Habits > Goals

Last year, I set a goal of losing one pound per week. That’s 52 pounds.

I failed miserably, but I learned some valuable lessons in the process. Losing weight is a simple thing—burn more calories than you consume—but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Last year I set a goal. And I ended the year within 10lbs of where I started.

This year, I’m working on habits.

Habits like going for a run at least once a week, going for a family hike on the weekends, and eating to fuel my body, not to comfort, entertain, or reward my inner fatty.

And whattaya know. I’m averaging about 1.5lbs lost per week so far this year.

Habits > Goals

Squaring Confucius with Memento Mori

I got up at 5AM and ran today.

I didn’t jump out of bed, but I didn’t hesitate, either.

It was the best run I’ve ever had. It wasn’t easy, but nothing hurt.

Really starting to get into this, if not slowly.

During this run, I found myself thinking (about something other than pain). I’m training with an app called “Couch to 5K (C25K)”. I’m starting Week 5 over in my third month on the program.

If I’d stuck to the program, I would have already done a 5K—but I’m going slowly.

Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

Comforting words for someone struggling to stay on the pace and improve.

But are they TOO comforting?

The stoics refer to “Memento mori,” or “Remember that you will die.”

And we’ve all heard variations of that theme.

Nobody wishes they’d got more work done or spent more time on Facebook on their deathbed.

Which is to say, as a 40-year old white male, my life is statistically half-over.

No. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I am trying to square Confucius with memento mori today.

It does not matter how slowly you go—unless you really want to get there before you die.

You can’t be TOO cavalier about how much progress you make—but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it either. Unless you know you’re full of shit.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you always do your best.

Anyway, that’s the way I heard it.

Time travel is hard, yo.

November 3rd, 2017.

Our 10th wedding anniversary.

We’d been planning a glorious staycation for weeks.

Massages and floats, mountain hikes and fancy dinners. The works.

Sometimes life has other plans.

We checked into the hospital at 6AM.

Five years and a couple days earlier, we were leaving with a baby.

This time, we learned we’d met our annual deductible and there was no out of pocket.

We laughed with the admissions girl about winning the insurance lottery. Kinda.

Make a left at the admissions desk and the first waiting room is Maternity.

Make a right, and the first waiting room is Oncology.

Howdy, neighbor.

It’s dark in the tiny little waiting area. The only light comes from the hallway and old TV reruns—Wings and Dear John. An elderly couple sits across from us. Another older gentleman with a receding hairline and tight, gray ponytail sits to our right.

Glancing at the stack of weathered magazines on the end table, I can’t help but notice a sailboat on the cover of the magazine atop the pile.

Cruising World. October 2012.

October 2012.

Exactly five years and five days prior, I sat alone in a brightly lit hallway—not 100 feet away—waiting to be called into the OR to become a father. P was born 29 October 2012.

I knew nothing about nothing that day. Only that every excuse I’d ever had for why I didn’t do everything I ever wanted with my life before that point was bullshit. (Which also meant every excuse I’d have after was likely also bullshit, but I digress.)

I especially didn’t know anything about—let alone have any interest in—sailing.

But now I wondered. Had this issue of Cruising World been sitting right around the corner the whole time? Random as the Universe is, had it been waiting five years for me?

It felt like a time capsule future me left in the wrong waiting room because time travel is hard, yo.

Our 10th wedding anniversary.

Right around the corner from where our little girl was born, almost five years to the day.

A magazine about sailing—the future—published in the past, preserved just for me.

Past, present, and future.

Complete with curled edges, a couple missing pages, and greasy fingerprints on the cover. Filled with missed opportunities, ships that sailed long ago.

A testament to something I still can’t wrap my head around.

A strange significance in something so trivial, it was hardly worth going back the following day to grab that magazine and take it home.

Why?

It’s just a stupid, old magazine.

But it was a connection to the past. In this week. In this building. In this hallway. Five years later.

That reminded me the future is not yet written. We don’t know shit from shinola.

Ain’t that the truth.

I’ll tell you what I DO know. I love my little family.

10 years ago, our journey began.

5 years ago, she joined us.

5 years from now, she’ll be 10.

10 years from now, she’ll be 15.

And this will all be a distant memory.

We’ll laugh about it. About the deductible lottery. About the magazine. About the irony.

We’ll get through this together. Like we have everything else.

This is just another squall. We’ll shorten the sheet at the first gust.

Another ride on life’s roller coaster, Mi Amor?

There’s clear, blue water on the other side.

It’s got our names on it.

Dress for the job you want. Time to update the wardrobe…