A quarter-of-the-year check-in — 

I have failed quite catastrophically at my physical fitness goals so far this year. I have been ill repeatedly, to my great annoyance, and so am completely unable to be truly ready for a half marathon merely 7 weeks from now. I am almost certainly going to downgrade” to just run a 10k, or perhaps skip it entirely in favor of finding a race in the fall. This winter has been particularly bad on that front for our whole family. Since I came down with COVID back in November, we have not made it more than about two weeks at a stretch without one or more members of the family being ill.

This has also meant that I have not been able to be nearly as effective with my reading and writing as I hoped. I did, however, manage to write an essay and deliver it to an editor, to appear in print (!) later this year, so I will count that a win. I am not quite on track to read all the books I marked out, though I have also read a few I did not plan for so far, such that I am on track to read as many books as I aimed for.

My aspirations for a morning/daily routine of reading and writing has proven to be mostly a miss. I have taken only perhaps a dozen photographs since the start of the year. I haven’t done the Friday morning study sessions I wanted to as part of making sure that I keep learning and growing technically at work (that is: not only organizationally). I think we have played exactly one family D&D session. I have sat down and composed for perhaps a total of three hours since the start of the year.

In sum: I am not succeeding at the set of goals I articulated at the turn of the year. The one thing I am happy about is that we have done better at maintaining family devotions with Scripture reading so far than we have for the last many years.

I think it’s worth noting these kinds of things publicly! We tend to write publicly about our successes, and for good reason. The occasional list of things we have aimed for and completely failed to achieve is a healthy corrective.

A few notes on revised goals for the year going forward( — which I hope will go better than my plans have so far, but who can say?):

  • I have a thought to try to do something with my notes system every day. Maybe it’s just connecting a few existing notes or adding some organization. Maybe it’s writing a new node building off of some of them. Regardless, I find that exercise quite profitable every time I do it, so I want to make it more regular.

  • I am trying to get back to a consistent routine with push-ups and pull-ups this week. Along the same lines, I am aiming to get my running routine back on track at last, with a good mix of aerobic base work and speed and tempo work. This is roughly the point last year where I was able to get back to running consistently, so I could be back to where I was last year (or even ahead of it!) for a mid-to-late-autumn half marathon again.

  • I keep having to remind myself that, frustrating and slow though it feels, I can actually make progress in little 30- or 45-minute blocks. I also need to remember that I can do sketching work in StaffPad even if I want to use Dorico as the source of truth” for any project I work on — which is important because I do continue to enjoy that as a tool specifically for not sitting at a laptop/desktop computer.

  • I am thinking hard about making Sundays a day where I can use computers of all sorts (Mac, iPad, and iPhone alike) only for creative activities like writing or composing — and otherwise staying off of them entirely, including especially putting aside all social media, whether public like Twitter or private like Discord and Slack. I have been moving this way for the past few weeks and it is good. (I may even go further and eschew them entirely on Sundays and limit myself to old-school paper and pen, even for things like writing or composing.)

  • I am also thinking hard about drastically limiting when I listen to podcasts.1 A few weeks ago, at a pastor’s recommendation for a Lenten practice, I took a week where I did not listen to podcasts (or otherwise consume my normal” media) at all. I found, that week, that the dog walks and runs and dish-washing times were nice thinking times. I enjoy listening to podcasts, but it may be that I shift to listening to them on occasion rather than regularly — so that I have quiet times for thinking regularly rather than on occasion!

  • I hope to pick back up my morning reading and writing routines, now that I am somewhat recovered from both illness and the punch in the face that is the transition to Daylight Saving Time. I have a small writing project in mind — a series that my friend Brad East has been bugging me about for years. Whether it appears here or in another forum, I think it’s the kind of thing I can actually do given this piece of excellent advice he gave me about it today:

    Limit yourself to 800 words per post so as to make it non-daunting as well as readable for normies. You can do this.

    No promises, but it’s a very good idea and it’s a thing I’ve wanted to write for ages, so: maybe! (Given my history, I probably won’t start publishing it until I have a bunch of the pieces in the bucket, just so I don’t once again promise a series and then fail to write any entries in it ever.)


  1. Hi, Brad. (It actually wasn’t those posts that inspired this, and I won’t be filling the time with audiobooks… but I didn’t feel I could get away without the footnote mention!) ↩︎