Live your life Now

Death sucks. Life is much better.

I am surrounded by death. I suppose that we all are. 

I am heading to my third funeral of a close family member in three years. My Uncle Ray died last week. I had not seen him in quite some time, but he was only 10 years older than me. We spent a lot of time together when I was younger. I was the little kid always hanging around him that he couldn't get rid of. He was the epitome of cool in the 70's - surfer, long hair, athletic, and drove a beat up beach car. After a couple of rough starts, he settled down in Tennessee, married a wonderful women, and raised a caring family. Then he contracted cancer. And now, I am on my way to Memphis for his funeral, taken too early at the young age of 63.

Me, Ray, and Christopher in 1998

In June, my grandmother died. She was the most elegant lady I ever met, right up to the end. At 94, she lived a long and successful life, but I know she wanted to live longer.

And of course I lost my son 3 years ago. He was 21. Nothing more need be said about that. It's all here. No one should have to deliver their son's eulogy.

The one thing I have learned through all of this is how little control we have. We all have worked out how life should go, but it rarely goes the way we want it to. Unexpected things happen. Sometimes good ... sometimes not. All we can do is enjoy the good times so we are prepared for the worse. 

Don't be afraid to live your life, because death awaits us all. Often, when we least expect it.

Things often don't turn out like you think they will, or think they should. Don't get to the end of your life wishing that it had turned out different. Make it different now.

RCJ


Goodbye 1818

Goodbye 1818 .... we hardly knew ya. 

It's fate was sealed by Hurricane Micheal on October 10, 2018 - the forgotten storm.  Demolished to concrete and rubble 10 months later.

A fitting end to our time in Lynn Haven ...


Starting over . . yet again.

I have gone back and forth, back and forth on blogging and social media.

There are some solid reasons to do it.  And some not so solid reasons.

I have learned how to create and maintain my own website(s). I have had several over the years that run the gamut from personal blogs to business sites. They are all hard to maintain - well, I wouldn't say too hard - more like time-consuming. And I don't have a lot of free time.

So, I am moving my personal blog back to Posthaven.  The Posthaven platform site has been dead for a while - no updates or even blog posts on what they are doing.  But it does still work, is easy to use, and not too complex.  I will trust the founders of this platform to do what they said they would do, which is provide an easy to use platform, maintained forever.  The founders are young (relatively) and both still active doing other things online and in Silicon Valley - so I remain hopeful that they will keep its promises. 

What does that mean for me?

It means that I will be moving what is left of my personal Joomla site at rcjackson.com to here. I will keep rcjackson.com, but will use it as a postcard for other endeavors.  It means that my personal blog should be here for a while - I hope.  I will also seriously think about auto-posting to twitter - may lose some followers, but who really cares anyway.  Life is too short, and one of things I really like about twitter is that it is guilt free - want to follow me, do so; don't, that is ok too.  You can even follow for a while, drop me, then follow back later.

I may also add additional topic based blogs. Why?  Because I can.  Posthaven gives me multiple blogs to create if I want to.

We will see how it goes . . .  See you round here hopefully.

RCJ

Facebook and Social Media

I struggle with Facebook and social media.

I really don't trust Facebook at all with any personal information. I hate how they always change and default your privacy settings to "public" and who knows where all this information is. I have tried to keep my presence there limited. But, I have to admit, it does have some good parts - keeping in touch with family and friends.

Instagram is just Facebook light IMHO, and has lost its original purpose of getting promoting and sharing photography

I enjoy Twitter, as much as I hate to say it. You can interact and discover some amazing people (and not so amazing people too). But it has become so political, and, because it is anonymous, you have a lot of trolls.  My one rule on Twitter and all of social media really, is that I will not tolerate personal attacks. Personal attack = block.  I will also give you one or two passes on vulgarity, but then your gone.  There is just no need for either in constructive discourse. And I do hold out for constructive discourse on these platforms.  You can have it.  I have had many really good conversations with people who disagree strongly with me.  More often, though, people just shut down or start typing obscenities or personal attacks.  Disappointing, but I won't give up . . .for now. </p>

My life would probably be better without social media

But right now it is a close call.  For a while I added social media and the news into my weekly fasting routine. I "try" to fast for 24 hours two days a week. Not as hard as it sounds and I really do like how it makes me feel.  I am doing this for life improvement reasons not religious. My first few times I try it I also included a social media and news fast.  I did not watch or listen to the news or log into social media for 24 hours.  Unlike not eating for 24 hours, this was actually harder than I thought.  And it did make me feel better.

So I will go back to that for a while.  Complete food, news, and social media fast for 24 hours twice a week.  Twice is tough.  Once is much easier.

Will report back here at some point when I feel like it . . .

Fasting - both from food and social media

I began trying out the fasting trend last fall. Eventually, I settled on 24 hour fasts as the best for me. Noon to noon.

My goal is for two 24 hour fasts a week - typically Tuesday and Thursday, but sometimes Monday and Wednesday.  During the week is the time to do it. Its too hard to do on the weekend.  The reason why is not what I would have suspected. You see, eating food is a social experience and so fasting is that much harder to do when other people are around. The expectation is that you will eat with them, and it is very difficult not to do so.  The actual fasting part (voluntary denial of food) for 24 hours is surprisingly not difficult. Once you have done it a few times it becomes much easier, especially after you determine the time when you will naturally feel hungry. Mine, like most, is in the evening. 

I also added social media and news fasting to my routine. I, like many, spend way too much time on social media.  My particular social media drug of choice is Twitter.  Twitter makes it about as easy as possible to consume more "news" than anyone possibly can.  So for 24 hours (sunup to sundown) I go on a social media and news fast to coincide with my food fast. Instead of being on Twitter or Facebook, I read. Instead of watching or listening to the news on the radio, I listen to a podcast, music, or watch a film. 

I feel much better after fasting. Stomach is not bloated. Brain is not fried. I feel . . . refreshed. 

I have been pretty slack on fasting this year so far - often don't do it at all or get in one day a week at best.  I am going to really try to focus and be disciplined about it for the rest of the year and see what happens. Basically, a four month experiment. I will let you know how it terms out.

11 miler today. Hard. Hot. Humid.

Three months from the Kiawah Island Half Marathon.  Already up to 11 miles.  But they have not been easy.  

Didn't do any base work at all this week - that makes for a rough Saturday.

Started at sunrise, but will have to get up earlier to beat the heat and run in the dark from here on out.  At least until it cools down, which is November here in Florida.  I did beat the rain though and got a pretty start. No complaints here.

Watching Gilmore Girls

I hate to say it but my wife has gotten me into watching the Gilmore Girls

8.1 on IMDB -  not bad.

And I must admit, I kind of like it.  Very girly, but pretty good.

Just watching the Sore and Boils Alley episode. Very sought after name.

yeah right.

Edward Curtis - Photographer

Edward Curtis was on a mission.

From the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, Curtis' mission was to photograph the American Indian in the West before their way of life disappeared.  His 30-year effort resulted in some of the most haunting and beautiful photographs of the American West and its people that anyone had ever seen. If you ever get a chance to see a Curtis exhibit, do so. He lived an interesting life - born in poverty, becoming rich and famous, then dining in obscurity. You can read about it here -. His story is interesting, but his photographs are the real stars of his tale.

You can read more about Edward Curtis below:

Curtis is really a unique story and photographer.  He gave up everything to pursue his dream. His images are hauntingly beautiful  and hypnotically human at the same time. Take some time to go through his massive collection. Curtis doesn't disappoint.


Warrior Dash - Panama City

Finished my 3rd Warrior Dash - this one in my own backyard - Panama City, Florida.  The Warrior Dash was brought to Panama City by a partnership between two local tourist development boards.  It was originally planned to be an all-day event, but the organizers cancelled all of the  afternoon waves, presumably for poor demand.  

It wasn't too crowded at the race, but the weather wasn't great either. Lower than expected demand could also be because of slowing interest in obstacle type races. the Wall Street journal reported slowing demand for all obstacle type races and the Warrior Dash in particular:

Warrior Dash participants declined from 600,000 in 2012 to 350,000 in 2014, according to a public relations firm working last year on behalf of Red Frog Events, the Chicago-based operator of Warrior Dash.

WSJ, 2016

 I can tell you from my personal experience of running Warrior Dash races in 2012 and 2013, that this was a whole different atmosphere. Fewer people, less going on. Maybe these races are running their course?

That said, it was fun.  We had a small group of friends (mostly older - 40s and 50s) that ran it. It wasn't overly challenging - more similar to my first Warrior Dash in 2012.  The 2013 event I ran was harder. It almost seems like they were making it tougher to compete with the Spartan Races and Tough Mudders of the world. That must have been a losing battle, because this race was back to basics. Challenging, but something that anyone could do with just a little prep.

It was muddy, for sure. But the mud wasn't as bad as I have seen in previous races. There were a couple of interesting and challenging obstacles.  The pallet walk was hard, especially if you were shorter and had a hard time reaching the supporting cords. The walls were easier than I have seen before, but they still gave a few some problems. The slide at the end was surprisingly fast - I almost burned my hands from friction trying to slow down a bit. I finally just let go and let to take me where it would. 

No turkey legs at the end, but they still did have fuzzy horned hats. Food was acceptable. Entertainment not bad. But mostly these races are about friends and family. Accepting and completing a challenge with them. And as long as that dynamic continues. I expect that these races will continue to survive.

Would I do it again?  Sure.  Not certain when, but I would.  It was a fun way to spend a Saturday, get out of the house, and enjoy the weather. So if you have an opportunity - especially if a race is close to you - I highly recommend running one. Fun, Family and Friends are always a winning combination.

 

Warrior Dash - Part Three

The Warrior Dash is coming to the Gulf Coast of Florida  . .  and I am running it!

This would be my 3rd warrior dash over the last 6 years.  I ran my first one in Lake City in 2012.  It was pouring and we saw a lady in front of us snap her ankle falling off a wall.  But, it wasn't that hard. I have to admit that we were nervous at first, but at the start line, we saw a 300 lb guy in a batman outfit. So the idiot rule kicked in - "if that idiot can run this thing, I certainly can."  My brother in law Ronnie, his son, Trace, and my son, Christopher ran it with us. 

Warrior Dash 2012

I ran my second Warrior Dash in 2013 in Birmingham with my friend Curt.  It was a little harder than the first one, but still fun.  The mud pits were a real challenge to get out of. And some of the walls were tough, but nothing insurmountable. Not like the Spartan Race . . . that is a whole another story.

So this will be my 3rd.  I am six years older and in my 50s now.  I have a feeling that I will be one of the older ones on the course.  But  . . who cares. Ronnie is running to with me again, and so is his wife Tina. None of us have really trained, although I did run some and feel comfortable there.  Upper body could be tough though - will probably strain or pull something.  

Only tomorrow knows.