1,164 days…and counting

Over the years I have made numerous attempts at keeping a journal. It was always short-lived. Only a couple of times did it even last for double-digit days. All that changed as of October 26, 2012.

My first entry in my current journal was written the day after Shelly and I made our first road trip to Kansas City. We had met for the first time a few weeks before that, and I was intrigued by her…and her daily journaling. My journal began: “this will be page 1 of my journal. I need to start writing every (or at least “most every”) day. We’ll see how I do. Discipline is not my strong suit.”

Counting today, it’s been one-thousand-one-hundred-sixty-four days for this attempt at keeping a journal. Not too shabby for someone with as little personal discipline as me. Keeping a digital journal has several advantages. The three biggest ones: (1) I can easily search the document when a question comes up, e.g. “what variety of lettuce did I plant…and when did I plant it?” or “what did we do on 1/2/2013?”; (2) I can copy&paste to/from the document; and (3) I can read what I wrote!! My penmanship was never very good…and now it is mostly illegible. I often can’t decipher an item or two on my grocery list…

I have had many other colossal fails in my past, in addition to diary disasters. I’m only gonna write about one of them, depending on how you look at what follows…

I knew I had no chance at being successful with New Year’s resolutions, so I never/ever wrote a list. That sorta changed on page 1 of my journal, 1164 days ago…and counting.

I didn’t call them “resolutions,” they weren’t very specific or measurable as written, and what I wrote was pretty generic: “With page 1 of this journal, I pledge to watch less tv, but probably more movies…listen to more music….read more….get in better shape….go to bed earlier. That’s a long enough list.”

How have I done re the “pledges”?

I do watch much less live tv than I used to. I very seldom watch “news” or “talking heads” on television. Years ago I used to spend a couple of hours a day, and even more on Sunday, watching news shows. Cutting that out has been one of the smartest things I’ve ever done….I don’t miss the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. I also have significantly reduced how much time I waste watching sports on TV, almost eliminating pro sports.

I check out lots of DVDs from the library, and I can do some serious binge watching. Not being subjected to commercials, or having to wait a week for the next episode, are just 2 benefits of the DVD approach to watching a tv series.

I have always listened to lots of music. Since leaving Floriduh in 2011, I have listened to more new music than I had in a couple of decades. There is lots of good stuff out there. Lots of shitty stuff too. It’s the rare week that I don’t pick up music CDs at the library. (Note: I expect that I will have a LOT of blog posts in the future that are music based.)

Reading? I’ve always been a reader. These days, mostly I read magazines. I have subscriptions to 6 different publications. Then there are daily Facebook and Yahoo news feeds. Often a book going too, but not always.

Get in better shape? The question mark pretty much sums it up….colossal fail. 10K steps a day is not enough. I need to do more than walk. But exercise? I’ll start tomorrow. 😉

Go to bed earlier? Shelly does go to bed early, and I almost always meet her there to chat, cuddle, and yada yada. But I almost always get up and head to the living room after she dozes off; several hours later I’m back in the bedroom….often after 1 am.
“That’s a long enough list” is no longer true, as I have more new pledges.

1. Write at least 1000 words in my journal every day. (any blog post will count toward that day’s target.)
2. Spell check each day’s journal entry before I save the file. (I hate doing a search for something later and seeing words like “vareity” and “letucce.”)
3. Nothing to eat after 8 pm. (a challenge for me, as I do like to graze….)
4. I will do my damnedest to never bring up the name of a certain judgmental, angry, controlling, vindictive, negative person. I may, or may not, reply when his name is brought up in conversation. Life is too short to waste precious moments. This particular person is now “he-who-must-not-be-named.”
For 2016, I’m also gonna make my original pledges more specific, and somewhat measurable.

TV. I do have a guilty pleasure: noon with the hottest judge on television, marilyn milian and “the people’s court.” I’m not giving that up, nor do I plan to stop watching the Daily or the Nightly shows. I’ll watch sports selectively…and I will watch lots of March Madness. In an election year i’m sure I’ll find myself watching some “news.” But i’ll think twice before I turn the telly on….and won’t think twice about turning it off.

Music. I want to listen to at least 2 new CDs every week. they don’t have to be new releases in 2016. just new to me. they don’t have to be new artists. but at least 2 a month have to be by someone i’ve never listened to before.

Reading. At least one book a month, in addition to keeping current on my magazines and my FB and Yahoo feeds.

Get in shape. Same walking target, for now, as last year: 12K steps a day. From an exercise perspective: a goal of 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week on the machines and weights in the Abbey’s Rec Room. (This is gonna be a real challenge for me. not the walking. the “exercise.” i hate that stuff, but I know it would be good for me.)

Go to bed earlier. My goal is to be asleep in the bedroom by midnight.

One other pledge: Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

Be.  Just BE.


I have mastered the art of procrastination. I have been practicing the art itself for most of my life. This piece is a prime example of my level of mastery: writing a blog has been on my to-do list ever since I heard the word “weblog” in the late 90’s. When you couple my expertise at procrastinating with my almost complete lack of self-discipline, the fact that I ever get anything done that requires effort is very surprising. It only took me about 17 years to finally start blogging by beginning to write this…but will I even finish and “publish” it? Will it be my opening blog entry, or just another document in a folder on my laptop?

When one considers what I did for a living for most of the time that I was a W-2 guy, and that once upon a time I had people close to me who thought I was a serious Type A personality, my well-developed skill at procrastinating doesn’t seem to fit.

I had a moderately successful career in the tax division of what at the time was the largest accounting firm in the world. I spent the first half of that tenure in a practice office with it’s long hours, many deliverables and deadline upon deadline. The last half was in the firm’s tax software business…with more of the same, i.e. hours, deadlines and deliverables….in spades. I seemed to thrive under pressure, often times of my own creation because of the delay in getting started.

I have tried several times over the past 40 years to write a journal. I’ve started one half-a-dozen times. My most recent attempt started 36 months ago, and so far I have managed to write something almost every day. Sometimes it’s brief and boring, i.e. my mundane daily events. Oftentimes it includes copies of texts, sent and received. Other journal entries might be copies of e-mails.

This blog thing doesn’t have any personal sense of urgency. I don’t have to do it. I don’t need to do it. I’m not getting paid to do it.

I’m not even sure that I should do it. There are lots of things that I want to write about that might upset friends and family. I’m thinking that they know more about my life and my lifestyle than they acknowledge. I’m thinking that they know more about my thinking, and how it differs from theirs, than they want to believe. I’m thinking that opening up could be hurtful to some people. But maybe not. I guess we’ll never know unless I move forward, huh?

Will I be able to do that? To put myself out there via other musings. That’s the question?

Maybe I will be able to summon the same discipline and the same approach here that I finally have been able to accomplish with journaling.

Time will tell. Speaking of time…elapsed time since I started this document and the day I posted it online: 11 months, give or take several days. I really do have this procrastinating down pat don’t I?