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kortheo

My Journal - Travis

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Day 137

I've decided that I want to get my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MSCA) for Windows Server 2012 R2. This consists of 3 exams and costs roughly $500 all together. Work would pay for it though, and it would be a way to increase my professional skills that directly relate to my job. It will be my first IT certification. I'm excited! I've heard the exams can be quite difficult. But that doesn't intimidate me too much. I've always been good at tests.

Keep in mind that Linux certifications pay huge dividends. Professionals holding certifications like SUSE's Certified Linux Professional (CLP) and Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) are highly sought after. A nice plus is that the competences you acquire by studying any Linux distribution can be easily transferred to others. Give it some thought and PM me if you want more info, I'll be happy to help.

This is great on paper - however I have minimal Linux experience and I don't need to know Linux in my current environment - I do however, have a dozen+ Windows servers I'm responsible for. So it's not a logical next step for me on paper.

 

EDIT: After thinking about it some more, you are, of course, correct. Linux does command a higher price and I'm aware of that. And I do like Linux and want to learn it eventually. I will have to spend more time thinking about what I want to do long term.

Edited by kortheo

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Day 139

It's interesting how sometimes the changes that happen in life are too slow or subtle for you to notice. This is why we must always keep in mind the concept of the slight edge and commit to keep going, not getting discouraged if we happen to feel stagnant now and then.

That's not my current problem though - I am actually growing and changing, or having new experiences frequently enough that I can actually see myself growing and changing. And it feels great.

I have my habits in place enough that basically every day now feels like what a "perfect" day used to feel like when I was gaming and unhappy. It used to be unusual for me to exercise, meditate, journal, be productive, etc. Now I do that every day.

Life is not perfect, but that's okay. But life is exciting because I know I'm moving forward into new territory, and it's territory that is totally unfamiliar to me. I don't know what it will be like. So I'm anticipating that with both nervousness and excitement.

Very excited to meet some of you at the San Diego meetup today! :)

Gratitude

  1. Conversation I had with a friend last night.
  2. Cooking an awesome meal last night.
  3. Getting my car maintenance done.
  4. SD meetup today!
  5. Continuing to grow.
Edited by kortheo

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Day 140

Yesterday, the San Diego GameQuitter's Meetup was an amazing time! Very glad that I got to meet all of you and spend a few hours together. It was a beautiful day in a beautiful place, to boot! It was great to meet people who so closely share your own experience, and feel understood by them.

I spent the morning cooking. I have a chuck roast slow cooking, and I made eggs with an interesting seasoning combination (salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, mint). It was excellent.

I skipped my fitness bootcamp today. I think I'll replace it with yoga this week, or possibly this month.

I'm beginning to notice what things I can work on that I feel proud about. I feel proud when I learn to cook new recipes and can make things that I find delicious. I also feel proud when I invest in my career by working towards IT certifications. I don't necessarily feel as proud when I read books just for the sake of reading X number of books per year. I may revise my goals so that I can allocate my time towards things that I know are fulfilling or that I feel proud about.

Have a great day everyone.

Gratitude

  1. @Cam Adair - I'm grateful that you arranged the meetup!
  2. @Laney - I'm grateful for your blanket so we didn't freeze to death, haha.
  3. @MmmWatermelon - I'm grateful for your harmonica, and for getting the group to share their stories.
  4. Grateful for the other 2 folks who showed up who I don't believe are on this forum :)
  5. The potential to continue building this community. Hope we have another meetup soon!

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Day 141

Tired this morning. I allowed myself to skip my morning routine (exercise, meditate) in order to sleep more. I don't feel guilty about it, which is great. I think it's fine to do this once in a while.

I went to a Superbowl party yesterday. It was a lot of fun and I met some new people. I helped out with tech support since we had issues with the stream and projector we were using, haha. Something different.

No great insights today. Gotta run. Have a great day everyone.

Gratitude

  1. Pale sunlight at dawn.
  2. New friends.
  3. Dark, leafy plants.
  4. Making lunches for the week.
  5. Giving myself permission.

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What kind of food are you making for the entire week? I'm considering doing that too, and you did mention keto once.

Lately one of my habits has been Sunday meal prep. So usually I'll do two big meals per week, either both on Sunday or one Sunday and one Wednesday.

I'm not doing keto but I do try to avoid sugar or excess carbs when I can. This week I slow-cooked a chuck roast. It was stupid simple and amazingly tasty. Basically threw a roast, onions, beef broth and a can of french onion soup into a slow cooker. Came back 10 hours later to enough fork tender meat for 5 meals. Actual prep time is like 15 minutes ,max. I got this particular recipe from the book The 4 Hour Chef. Incidently most recipes in that book at low carb. To supplement the meat, I just made a simple green salad to go along with it. Anyway, slow cooking has changed my food-life.

I'm also eating a lot of eggs and protein shakes right now. In the past few weeks I've made a lot of soups and stews and slow cooked meats.

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Well, that pretty much sounds like keto, ha. Depending on the amount of onion, one could easily achieve and maintain ketosis with this (as long as the fat intake is sufficient). It does sound awesome. May do something similar in future, but I've actually been enjoying cooking lately.

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Kortheo i'm just finished reading through your Challenge journal and its amazing!

It gives me some assurance what you can reach in such a short time (i mean what is 30 days, or 90 in a whole life?). Your dance video made me laugh, not out of pity but because i'm shitting my own pants out of tension that i need to do that to once. 

In general i really can identify lots of characteristics (the analytical part, comfort zone etc). I'm going to do it your way to, having an different journal for my challenge only.

Thanks for writing it

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Kortheo i'm just finished reading through your Challenge journal and its amazing!

It gives me some assurance what you can reach in such a short time (i mean what is 30 days, or 90 in a whole life?). Your dance video made me laugh, not out of pity but because i'm shitting my own pants out of tension that i need to do that to once. 

In general i really can identify lots of characteristics (the analytical part, comfort zone etc). I'm going to do it your way to, having an different journal for my challenge only.

Thanks for writing it

Hey thanks man! I'm so glad that you got value out of it. I intended the dance video to be silly and thinking back on it I'm a bit self-conscious haha, but it was totally worth it, and felt great to just not care in the moment.

I look forward to reading your Challenge journal!

Edited by kortheo

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Well, that pretty much sounds like keto, ha. Depending on the amount of onion, one could easily achieve and maintain ketosis with this (as long as the fat intake is sufficient). It does sound awesome. May do something similar in future, but I've actually been enjoying cooking lately.

Yeah, I think the only thing making it not-keto is that the fat content is too low to meet your total caloric needs. Mostly just protein and veggies.

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Day 142

Yesterday I had a very full and productive day at work. I was working with a consultant all day. We got a lot done, and I felt very good about the day. I definitely like my job more when I'm working with other people.

I skyped with a friend last night and I was able to give her some helpful life advice, I think. She's in a bit of a rough patch. She's currently doing a PhD program but thinking of dropping out because she's unhappy and stressed all the time. I'm trying to get her to consider getting a normal job, because she's never really had one. I think she has mindsets that limit her - she rationalizes away attempts to even consider alternatives. I think she'll get where she needs to be eventually.

I feel pretty far removed from gaming at this point. I don't think about it much anymore, and it doesn't weigh on my mind. I don't miss it. I think the social activities I have mostly replaced it with have more value to me, so I wouldn't trade them back. There are occasional times when I'm emotionally down that I may crave it briefly, but they don't ever translate into me actually thinking about gaming. Having deleted all my accounts, it feels impossible to go back.

Gratitude

  1. Quiet cat outside my window this morning.
  2. Staying calm.
  3. Granny smith apples.
  4. Yoga.
  5. Giving gifts to friends.
Edited by kortheo

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Day 143

I was at a symposium for work today. The topic was security in the water industry, primarily for Southern California utilities. I work at such a utility so it was pretty interesting actually. It covered both physical and cybersecurity, both of which I have some involvement in at work, although obviously more on the cybersecurity side. It was cool to meet peers from other agencies. I was driven down by a coworker and it was good to talk with him. He's in his 50s and is a mentor of sorts for me. We have very different perspectives on life, but there's always mutual respect when we talk.

I'm exhausted and I haven't had enough alone time lately to process my thoughts and experiences if I'm honest. That makes it hard to post anything here with much substance about life and happiness or what not. Haha. I strive to make my posts interesting when I can. Today may not be such a day.

I'm going to relax and read and maybe head to a coffee shop. Maybe I'll sit outside and enjoy living in a beautiful place. And then I'll go to trivia later tonight.

Enjoy your days everyone.

Gratitude

  1. My fountain pen hobby addiction.
  2. Green tea.
  3. People giving me life advice.
  4. Free lunch.
  5. Yoga last night.

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Day 144

I've been reflecting a bit on my social life. I've made a lot of social progress since I started here. When I began my 90 day challenge, I was in a relationship that wasn't working for me, and outside of my girlfriend had no active social life. I started going to meetup groups - a board game group, a general social group, going to trivia. I went to a Magic: The Gathering event once. I made my way into a clique of people who were into gaming and general nerdy stuff. I've reconnected with old friends and deepened those friendships. I've seen more of my family. I started going to a fitness bootcamp that was kind of social, yoga, and most recently I had the privilege to meet some of you folks at the SD meetup.

So I've had a range of experiences. The general trend that's emerging for me is that the old sorts of groups I would be a part of - gaming groups, MTG, nerdy stuff, board games - don't really work for me anymore. These are often composed of people with negative or fixed mindsets, who have unhealthy habits and aren't focused on improving themselves. These are generalizations of course, but they're my experience, and it makes it harder for me to connect with these people. By contrast, the new groups I'm exploring - groups with the primary purpose of being social and meeting people, groups based on fitness or new experiences or self-improvement - these attract people with good habits and growth mindsets where people want to improve themselves. It's easier for me to be myself in these groups. I used to see the world as limited to the groups that I was currently in - so it didn't even occur to me that I could go to other places where there were other people like me who wanted to better themselves. It didn't connect with me as real until recently.

I guess the main takeaway is that it's not enough for me to merely be social - I have to be social in the right way, with the right people.

Gratitude

  1. Talking with coworkers.
  2. Feeling social.
  3. Tea.
  4. Not giving up.
  5. Journaling.
Edited by kortheo

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Day 145

Social groups can be really hit or miss at times. Let me explain. The same meetup group can vary drastically week to week, both in people attending and in the quality of the event, or how much fun I'm having at it.

I have a trivia event that, with the exception of during the holidays, I've gone to almost every week for the last 3-4 months or so. At this point I think I'm possibly the most consistent member in the group. There are a few others who are there roughly as often as I am, and then others who are there maybe half the time, and then others who show up once a month, and then some who show up once and never again. And new people show up all the time, which is great, because it's a way to constantly meet new people.

But this inconsistent nature of the group means that it's not always easy to be social, at least in this context. It takes effort to persist in going to something to meet people and become a core part of the group when the group is always shifting. You always have to be ready to meet someone new. And sometimes you'll go and you won't click with anyone there that night and your team will lose and it won't be all that fun. But if you stop going at that point, you miss the chance that next time you could really click with someone cool, or have a great team and win trivia that night.

Don't get me wrong - in general I usually have a good time whenever I go out, and even on the 'bad' nights I can find something to like about the experience. I mean, that's why I keep going. And even if I don't have as much fun as maybe I wanted to, there are almost always little social observations I can learn from. So in this case, the fact that it takes an investment of effort isn't a bad thing, but actually a good thing. The effort I put in is rewarded by social growth and learning.

I have a monthly bookclub that I've been to three times. The first time was good, the second time was great, and last night, the third time, it was kind of meh. It was fine, but not nearly as good as the other times, and most of the people who showed up weren't as engaging to me. But, there was one person there who I really clicked with unexpectedly, and she had read one of my favorite books and happened to mention it, and we happened to have a very similar sense of humor, etc. It made the night for me. She also mistakenly recalled the genome sequencing company 23andMe as 22andYou, which is hilarious, because the 23 refers to the number of human chromosomes; 22andYou would imply mental retardation or developmental issues or something, hahah.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, other than to reflect upon my social experiences. But I continue to learn and grow from them, and to improve my social skills.

Gratitude

  1. Taking things slow sometimes.
  2. Giving myself permission to do less.
  3. A quiet office.
  4. Great weather lately.
  5. Food.
Edited by kortheo

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Day 146

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I used to understand this as simply having anxiety; I didn't really get how life could be any different - it felt like a generic disorder to me, since everyone has anxiety sometimes. But what makes it a disorder is having anxiety in situations when most people wouldn't, and for longer periods of time than most people would. Anxiety is paralyzing, especially when it fills areas of your life where most people don't expect you to be anxious. I mean I basically have anxiety in some form virtually everyday. 

I'm starting to realize certain things about my anxiety. I'm getting better at noticing it when it's happening... it's hard, because it sometimes feels like being a fish and not being aware of water. Sometimes I'm more anxious overall, sometimes less. When I'm more anxious in general I perceive threat and danger more readily in all areas of life and this makes me more risk averse. I'm realizing I probably structure my life to minimize risk because that's the easiest way to live without anxiety for me. Certain environmental factors seem to increase anxiety for me - I notice a correlation at least with eating crap food, sugar, caffeine, lack of exercise, and porn use.

Anyway, lately I've been more on the anxious side, and last night I went to a concert with friends. It was a great concert. But the whole night triggered my anxiety in a number of ways. Here is a preview of my head from last night:

  • The person I carpooled with smokes weed a lot, and he smoked before driving us down there, which made me uncomfortable because I don't like it when drivers have consumed any psychoactive substances (other than caffeine, I suppose).
  • Said carpool driver was also looking at his phone while driving more than I was comfortable with and I the whole trip I had a constant low level anxiety that we were going to crash and die.
  • Before getting to the venue, we drove to pick my friend up at his work. He invited us into his office to hang out briefly while he wrapped up some stuff. We were the only people there. I felt like I was breaking a rule somehow by being there, since I don't work there, even though my friend invited us in. He also offered us soda, which I took and then felt bad about because I'm trying to stop drinking soda.
  • I used the bathroom at the concert. I feel self-conscious admitting this, but crowded bathrooms make me really anxious and I can't use urinals without dividers because I feel so uncomfortable. Said concert was crowded, lacked dividers. I used a stall and felt like my friend would judge me for it if he saw me.
  • My friend/driver asked me if I would mind driving the car back so he could have another beer. In general I feel uncomfortable driving other people's cars (how does the insurance work? It's an unfamiliar car, I'm in an unfamiliar place, It's dark, what if something goes wrong?), especially when I have no foreknowledge that this is expected of me and it's pushed on me all of a sudden. I'm a very strong J in MBTI; I need plans and schedules for things usually. A significant sudden change like this causes me anxiety. I at least was able to be assertive and say "No, I would prefer not to" but without being able to explain why I didn't want to I was worried that I just came off like an ungrateful dick.
  • The opening acts were great and the volume was about the right level for me. But when the main band played and the volume was basically standard concert volume, which I almost always find overwhelmingly loud and sometimes painful to my ears. I always worry about my hearing being damaged, and couldn't stop focusing on how my ears feel and thinking about my cilia dying and things like that. I brought earplugs but I couldn't bring myself to use them because I felt so lame because no one else had earplugs and I again felt like my friends would judge me. Eventually I did put them in for a couple songs which dulled my anxiety and made me ears feel better, but eh. If there was any damage done to my ears it would have already happened. Today my ears feel mostly normal, but in the moment it always feels like I'm about to go deaf or something. Losing or dulling any senses kind of terrifies me.

This is by far worse than normal anxiety I experience during an average day, but still, this is my head. The work I'm trying to do is give weight to the fact that this is my experience and that it's valid and I want to work on it. I think the fact that anxiety is being triggered means I'm going out of my comfort zone and getting a chance to work on anxiety - after all, a concert is a pretty extreme environment for me and I rarely go to them, partially because of thoughts like these I'm sure. It's also a sign that other things could be going on in my life that are making me more prone to anxiety.

Thanks for reading. Have a good day everyone.

Gratitude

  1. Acknowledging my emotions.
  2. Seeing a friend later today.
  3. Waking up on time.
  4. Spending time in new places.
  5. Giving gifts to friends.

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Hi,

Thanks for sharing this i know this must be hard to write down in a pretty public space.Your anxiety seems well grounded. I am a pretty relaxed person with ( to my knowledge) no forms of anxiety, but i can relate to all the fears you described. Realize that your not akward, if you want someone to watch the damn street and not having smoked stuff whilst driving. Thats just smart. I just want to say that your thoughts seemed not weird just overly cautious. Maybe you are insecure but i am sure that this will get better if your self-esteem improves.

greetings Mario

 

 

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Hey dude. I have been in the car before with a girl driving insanely high. I was scared out of my mind!!! You're not being abnormal here to want someone to be sober while driving what the fuck.

And I am also a fellow earplug wearer at concerts. Screw what others say, you are going to have your ears ten years down the row. I have also noticed after taking the initiative with ear plugs and bringing extra, that there is always someone else, if not the whole group, who is happy I brought them because they care too, and I give them a pair to use. Until people take those steps to secure themselves and be safe, it's seen as "...well no one else is doing it so I wont.."

Honestly anxiety has its purpose. It's to keep you alive. The reason adrenaline attacks exist is because they make you react faster to get out of a bad situation. Like your ears being saved from a loud noise, or preventing a deadly car accident.

Maybe I'm just reinforcing your anxiety? I apologize if that's the case.  I just want you to take action in these situations because You are important and You deserve to take care of yourself. 

Besides I think it's cool to be preventative ;) because I am also a J and also need plans to relax and feel like I can enjoy the moment sometimes. Why do you think I carried so much stuff with me to the beach? People were grateful and maybe thought I was a bit weird, but we all had towels to sit on.

You can't plan for everything, of course. Meditation and breathing has helped me relax in situations where I was unprepared for change or things going wrong. And there will still be nights like last night. But that's okay. :) honestly I feel like you might have been fine at the concert if the night hadn't started out with the weed. It made things begin on an uncomfortable tone. Just reading your story gave me anxiety as soon as I arrived at that paragraph.

Edited by Laney

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Yeah. Thanks for the responses guys. I guess, not having used drugs very much, it's hard for me to gauge how much his smoking actually affected his driving. For the most part he seemed to be driving normally - the bigger issue was him looking at his phone, actually - so without that perspective it was hard for me to say how much of a risk it actually was? Maybe next time I'll drive myself. I guess, in situations like these, when I'm the only person who seems to have a problem with it, I can't tell if I'm crazy or it's just so normalized for the other person. But it's good to have someone to ground me and reflect back to me which of my anxieties are excessive and which are rational. Thanks.

Yeah. Next time I'll just wear the damn earplugs. That was just silliness on my part. Even if people were to judge or think me weird, which is pretty unlikely, I think it would probably be better to just own my feelings and perspectives about taking precautions rather than allow myself to be swayed by worrying about their opinions of me, which hardly matter anyway. Plus, why am I spending time with people who would actually judge me for that? I don't think they actually would, it's just anxiety talking, but yeah.

honestly I feel like you might have been fine at the concert if the night hadn't started out with the weed. It made things begin on an uncomfortable tone. Just reading your story gave me anxiety as soon as I arrived at that paragraph.

Yeah, I wondered about that myself. It might have just put me on edge all night. :\

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Day 147

Reflecting on my post and responses from yesterday have made me more aware of my general level of comfort and feeling of safety in various situations. I think too frequently I tolerate being in situations I'm uncomfortable with or feel somewhat unsafe / anxious in, instead of advocating for my right to feel comfortable and safe. Instead of getting in a car with someone who just smoked weed, I could have instead said "You know what, I'm not comfortable with that, I think I'll just drive myself." That requires assertiveness and the willingness to confront people. Which are things I'm working on, but definitely worth it.

But this also extends to situations just with myself. I'll put off getting maintenance done on my car and then as a result feel slightly anxious driving it, worrying that something might go wrong with it. There's no reason why I have to accept feeling that way; I could just get maintenance done on the schedule needed and avoid that discomfort.

Yesterday, I spent the whole day with an old friend I haven't seen for a while. I felt really calm and comfortable and relaxed in the situation with her, without any fear of judgment from her. This was such a contrast to the experiences with other friends the night before that I'm going to try to pay more attention to this in the future. I'm encountering a general theme in my life of paying attention to how I feel about people and spending my time with or without them accordingly. Or, even if I enjoy their company, I might not trust them to drive me places, haha. So I can have different limits with different people on how I choose to engage with them. It feels weird thinking about this, and part of my brain makes me feel like this is rude of me somehow? But the rational part of me thinks it's a healthy mindset shift.

I've been really starting to feel like moving down to San Diego lately (I live about 1 hour north of it currently). Now that I've been social for a few months here, and exploring my current area more and what it offers, I'm starting to feel I don't have the life I want here, but that I could have that in San Diego. I would have to find a new job down there, but that would be okay with me. I have never lived in a large urban area, and I think I'm ready for that experience. More people, more opportunities more stuff to do. I want to feel connected to that experience of being in a place where stuff happens.... if that makes any sense haha. Rather than just on the edges or in the suburbs.

On the plus side, I also noticed a shift in socializing lately. For a long time it took a certain amount of effort to find social things to do and go to them and interact with new people. But something flipped where now I crave social interaction, people reach out to me to do things, and it just seems a whole lot easier to do social things on a regular basis. It's great.

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Whenever I'm back in my hometown I find myself in the same situation: people drink and drive. And by drink I mean that they think it's normal to have two or three drinks, and then it's acceptable to have more, "drive carefully", and just hope not to get pulled out. I hate it guts, even though I like the people themselves. You need to take care of yourself if no one else will. If you feel too self-conscious you can always explain it from another angle. It's a wonderful evening, I think I'll walk. I prefer to drive myself, anybody joining? I'll see you there, I got stuff to do before (like drink a tea on your own somewhere). You are telling the truth and being kind to yourself.

You can love and accept somebody without having to love, accept, and follow everything they say and do. And you do this all the time already, right? It happens especially with family.

As to moving to SD, that might be a great move! I always thought I wanted to live as remote as possible, and now that I'm in a big town I'm loving it. So much choice, and you can always find a quiet place anyway. Maybe you won't have to look for a new job if you don't want to. Talk to your supervisor about working remotely. I did and I'm never going back to an office again!

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Day 148

@Tom - Thanks for the post, that really resonated with me and gives me some things to think about.

After a few days chock full of spending time with friends, today is my clean-the-apartment and alone time day. Well needed.

My perspective is beginning to broaden with respect to where I want to go next in life and what I want to accomplish. Accordingly, I am going to try to review my goals soon. Some of the goals I set for myself - like reading 36 books this year - are fine, but they may not directly advance my goals. As an example, reading for the sake of reading probably isn't that valuable in this context; I could use that time more constructively.

Days 1-90 were really about quitting games. Days 91-180 are about evaluating and improving my life, I'm finding.

Have a great day everyone! :D

Edited by kortheo
typos

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Regarding hearing loss. The way it was explained to me is that your ears can handle certain periods of high volume just fine. What matters is that you give them enough rest afterwards, so you should be fine as long as you don't expose them every day. Going to a concert shouldn't be a big deal, but I can definitely relate to being anxious about things most people don't even think about.

There are a couple of different kinds of ear plugs in case you're interested.

(BTW, are you experiencing any tinnitus -- ringing in ears?)

Edited by Marchosias

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Regarding hearing loss. The way it was explained to me is that your ears can handle certain periods of high volume just fine. What matters is that you give them enough rest afterwards, so you should be fine as long as you don't expose them every day. Going to a concert shouldn't be a big deal, but I can definitely relate to being anxious about things most people don't even think about.

There are a couple of different kinds of ear plugs in case you're interested.

(BTW, are you experiencing any tinnitus -- ringing in ears?)

I have had tinnitus for years. In fact, I think I've had it since I was a kid. I don't notice it unless I'm in a quiet room. But, my tinnitus hasn't changed following this concert. I've been to an audiologist (in the past) and mentioned it and they kind of just shrug their shoulders and say there's not much to do about it. I had my hearing tested a couple years ago and it was normal though.

Edited by kortheo

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