way back to LSU, when I had a pretty hard crush on a girl there who was from Thailand. I first saw her at the Health office where she worked, and simply thought to myself, ‘Hey, she’s cute.’ Little did I know, that she’d be in the same lab that I would sign up for, well long story short, we were chatting late at night, and she said that she wanted to be friends in the end. I guess, I should’ve fought for it. I merely left it up to her, thinking that I didn’t want to push her too hard and eventually away. But looking back on it, I didn’t push hard enough, if not at all. I hesitate and get concerned that I would be viewed as possessive or overbearing, but in the end, I hesitated because I’m somewhat concerned about the commitment. I feel like I can’t make the investment both required and demanded of me. Looks like I’ve got some issues that need resolving.

Three Days Forward, Two Days Back

Alright, so I’ve been a bit ill lately, so now I’ve gotta catch up on my AoM challenge!

Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

OK Worries! They are: Loans, Finding a Job, being rejected from Med school, going back to regular school, finding ways to pay for it, that “presence” coming back, making a permanent mistake with Marlena, making a permanent mistake with ANY girl, utterly failing at Life, dividing my family, losing the girls, giving into temptation, wasting my time and money on useless things, wasting my family’s time and money on useless things.

Day 14: Write a review of some form of entertainment you recently took in. Whether book or movie or TV show or Broadway play, write out what you liked and didn’t like about it. Was the acting/writing good? Could you follow the story? Is there anything you can take from it about life, or was it purely entertainment? This is often one of the most enjoyable entries to write, as it’s especially fun (and quite nostalgic) to go back and read these in the future. I can imagine that 10 years from now I will thoroughly appreciate my thoughts from this week on Roy Baumeister’sIs There Anything Good About Men?.

Ninja Warrior has returned! I’m so glad that it has! Nothing motivates me more to exercise than seeing someone put their body to the test! Although all of the contestants hardly ever make it to the finish, it’s inspiring seeing them try! And every time you see one of them fall, they always say the same thing, “I’m going to do better next time.” These athletes who’s levels I don’t think I’ll ever reach, fall and rise again and again. I always say to myself, ‘One day I’ll do that too’ And I still have that in the back of my mind, to become the grand Ninja master and achieve Total Victory!

Day 15: Come up with your own Cabinet of Invisible Counselors. There are innumerable great men from history who we can learn from today. When thinking about your life or pondering some question or problem, yes, go to actual mentors and friends, but also take in the advice of men of yore. Write out who you would have on your list and what you admire about them. Having trouble coming up with a list? The comments in the post should offer plenty of ideas.

Hmm… I suppose my Cabinet would consist of:

  • Jesus – The Son of God, what better moral teacher than that?
  • Goku – A man who trained for the sake of improving himself, not for bettering others
  • Bahamut – Another Motivator, King of Dragons with an ancient Wisdom
  • My Father – My par for what I think it takes to be a Good Man
  • Sun Tzu – Master Strategist of Life and War
  • Theodore Roosevelt – Took a bullet and didn’t leave until his speech was finished, another Good Man
  • Giuseppe Moscati – Italian Doctor and patron Saint of the Catholic church, my par for being a Good Doctor
  • Albert Einstein – A slow learner who changed the world
  • Robert Frost – To remind me to take the Road less traveled
  • My Mother – To remind me to be kind to others
  • My Sister – To remind me that nothing is impossible
  • Aristotle – Philosophy is where I treasure this guy
  • Marcus Aurelius – Roman Emperor who believed that we are all connected by one singular energy
  • My Brother-in-law – Another strong man who fills the room with laughter, he bears traits that I admire
  • Balian of Ibelin – “What man is a man who does not try to make the world better?”

Two Days in One

Day 6: Pick a quote from our 80-ish quotes on manhood and reflect on why it stands out to you. Does it reflect a man that you aren’t yet, but hope to be? Does one of them remind you of a great man in your life who you’ve tried to model? If you can’t seem to reflect on a single quote, just take the time to write out a few of them that you like. Doing so will keep them top-of-mind and perhaps lead to some thoughts later down the road.

Day31

From the  many that they’ve provided, I’ve resonated with this quote. I’ve been pondering over trees and plant life lately, to the metaphorical point that we all must continue to “grow”, and now, I have a quote that sums it up nicely! This quote is about becoming a man at the end of a journey; with my feeling stuck in my life, this is a refreshing reminder that the adventure isn’t over, that I still have a lot of years ahead of me and that I’m a sap for feeling stuck in the first place. So to follow the questioning, This is something that reflects a man I wish to be. In terms of modeling, I’ve always wanted to be a man like my Father, tough and strong, yet gentle and kind, he’d make a great oak tree, I believe.

Day 7: You’ve made it one week! Reflect on what this newfound practice has been like. Getting through the first seven consecutive days is truly the hardest part. Have you enjoyed it? Has it been difficult? Has it been what you expected?

Wow, it’s been one week already? It has been one week into the new year, that’s a scary thought! Just last weekend, I took down all of my Christmas decorations, that I had lovingly put up with great joy, and now it’s all packed and put away! But I’ve gotta admit, I’m really enjoying this 31-day Journal Challenge. The hardest part, I’d say would be that sometimes I get to my laptop too late and I can’t write an entry, that’s pretty much it, my mind is comfortably adapting to these various prompts, despite how personal they may be. Hmm, I’m not a man of Expectations, I kinda went into this with a blank curiosity, but I like it.

Crossing the Path of an Urban Samurai

A few days ago, I came across a link on Facebook called, “Urban Samurai” piquing my interest for all occupations of servitude, the link took me to a website of a man who wished to study the morals and ethics of a Samurai and implement them unto his own life.

Heh heh, needless to say, I was hooked. Someone’s who’s path was similar to my own, at least on the Ethical level. Someone who wants to take a moral code from the past and live by it in the present, is someone I want to follow on their journey.

I’ve started reading his blog posts from the beginning and I already see a friend in this stranger, and it’s come to my attention that I need to start conducting myself in a manner similar to an adult.

I’ll always have things that fascinate me to the point where I’m mindlessly flailing my arms like a 5 year-old, but I need to start remembering that I have responsibilities towards others around me, particularly, Siry. Her growing pains tell me that I must be careful of how I treat others, how vital patience is, and how I need to act like a man, for the sake of a child.

A man doesn’t have a short temper, nor does he lose his cool when dealing with stressful situations, and is particularly kind to children, even when the children aren’t. But there is a lot missing between the man I want to be and the man that I am now, and this is a little unsettling for me. Obviously because I’m not the man that I want to be, but also because I know that I can be, and am simply not doing it. I’ts becoming more and more apparent that there are hundreds of opportunities to prove to myself that I’m a man/adult/grown-up, and a lot of these slip through my fingers for whatever pointless reason at the time.

So I’m feeling somewhat guilty for various reasons.

I need to learn to stop and think about what I say and do before I do it. On one of the first posts of the Urban Samurai, he writes about how the samurai take seven breaths before making a decision. 7 breaths between a good decision and a bad decision, between a good day and a bad day, between peace and regret.

This sounds like I’m going to need to do these in order to make life peaceful, but seven breaths can also be translated into a short prayer, or just a quick glance at the phone (without turning it on to distract me).

But the general concept is something that I’ve just realized is something that I don’t do anymore: Step outside of the world for a moment (or seven breaths) and just be. I used to imagine myself standing alone in a black room, with my eyes closed, this somehow rejuvenates my energy and I’m ready to tackle what lies ahead. It’s come to my attention that I don’t do that anymore (and that I say that too much), this helped me get through some tough times, I wonder how something so vital had slipped my mind.

I guess being a Samurai/Knight/Man requires a lot of effort especially towards conduct and self-restraint, but in the end, self-control will be one of the main traits I’ll need in nearly every level of my life.