Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Current Physical Status

Since announcing the change of direction I've written a post regarding some life lessons, one on goal writing, and one on overcoming some issues but have done nothing specific pertaining to health, wellness, training, or anything along those lines.  A couple of the upcoming posts do discuss those topics but to do that without first presenting where things currently are would be a mistake at best and downright dumb at worst.

Where I started

As I mentioned in a prior post, I'm now on the backside of recovery from both back surgery and an injury occurred while working in the woods this past summer.  As of this morning my body weight is at 310, up 17lbs from my December 2015 pre-surgery weight of 293 (picture in shorts) and down from a high of 314 a few weeks ago.  I'm back to working out 3 days per week, have made some serious adjustments to my diet, added some walking in this week, and am spending more time working and on my feet in the past few months than I had in pretty much the entirety of the previous year.  To only have gained 17 lbs makes me pretty happy given my lack of physical activity and poor eating habits (some of which I actually do not even remember!)

Where do I want to go with this?  A year ago I wrote a goal body weight of  225.  That still holds true because I believe I'd be in ball park of being my best physical self.  I may add a body fat percentage in the future as well but I'm not there yet.  I want to be able to run a sub 7:00 minute mile, ruck 4 miles with a 35lb plus pack in under an hour and hit 400, 500, 600 on the bench, squat, and deadlift. Again, I may add something, in this case some sort of overhead pressing movement, but I'm not at a stage yet where I feel I can accurately gauge what that amount would be.  Currently I'm structuring my workouts to really focus on strengthening weak areas; namely my back, and increasing mobility.  I've taken the repeated advice I've seen and am sure to add in specific movements that I hate but understand are needed; bear crawls and Turkish get-ups for example.  I'm also working around the equipment I don't have in my home gym and probably getting close to needing to find somewhere to do a few things or investing in some more equipment. However, for now I'm making due and getting a proper sweat and soreness so I can't complain too much.
Squat rack needs some new parts and I'm
out of weights but thus far I've been adapting
as needed.

So there you have it; my starting point.  Well, kind of.  I was more than a few weeks into working out again before I sat down to "pen" this post but it's close enough I think.  Plus, I'm still well into obese so visual changes will continue to be illuminated.  I expect, and am hoping you, the reader, are interested seeing the not so positive moments as well because journey's rarely go smoothly and/or as expected and I believe it's important for you to see that as well. The reason I'm sharing my current pictures now (instead of waiting) and the reason I want you to see my failures as much as my successes is because all too often we get this picture of people who've made changes as superhero's who never had a down day.  Who didn't struggle and yet magically transformed. Sometimes that's done intentionally to sell a product but often it's because, understandably, it's scary to show our warts.  Inspiration can absolutely be had seeing someones before and afters but what can also happen, is if it doesn't happen as fast as we think it should or if there's a setback, we give up. I believe some of that can be attributed to not understanding that the journey will be long and arduous and won't be completed yesterday.  Yes, you can drop weight fast though extreme means and by following diets similar to specific athletes but it doesn't (and likely won't) mean you'll keep those changes long term.  Being mentally ready and working your mindset daily is just as important as following your dietary and workout plans.

And with that, my personal journey is underway..  


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Whoops, I Slipped

I've never written something short and to the point here but I think today might be the day.  I have 6 other posts I've begun and are in varying states of completion but rather than editing or otherwise finishing any of those today, I think this one has more value.  Why? Because it was only a couple weeks ago I laid out some ideas for goal setting and I'd already caught myself disregarding them and falling back into bad habits. No kidding.  As usual, it happened so fast I didn't even realize what I was doing until one day while attempting to complete a task, the light came on that I'd taken on so many things at once I was really neglecting them all. I almost missed a workout day last week, things I needed to complete I didn't (including a blog post), and while I felt like I was getting much done, when I sat down and really looked at things, I had accomplished a minimal amount.  On top of that my brain was fried because I was trying to learn too many new subjects and ideas at once.  Also, I won't lie, the whole election thing has worn on me too.  Not because of who was elected because I didn't like either candidate but what it's done to many people both around me and around the country.  When you're goal is to get yourself into a position to help others and you see so many people fighting, it can be taxing, no shit.

Anyways, the biggest hurdle was behind me.  I acknowledged what I was doing didn't fit with my plan.  So, what now? I had to take some time to consider once again what would best aid both my short and long term plans and devote my time to those things while putting others on the back burner.  There are some tasks that are necessary like working out, home maintenance, getting the family to appointments and family time, plowing the driveway and working on the house, that are ever present.  Those are fixed time consumers; that is, they are things we automatically build into our day and/or take precedence over other activities.  We all have those (though they're not all the same), it was the remainder of the time I wasn't utilizing properly.  I mentioned it to Shawna to verify my feeling was reality and she did just that so after some discussion and reevaluation, I began this week much clearer and with a much more defined plan of attack.  It wasn't that hard once I narrowed down the what and why's.  I'm an assistant football coach so insuring I'm continually learning about that subject is important to both myself, the other coaches, and the players.  I'm working on other training and teaching goals, so studying and learning anatomy is important (this can also aid the football coaching too but I'll tough on that down the road).  I need to take the next steps regarding my first novel.

There are a couple others not listed but I also had to put some ideas on the back burner.  I'm not going to take a business step right now that I want to get off the ground because I decided I'm neither in the position to make it viable nor do I have the time to devote currently.  It's not dead, it's just waiting for me to finish the foundation, which completion of my current goals will go a long way toward.  I'm not going forward currently with beginning my next novel.  I'm still writing ideas and taking my recorder with me so when inspiration hits I can save it for later, but while I'd like to have the time to devote to it, I've made the decision to focus on my other goals first.  Funny enough, when I sat down to consider this I realized that again, completion of my short term goals will aid this long term one.  Funny how that works isn't it?

So, short story a little longer than planned, if you fall off the goal wagon it's OK.  It's going to happen to most people somewhere along the line.  What I'm finding separates the successful from the unsuccessful is the ability to admit that you're no longer on your path and adjusting accordingly.  Sometime it'll be your fault, sometimes life but acknowledgement that what you're doing isn't working is the key.  Once you've crossed that threshold getting back on the path to improvement is just a reevaluation away.          

Saturday, January 14, 2017

34 Things I've Learned By 34

I turned 34 this week and thought it may be fun to list some things I've learned in those years.  Some of these you've undoubtedly heard before, some will be funny, and others serious but hopefully there will be at least one of two that make you think.

1.)  Put your grocery cart/wagon in the cart corral or take it back in the store when you're done:
I'm sure the associate was excited to retrieve this..
Seriously, no one wants their car hit by a roving cart and the associates who bring them back inside don't need to be out chasing them on cold, wet, windy days.  Not only that, in areas that receive snow, trust me when I tell you that the plow guys get just a little pissed off when they have to stop, get out, and move carts out of the way.  Don't be an ass and put your cart in a dedicated area.

2.)  Don't use the handicap plate or placard if you're not handicap: 
We have a placard for Shawna.  Not only do I not use it when she's not with me, there are many times when I'll drop her off at the door and go park toward the back of the lot because if we don't need to use it, there's no sense occupying a spot someone may require more.  Again, don't be an ass.

3.)  Spend time being physically active:
I know I'm moving this toward a health/fitness/wellness type blog but for this, just be active.  Go outside, find something physical you enjoy and do it.  Use all you're muscles not just the ones that run the computer and TV remote.

4.)  Never stop learning:
Find something you enjoy and study it until you feel confident your understand it.  Pursue something that will have you learning for life.  Move onto new subjects as the desire to do so arises.  There is no right way to keep learning so find what works for you and get after it!

5.)  Navigate Social Media with Caution:
Social media can be fantastic.  You can reconnect with people, keep up with friends and family across the planet, spread love, joy, information, and .  However, it can also be used to misinform, bully, promote ignorance and harm others.  And for Christs sake, really consider whether or not to click, "comments".  

6.)  Players win games and coaches lose them:
Pretty much every coach I've ever talked to worth a shit says the same thing and after a couple years on the sideline, I couldn't agree more.

7.)  Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard:
Yeah I know, it's a bit cliche' but I've also seen it.  You can get away with running on talent for awhile, but eventually the field catches up to you if you're putting in the work.

8.)  Accept that your experiences are not the same as others:
I live in Maine, I cannot know what life is really like in the city any more than someone who lives in the city can know what it's like to live like I do. This, of course, is a very simple example but you get the point.  If we start discussions with the understanding that people's experiences shape them and their views and their experiences are not the same as ours, we'll have crossed an incredible barrier to improving ourselves and our society.

9.)  Living in the past and acknowledging experiences before making future decisions are not the same: 
It's important to acknowledge your past but don't dwell on it and don't let it hold you back. You're not the person you were yesterday.

10.)  It's OK to agree with someone you generally disagree with and OK to disagree with people you generally agree with:
This happens in politics ALL THE TIME so I'll use that as an example.  Just because you voted for a person or party doesn't mean you need to follow them lockstep and even if you didn't vote for person A, it's OK to acknowledge when they do something right/you agree with.  This happens in other areas of life as well but as I said, politics is an easy example.

11.)  If you disagree with someone close to you, it's often best to do so in private:
It's OK to disagree with someone close to you but some ways to do so are better than others.  If I disagree with my wife on something regarding The Teen, I try to have that conversation with her in private.  Such things can also happen in regards to your job and other activities.  Proceed with caution when handling disagreements publicly.

12.)  When you're angry, don't hit send:
Ever been irate and written a letter, email, or DM that you regretted later?  I have.  Next time it happens, sit on that bad boy for a day before sending it.  If, after 24 hours, you still feel it's appropriate, send it. However, in general, I'm willing to bet that delete button will serve you better in the majority of situations.

13.)  Some friends are family and some blood is mud:
Just because someone is technically related, doesn't mean that you're somehow beholden to them contrary to what others (generally other family) may tell you. Choose your family predicated on behaviors, morals, and other traits you deem appropriate, necessary, and of value.

14.)  The busier you are, the less room you have for bullshit:
I've noticed that, in general, the people who get most upset and/or offended about stupid shit don't have much else going on in life.  When you're running a company, a household, volunteering to help others, and trying to keep up with daily life, ect, you have little time to concern yourself with things that don't directly affect you.  I'm not saying it never happens, I'm just saying when you look at who's telling you to be angry about things they generally have time other's don't.

15.)  When it comes to relationships, find someone who makes you not only happy, but challenges you and helps you improve:
I wanted to write "makes you better" but I don't think anyone should make you better, you need to do that yourself.  What you should be looking for is someone who you believe in, who believes in you, who makes you want chase you dreams, and gives you the confidence to do so.  Who challenges you on multiple levels but not to the point where you feel on the defensive constantly.  I'm sure I'm missing a few things overview but the short of it is to simply find someone who'll help you attain your best you.  And this doesn't just go for romantic relationships.  Surround yourself with people who add value to your life.

16.)  There is far more gray in the world than black or white:
You wouldn't know that when you get on the internet where making definitive statements, particularly with the CAPS BUTTON ON, is the norm and where rather than spreading our wings we've instead created societal bubbles and echo chambers but the information is there for those willing to seek it.  Look outside your own thoughts and ideas from time to time and see how big the world is.  You might be surprised.

17.)  Being defensive sucks:
And not just for the person dealing with you, this wears on a person over time.  This was me for years and is something I still struggle with from time to time. The reality is that I'm not alone.  No one likes to be told that they're incorrect or that they're doing something wrong and often our first reaction to defend ourselves. When that happens try to take a deep breath and understand what the person is actually telling you.  Perhaps you'll take whatever advice they're offering and perhaps you won't but it doesn't hurt you to listen.

18.)  Write your goals down with details:
In an earlier post I discussed goal writing, so I won't get into too much detail here but don't just wing it. Have a plan and execute it.

19.)  The older I get, the more wisdom the adults in my life have obtained:
Never mind gaining my own wisdom, my parents and grandparents somehow went from knowing absolutely nothing during my childhood to looking like geniuses now.  They seem to have the ability to predict what's going to happen.  I have no idea how they've done it but my guess is, it's because they finally got the internet..

20.)  There are truths about cold weather:
I'd rather be cold than hot.  I can put more clothes on if I'm cold.  I can only take so much off before violating the law when it's hot.  Once you get below -20'F, it really doesn't matter:  Once it's that cold I honestly couldn't tell the difference (coldest I've was -38'F ambient air temp).  However, when a strong wind is added to any temp below 40'F, you get colder faster than if the temperature was instead lower.  Finally, there is no heat like wood heat, especially if you've spent a significant amount of time being cold.

21.)  Being angry requires a lot of energy:
Anger is absolutely a valid emotion that seems to be used far to often.  It seems like people seek out reasons to be angry and upset in our current society and it's unfortunate. It eats energy like a body builder scarfing their first cheat meal after a competition (that's a lottttt if you're unaware of the reference).  When you find something that gets under your skin, ask yourself if it's really worth your energy to focus on it.  I mean, do you really, actually, give a shit if someone is wearing white after labor day? (Is that reference too old?..)

22.)  Holding grudges is no way to go through life:
Similar to anger, holding a grudge eats a lot of energy. This is not to say that you must interact with whomever you've had issues with but don't hold onto that hurt/anger because chances are it's either a.) affecting you more than them, or b.) could be put to bed with a discussion.

23.)  Limit your time in front of the boob tube:
Listen, I love TV.  This morning I watched an interesting program about the redwoods of California.  But the truth is I've spent large portions of my life loving TV too much.  Turn it off.  Get outside, find new things to do.  Read a book.  Listen to a podcast. Start a new project.    

24.)  The one common denominator in an individuals problems looks at them each morning in the mirror:
I'm planning to cover this further in a later post but needless to say, once a person realizes that they're the one thing involved in every decision, disaster, failure, and success they have, life can truly begin to change.

25.)  It's easier to avoid addictions than recover from them:
I'm careful with my alcohol consumption because there's a history in my family of issues with it.  Quitting chewing tobacco sucked ass.  Opiate addiction in Maine and other areas of the country is exploding which is why I avoided them all together following my back surgery.  Avoidance isn't always the best policy but if you can avoid addictions, I'd advise it.  If you're already in an addictive state, please get help if you're ready.  If you need someone to talk to, don't hesitate to reach out.  If I don't have the resources I'll do my best to help point you in the right direction.

26.)  Change is hard but can be done:
I'm absolutely not the same person I was 10 years ago.  Some of it is the natural progression of maturity and attainment of knowledge but I'm also not going to reduce the amount of self analyzing, intentional procurement of specific information, and genuine work to the simple passing of years.  I had to face many hard revelations, admit some harsh truths, and own up to a lot of mistakes and poor judgments I made.  I had to take a real, honest look at myself in the mirror and break myself down. It's not pleasant in the least to admit the worst qualities about oneself but God damn if it's not required to make a complete and total life change.  And in the end, it's all worth it.

27.)  Being polite and using terms like Please and Thank You goes a long way with people:
It's really not that hard to say please and thank you, hold the door open for someone entering behind you, or warn someone that it's icy just outside the door but Christ, sometimes it seems like everyone has forgotten what's it's like to be polite and extend some humanity.

28.)  Proficiency based learning and common core suck:
My step-son is a freshman in high school and I can't stand they way they do things.  Not only that, I think it's detrimental to the upcoming generation.  All learning seems to be done simply to prepare for state and national testing.  Kids are graduating without knowledge of how to cook, clean, change a tire, balance a checkbook, save money, or think critically (to list just a few).  Yes, I know as parents we're not just supposed to rely on the schools to teach everything but there are days when he comes home and I can't tell if he learned anything valuable at all.  And I'm not putting that on the majority of teachers because I've talked to enough to know many of them hate it too.  And yes, this is 100% me bitching about something that drives me nuts but it's also true so it fits with today's theme.

29.)  Be your own medical advocate:
There are a lot of good medical professionals out there but like any profession there are some that aren't so good too.  I've had a couple that didn't just advise I take pain medication for injuries, but were actively pushing me to do so when I refused them.  I've been in appointments where Doctors tried to brush Shawna off and we had to say something or push our points.  It's your life and your body, make sure you're advocating for yourself because if you don't, no one else will.

30.)  Wear safety gear when doing dangerous activities: 
 I'm not sure I'd be here if I were wearing my logging helmet this past summer.  I'd spent a lot of time cutting without one but on that day, I'd made the decision to wear it thankfully.  I won't be taking tree's down without one on again I can tell you that.  It's not that difficult to put on a helmet or strap your seat belt on so do yourself a favor and do so.  I won't tell you to do it because you're an adult, but if you're reading this I want you around so you can continue keeping the traffic numbers up on my blog..

31.)  As parents we need to discuss and promote all types of post secondary education:
For too long the only thing parents and high schools have promoted are four year colleges and university's and that has allowed those institutions to raise their tuition's sky high (tuition is a MUCH more complicated issues than that, I admit).  Our kids are graduating thousands in debt with a limited employment field.  We've all but lost an entire generation of adults from the tax base and economy. This is not to say that those within that generation aren't responsible for their decisions (including myself) but we now know there are other and often times better ways and we need to insure that kids are aware of them.  Our job as parents isn't to build our kids lives but to give them the tools and some general directions.  

32.)  Big houses are great!!  Until you have to clean them and pay to heat them..:
Growing up I always wanted a huge house because ours wasn't overly big.  Now that I'm into my 30's I appreciate having a house that simply fits our needs.  It's easier and faster to keep (relatively) clean and organized and it certainly heats much better and much cheaper than some of the ones I see driving around.

33.)  Don't focus so hard on the end goal that you fail to enjoy the process:
I still have a hard time with this.  I'm often so driven to complete tasks, I don't actually enjoy what I'm doing. However, being aware does make a significant difference.  When I work out/train now I enjoy it more. When I'm working on a novel, I have days when I enjoy not just what I wrote but the process it took to put those words on the screen.  Enjoy the process because in the end that's where you're memories will be made.

34.)  Life is shorter than we believe:
No, seriously.  I woke up this week beginning my 34th year and I don't have a damn clue where the previous 33 went.  Love hard, laugh hard, lift hard, learn hard, work hard, pursue your passions, help people when you can, fit as much life into life as possible.  Attack life from today until departure.

Your dreams may seem crazy, but they're yours.  Pursue them.

I'm well aware that I probably missed a few that I'll think of later but all told, I think this is a pretty good list. Life is a series of lessons.  Some will be easily learned and others will take some time and can only come with experience.  Be open to the lessons when you can and be aware that they can happen at any time, whether you're willing and ready for them or not.

Here's hoping you found value in something I wrote today and don't forget, enjoy the simple things.      



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Goals Writing

I've written about goals previously here but this won't be exactly the same.  What I want to discuss today are some strategies that I'm finding are helping me be more successful.  In my previous post about overcoming injuries and obstacles I mentioned how last year (2016) I completed 5 out of 11 of the goals I'd set.  Given that some were pretty big, even though I didn't quite hit 50% I still believed it to be a pretty successful year. The year prior, however, could certainly be viewed as a failure from a completion standpoint.  Of the 8 goals I laid out, I came close to completing 1.  That's it, one.  Because of the way I write my goals, which I'll discuss shortly, I completed some goals within my goals but I was unable to string enough together to check off the box next to the headline.  However, as I've discussed before I believe that failures offer opportunities and that's exactly what my 2015 goals and goal list did.

Like most people, I use to write a resolution list that was both far too ambitious and not nearly detailed enough.  That was my 2014 list.  Sometime during that year I made the decision that the term "resolution", right or wrong, had a negative connotation and I needed to change my terminology.  It felt to me like using resolution meant I needed to fix something wrong while goals meant I was planning to build upon and improve things. Yes, they're basically the same thing but mentally one felt negative and the other positive so I made the simple change.  From there I began to first break down my goals.  Instead of simply listing, "write more", I'd make "write more" a header and beneath I'd further expand what that meant.  In that example, write more meant to finish my first novel, enhance this blog, write 5 poems, and 5 short stories.  (In this example I only met 1 by the way).  It looked something like this.
           1.)  Write More
                - Finish novel
                - Enhance blog
                - Write 5 poems
                - Write 5 short stories

This was the first step and for awhile I thought this was satisfactory but while reviewing my goals at the end of the year, I made the decision that they still weren't detailed enough.  So, in the next year I decided to take it a step further and also write out some plans for accomplishing my tasks.  By that point the first draft of my novel was complete and I was on to the editing process.  So now, now goals list looked more like this:

          1.)  Write More
                - Finish editing
                          a.)  Complete initial edit.
                          b.)  Print copies for initial read and edit by others
                - Enhance blog
                          a.)  Write 2 posts per month
                          b.)  Change layout to make more professional
                                (still working on this one clearly..)

This is an actual example and in general, this is as far as I go currently.  That's in general though and not the rule.  There are some subjects that I write more detailed or personal notes for.  When it came to quitting chewing tobacco, I actually made a note to myself that eventually commonsense needed to overcome my addiction.  When it comes to financial planning Shawna and I sit down together to try and plan things out because what one of us does directly affects the other.  After meeting with a financial planner a few years ago we also try to make that section much more detailed.  We're in the process of doing that one now and in honesty, it's no doubt the one that takes the longest to complete because it's the most complicated.

How one chooses to do their goals is important.  I'm not saying that you have to do them the same as I do or anyone else but I do believe it's vital to be both realistic and to plan your attack.  My goals list this year contains 11 that I consider reasonable and attainable.  Improving financially, reading 25 books (a staple on my list that I have yet to achieve), writing, fitness, working and building on a couple business ventures, and a few others. None seem unreachable or unattainable and a couple are not meant to be completed this year.  How is that possible?  Because they're short term goals that are part of long terms plans.  When I write out my plan I'm doing so with the intent to improve some things immediately, some by the end of the year, and some that will set me up to continue growing and improving in years to come.  When you sit down to plan, really take some time to think about the who's, how's, where's, why's, and when's.  You'll thank yourself later.

How and what are you looking to improve in 2017?

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Overcoming Injuries and Obstacles

2016 was an interesting year personally, training and otherwise.  Late last week I sat down to take care of a bunch of paper and computer work and among that was a review of my 2016 goals and writing those for 2017.  I'm actually pretty happy I achieved almost 50% of what I'd laid out (5/11).  Given that a couple were pretty big (purchasing a home and tractor, quitting tobacco) I felt pretty great writing out my goals for the upcoming year.  A couple are staples (write X time per week, read 25 books during the year). Some are hold overs that I didn't complete previously but believe I can in the next (all my training marks), and some are completely new given that my life is not the same as it was when I wrote my goals for the previous year (I have a house to work on now!).  What they all have in common is I honestly feel each of them is attainable if I put in the work and can avoid any major issues.  However, that last part is not always in my control and is what I'm going to talk about today.

For the most part I really can't complain about the previous year.  Sure, it's all the rage to talk about how bad 2016 sucked but for me personally, many good things happened and I feel like I'm in a better place now than I was when I sat to ponder the coming year 365ish days ago.  I can also say that I feel my family is better off today as well which is no small matter.  Personal success is great but doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot to me if my success isn't theirs's as well.  However, for all the good there was also some not so good.  I had my back surgery (microdiscectomy) in December of 15' which required a fairly substantial healing post op. Unfortunately we moved six weeks later and seeing as hiring a moving company was out of the budget, I had to push physical limits much more than I would have preferred.  Thankfully I didn't re-injure myself or suffer any set backs because of my behavior but I also didn't push like that at any other point because life didn't require it thankfully.  I began attending a gym again at the first of March for a few months at which point I purchased a squat rack and some weights off Craigslist and made a small set up in my basement because saving on gym fee's as we adjusted our spending habits became necessary.  It was all good though because I don't have to wait to use anything here and while I don't have all the cool equipment to work with, in the current none of it's required to get a decent workout in anyways.

All was going well as I hit mid summer.  My weight was still up from to prior to surgery but I'd been adding cardio days in conjunction with altering my eating habits and my lifting was going well.  I'd managed to begin some light front squatting and some light rack pulls along with a bunch of accessory lifts and recovery movements and I felt like I was on a good path.  And then I had an accident that set me back in a major way.  One day in July I went behind the house to clear out an old skidder trail I wanted to use to begin hauling my own firewood out and while attempting to take down a dead cherry tree it made a valiant attempt to live up to it's "widow maker" moniker by doing exactly what I would have never expected and thus coming down on top of me.  Now it didn't look overly big but combining the weight and velocity in which it stuck me, it caused a bunch of stress cracks in the helmet I was wearing as well as stretching out all the webbing.  I never lost consciousness nor even dropped the saw but I very quickly knew that I had to get in and have Shawna check me out.  Thankfully Caden was out with me as well in case it had been more serious.

Initially, I'd planned to get the yes/no answer to whether I had a concussion and move on.  I was honestly thinking that I'd be back outside cutting wood before the day was over.  It was the first of many, many mistakes I'd make regarding my injury and recovery.  As I stated, I never lost consciousness (something I have fun mentioning to Caden when he's acting like a tough guy) but within the first hour I began to have issues with my speech, my pupils were acting up, I was dazed, and I was mentally off.  My emotions felt funny and we made the decision that I needed to get checked out.  Following what I realize now was a less than thorough appointment, because nothing was said or done that made me believe my injury overly serious, I figured in a day or two I'd be good to go.  As such a couple days later because I felt mostly normal I went back outside to do some work. Big mistake.  All my symptoms not only reemerged but got worse .  They told me to sleep but I couldn't get more than 4-5 hours at time and I was having trouble napping.  The sunlight bothered me, I was annoyed because my summer work was falling behind which didn't help because stress exacerbates concussion symptoms, and as I mentioned previously, I was an emotional roller coaster.  

There's information all over the web and TV now-a-days regarding concussions but it's still hard to explain what it's like, especially when there are big holes in your memory.  HA!.  Ok, it's not really funny but it kind of is because I have about four months that are foggy at best.  I forgot my cousin got married.  I don't remember coaching half the football season.  I failed repeated neurological exams.  I pushed way harder than I should have during my recovery and therefore extended the duration of my symptoms. And in the end, it healed when it was ready and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.  My second major injury in as many years had knocked me down but it damn well didn't knock me out.

I began working out in the basement a day a week in November and as of today, January 4 2017, I'm on week four of lifting 3 days per week.  I'm writing my own programs (I'll discuss this more deeply in a later post but in my case, there are financial considerations that have required this) and hoping that beginning next week I'll be adding in specified (and varied to keep my attention) cardio sessions again.  I missed lifting for a variety of reasons and am over the moon to be back at it.  Two years ago I was one of those "New Year, New Me" people who walked into the gym.  Two years later the time I've missed has been due to serious injuries but I keep crawling my way back under the weights.  It can be frustrating as hell to keep hitting the reset button but at the same time, each new beginning point is a little farther ahead than in was the previous time.  My dumb bell presses are decent, I'll be beginning to front squat again next week, and I absolutely have more mobility and flexibility now than I did two years ago.  I do not view anything that's happened as two steps forward, one step back.  I see it like some video games.  You're playing along and get killed or fall in a hole, whatever.  You don't start right where you left off, but you don't go all the way back to the beginning either.  You get to begin again from a point on previous progression and because of that, mentally, you're able to keep going and keep working to attain your goals.

The issues with injuries generally hold us longer mentally than they do physically.  I still haven't done much in the way of rack pulls or dead lifting and am still overly careful with my movements when lifting anything for fear of re-injuring my back. Taking down trees causes more stress than it did prior and I suspect that it will for some time going forward. However, the key is that I am lifting again and I am back in the woods.  Rather than quit activities I'm learning from them to better myself going forward.  What are you overcoming and what obstacles are in your way?