Saturday, April 6, 2013

7 things that I think will change my life in 2013

HTML/CSS – I’m very excited about the skills I’ve acquired with HTML and CSS. It’s something that I’ve dabbled with for quite some time but never fully understood. I took a great class on it this semester and learned a lot. I feel like I’ve gained a new super power. Now instead of going to someone else to build me a website, I can jump on my computer and code the whole thing myself. Learning to code is a lot like learning to write music. The first couple songs you write will probably suck, but with practice, you get better. I plan on building several websites over the next year to develop my skills. I’m really looking forward to this.
Team Training – I’ve been pretty good at staying in shape over the last 2 years and my gym has played a big part in that. This year, I’ll be taking that to the next level. As I seem to have stumbled into being a Jiu Jitsu instructor, I really need to enhance my own skills and fitness. One of my original goals when I joined the gym was to be invited to the Team Doyle practices. Team Doyle is a competition Muay Thai team that holds more national championships than any other team in the US. You have to be invited to join and it’s intense. Practice occurs 3 days a week at 5:30 am (it moved to 5 days a week starting in April). If you miss or are late to too many practices, you’re out. Needless to say, I got invited and have been working out with the team for a couple months now. It's rough, but great, and my Jiu Jitsu game has taken a huge leap forward already. I think Team Training is finally going to get me where I want to be athletically.
DIY – Do it yourself goes beyond simple repairs to your house or car that you do on your own. DIY is a way to be creative and hopefully make something on your own for cheaper than you can buy it. I had my first real taste of DIY last year when I built a smoker. It cost about $30 and I got several great smoked pork roasts from it (and will again next summer). Since then, I’ve managed a few other DIY projects and it’s a really fulfilling experience. Rather than taking my laptop to the Apple store to upgrade the RAM, I did it myself (very easy, I know, but intimidating if you’ve never done it). Now I’ve replaced the RAM in 2 other computers, and rehabbed an old computer of my dad’s to run Ubuntu and learn Linux. I also just finished an upholstered headboard for our bed as a Christmas present for Mindy. The pictures show the process.

Obviously, I’ve got to keep my DIY projects to a minimum because I’ve got a lot on my plate as it is, but the occasional project here and there for enjoyment and enlightenment is a great way to unwind.

Office – Ever since we moved to our new house I’ve been using the bar top table in the basement as my office. I liked it because it was in my man cave and it was nice and quiet when I was trying to concentrate. On the other hand, I don’t like it because it’s about 50 degrees down there in the winter and I’ve constantly got a space heater going at my feet. The bar height chairs get uncomfortable after a while, I don’t have much room for my books, it's dark, and every time we have friends over, I have to clear all my study stuff off the table so it can be used for food. A while back I moved Mindy’s office to our main floor and she has a huge corner desk, most of which she doesn’t use. This weekend I moved all my study stuff to the upstairs office and so far it’s great. The office has 3 big windows that let in tons of light, it’s warmer upstairs, and the chair is far more comfortable. It makes the long hours I spend sitting on my butt in front of the computer a little more tolerable.
School – School is what helped me learn my HTML /CSS skills mentioned above and I’m just starting my second quarter back. That means I’ve got 2 more quarters to go in 2013. I’m taking a Java programming class this quarter as well as an Algebra class. College Math has always intimidated me. I was never “good” at math in high school, but that’s because I never tried to be good at math. Then, when I went to college, I never took any more math classes because I didn’t have to. It's been 12 years since I've done any Algebra. Not only that, but to continue on my current path I’ll need to take Trig and Calculus, both of which I have never studied. It’s going to feel good to finally take down one of those things that’s been intimidating me for years and years. I imagine it will feel like stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson and knocking him out.
Focus – Focus has always been an issue for me. There’s just so much out there that I want to explore that I’m terrible at sticking with anything, but I feel this has changed. I’m not sure what it is, maybe getting older, being unsatisfied with work, or something else, but my focus has really strengthened as of late. I’ve decided that there will be 2 primary things I focus on in 2013. School is one and Jiu Jitsu is the other. Beyond faith, family, and work, these 2 things will be what I spend my time and energy on. I’m excited because I can already taste how focusing on these things will change my life.
Scheduling – 13 years ago I heard the President of my college talk about time management. I still remember to this day that he scheduled his days in 15 minute increments. I thought to myself, that will NEVER be me. Well, now I am that guy. Fortunately or unfortunately, with as much as I’m trying to accomplish this year, I’m forced to make a schedule. Surprisingly, the schedule has reduced my stress by quite a bit. Knowing that I’m going to shut off my computer at 6:30 on Friday for a cheat meal and date night with Mindy gives me something to look forward to, and scheduling when I’m going to do laundry and make my lunch for the next day relieves the stress of trying to do it at the last minute. We’ll see if it sticks.