Launching a new obsession

(and helping those who want more time for theirs)

For everybody who has kids, busy lives, jobs with long hours, long commutes, and no time, I feel you.  This post is all about doing something you always wanted to do, but don’t think you have time for.

I feel like I have almost no time.  That’s not really true, but it sure feels that way.  I’m not writing as much as usual, reading or doing art as much either.  That’s because my new job is taking more time and energy and I want to get my new career off to a good start.  Yet, time slips by as it will and I re-prioritize.

Now, with all that said, why is it that I’m buying an electric guitar so I can learn to play it?  Because I want to.  I really, really want to.  Hearing live guitar just gives me a thrill that little compares to, and it’s high time I do something about this interest.

But I have that little time problem.  Here’s what I’ve done, maybe it will help you.

Steps to making more time in your life

Tally up all the ways you spend your time.  Recreation, work, eating, commuting, resting, etc.  You don’t have to write this down, but maybe think it over during a commute, a morning shower, or a quiet meal.

Prioritize your activities.  Start with the non-negotiables and work your way down.  Don’t forget sleep and exercise.  Often, those are sacrificed for other things that really aren’t as important.

Reduce what’s least important.  Recreation is important.  Even so, maybe those two hours of TV could be reduced to one, or maybe there’s a website that is a total time-suck that could be eliminated.  Knowing yourself and your behaviors will really help here.  Remember, you aren’t really giving things up, you’re making room so you can enrich your life.

What you can’t reduce, combine.  Deep knee bends when brushing your teeth.  Meditation when falling asleep.  Reading books or drawing during lunch breaks.  Listening to music in the shower.  You could label everything in the house in a foreign language, so you practice as you go about your routine.  Get crazy with it!

What you can’t reduce or eliminate, make more efficient.  For example, if you spend twenty minutes going out to get lunch at work, spend an hour on the weekend packing up five lunches for yourself.  That way you can grab and go, and use that lunch period to do something else.  It saves money, too, and the lunches might be better for you.  Or lay out your clothes before bed so you don’t have to fumble in the morning.  Little things can really add up.

Staying a little more organized (having a place to put everything) has saved me a whole lot of time – I don’t waste it trying to find stuff.

Now that you’ve eked out a bit more time, figure out what you really want to do more of.  Then break it down into bite sized pieces.  If you’re learning a language, try for a word at a time.  If you’re reading a book, you could read a few pages here and there.  If writing, it’s a little harder but similar.  If you want to exercise, you could design mini work outs.

Finally, put it all together.  Fit your bits of progress in wherever you can – work out when watching TV, read audio books when driving, write during breakfast, or whatever works for you.  You can definitely find time to do things, but it takes drive and creativity!  The great feelings of accomplishment are more than worth the effort, and you’ll feel more fulfilled as a person.  As a bonus, lifelong learning helps keep the brain healthy and staves off depression.

My own example

I wouldn’t be writing this article if I didn’t have the same problem!  I have a full time job, a half hour commute, time with the spouse, time doing housework, taking care of the ever demanding cat, shopping, doing errands, and internet time.

Some things are non negotiable, like work, sleeping, spouse, eating, errands, commute.  But I realized I could cut the net time down a bit.  I’ve wanted to learn to play guitar for a really long time, it’s on my “bucket list,” and I want to get to it while my fingers are still limber.  Besides, I found a beginner’s guitar kit for under a hundred bucks, which is way less than I thought I’d find one for.  So I can cut back online gaming by a half hour and slide the guitar right in that spot.  I can also use odd moments to watch YouTube lessons and read up on music theory.  I can do this without sacrificing (much) on blogging and the other things I need to do.  Mine is a simple case because I don’t have kids, but this system will work for almost anyone.  Still, I already feel more at peace because I know I’m doing one more thing I always wanted to try, instead of waiting till the right time comes.

Instead of waiting for the right time, I’m making the right time.

Happy living!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/launch/

A Glorious way to dispel darkness – and muggers.

The days are getting shorter again.

Do you sometimes feel unsafe at night, or have to go through dangerous areas in the dark?  Do you want something to help protect you, but don’t want to have to deal with pepper spray, mace, or a weapon?  Would you like more options if you are ever attacked?

There’s a simple tool that is not only good for all those things, but is just handy to have for other reasons.  Best of all, you can take them anywhere, even into banks and office buildings!

I’m talking about a tactical flashlight.

You’re walking to your car after a hard day at work.  Your eyes are a bit bleary, your back hurts, and all you can think about is your favorite Netflix show that’s waiting for you at home.

You hear a sound from between a couple of cars.  Someone is there!

The light in the parking lot is bad – maintenance still hasn’t gotten to it.  But you know you aren’t alone.

Is Brad, the creep who kept texting his undying love even after you told him “not jus tno, but hell no” and blocked him?  Or is it the robber you’ve heard about at break, the one who’s been trying to get into cars?  Or is it just a buddy, trying to freak you out?

You don’t know.

Something jumped out of the dark at you.  You turn, bring your hand up.  Your thumb flicks the button at the base of your tiny flashlight, its intense beam pierces the night…

…revealing a stranger’s face, who is now bringing his hands up to shield his eyes from the blinding light.  You hear the clank as something heavy, maybe a tire iron?  hits the ground.  Taking advantage of the sudden distraction, you run back to the building, to call the police or maybe that tough chick who’s always well armed.

Tactical flashlights come in small versions, pocket sized, often with specially reinforced bezels so you can use them to make strikes if the bright flash of light isn’t enough to help you escape.

Look for one with 400 lumens or better Mine has different settings so you don’t use up the battery very fast if you don’t need the ultra-bright setting.  I like it a lot, it’s made by Fenixfire.  I bought it on sale of course but have been very pleased.  It looks kind of cool and lightsaber-y.

Whatever your choice in flashlight brands, look for a flashlight that is either rechargeable or uses rechargable batteries.  Immediately reject anything that uses AA or AAA batteries.  It won’t be powerful enough.  The kind that these flashlights use can be expensive, better to be able to recharge them.

Look for a flashlight that has a button on the tail cap rather than on the side.  If you are going to use it as a striking tool, this will come in handy.  Also avoid glass lenses unless they are tempered.  Also, if you ant something small, do your internet searching with the keyword “EDC.”  EDC, or EveryDay Carry flashlights have to be tiny and robust.

Here is an article all about tactical flashlights.  The most important thing is to note that you need to be prepared to move quickly.  Even the brightest light won’t hinder an attacker for long, you need to get out of the situation or fight back as quickly as possible.  However, a small, powerful flashlight can get you out of more than one sticky situation without permanently harming anyone…

… and they can be great to find things in the dark, too.

 

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/glorious

Life can be too finite – Suicide Prevention Month

This topic touches me greatly.  I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no hope, like I’m just a burden that the world is better off without.   I don’t feel like that right now but I know it will come up again.  The important thing to remember is that the desire to end one’s life can happen at our lowest low points, even if we still have high points and take joy in life at other times.  Just because you see someone looking cheerful and friendly, doesn’t mean that they may have moments where they’re a hairsbreadth away from ending it all.  So be a good friend.  Be kind to others.  Your smile at the grocery store might be the one thing that gets a suicidally depressed person over their own personal crevasse and onward to a long healthy life, instead of falling down in it.

Talk about it.  Be understanding.  Know where your resources are in case you need them.  This isn’t a secret to be kept in the dark – suicide happens and it affects everyone around.  When I light that candle, in part I’ll be lighting it to show myself the way the next time I walk in darkness.

 

Original post follows.

Originally posted on My Loud Bipolar Whispers: I am posting this today to give you extra time, so you can prepare and get your candles ready, tell others about it and participate in this important world-wide event of remembrance and great love and respect and honor for the many beautiful lives lost by mental illness and… […]

via Re-blog – Suicide Prevention Month — Mah Butt Itches

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/finite/

Gazelles may fall but Grunts continue

There’s an old concept in the military.  It’s a concept often held to by strong men and women doing dangerous jobs, but it’s just as valuable for people who live gentler lives.  Artists both of brush and pen benefit when they live by this.

It’s the concept of “being a Grunt.”

A Grunt may fall many times but always gets up again.  A Grunt doesn’t let anyone stop them from eventually reaching their goal, even if they are slow to get there.  A Grunt isn’t the best in the world, not at first, but they continue until they are.  A Grunt handles failure and knows it’s not the end.

By contrast, Gazelles are naturally gifted.  They pick things up quickly and they seemingly sail by obstacles, leaping high over them.  They apparently don’t have a care in the world.  Then, something gets in their way.  But since they don’t understand what to do when they fail, they give up.  It’s over.  Meanwhile, the Grunt keeps slogging on, slowly and steadily approaching their goal.

I was a Gazelle.  I’m trying to learn to be a Grunt.

When a painting doesn’t turn out the way I wanted, I’m trying to learn to do another till I’ve achieved my goal.  When a story or article fails, I work on it till it’s good.  I’m learning that failure is not the end, it’s just a bump in the road, and the key is to continue.  To keep going.

In losing weight, in gaining health, in art, in writing, in singing, in sports, at work, and everywhere, we want to be the Gazelle… that’s natural, but we should want to be the tireless, indomitable, persistent Grunt.

The greatest artists in the world have been Grunts…

winstonchurchill124653.jpg

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/continue/