How to improve as a man – Consider the source

There are many people in the “men’s” space now. You have several female you tubers/tick tockers who give advice. Many men, on and on. Here is the thing, you have to consider the source. It’s going to be a quick post today because the point isn’t going to take a lot of articulation. Let me put it to you very succinctly, if someone doesn’t have a penis, how are they going to be able to advise you on how to manage yours? It would be like me giving a pregnant woman advice on how to handle body issues. Sure I can cite my experiences but I am not a woman the extent of my experience and ability to relate only goes so far.

taking advice from a woman on how to behave as a man isn’t a good idea. There is one major caveat to this, if you want to make THAT particular woman happy then yes adhere to her behavior parameters. Otherwise be yourself, and you will attract people (men and women) who want to hang with you. Additionally, be very careful which men you take advice from. As an example if you see me giving 20 years olds dating advice you should probably not take it very seriously. I am 52 and married.

You get the point. Look for people in similar situations that are like minded. The You Tuber with 6 mil subs isn’t going to relate to you directly. Maybe at one time he did but now? It’s unlikely. The masculinity gurus out there are good, to a degree. I mean the messages are not all that bad but for the most part if you live in a small town in Alabama and want to be a successful man, it’s probably more prudent to look for other successful men from small towns in Alabama.

Always consider the source of the information you are consuming and attempting to incorporate. The single best way to get better as a man is to look inward and make self-improvements. Hygiene, physical appearance, income, these are a few things that inspire positive emotions within you and flow outward that then attract positive outcomes. As the wise Jordan Peterson said “If you can’t even clean up your own room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?” 

It’s a metaphor, the “room” is really any subject. Always consider the source.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

FALLFEAST – Pagan’s Rejoice !

It’s fall in the west. It’s likely that in a non covid year you would have some sort of festival near you happening. Oktoberfest’s are usually the most popular those combine to ancient festivals, the harvest and the feast of harvest.

As many of you know I am a pagan, no I don’t sacrifice animals, I am not a witch, lol. I simply try and celebrate the old ways, respecting nature, respecting the seasons.

Below is a page pull from http://odinsvolk.ca/ It illustrates what the Fall Feast is, and why or Viking ancestors celebrated it and how some of the old ways built community.

“Fallfest of is another joyous festival in the Asatru holy calendar, and falls on the Autumn Equinox, and is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere: the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward; the equinox occurs around September 22 – 24, varying slightly each year according to the 400-year cycle of leap years in the Gregorian Calendar. Fallfest represents the second harvest of the season.

Celebrate your Ancestors, they are watching.

Bonfires, feasting and dancing played a large part in the festivities. Even into Christian times, villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Germanic world. (Though folk etymology derives the English word “bonfire” from these “bone fires,”) With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.

Materially speaking it marked the beginning of the gathering of food for the long winter months ahead, bringing people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. In present times the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of an agricultural people, for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine in which many would not survive to the spring, it was paramount.

At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the northern hemisphere, before the autumnal equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south.

In ancient times, our European ancestors celebrated their Harvest Feast, where they have found many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate. Our people have done this for as long as we can trace our history. Although what our people have felt thankful for has certainly changed over the many years, remember you sit down this year with your family, you’re participating in an ancient tradition. And it’s a great time to figure out what you’re thankful for.”

So many of our current traditions are based on our distant past. This isn’t a religious post, it’s actually an illustration of how close we really are. Have a great fall and a bountiful harvest. May you and your family be prosperous and may you come out of the dark days of winter in good health, and good spirits.

Thank you for supporting my Blog, please leave a comment or a like and let me know you were here. Did you like this post and want to see another? Click here.

Anxiety: One of the hardest things to deal with

For those of us with anxiety we have good days and bad days. There are of course degrees of anxiety, some of us are in better places then others and that’s why every day is a crap shoot. Like anything in life the more you experience something the more adept you become at navigating its nuances. Anxiety is no different and for me I have had a few very hard lessons in my travels.

One of the hardest for me? The conversation you have been avoiding is probably the one you most need to have. If you are dreading it, chances are if it’s not already a trigger it’s going to be soon. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, the neighbor’s dog barking? The Amazon delivery person’s insistence in putting your packages on the side step instead of the front? This can be a wide range of subjects; we all have different triggers.

The worst part is not knowing, not knowing if having the conversation is the person going to think you are nuts? Will they reactive negatively? Violently? These emotions are real, and don’t let anyone minimize them. If you are talking to your roommate about the guy upstairs playing music to loud, don’t let their rational (or agreement) sway you from how you feel. The hardest part is making the decision to confront and “have the conversation

Some conversations you know going in, its going to be a horror show.

This is one of the worst parts of anxiety. Wouldn’t it be great for just a day to not care what other people think? Many of us find that relief through self-medication and I am not advocating that here. What I am saying is, there are options. Continue on and allow this to eat away at you and become another trigger. I’ve done it, you wouldn’t be the first to live with other people’s crap. Or have the talk and confront.

The downside is it can be a disaster, creating more conflict then you ever wanted. The upside is the person may provide relief, gain a measure of respect for you and in the future may be more aware of how their actions affect you. I advocate to have the conversation, with a HUGE caveat. That being you have to assess the risk posed by the other person. Example, a conversation about putting the cap on the toothpaste is likely to have less of an impact then asking a parent to have their child stop leaving their toys around.

Both may be triggers but the likelihood of one garnering a negative response is higher. Use your instinct and your experience as an individual with anxiety. Some battles (and for us, internally, that’s what these conversations are) are less risky than others. have those first, build a mental reserve of successful (or failures) outcomes to draw on as you consider attempting the harder and harder conversations as your life progressives.

If you are thinking about it constantly, its eating at you and emboldening your anxiety. It’s likely a conversation you should have sooner rather than later.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog! Please remember to like, subscribe and share I truly appreciate the support. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Finance Tip: “The Cash Flow Buffer”

This particular tip is used in business often. It is exactly as it sounds a buffer. Keep in mind that opinions I express in my blog may or may not be good advice for you personally. You should investigate all financial advice thoroughly before pursuing any course of action. So a cash flow buffer is a concept that many people might confuse with an emergency fund in the context of personal finance.

With the job market shifting to a more hustle economy, you might not be earning a steady paycheck any more. You might be doing contract or consulting work and who knows you might kill it for 8 months, then the next 2 months your down 60% on your earnings. This isn’t as farfetched as you might think. This happens a lot now. What I am seeing in the news articles I read are people busting their tails for 6 months, doing uber eats, working a full time gig, then maybe one more side hustle and banking a large chunk of change. Only to then slow WAY down to recover for 3-4 months, rinse and repeat.

The job market in the U.S. has changed a lot in the 35 years since I started at burger king in the mid 80’s. So one of the approaches I take with family members I advise financially is treat the working part of your life as a business. We set up a balance sheet, expenses etc. We build an emergency fund of 6 months of expenses (if there isn’t a whole lot of debt) and then work on the Cash Flow Buffer. There it is again, lets define it. A Cash Flow Buffer is the number of days you could continue to pay your bills out of your regular bill paying account if income were to stop.

Inflation is falling, but its still very high

Again this isn’t an emergency fund! So you have 5K in your checking account, you lose all your jobs you have no money coming in. You spend 3500 a month for expenses this would mean you have a cash flow buffer of 45 days. So many would assume you would then begin to tap your emergency fund, and that would be correct. AT THE END OF THE 45 DAYS. You see the buffer is meant to create space for you so you can replace income.

That 5K will keep you afloat for 45 days that’s your real window until you have a real emergency on your hands. The buffer assumes you are not replacing your income. Businesses use this tool a lot, particularly seasonal businesses who do a large % of their sales at a specific point of the year. For you in the new gig economy this might be useful for you to gauge as you navigate the new normal for working.

So how you do it is, look at your monthly spend. Take out all the non-essentials and come up with a number. (rent, electricity, food, water). If you lost all your income today how long could you pay for things without tapping your emergency fund? You see the concepts here are more for discipline purposes. The last thing we want to do is hit the emergency fund because if we tap into that, we know that things are really bad, it’s for emergencies.

Think about your personal cash flow buffer. I keep about an extra month of bills in my checking account so my buffer is 30 days which is light. I am confident that I would be able to replace my income (or a good chunk of it) before 30 days. Ideally you have a 30-60-day buffer here that you would use BEFORE the emergency fund.

I know it’s confusing, but if you start treating your financial situation as your own personal business and economy you might find that these things make sense.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Hobbit Hole

My thoughts on: “The Rings of Power”

So this post is a deviation from what I normally do on the blog. That said if you have been here a while you have seen several posts quoting J.R.R. Tolkien. I love Tolkien, I’ve read all the books and in the current narrative I would be considered a “Lore Purist”. Simply put, that means any work done in middle earth/Tolkien’s world, I believe should follow what was written by the author, and in the spirit in which he intended it.

Now this post isn’t going to get into the ugliness out there now. As per usual when something comes out and people disagree, the names start. Racist, fascist, on and on you name it you will be called it by the other side. I personally don’t engage in it myself, I know the lore of Tolkien. I read the books, all of them (yes including the unfinished tales, and the Silmarillion) before most of the people on the show and writing for it were born.

There is one important fact that many people engaged in this new battle of the culture war are forgetting. The Amazon series IS NOT a retelling of Tolkien stories, but rather an interpretation of events as they MAY have happened. It’s an extremely important distinction to make. The Rings of Power Amazon series is not, was not promoted to be, and was not intended to be a representation of Tolkien works. It was always going to be an interpretation.

Gandalf
Gandalf doesn’t appear in the 2nd age

I knew that going in, and its why I watched it for a few minutes and realized it wasn’t for me. To frame this for you from a Tolkien purists point of view, this show is ridiculous. Truly the only thing it has in common with J.R.R. Tolkien’s works is, the world its set in, some of the character’s names, and that’s about it. Now here is the other important fact people might not want to admit either. Just because it is not true to the Tolkien lore doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad show.

I know, it sounds like I am playing both sides of the fence here. Let me elaborate. So if you didn’t read the books, then this show might be entertaining for you. My personal opinion is the casting is horrible but you might not feel that way. The 2nd age of middle earth (the time the show is set in) is very compelling, it has betrayal, intrigue, war, death you name it. It does however span 3500 years and to be perfectly candid its perhaps the one period in the cannon that we have the least detail about. More specifically, it’s the period in the lexicon of ME that Tolkien himself was indecisive on in later years as revealed in his many letters.

The Rings of Power show is a modern interpretation of Tolkien. It’s not my cup of tea personally, I mean I am personally tired of shows depicting every white male is either evil, corrupt or stupid so I am passing. The issue really is there is TO MUCH modern concept in The Rings of Power which takes you away from the thematic world Tolkien created and that’s the biggest failing here. I would encourage you to read the books if you want to really get into Middle Earth, but if you’re looking for some good CGI and interesting battle scenes? This show might be for you.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Dressing to feel good !

How I stay in shape over 50 – “Warm Up Day”

Working out = putting stress on your body. There is no way around this no matter what you are doing you are exposing your body to stress. Now stress by way of exercise can produce higher calorie burns, increased muscle mass and generally good health. What about when you get older? As I have said before on my blog, I lift weights, moderately heavy weights. This is important for men over 50 to maintain testosterone levels but this has the negative impact of really putting stress on joints.

Warm ups are important. If you have been in any form of an exercise program you have heard of the concept. Simply put, you are warming your body up so that it is prepared for a stress movement. You don’t warm up for a walk, but you do for squats, you get the idea. The older you get the more important it is to “warm up”. Its more than just getting your heart rate elevated to increase blood flow, that’s an important part of it.

The more important part is to target the areas in the warm up you plan to work in that training session. If your squatting today, you need to stretch your hamstrings and release your hips. If you benching pressing you need to target your shoulders for stretches. The key is being very aware of the muscle group you are working that day, and plan your warm up accordingly. Now the over 50 part. What I do at 52 and what I recommend everyone over 50 do is have one day a week as a “warm up day”

Stretch your body and your mind

What does that mean? That means you are exclusively using light exercise and stretching one day a week outside of your normal workout routines. Now maybe you aren’t here yet in your training. Maybe you go to the gym, do the treadmill leave. That’s cool you do you, this advice is really meant for people engaged in a moderate to mid-level training routine and are over 50. For those people, your recovery is more important as you do not have youth on your side. This “warm up day” is part of your recovery cycle.

What a “warm up day” looks like for me

  1. 30 min walk on the treadmill: I use the track which is flat and just do 30 min at about 3.0 speed. This loosens up my hips, gets blood moving, and helps me identify pain points. If it hurts when you are walking, you need to address it.
  2. Hamstring stretches: I put time in here, this is a pain point for me. My hamstrings are extremely tight. There are a few good stretches you can do, find one that works for you.
  3. Unlocking my hips: I sit Japanese style first, then flare out the bottom of my legs (calf area) and try and rest my butt on the floor in the gap. This will stretch your hips a lot. There are a lot of hip stretches out there, this one works for me.
  4. Snake pose & Planks: Snake pose is with two hands on the ground and push up locking your lower body on the ground. This stretches your lower back. Plank is a plank, lol they suck.
  5. I then stand and get a light bar and do trunk twists
  6. Next shoulders: I cross my right arm in front of my body and pull it at the elbow with my left, then switch sides.
  7. I then find an upright bar/machine and stretch my chest, then my back.

Now I realize I am not getting into great detail and posting pictures etc. You can find stretches online and or are doing something similar. For me this “warm up day” is about an hour (I rarely spend more than an hour in the gym per session). As I am leaving, I am aware of what “spot” has pain.

This is the benefit of the warm up day, you are hitting everything with a stretch nothing can escape. You will know if something isn’t right and or what needs to be rested going forward. Or in my case, what area needs icy hot (or for all my Gen X Friends out there, some bengay, lol). Remember to warm up before each work out with targeted stretches and start incorporating a “warm up day” into your routine, your 50+ year old self will thank you.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Work Anxiety: A few ways to get relief

I know, I’ve done these before but these never get old and are critical for all of us who have anxiety issues. Let’s face it, work plays a huge part in our lives, we need income to survive and from plumbers to CFO’s we all get stress inputs via expectations from work. Maybe you thrive on it, or maybe you cringe from it. If you are having a bad day at work and need quick relief here are 5 things to try.

Maybe you have a bad boss? Maybe your coworkers are toxic? Maybe you have just checked out and just loathe going to work every day? Whatever it is you are not alone, tens of millions of people all over the world have work anxiety issues. It manifests itself in several ways. Maybe it’s too cold? Maybe it’s too hot? You get the picture. Below are 5 things you can do to fight anxiety at work.

Surviving 2020 & covid
A negative work environment can break you

1. Have plants: When you’re stressed at work, water your plant, prune it a bit, touch it. Often when we care for another entity, plants, people, pets we create positive feelings within ourselves. This can translate into a temporary emotional boost and get you through a tough moment.

2. Go home: I know; this is probably not on the top of peoples list but hear me out. Companies give people sick time and vacation time as a benefit of their employment. If things are horrible at work one day, bag out early. I mean this isn’t going to stop you from thinking about it, but you’ll be thinking about it in a comfort setting (your car, your home) rather than wallowing in thought at work, the source of the pain.

3. Call your parents: If your parents are no longer with us, call a family member. You don’t have to dump the stress on them but just call and say hi. If you call mom or dad they are going to figure out quickly something is wrong and comfort you, that’s what parents do, the great ones anyway LOL.

4. Indulge your sweet tooth: Look I’m not telling you to go on an eating binge here but have something to eat that you enjoy. Chocolate? Doritos? An apple… Doesn’t matter, sometimes eating provides comfort and while unhealthy eating and overeating can prolong and enhance negative emotions associated with anxiety there is nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

5. Address the issue head on: this is the most challenging depending on your workplace but if the source of the stress is an individual, a project or the work in general talk to your supervisor or HR. Companies want productive employees and if you don’t tell people there is a problem, you can’t assume they know one exists. If you tell them at least you know they are informed.

Look none of these are wonderful catch all solutions to work stress, but you need something. I used to work in a high stress environment, I know I have anxiety issues and when I was in a stressful work environment it was a THOUSAND times worse. How do you deal with it? I had one woman that I worked with that every hour on the hour she dipped out for a smoke break. Really nice lady but her skin looks horrible, but I never criticized her, that’s what she needed to do to get through the day power to her.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Get outside !

U.S. Holiday – Labor Day.

Yes, we have another holiday in the U.S. Labor day. First let me say that the reason I do these holiday posts on the blog is I get a lot of traffic from people outside the U.S> (thank you for that!). Labor day in the U.S., for the population is the unofficial end of the summer. In the past it used to mean back to school too but that has changed a lot most kids are back by the end of august. Additionally, Labor day is the beginning of the unofficial “Holiday season” meaning in the U.S. we have a major holiday every month from now until the end of the year. All of those holidays of course have major sales associated with them.

How did Labor Day come to be? During the industrial period of the U.S. unions began to form and wield more and more power. In the 1880’s – 90’s they started to create the narrative of the value of labor and how the workers of the country should be celebrated. From there it took off and became more political but the heart of the holiday is the celebration of the American worker. It is celebrated on the 1st Monday of Sept and became a federal holiday in 1894. So gov offices are closed, courts, post offices, banks, schools and most Americans have the day off from work or those that do work get paid above and beyond their normal rate.

The wiki page here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day    has a very good summary of the holiday, far more detail then I have. This is not the same as international workers’ day or in many countries May Day. While they generally represent the same premise and spirit they are all distinct from one another in both origin and date of celebration.

Most Americans will have this day off and will have a small party at their homes. It will likely be a BBQ and in most of the country we will still have summer weather. However, Sept is a transitional month, in many parts of the U.S. Sept can start off very hot and by the end of the month we have cooled into day time highs of 60F. Notable for Labor Day, as mentioned above, is the start of the “holiday season”. Specifically, Labor day is usually the best time of the year to get a sale on a car because the dealers are prepping to receive the next model year and want to clear out their inventories.

As this is posted I have the day off as well and I am working in my yard today cleaning up a flower bed. I hope you have a great labor day too where ever you are.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I truly appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.