Humble Brag – Props to my Wife

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I don’t want to steal any thunder from my wife who, today, quit her corporate job and is officially *dramatic music* “self-employed.” In fact, she just texted me that she told her boss (something she’s been dreading for…well, as long as she’s had it in her mind to quit I guess). I hope she will go into more detail in her own blog about her thoughts, struggles, successes, and every emotion in between because it takes a ton of guts to do what she did today.

Kelly has ALWAYS wanted to work for herself. Her parents and her brother all work for themselves and, for as long as I’ve known her, Kelly has been envious and dreamed of doing the same thing. About a year ago, she started doing some freelance social media and event planning for a couple of local businesses in the community. Her first (and probably favorite, but don’t tell anyone) was a restaurant we already liked going to that was near our house. That first day, she just went up to the owner, more-or-less bluntly asked if she needed any marketing help, and was surprised that she did and was happy to pay Kelly (at the time) a good amount of money for her to take over her social media and put on a few events at the restaurant.

It’s exciting for me to see how far she’s come with everything. Since she started with the social and events, she taught herself graphic design and also how to build websites. She can now charge 3x what she did just one year ago, and I think she’s beginning to realize that the work she does is worth more than that even.

I think a lot of people in my position would be scared to have their wife do what Kelly is doing. She and I basically brought home the same amount of money before this, so the security of knowing what the paycheck was going to be 3, 6, 12 months from now was a comfortable way to plan for the things we want to buy and the places we want to go.

The thing is, having seen how far she’s come and having heard how much her clients appreciate her work, I am excited about the prospect of what her working for herself will mean for our income (especially if you give her 40+ more hours to focus on everything). I don’t care if we aren’t bringing home what we did for a few months, because I know she’s the kind of person that won’t sit still until she’s where she wants to be. And the exciting thing is, she’s the kind of person that never settles for things being good enough.

I am extremely proud of my wife for having the courage to do what it is she’s wanted to do for a long time. There are a million reasons she shouldn’t have left a good paying job with benefits, but she is putting her happiness first and I believe with my whole heart that there are much bigger things in our future because she has the courage and vision to bet on herself. There is not a bone in my body that second guesses that this is the right thing to do and that she’s making the right decision.

 

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Things I’m Liking Lately – May 2016 Edition

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I’ll admit it from the jump: I’m stealing this idea from my wife who wrote a piece a few months back about the things she’s loving right now. Whatever, it was a good idea and now I want to do it. For legal reasons, I’ll title mine “Things I’m Liking Lately” and not “Things I’m Loving Lately” (you never know, she might sue me if we get into a fight later…).

Anyway, this is all about the things I’m into and passionate about at the moment. A lot of these are summer things I have coming up, and others are longer-arcing projects that excite me.

I should also say that these things aren’t in any order.

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Sweat Local Columbus

This began as something my wife started as a “wouldn’t it be great if…” and has turned into a pretty big deal. We pretty much laughed at the kiddy-pool idea of starting small, and created an event that will feature a 5k (complete with a police-patrolled route, timing chips, sponsored finish line banner..the works) and an expo that will feature many of Columbus’ local boutique gyms and restaurants. The event is really too big to describe in this blog post, but you should definitely check out the website and come if you’re in town (July 30, 2016). We’ve already received a ton of support from businesses and are excited to put on this event. #SweatLocalCbus

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Obstacle Course Races

So I have this tendency to fall in love with something then go all out for whatever that thing happens to be. My current obsession is Obstacle Course Races (though I’ve only competed in one race). Still, I am looking up every different race that involves mud and a wall, and I’m trying to find ways to justify driving to North Carolina for a race with my wife (Ashville is only 3 hours further south, and it would ONLY be a 12 hour drive home!).

I’m not going to spend more time on this one because I feel like I’ve driven this one into the ground with Facebook pictures, Twitter updates, and two blog posts on here dedicated to my Spartan Race. Long story short — I’m now following just about every OCR account on Twitter and have worn out the Google machine as far as “top ten races” are concerned.

Fun stuff!

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Writing

Kind of an odd thing looking at “writing,” but I’m kind of getting excited about writing again. I recently joined a site called “ClearVoice” and they basically allow you to upload some writing samples you’ve done in the past and set a $/word amount for any potential assignments. They then email you opportunities and if you want to do it and the company wants you to do it, you have an assignment.

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Anyway, it’s fun to be writing again. I still enjoy writing these posts and Sports Monte posts, but sometimes getting real life assignments about things you have to research and learn a thing or two about is fun.

I did get an “opportunity” to write a blog post about “why polyamory isn’t cheating.” I was considering it until my wife steered me clear. I guess after a certain age, the “I’ll write anything for money” mindset has to wear off. Thanks, babe, for saving me from that one!

Style

I’m notorious for “shopping” online, but never making it past putting things in carts. I probably have expired items in so many digital carts. But recently, I had a look I wanted to pull off for a wedding that’s coming up in two weeks. It’s a navy suit with a Kelly green knit silk tie and some kind of a pale blue, minimal-print shirt underneath. I’ll also have the obvious cognac shoes-belt combo working.

I’m also keeping an eye on some other sites like Gustin and JackThreads. I like the idea of stepping my jeans-game up. I’ve gotten away from the Express and American Eagle jeans phase and am currently in a Levis-from-the-department-store phase. I like these jeans, but I’m intrigued by a really quality pair of denim. Haven’t pulled the trigger on the jeans, yet, but I did make the plunge on a Navy suit!

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Travel

2016 is still the #YearofTravel, and I am still really excited about Ireland and the on-again, off-again Vegas vacation in August that is currently a full-go! (We have our plane tickets now so I feel confident). We’re Vegasing to help out my in-laws (Hi, Jim and Kathy!) at a PGA show. So, while I still plan to have plenty of fun this trip, it is a business trip and I think Kelly and I are going to have to keep a young, upstart putter maker in check and make sure he doesn’t get lost in the lights (he’s 26ish, will be going to Vegas for the first time, and kind of has that frat-mentality from having met him just the once).

Of course, the headliner for 2016: The #YearofTravel is Ireland and, again, I’ve written about that enough on this page. If you want to know more about that, check out that article. I think those two trips might be all we can handle, but if a weekend adventure, wedding, or some other opportunity presents itself, I might be hard pressed to say no. Because aside from it being 2016: The #YearofTravel, it’s also 2016: The #YearofYes, so I’m trying to say yes to as many things as I can and see what kind of year it was when I look back at it from 2017.

Anyway, those are the things I’m liking at the moment. If you think there is something I’m missing out on, please comment and I will see if it’s something I might add to my list of likes!

 

 

Five ways to create balance in your life

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In order to find balance, everybody should devote a certain amount of time to a certain number of things. If you work 80 hours every week, then come home and neglect your wife and children, you’re doing it wrong. Likewise, if you devote your weekends to sitting on the couch and watching football until the sun goes down, you aren’t filling your cup with anything of substance.

There are philosophies about finding happiness through anything from tiny homes to positive affirmation (I’ve even listened to some podcasts before big meetings that tell you to say things out loud like “people respect what you have to say; your words are meaningful.” All I could think of was that SNL skit where Stewart and Michael Jordan tell themselves, “gosh darn it, people like me!”).

I am the kind of person who understands something best if it is broken down in front of me. There are things in our lives that change week by week, but if we break it down, we find that our lives can be summed into six core areas: Sleep, Work, Family, Hobbies, Exercise and Religion/Meditation.

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Each area requires a different focus and a different amount of effort. Sleep, while requiring the least amount of effort, should be made a priority if you are devoting too much time to another area. If you put more effort into one area and forget another, you will suffer in all areas. For instance, if you are training for a marathon and neglecting sleep in order to keep up with work and maintaining something of a family life, you will suffer across the board. Below is a basic breakdown of how much time in a given week you should devote to each area.

  • 30% Sleep
  • 25% Work
  • 20% Family
  • 15% Hobby
  • 5% Exercise
  • 5% Religion/Meditation

Now, everybody works differently, and it’s up to you to determine how to adjust the above list in order to work for your life, but if you stray too far from one area for too long, you will not be performing at your best. Life balance requires a certain amount from each area, and maximizing each area will allow you to excel in all aspects of your life.

With that in mind, here are five ways to create balance in your life.

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Make Sleep a Priority

Force yourself to get seven hours of sleep every night. One of my best friends is one of those guys that stays up until 3:00 a.m. He is also someone who can’t get up in the morning, can’t find the drive to move up in his company because he’s exhausted all the time. (It also wouldn’t be a bad thing to leave the phone on the dresser when you go to bed).

Purge Unnecessary Things from your Life

It’s a natural tendency for humans to hoard things. Sometimes, we can’t control ourselves and end up on A&E. We assign value and meaning to meaningless things. We save birthday cards in drawers, or shove more hangers into closets that are full of clothes we barely wear. If you need an excuse, donate things to Good Will or the Salvation Army. Unneccasary things aren’t always physical things, either. Get rid of cable if you can’t make yourself get off the couch on Saturdays. Whatever it is that you don’t need, consider how important they really are to your overall well being and make a hard decision.

Eat Right

A healthy diet gives you more energy during the day, and allows your body to properly shut down at night. A healthy body allows you to operate at 100% at your job, with your family, and gives you better focus when it comes to meditating or exercising. If you don’t have the self control to cook food on a Wednesday instead of ordering a pizza (again!), then you are enabling yourself to short change yourself in all aspects of your life. Practice some discipline, make a game plan, and make it a priority to make the kitchen the most important room in the house.

Break your Routine

It seems counterintuitive to think that you can find balance by breaking your routine, but by doing things a little bit differently, you will find yourself paying more attention to those things you do over and over when you come back to them. Breaking your routine can be anything from trying a new recipe to going on a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been. Introduce “new” into your life and allow yourself to experience something in a different light.

Learn new Things

Learn new things to teach your kids. Learn new things in the bedroom. Learn new things at work to make yourself a bigger asset (hello, job security). Whatever the reason, learning new things is something you can do across the board to keep things fresh and interesting, and allow yourself to always be improving.

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Balance is something that allows us to always be at our best. If you find yourself to be overly stressed at work, unable to lose weight, fed up with whatever your family life is, or just in a rut and you aren’t sure how to make left from right, challenge yourself to adopt balance in your life. Remind yourself what it is you want and understand that the best way to get that isn’t to run a million miles per hour at it, but to focus on the end goals and make the necessary steps toward them.

Writers Prompt #12: An hour as your 10 year old self

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Traveling back to 1995 for an hour would, first of all, mean I get to go back to my Detroit Lions Starter jacket (that I wore in South Florida because when it’s 70 degrees in January, burrrr), Airwalk shoes, fantasizing about the T-shirt wall at Spencers gifts, and checking the value of my baseball card collection in every new edition of Beckett magazine. I’d be checking my pager to see if Zach “911’d” me to get to the basketball court, or if I should go to the aquatic center or the ice rink tonight (because those were the hella dope places to be).

But if I only had an hour to spend, I’d probably leave my Magic the Gathering cards at home, tell Sonic the Hedgehog that he’d have to get those gold rings without me, and I’d call as many friends as I could think of…

Bike gang, y’all!

There was something cool about riding bikes in a group that made me feel cool. I imagine it’s the childhood equivalent of what motorcycle gangs feel like when they ride on Sundays, only we didn’t throw the motorcycle wave around everywhere we went.

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Sup bro? Sup bro? Image courtesy of http://www.motorsport.com

Rival bike gangs were serious business, and if we had to meet at the sandpit for a fight after school next week well that’s just politics.

So if I only had one hour to be 10 years old again, I’d be outside, with friends, doing something that made me feel confident. I don’t think that riding bikes was every my favorite thing to do at the time, but looking back, it was the thing that best defined who I was as a kid. And the best part is, while I don’t ride bikes anymore, being outside with friends doing the things I love to do most is still something that defines who I am as an adult.

Travel, tacos, and missing shoes?

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I have two confessions I should lay out there before I get into what I think I’m about to write (because knowing what you want to say when you start to write is SO OVERRATED!).

  • I am 36 hours away from boarding a plane from Columbus–>Charlotte–>Grand Cayman
  • Nah-nah-na-boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo

With that being said, the point I want to get at is that I am traveling as someone who hates spending money if I don’t have to spend money. I am fine spending money on a nice dinner here and there with my wife (though I can honestly say that every time I see the check, it hurts a little bit inside). I will spend money on nice clothes every now and then because I think it’s important to have quality pieces in a man’s wardrobe. I will spend money on playing a nice golf course because it is something I love. Finally, I will spend money gambling because even though you can tell me the house has an edge, I think I can outsmart the game and give myself an advantage and I don’t care if I am irrational about it, I believe it, so let’s just leave it alone (for the record, total gambling net probably is in the red).

Other than those things, I don’t really like spending money. I like seeing my savings account and my checking account grow. I like knowing that I can afford something, but never actually pulling the trigger on buying it. I like filling up digital shopping carts, and slowly removing item by item until there is one “sale” t shirt left, and I will leave that tab open for 5 days until I want to restart my computer and I just close out of the tab.

Judge if you want, I can take it.

I’ve posted not too long ago about travel –> SEE HERE — and that my wife and I are going to Grand Cayman and Ireland this year. I think we also booked a trip to Nashville to see some friends (shout out to Josh, Kenzie and Arlie). Normally, the thought of spending the kind of money we’re going to be spending would make me wall up and start biking it to work, but I am coming around to the idea that travel, for those of us who don’t have kids, is one of the best and most important things you can spend money on at this stage in life.

Here’s the thing, if you come at me with “you should save because you should pay off debt… or buy a house… or for a new car… or whatever,” I’m sure you have a point. I wouldn’t advocate traveling if you can’t pay your electric bill or if you are struggling to keep gas in the car. But what I’ve come to understand about myself is that I was to save for things that don’t really exist. Seeing my bank account grow is like watching the time pass on a clock. The numbers go up, but if you don’t turn around and enjoy life a little bit, you won’t ever get to see what really matters. I think back about the places my wife and I have gone over the last five years, and I can’t tell you how much it’s added to our relationship.

It’s kind of like food. Staying at home all the time is like eating tacos every night for dinner. I love tacos. I’m comfortable with tacos. I can bank on the fact that they’ll be as solid tonight for dinner as they were last night. Sure you can add avocado or sour cream to tacos every now and then, or get real crazy and put some new salsa in there, but at the end of the day nothing really changes. Traveling is like saying, “you know what, tacos. I love you, and you’re where my heart is, but I’m going out for Italian tonight. I might even have a few appetizers before I settle on pasta.”

Sure you have to have someone watch your tacos every now and then, and make sure the trash gets taken out and they get the mail if you are away from your tacos for a few days, but those are all minor details.

Traveling has given me some of the best memories I’ll ever have and I still laugh about them to this day. Sure it takes a big chunk out of your bank account, but in a month or two, you won’t remember it was there anyway. But you will remember standing in an elevator with no shoes on and an open bottle of champagne when a couple checking in sees you and the only thing that comes to your head to say is, “I don’t have any shoes!”

Traveling lets you get out of your kitchen and taste life a little differently. And trust me, you’ll appreciate your tacos that much more when you come back to them (at least until you decide to plan a sushi trip!).

 

Eight Things I Learned about Marriage after Two Years

 

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For those that didn’t see, this blog was published in “The Good Men Project” and can be seen (with different pictures) here: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/eight-things-learned-marriage-two-years-dg/

My wife and I just had our second wedding anniversary, and while I haven’t learned the secret to 60 years of coexistence like my grandparents might be able to teach, there are some things I’ve gotten out of the last 730 days that I think are valuable in their own right. After all, if you can’t make it past two years, you aren’t going to be celebrating a 60th anytime soon.

1 – Learn what your partner’s favorite thing is about themselves

It’s one thing to compliment your partner when they look good or get promoted at work. It’s another thing to compliment your wife on her ability to get shit done (if that’s what she’s into).

If you can’t make each other laugh just being who you are, you are going to have a hard time enjoying each other for the rest of your lives.

My wife loves being a trailblazer — as I write this she is planning a community 5K and health and wellness expo from scratch. Telling her that she’s killing it and that I am proud of how well she’s handling such a big project means more to her than telling her she looks good in a bathing suit or how perfect her hair looks after she gets it cut. Figure out what your wife loves most about herself and make a point to let her know you love it too.

2- Find the humor in ordinary situations

Dating was great. You stay out late, have one too many drinks, and usually have sex — a lot of sex. When you get married (and I can only imagine after kids), things slow down and nights out with friends are all to often swapped for nights on the couch being smothered by your dog who doesn’t know the meaning of personal space. It’s in these situations that marriages can be made or broken because this is real life and these moments will be what 80% of your non-working lives will be together. If you can’t make each other laugh just being who you are, you are going to have a hard time enjoying each other for the rest of your lives.

3- It’s still OK to celebrate little moments

My wife and I still celebrate our “date-iversary.” It’s a stupid thing, but it shows that we still remember the day we decided to become exclusive (even if we have some trouble remembering that WHOLE night). You’re expected to do things for her birthday or anniversary, but showing her that those little moments still mean something to you shows her that you value your relationship.

4- Take your health seriously

Another great thing about dating was you probably splurged on some late night eats, a few too many late night drinks, and probably found yourselves eating out more than your budget would have preferred.

I love our together time, but I also appreciate some time to myself.

When you get married, the kitchen becomes more important in many ways than the bedroom. Everything in life starts with your health, including not only your happiness and satisfaction with your partner, but with yourself as well. Cook together, and make sure you both carve out time to exercise. Healthy relationships begin with healthy people, so make sure you are doing your part.

5- Pay attention to your appearance

I know how easy it can be to go another day without shaving or rock the same sweatpants three or four nights in a row after you get home from work. There is a fine line between being comfortable in your home and letting yourself go. Looking good for your partner is an important way to remind them that you want to be your best for them. I have found that the more I shave my face, the more she will shave her legs. Looking your best leads to feeling your best, which leads to confidence in and out of the home, and confidence is something everyone finds attractive.

6- Understand each other’s needs for space and togetherness

My wife doesn’t need much “me time.” She loves spending time together and hates it when I have to go away for a night or two for work (for the record, so do I). I love our together time, but I also appreciate some time to myself. I love to get outside and run. My wife has never questioned me when I say I need to go run and I love her that much more for allowing me to do what I need to do to be me. I also recognize her needs to be together and I will gladly trade “guy time” for time spent just watching bad TV with her and our dog.

7- Have an opinion

It all boils down to listening to each other, respecting each other, and having fun with each other.

Ninety-nine times out of 100, my wife seems to disagree with my opinion when it comes to option A and option B, but she respects the fact that I weigh the options and tell her how I feel. Playing the “I don’t care” card shows a lack of interest in the issue at hand. You don’t have to be stern about why you want to go for sushi instead of Mexican, but she’ll appreciate that you put down your phone long enough to tell her how you’re craving spicy tuna, even if you end up having margaritas at El Vaquero.

8- Ego has no place in relationships

It’s easy to stand up for your wife if she is being mistreated in public. It’s more difficult when it’s just the two of you having an argument, but the latter can diffuse a huge fight waiting to happen. Putting your ego aside doesn’t always mean admitting you’re wrong (though that does go a long way sometimes), rather it means honestly putting yourself in her position and trying to understand where she’s coming from. Those “where did that come from” fights usually don’t start because someone is picking a fight, but because they don’t feel the other person is putting in the effort to see things from the other perspective.

There are plenty of other things I am learning about myself, my wife, and our relationship as we go along. It’s hard to narrow down the list sometimes, but I think that my wife and I are on a good path and I believe that we are destined for 60 years together some day. It all boils down to listening to each other, respecting each other, and having fun with each other. If you have that, the first two years will fly by faster than you realize.

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/eight-things-learned-marriage-two-years-dg/#sthash.Llwag0e6.dpuf

Writing Prompt #09: Safe Spaces

So I’ve been bad about keeping up with my D2S Writing Prompts, so I made a point to get back on board this week with the following piece about defining your safe space and describing what it means to you. ENJOY!

I think a lot of people think of a safe space as their own little quiet corner of the world, but for me, my safe space is anything but quiet. When I need to think — really be alone with my thoughts — I put my headphones in and get outside to run.

We all have our routines, whether it’s work or family or our schedules. Those things are fine, but to be able to think about things creatively, we have to do things a bit off-kilter. For me, I need to run. I start out by finding a good station on Spotify. I will usually lock in to the music for the first part of the run just to ease comfortably into my space.

After a few miles when I start to get tired, that’s when I do my best thinking. I start to forget about the music and my heavy breathing, and I can just put my legs on autopilot and coast. I think about things I want to write about or ways to handle certain problems I might have at the time. I’ll think about my plans for the weekend or which PGA player will win the tournament this weekend. I’ll replay hands from poker games I played years ago and try to figure out what I could have done differently or how I might do that again the next time I play. I think this time more so than any other is like a hard reset for my brain. I purge out every thought I’ve had over the past few days and and just able to exist in the moment.

I can honestly say that I am at my best when I run. I’m not the fastest runner, nor do I have dreams of bigger races or PR’s. I run because it allows me to be myself. I run because it allows me to feel free, and freedom is the safest place in the world to me.