2016 Focus (The Portence of Pain)

I've had a Megadeth song stuck in my head recently, specifically the first line of the chorus: "curse the falling rain." For the longest time I thought that the second line of the chorus was "the portence of pain", but after a little research, it was obvious I was wrong. The chorus is actually:

Curse the falling rain
The vortex of pain
- Vortex, Megadeth

At any rate, I woke up from a bizarre religious dream this morning, which appears to have been my brain telling me to wake up, but not from sleep. I've completely lost my focus these past few years, and especially this last year. (Actually I'm not sure that I've ever had anything other than momentary focus.)

So, here's what I'm focusing on in 2016:


I wrote about this a lot in my last post. I need to find a method of eating that:

  • Does not encourage binges. This is key. I believe that this has to do primarily with blood sugar regulation, but satiety is a part of it, too. Some of this will also come down to self-control, I'm sure.
  • Does not cause digestive issues. OK, this one is key, too. If I'm constantly feeling horrid, I'm not going to be able to maintain any self-control.
  • Does not cause skin issues. I believe that there is a strong link between my winter skin issues and diet. Specifically, I think that my extremely dry skin, as well as the random cuts on my knuckles and around my nails, are the result of something that was heavily present in my diet. I suspect that it is related to either sugar or gluten, or potentially chocolate. I've thought that it was related to dairy in the past, but I think that theory has been disproven. I also accept that it might not be a single ingredient.
    (I also know that there is a mechanical aspect to these random cuts. My knuckles are more likely to get cuts when I go into and out of my jean pockets without shifting my leg to ease the tension on the top of the pocket. My hands, in general, are less likely to get cuts if I pay strict attention to using cooler water to wash and less soap. I can't explain the random cuts around my toe nails through mechanical reasons, though.)


I've neglected my hiking over the past year, possibly two, and focused instead on running. At first, I could go for a run of any distance, and get the same satisfaction and mental health benefits as if I had been out hiking all day. As I adjusted to it, though, these benefits went away. Now, I find myself still enjoying running, but I'm not getting the same long-term mental health benefits that come from standing on top of a mountain, or walking through a still wood all day. I need more than just exertion.

Also, I spent a lot of time running on roads instead of trails last year. This gave me my desired outcome: I survived two snowshoe races, ten 5Ks, and Ragnar, and did well considering my fitness level. (I ran the entire way on Tongue Mountain!) All of this running on roads did very little to ease my mind, though. OK, so there was one particularly beautiful nighttime long run through a neighboring development that stands out in my mind, but the rest of my running was primarily just designed to build my aerobic fitness, and not my mental fitness.

So, this year I'm recommitting myself to both:

  • "The mountains are calling, and I must go." Hike or snowshoe something big at least once a month, by myself or with my friends. Write about it when I'm done.
  • "The woods are lovely, dark and deep." Run as much as possible on trails, instead of in the gym or on roads.
  • Maintain aerobic fitness. Walk daily, and take the kids for walks in the woods at least once a month.


This one is simple:

  • Finish the lingering repair projects. Don't bite off more than I can chew, don't let it sit for longer than it has to.
  • Continue reducing the amount of stuff we have. I started a major Kondo-based push in the middle of 2015. I stopped not long after I went vegetarian. (Actually, it's like my life went on pause when I went vegetarian. I stopped cooking, cleaning, focusing, communicating, and focused so much energy on not being angry.)
  • Seek order in the chaos. I accept and understand that we'll never have this place cleaned the way I'd like to to be. It will be sufficient for me to just be able to sit and not stress because of the myriad scattered toys, gear, and papers. (Marie Kondo compared papers piling up to leaves piling up outside. That analogy stuck and struck deeply.)

Anyway, that's about it. Until next time, be excellent to each other.