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The Journey

Discussion in 'My Optimal Journal' started by BartlebytheBlessing, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. BartlebytheBlessing

    BartlebytheBlessing New Member

    Background - Grew up in Coastal New England in the late 70s/80s. Lots of time outside, woods life, beach life, outdoor sports, etc. Terrible diet growing up. Obese father, nothing but junk food in house. Mother passed when very young. In high school would gain weight in winter despite being a 3 sport varsity athlete.

    I believe I changed my metabolism in college due to drastic self-induced weight loss (Im 6'0" - went from 200lbs to low 140s). Think it was combination of studying Romantic Literature while living in Ireland. Terrible food options in Ireland in the 90s; and in romantic literature theres always pining and swooning, and one doesn’t each much when one is pining - which then, of course, helps with the swooning:) Didn't have an email account at that time or TV. Anyway, since then have never really had big issues with weight.

    Dated open-minded vegetarian in early 20s. She noticed I couldn’t gain weight on a vegetarian diet and told me that my blood type was the meat eater blood type. Starting eating more meat and less carbs and presto, got to good healthy weight right quick. She taught me what actual food is and since then have always avoided processed food and have never worried about avoiding fats. Started eating this way in the late 90s and more or less kept it up until having kids. Maybe this is why I never had issues with weight, or maybe a combo (currently around 180lbs). I do have 6 older siblings and they are all overweight/obese.

    Post college never wanted office job. Most of my work in my twenties and early 30s was outside - bartending at beach bars and working on commercial fishing boats between months of May - Oct. Usually would head to South America/Central America/Mexico rest of year and wander around/volunteer at places/have adventures. Never had a phone while traveling south of the border. During summers in New England had a hard and fast rule that if I didn’t get in the ocean, the day was a waste. Can’t remember not getting in the ocean every single day for every summer for a good 7 year run.

    During this time I did suffer from depression etc mostly (I think) due to general existential malaise/lack of direction. As a traveler/expatriot you are always kind of in an in between - not part of either place/culture. Did try to settle down and stay in the north a couple of times but ended up following the lead of my namesake, saying ‘I prefer not to’ and hitting the trail again. Overall, during that time, I tended to find modern American life to be insipid, overly materialistic, and mostly devoid of meaning. And spending half my year or more in 3rd world countries definitely provided a regular spotlight (via juxtaposition) on the absurdity that is the 21st century American Dream. Spent fair amounts of time at different spiritually-oriented places in Latin America - yoga, meditation, that sort of thing. Helpful for sure, but a little too out there/hippy-dippy for me and a piece of the story seemed to be missing (Im a fairly rational thinker, though quite open to intuition and spirituality).

    Continued to deckhand on commercial fishing boats summers in early 30s while continuing Latin American winter life. Met wife in Seattle and finally settled down. Love the wife - best thing that ever happened to me. We decided to have kids, and I had to buckle down and do the stability thing. Got graduate degree. Got teaching job. Got crazy busy. Started eating like shit. Started drinking more than necessary. Survival mode. Having kids is a whole new ball game. Managed to handle my work and family responsibilities. Felt like shit. Depressed. Kept going. No rock bottoms really, just down in the depths and rather far from ideal. Love my kids and my wife. Stopped drinking. Feel better. Decided to focus on feeling better. Life better. Changed teaching job/went part time. Family better. Started with trying to improve sleep and diet. Dabbled in Keto/Carnivore. Feeling way better. Discovered ‘biohacking’ (via Ben Greenfield and Luke Story mostly). And that led me here. Super interested in all this stuff. Started implementing things and learning more every day. Much happier. Family life and life in general continues to get better. Been listening and browsing for a few months now. Looking to figure out a way to manage all this without being able to chase the sun south every winter.

    As for current practices -

    EMF: Started turing off wifi at night/and put it in a more blocked spot during day. Putting my phone on Airplane unless I am actively using it for an actual purpose. Ethernet is next step. The wife is mostly on board/doing same.

    Got EMF meter and tested house. Mostly not bad, but made some adjustments re sleeping locations for family. Opted out of smart meter for house.

    Live on 3/4 acres in not particularly densely populated part of small city. Lots of trees, near well treed public park. Good neighbors.

    Junk Light: I’ve started to incorporate some of the things. Changed all my lightbulbs in my house about 3 years ago to Edison bulbs because I just hated these new-fangled lights and was very sensitive to them. Again, have never really worked in office environment, so have had little exposure to institutional style lighting. Now have red lights in bedroom and bathroom for pre-bed necessities. Edison bulbs on 90% of other lights in house.

    Wear nighttime UVEX blue blockers on way home from work and when I get home. Still watch a show when I get home to unwind sometimes with blueblockers on. Am slowly cutting that out.

    Wear day time blue blockers (clear lenses) while working at restaurant in evenings/night. Figure its better than nothing. Haven’t bought stylish PM blueblockers yet (the ugly UVEX ones are not gonna fly in the fancy restaurant).

    Sunlight: I work swing shift 3-4 nights a week in my moonlighting job at a restaurant, so getting up with the sunrise was a bit difficult in the summer (rises at 5 where I live, get home from work after 11pm), but would go sit in early morning sun around 8 am every day for half our. Got more sun during day as well.

    Teach P.E. at private school part time with no Indoor Gym facilities, so P.E. is always held outdoors - rain, shine, sleet or snow, so thats good. Also, school does not use/allow any screens, computers, ipads, or any technologies at all beyond lighting. Not even amplified sound. They do have Wifi for the teachers but in the faculty room only - teachers do use phones/computers but not in front of students or during class time. My older kid goes there.

    CT: Have started doing cold showers. My consistency is mediocre. Sometimes take hot shower and finish with cold water. Especially since temps plummeted here recently. I have to go to a nearby town with a deep cold lake once a week for a class I’m taking. Have been jumping in that every time I head over there (water temp in the 50s now, 60s last month). Am looking to get a tub for the back yard. Have tried face dunking but I prefer the cold plunge much more - must be from all those years jumping in the North Atlantic.

    Overall, I feel fairly good and sleep well. I haven’t done any labs yet, though plan to. Sometimes I have energy dips during the day. And I probably drink too much coffee. But, much improvement in health and mood since I’ve made the conscious change. A bit concerned about the looming winter here in the Northwest. Want to step up the CT therapy and have a Red Light device from EMR on the way (the Firewave) to help cope. With the later sunrise have been more successful in seeing it on the regular, though its not quite as warming as it was a month ago.

    So thats it for now I think. Thanks for reading if you got this far. And though I didn’t arrive here due to a specific health issue/ailment beyond general depression, I have found that everything I read and hear (via Jack or Matt on podcasts) makes both rational and intuitive sense. Looking forward to wrapping my head around the nuts and bolts of everything as best I can while I continue the journey.
  2. BartlebytheBlessing

    BartlebytheBlessing New Member

    One of the things that keeps me above water, as they say, is music.
    I can't stop listening to this song (the first one). Music can be so visceral. And more so with an image. Its a broken heart song, obviously. But, we've all been there, and its one of the best places. And worst places. But realest places. My wife broke my heart like seventeen hundred times. And I needed every time. Most wonderful woman I ever did meet. And back to the song, we are all just humans, struggling to make meaning out of all this terrible beauty.
    MITpowered26 likes this.
  3. MITpowered26

    MITpowered26 New Member

    "betty's boob sweat" .....lol
  4. MITpowered26

    MITpowered26 New Member

    npr writes:

    "She's a captivating performer who sings as much with her eyes as she does her voice."

    "These songs aren't frivolous — they're thoughtful snapshots of life. Just before singing her final tune, "Almost Free," Molly cleared her throat and said this song is "about my dad wanting to talk to me about committing suicide — and it turns out writing a song about your dad talking to you about wanting to commit suicide is a great way to shift the conversation, because now we just talk about this song." Molly Sarlé laughed a bit about the absurdity and truth of it all and, with what I sense as holding back a tear, sang a powerful, personal song in an awkward, open office space. It took hold of my emotions and thoughts as only a great songwriter and singer can and I'm grateful for that."

    Molly is beautiful.
  5. MITpowered26

    MITpowered26 New Member

    "As a traveler/expatriot you are always kind of in an in between - not part of either place/culture. "

    It has just occurred to me the nomadic life, is the only life that is truly aligned with spirit and nature....

    Because when you are awakened to it all, to humanity, the travelling life gifts you with seeing that we are always "home" when we sense humanity and our belonging to it.

    Maybe though, there is also something to be said for routine, being "inside" or belonging to a culture, or maybe as I would like to put it, there is value in the pain of being "trapped" by society. Because then you can appreciate it for what it is...
  6. BartlebytheBlessing

    BartlebytheBlessing New Member

    Jason, I appreciate your response(s). I had to disappear for a minute due to life management issues.

    When you are traveling, or wandering, or whatever you want to call that ephemeral wind that can blow us, you are open. And magical things can happen. A lot of what I've encountered when traveling have been the most true experiences of my life. So you are right on when you say " the travelling life gifts you with seeing that we are always "home" when we sense humanity and our belonging to it."

    That said, there is an end to it. The traveling. Unless you really go deep. Having kids for me was the next step. Without kids, there is a severe flirt with meaninglessness, if it wasn't already present. The buddha had a kid. And he left him. Hard to reach enlightenment with a kid. And hard to convince a parent you've reached it if you don't have one. Anyway, its a journey.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019

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