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Monday, March 21, 2016

Playing Catch-up in The Discovery Zone

Once again, Sports Fans, I haven't posted for a while..... for a lot of reasons alluded to in prior posts.

No inspiration, Lots of Pain, Had my Spring Allergy / Flu 3-day bout.... yada yada yada.

Bunch of excuses basically, but I'll try to make up for the last 2 weeks of Silence with a Blast of Ideas / Notions / Concepts / Comments so here's my listing of posts that will be covered in this post:
  • A Call to Arms (Hint: Guns Out!)
  • We have met the Enemy.... And They are Us!
  • I waited too Long!
  • Don't bring a Knife to a Gunfight
  • I Choose Not to Want (now if that's not a trademarkable hook phrase, I don't know what is!)
  • Dealing with Incompetence is my Achille's Heel
  • How I deal with the "You just don't understand me" argument.
  • Pride - in my Dad, my Son, my Daughter and Myself
  • What I have learned in the last 3 months
Yeah, I know it should be 9 different posts but I'm trying to economize my thoughts and energy so don't bitch.... just read.... or don't read.

A Call to Arms

Here's a nod to genetic blessings.  Yeah, I wasn't born with great height or great muscle mass, have non-existent calves and definitely not good knees but dammit, I have some good.....


Yep - don't get me wrong, they are not massive.... but they are well proportioned, lean, muscular and most importantly - very vascular!

For whatever reason, lots of people - men and women - appreciate men with good arms.  I guess it's like a women with big boobs or something. 

I really haven't been able to work out that much lately because of my locked up left knee but I have maintained a few basic body weight exercises like pushups and pullups and some light weight presses, curls, etc and with that little bit of activity and a strict Paleo diet, my arms, while not as strong and muscular as they have ever been, seem to be pretty cut, lean and veined out.

Definitely something that turns people's heads and that's a good thing.

We have met the Enemy..... and They are Us!

The source of this simple, catchy but thought provoking phrase is as follows:

It's a theme that I have seen repeated in my own life many times and many more times in the lives of others.

In a nutshell, it is a subset of the counter Karma theme, in the sense that almost invariably, I do the most damage to myself when I am trying to do damage to others.  

Bad or negative thoughts, intentions, actions or wishes projected from ourselves has a way of turning the world against us.

Yep - you are your own worst enemy..... so watch that attitude, that tongue and smile at people a lot.

I waited too long

This refers specifically to the Final Solution with my Left Knee - that being a Total Knee Replacement.

I had been meeting with orthopedic doctors / surgeons and physical therapists over the past 1-1/2 - 2 years and they were all telling me that it was just a matter of time.... the knee needed to be replaced.

My goal and intent was to keep the leg and knee as strong as possible through as much activity as the knee would allow... and it seemed to be working.

I was expecting there to be some sort of graded / controlled "final" descent of the knee where it would get progressively worse and more painful over a period of months.

That's not the way it happened.  One day I was hiking, doing CrossFit and pretty mobile and active with the left knee.... the next day I was flat of my back in my bed not being able to move the leg at all.

"The Blowout" as Dr Woods, my long time Fondren Orthopedic Group surgeon who has been working on this knee for the last 30 years, related to me seemed to have occurred in one cataclysmic event and left me crippled for the last 3-1/2 months.

Had I known it was gonna go all at one time like this with little or no warning, I would have planned the surgery while I was still active, strong and mobile.

Lesson learned.

Don't Bring a Knife to a Gunfight - You lose!

I've always appreciated this little quip of wisdom but heard it put to music in a Sick Puppies offering....

The song speaks to several lop-sided battles in history and current events but it goes back to the concept of doing your homework on any meaningful life effort and being prepared for things to go wrong.

I always ask myself on any important decision - 

What is the worst thing that could happen in this scenario?

If it happens, can I handle it?  Am I prepared for it?

Considering the consequences of your actions before you act is one of the best deterrents I know of doing something stupid.

Making the Least of What You Have

Not just a play on words but a basic Life Hack.

Almost 2 years ago, I decided to downsize and streamline my life, my possessions and my responsibilities.

2 years later, I can look back at that decision and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Selling my house, 90% of my material possessions and condensing everything down to just a few items that captured the essence of who I am and what I wanted to do going forward, gave me a freedom that is hard to explain to someone caught up in antique armoirs and 3 car garages.

At this point, I can load everything materially important to me in the open seats and trunk of a Mustang and a 4x4x8 trailer on the back.

And that's a good feeling.

I Choose Not to Want

That little phrase just popped into my head the other day but it was precipitated by some thoughts and reflection on my choices for a simple lifestyle.

As I told some of my family members the other day, I really appreciate my Samsung TV and entertainment system but my greatest pleasure in life is....

Preparing and Eating Great Tasting Nutritious Food.

And ironically, it turns out that is the single most important element in maintaining a happy and healthy life.

I choose not to want a lot of things like fancy, expensive houses, cars, vacations, hobbies, etc. and because I choose not to want these things, it makes it possible to not have to work as much as those that desire those things.

Choosing Not to Want actually gives me the Power to Separate Myself from the prison of debt, financial slavery, worry, stress and all the negative conditions and consequences that result.

Controlling Your Desire for Want may rank up there in the top 5 of Life Happiness Factors.

Dealing with Incompetence is my Achilles Heel

Anybody that knows me or has spent any time with me at all knows that I just can't deal with incompetent people.

It was my downfall in my corporate vocation and it continues to plague me even in everyday interactions.

Maybe it's because I place so much importance on planning tasks and doing things efficiently and I mistakenly expect the same approach from others.

I have truly worked on being more patient and understanding of others especially when relying on them to do something that ultimately benefits me or that I need help with.

Maybe the problem is that I know too much.... and I don't want to sound boastful or egotistical, but the fact of the matter is that when I go into a new situation / area of knowledge / problem, I usually do a little due diligence work ahead of time so that I know when I talk to someone about it I can tell if they're blowing smoke up my ass or not.

Now, in my defense and just to give equal time to the opposite situation, I also stand and applaud Competence and Capability and those people who really have their shit together when I encounter them.

As I have said many times before, the inability in dealing with incompetence is the reason I rejected the corporate world where I could make much more money and embraced the less lucrative, less secure world of Independent Contracting... that way the only Stupid SonofaBitch I have to deal with is....


How I Deal with the "You Just Don't Understand Me" argument

First of all, you might imagine that I never heard this little phrase from a Man.... cause no straight Man would ever say something like that.... I feel myself digging a hole here....

Yep - it's the favorite out for Women who find themselves dealing with a Man they can't change or who sees through a woman trying to manipulate them.

So short and sweet..... How do I deal with a woman that says "You Just Don't Understand Me".

Pretty simple.

I just smile....

And walk away.

Pride - in my Dad, my Son, my Daughter and Myself

There's an old saying - "Pride always comes before a Fall" - but in this case, I'm talking about a different kind of Pride.

I'm talking about the Pride that comes from respect.

Respect in accomplishments, attitude, approach, character, change for the good, pride in who you are, what you have become.

I'm gonna start with my Dad. For all the challenges that Dads and Sons face and all I have faced with my Dad, there's something about an 88 year old man that does the work to prepare, plant, cultivate and harvest numerous crops, vegetables and fruit from a 5 acre farm that makes you just want to stand up and say....

"You see that ornery old SonofaBitch over there on the tractor - that's my DAD!" 

This is a guy that defies many of the basic tenets of a healthy lifestyle and yet has the Tenacity of Life and the Attitude of a Lifelong Hard Work Ethic that makes up for a lot of other deficiencies.

The guy just keeps pushing the boundaries of activity, work and outdoor activities including farming, fishing and hunting.

I don't even know if I want to live to be 88 but if I do, I want to have the same attitude, vigor, energy and zest for life my Dad has.


It's no big secret I am a huge fan of my Son.  

We are not at all alike and yet have fashioned and molded a mutual respect of friendship, counsel and shared interests over the years.  There are many things I admire about him but certainly at the top of the list is his commitment to family, willingness to be open minded and level headed and his desire to expand his knowledge and utilize his time to the maximum to better his life and that of his family.  As I always say, I would like him even if he wasn't my Son.

As different as my Son and I are, my Daughter and I are 2 emotional peas in a pod.  We are both loud, expressive, sensitive, dramatic and apt to bouts of acting before thinking or saying whatever comes to mind.
What You See is What You Get is definitely a badge we wear well. 

Because of my own life challenges with some of these characteristics, I have taken every opportunity to counsel my daughter on the advantages and disadvantages of being that "Sunbeam that lights up the World".

And she has worked on it.  She has worked tremendously hard over the past 3 years to get a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and then complete her RN certification.  That required discipline and work ethic has matured her and rounded off some of the sharp corners of her personality and character.  She is now a Young Woman that I talk to as an Equal not as a child.  She has overcome a lot of adversity and prepared herself well for her own struggle with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Well Done Daughter Well Done.

Finally, I have reason to be proud of myself.  I helped raise 2 great kids. I haven't done so well in 2 marriages but have learned a lot, faced the man in the mirror and admitted my mistakes, moved on and tried to be at peace with my past and have hope for my future.  2016 will be a challenging year but I'm up for it and whatever I can learn about myself and the world around me.

So bring it on.

What I Have Learned in the Last 3 Months

This is kind of a summary / takeaway from many of the thing listed above but there are a few new items so here goes.

As of the first of the year, I have been a veritable cripple compared to what I was last year.  I have cut the duration and intensity of my physical activity by at least 80% due to the painful and motion restrictive bone to bone condition of my left knee.

I have cut out all of my CrossFit style workouts and nearly all weight training with the exception of a Group Exercise class called Core Strength and More I do on Thursdays and I only manage it with much reduced weights.

However, what I have not cut out is my strict adherence to a Paleo Diet and basic tenets of a Paleo Lifestyle which is best explained and organized in Mark Sisson's book, "The Primal Blueprint".

It's amazing to me that I have been able to maintain most of my body's muscle mass, lean muscularity and vascularity without working intensely and without heavy weights just by maintaining a strict Paleo diet.

Don't get me wrong - I am not nearly as strong nor as cardio fit as I was when I was subjecting myself to the body blasting CrossFit workouts 3 - 4 times a week, but considering all I am doing is a couple of PIYO classes, 1 light weight class and riding my bike 2 - 3 times per week for 7 - 10 miles, I still look and feel pretty good.

Which reminds me of the Fernando Llamas quote - "I would rather look good than feel good" 

And the paraphrased quote from Mark Sisson - "I would rather look fit than be fit".

This experience has forced me to recognize that IF and WHEN I get back to being more mobile and active with my new left knee replacement, I will never go back to the intensity and duration of workouts I did before.

Not only would it put my knee replacement at risk but it's also just not necessary.

Don't get me wrong, I like being a 53 year old, strong, cardio-fit bad ass, but I also don't want to go back to being crippled and as Mark Sisson says I want to look as good as I can with the least amount of effort.

Based on what I have learned over the last 3 months, 80% of looking fit, lean and muscular is all about WHAT YOU EAT and not WHAT YOU DO!

But then I've been saying that for at least 2 years now - Right?

The other thing I've learned is that no matter what happens to you or what setbacks life hands you, you have to do your best to deal with it.

Keep your spirits up, make your plans for improvement, take whatever action you can, respect and deal with the pain of the situation whether it be financial, physical, mental, relational.... and just embrace it as part of life.

Take the positive actions of learning, armoring yourself with knowledge and discipline, seeking out counsel and inspiration from those you trust and most importantly, have confidence in yourself.  Don't look for blame or excuses, just embrace your temporary detour as another challenge in Life....

So how's that for a good game of Catch-up in the Discovery Zone!

Peace Out.

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