(from Paul’s Site, posted on May 8, 2017)
In an effort to turn my life around, I’ve made the choice to accomplish five things on a regular basis. These five things will need to be built on a foundation of general healthfulness, and to that end I have undertaken to eat better, to exercise more, and to stay away from tobacco products, specifically cigarettes.
Without this foundation, everything on this list will crumble and be forgotten and neglected. It’s in my best interest to build and maintain this foundation of healthfulness, to better my physical and mental health to the best of my ability in order to accomplish the goals I have set below. So without further ado, what are these five things and how do I plan to achieve them?
The Five Things
1. Read more poetry.
This one is fairly straight-forward, but why do I need to read more poetry? What’s the purpose of this goal? To be honest, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with poetry. When I can understand what’s being said, when I feel like the poem’s meaning is revealed to me, then of course I’m much more enamored of the poem than with one that I can’t suss out. Sadly, most modern poetry is incomprehensible to me, but I feel like I owe it a go to read as much poetry as I can. I feel like poetry is the pure essence of a thing, distilled. If I can decipher the message, I’m certain I will take away something profound from the poems I read. Additionally, I’m counting on poetry to provide a gateway to pondering spiritual matters, which I feel is rather important. In fact, along with mental and physical health, I’m looking to develop my spiritual well-being as a counterpart to that healthfulness foundation I am building. A solid foundation of physical, mental, and spiritual health is the rock upon which I will build my church.
2. Write every day
If this sounds like something straight out of a writer’s workbook or something, it’s because everything I’ve read about getting to be a better writer says you have to start by writing what you know, and writing it on a daily basis.
Be it a journal entry, a blog post, or just a letter to someone I love, I plan to accomplish this daily. Writing every day gives you more confidence in your ability, helps you improve your vocabulary, and makes you happier in general. Also, it helps you reflect on your day and can serve as a supplemental source of memory, a repository if you will, for those of us so forgetful that we tend to blur the days together into one big jumbled mess. There are a great many more benefits to daily writing, as well, so get on with it!
It seems this one has been on various lists of mine over the years, always cropping up but never being incorporated into my life for one reason or another. Yet I feel like this one is probably the most important item on this list. Not only is yoga good for physical strength and flexibility, but its benefits to the mind are multi-fold.
So what’s stopping me from doing something so greatly beneficial to my well-being? I could definitely use the help with my posture and balance. I definitely could use some practice on my mindfulness. So why is it so hard to put on a video in the morning and get started on a yoga routine, even if it’s only for a few days a week? Why is part of my brain so resistant to the idea? I used to think it was my depression keeping me from getting started. It didn’t want to be beaten. It didn’t want an extra tool in my toolbox to fight it. But now I have to wonder. Drugs have controlled a great deal of my illness, have made it manageable, but I still have trouble getting a yoga routine started. Regardless of the reasons, it’s past time for me to get this underway.
I bought myself an electric drum kit a year ago last summer. It’s a beauty and I’ve enjoyed most every minute of playing on it. For Christmas last year, my wife bought me a one-year subscription to Drumeo, and I’ve been dutifully working through the lessons ever since. Well, until about 2 months ago. Then everything started going wrong: I started smoking again; I stopped walking regularly; I began to eat poorly; I put on weight. Worst of all, I stopped playing my drums.
Well, it’s time to get going on that again. I don’t need to practice every day, but I want to get back to working through the lessons on Drumeo. I’m trying to learn various styles of music so I can drum along to most anything, and I won’t get there if I don’t get started again.
Last on this list, but definitely not least, is my family. Specifically, my three sons whom I love and adore. It pains me to admit it, but most afternoons I come home from work and the boys immediately want to start watching YouTube videos. I typically let them. Why? Because it’s easier to have them engage in videos and games than it is to think of something else to do, especially when I’m worn out from work and really have nothing I want to do.
But I want more than just to come home and let the kids play videos every weeknight. I want more for our weekends than to just go grocery shopping and run errands, then let the kids play video games. To be frank, my kids are getting soft and out of shape, and it’s entirely my fault. I don’t keep them active enough. I don’t discourage them enough from eating crap, and don’t encourage them enough to be involved in sports and other activities. So now that spring is here and summer is on its way, what can I do to fill our time together with fun activities that we’ll all enjoy? There are no shortage of ideas on the internet, so I guess I should get started on some of those.
Wish me luck.