Custom Update: Finding Rhythm in Reality

Well, I’m already slipping. Fourth week of January and I have already missed a week of blogging. While I cannot go back, I can move forward.

Yet moving forward right now is difficult. I am in the ‘vacation coma’. This haze of reality where all I want to be doing is skiing with my friends in the mountains. Because I know how to ski and I feel I can ski decently well, that being blues, and some blacks, with confidence. First item off The Dream List! Sadly, the vacation is over and reality has set in.

I am not ready to be back at work though. I walked in the first day and felt like I was hit by a hammer. Just crushed. I felt out of place. Lost. Like I had taken the wrong turn coming home and should have gone the other direction back to my friends. I miss my friends a lot – here is your shout-out, Brenden, and the rest of the Bomb Squad; thanks for reading and your friendship – and it is pulling me down.

I have experienced few vacations as incredible as this past one. It was amazing. Just unbelievable how peaceful, relaxing, and comfortable I could be. We’re talking 12 days in the mountains, 8 days of skiing, 2 days of hiking, and 2 rest days. We found pristine ice to climb (sadly, we were unable to climb it because a friend fell through a frozen creek, water up to his thighs, and we had to get him to warmth), and much more. I don’t know if you have fallen asleep next to a fireplace watching huge snowflakes fall outside, but it is magical. Honestly, I could go on, and I probably will at some point (actually, later this week in a post about skiing I will), but right now, I need to focus.

I am not on vacation anymore. It’s the hard reality, and I wish it wasn’t true, but I have to accept it and move forward. Productivity is the priority now. I really need to start writing. Start moving forward, because frankly, if I don’t move forward and maintain my current emotional momentum, it’s going to get hairy (and it did for a time period). I can feel the darkness lapping at my ankles, staring me down, and I don’t want it to come for me.

So here I am on my day off, nursing an injured ankle, pounding away at getting ahead. It is time do work. A big part of that is finding my rhythm in writing again. Writing is one of my daily goals, and I have yet to meet that goal once this year. And that is sad. I call myself a writer, but I barely write. It is a contradiction and I don’t want to be that.

One thing I started doing is carrying around a mini notebook in my pocket and everyday I pick a prompt to write on. A story only told in dialogue, a character description, creating tension, suspense, anything I can come up with and I try to write a little bit in the notebook on that prompt. Or I can use it to capture my random ideas. Sometimes ideas blind side me and I tell myself, “I’ll remember that and write about it later”. It never happens. I am hoping this tactic with the mini notebook will solve some of my writing problems. I’ll update you guys next week on how it is working.

On a different note, one thing I get constant questions about, and with good reason, is what happened to my Van Life plan(spoken about in a past Custom Update). And to answer the question, it is still in the books, it is just taking time. I have been fortunate enough to have my sister and brother-in-law be SUPER supportive of the idea, along with inviting me to stay with them in the interim. It has been a great experience so far and they have allowed me to stay a bit longer than originally planned. Thus, I have been able to build my nest egg a bit more and search for a nicer van option. Finding a van that I want to call home is a big deal. In the end, the time spent searching will be worth it.

It is all about finding rhythm again. Little bits of effort everyday will get me there, it just takes persistence. It is coming together, it is just taking time.

Custom Update: Vacation and The Dream List

Alright, so the post didn’t come out on Thursday. But I swear I have a good reason. Wednesday evening I drove 13 hours to Driggs, Idaho. I am finally on vacation. It is the beginning of 13 days of blissful skiing, ice climbing, and quality time with some of my closest friends. In any case, I arrived promptly at 9:30am Thursday morning and and by 11am I was on the slopes learning how to ski for the first time. We got back to the house around 5pm and then we were shopping for food, making dinner, planning other trips and doing research, etc.

Thus, my post was not completed. . . for several days because sometimes hanging out with your friends is more important.

And let’s face it, I am on vacation. Beautiful, peaceful vacation! I am so happy to be away, recharging my batteries, and reconnecting with good friends. My productivity is taking a hit, but my soul is getting exactly what it needed.

Nevertheless, I am here this morning (along with continual bursts of effort every other morning), bruised, battered, full of joy, and ready to present the first iteration of The Dream List.

What is The Dream List? Think of it is my version of a bucket list, to do list, and The Impossible List from College Info Geek (based off the original Impossible List by Joel Runyon). This will be the central location all levels goals and kinds of aspirations will live. With them all in one place I will be able to track the ones I have accomplished and those I have yet to accomplish. I like the visualization of goals and dreams. There is something about seeing progress by crossing items off a list. Not to mention, publicizing these kind of goals is great accountability, at least for me.

So that is that. I am on vacation, loving the time with my friends, and learning a new sport. Sometimes the only update needed is that life is going well.

Cheers!

Custom Update: The Year of Upgrades

Ah, the New Year. The time when choices of the good, the bad, and the ugly variety are made. When people put down the pint of ice cream and pick up the jump rope. . . then pick the pint back up after two weeks.

I have set a few choices in motion with The Custom Life. Upgrades are what I am deeming them – for instance a certain upgrade of which I am happily writing this post from that finally arrived – and I could not be more excited. For starters, I am launching The List this Thursday. This beautiful page will be an on going list of goals, both personal, professional, and for The Custom Life.

Secondly, and get psyched for this one, the Custom Life now has a Twitter handle, Pintrest page, Instagram, AND. . . wait for it. . . email. Ok, that isn’t exciting enough.

So I bought my domain. Boom.

thecustomlifeblog.com is live people (well. . . hopefully, it may be 72 hours, but it is a real thing).  Click that link and basque in the refreshed glory of the front page. It is that good.

Anyway, it feels great to be back here on The Custom Life (should I start calling it TCL? I’ll think about it). My soul has missed the oasis that is writing. Fun fact, I went almost an entire month without writing and felt as though my soul was being slowly sucked from my body. I was becoming an empty husky, like chaff in the wheat grinder, or the bits of eraser that no longer have a purpose.

Full of imagery my writing is.

Side Note: Star Wars was epic, because I got to watch it in theaters AND drink great beer. Cinebarre, if have not tried it, either you are under age, or lacking the kind of impulses that would make us friends. Because even if you don’t drink, you cannot tell me that being able to eat bar food and drink a milk shake, all served to you while you sit in plush leather seats during a movie in theaters, is a not gift to man kind. Seriously. However, I also adhere to the notion that I shouldn’t probably do that to my body that often. Heath and fitness becomes difficult when you are full of greasy food and crappy calories.

Which brings me to other news, I finished my 6 week training program! You can read all about my thoughts about the training when I post a sweet review (or two. . . we’ll see).

All in all, I am back and The Custom Life is going places. Get excited, because 2016 is going to be the Year of Upgrades.

Check out the Contact page for more information about all the ways to contact me.

Custom Updates: Crunch Time

It is so close to Christmas! What does that mean? Crunch time. There are so many that need to be done:

  • Purchase gifts
  • Find and purchase a Van
  • Juggle jobs and obligations
  • Plan for my trip in January
  • Write/Blog
  • Plan for the New Year

Those are just a few things, but there are more and I know they’re all coming for me in the next few weeks. Christmas is like the final yearly battle in time management. It is what we have been training for all year. However, this year I feel ill-prepared for the magnitude of time management needed.

In light of the craziness of this holiday season, and a need to get a schedule put together so The Custom Life becomes less rambling, I will be holding off on posting until after the New Year. I will make sure that the first few posts cover all those things I have been meaning to speak of (budget run down, NaNoWriMo lessons, etc). I want to The Custom Life to be anecdotal, but also have helpful content. The Custom Life has been lacking the helpful content for a while now. I am taking the rest of December to plan out content, and get everything on schedule and in order. It will be worth it.

This is a learning process and I am adjusting my time management to make sure The Custom Life is a priority. Thank you for enjoying the process with me. I appreciate the support.

Merry Christmas, and see you in the New Year!

Custom Update: Struggles

This is going to be a short one; get excited, or mad, but either way at least I warned you!

I don’t know where the colloquialism “the struggle is real” came from, but I believe in it right now. My struggle is real. I am experiencing a lot of struggles right now, both personal and professional (Can I even say that about my current job status?), and I am working through them to the best of my ability.

This weekend was tough. I am feeling pretty lonely right now. Some details do not need to be blogged about, but, in essence, I am lonely and missing some important people (shout out to me Seester and Bro for being awesome though, they are making this transitional period MUCH easier). Mix that with external frustrations (for one, Toshiba’s customer service is deplorable and they have a stupid ordering system; that is all), and adapting to a new job, and I am not enjoying life as much as I would like.

The first thing to take a hit when I am not happy, because let me be honest, I am not all that happy, currently a 50/50 happiness split, is my productivity. You probably noticed I did not post over the weekend. I said I would, and then I was feeling crummy, so I pretty much did nothing but sit and mull over said crumminess.  A wonderful woman always used a quote from the romantic comedy French Kiss and it pertains to this:

Express, not repress.

Mulling over bad times does not work unless you do the mulling outside of your own mind. Otherwise, in the words of my father, it’s like wiping your ass with a hula-hoop; you get the same shit over and over. Put the mulling out on a table and share it with someone; it helps, trust me. Well, I did not do that. I sat and wallowed for most of the weekend, so I got little to nothing done.

The new job is challenging, and I am glad it is challenging, but I am struggling to enjoy the work and work place. Stepping straight into a supervisory role is difficult, especially when you are like me and not familiar with corporate retail in a big city environment. Add on top of that the fact that there are employees there that I have to direct that know more than me, and it becomes an awkward situation quickly. I am doing my best to find the upside, to learn fast, and earn respect, but it is hard and I don’t leave work with pep in my step. Do not get me wrong, I am thankful for my job. It is just difficult right now. Change is hard. Adapting is a struggle. In the end though, I will be better because of it.

So that is my update: I am struggling. Not all that glamorous, profound, or informative, but it is the truth. And in truth, we are all struggling in our own way. Some more, some less. I am here to share in your struggle, because we should all be able to express, and just like the express lane, it should work both ways. Alright, that was a cheesy metaphor, but if any of you need someone to help you mull over struggles, I would be more than happy to chat.

Custom Update: Death by Commute

December is here! I love December. Why? Because December means two things: cold weather and Christmas. You can wear flannel in cold weather. That is all that needs to be said.  Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love all aspects of Christmas : the cheer, the food, the music, the spirit of giving, the decorations and everything else. It is a magical time.

However, it being December also means NaNoWriMo is over. Let me tell you, this was a tough month.

Final Count Chart
*As of the 11/30/15

16,914. I didn’t even make it half way. I did horribly. I could say I was busy and I had a lot of things going on, but in truth I didn’t give it my all. I tried but I could have tried harder. I could have slept little, milked the words from my fingers, and poured every drop of time I had into this, but I didn’t. I failed. Was the stress of NaNoWriMo worth it? Absolutely. I learned some important things from the experience, and I’ll share my insight over the weekend. For now, I will press on.  For as they say, NaNoWriMo may be over, but I will continue to write like it is November.

On the upside, I have officially started my new job! It is a challenging change in pace and I am excited to learn from my mentors, the company, and the position. It will be a busy month, but I am excited to jump right into the thick of the business. I am also fortunate that I will continue to work occasional shifts at Vertical World. Everyone there has been very supportive of this opportunity and I am thrilled to continue to work as part of the Vertical World family.

Commuting though. Dear lord… it is terrible. I spend three hours a day going between places. I spend 45 minutes driving, 20 minutes walking, and another 30 minutes on the bus. That is one way. In addition to two hours of workouts (Week 4 is almost over and improvements are becoming evident!) and eight hours of work, that is both time consuming and exhausting. I am trying to find ways to capitalize on the intermittent down time though, which is why I am working on this post on the bus via my phone. If you every saw my first attempt at blogging, you’ll know how well blogging from a phone went for me (RIP Enriched in Argentina).

That is part of the reason I bought myself a new laptop.  The fact that my current laptop is not portable, and takes up to 10 minutes to get to a workable state, is unacceptable and is overall hindering my productivity. I hope that the portability and greatly increased boot speed of my new laptop will allow me to do more writing on the go. Hopefully that means that I will get back on schedule…

Budget-wise, I was prepared for a computer purchase. So while my liquid funds took a hit from the purchase, I had the cash to pay for it and my budget unaffected. I am still waiting on my benefits package to arrive from Columbia so I can finalize those details and get the true picture of my budget. Rest assured, once I have those details in place, you will get the budgeting post and weekly updates that you have been looking for (because I know you are so excited for that).

Enjoy your weekend, do something you love, and if at all possible, avoid a commute.

Custom Update: Failures and Successes

It is always hard to watch yourself fail. NaNoWriMo has been a lot of failing and a few small successes, mostly due to my NaNoWriMo tips. The biggest failure is the word count.

Word Count Chart 11-24-15
*As of the evening of 11/23/14

As you can see, I am not even a quarter of the way to the word count goal. There would have to be a miracle for me to make it to 50,000 words by the end of next Monday. On top of that, I am not entirely satisfied with the story direction anymore. It lost something over the past two weeks. The story seemed forced from my fingers; it has been hard to put the words down.

However, I am at a point in the story that I have been thinking about for a while, so hopefully I will get back on track. I will do my best to recover my stride for a last push, but it is difficult to say now if I will succeed in even drafting the beginning of a viable story.

On a happier note, I am enjoying my new job immensely! Well, at least the people (I have yet to actually worked a shift; I have only completed training thus far), but I am sure the day to day work will be fun and full of new experiences.  I am psyched to have benefits now. I never realized how awesome company benefits are, or how confusing they can be (that can be another post on its own).

My training, the program I spoke of in my 10th post, is still hard, both mentally and physically. I feel stronger, but so heavy, and it is affecting my climbing. My climbing isn’t getting worse per se, but it is definitely getting harder to stay at the same level; my climbing plateau is having an effect on my mentality. On the other hand, the legs portion of the training is getting relatively easier each week. That is probably because I took an Epsom salt bath this weekend, and now I feel great. Or that is just what this training is actually about, building leg stamina and strength, and climbing is just the secondary. Either way, I am hopeful for all around improvements.

In the scope of budget, because of my new job and said benefits, things are still changing. I will be making contributions to a couple different investments now, and adjusting my loan payments. However, my budget is looking like I may be able to afford a nicer van come mid-December (WHOOO!).

But, on the same note, I have large expenses and purchases coming down the pipe. For one, my car needs new tires and registration. That will be almost an entire paycheck (or maybe not, I am hoping not). Plus, if I am to be living in a Van, I need a laptop that actually works. That is another $400 spent (I will detail my decision making process another time). So with all of that, I may end up sticking with a cheaper van anyway. We shall see.

Overall, ‘adulting’ is time consuming. I will figure out my time management eventually (aka, as soon as I get my act together) so I can spend more time writing. Until then, I will do my best to keep up and turn the failures into successes.

P.S. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! It is the time to cherish your loved ones. Even if you are near them, give them your thanks, and especially if they are far away.