It’s the last day of April, so check me out: I’m doing my reboot check in for April before April is over. Go me!
I had this epiphany at the beginning of September: This thing that I’m doing? This series of choices I make every day? It isn’t working. I don’t like the way I feel, I don’t like the way I look, I don’t like the things I’m doing. Things need to change.
So I took a long, hard, serious look at myself, and concluded that some things needed to change.
- Drink less beer.
- Read more (and Reddit does not count as reading).
- Write more.
- Watch more movies.
- Get better sleep.
- Eat better food.
- Exercise more.
Last year, I decided to hit the reboot button on my life. I’ve checked in about once a month since then, to see how I’m doing, celebrate the victories, and identify where I can do better.
Let’s see how I’m doing after seven months.
Drink less beer – A+
So I decided to cut alcohol out of my life because I was really struggling to get the last three to five pounds of weight to fall off. It took about two months, but it totally worked! I hit my target weight goal, but instead of picking up beer again, I decided to just keep on not drinking. Now, some days I really miss having a beer or ten, or enjoying a nice drop of scotch in the evening, but I think I’ve said this before: what I get in return for giving this up massively outweighs the small sacrifice. I didn’t realize how much more time I have to do things that are not having beer or whatever until I just stopped drinking beer or whatever.
Read More (and Reddit does not count as reading) – A
This month, I’ve been doing a ton of reading, and not only have I been doing a ton of reading, I’ve been getting a ton of inspiration from the reading, which is why I wanted to read more in the first place. I’m mostly reading SF/F short stories (my Lightspeed Magazine subscription is one of the best things I’ve ever bought in my life), and I started the second book in The Expanse series. Last month, I gave myself a B on the curve because I was displeased with the lack of diversity in my reading, but considering how much stuff I have to do every day, I’m actually bending the curve in my favor and taking an A this month.
Write more. – A
I wrote two speeches since I last checked in, a bunch of intros and rules explanations for season four of Tabletop, and I did some development work on this webseries idea I’ve been kicking around for a few months. I really want to write the things that I want to write (that sounds weird but it makes sense in my head), but I’ve been kind of busy writing the things I have to write. But I’m writing, which is what matters.
Watch more movies. – A
I’ve been going through the playlist and the queue and watching, on average, three movies a week. That doesn’t seem like a lot, and it also seems like a lot. Life is weird like that. So I’ve watched some thrillers and some horror films, and Anne and I are working through the unwatched screeners we were sent during awards season. Some of the stuff I’ve watched has been great, like LOVELACE (except Franco, who was horribly miscast) and SPOTLIGHT. Some didn’t quite live up to the promise of the premise (The Child and Citadel), and some other stuff didn’t make enough of an impression on me to mention. The thing that’s been great (and the reason I wanted to do this as part of the reboot) is that I’ve gotten inspiration from everything I’ve watched. I’m getting ideas for camera work, pacing in storytelling, and other intangible things that make me want to write a script and tell a story. Even the movies that aren’t very good have something inspiring in them, and they provide a good counterweight to the ones that are spectacular. The good movies make me want to make something like them, and the bad movies make me feel like anything I do, even my dumb ideas, are worth the effort, because if this thing got made, why not my thing?
Get better sleep. – A
I was going to take this off after last time, because it feels like an easy A, but a lot of people convinced me to keep it on the list. I’m glad they did. Maybe it’s because I’m getting graded, maybe it’s because I think about it, maybe I have no idea why but I needed a third thing on this list, but I still make an effort every night to get in bed whenever I need to, so I can get between 8 and 9 hours of sleep. I’ve gotten into the habit of making good sleep a priority, and that means that if I know I have to get up at 6am for some bullshit reason, I’m going to be in bed by 10 the night before. As part of a reboot, this is successful and important, because in the pre-reboot days (preboot? nah.) I would have just stayed up late doing something I didn’t need to do, usually playing video games, and then felt like shit the entire next day. The whole reason I decided to reboot was because the way I was doing things wasn’t working for me. Not getting enough sleep was a very big part of that, and being committed to quality, restful sleep has made a huge and positive difference in my whole life. It’s something I need to remember, though, and something I need to keep working at, so it stays on the list.
Eat better food. – B
So … I’ve developed a taste for ice cream. It’s not a ton of ice cream, but it’s almost every day. It’s preferable, health and calorie and X-factor -wise to beer, but it’s extra sugar and OMG I LOVE ROCKY ROAD SO MUCH YOU GUYS.
Um. Yes. It’s a thing. On days that I run or do lots of exercise, I feel like it isn’t the biggest deal to have a scoop of ice cream, but it’s becoming a habit and I probably have to address it sooner than later.
As an aside: Nearly everyone I know has commented at some point recently that I look good. I’ve lost weight, I feel happier and generally better, and that’s all the result of this reboot really working the way that I wanted it to work. When I get complimented, I never want to be like, “Oh, yeah, I’m pretty fucking awesome,” so I say what’s mostly true: “Thanks. All I had to do was give up everything I like.” So, like, if my life is generally good, and I’m taking good care of myself, and I’m accomplishing the things that I want to accomplish, one semi-bad habit, like ice cream, isn’t the big of a problem.
Still, I could probably dial it back, and also eat fewer Red Vines (why are Red Vines so good? One answer is that they’re not fucking Twizzlers, which are goddamn disgusting).
Exercise more. – C
This is the real disappointment for me this month. A combination of work and being sick and travel and some moderate Depression flare ups have all come together to keep my running shoes in the closet. I’m doing — well, I wanted to say that I’m doing my best, but I don’t think that’s actually true. I always say that “your best” will vary from day to day, and that it’s important to be kind to yourself when your best on one day isn’t at the same level as whatever your best was on another day when you actually got the thing done … but if I’m being honest with myself, there have been several days this month when I could have said to myself, “yeah, I don’t feel like going out to run, but I’m doing it anyway” or “I’ll just walk, and maybe I’ll run once I’m out, but I am going to get off the couch and go, because it’s something I need to do.” I haven’t been committed, and partially that’s because I did my 5K and that felt like a goal, and in my mind the box was ticked. Exercise and fitness isn’t a thing with one finish line, though, and while it’s important to take days off to recover, something consistent like walking around the block or whatever every day is better (at least for me) than working out hard twice a week. So even grading on the curve, I’m giving myself a C this month. I’d give myself a D, but the travel and being sick was out of my control, so … yep. C.
Okay, let’s total this up and see how I did.
It looks like 26 points out of a possible 28 points. I got that last month, and I feel like I did better this month. This is me making the unimpressed silver medal face, even though I’m giving myself an A- instead of a B+ this time. The lack of commitment to exercise, and the excessive ice cream is really pulling my average down. That’s a bummer, but this is an ongoing process, and now I know where I need to focus on improving for next month.