James Olon

In Like a Lion

February was a really good month, I managed to run 26.5 miles. And I signed up for two 5K’s one this month and one in may. I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. My longest run was 3.5 miles and I did it in 36 minutes. Thats not too bad. Now that its the 8th of March and I haven’t ran all month, but it has just been bitter cold out. I’m starting back up on Monday when the weather improves.

That brings us to March. In like a lion. March really creeped up on me. I hardly had time to find something to do for the month. I finally decided on productivity. For a long time I wrote everything down, reminders, dates, and todo’s. Mid February I started reading David Allen’s GTD book and I realized that my “system” wasn’t really working for me. So I went all in on digital. Things 3 to be exact. It really seems to be working well for me. Between things and fantastical my time and tasks finally feel under control. I’ll do a follow up post later this month and detail my workflow . It was important to me to get this little bit out there, I needed the accountability. I’ve also dipped my toe into making art again. More on that to come as well.

Social Status

For the month of January I deleted all my social media apps off of my phone and signed out of them on all my devices. This was my last post of 2018. I wanted to do this for a few reasons, namely it was the first time I publicly spoke about my alcoholism and my mental health issues. I wanted to put it out there and just kinda walk away from it. The other reason is I waste so much of my time scrolling through feeds it makes me feel like a zombie. I wanted to pick up a book or spent more time with my family instead of having my soul taken by my phone.

At first it was really hard, I wanted to know what people were saying about my post, if they were saying anything at all. I wanted to know what was going on in the world, twitter is my portal into the news and what my friends are doing, I wanted to share the cool pictures I was taking of all the real life stuff I was doing. I felt like I was missing out for sure. I set up an RSS reader app to try and stay up on the news and current events, and that worked well until it didn’t.

At some point towards the end of the month I lost interest in trying to be up to date on everything, I started not to miss instagram and twitter. I noticed that even in theory short form updates and snapshots just didn’t interest me anymore. It lacks depth, and substance. That being said I did stay up until midnight on the 1st so I could check all the things. I didn’t get the feeling that I used to get when doing that. It all seemed like static. I purged myself of social media for a month and I think it cured me. Sure I’ve checked them the last few days, but I haven’t been as interested in them, I’m not living through them. And I think thats a good thing and its something that will stick with me.

February Run Update

So, I have a bit of an update on my run everyday in February deal. First of all I really love running. Theres just something about it for me right now, like it has been the missing piece of my puzzle. Now Ive only ran twice but it has already made this impact on me. Friday was the 1st, I went to a big box sporting goods store and bought a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19’s they felt comfortable enough and did really well for my first run, 15 minutes 1.17 miles. It only occurred to me after that first run that I should have done a little more research on my running shoe. I don’t want to use something that could be painful in the long run. So I went to a local running store and got myself fitted properly. Turns out the GTS was a support shoe and I needed a natural shoe, the brooks Levitate 2 was the most comfortable one that I was shown. My Saturday run, 15 minutes 1.20 miles confirmed that it was intact the right move.

Saturday night I was very sore, which I had expected. I talked with my wife and we decided that if I run everyday a few things can and will happen. I’ll get hurt, a pulled muscle, shin splints some kind of injury will be inevitable. And most importantly I’ll burn out, and hate running. After some research and thinking I decided to buy a couch to 5K app and use it as a template for my running schedule. Three days of running a week to start. I think thats a good way to go. There happens to be a local 5K next month that I want to do so that works out. I ran a 5K about 10 years ago back when I was slimmer and smoking a pack a day so surely doing one now that I don’t smoke shouldn’t be a problem.

My thought process for a monthly “challenge” for lack of a better word, is to improve my self. So even if I only run once or twice a week for the next year I consider it a win. I’m still reading frequently I’m still taking time away from social media (that will be my next post) I’m committing to these things for a month and they are becoming part of my life after the month is up.

“Better”

Lots of people, myself included do certain things during the first month of the year that they wouldn’t do otherwise. “Dry January” for instance, not drinking for the entire month. Or maybe they do whole 30 for the month. And less often people start the year off with high hopes of making them self a “better” person. Make no mistake. These are great things to do but more often than not they don’t last. For example I’ve desperately tried for years to have a proper blog. Only for it to fall by the wayside in March. And if you’re reading this in March and it’s the most recent entry then, well you hey my point.

Last year I set out to do Dry January. I always over do it between Halloween and Christmas. About midway into the first month of 2018 I realized that the running joke I had with my friends and family that I was just a “super high functioning alcoholic” was actually tue and not remotely funny. As the month ended I just kept on not drinking. I didn’t go to meetings, I didn’t try to make a big deal out of it and it took a few months for me “dry out”. That’s a story for another time. The point I’m trying to make here is after just 15 or so days of not drinking I realized how much better my life could be going forward. I didn’t really think about it that way until last month. That’s when it all clicked.

I decided I wanted to try and see what other long term improvements I could make. So I made a list, then another and then finally I came up with something that made sense. Short term and long term. This past month I “gave up” social media. I deleted all the apps from my phone and signed out of them on my phone, tablet and desktop. It was hard at first but it allowed me to put down and be away from my phone more. The long term result being that I can in fact live without them. That was my short term goal for the year. 31 days with out my face buried in my phone. Now for the long term. Reading. Reading an actual book. 1 a month for the year no matter what. Even if I don’t like the book. And so far that’s going much better than I would have expected. I’m on my 3rd one of the year and it’s still January.

With it being the end of January I’ve now been thinking of something positive I could do for the month of February that would have the potential to become a new good habit. Running. I plan to run for 15 minutes everyday. Rain or shine, hot or cold, I will run everyday for 15 minutes. I used to run, but that was 70lbs ago. I remember liking it so there’s that. I still plan on reading and not spending too much time on social media (I’m gonna blog more about that soon.) And I’m gonna stick with blogging more. It’s nice even if nobody reads it.

Night

I finished reading the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel today. I knew what it was about and I knew about the author but I never put 2 and 2 together. What a grim book. What a grim thing to have happened. Amazing is a word saved for great things but in this case, his story is just that. Amazing. Amazingly tragic.

I was deeply saddened by this book and yet I couldn’t stop reading it. It really was as if I was there with young Elie and his father. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the “trilogy”

New year, newish me.

One of the things that I wanted to do this year is read more books. I read plenty of stuff on the web but I’ve struggled in the past to finish any book I start. That’s a shame. I have a good friend that has written 2 books and is working on his 3rd. I’m proud to say that before the end of the year I read the first one and a few hours ago I finished the second one. I’m planning on starting my first full book of the new year in just a few minutes. Quitting social media has been really liberating as far has having all this “extra” time.