Day 166 – A full day

I worked hard today.

I did a variety of tasks at work, I went hard in the gym and now I’m tired. It’s a full day, and I’m doing a semi-decent job of stringing together those full days where I feel accomplished and tired at the end. This, kiddos, is how we grow.

I’m also working on more fiction, so please forgive the brief post for today. 🙂

Day 165 – New rock, happy Adam

Modern rock isn’t in a great place.

It’s place in radio has gone away, replaced by endless pop, most of which sucks. Hence why I spend so much time listening to the classics — modern rock music stinks. (Most of it anyway.)

But then, just as you sense the darkness creeping in, as all hope fades and you begin to accept a new, tragic reality … a light.

Royal Blood.

A two-member outfit from England, these dudes don’t sound like anyone I’ve ever heard and I love it. Notice what the singer is holding — that’s a bass guitar. There is no six-string to be found, so that interesting riffing comes from a bunch of distortions and amplifier tricks.

It’s distinct as heck, giving them a deep sound that mixes well with his vocals. I found them from an awesome Spotify playlist called “Dirty Rock”, and I doubt I can craft a better name for their sound than that.

New album drops this week, too. My Spotify is ready.

Day 164 – Recharge

I wish I had it in me to grind every single day, and perhaps in someways I do, but not physically. As I learn more and more at my job, I simply don’t always have the will power left to push through a tough workout too. It’s cool that I can do more, but frustrating that I can’t always do it all.

But rest has its place — always. And so I do, while catching up on other important tasks and refilling the tank. I heard NBA legend Steve Nash discuss sleep in that way — one can refill the tank by catching naps or going to bed earlier. You can regain what was lost, in a sense.

So, that’s my plan. Not everyday can be spent in the gym, but everyday should be productive. Today, I was. (I think.)

Plus, I burned the candle hard last night, so letting my legs recover is a solid idea. When everything is aching, let it heal.

Then do it again! 🙂

Day 163 – A taste of fiction

I promised some fiction, and here it is. I’ve been listening to a lot of Pearl Jam lately, so perhaps that inspired this. I’m not sure where it came from, but I wanted to share it with y’all.

Enjoy.

Everything built to one moment, an unfortunate series of events and deceptions that gave birth to a terrible mistake. Suddenly, what was once shrouded by the dusk had come into the light. Sunshine worked through, and yet even with the brightest reveal, there was nothing to find.

I knew I was vulnerable, surrounded on all sides by forces I recognized and a few I didn’t. I felt like a boxer who realized too late the mistake he’d made – that span of time where all is slow and you see the crushing blow moving in. I cannot duck, I cannot turn, I cannot avoid. All there is to do now is hurt.

But what I did not know is how little would remain after the storms crashed on the shore. All is gone, everything that once stood supposedly strong, leaving nothing but the ache of old memories and the sting of a future washed away. No joy, no pleasantries. Just the ache.

But, no. There is in fact more, however I’d prefer not acknowledge it. There’s anger. A dull, omnipresent ache may eventually breed a kind of tolerance, but that comes only after a period of rage. I feel it inside me, a desire to send a receipt for the wounds that linger. But what does that make me? Is that the person I wish to be, responding to offenses with harsher blows of my own? Shall I brawl for the sake of brawling?

The truth is, if I allow myself to return fire, I’ll be something worse. I’ll be someone worse.

I’ll be you.

I have learned. I have grown. I have left you behind.

Day 162 – Battle: A disc golf story

Disc golf story time. Indulge me.

Like with any sport, somedays ya got it and some days ya don’t. The shots don’t always fall. Yesterday was one of those days.

I play at Englewood’s course at the Metropark, right along the dam. It’s my home away from home, a course I know quite well. I’ve walked many miles there. I walk onto the course knowing where the tough holes are and remembering successes and failures.

I warm up like always, throwing some putts, stretching and playing a warmup hole. The idea is to just be loose and comfortable. I don’t want to walk up to hole 1 feeling tight.

I walked up to that teepad feeling just as I wanted. A hint of anxiety rolls me up each time, regardless of situation or tournament. I categorically never accept a bogey — I want pars and birdies only. That goal is in my head the entire time. Par or better is acceptable.

The first hole can set the tone for the whole round. I can’t do better than par right now on Hole 1 (it’s too long — I don’t have the arm), but an easy par is a great mental boost and builds confidence.

The drive is slightly downhill but arrow straight. I recognize this. It hasn’t changed. And yet, there’s always the risk of an errant throw.

My first drive yesterday was not great, but not bad either. I landed in the fairway but a tad short, meaning my approach shot to the basket had to be great to ensure the par. It was probably 150 feet or more, which isn’t impossible but does require a tad more power.

That’s tricky — more power might mean (for an amateur like me) a change in mechanics, which can cause one of those errant tosses. That’s what happened.

Adam through one hole? +1.

That sucks. I knew the next few holes were easy and offered birdie opportunities, but in the moment, it sucks.

I easily par Holes 2 and 3. Hole 4 offers a birdie opportunity, provided I throw a low, straight drive. I do just that, but it ends up about 3 feet shorter than I needed it, leaving me putting awkwardly off the edge of a valley right below the basket. I miss the putt. Still +1.

Hole 5 can be birdied, but again my drive was off. Same on Hole 6. +1.

Hole 7 is tricky, a short but very narrow uphill drive that takes touch. My drive sucks again — by now this is a trend that I am very much aware of — but I salvage par. +1.

Hole 8 is easy, and I par it. Hole 9 is a bit harder, and I have a long look at birdie (like 60 feet) but I miss. +1.

Hole 10 is the longest on the course, flat and with a slight bend to the left at the end. If I screw up my drive, I have virtually no chance to save par. The pressure is on. I throw a solid if unspectacular drive that affords me a relatively easy approach. Unfortunately, my approach doesn’t put me in a spot for an easy putt (that’s always the goal with approaches — make the putt easy). From about 25 feet out, I drain the putt. Phew. +1.

Hole 11 can be birdied! I evidently chose not to! +1.

Hole 12 is the easiest birdie on the course, but following my newly established tradition, I screw up the drive and take par. By now it’s clear that my throws are off and I’ll need to grind out par or better. I’ve got 6 holes to do it, one of which is pretty hard. +1.

Hole 13 sees me overthrow (too much anhyzer, which basically means the shot breaks too far to the right) but I grab par. Hole 14 is the toughie, another long one. My drive is pretty decent, but my approach is too long. I find myself on the edge of the rough, facing about a 17-foot putt. No problem? Wrong. The disc clangs off the top of the basket.

Ugh. +2.

Remember, my goal is par or better. I’ve got 4 holes left to make up two strokes. The remaining holes are all birdie looks, but I can’t do anything right. The frustration is mounting.

Hole 15 is short but narrow if you want a birdie, all while being uphill at the end. My drive starts out way too far out to the right, but settles in 5 feet away from the basket. Birdie. +1. Good.

Confidence plays a role in sports. Look at Steph Curry, launching 3-pointers from 40 feet out. Look at quarterbacks stepping into tight throws. My confidence rose after Hole 15, and it carried right into an excellent near-ace drive on Hole 16.

Even.

Hole 17 is long and breaks right at the end, meaning I need to essentially mirror my ideal drive from Hole 5 (long, late movement to the right). I get the long part, but not the right, giving me a long look at bird. Disc clangs off the cage. Even.

Ah, but hope abounds. Hole 18 is my surest birdie on the course, a hole I’ve dropped in deuces probably a hundred times. If I throw my drive out to the right, it’ll fade in nicely to the basket, roughly 220 or so feet away.

Well, that didn’t happen. The shot wasn’t wide enough, but the late action left me with a solid 15-foot approach. Birdie. -1.

I certainly felt relief. That was a battle, a mental game the whole way where I had to grind through terrible shots and frustrating putts. But I did so.

Broke par.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 161 – Inadequacy

The mind can be a terrible place.

Deep inside all of us, be it you, me, President Trump, The Rock or anyone else, lingers a dangerous and deceitful thought. This notion is not complex, but it’s cunning, waiting for the right moment to strike, emboldened by the Devil and unleashed by sin.

That thought is simply this: you aren’t good enough.

You aren’t smart enough. You aren’t fast enough. If you’re a girl, you aren’t thin enough. You aren’t pretty enough. You don’t dress well enough. And as a result, of course — no guy will ever pursue you.

If you’re a mother, you probably stink at that too.

For guys, you aren’t handsome enough. You aren’t strong enough. You don’t know how to dress either, and so guess what? No girl will ever be interested in you.

If you’re a dad, you probably suck at that.

These thoughts are a mighty foe, prevalent all the time, working to undermine what God has provided for you. This doesn’t even consider the nasty threat of comparison, which only enhances these feelings of inadequacy.

There’s a couple things to consider here. For one, we are all different, and so of course at times someone will be taller, faster, prettier or whatever. That’s unavoidable, and to be honest, it’s for the best. The answer isn’t, of course, to normalize everyone but to realize that those same differences apply to everyone. I’m not as good at basketball as LeBron James, but I bet he totally sucks at SQL.

I don’t want this to sound like a half-baked self-help book, but self-confidence is a thing. We should have it, especially if we’re striving to be productive people. If we are growing, then there’s nothing legitimate to feel down about. That said, as humans, we’ll find a way to batter ourselves down.

What to do, then? Well, pray. But also, we should strive to encourage one another and to exist in a community (ideally, the church) were we do not focus on trite things like appearance. The Apostle Paul ordered — yes, those were orders — his churches to continually encourage one another for good reason. We need it.

We need to be told we’re doing a good job, that we’re good enough. We need to be reminded that we are loved by a God who exudes compassion.

I promise you … you are good enough.

 

Day 160 – Move the needle

I walked into the gym tired after a long week. My workout wasn’t off the charts, but it was hard and lasted about an hour, so the calorie burn was sufficient to have me dozing during the 2nd quarter of Game 4 tonight.

It felt good to get in there and really sweat again. Yesterday, the allure of disc golf called me to the park, where I combined a decent walk with a full round (roughly 100 minutes of movement). Not bad, but also not the kind of thing that moves the needle a lot.

Today? Today I moved the needle.

Day 159 – I’m back

In 1995, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA with a simple message.

“I’m back.”

Image result for michael jordan i'm back

Well, this isn’t 1995 and I’m not Michael Jordan, but I’m back at the gym tonight after life conspired against me (for good reasons!) the last few days. I know I’ve lost a bit of ground the last few weeks, but that happens. I’m ready to start kicking butt again, and it starts tonight.

Let’s go.

Day 158 – SQL!

Structured Query Language.

Do you know it? Some of you will, I’m sure. Most of you won’t. That’s fine.

I work with it nearly everyday in my job, primarily pulling reports or finding lists of people. SQL is used in databases — read: where your information is stored — to retrieve and manipulate data. The syntax is simple — it sort of reads like English — and it can be fairly powerful in the right situation.

I find databases interesting simply because every single application in the world uses one, so it provides a skillset that applies everywhere. Now, you can get into the weeds about what kind of database or which database language, yadda yadda yadda. It all effectively works the same (sort of) because the general theories apply all over (basically).

It’s fun learning about stuff you actually enjoy doing. I’m not sure what discipline of IT I’ll want to be in for years to come, but it’s an experience figuring that out.

Day 157 – Concert

I got to rock out last night.

My dad and I saw Sammy Hagar and The Circle last night, and it was awesome. I’m a huge fan of classic rock, in particular Van Halen but not limited to them. So seeing Sammy was a big deal for me, and he didn’t disappoint.

Next on the list? The Gettys. (Then probably Metallica.)