24 and committed to running it.

A picture of a birthday cake.

From GraphicShunt.com.

I’m 24 now. Well, in technicality speak, I suppose I’m not 24 for another few hours…but I’m writing this after midnight, and since I don’t remember being born (nor do I care to), this is good enough for me. Typically I’m not the type for birthday celebrations and whatnot, I don’t like people changing or creating plans on my account…but tonight I’ve already had a fantastic night, and I have to say there’s something nice about having people recognize/appreciate you.

I stayed pretty low-key tonight, hanging out at a local bar with a friend of mine who is a bartender at my favorite haunt here in town. I’ve already had a fantastic night. There’s something about a bar with karaoke with no judgment that naturally conveys a fantastic atmosphere. It was also the birthday of a couple other people there, so we all had a good time together. Performed Cee-Lo Green’s F*** You (an octave too high) and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” (with a friend), and I enjoyed all of it. There’s something about that place that almost feels like a second family sometimes…maybe that’s why everything felt so fantastic tonight.

Still, at 24 I can’t say I feel like I’ve accomplished much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked for a Fortune 100 company, worked my way to promotion with a strong gaming sales company in a pretty short amount of time and all that…but as far as the things that I’m really interested in, writing and whatnot, I haven’t done a whole lot. In fact, I’d say I’ve really let myself down in this department. So, in my usual reboot-heavy fashion (which is funny considering the anti-reboot post I wrote earlier), I’ve decided to try and improve my life going into my 24th year of existence by revising the concept of my “rules for winning.”

Doing the “rules for daily winning” definitely helped me to focus on doing the general concepts of what I wanted by setting daily goals (exercising, reading, writing…), but at the end of all this, I don’t have anything to show for my work. I still remained unfocused and didn’t complete any serious projects. So now, instead of conceptually consigning myself to project completion, I’m going to set definite deadlines for the projects I’m going to tackle and complete. October will be the month where I revise and complete my book from last year’s NaNoWriMo contest, The Summoning. In November I’ll be writing an entirely new book for NaNoWriMo. December will bring about the revision and completion of my NaNo novel from the year before last, The Hero’s Accomplice. Amongst all this, I’ll be working on starting my own video game website which I plan to have launched by the end of the year. I’m sick of not living up to my potential, so this year I’ll be making it happen. I’m really hoping that, if you believe in me and my ability to make these big things happen, that you’ll cheer me on and keep me driven. I know I have a hard time staying focused in general, but I hope to change that with my 24th year here.

To all of you who’ve been here for me the last 23 years, thank you SO MUCH for everything. I couldn’t have made it to where I am without you, and I ask you to stick with me as I try to rein in my energies and focus on what’s important in the future. I hope I’ve made you proud before now, and I plan to continue doing so in the future. Here’s to another 24.

-Josh

Advertisements

I’m Working!

I’m working! I have a job! Then again, that’s not news. For those of you who haven’t been keeping track, I’ve maintained a job since June…

In case I didn’t make it clear, even though I quit the insurance job, I maintained my employment at Gamestop in the meanwhile. In fact, I’m being trained for management right now. That’s exciting, right?

In other news, I’m trying to keep working on things that aren’t my job. I’ve written slightly more often than usual, and I’ve been doing my running pretty regularly. On that note, I’m putting off today’s running. It’s rainy, it’s cold, and there’s nothing exciting about the prospect of heading out in that muck and jogging. I’ll do it anyway. Eventually.

Anyway, I’m going to get back to a bit of project planning. Just wanted to clarify!

-Josh

Running teaches you about life when you half-kill yourself…

I woke up this morning with a really tight chest. I’ve developed this poor habit of going to sleep with my fan on, then waking up in the middle of the night with a cough and whatnot because the night air coming into my room sets off some dormant asthma stuff. I like having the cool air when I go to bed. And it’s a dumb decision, really. Even so, when I woke up this morning, I knew that I needed to go running. It’s Tuesday, I try to run every other day, and the last day I ran was Sunday. Time to pay the piper.

I’m running the C25K training program, an interval training program that combines periods of running and walking to condition the body into running a 5K. Today’s task: 5 minute warm-up, 3 minutes of jogging. 1:30 walking, 5 minutes jogging, 2:30 walking, then repeat the jogging and walking with a 5 minute cool-down at the end. Daunting, but doable. At least, that’s how I felt until the end of the first 3 minute period.

I was falling apart. My calves were tightening up, my lungs were about to give out, I couldn’t maintain my breathing. Sweat got in my eyes.  All of this after 3 minutes. Doing my first walk period, I had no idea how I was going to continue. Then I heard the signal from my iPod, a mechanical woman’s commanding voice: “RUN NOW.” I started the jog again, venturing out onto a street I’d never run before to change the pace. I’d chosen the route with a plethora of hills and moderate grades. Great.

Cars buzzed past me as I huffed my way down the road. Dogs barked at me from inside houses and fenced yards, one of which was a pretty awesome collie…but that’s not the point. Steadily I progressed further and further from home, mouth drying out and heart pounding in my chest. But I kept running. By the time I reached the second rest period, I was a couple miles from home and ready to call it quits. Every inch of curb in the subdivision I was in looked like the world’s most comfortable chair, then again, sprawling out in the middle of the road didn’t sound like a bad idea either. Staring up at the afternoon sun, I folded my hands behind my head and heard MechWoman again, this time a taunt: “HALF-WAY.” Mental response: FUCK. A minute later: “RUN NOW.” Gotta love encouragement.

I saw as I started the run back that the entire route back would basically be uphill. It’s funny how you don’t notice details like that until they’re right in front of you… but going through the third walk and into the fourth run, I felt energy start to show up. Nothing vibrant or shiny, but energy nevertheless. By the time I reached the end of the fourth stage I felt completely worn out, but I could keep running. I went a little longer, using a trash can out on the street as a sort of make-shift finish line. I finished.

So, what did I learn on this run? To an extent, the same thing in every other running story: stick to the objective, stay positive, and you’ll find you’ve got more strength in you than you expected. But the real lesson, the one relevant to my life right now: sickness and problems only hold you back when you stop focusing on success. I could have woken up this morning and decided to stay in, skip running until tomorrow…or the next day…or next week…but then where would I be? It was a struggle the whole time, but it was worth it. I’m learning to fight through struggle.

I’m a commitmentphobe. Jobs, relationships, writing…the second there’s struggle on the line, I get scared and make poor choices. I’ve left good work, disappointed good people. I’ve let down good followers. I’ve hurt good friends. But I’m learning that the key to success is having the courage to commit to ideas and see them through to the end.

I’m becoming a believer in this idea: When you truly commit to success, others will commit to you; you’ll succeed together. I committed to completing today’s run and gained the energy to succeed; as I commit to other projects, I know friends and resources will help make it happen. I’m learning that I have to rely on others to make it through…and I’m becoming ok with that. We’ll struggle and succeed together.

-Josh

How do you feel about reviews?

I think I want to start a review site, I’m just not sure what kind. It’d be good to cover comics and video games, since those are my passions…just not sure how to theme a site for those. Maybe a podcast?

I’ve been pretty disorganized lately, but I’m working on getting back on track. I’ve been gone for a bit; an unexpected funeral knocked me off center for a little bit, but my sympathies go to the families of the deceased. It was quite the surprise tragedy, but the families remained very composed during the services. I have a lot of respect for them.

In the meantime, I’m starting my new “savings plan” today with my tasks, and we’ll see where we end up by the end of the week. Another post forthcoming…I’m spending today doing some idea sketching for the site and whatnot.

 

P.S. Anyone interested in maybe writing for a video game review site or comic site? Drop me an email.

-Josh

Career number two, please exit stage left.

I’ve been MIA again. When I logged in and saw the date that I posted my last blog, I was a little disappointed in myself. I spent all this time talking about how I was going to straighten up my act and get my shit together…and that’s when I proceeded to drop off the face of the map.

Many of you may know that I’d been in training for a new job as of my last post…I was selling insurance with a company here in Rockford. Your operative question right now may be, “Josh, why all the past-tense verb usage?” Well, that’s because I quit my job two days ago. I officially worked there for a grand total of a week and a day before putting packing up and shipping out. “But Josh, you were so happy with that job!” Well, I feel like I worked pretty hard to make it look like I was happy….truth be told, I think I just learned how to become better at acting. Ask my parents (whom I still live with), and they’ll tell you I was pretty miserable a good portion of the time.

“Josh, why?” Great question. Honestly, selling insurance is not a job, it’s a career. It’s a lifestyle choice, really.  It involves full-time commitment, and a certain level of integrity and devotion if you’re going to do it right. Maybe it’s that way with all dedicated sales jobs. Especially for those first few months, it feels like every waking hour should be dedicated to building your business. And though I’d like to put in that sort of dedication to SOMETHING, I know I didn’t want it to be insurance. I couldn’t pick up a game controller or a pen to write and not feel guilty about it…that was the sure sign there was a problem.

I had plenty of other factors that came into play to make me decide to drop the job, but the chief one was actually thinking about a close we were supposed to use if someone tried to object to purchasing. Since insurance is dependent on the health quality of the individual becoming insured, we would tell them that we understood the financial reasons whu someone would put off purchasing, but you never know what tomorrow could bring. For some people, tomorrow would bring uninsurability. By the time you need insurance, it’s too late to purchase it. I started thinking about those concepts in my life…I was putting off writing and gaming as a passion and career even though there is no guarantee I’ll get “enough time” to get to it. It just felt wrong. All the time.

As far as you all are concerned, I realize I wasn’t writing because I know I’d feel like I was lying if I wrote happy posts, and I try not to be too emo here. Part of being a salesperson is never showing weakness, always being upbeat and positive…and these last couple weeks, I’ve concurrently been at my lowest. I’ve felt dishonest, dirty, and lonely. Dealing with those feelings alone can be devastating. I guess it kinda was, actually. But I’ve felt like I’ve been on the upswing in the couple days since I left, and I’m working on improving my dedication to my craft. I’m writing again, and the ideas are starting to flow more frequently through my mind. It’s a positive experience.

In the meantime, I need to start tracking my wins and losses again. I haven’t even flipped my calendar in two weeks…I’ve been pretty busy/lazy about it. I’m revising a couple rules for my next session:

  • Removing the game purchasing rule. I want to make a career out of games one way or another…I need to be buying games to stay current. I need to see purchases less as wasteful spending and more as career investment…but this also means I have to put enough time into playing them to make it worthwhile.
  • Changing the requirements for winning. I used to figure that I had to do ALL of the daily events to “win,” but now that I’ve done a couple weeks of it, I’ve seen the fatal flaw in that logic: if I knew I couldn’t complete one task, I’d stop caring about finishing the others since I knew I was going to “lose.” That’s not okay. Instead, I’m now going to make the goal to complete 5/6 each day to win.
  • Incentivizing the game. Sure, it’s good to “win,” but what’s the point? I need to create a reason for winning…so I’ve created my own savings plan. Each day I win I’ll put a dollar into my savings account….but each day I lose, I’ll be adding an additional dollar for each item I fall short…if I only do 3, then I’ll add 3 dollars to my savings account (1 base dollar plus 2 short of winning.) This’ll encourage me to get my stuff done so I can actually use my money. I haven’t come up with a reward for winning all week…but that hasn’t been a problem I’ve had yet, lol.

Anyway, we’ll see how this all plays out. I’m now on a nationwide search for my next job, looking for something that’ll really satisfy me and encourage me to stick around for more than a few months. Let’s see how it all plays out.

-Josh