Update 2: Slow and steady victories

Today is the last day of August and what a wild ride it has been!  I am 23 days into this journey and I can honestly say it has been excellent. I am so happy to have taken the initiative to start this finally. Surely if I would have continued down my previous vector it would have led to my ultimate doom.

I feel happy with the items I have decluttered so far, yet I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface of stuff. Many rooms in my home still have visible piles of things sitting about or haphazardly tossed in drawers and shelves. This truly will be a long term war, and I simply have won the opening fights.

One huge victory I still am stoked about is my bedroom. My new process for dealing with clothing and clutter is working perfectly. It is nearly habit now for me to hang everything up or take care of it right away before coming or going out of the room.

I have been noticeably happier as the days progress. I even wake up nicer every day. I started this method where while finishing up my morning shower I mentally paint a smile on my face. Just the simple act of smiling, even when you are not inclined to smile, makes you happy for the moment. When I step out of the shower and dry myself the first thing I see is someone smiling back at me in the mirror, ready for the day (minus the clothing of course). It had made me stop and appreciate my body more and make me be more mindful to care for myself. I used to look at myself in the mirror, wanting some days to just remove the mirror from the house.

Breakfasts; wow what a change. If you asked my wife months ago about me eating from home consistently she would have laughed you out of town. Now, I happily wake everyone for their days in school (or making lunches for the kids in my wife’s case). I cook my breakfast and eat it at the table. Many mornings my kids wander down and now we all (3 of us at least) eat breakfast together as a family! I wouldn’t have imagined that happening either but I get to spend more time with the family. Woot.

This week a major hurdle I am doing great at is cutting out adding sugar to things. I am still just a few days into this but I am not suffering too bad. i do not see any immediate changes other than I was a tad tired the first day. I blew that off as my body adjusting to getting energy from somewhere else besides a pile of sugar. Alternatively today for the first time I vaguely enjoyed a cup of coffee with just a splash of creamer in it. I think it might be a week(s) off till I do pure black coffee, but all in all I wouldn’t have guessed I would have enjoyed sugarless coffee at all. Between that and the unsweetened green tea at work, I am patting myself on the back for finding alternate drinks to soda. I still feel I need to get a large thermos or water bottle and drink more water, but for now I am doing victory laps around not drinking pop.

One of the various podcasts I listen to had a suggestion of apps they love and I looked into them all. Out of the mix one of them struck me as helpful. Momentum.  Downloading this app, I saw it was used to help created habits by having traceable lists and such. After 1 day I paid for the few dollar paid version to unlock more than 3 habits and never looked back. I am on a 10 day streak so far of push ups, chores, exercise, light mediation, and reading.

The reading was a great add. Almost all of the podcasts I listen to driving to work all mention trying to read 20 pages a day. It sounds simple but at first it wasn’t. The habit tracking app Momentum helped and now instead of 20 pages I find I am reading 25-30 pages. I finished an entire book just in 10 days which is something I never thought I would say. It was a great book called “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau. I read the whole thing cover to cover mostly at lunch. Such a great book and so many great examples of people making quests. I got a few ideas from that book that are in the works for sure.  I decided that I was going to read down a few of the backlogged books before buying new ones too. This whole new habit has made me feel so good about myself just sitting here describing it.  Yay me!

Blogging daily has made me realize that I do enjoy expressing myself. Even if I am the only one to read it, it has made me feel better putting words on something, be it database driven web page or ink to paper. I have participated several times in NaNoWriMo. I suspect I may do this again this year. But I definitely now want to go back and edit all my previous works and just self publish it on Amazon. Who would it hurt after all? My creative bug is gnawing to get out, but I am gently suppressing it so that I might find time to declutter my home and mind first. Baby steps are always the better idea to make habits stick in my mind.

I have found myself several times to be the one guy smiling in the room. It made me feel a little better about being so positive and open. It is odd how just one person having a great day can uplift an entire gathering of people. Subsequently I have had 2 instances where someone actually tried to pop my bubble and I wouldn’t let them do it. I wrote it off as projected anger, but in the end I silently forgave them and in one instance I offered a hug. They declined, but the result was it made them laugh and smile at the offer. I broke their sour mood by offering kindness.  I could totally get used to this!

So wrapping this up, making small changes daily toward life changing habits was a great idea. Forgiving myself for slip ups and my past behaviors is ongoing, and healing. The clutter of my home, mind, and spirit are slowly being sorted out, but i can see major leaps in this already. Books will be slain in my presence now! I am already find more moments to enjoy with my wife and kids. I can tell that they notice an improvement too. Perhaps my habits will spill over into their habits too? I am not going to force them on them, but will support them if they choose to join me or not.

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Day 23: The other computer

Backstory:

Going to keep this post short since it is a continuation of the other PC story. This pc was a junk pc my work discarded. It was well past the usable state for a workstation in an office. When I brought it home it was easily still running Windows XP. I reinstalled CentOS on it and used it primarily as a Minecraft server, and then later a web host using Apache.

It sat in my basement utility room quietly running for years and years, taking abuse from the internet. This thing was a honeypot of brute force attacks since for a long time I had SSH enabled. Fortunately I had a complex root password and such.

The plan:

Last night I reformatted it to use the newest version of CentOS. I did the full desktop experience install with Gnome and all the various office and web apps. Going to try and sell this for $20 at a yard sale. Someone might want it, which is a lot better than throwing it away.

Day 22: Added table sugar

Background:

Following the good success with Pepsi, I am moving to remove any added sugar to my diet. I watched a documentary recently on Prime called Sugar. The guy tried eating 40 grams of sugar every day to see the effects. Its knowledge like this that I understand, almost personally, yet I still chose not to take action on it till now. I clearly show all the signs and symptoms of eating too much sugar. My body is basically a massive energy battery in the form of fat. I  feel tired all day.

When I started this new work I also started packing. By packing I also started eating breakfast at home. With those 2 choices I felt infinitely better than before, yet I still battle with tiredness and occasional scatter brain. I certainly are not losing inches off my waist.

At my new workplace I have grown fond of getting up hourly and taking a short walk. Inevitably I wander past the kitchenette and grab a cup of coffee. Caffeine aside, I have chosen to enjoy a cup or two every now and then. The problem is: I take my coffee like its hot chocolate. Its creamy and super sweet when I am done. I also drink iced tea occasionally and it too has traditionally been straight sweet-tea. Just the idea of sweet tea seems like a terrible one.

For the past few weeks at lunch instead of buying Pepsi I have opted to purchase an unsweetened Green Tea. As mentioned the first few sips were strange but after forgetting what sugar tastes like it is easy to drink. Listening to The Minimalists podcasts too, they preach drinking untainted coffee, sighting the downsides of sugar and all that.

As a lead up to today I have been reducing the amount of sugar I add to my coffee everyday. Slowly it has been less bitter and more enjoyable. I have to admit I would have been skeptical about this but I am happy I am slowly transitioning instead of cold turkey. I would not have survived the first day if it was cold turkey.

The Plan:

I am done adding sugar to drinks. I do not need to keep adding empty calories to things. This will include coffee and tea. I am also going to limit adding sugar to other things like cereal, specific baking items the few times I do bake, etc.

I am going to slowly reduce the amount of creamer I put in coffee as well. This fake white powder I dump in is also just added calories. Just a different kind of calorie.

Overtime I may grow to enjoy plain black coffee. I have heard that at that point you start appreciating better coffee too. I saw someone come to the kitchenette to clean out a coffee press. We talked for a few moments and he was happy to discuss his contraption and how he uses it. Perhaps some day I might reach that level of enjoyment out of such and odd bitter drink.

Future state: I want to also reduce and eliminate all added sugar to all consumables. That documentary was eye opening. There is no way i am ready for that level of commitment yet however.  Baby steps.

Day 21: Email lists

Background:

I have several email addresses spread across several email systems. I think every time I made a new project I setup a new email address. Through all the podcasts and reinventions of myself I swear I think I have like 12+ email addresses. Of those, I only use like 3 of them personally.

I have always had my djpimpdaddy address, but recently I have also doubly enjoyed my amoore.co email too.

The byproduct of all these email addresses is routine emails. I found that I get metric tons of emails offering me products and services. Sadly a majority of them were for video games. I would estimate in the 3 most used email accounts I would get 30+ emails every day, of which only 1 would be something worth reading.

I also can’t recount how many times I got an email for a new game or sale, and I couldn’t resist the siren calling. I’d cave and buy a game that most likely would only give me a few hours of excitement and then pass into “the pile of shame”.

The noise generated by these accounts both affected my work laptop since I was logged into those account in a tab, but also my iPhone which was constantly ringing/vibrating. The addition of the Apple Watch only intensifies those alerts since now my wrist would get a gentle tap every email.

The Plan:

At first I started sorting emails using filters. Filters allowed me to label things like email lists and routine offers. I could log into the email account, select a filter, then mass delete. This worked nice enough however I was still getting the emails.

For 101 things and my own sanity I had to radically act. I instead started unsubscribing from everything. There is no need to stay subscribed to anything that you honestly do not want to read. It started with the video game feeds. Gog, Steam, Greenman Gaming, Humble Bundle, etc all clogged my email.  Fortunately for them they all had very safe easy one click removes.

Moving on to homebrewing I reduced 4 daily emails from online vendors. Those too were one click emails. Following this I started down the path of infrequent stuff like 1 off orders. Those slowly fell off the list. Then I moved into the realm of my technical accounts and that is where the issues started. Fortunately I am using GMail for that account.

For some technical vendors they use services that allow 1 click removal. Others had embedded CRM systems that are a bitch to get out of. This is where that GMail button “Attempt unsubscribe and report spam” comes in. If you can’t easily be unsubscribed, then you are spam. Plain and simple. Even if I was dumb enough to give you my email address.

For the past 24 hours I have gotten 3 emails. All of which were ones I wanted to receive. Two of them were from friends too! I call that a significant improvement. No longer am I dominated by consumerism, but now shifted into using email for actual communication. Imagine that nonsense right? I am living the dream.

Day 20: Imploding the remaining GoDaddy

Backstory

I had a long hard think about my online presence at came to a decision yesterday. While I enjoy my O365 email, my professional blog, and my previous add free experience I am committed to saving money and reducing extraneous expenses. I have 11 months left on my email address so i will continue to maintain amoore.co for the next year. Perhaps in the future I will move djpimpdaddy.wordpress.com over to GoDaddy again under the amoore.co domain.

Lots of juggling things around, BUT, the takeaway is: i will continue to use free services for the next 11 months at least. I have suspended all the autorenewal on all the hosting. All of the existing sites have been exported and archived.

One reason I was able to export and delete my professional blog was because I simply never update it. I always felt it was lacking. Honestly when I look back I only did it to impress potential new employers. Long in the future when I decide it is time to move on again perhaps I will recycle it. While I feel it is nice to add back to the community, at this point in time there is no reason to continue it. Definitely not worth paying for it either.

The Plan

The plan is to continue with free products and ad blocking for now. In the future when all of my domains and emails all need re-upping I can make a judgement call whether to move back to GoDaddy. Perhaps by then I will have a much better idea of what I want in life and more importantly what value I get making this, besides the obvious self-therapy.

Because of this cut, I will be saving $13.99 a month, or $168.88 a year.