I think reading in the morning is a good habit to cultivate. So many humans have become so accustomed to mindlessly scrolling through digital feeds of information simply waiting for a moment of high emotion to propagate to a pseudo-network of others for validation, it is juvenile and demeaning. Taking moments for yourself to read on one subject or to merely write out your own thoughts can help focus a person’s mind and orient themselves for the day.
I challenge everyone to resist the urge to look at your phone in the morning and set aside time to read a traditional, paper-bound book and/or journal your thoughts on paper. You may be surprised at the results.
Current books of focus:
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
The Proud Highway by Hunter S. Thompson
A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor by Truman Capote
It’s hard to believe it’s already August, time sneaks up on you like that. It feels just last week I signed my employment contract with the Questa del Rio News but it was actually seven months ago.
There was a brief time when I was contemplating a career in law. Indeed it was one of my motivations for relocating from Questa to Albuquerque in 2017. I had a vision in my head of becoming a defense attorney and advocating for Americans who lack the financial stability to ideally utilize our legal system. This brain worm infected my mind effectively enough to move me to New Mexico’s largest city and research how one gets accepted into the University of New Mexico’s law school. I bought the book LSAT for Dummies, attended a class about the feared admission test at UNM’s Continuing Education department, and was Googling financial assistance for prospective law students.
I think the singular test prep course at UNM was my first hurdle and what placed the first seeds of doubt in my mind regarding this potential career choice. The course was taught, not by a professor, but a lawyer (if my memory is serving me well he was a defense attorney for Bernalillo County’s Public Defender office). He may have been the most dry, uninspiring, and boring teacher under which I learned. The course was just one afternoon but his monotone voice was constantly lulling me to sleep. Perhaps it was the subject matter. If you can find me a teacher who can make test prep into an exciting learning opportunity then you should probably hire that person for your own entrepreneurial endeavors. The course took my mind from the idealistic vision I had crafted for myself back into the practical mechanisms of student life two years after I had completed my tenure as an undergraduate and it reminded me of the tedium that plagues American educational institutions. After that course I was less enthusiastic about returning to school.
For the next three years I would create a dichotomy in my mind dominated by a crossroads displaying my idealized versions of two career paths: one as a law student and one as a writer. In retrospect it was a rather silly conundrum since I was wasting time I could have been spending on either one of the two career choices. My advice to anyone placing such a dichotomous decision on themselves is to literally flip a coin. Whatever the outcome of the coin toss, you will know which choice resonates more with your desires after the reveal.
Today I like to think I’m developing a sharper eye for opportunities. I’ve moved back to the Questa area beneath the Sangre de Cristo Mountains for a specific deal on my housing that I would be an idiot to let pass by and I’m now working what might be a dream job to my high school self. In general life seems to be okay for me right now. I suppose my goal in writing this is to encourage anyone reading this who has yet to find some semblance of purpose to try setting up a long-term goal no matter what it is and aim at that for the time being. Changing your aims in the future is always a possibility but I think simply having something at which to aim your life is a good start creating a purpose for yourself.
Now I guess I just have one more thing to say.
As an ongoing effort to adopt a more positive mindset I have been cutting some metaphorical fat from my media consumption. The following video is an interview which I think may help anyone who is looking to develop some self-discipline and create an aim in life.
When you feel burnt out from your daily grind, a short vacation can be rejuvenating. My train ride north two weeks was one such get-away. On my way up to the quiet parcel in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere New Mexico, my mind was shrouded in an eerie mist of negativity. On my way back down south, I was much more content with myself. It was just a weekend away from my city but it was just enough of a change of scenery to reboot my attitude.
I think I’m slowly becoming a morning person. These early morning hours can provide one with some much needed personal time for self-reflection and internal preparation for the day ahead; early mornings also provide opportune moments for journaling.
Working two jobs is surprisingly doable, it’s all about the people with whom you’re working. If you work with tolerable people that actually get shit done, you’ll find it satisfying to work alongside them. I recommend communicating your boundaries with your boss immediately – DO NOT sacrifice your personal time to cover anyone’s shift. Other shifts are not your responsibility and your personal time is sacred for your own mental health.
I caught the flu last weekend. I could have easily avoided it by walking a block away to my local pharmacy and paying for a seasonal flu shot but I had become complacent in my health, I was taking my health for granted as do most modern humans. I paid the price for my complacency (and my laziness) with lungs full of mucuous and the temporary loss of two of my physical senses.
Vaccines really are a marvel of modern healthcare, an invention that has saved millions of lives from what are now preventable diseases. Diseases that were once feared as potential plagues are now confined to history books thanks to vaccines (some of those diseases are unfortunately coming back thanks to the spreading of some mis-information but that is another topic of discussion).
Fortunately for myself, I still have a relatively strong immune system and my good health is returning but I should make more of an effort remember the new flu season every year. I don’t want any new influenza mutations to infect my body again.
Perhaps you all have noticed in my writing that I’m not a very optimistic person. One could accurately describe me as a grouch or (in the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season) a Scrooge. I’m usually the person in a group asking questions like “why do this” or “what purpose does this serve?” That mentality has utility but it’s also important to remind yourself about the positive things in your life as well. “Counting your blessings,” as the saying goes.
My pessimistic disposition usually paints Monday as a negative day in my mind as the day marks the beginning of a new work week with the next weekend furthest from it. This mentality can be flipped over for an opposite feeling. Why not look at Monday as the start of new opportunities for the new week? A new week means new things to do and more acts to accomplish. A day to re-organize your goals, short-term and long-term.
Sunday and Monday =
Make it a goal to find more inspiration and motivation on Monday.