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Personal Entry: Building upon the ashes

Posted Dec 13 2009 12:07am

Welcome to Almost Fit. Generally Almost Fit focuses on one simple thing: Eating Real Food in Moderation. However, I’ve been a bit dormant lately, and I felt that an explanation might be in order. This is a personal entry on where I’ve been, however I’ll be returning to my regular format soon in one way or another, as I’ll hopefully get to in this post. feel free to skip this article – it’s not for everyone. Thanks for reading.

Let me start out by saying this post is not about food, moderation, eating, exercising, or just about anything else that normally appears on Almost Fit. In fact, this post has more to do with the state of this site, and some non-food inspiration that seems to be working it’s way into my mind.

To be brutally honest, over the last few months or so I reached a burnout point as the sole writer of Almost Fit, and I didn’t even realize it until it was in full swing. And to take it a step further, the burnout goes beyond this site: although I haven’t abandoned the principles of eating real food by any means, I’ve certainly let a lot of things through the gates that I have not allowed in quite some time. Quantities have crept back up, types of foods that I’d normally avoid have slipped back in (read: too much bread, beer a little too frequently, and more than a few restaurants and food carts that I’d probably do well to moderate, if not eliminate for a while).

So what does that mean? Have I given up? Failed, even?

It means, I think, that I’m human. Just don’t tell my kids quite yet – I still would like them to think of me as exceeding that bar at least for another year or two.

“So there’s this thing called Work/Life balance. Ya’ mighta’ heard of it.”

work life balanceI think the heading here says more about where I’ve been than probably anything else. In the current economic climate, you don’t need to be reminded about how things are, but sufficed to say I do not take anything for granted with my current contract work in my day job. I am focused, effective, but more than that – mildly obsessed with exceeding expectations. I work many more hours than I should (and than I bill for), but these days I think it’s what you have to do to stay valuable when there are a dozen others in line behind you who would gladly fill your shoes. I freely admit I might be wrong, but frankly, the consequences of failing are not worth the risk of giving less right now. You have to hustle, no two ways about it.

However (and this is a BIG however), I also realize that things have gone a little too far. Too much work, whether it be the actual doing of the work in front of the computer, or continually solving problems in my mind in the “off hours” of the day. Too much working, not enough living. My ultimate fear is that I will burn myself out on this contract by working excessively, and it will be at the sacrifice not only of the income but of my health as well. And of course, above all else, to the detriment of my family, which I cannot ever afford.

So, it’s time for a few changes. Minor adjustments, but changes nonetheless.

The first thing? Take weekends off. I haven’t really done that in months – at least not mentally. I am one of those people who checks their work email at all times of the day and evening 7 days a week, fearing that there will be a minor disaster (and amazingly, there never is). Well that needs to change.

Second, I have GOT to renew my focus on exercise for mental health. Exercise helps me to keep things in perspective much more so than any other activity. Sadly, it’s also the hardest to do for me and the first thing to go when a deadline is approaching. My exercise plan is to start small of course, but I have an idea on how I’m going to get myself back on track – but more on that in an upcoming post.

Third, of course, is diet. Getting back to the basics of moderation and proactive choices. I’ve got a pretty big library of ideas here on this site to review; I’ll be doing that in the coming weeks and hopefully sharing what I find with readers.

Inspired – again

When I started Almost Fit, I had many inspirations, but one or two blogs in particular really convinced me of the value of creating something meaningful in this format. As I’ve mentioned many times, Zen Habits is certainly one of those sites. In some ways I think Leo (the creator of Zen Habits) and I have developed different views on specific subjects (I like Apple products, but I don’t believe they are the solution to simplicity necessarily, nor do I believe they’ll be shaking Microsoft’s hold on the personal computer any time soon – but I digress), but it is still essential reading for me daily.

Another site that absolutely continues to inspire me is Chris Guillebeau’s site, The Art of Nonconformity , which energizes me like few others. Chris is attacking his business in incredible ways, and is consistently hitting the ball further and further out of the park. I subscribe to his site via RSS and email so that I don’t miss a post.

But where I’m really headed with all of this is a specific post on one of my essential reads: Get Rich Slowly . The particular post to which I’m referring is titled simply, “ Failure is Okay .” In it, J.D. describes his experience trying to ice skate, and relates that to his experience with Get Rich Slowly. This particular section really hit home:

It’s never too late to change direction, to start making smart choices. If you’re 40 and don’t have retirement savings, you can start saving tomorrow. If you’re 30 and staggering under the weight of credit card debt, you can cut up your cards and make a commitment to change direction. The wonder of the future is that it can be built upon the ashes of the past.

I have reread this article several times, reminding myself that leaving Almost Fit dormant for a while does not constitute permanent failure; it has been a chance for me to recalibrate my views, and now to build upon the ashes.

Hopefully this is the beginning of great, new things in these parts. I hope you stick around to find out.

Best to you,


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