Progress

Progress in warmer days coming I mean. I actually lusted for Texas today; where it is warm in the winter. Missouri is having an above average winter for precipitation and cold. The average cold since October 1 is number one on the charts.

Today, it was completely clear and sunny. The temperature mid-morning was about 26F, not getting much warmer. With a 20 mile per hour north wind, gusting to 35.

I was determined to go outside and do some miles, pretending I am an ultra-marathoner. Actually, I just wanted to lose myself in the miles. Hence, it didn\’t matter how fast I went, just get out there for a long time.

I decided to go to English Landing park. It is flat with some ice, but not much. I had on several layers, including my down jacket and hood. My face was covered whenever going into the wind.

I decided on low impact jogging, and walking on the ice areas. This went pretty well and I was able to take off my ice grips after the first 80 minutes. I kept it slow because I didn\’t want to sweat too much and I haven\’t been on a long run in more than two months. In all, I did 12.6 miles in 3:20.

Very happy I got out there.

I want to sign up for a race but still leery of cold weather. Like there is a half marathon next weekend, but it looks like it will be 11F that morning (brrrrr).

Today was also successful in that I got writing and typing done. I am remembering that I retired to be a writer, not a barista. I am a writer with a part time job; not a barista who writes occasionally. I went back to the library and signed up for some of their classes on writing and publishing.

Putting together my spiritual journey for my novel has been interesting. There have been 3 or 4 authors who strongly influenced my decision making. I\’m just starting to face the Jesus dialogues written in my journal. Certainly a thing to contemplate.

Being here in Missouri, I get to attend sobriety anniversaries of people I\’ve know for decades. Last Friday night, was a guy who is now 77, but not aging well. He was instrumental in my early sobriety. He won\’t be around (at least mentally) much longer. I felt my own mortality. I sat next to a guy I\’ve know for a long time. Recently, his wife was killed in a drive by shooting; just a random victim. He is aging well. But also he kept saying, \”It is so good to see you. I really missed you.\” He said the same thing 10 years ago when I wasn\’t going to meetings and he saw me in the grocery store.

Overall, I am happier than ever, on a very consistent basis. This could be because I left my career. More so I\’ve been practicing having unconditional happiness. I finally figured out how to find happiness on the inside and then just use that feeling to pre-pave my day. I wish I could have figured this out while I still had my career, but maybe the career was contrary to my general life trajectory and it was time to move on.period. My higher self knows. I don\’t have any huge plans for my future. I am pushing my two writing projects forward a little bit everyday. Maybe in April I\’ll go in a race.

Fun in the Snow

I\’ve been enjoying a mini-vacation. My job scheduled me such that I had 5 days off. Sweet!

Last Friday, I fell down on the ice (check out last blog). The next day, Saturday, I walked in Parkville:

On Sunday, I worked in the morning and then did a fast 6 miles around my living complex where the roads are bare.

Today, Monday, I was all up for doing hours on a trail. I didn\’t care how fast, just get out there. I was excited to put on my hydro-pak and spend hours outside. I did it! It was cold and walking in the snow is slow, but I was so happy to be outside for 3:20 and 10 miles.

I had a great time today. Before going outside, I also got in 4 hours of writing related work. Yay!

Reflecting

It has been nearly a month since I posted. And my last post was just a short video.

I find my self today with time on my hands. I wrote 2 pages for my novel and then decided to go for a jog (see video below). Here is a story of my recent doings.

As January arrived, I started working at H&R Block. Doing taxes was all along my original plan for a retirement job. However, in the mean time, I also got a part time job at Starbucks. I got the Starbucks job in November because my house in Texas wasn\’t sold, and I didn\’t know how long I\’d have to pay the bills for it. Expenses were quite high. Since Texas has no income tax, their property tax is very high. Insurance is high too due to hurricanes. Anyway, the ongoing extra expense was not a part of my budget. So I got the Starbucks job to cover it.

So January rolls around and I start working two part time jobs; Starbucks and H&R Block. After about 5 weeks of this, I woke up to the fact that I was working more than 50 hours a week. Wait. What? I\’m supposed to be retired. Working all the time was not supposed to be my new life! I wasn\’t doing any writing and my exercise had shrunk to 30 minutes in between jobs.

I stopped to consider. One of the jobs had to go. And even though I worked very hard on getting the H&R Block job, and had high hopes for it, I decided to quit it. See, doing taxes is easy, but H&R Block has a lot of peripheral corporate baggage related to selling products which I wasn\’t enjoying. One evening, I lifted $300 off some poor young girl simply because she didn\’t know how to do her taxes. I felt crummy about that since she probably only made $12 an hour at her job in a nursing home. Also, after talking to some of the long term tax preparers, I realized that my dreams regarding pay and time commitments were unrealistic.

On the other hand, I finally learned most of what I need to know to work at Starbucks. I was starting to have fun with the other partners. The hours are very easily done. My body has become used to working on my feet for 5 or 6 hours and I think I\’m actually better off physically for it. My brain likes $200/week grocery money even though it is not necessary. I get out of the house for socializing. Even though I want to be a writer, I\’m not ready to just sit in the house every day all day and write. I will be getting benefits through Starbucks, like healthcare, dentist, 401K. I know: all the corporate benefits for 20 hours a week. I like a more even life style of working a little all the time rather than working a ton during 3.5 months of the year.

So I will continue to be a barista but not a tax preparer. I now have time, with just one job, to refocus on my writing and my running. My house in Texas is sold and the money is in the bank.

Aside, from material world activities, what is going on in my non-physical? I have time to contemplate and write. I realize my deepest childhood wound. I realize my highest spiritual connection. I have a sense of my soul and who I really am. I feel joy. I feel blessed. These feelings are not wild and crazy ecstasy. These feelings are things you need to stop and consciously experience. When you give them air time, they feel very satisfying.

Even though I work, I realize significant differences between my attitude about working at my engineering job in a corporation and working part time. My corporate job was killing my creativity and my freedom. My part time jobs aren\’t doing that. The corporation I worked for was a fine enterprise. A good place to work. But somehow, being a part of that culture was killing my inner being. I believe that joy is something present on the inside and every human can access it. I believe that feeling happy is a choice. But, while in the corporate environment, I didn\’t achieve happiness despite trying every day to apply my tools and knowledge. I felt like I was in jail. I believe that in applying my spiritual tools, I created a new life in a new environment. The path of least resistance was to move on. There have been changes in the corporate department where I used to work. Looking at that, I realize that I still wouldn\’t want to be a part of it.

There are many people who get up and go to their white collar jobs every day, not being happy. I think many of us have to do this. But as soon as you can find a way out, leave. Make an exit plan. If the plan takes a few years to carry out, then so be it. In the mean time, care for your soul. Nourish your soul consciously.