New Year, New Look

Happy New Year!

As I stated in a previous post, I decided to give my blog a much-needed makeover. I’m sure you’ve noticed the change in the layout. I think it’s a little too dark, but the other free options I had were way too bright. The only way for me to get a color scheme that I like is to pay $99 per year. That’s not going to happen unless this blog gets tremendously popular.

I also stated that I want to change the format to that of a written letter. I decided on that style because I feel like I open up more and hide less when I write that way. Plus, I figure that it’s more personal and welcoming. So, here’s my first (albeit short) letter to you:


Hey There,

I hope your holidays were wonderful! Mine sure was. I worked most of it, which was bitter-sweet. On one hand, it means I’ll have a nice addition to my next paycheck. On the other hand, I didn’t get as much family time or rest as I would have liked. I did get a few days off, but it’s still not the same as being at home for almost two full weeks.

What did you do for the holidays? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite?

I had some time to reflect and work on my list for my Resolutions (goals) for this year. I made a spreadsheet in Excel to keep track of my progress. I even made corresponding tables, so I can show you my progress from time to time. Here’s my modified list:

Primary

  • Grow closer to God (immeasurable)
  • Have a conversation with my grandma in Spanish.
  • Write a letter a month to family/friends.
  • Read at least 15 novels (70k+ words each), or 1,050,000 words total.
  • Publish at least 30 blog posts.
  • Write at least three chapters of my novel.

Optional

  • Outline my entire novel.
  • Record blog posts in audio format.

I feel really good about these goals. They aren’t so big that I can’t achieve them, yet they aren’t so small that I can slack off for weeks at a time. I hope I don’t disappoint you.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Ryan

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‘Tis the Season to be Selfish

Broken ChristmasLast night, we went to the mall to finish up our Christmas shopping. My wife and I both decided that we’re going to try to buy all the presents for next year during the after-Christmas sales. That way, we aren’t rushed for time and won’t have to fight the big crowds. Sure, it’ll be crowded, but nothing compared to last night.

We also wanted to check out the lights near the mall and see the Christmas show outside in the street. We had a lot of fun at the show and looking at the lights, but I learned a few things: Continue reading ‘Tis the Season to be Selfish

I Like My Family

PaperCamera2014-12-20-13-33-45-19111501[1]The Holidays are almost here, which means we’re sending out a bunch of cards. While I was writing some of the cards, my mind wandered (surprise!). As I stared at the blank cards, I found myself wondering, “What do I say to them?”

It’s not because I had a falling out with my family. Quite the contrary. I don’t think I could have asked for a better family. I just haven’t kept in touch with them, even after telling them I would many times. I hate it, but it feels like the “out of sight, out of mind” concept has planted itself deep in my mind.

I see them on Facebook all the time, and I read their statuses and click “like” quite often. After hitting the button a few times, it dawned on me how sad it is that my only form of communication with most of my family is, at most, a comment on Facebook—not even a message. I can’t remember the last time I messaged one of my family members without it being about getting an address or some sort of information. And the worst part is…

That’s an improvement.

I remember my uncle mentioning that I talked to them more when I lived 600 miles away (growing up with my parents), than when I lived less than 100 miles away in college. Of course it struck a cord, and I said I would try harder, but then they were out of sight.

I didn’t see them because my life was more important me than theirs was. I hate to admit that, but it’s completely true. I could have driven to see them once a month, but I used excuses like not having enough money for gas (which they would have paid for) or having to work too much. In reality, I was just too focused on myself.

Now that I’ve graduated and my life has settled, has it gotten any better?

Not really.

If you count the scarce interactions on Facebook, I guess it has improved a little. And I did try writing some of my family members letters for a while, but after a couple months, things “got too busy” again. I had all the right intentions when I said that I would keep in touch. I really did. I just got distracted and forgot about the best family I could have ever asked for.

It was really hard to type those words. I even thought about deleting them a few times, but I can’t sugar coat it. Not any more.

If you were to look at my New Year’s Resolution List, you would see that writing to my family is the third one down. I wrote the items on there in order of which I though I was most likely to complete them. I figured that reading was going to be easy, as I either have my books on my phone or carry them with me. Writing a blog post is easy, too, because that’s just typing on a computer, which I do anyway.

But writing to my family is the first item on the list that’s going to take real commitment. That’s the one that I’m not only going to have to make time for and find all the materials, but I also have to open up and put real thoughts and feelings on paper. I have to constantly put my family at the front of my mind, so I don’t lose them like I did Taylor.

I bought a few things to help with the process—to make it more exciting. I know that it won’t guarantee success, but I have to try. I need to make them more than just living memories. I need to make new memories with them.

Early New Year’s Resolution

PaperCamera2014-12-16-13-40-48[1]For some reason, I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s Resolution lately. I normally don’t even make one, let alone think of them. But alas, my mind has wandered and dragged me down this path.

It seems to have started while I was finishing Head of the Dragon by Ryk Brown. As I was finishing the book, it reminded me of a blog I had previously read where the author made a list of all the books they had read that year.

I decided that I want to not only record every book I read next year, but also set a goal of reading at least fifteen novels (70k+ words) or the equivalent (1,050,000 words). I presume that I read about 10 books of that size per year, so I want to push myself a little further.

I also want to publish at least 30 blog posts, which is a little less than one per week. That will nearly double my current total over the past four years (40). It doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’ve been following my blog, you already know how big of a challenge that’s going to be for me.

I would also like to write more–both physically and electronically. I want to write a letter a month to family and friends, and I want to write at least three chapters for my book.

I would also like to get all my posts recorded (audio) and posted on here, but that’s more of a bonus goal for me.

I know I put a lot of numbers and information up there, so here’s a summary of my NYR (not New York Rangers, fellow hockey fans) List:

Primary

  1. Read at least 15 novels (70k+ words), or 1,050,000 words total.
  2. Publish at least 30 blog posts.
  3. Write a letter a month to family/friends.
  4. Write at least three chapters of my book.

Optional

  1. Record blog posts in audio format.

I will update these goals throughout the year, or as needed. I’m going to set a limit on myself by not counting anything prior to the beginning of 2015. In other words, the book I’m currently reading and the cards I’m writing will not count, even if they carry over.

Go Big or Go Crazy

Rock Climbing in Dali
Rock Climbing in Dali (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello friends. I pretty much failed my last task of starting a chain of healthier and more productive habits. Sometimes I feel like my uphill battle with ADHD is more of a cliff. But there is hope! How does one conquer a cliff? By training and working out and practicing. So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ve found a new “hobby” that I hope will stick. Not only will it add health benefits, but also a commitment that I can’t really back down from. On the downside, most of my hobbies start out with this same excitement and focus, only to burn out in a couple of weeks. Part of my new “hobby” is that it’s in 12 weeks, which will help me fight my urge to quit early. It also requires a lot of dedication and training. So what is it? I’m going to race in  my first Sprint Triathlon!

I never thought I could even come close to finishing a triathlon, since I’m not a long-distance runner. I honestly don’t even know what changed my mind enough to even think about trying it. I saw a post on facebook about a triathlon meeting, so I decided that I’d poke around the internet and see what it’s all about. After doing some research, I found out that it’s not as bad as I thought. It just takes dedication, discipline and commitment.

I hope this is the one that I stay with. I feel really good about it, and really refreshed after just a couple days of training. I have to do this. For me and for my family. Otherwise I’ll drive us all crazy with yet another unfinished project.

-Ryan

ADHD Gem I Found While Blog-Panning

For all you ADHD fans, here’s an interesting blog I just ran across.

Poof7797's Blog

Well, in my quest – and it is a quest –  to read this ADHD book I mentioned a while back, I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve made a step in the right direction with my son. It may seem simple or even stupid to some people, but this step has made a remarkable difference in all four kids, not just the two with ADHD. What is this wondrous miracle step, you ask? Breakfast!

Yes, breakfast. Until last month, I was fine with the kids scarfing down a bowl of cereal before they raced out the door only to then eat the free breakfast offered at the school, usually something laced with sugar that I wouldn’t make at home. I figured as long as they were eating something, they were okay. I can’t believe after all the self-education I’ve had about nutrition that I deluded myself into believing this. I…

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Focus

English: Symptoms of ADHD described by the lit...
Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know if it’s my ADHD or just how I am, but I have a hard time focusing. Obviously, I haven’t been keeping up with my blog like I said I would. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to focus. It seems like the littlest things distract me from whatever I’m doing.

For instance, as I’m writing this, I’m constantly getting distracted by a kids TV show. Granted it’s a show that I used to love, I don’t think it should be so easy for me to lose concentration.

It’s such a problem for me that I rarely finish projects, and I can’t seem to remember hardly anything. I either get bored with the hobby, or I find something that seems way more interesting. Here’s a list of things I’ve attempted, but never stuck with:

  • Woodworking
  • Writing a Book
  • Model Trains
  • Curling
  • Photography
  • Real Estate
  • Computer Programming
  • Blogging

The proctor at my psych-eval said my bad memory could just be a problem with prioritizing and assigning importance to tasks and information, but I can’t seem to figure out how to fix it.The problem with having a bad memory and an inability to focus/prioritize is that it’s hard to remember to do the tasks and exercises needed to help my situation. 

It’s so frustrating. My wife doesn’t even believe me when I say I want to try something new anymore. I’d love to find a way to fix it, but I can’t seem to find anything that holds my attention long enough to work.

Any ideas or suggestions?