Reflections on 2012

I’ve always found that even-numbered years are usually more fun, looking back, than those of odd years. I’m not sure why that is, if it’s psychological, or if it’s something to do with 16, 18, 30, etc. appearing on even years, but this year was no exception. If I had to sum up this year in a word, it would be change. So many facets of my life are different now from where I began 2012 that I can barely remember them all.

Like most of the last few years, I did monthly resolutions this year, at least for part of the time. This led to some amazing times, especially Fearless Month, which I think I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. Fearless month led to trapeze, trapeze led to a blood clot in my leg, putting me face-to-face with my mortality for a while, and eventually led to me taking a daily multivitamin and walking around more, especially at work.

I got married. My wife is an amazing person, and continues to stun me with the depth of her compassion and the care she shows me and our life in general. It’s been over six months, and we’re still doing well. We’re continually conquering one of the biggest hurdles our marriage can face–money–and we’ve got hope about the other ones and working on them in the future. I find myself happy, and with New Year’s eve approaching, a holiday I used to dread, I find myself excited and confident about what the next year will bring.

We’re having a child. Within the next month, we’ll give birth to our first son. People keep asking me, “Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you scared?” and, of course, I’m all of those things. I’m ready to be a dad. I’ve been ready to be a dad for a long time, insomuch as Plato believed he was a genius. The only thing I know about being a parent is that I’ll never be ready to be a parent, so why not now? I’m scared of the mistakes I’ll make, and I’m excited about the potential I have to become a better person through my son, and help him become better, too.

We moved to a nicer neighborhood. Our loft in Oakland was great, but it was huge, cold, in a bad area, and not much of a “home.” Also not my favorite place to raise a child. The idea that my wife can walk with our son to the park and not worry about crime the way we used to is an incentive greater than many others. The new house is already more of a home to me, and the workshop in the garage doesn’t hurt either. I’ve started making furniture, and I’m already a lot better than when I started.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better year. I’m happy, healthy, relaxed, and productive. If I can keep this up for the next 70+ years, I’ll be in good shape.

Polyphasic and Sickness

Tuesday morning, I slowly developed a cold. It’s always only a matter of time, but eventually you’ll have to deal with sickness on polyphasic. There’s two ways to do that, muscle through or go monophasic until it blows over. During acclimation, this is compounded by a lack of habit and a lack of flexibility. I opted for the latter and slept monophasic for three days. It was an easy switch back, which is a sign that I’m still not acclimated. I’m back on the wagon tonight, but I worry that I’ll be going through the hellish first three days again. Every time gets easier, right?

On the bright side, the cold may have been just allergies, or was short lived. I don’t like playing around with sickness, so I think monophasic was the right choice, either way. I’ve started watching The Wire. It’s an interesting show–a bit more realistic than the cop shows I’m used to. I guess watching every episode of Castle will make The Wire seem pretty unfamiliar.

Polyphasic Day 5

I'm on vacation
Yesterday was busy. Trying to fit a nap in with chores and errands was difficult. My wife and I spent most of the night driving, and I think it was a little premature. I took an extra nap between my 12:30 and 4:30 naps because I didn’t trust myself on the road. It was too early, and I’d like to stress this a little more. Take your time. The reason for driving was important, and we felt the risk was worth it, but in hindsight, it was probably reckless.

I overslept once this afternoon. All of my oversleeps this far have been in a bed, not a chair. I really need to be better about that and ask for help if I crash in a bed or just really focus on the chair. I’ve got 2 more nights and days to make sure acclimation is close enough that I’ll be useful at work. I know I can do it, I just need to kick up the urgency a bit. I’ve been approaching this acclimation with a lackadaisical attitude and I think that’s hurt. Sure, it’s old hat, it’s been done 4 times before, but it’s still tough, and I shouldn’t be so cocky. My brain doesn’t want to change, it’s sheer willpower that motivates me, and I need to remember that.

Night before last, I managed to get some programming in during the wee hours. It’s nice to know that my brains still seem to function well at 4:00 am, even with a little sleep dep in there.

I’ve been on the Four-Hour Body diet for over a month now and I feel it’s pretty sustainable, even with polyphasic. I know Ferris has a chapter on polyphasic and whether it works with the diet, but I don’t know if he’s addressed my big question, “If I have 22 hours awake in the day, when does my ‘cheat day’ begin and end?” I opted for midnight to midnight, but I doubt he really has a recommendation for this. I’ll post here if I find anything.

How Monthly Resolutions Might Have Saved My Life

I remember vividly the first time I heard the word Coumadin. I was at Burning Man with my good friend Jeff, who’d had a heart valve replaced. They put you on blood thinners to ensure your heart keeps going, but it makes it so you can’t clot properly if you injure yourself. Jeff had split his finger open while unloading his motorized couch (only at burning man, right?), and we were taking said couch to the med tent to get help. When we arrived, one of the first things Jeff said was “I’m on Coumadin,” and the response was instantaneous. Few things will make a health care professional move more quickly than a bleeding man on blood thinners. That said, I didn’t think I’d be on them till quite a while later in my life.

February was Fearless month, part of which meant I had to face things that made me uncomfortable, like going to the doctor. It had been about a year since my last checkup and I was due. I don’t typically make time for things that are uncomfortable, but it seemed like the perfect example of the excuses I make when I don’t want to do something. I went, I was fine, I went home. On the surface, nothing about that visit was particularly interesting, but I think one of the big points to make is that by going to the doctor when you don’t have to, you increase your likelihood to go when you do.

As a man, I know I’m susceptible to the “not going to the doctor” thing. I tend to think I’m fine unless my bones are poking out of my skin or I’ve lost more than one of my senses. When Sunday night rolled around and I had sharp muscle pains in my calf, I assumed I needed to stretch more, maybe even needed a deep tissue massage. When it was twice as bad the next day, I figured, rub a little dirt on it, go to crossfit, stop worrying so much. Be happy it’s not both your knees. When it was twice as bad the next day, I went to the doctor. Turns out it was for good reason.

My Doctor ordered an ultrasound as a precaution. Turns out that I have deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in my leg. This is a potentially fatal thing and if I hadn’t gone to the doctor, I could have suffered a pulmonary embolism, something fairly uncommon for a 31 year old programmer who does crossfit to have. What made me go to the doctor? I can’t say for sure, but I’ve always had the belief that if something doesn’t go away after a week or gets twice as bad as it was, you go to the doctor. Even when that happens, sometimes, I still find reasons not to go. Monthly resolutions are an excellent way to remind myself of the things I should do in my life and to help me find the drive and time to do them.