Milestones

Posted: April 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ll be approaching a couple of milestones on the quest to better myself as a person, the final one that I’ll detail is the most important one, which is hell to deal with,  but perhaps taught me more about myself than anything else. So here goes…

Beard:

I’ve not shaved for a year… woo… 

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TV:

This is only a minor milestone, but we – as the Virtanen household – are approaching five months without TV…. As in free-view or cable. We still have a TV. Our means of watching ‘televised’ entertainment is all through on-demand services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, NHL.TV and YouTube. Personally, I feel somewhat liberated by this whole experience. Previously, I felt somewhat chained and like programming was somehow binding us to watching certain things at certain times. Yes, you can record and watch things on-demand through likes of Sky, but it didn’t feel natural anymore.

From a monetary point of view, it made no sense paying over the odds for Sky, when the content offered by on-demand services is better, I don’t have to wait till a certain date to watch a show and I was paying way too much to watch a handful of shows that were littered with adverts. My view is that if I’ve paid for a subscription to something, I should not be watching adverts.

The effect this has had on life in general? I’m going to bed earlier, I’m no longer watching a TV show for the sake of just watching something and we are interacting more as a family as opposed to having the idiot box on. The times when the idiot box is on, it usually has a kids’ TV show on. Main use for the TV now is to watch sports… again as and when I feel like it and DVDs.

Worried about missing shows? Nah.. At the end of the day, they are TV shows and they only last a fleeting moment without giving us much satisfaction. That hour or two that was wasted can now be spent better with family.

Energy drink free:

In May, I will hit a milestone of a year without energy drinks. I used to have the worst habit on the planet when it came to these pieces of shit, usually going through 3-4 500ml cans per day. You don’t need to be a scientist to realise how bad that is for your health. Despite energy drinks saying that they’ll give you wings and make you wreck your pants because they make you awesome, I find that without them, I am actually more energetic than I used to be. Even with athletic performance has improved without the use of energy drinks as opposed to before when I thought that I’d need a can of Red Bull to get through a workout.

At the peak of the habit I was having really bad problems with my stomach and I would have the most painful shits ever. I don’t know what chemical in the drinks caused this but since stopping it has gotten a lot better.

What surprises me is that there is no health warning on these drinks and that they are not age restricted. It sickens me when I see kids buy multiple cans of this junk and drink it like it’s water. The sugar content is so high and all the other additives in them make them one of – I think – key contributors to childhood obesity. Down a few cans of this crap while you’re sat playing Call of Duty and hey presto, you’ll soon see your weight sky rocket.

I didn’t wean myself off of the drinks but stopped cold turkey. The first few days and weeks were hell with a constant headache and feeling really fatigued. I felt that I couldn’t last a day without one, but if you just stick with it and persevere that motherfucker of a headache you’ll be good. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of imagination, but being stubborn and having set my mind to it that this will be the end of it, I stuck to it.

This was the first part of my overall plan to cut out (refined) sugar in its entirety from my diet. I am making more and more of a conscious effort to cut it out, but there are still times that I fall for a fizzy drink like a can of coke (which is almost as bad as a can of energy drink). But I can’t remember the last time I would’ve bought a six pack of coke for home. If it’s not there, there’s no temptation to drink it.

Depression:

It is roundabout a year now that I published a post about my battle with depression. A year on from that post and I’m happy to say that I am doing better. I’m not perfect and I doubt that I’ll never be fully stable, but I am now better equipped to deal with my moods. I have a strong support network in place and I know that on a day-to-day basis, I need a release of some kind. Without a release, which is usually weight lifting, I will have a bad day and I will revert to an angry, negative wolf.

Life has its stresses and I’m not denying that there wouldn’t be things that get me down. On the flipside of it all, I’m no longer a nervous wreck and have a panic attack when the mail comes through the post box. You see, a year ago, I would literally freak out the minute I heard the mail hit the floor. Whether it was bills or anything it felt daunting to go out and open it. I would use the back door to leave the house so I could avoid looking at the mail rather than go out the front. The human mind is a complex thing and I don’t know which wires in my brain are crossed that cause me to go through periods such as these.

What it has taught me, however, is perseverance and mental toughness. I try to take lessons from everything in life and those are probably the two that I will take from the experience. I hit rock bottom last year to the point that I came close to doing something irreversible, but some part of me wanted to hang on. I’m not lying when I say that the urge to let go was powerful.

When I look back, I am fortunate with what I have and what I am able to do. There are people out there that are worse off and the only bit of anxiety and frustration that I have I can’t do much to help and make a difference.

So there, those are just a few milestones that I have coming up or that I’m “celebrating”. I guess you could say that over the past year I’ve been on a journey of self discovery of sorts. It’s been tough, but worth every second. Even the ones when letting go seemed like the only way out.

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