Dad Stuff: Dad Decree 1

No shoes to be worn in the house.

Today, on the 28th day of April, in the year of our Lord 2021, I, as Dad in our household, decree that shoes are not to be worn around the house.

This will be the first of many. I’ve been a Dad for 18 years and I have many rules, and ideas for rules, but I’ve never written them down. It’s like anarchy around my house now that I think about it. Lack of written rules is no way to run a household.

I’d like to thank Dr. Joel Kahn who works so hard to make the world free of Cancer and heart disease. He does this in many ways, and one of his ways is smart, insightful Instagram posts.

To my wife and kids… you’re welcome! For making our lives better.

Don Stuff, Part 5: “without You” song meaning

My daughters hate that when I like a song I want to know all about the lyrics and what the song means. They won’t engage with me on this amazing song by Kid Laroi called “Without You.”

First, let’s establish that it’s a good song. If you say nobody makes good music these days, you’re wrong. This song has pain, emotion, and a good story.

But what is that story? Care to state your opinion?

Read More

Don Stuff, Part 4: New Weezer video

After a long day and long week at work and stress impacting my sleep, what a nice surprise for Weezer to release a video for “Grapes of Wrath.”

I’m going to enjoy this.

I’m also committing to using “impact” because I don’t even know when to use “effect” versus “affect.”

Like, is stress at work effecting or affecting my sleep? Are sugary snacks effecting or affecting my headaches? Or is restless sleep the affect of stress at work?

I don’t care about the right answer.

Stress at work is impacting my sleep.

Sugary snacks impact my headaches.

Restless sleep impacts my stress at work.

A new Weezer video impacts my happiness.

Don Stuff, Part 3: No More Cheap Haircuts

I gotta get back to what makes me …me!

My hair.

It’s OK. I know what you’re thinking. You know and I know my hair ain’t ever gonna be what it was in my 20s and 30s, but I’m coming to terms with that. I see what you see. I have more forehead than I want. I can see a little more scalp through my hair than I’d like. But I’m 47 …I guess that’s just what happens.

Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s diet. Maybe it’s exactly what would’ve happened to my hair regardless of my life path. Maybe it’s the same male-pattern baldness that would’ve resulted from running a charter fishing boat in Maui where my downtime was spent kayaking, surfing, and painting and I didn’t have a wife, kids, demanding job, and debt versus my current middle-aged, middle-class life with all the stuff I wouldn’t have with a life alone on Maui.

Not saying I want that Maui life …well, maybe if it meant I would’ve kept my 20-something hair. 

Whoa. This Blog isn’t about life choices. Where was I? Oh, yes, my life choice regarding my hair. 

Are you sitting down? At Christmas, I decided to save some money and stop going to my expensive barber and, instead, just hit a chain haircut location thinking, with my current hair situation, what did it matter. In fact (make sure you’re sitting down), I bought a pre-paid gift card that gave me $9.99 haircuts and a FREE haircut on the day I bought the gift card. It made such great, responsible economic sense …but at what cost?!?!?!

I haven’t had even sideburns in months. Most times I look like my son experimented with haircutting. I know those women work hard at that chain haircutting place so I won’t even mention which one …but I can’t do it anymore. It’s a top-down approach to life. No, I won’t do the salon like I did in my 20s and early 30s, although I loved the deep conditioning, the mint teas, and the jazzy new age music ….I won’t do that but I will, at least, get my neck shaved, I’ll have a barber that knows me and my head of hair, and this little bit of consistency back in my life will go a long way toward better mental health.

Not to mention a great looking head of hair, even if I’m going pretty short (a 2 around the ears, 3 on the sides, and scissor cut on top). Plus, at my barber shop, I can come in halfway between haircuts and for a small fee, they’ll clean up my sideburns and neck. Trust me, the grey in my sideburns get pretty outta control at times. My barber cleans up my eyebrows.

It’s worth it and I’ll feel a little bit more like myself. I’m sure everyone who knows me and interacts with me on a daily basis will be happier, too, and won’t have to keep pretending they don’t notice my bad haircuts.

You’re welcome.

Food Stuff, Part 4: Have an Eating Plan

Do you like metaphors? If you want to drive from Michigan to California and see landmarks along the way, do you just hop in the car and start driving? No. If you want to have a garden or a beautiful flower bed, do you just throw seed down in the fall and hope for the best in the spring? No.

Do you want five more metaphors or should I get to my point? If you want to live to be a hundred and you want to be dancing at weddings in your 90s, you need to be healthy and eat the right things …the “map to California” if you will. Recently, a friend started yet another diet and he asked me, “what are you doing? What’s your diet?”

I told him it ain’t no diet. It’s a plan. It’s a plan for healthy blood, a healthy heart, a healthy gut, an unfoggy brain, and hopefully great hair.

I’m vegetarian. 90% of the time. I avoid any/all foods with preservatives or added chemicals or colors. This is me …EVERY DAY …and I think I figured this out from Tim Ferriss. It’s oh so boring, but I find if I waiver for more than a couple days, my anxiety spikes, my brain gets foggy, I can easily convince myself to procrastinate or have a cookie, I don’t sleep as well … I’ll feel grumpy …all sorts of stuff. I’m fanatical about food. If my wife ever divorces me it’ll be because my food routine almost seems like I’m acting smug.  But I really try to make this my thing without making a big deal out of it (like “look at meeeeee … I’m Mr. Healthy and you’re not”). Plus, bragging too much can come back to make me eat my words because from time to time I’ll go a few weeks eating like crap.

But, here it is.

Breakfast*
1 slice sprouted bread with 1 TBLS MCT oil poured on like butter, a heaping spoonful of organic almond butter, and a heaping spoonful of fresh fruit preserves from local farmers markets.
  • Supplements:  1/2 of a once daily multivitamin, 1 fish oil pill
Lunch*
half of my Super Smoothie (I save the second half for the next day).
  • supplements:  1 tsp powdered magnesium mixed with water
Dinner
I’ll eat what my wife cooks for the family most nights, otherwise, I make a salad or a tuna melt (see? not 100% vegetarian)
  • other 1/2 of my daily multivitamin, a cap full of apple cider vinegar mixed with water and I chug it (it’s awful)
* sometimes I switch breakfast and lunch when I’m feeling rebellious.
Other stuff
6 brazil nuts each day
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds each day
1 gallon of water
Restrictions
no eggs
no dairy
no white bread (except on pizza night)
almost no pork or red meat
minimal stuff from a box or package
What’s that old saying …keep it simple, stupid.

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 7: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-19

#ResolutionADay® is, in theory, supposed to happen every day. But, sometimes, life happens. Sometimes a family vacation happens. Sometimes a cold happens. Point is, things happen …but I don’t quit. It would be easy to quit. Easy to say, “hey, this was supposed to be 365 days and 365 resolutions and I missed a few days so I’ll try again next year.”

I won’t let myself off that easy, and I won’t let you off that easy. 

So what?!?!  Ya missed a few days. Big deal. If you miss 30 days this year, you’ll end 2021 with 335 days of little bits of self-improvement? Would that work for you? If you missed 50 days, you’ll finish 2021 with 315 new, good habits (or have eliminated a buncha bad habits).

Make it a game. Grade yourself every month. Every quarter. I’m borrowing this from Matthew Dicks. He says…

“Every month I report the progress of my yearly goals in order to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) and hold myself accountable.” -Matthew Dicks

Here’s his January update. Truly, take the 10-minutes to read it. Matthew Dicks lays it all on the line. Warts, successes, and failures, and all.  

Again, read his list. It’s bodacious. It looks damn near impossible. It’s much too much for anyone to do in a year. Right?

Well, yes. Mathematically, factoring in the fact he’s a teacher, has a wife I’ll assume he likes to spend time with, has two kids he also likes to spend time with, well, there’s no way he can get it all done. But as he always points out, when he analyzes his progress, does the math, and crunches numbers – if he gets a 65% success rate, his year is full and productive.

I’ll take 65% success on #ResolutionADay®

Today is Day 19 of #ResolutionADay, and I keep making the year, me, and my life a little better.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 19: Every Monday-Friday, eat a GREEN lunch (salad? cut-up veggies? celery and almond butter?)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 18: Do a quick, 15-minute household chore each night

What Is #ResolutionADay

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

I Want Stuff, Part 5: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

It’s not so much “I want stuff” …but “I have stuff.” And my BLUblox blue (and green) light blocking glasses that I wear before bed might be the single best purchase I’ve made in a long, long time.

Recall, I’m obsessed with quality sleep. I’ve had these BLUblox glasses for a little over three weeks, wear them starting at 8 p.m. every evening while doing my normal evening stuff of reading emails on the computer, watching my HDTV, and reading on my iPad and iPhone …same stuff as I’ve always done in the evenings. But now I’m doing my normal evening stuff while wearing my BLUblox glasses and I’m here to tell ya …my sleep has improved more than I would have ever expected.

I get to bed at 10:30 and am usually asleep by 11 at the very latest. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. A perfect night’s sleep would mean 6 1/2 or 7 hours (still a little less than what’s recommended by the National Sleep Foundation).

What I’m finding is I don’t wake-up in the night. I fall asleep faster. And I’m waking up before my alarm and feeling fully rested.

Before these BLUblox glasses, I would need three alarms (one on my watch, one on my other watch across the room, and one on my iPhone) to rouse me, and many, many times in my tired early morning moments, I would justify ignoring the alarms and going back to sleep for another hour. An hour later, usually filled with tossing and turning, putting an audiobook or Podcast on to distract me from my guilt of ignoring my alarm …well, an hour later, I still felt tired. Three cups of coffee later I would still feel tired. Then all the stuff that comes with being overtired would impact my daily activities. I’d justify a quick 15-minute nap sitting in my chair. I would snack on sugary things for an energy boost.

Lack of sleep leads to all sorts of little, bad habits.

Now? I’m feeling rested and my early mornings are filled with the things I want to do early, early …like a quick walk while listening to an uplifting audiobook. A quart of water. Some breathing exercises. All of it happening because I can actually “spring” (not sure I’m ready to use that word, yet) out of bed and start my day at 5:15 a.m.

Next, I’m adding a sleep-enhancing tea I keep seeing at the fancy market by my house.

Lent Stuff, Part 2: 40 Days to a Better Me (and You?)

Way, way, way before people did things like a 30-Day Cleanse or Fast, or did the Whole30 diet plan, or meditated for inner peace, the Catholics were already doing it and calling it things like “Lent” and “Advent” and “prayer.”

I take Lent quite seriously and use it as a time to re-focus, re-invent, and rejuvenate my mind, body, and spirit. They say “40 days makes a habit permanent” (actually they say 21 days, but you know and I know nothing sticks in 21-days …at least not for me). 40 days? Hey, that’s what Lent is.

I’m continuing on with my #ResolutionADay, but I’m also adding a few things more enlightened to Lent …like praying the Rosary on the daily, fully fasting on Fridays and into Saturday (so from dinner time Thursday until breakfast on Saturday, I’m fasting … 48 hours). I’ll use the Rosary time to calm and focus my mind and practice gratitude and humility, and be thankful for my blessings. I’ll use the fasting time to practice discipline and remind myself I can do more than I think I can.

But I’m also doing something else …using these 40 days to Unsubscribe from soooooooo many email Newsletters. I don’t know how it happened, but I find myself in my Yahoo! and Gmail deleting more emails than I’m opening and reading. Like prayer and fasting, it will take discipline and focus. I’ve done this Unsubscribing thing a few times, for a few days, and never remember if I actually Unsubscribed or not …but not this time. This time, I’m keepin’ a list and checkin’ it twice. If I get emails from places I told not to email me after these 40 days of purging, blocking, and Unsubscribing, I swear I’m getting a lawyer and filing a lawsuit (I have no idea if a lawyer would take that case or if I have any grounds for such a lawsuit ….I probably accepted countless terms & conditions without reading).

But it’s necessary. It will give me some time back into my life, will make me less cluttered and more organized, and will rid me of the guilt of not opening those emails that someone worked hard to write – yes, I do feel a little guilty highlighting all the emails and then Deleting all at once.

So, here we are, Day 1 of Lent and I spent a half-hour cleaning up my Gmail Inbox and Unsubscribed from the following. Wow. Look at all those pointless emails I do not read or open. This is a good thing.

What are you doing for Lent? Inspire me.

My Day 1 Unsubscribe List.

  • Gazelle Sports
  • A Sales Guy
  • Fathead
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Barsmith
  • Ash & Erie
  • Domino’s
  • Yummly
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • Tractor Supply Company
  • MicroCenter
  • iHeart Daily
  • Whistle Pig Whiskey
  • College of Communications (MSU)
  • Swanwick (blue light blocking glasses)
  • American Cancer Society
  • Ryan Serhant (author and sales coach)
  • NAIAS
  • Down to Earth (Catholic Men’s Club)
  • Vimeo
  • Reuters Automotive Events
  • Pique Tea
  • Chopra Education
  • Ghostery (web tracking tracker)
  • Revenue Development Resources (sales training)
  • NY Times Cooking
  • Andy Frisella
  • Crunchbase
  • American Heart Association

Self-Improvement Stuff, Part 6: #RESOLUTIONADAY 2021, Day-6

I won’t Blog about #ResolutionADay® every day. Maybe every other day. Why you ask?  Because if I’m spending 15-minutes a day writing and Blogging, I have some other things I want to write and Blog that will get me closer to my goal of writing and finishing a book – or a screenplay.

Now, here’s the much longer version of why I won’t write about #ResolutionADay® each day. Have you heard of #75Hard? It’s a genius idea by Andy Frisella where you do the following things for 75 days. No excuses. No days off. 

  • Drink A Gallon of Water
  • 10 Pages of Reading
  • Follow A Diet
  • No Alcohol or Cheat Meals
  • Take a Progress Pic
  •  (2) 45 Minute Workouts  <–this is the basis for my epiphany

My friend Nick introduced me to  #75Hard. I like the idea. Nick did it and loved how it made him feel and how much better he looked when it all ended. And it should. 90-minutes of exercise a day is Mark Wahlberg level exercise, and it showed. My friend Nick also pointed me to this episode of Andy Frisella’s Podcast where he basically yells and curses for more than an hour but in between the foul words and mostly saying nothing, he actually reveals the point of #75Hard. He challenges people to do it because most of his devoted followers have never fully dedicated themselves to anything so completely that they don’t even know what discipline and hard work even looks like. I agree with that. Many, many people want something but have no idea what other people did to get what they wanted. Me? I think I have done #75Hard quite by accident quite a few times in my life when I really wanted to accomplish something (find a new job, close a giant deal, launch a website, get booked on a radio show, start a Podcast, ghost-write a book). 

I started Andy’s #75Hard and made it through Day 12 and then quit …and here’s why. Because I don’t need those 90-minutes of exercise. Many people don’t. And for me, when I was doing those 90-minutes of exercise, it was nagging at me that, hey, Don, you found 90-minutes in your day to exercise and yet you can’t find any extra time to be a better husband? To finish your own book, finally? To Blog? To floss your teeth and pray and journal and yet you found 90-minutes to exercise? 

I realized quickly what Andy really wants people to wake up and realize …you can’t compromise …ever …if you want to accomplish something. 

Some things I don’t compromise on. Other things? I’m ashamed to say I take a day off. Then two days off. Then a week off. Then a year off. What a wake-up call.

For his #75Hard, anyone who does it, and finishes, will feel invincible and superior and probably like they can do anything. I want that, too, but I’m replacing the (2) 45 Minute Workouts with (2) 45 Minute writing sessions because that will get me to the place I’ve been avoiding and then I’ll avoid what Gary Vaynerchuk always warns his devotees about …regret. Gary says, if you’ve ever seen “regret” in a man’s eyes …it’s painful. Watch the 3 1/2 minute video below and if you think you’re going to wake up one day full of regret about something …do #75Hard, but replace the (2) 45 Minute Workouts with whatever you really, really want. 

“Regret is the ultimate poison. If you are thinking about taking the leap and doing whatever it is that you love, you need to just go for it. You will always regret the things that you don’t do.”   -Gary Vaynerchuck

Does that make sense? I’m sure I’ll talk about it more on the Blog, soon. For now, I’m off to work on my book. And then my next book when I do my own #75Hard, again.

Today is Day 6 of #ResolutionADay, and I’m adding 2 cups of green tea each day. 2021 is all about my heart and my brain.

  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 6: 2 Cups of Heart-Healthy Green Tea Each Day
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 5: Only check Facebook, Instagram, Signal on PC or iPad. Think about this one. Do you know you spend too much time looking at your phone? I know I do. I look at my work email on my iPhone. I look at my Gmail. I look at my MS Teams for work. I look at Instagram. I look at LinkedIn (for work?). And I look at Facebook and Twitter. I scroll. And scroll. I tell myself it’s networking. I do it while walking the dog, or while watching TV because “dual-screen is a thing.” But when I’m scrolling on my iPhone, and going App to App, Liking things and Commenting on things, I’m simply falling into a time vortex like so many. Instead, my Day5 ResolutionADay will be to only look at social media (with the exception of Instagram) on my desktop computer or iPad. While it’s mostly the same, it does require me to be deliberate and when I’ve done this before, I immediately see my time spent “doing nothing” (which is really what scrolling and scrolling and checking if anyone commented on my posts is, when you think about it). It’s something. It’s an experiment.
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 4: Reduce Coffee Intake to 2 Cups Per Day (all before 9am) – This is a big one because caffeine messes with your sleep. I’m obsessed with sleep and the restorative powers. I think it’s the most important of all the self-help, health, and habits. If nobody’s written a book called It Starts with Sleep, maybe I’ll write it.
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 3: Drink 1-Gallon of Water Per Day
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day 2: Read for a Min. of 15-minutes each day. (2/6/2021)
  • #ResolutionADay®, Day1:  Spend 15-minutes #Blogging each day. (2/5/2021)

What Is #ResolutionADay

The Return of #ResolutionADay®, 2021 (Introduction)

Connect with me:
Snapchat: donkowalewski
 

Random Stuff, Part 9: Billy Joel (and Vinyl v. Remastered)

My best friend bought a record player, like many middle-aged, Gen-X dudes are doing. I want one, too. I imagine myself sitting in an old metal folding chair by my record player on a Friday night sipping a glass of Southern Comfort and orange juice tapping my foot and looking at the album cover art, turning it over and looking at the back of the album, and singing along, hit and miss, because I don’t quite remember all the words. I’ll be slapping my knee and closing my eyes at certain parts just admiring the genius of the artist and trying to imagine what it must’ve been like way back then (because I’ll only buy old LPs) when the particular album I’m listening to was released. Read More