x Things That ______ People Do Every Day

From time to time, I go on Facebook. It’s this new website you might have heard of, where people post thoughts, opinions, links, and play various time-wasting games. When I go on this “Facebook”, I occasionally run into a link someone has posted, which is titled in this format: “10 Things To do before ____” or “14 Things You Shouldn’t Do When ____” or “11 Things _____ People Do”. I suspect this naming scheme originates from the popular self-help business book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, and on principle, I agree with the concept. The basic idea is this: I want to be more like people who do this, so I should examine what those people do, how they do it, and why, and then I should emulate their behaviour. This is the sort of literary endeavour that requires research, interviews, plenty of rumination, and a fair bit of craftiness to distil the habits these people have amassed over the years into the irrelevant (e.g. separating their food before eating it) and the relevant (e.g. waking up early, using lots of post-its, eating only vegetables.) This is not the sort of thing that one can write – properly, that is – in an hour that would otherwise be spent browsing Reddit, except you haven’t posted on your blog in a while.

What really set me off on this topic was an article that boldly claimed to be a list of some number of “Mistakes Not to Make During your 20’s”. Like most articles of this nature, it contained short, glib paragraphs proffering advice about what to and what not to do during your 20’s in order to be a “successful” person. Ashamed as I am to say it, I read the article, and took some of its advice to heart. One heading in the article that stuck with me particularly strongly, claimed that it was a mistake to “believe you deserve a break.” Weeks later, when I was tired, overworked, and slacking off, the article would pop into my brain, and I would think about how maybe I shouldn’t let my self take a break. It bothered me; if this person who made it through their 20’s told me that this was a mistake, should I not do it? But I’m exhausted and my brain doesn’t work; do I just keep pushing?

One day I realized that was stupid advice. Of course you need – and yes, even deserve – a break sometimes. When you’ve spent two weeks straight doing useless busy work for a University degree that you may or may not use, and that certainly won’t give you the professional skills that you need for a real world job, sometimes you need a break. When you’re frustrated and tired and annoyed, sometimes you need to do nothing for a while, and that’s ok.

Articles like this really stick in my craw because they’re so misleading. It’s easy to take the advice of our elders (even if the “elders” in this case probably aren’t much older than we are), as fact, or at least to wonder if their suggestions will turn out to be accurate. When giving advice, it’s important to consider that you’re giving advice to a person with different ambitions, a different past, and a different future. Sure, it’s easy to look back and what you did when you were their age and say, “You know, I did this, and it really helped me: you should do it to” or “I didn’t do this and I’ve regretted it; don’t make the same mistakes I did.” But it’s far harder to realize that each of us is a different person with our own challenges, and sometimes that advice can do more harm than good.

More than that, however, I find it incredibly presumptuous of a person on the Internet to claim that they know exactly what mistakes I should and shouldn’t make in my 20’s. Mistakes are a valuable learning experience. And who knows, maybe something that didn’t work for them will work for me. As useful as advice can be sometimes, when it comes down to it, we each have to find our own way through this world.

So that is to say, when you really take advice to heart, maybe it shouldn’t be from Buzzfeed. Maybe you should do some research about the author of the article or book, and make sure that they did some research. And maybe you should think about what they’re saying and – more importantly – why, before really accepting it. Or maybe not; it’s up to you.

Deschooling

The first few weeks of summer are always a bit of a drag. It’s like diving head first into a cold pool – the shock washes over you as your body acclimates to its new surroundings and temperature, and it takes some time before you feel like you’ve completely normalized. A few days ago I read about a concept called “deschooling.” Deschooling is what happens when home-schoolers* first leave school. They sit around and play video games, get up in the late afternoon, waste time, and do nothing. It happens all the time. After a while, they get into their element, and realize that they want to learn stuff. Then they start learning.

I don’t know any of this from first hand experience, so I can’t really make any claims about the accuracy of how that process happens, or how often it happens. But I do think I deschool every summer. When the rigidity of my class schedule finally gives way, I find myself plummeting into the cold waters of freedom, dazed and confused, and not sure what to do next. I waste time, I sleep late, I watch TV, and – reluctantly – do whatever work I need to get done. Working part time seems to slow the deschooling process, and my assumption is that to properly deschool, one has to engage in sloth as fully as possible before returning to a normal state of being able to get out of bed on time and do things like a normal person.

Deschooling isn’t a fun experience. It’s a time during which I have very little control over my sleep schedule, and I’m usually pretty bored. I spend a lot of time sitting around doing nothing. But there comes a time, a few weeks down the road, when I realize that I’m being a bum, and that I don’t want to be a bum. I get up, and I go do something.

Yesterday, I checked out a few books from the library and started to read. Today, I’m writing a blog post. Little by little, it seems, I’m returning to normal. My brain is rebooting, and the emptiness where once there was the structure and scheduling of school is being filled with my own schedule and rhythm. The freedom is starting to feel good, and soon I’ll be able to fully enjoy summer.

Looking forward, into the next phase of my life, I’m wondering how this dynamic will affect my work. Work, I expect, will have all the rigidity and structure of school, but without the added commitment of having to work at home. The stress of knowing that there’s always something else I should be doing will hopefully be gone, and maybe I’ll be able to “deschool” a little bit each day when I come home from work. I imagine that I’ll be a bum when I get home for the first few weeks, maybe even months. But as I adapt to my new routine, I’ll slowly return to working on my hobbies and outside interests, seeing friends, and generally having a life. That’s the idea, anyway.

*The more appropriate but also more radical term is unschoolers, which refers to children who don’t follow a prescribed curriculum or take standardized tests, but learn their own material at their own pace.

Anger

People today have a lot to be angry about. Politics, cars, news, work, construction, bicycles – there are a lot of things that piss us off. What’s weird is that some people seem to actually enjoy being angry. A few years ago, I realized that I was becoming one of those people, and it scared me. I think we’re all that person sometimes. We’ve all clicked on a negative review of a movie we liked just to see “what this jerk is talking about,” or confronted someone about a topic we know will get them riled up, even when we know we should just let it slide.

It really occurred to me that I was embracing my inner dark side while I was riding my bike to school. I was pissed off about something – someone was biking too slow, or a car almost hit me – and I got angry. I didn’t grow huge muscles and turn green and yell “HULK MAD!! HULK SMASH!” But I probably peddled off furiously and muttered something scathing under my breath. Great. The kicker is, I sort of liked it. Being angry felt like some kind of revenge, and I felt secure in the knowledge than next time… next time I would say something or throw a glare, or do something to show the person that I was really mad. And then we’d be even… but would we really?

At the time, I recognized that this wasn’t helpful. After all, the only person with any negative emotion about that encounter was me. The other person went on being their jack-ass self, not caring about the world around them. Maybe it would get them in trouble some day, or maybe not. Either way, in my little world, the only person who was angry was me. A more immediate concern, however, was that I knew I had accidentally been a jack-ass a few times. Sometimes you lose your head, and you cut someone off. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you made a mistake. So how can you be so sure that the person who just cut you off is a jerk, and that they didn’t make a mistake?

So I tried to change. If someone was going to be a jerk, I would deal with the situation dispassionately, secure in the knowledge that they were a douche-canoe, and they had to live with themselves. If they decided to do something stupid, good for them.

I ran into a story on Reddit a while ago that really changed my feelings about anger. I might not retell it exactly correctly, but the gist is there:

The Buddha was walking in a market one day. A man on the street noticed him, and started cursing him, insulting him, and jeering at him. He threw horrible insults at the Buddha. The Buddha looked at him with a peaceful smile, and walked on. The next day as the Buddha walked through the market, the man saw him and again, he insulted him, insulted his family, and cursed his beliefs. Again, the Buddha smiled peacefully, and walked away. On the third day, the man did the same, but before the Buddha walked away, he stopped and said, “I have stood here insulting you for three days. I have said horrible things to you, and all you do is smile and walk away. Aren’t you offended? Aren’t you mad?” The Buddha looked at the man and said, “If I were to give you a gift, would you accept it?” “No!”, said the man,”I would never accept a gift from someone like you!” “Then to whom would the gift belong?”, asked the Buddha “Well, you would still own it.” “Exactly,” said the Buddha, “and if I don’t accept your anger? To whom does it belong?” (paraphrased from a Reddit comment thread here.)

My effort over the past two years or so is to let other people hang on to their anger, rather than taking it on myself. An extension of this is that if someone is being inconsiderate or selfish, I try to let them wallow in it, rather than letting it make me upset. I let them shoulder the burden of their own dickishness. And if they just made a mistake, then I won’t blow up at them for no reason. It’s tough to do sometimes, but I feel a lot better about myself for it.

A good example of this happened a little while ago. I was walking home (having just bought Assassin’s Creed II: Brotherhood, I might add,) when I was almost hit by a pickup truck, driven by a man who was clearly not paying attention. “Jesus!” I yelled instinctively, as I turned around and glared at the man. “Excuse-moi! Excuse-moi!” he shouted back to me (he was francophone; he wasn’t being cheeky). I turned around and walked away, slightly shaken, but not angry at all. In fact, I was struck by how little anger I felt. The thought occurred to me that maybe I should turn around and yell at him, curse him out, and tell him to watch where he’s going. But something else occurred to me that was even better:

What I did was worse for him than getting angry. If I had gotten angry at him, I would be angry, and he would have cause to be angry at me for not being understanding of his mistake. It would have given him the slightest excuse to deflect his anger at himself toward me. But I didn’t leave him room for that. The only options I left open to him were to forget about the incident, and to be angry at himself. If he forgets about it, then he wasn’t going to listen to my swearing anyway. And if he’s angry at himself, he might just be more careful next time. But either way, I felt fine, and I went home to play my new video game, completely unfazed.

It might sound like I’m peddling some kind of weird hippy crap that makes no sense. You might assume that you would eventually blow up at someone, releasing all kinds of pent-up anger that you had been storing for years. But I really believe that – like the Buddha said in the story above – the anger stays with the person who created it. When you open yourself to the possibility that 1) the person might have simply made a mistake, or 2) that becoming angry will only make you feel worse, you start to catch yourself becoming angry, and you start to let it go. It’s not about letting anger go completely – sometimes anger can be a useful emotion – it’s about not getting angry destructively. It’s about only getting angry when it counts, and letting yourself enjoy the rest of the time.

I may write more about this subject, since it’s an important part of my life. If you have comments, suggestions, questions (although I don’t pretend to be an expert on this,) or anger deflection stories of your own, please do leave them in the comments.

No Resolutions 2013

Every year, it seems, I write a blog post about how I’m not making New Years Resolutions. It’s getting a bit old, a bit monotonous, and I feel like I’m repeating myself. I feel like I’m berating my readers with the same drivel over and over again… but I’m doing it again this year, so suck it up!

Month: January, Year: 2013, Resolutions: None. Not one. Let’s review. The main reasons I don’t do make New Year’s Resolutions are because 1) if I need to make changes in my life, I make them in “real time;” that is, as soon as I realize there is a problem. 2) I think people use New Year’s Resolutions as an excuse. How’s that? Most people don’t follow through with New Year’s Resolutions. Sure, they go to the gym for a few days, maybe even weeks, but eventually they stop. There are a variety of reasons for this, but for the purposes of this discussion, what’s important is that most people don’t follow through. I think people use that as an excuse. Stopped going to the gym? So did a bunch of other people. Stopped “eating healthy?” You’re not alone. Still drinking too much coffee? Next year…

This is not to say that I don’t believe in making lifestyle changes at certain intervals, it’s just that I don’t think the first day of the New Year is a good day to start, especially when there are so many other people to fail with. I set goals at the beginning of semesters, especially after the summer break. After the semester is over, I’m in a better place to sit back and think about what I want to do in the coming term. What do I want to improve on? How am I going to do it? How will I know I have improved? Then I implement, and hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, I try again next term, or later in the same term.

Those two bold questions are important. Motivation research (and common sense) shows that specific goals with specific measurements are more likely to lead to success, and that most people set fuzzy goals with no measurement of success. Many people, for example, set the goal of “eating better.” What does that mean? If you eat one less burger in 2013 than 2012, you have technically eaten “better” according to some arbitrary standard. If you fail to bring fork to mouth one less time in 2013 than in 2012, you have – by some standard – succeeded in eating more skilfully (i.e. “better”) than you did in 2012. Congratulations. A specific goal is this: “Eat meals comprised mostly of vegetables three times a week.” Even that’s a bit fuzzy. How about this: “Eat white carbohydrates less than two times a week.” That’s a great goal. That’s a goal you can monitor. That’s a goal you just might be able to stick to.

Now that I’ve done my pedantry bit, let’s talk about my goals for this term. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’ve been working on discipline. I’m pleased to say that I’ve done well. One of my specific goals last term was to get two A’s. I did not meet that goal. I did, however, boost my grades compared to previous terms. This semester, same goal: two A’s. Second goal: do all the assignments. My weak point in school is that at some point during the semester, I get frustrated and bored, and I stop doing assignments. I don’t just do them half way, I stop doing them altogether. That changed last semester, and in all but one of my classes, I turned in all or most of the assignments. This semester, ALL the assignments. Everything I am assigned, I will turn in. And not only will I turn it in, I will do it right. How will I do that? (Forming a plan of action for achieving your goal is also important.) I’ll do the assignments early, and I’ll check my answers. The details of this goal are still in the making, since I’m still fitting into my schedule, but that’s ok. Another goal was to brush and floss my teeth every single night. I used to brush most nights, and floss frequently, but I wanted to do it every night. Done. I think I’ve missed one day since a week before the start of last semester. This semester, I’m adding a morning brushing to that goal.

Those are a few goals I’m continuing to work on and I’ve added another: meditation. I want to be more disciplined, and more focussed. Meditation does just that sort of thing. There are lots of ways to meditate, but the one I’m going to focus on is the one found here. From what I’ve read, this type of meditation strengthens the pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of your brain that delivers willpower. So I’m going to meditate this way every night before I go to sleep. So far, I have meditated every night this semester, and I’m still going strong. I started out with 5 minutes, then 10, and I think I’m going to kick it up a notch and go for 20 tonight. It’s tough, but that’s what I’m looking for.

Finally, I do have some fuzzy goals. There are some things I want to do that I don’t really care to define properly, because they’re things that I want to work on, but that I don’t want to interfere with my other goals. If you pick too many goals, all of them suffer, and the three goals I’ve mentioned here are more important and concrete. I want to encourage my curiosity. Instead of just reading about a concept – mead making, say – and glossing over it, I want to immerse myself in it. I want to dig in, and learn some cool things about it. If someone were to come up to me after I read an article about mead, and ask me what I learned, I want to be able to tell them something cool, not just say, “Uh… well…” That’s just a waste of time. I also want to keep my room cleaner, do the dishes more frequently (which I’ve been doing,) and go to sleep earlier.

And yes, I want to blog more often. I’ve been neglecting my blog again, but some day I hope to get back to it. My life has been changing a lot lately, and blogging didn’t really fit in my mind. Now, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to focus on it a bit more. But who knows. One reader suggested that I add a donate button to my site, and I think I may well do that. I don’t want you to feel pressured to donate, and I won’t add it unless I start blogging more often, but it would certainly encourage me to blog more often (and contribute to the Help Me Pay My Rent And Things fund) if people threw some change my way every once in a while. If you have thoughts or opinions on this (or any) subject, please do leave them in the comments.

Also, if there are things you want me to talk about (or not talk about) in 2013, please let me know.

Discipline Week: Hindsight

To be honest, I’ve been rather dreading writing this post. The biggest failure of Discipline Week was my lack of blogging, and while there were many successes, the fact that I haven’t blogged in around three months has been weighing on me. Sometimes I feel like the segments of our lives have a theme. If you could put years of your life in a folder, you might label these years after something you learned to do, and these months after someone you were dating, and this week after one idea that completely changed your way of thinking. This semester’s theme has definitely been “Motivation” or, as a friend of mine might call it, “Learning to School.”

In learning how to school, I have learned not only about motivation, but also about priorities, forgiveness, and ardor. I use the word ardor in reference to a quote I read a while ago: “Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor, and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams. When I copied this quote and taped it above my desk early in the semester, I knew it was significant, but it took me a while to learn exactly how it was significant. To me, seeking learning with ardor means that you have to use whatever means are at your disposal to complete your work. If that means staying up late, or asking a friend how to do a problem, or even skipping class, then so be it. It’s not enough to simply be at school, you have to fight for the knowledge you want.

Prioritizing is sometimes part of fighting for knowledge. I have skipped many a Linear Algebra assignment this semester, but I’ve done all but two of my assignments in every other class. In two of my classes, the assignments are worth 10% to 12.5% of my grade, and in another class, I know that I’ll get very far behind if I don’t do the assignments. Given a limited time – for whatever reason – I have to choose which assignment to do based on which is more important.

I’ve also learned to forgive myself. I can’t expect myself to study as diligently as some of my peers – at least not at the moment. After a while, I shut down, and I’m not able to continue studying. Once in a while, I’ll realize that I just can’t study, and I’ll put everything down and watch TV. And I’ve learned to tell myself that that’s ok sometimes.

Scheduling is also important. I’ve realized that most of the time I’ll plan to work on something “later” and not really allocate any time for it. Then “later” arrives, and the assignment is already past due. I have to give myself a time and a place in which to study: at home, at my table, with a pot of tea, at 4:30pm. Now I stack up my day in my mind, like a stack of dishes that need to be done. Sometimes I realize I won’t have time for all of them, and I re-prioritize.

Finally, one of the most important things: I’ve gotten rid of my “smart complex.” I read an article a while ago about how children who are told they are “smart” tend to give up more easily on intellectual challenges, and I realized that describes me to a tee. It sounds like an excuse or a an attempt at diagnosing an imaginary affliction, but I think it’s a useful tool for analyzing myself. If your parents told you all your life that you were stupid, chances are you would start to believe them after a while, and you would relegate yourself to a life of intellectual boredom. So what happens when your parents constantly tell you that you’re smart?

I think you start to believe it in just the same way. You do well in school, because maybe you are smart, until you reach a point where smart doesn’t cut it anymore; now you have to do real work, and you’ve never had to do that before. That’s when the identity crisis hits. You start looking for a way to reconcile the idea that you’re “smart” and the fact that you’re performing poorly in school. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this,” you think to yourself, “maybe I’m in the wrong program,” “I’m not enjoying this, so maybe this isn’t my subject.” When grades don’t agree with your vision of the world, you start comparing yourself to other people, trying to see where you stand on the intellectual spectrum. But it’s all in vein, because intellect doesn’t matter here: work is what matters, and you’ll get nowhere until you realize that.

The trick is to realize that you cannot afford yourself the luxury of being smart. Smart does not exist in this scenario, for all intents and purposes, and the sooner you can force yourself to realize that, the sooner you can start working on the real problem: how to do the work. Pushing “smart” out of your mind will help you succeed.

It took me a few days to stop comparing myself to other people, and to stop thinking about how my performance reflected on my intellect. For a while I was even annoyed with some of my friends who I perceived to be “smarter” than I, because I was the smart kid once. Soon, I realized that they merely have more self-discipline than I do. This problem is by no means fixed, and I’m still getting a feel for how to deal with it. But I am dealing with it.

For those who would like to read more about what I have called the “smart complex,” here is the article: http://nymag.com/news/features/27840/

Hot, Crappy, Miserable Day

Today, to put it bluntly, was not a terribly good day. Every Saturday, I make pancakes for breakfast; it’s a fun little ritual. Except that most Saturdays it’s frustrating as hell, because something usually goes wrong. The first time I ever made pancakes on Saturday morning, the gluten free flour I was using decided that it would burn onto the pan, but never cook. It was the batter from hell. The few times since then, my Saturday morning has started off with some similar (although typically milder) panic, and gotten gradually much better from there. I should have known that today was going to suck when – despite the fact that I had less pancake mix than the recipe called for* – the pancakes went off without a hitch.

After eating my pancakes, I had planned to head over to Maker Faire, leaving at 11:30 so that I would get there at exactly 12. I wanted to be there when it opened, for the principle of the thing. Well, it turns out I forgot that I had a driving lesson today at 12, and fortunately my driving instructor texted me to remind me half an hour before my lesson. Maker Faire would have to wait. After my driving lesson, I got changed (I always leave my driving lessons smelling like air freshener,) ate some lunch, and decided to go off to Maker Faire. It was about 2 at this point. I would still have around four hours to explore before the faire was over, and although I was tired, I was still pretty stoked about it. So I ventured out in the awful heat, my dad’s camera in tow, to check out Montreal’s very first Maker Faire.

I got there, bought my ticket, and went to the entrance. A volunteer took my ticket, ripped the perforated tag off, and the security camera asked me to open my bag. Nope. DSLR cameras aren’t allowed. First of all, IN WHAT FREAKING UNIVERSE are DSLR cameras not allowed at an outdoor event? And it’s not all cameras either; no, cell phones and point and shoots are fine, but DSLRs? Aw hell no. Second, check my bag BEFORE you tear my ticket up.

I should say at this point, that my annoyance has nothing to do with the lovely people who organized Maker Faire; they had nothing to do with this silliness, as far as I know. Whoever it was, they’ve officially made my shit list. So when I find out who it is… I’ll glare at them… grumpily.

The security guard helped me get a refund, and I made the trip back home. However, a friend of mine was recently featured in a documentary film that premiered at the Montreal Film Festival called Echoes, and I have been meaning to see it. I had checked the times earlier, and it was playing at 5 tomorrow (Sunday.) This being Saturday, I assumed the times would be the same. NOPE. I went all the way out to Cinema du Quartier Latin to find out that I had missed the movie by two hours. This was my second trip out past Berri-UQUAM metro in the ugly, humid heat today. And at this point, I was still fine. I wasn’t grumpy, I wasn’t angry, I just thought, “Oh well, I’ll buy my ticket for tomorrow, and I’ll see it then.” I bought my ticket, and trudged back to the metro. And that’s when things started to go down hill.

Sometimes, the crumby days just creep up on you. It’s not until the end of the day – around 5 or so – that you realize that it was a crap day for no reason. That’s usually when I retreat to my room and do whatever I think will make me feel better, and that’s exactly what I did today. I went to the store and bought a bottle of Diet Coke and some pasta, poured a massive glass of said carbonated beverage with lots of ice, and sat down in my air conditioned room to cool off.

And here I sit. On days like this, I’m reminded of the saying, “Some days you get the bear, and some days the bear gets you.” Well the bear got me today, or at least he tried. Despite my two failed outings, I still managed to do quite well during my driving lesson, and I made and ate delicious pancakes. And tomorrow, I’m going to Maker Faire and to see my friend’s documentary. It’s still supposed to be hotter than the hinges of hell tomorrow, but I’ll live. It turned out not to be such a bad day after all, but that bear really gave it his best shot. Another thing I remember on days like this, is something Jeph Jacques of the web comic Questionable Content once said, “Sometimes you’ve just gotta let a shitty day be a shitty day and move on.” And that’s exactly what I try to do whenever I’m having a bad day. The bear can have today, because the next month is mine. For every day the bear gets, I’ll take thirty or more. He’s had his one day, and tomorrow I’ll be back in force.

Until then, I’ll be at home eating sausage and home made macaroni and cheese, and drowning my sorrows in Diet Coke and Star Trek**.

*I usually make pancakes from scratch. However, after the aforementioned incident of the pancake batter from hell, I went out and bought gluten free pancake batter at the store. Not as good as the ones I make, but it did the trick. Dammit, I wanted pancakes!

**Yes, one of my goals was to eliminate TV from my day, but I do love me some Star Trek, and I chose to finish Deep Space 9 now so that I’m not tempted to watch it once school starts. It was a tough decision, but someone had to make it. Those episodes aren’t going to watch themselves.

Discipline Week Update: Day Five

Today is the fifth day of Discipline Week, and I’m pleased to say that it’s going well. But it’s time to up the ante. Time to raise the bar. To kick it into gear. The discipline has just begun.

The Past

But before we up the ante, let’s talk about what I’ve learned so far from this week. I think I expected the burst of willpower it takes to get out of bed at 7am to feel good somehow. I expected that I would feel like it was good for me, and just do it. Clearly, that’s not what happens at 7am. What happens at 7am? Reddit*. For half an hour, and if I’m honest, sometimes 45 minutes. The point is, it doesn’t feel good to wake up at 7am, and it won’t ever feel good – at least not for a long time – to get up at 7am. Exerting your willpower, forcing yourself to do something that you know you need to do, but really don’t want to do in the moment, is no fun. But my aim is to get used to it.

Blood sugar checks haven’t been happening as frequently as I’d planned, and next week I want to address that. More regular blood sugar checks give me more useful information about my blood sugar, so that I can adjust my basal rates (the amount of insulin I get per hour) accordingly. At the moment, I check fairly regularly in the morning and at night, but during the day my blood sugar checks are sporadic. Hopefully logging my blood sugars will help me check at the right times.

While doing dishes yesterday, an idea occurred to me that I’ll probably expand on in a future blog post. To explain this idea, let me define something I’ll call “frames of awareness.” The way you see yourself right now – the way you feel about yourself, the world, what you’re planning to do later, what you feel like doing now, all of it – is one frame of awareness. The way you will be tomorrow is another frame of awareness. They might have things in common, but in some sense you’ll be different tomorrow than you are today. You could think of these frames of awareness as frames in a film strip that make up your whole life. Now let’s define a special frame of awareness: the now frame. The now frame is you as you are now. Sometimes, the now frame can be selfish. Even though it knows the other frames will suffer because it decides not to do the dishes, not to study, or not to eat well, sometimes the now frame just doesn’t care. The now frame can be like a spoiled child: it wants what it wants, and it wants it now. So you have to teach the now frame – just like a spoiled child – that it can’t always have what it wants now. It has to share with the other frames. How do we do that? Willpower!

Maybe that’s all just a sack of crap, but it seems like an interesting model for explaining procrastination. I’ll ponder some more and probably blog about it later.

The Future

Let’s talk about this weekend, and next week. This weekend is MAKER FAIRE MONTREAL. I have wanted to go to Maker Faire ever since I learned about it, and I am SO STOKED for this one. I’m planning to go both days. So that’s what will be happening this weekend. You can expect at least one huge blog post about that.

According to my original Discipline Week plan, weekends should be largely devoted to doing new and interesting things. I’m always frustrated by how infrequently I work on my various projects, and I plan to change that. Even into the school year, I want at least some part of my weekends to be about projects. So when I’m not frolicking around at Maker Faire, I’ll be working on one of the several projects that I’ve started. And of course, I’ll be blogging.

8am is when I’ll wake up, and there is no running on the weekends.

Next week, however, is when things really get started. I’ll wake up at 7am, eat a light breakfast, read for half an hour, go running, take a shower, and start work. Every morning. Rain or shine. I also want to establish a more rigid daily routine, particularly at night. I want to do the dishes every night before I go to sleep, record my blood sugars, and maybe do some writing. What exactly my nightly routine will be, I’m not sure. I’ll think about it this weekend, and probably post it later.
Writing this blog post, I feel like I’m making campaign promises. Maybe it’s because of the upcoming election, or maybe it’s because I’m afraid I won’t stick to all the things I’m committing myself to doing. But I’ve done everything I’ve intended to so far, so my track record is good. I’ve made it through the first week; now let’s see about the second.

Note: I wrote this post this morning, but forgot to post it until now. So I failed at one of my objectives, but I think I achieved the gist of it. Am I making excuses?

*I like to start my day with a healthy dose of r/funny.