Mission Self-Reflection

Turning Off The Tap

This one’s radioactive! (Please remember the magnifying glass is already pointed at me so…) Question: When I reflect on my life before I felt it was important to check the news cycle every few minutes was I happier? Answer: Hell yes! The steady stream of “information” is not critical to my happiness. So why have I been acting like it is?

If junk food is defined as “food” that is high in calories but low in nutritional content then the term is a perfect match here. When I am truly honest about where most of my mental capital has been spent over the course of the last few years, I have to admit it has been wasted on the equivalent of mental junk food.  If only I were talking about watching cartoons all the time, or videos of peoples falling down.  No, I’ve been much more sinister.  I’ve been justifying my beliefs.  I’ve been finding evidence to prove I’m right.  Mostly, I’ve been looking for ways to prove people I love and care for are wrong.  It’s eaten away at me, and it has to stop!

The purpose of this blog is simple( “Better, Stronger, Faster” ): Documentation of “a commitment I have made to myself to become a better version of me.  When I say that, I don’t just mean in some figurative or nebulous way.  I mean it in every way possible.  I mean it about myself physically and mentally, professionally and privately.  I intend to be a better friend, and better with my family.  I mean it in both qualitative, and quantitative ways.  If there is a way to improve me, I’m doing it.”

I think I’ve been very true to this mission…to a point.  However, the elephant in my living room lies in the line, “I intend to be a better friend, and better with family.”  In this, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have failed worse.  

The Sneetches- By Dr. Suess

The Sneetches- By Dr. Suess

“Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches Had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches Had none upon thars. Those stars weren’t so big.  They were really so small You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all. But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the Beaches.” With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort “We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!” And whenever they met some, when they were out walking, They’d hike right on past them without even talking.”

Oh, don’t get me wrong, there’s nobody better at loving people in my echo chamber.  It’s the Sneetches with “no stars upon thars”  that I’m struggling with.  Sadly, I think pretty much the whole US, whether they admit it or not, has joined me in this failure.  Remember that line Mom used to say all the time? “It’s more important to be kind than to be right!”-me either.

I thought of a bumper sticker a number of years ago.  (I’m an idea guy, but my follow through is wanting.  You are welcome to run with this and make millions!) 

“Is it hypocritical to exclude the intolerant?”

Deep, huh?  Loving one another is supposed to be a value common to all of us.  I’d even be willing to bet there isn’t a healthy religion or community in which love of your fellow human is frowned upon.  To me, it’s also the hardest part of sharing a planet.  But, just how can any of us take the moral high ground if we are not willing to reach out to especially those who are hardest for us to like right now.  Most of us are acting as if we’re one winning argument away from converting the masses. What I think we need to remember, though, is that intolerance is the refusal to accept (or perhaps, even listen to?) others beliefs. People are probably not listening to us anyway, but they are sure as hell watching us.

You know what I realized about my bumper sticker this year.  It’s not actually a question at all.  It’s a command.  Try to dodge this:

“It is hypocritical to exclude the intolerant.”

Ouch!  If I don’t do everything in my power to include everyone, even (especially!) the people I don’t like right now, then I am behaving no better than those who I perceive to be the worst offenders. Apparently, the only capitol that needs storming is my own mental capital.

It’s going to take some time to do this.  I’ll have to extend myself a little grace.  I think the first thing I will do is turn off the information faucet.  My hats off to the people in the media, we need you to keep us honest, but how you work in your field day after day without the barnacles of cynicism taking up permanent residence on your minds, I’ll never understand. Second, there are some zoom happy hours that need to happen immediately. Finally, I need to do internal audits of my intolerance regularly because Mom was right, I would rather be nice than right.


Featured Image: Photo by Peter Gollowitsch on Unsplash

Go, OK. Maybe, This Time. 30 Aug. 2005,

Seuss. The Sneetches, and Other Stories; Written and Illus. by Dr. Seuss. 1961.

Health and Fitness Mission Professional Growth Self-Reflection

When The Wheels Fall Off


And do you know what the worst part is? I let it dam my flow!  I’ve come to learn that it is so much more fun to write when things are going well.  I’ve also learned that I need to publish immediately, even if I’m not proud of the contents, because that’s what blogs are for.  Who’s to say that posts about honest struggle carry less value to the reader or the writer than brag posts?

A quick recap:  I am in the middle of a massive self-reconstruction project.  (It’s massive to me, but I don’t think anyone outside the audience of this blog would have any idea that I’m doing anything out of the ordinary.)  My goal is to take this Covid time-out and use it to completely change.  My goal is to be a better person physically, mentally, and professionally, and in any other way that occurs to me.  It occurred to me early on that this really is an opportunity like no other, like a caterpillar in the cocoon, I’m leaning into the voluntary social distancing required to stay healthy.

So, even though you, the reader, are probably only interested in parts of this post, I thought I would use it to do a general check-in on all plates I have spinning around me all at once. Yes, that’s clunky, but I’ve fallen behind.  Good luck readers!


I might as well start here and get the disappointment out of the way.  Unlike other posts you will find no graphs or tables here today.  The injury I sustained to my back two Sundays ago has proven to be persistent.  That said, I have 5 days of extremely light resistance and gentle stretching under my belt.  I’m close to getting back to it, but it has taken a complete fortnight to get to this point.  

In addition:

I have learned that there are limitations to my garage gym.  I was able to deal with humidity and melting snow from the cars, but the weather forecasted above is only a continuation of the weather we have already endured.  January was jungle hot compared to February.   So my new gym is literally a 6’ X 7’ landing near my basement stairs-literally the only place in the house where I can lay without stacking couches or beds.  And you know what?  It’s perfect!  I’m absolutely prevented from undertaking anything that could further injure me.  It seems I’m being instructed from above to ease my way back(pun intended).


My “Dry January” turned into “Dry Close Enough!”  Yep, tripped at the finish.  On a positive note this has become a bi-annual undertaking, as I take Septembers off too.(If I have successfully completed two January and one September liquor fast am I allowed to talk about it like this is a thing I do?)  I think it was my frustration at not being able to work out as much as anything that was responsible for my falter.

I am also not using Fitness Pal to track my eating at this time.  This was never meant to be a long term intervention, rather a mental calibration to get a feel for what portion control should feel like.  As I stated in earlier blogs, I’m not out to lose weight.  If anything I probably need to gain some.  My ultimate goal is to maintain mass as I traipse through time.

What is really helping me most is that, as a family, we are extremely motivated to eat well right now.  My current belief is that rather than restrict the amount eaten we should add fresh vegetables to every meal.  A salad or a soup, when added to a meal, fills in the cracks before the naughty foods can.


Almost Five Weeks

This is the view from my Rosetta Stone progress plan.  I have completed 4 weeks, and have one more lesson in week five.  As I mentioned earlier, for me this program is best used in conjunction with Duolingo as it focuses way more on pronunciation.  However, I find myself counting the seconds for each lesson to be over.  In the program’s defense I usually do it after I have already completed an hour or two of Duolingo.  How fair is that? 

On January 3rd, when I last posted about Spanish I was at 19500 XP, so as you can see, I’ve earned almost 4000 points since then(with corrections that’s like 5000 questions!)  Check out the streak of days!

Duolingo Points
Hey, at this point I have to celebrate even the little things!

Professional Growth

I’d like to start by mentioning this very blog.  This was new to me.  I’m going to give myself a pat on the back here.  No, this isn’t Catcher In The Rye, but I do try to put a little thought into what I produce here.  Also, putting yourself out there publicly has to be worth something too.  So there it is.  Another 10 posts during the month of January.  Not terrible.

This Counts!

In addition to blogging I have completed 5 online education classes for my teaching licensure to date(Digital Literacy and The Connected Classroom from Eduro, and Cultural Competency(2 parts) and Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents from EQ Learn.

For the record, this is not the only place I record my thoughts. I have a journal I have kept on and off for almost 30 years(mostly on!). I mention this because, in looking over what I have written so far, there are some pretty major omissions that I’m still not at the point I want to share publicly. My spiritual journey and future plans make up a large portion of what goes into it my hand written journal(incidentally, there is nothing better than a fountain pen and a good journal to coax out the most stubborn thinking!) Perhaps, in the future, I’ll pull back the curtain on some of this growth as well. For now you’ll just have to be satisfied with that Duolingo streak. Whoa!

Photo Credit

Featured Image: Photo by Mark Zamora on Unsplash


“Better, Stronger, Faster”


I suppose we better start here, at the beginning. This blog is a part of a larger scheme. Consider it future evidence of a commitment I have made to myself to become a better version of me. When I say that, I don’t just mean in some figurative or nebulous way. I mean it in every way possible. I mean it about myself physically and mentally, professionally and privately. I intend to be a better friend, and better with my family. I mean it in both qualitative, and quantitative ways. If there is a way to improve me, I’m doing it. To be clear, I’m not messing around!