Charlie's Blog: The Rover


The Rover

I've been to London, seen seven wonders. I know to trip is just to fall.

This is one of the lesser known Zep songs. It is about traveling and probably sex as well. It rocks. That's all I can say about the song.

I wonder if I am at the end of my Led Zep stream of consciousness posts. My brain is a total blank at this moment. I am still groggy from sleep. I have no caffeine in my system. That needs to be corrected.

A friend of mine did some vegan shaming on me the other day. He shot me a text about five cases where vegan parents had killed their kids with vegan diets. I don't actually know if that is true or not. It is the sort of wild stuff that floats in on the internet. I recall seeing some links to stories of that kind on the Drudge Report recently. I did not bother to read them.

I have lost count of how many years I have been vegan. Four? It is definitely less than four years, and I feel comfortable saying three years. I don't have an anniversary date for that decision, and I don't ever think about it. What I can say about being vegan is that I am definitely not malnourished. I have lost weight, but I am not trim and fit. Veganism is not dangerous to your health, and it will not lead to you looking like a starved victim of famine.

I have to remind people that a diet of bread and water is technically vegan, so stories of malnourished people who are "vegan" does not surprise me. If being vegan means eating nothing but leafy green salad, you probably will end up looking like a famine victim. The simple reality is that your body runs on carbohydrate. Carbs are the body's preferred fuel source. Fat goes directly to storage on the hips and waist. I eat a lot of carbs, so my body taps those fat reserves sparingly. Otherwise, I feel great except for the chronic pain and exhaustion created by the physical rigors of my day job. If I wasn't vegan, I don't think I could do the job anymore. I did it when I was a meathead, and it was not pleasant. Imagine working out while eating McDonald's. I used to have chest pains, and I won't go into the details of my G-I tract.

Assuming that five kids died because of veganism, that stat pales in comparison to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes afflicting the young. Here's a chart I Googld at random:

And here is a chart on the growth of McDonald's:

As you can see, the waistlines of our youth and the growth of McDonald's are in sync. I don't mean to pick on McDonald's, but they are the best proxy for fast food as a category. As a fat person, I can attest to eating at McDonald's from my earliest years. I was eating Big Macs before I left elementary school, and my fries and drinks were always large. I ate this crap for four decades, and it took a toll on me.

Becoming vegan and remaining vegan has not been hard for me because feeling better is a great motivator especially when you felt really bad before. Veganism is a tough sell for a twentysomething, but it is easier for a fortysomething tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. Turning vegan was like hitting the reset button on my body. One of the people who discovered the power of plants is Rich Roll who I admire for being someone willing to do whatever it takes to make himself and his life better. If you eat crap and live a sedentary lifestyle, that life will be shortened and diminished. If you eat healthy and exercise, your life will be lengthened and improved. The key is eating a low fat vegan diet.

Rich Roll lost fifty pounds going vegan. I have also lost fifty pounds. But the difference between Rich and me is that I was way fatter than him. I also don't compete in triathlons. The only consistent exercise I get is from my blue collar job. I can do better on that end by working out on a daily basis. And why do I not do this? Because I spend many hours writing for this blog and other projects. This is why I spent much time pondering here and in private about whether I should keep up the writing gig. The hours I spend writing could be spent getting exercise. I only have so much free time available to get things done. Writing a virtually unread blog seems like a colossal waste of that time. I have made my peace with my writing angst, and I am not going to revisit it. I write and will always write. I just have to find a different solution to my time issues.

I think people have more time than they realize. I do this math all the time, and it blows people's minds. Here it is. You have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. This is 168 hours. Now, let's say you get the full 8 hours of sleep each night as recommended by health professionals. This leaves 112 waking hours. Now, let's say you work 40 hours a week in a blue collar profession. This leaves you 72 hours or 3 days of solid free time when you are awake each week. But let's get really crazy and assume you work double that in some other demanding profession. When you subtract 80 hours, this leaves you with 32 hours or 1 day and 8 hours of waking free time each week. For most people, their amount of free time will be somewhere between 72 and 32.

Yes, it is an amazing amount of time. You can accomplish a lot in as little as 32 hours. But if you sleep just six hours like I do, then your free waking time jumps up considerably. The question people ask me is this. Where does all this valuable time go? That is simple. It gets eaten in small amounts here and there. For instance, your commute to work can eat the equivalent of one work day each week. Yet, that time behind the wheel can be spent praying the rosary or listening to quality audio like the stuff from Lighthouse. You can also do audiobooks or learn a language in that time. I remember reading a story about a guy who wrote a novel during his ferry commute each day. It took him a year to do it if I remember correctly.

Idleness is the thief of time. If you ever wonder where your time gets wasted, it is in those idle moments you let slip away unused or the ones you fill with time wasting games like Pokemon Go or perusing Facebook. To correct this loss of time, you need to edit your activity. Are you always doing? Are the things you're doing profitable or wasteful? Answering those two questions as a habit will do wonders for helping you make better use of your time.

The sad reality is that people goof off. Then, they rob themselves of sleep and cut off people in their lives to try and make up for it. Then, they try to fix the problem with some sort of time management system which is just a variation of the calendar and the To Do list. This doesn't work. The answer is to never allow yourself to be idle. Always be doing.

If you haven't guessed by now, I am fully caffeinated. Coffee resurrects the brain.

Complicated time management systems are a waste of time. The theory behind this is that you need to budget your time the same way you budget your income. Yet, the easiest way for people to save money is to just cut up their credit cards. Similarly, people need to eliminate idleness from their day. You don't need this book:

I have heard much praise for GTD over the years along with that Stephen Covey 7 Habits book. The problem with all these business oriented books is that they put together complicated systems to attack a simple but age old problem. The biggest problem you have isn't the lack of a plan. The biggest problem is just simple laziness.

Attack your laziness. Aim to never be idle. You can always improve what you do during that time, but I have found that I do not lack for time when I aim to never be idle. I run out of things to do. My planning is three simple items. The first is a pocket notebook that holds my reading list, goals, projects, etc. The second is a monthly pocket planner. The third is a To Do list written on the back of an index card or a grocery receipt. Those three things represent a division of time horizons with the notebook being long term stuff, the calendar the medium term, and the To Do list being right now. Most time management systems including GTD are divided in this way. GTD just repackages what I've been doing since high school when I learned to plan as a student. The system has and will always remain consistent. The execution of that system is what has varied over the years.

I'm out. I have things to go do now. I'm motivated. Thank God for inventing java.