Discover more from Just Enough to Get Me in Trouble
I call B.S.
As I steamroll toward another birthday at the end of the month, one that comes with a number that feels uncomfortably high, I’d like to say that I’ve been setting aside time to reflect and take stock of my life and what’s important to me.
But that would be a lie.
What I’ve actually been doing is struggling to keep up with the roughly 10,000 things I want to accomplish with my work, while also attempting—poorly—to make time for creative stuff like writing words into this platform you’re currently reading them on or dabbling in music production again after feeling guilty about how my recording gear was languishing in the closet for—checks notes—five years and about how my guitars have been serving more as decorative pieces on the living room wall than, y’know, actual instruments that make music, and—most importantly—being present with my family so I’m not the guy who’s on his deathbed and says, “I regret working so much and not spending enough time with the people I loved the most.”
I could keep going.
Okay, I will.
There are also my less-than-optimal health habits.
I eat well, for the most part, thanks to the fact that my wife Allison is a dietitian who loves to cook healthy, delicious food for us, which I can’t thank her for enough because it’s scary to think about how awful I’d feel—and look—if left to my own devices. I say “for the most part” because I recently tracked my calories with the MyFitnessPal app and was faced with the stark reality that my routine of eating extra little snacks between meals, especially late at night, was not helping matters.
A little over a year ago, I wrote about my relationship to exercise. In the piece, I shared how I had been doing a short exercise routine before my nightly writing sessions. Welp, once my nightly writing sessions became less frequent, so too did my exercise routines. The habit stacking I was doing crumbled like a game of Jenga with my stepdaughter Sara who always insists on taking out the side pieces from the very bottom just to spite me. It needs a solid foundation!
I could keep going.
Okay, I will.
And then there’s sleep. In recent years, I’ve tried to be less hard on myself about my tendency to stay up late. Okay, it’s not really a tendency. It’s so ingrained in me that I find it difficult to force myself to go to bed early even if I have to get up early in the morning to catch a flight or whatever. This, combined with how hectic and one-thing-after-another-without-any-breaks my days can feel sometimes, leads to the occasional nap in the evening. Those used to be fine, at least I thought so, even though I bet armchair sleep experts would argue otherwise. Something different has been happening recently, though. Those 5-10 minute power naps have turned into two-hour-plus long naps with me waking up feeling disoriented and confused about what day/time it is for a few seconds. This happened just last night actually.
I could keep going.
But I’ll move on for now.
I do have to give myself some credit. Not only am I managing to keep putting one foot in front of the other despite all the challenges thrown my way, but I’ve also made some smaller improvements.
I’ve been keeping to a 12-hour intermittent fast nearly every day for over a month now. It has helped me reduce the number of snacks and has shaved excess calories off my daily intake—and a decent amount of pounds off my body weight.
I set up a small music studio in the corner of my garage. I’ve been refreshing my memory on how to navigate Ableton, the recording software I use, and I’ve been surprised at how much I remember. And some of the tracks I had started in the past actually sound kind of good.
If When I publish some, I’ll be sure to share them here.
All of that is great. But there’s still so much to improve upon.
It’s clear that age is having an effect on my well-being.
I’ve got to recognize that even though I sometimes feel like the rules of nature don’t always apply to me, the truth is that I’m not all that special. I’m a carbon-based lifeform that’s effectively slowly deteriorating over time, just like everyone else, and that means I can’t rely on things like the high metabolism that allowed me to get away with eating whatever the hell I wanted to when I was younger.
I’ve got to own up to my terrible sleep, exercise, and diet habits instead of sweeping them under the rug as I have for basically my entire life, aside from small stints where I’d get into jogging or going to the gym regularly for a few months.
None of these changes are all that difficult in and of themselves—the dietary changes I made recently ended up not being too hard to implement, for example.
But they do require discipline.
On Monday, we drove down to Stanford to visit a new team of specialists for my daughter Em. One of the procedures they specialize in is deep brain stimulation surgery. There’s a chance that it can help with Em’s rare form of epilepsy and her dystonic twisting caused by her cerebral palsy disability.
Allison checked in at the desk and I wheeled Em to the other side of the lobby. As I sat in a chair in front of Em and tried to entertain her over the way-too-loud TV playing the movie Cars, Allison filled out the typical clipboard full of medical intake questions. It’s not the easiest thing to do for Em. At only four years old, her medical file is thick—I joke that she’s our $2 million baby, although I wouldn’t be shocked if it was closer to $3 million by now. Filling those forms out not only means having to remember all of her meds and dosages and medical specialists’ names, but it also means reliving all the medical trauma she’s gone through.
I visited the doctor for myself yesterday, which was prompted by my recent passing-out episode. As I sat in the lobby waiting for the nurse to call my name, I thought about that clipboard from Em’s appointment. I thought about how when I fill one of them out I can check “no” across the board. Maybe I write a note that says, “occasional migraines and a tendency to pass out easily.” But that’s about it.
It’s a privilege to have lived a life mostly devoid of serious medical issues. Yet I know that it’s not always going to be that way. Eventually, the steady march of aging will catch up with me.
In the short term, I need to keep working on making the small changes that can have an outsized impact in the long run.
I wrote this piece in a new writing tool called Lex, which I’m enjoying quite a lot. It’s not only a nice place to write, but it also incorporates artificial intelligence. You can type +++ anywhere and it will offer up a few sentences. Don’t worry, it didn’t write this entire piece using AI. It is great for those times when you’re stuck. It can also sometimes produce funny results, like this one:
Thank you for being here and spending time with my words.
If you enjoyed this piece, could you please let me know by giving the heart button below a tap?