YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE: WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

Personality type – what even is that?  Are you an extrovert, an introvert?  Are you kind and passive, or aggressive, driven and ambitious?  The answer is yes, no, and a whole lot more.

I’ve always considered myself an introvert…or am I?  You may think of yourself as an introvert, but you might actually be an ambivert with introverted tendencies; or, an extroverted introvert.  How many of us are like that, and maybe didn’t realize it?  As “semi-outgoing introverts”, we can actually be quite hospitable.  When our battery’s got a full charge, we enjoy socializing.  Not necessarily in a big group, but a few people at a time is definitely doable.  However, unlike true extroverts who gain energy from being in the thick of it, socializing still drains an introvert’s battery.  I’m not super-outgoing or talkative, but I do enjoy other’s company, say, in a game of euchre.  Family gatherings are great, and I can talk with people to a point, as long as there are occasional distractions – a TV show or card game – to break it up.

It can be hard to know just by looking

Research shows that extroversion and introversion are a spectrum, and the majority of people fall within the main part of the curve, with true extros and intros as “outliers” on the edges of the curve.  I was sure my oldest son was a dyed-in-the-wool extrovert.  From when he was a kid, he was always bold and outgoing.  He could get others to follow him; he can sell you swampland in Florida.  But when I had him take a personality assessment, his extrovert/introvert numbers were extremely close, 6/4 Extro to Intro.  Clearly not the raging extrovert I took him to be.  When we talked about it, he said that he enjoyed being in a group of friends and having fun, but it drained him to be “on” for a long time in a crowd.  A true example of an ambivert who leans toward extroversion.

By the way…there is a big difference between shyness and being an introvert.  An introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others. A shy person doesn’t necessarily want to be alone but is afraid to interact with others.  I used to be shy when I was a kid.  I’m also an introvert, so my childhood was rough as far as making friends.  I’m not shy anymore.  I love to engage with people, depending on who they are and the setting, but I won’t be there long.  I definitely enjoy being home, chilling out and recharging the battery.  There’s no confusion with my Extro/Intro numbers; 2/8, definitely an introvert.  As my friend Dave once said, “I’m perfectly comfortable with my own thoughts.”

Which one fits you best, or are you a mix?

I’ve covered these two main personality factors heavily because they are the origin of personality study by psychiatrist Carl Jung.  Jung developed his personality theories based on the core of extraversion and introversion in the early 1900s.  But again, there’s a lot more to personality type than whether you’re outgoing or introspective.  We’ll take a look at a popular model, the one that’s probably been around the longest and has been researched, fleshed out, and used in mainstream psychology the most.  I’m referring to the Myers-Briggs personality types, and the MBTI, or Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator.

The origins of this model come Jung’s work, but were developed and made popular by Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers.  Jung had developed some solid and advanced theories on personality types.  Briggs and her daughter started researching Jung’s work and found it fascinating.  So much so, that they wanted to clarify and elaborate on his theories in order to put them into practice.  They added two more personality factors onto Jung’s original six, and came up with sixteen different main personality types.

They saw great value in helping people reach their potential by knowing more about what made them tick, so to speak.  This can have a positive effect on careers and work decisions, as well as personal relationships.  In fact, Isabel took her mother’s work and developed the MBTI as a practical “people sorter” to help people decide what vocations fit them best – not just do what you love, but work at what fits you best.  Katharine and Isabel worked through the 1940s and 50s to develop the personality indicator into a practical tool for later use by universities and companies.

Around this same time, through the 1940s and 50s, Dr. David Keirsey researched Myers Briggs’ work and developed his own take on their sixteen personality types, adding names to the different types (Artisans, Guardians, Idealists and Rationals), and characterizing them by language and tool usage – concrete, or abstract.  Dr. Keirsey was a psychologist who specialized in corrective counseling in the public schools, working with both kids and adults.  His take on the Myers Briggs system is refreshing and quite user-friendly.  I’ve read extensively on both Keirsey and Myers Briggs, and draw this math analogy: where Jung’s theories were the calculus of psychiatric personality study, Myers Briggs brought the idea to the world in the form of applied trigonometry.  Keirsey made personality typing more accessible, creating a basic algebra form.

Both Myers Briggs and Keirsey use these eight factors in determining personality types:

  1. Extraverted / Introverted: as we’ve already seen, this is how someone interacts with the world around them; where they draw their energy from.
  2. Sensing / Intuition: how someone takes in information.  Sensory types are observant of things in their surrounding environment.  Intuitive types are introspective, using a “sixth sense” or the mind’s eye to draw conclusions.
  3. Thinking / Feeling: Thinkers are “tough-minded”, being more objective and impersonal.  Feelers are more friendly, sympathetic and personable with others.
  4. Judging / Perceiving: Those who have a Judging side are organized and scheduled.  They like things decided.  Perceivers are more ambivalent, open to alternatives and other opportunities, willing to probe and explore a while before making a decision.

As you’ve read through the list of eight factors above, consider their meanings. Then consider yourself, and you can get a rough idea of where you fall.  Myers Briggs and Keirsey both then provide sixteen combinations of these eight factors, shown below:

ArtisansGuardiansIdealistsRationals
ESTPESTJENFJENTJ
ISTPISTJINFJINTJ
ESFPESFJENFPENTP
ISFPISFJINFPINTP
Myers Briggs 16 types, as named by Dr. Keirsey

To give the unfamiliar an idea of how these types work, I’ll use myself as an example.  I’m an Idealist, an INFJ, sometimes floating toward INFP.  I for Introverted, N for iNtuitive, F for Feeling, and J for Judging.  Idealists have a strong sense of right and wrong in general, and base most of their decisions and experiences on the principle behind something.  This has always been true with me since I was a kid.  Another strong factor that comes through regularly is my intuition.  The ability to see the big picture without hashing over all the details.  It’s the ability to draw conclusions quickly based on gut instinct; the “sixth sense” mentioned above.  My Feeling part has to do with making value judgments.  I tend to be kind and unassuming with people; not cold and calculating.  And then the Judging comes in with my To Do lists, schedules and such.  It’s hard for me to be spur-of-the-moment.  I need the organization to function throughout the day and week.

I’ll leave it there for the detail.  There are a number of books written by both experts on these sixteen types and the factors that make them.  If you’re not familiar with either Myers Briggs or Keirsey’s work, I encourage you to dive into it.  Keirsey’s resources are more accessible, free to browse on his website.  On the other hand, Myers Briggs were very protective of their intellectual property, and have copyrighted their work.  They do offer workshops you can pay for and attend to become a certified MBTI administrator.  This grants you access rights to most of the material.  Isabel Briggs Myers’ book, “Gifts Differing”, is an excellent resource you can pick up on Amazon for under $20.

Dr. Keirsey’s website has plenty of clear, easy-to-follow resources for understanding these personality types.  His books, “Please Understand Me” and “Please Understand Me II” document the work he’s done in this field.  I recommend the second edition, as it’s more up to date and improves on the material in the first edition.

The main argument against personality typing as with the MBTI and Keirsey’s Temperament Sorter is that the studies are unscientific and inaccurate.  Technically there may be some merit to these arguments, but consider how personality types were developed, going back to Jung: the observation of people over time, and the hypotheses made.  If you compare Jung’s, Myers Briggs and Keirsey’s work to the scientific method, it may be argued that they did not necessarily follow through with testing the hypotheses. However, they have all certainly made many observations, created their hypotheses, analyzed their data and drawn some very similar conclusions about these main personality types.

As far as accuracy, it’s true that very few, if any, people remain entirely the same from childhood to late adulthood.  Different life experiences act on us, for better or worse, to shape who we are.  Family dynamics, education and work, even involuntary factors such as disabilities can affect who we are between childhood and adulthood.  We sometimes act, think and feel one way at work or school, while we might be quite different at home.  The best way to most accurately type your personality is to do your best to clear your mind of the “white noise” of the outside world.  When you consider the questions, try to answer them from the point of view of who you are, period.  Not who you are at work, or who you are because of earlier trauma or dysfunction.  Dig deep and think about how you would most naturally handle the scenario presented in the question.

So, which one are you?  Are you an ESFP, an Artisan-Performer like my wife?  This result, by the way, surprised both of us.  My wife has not typically been an outgoing person.  She still gets nervous speaking in front of a group.  Maybe you’re an ENTJ, a Rational-Field Marshal like my son?  Three of his four factors are as close to their counterpart factors as they can be without being a tie.  For fun, I extrapolated the other type possibilities that he might be at a given time.  There were six more options.  I could see shades of each in him.  This goes to show the truth that we aren’t always one certain way. 

Find out what type you are, clarify your strengths (and weaknesses) and how to best capitalize on those at work and in your personal relationships.  It will reduce stress, and make for more satisfying interactions.

FIGURING OUT YOUR BRAND, FINDING YOUR FLOW: AN INTROSPECTION

Back around the 2020 holidays my writing had taken off like a rocket.  Inspiration struck as I did a complete (and very lengthy) re-write of a long form sales letter, the final project for the training program I’d been doing for copywriting.  I got my certification and I was off to the races.  Journal entries were often doubled up with supplemental additions, averaging over eight hundred words per entry, daily – daily – in January.  Almost seven hundred words daily through February.  When I started my blog posting, the ideas just kept coming.  The blogging started in late January, and I averaged a post a week, each post averaging just over a thousand words.  Pardon if my focus on word counts is annoying, but I’m a math and engineering nerd by trade, so I put numbers to my words.  It provides a benchmark to check my progress.

The blogging kept up through February.  Then, in early March, the inspiration started drying up.  The creative juices weren’t flowing as much, and it became harder and harder to put words to page.  Within a week, I was barely putting out a few hundred words a day in journal entries…and that was it.  No sales letters pitched to clients, no blog posts.  Nothing.

This about sums it up…

My lofty goal of blogging weekly and launching a successful side gig as a copywriter sputtered to a quietly miserable stop. I bumped right up against a brick wall.  Nothing.  No signs of life.  The last post was on March 12th.  Even my daily journal entries thinned out.

The Well Has Dried Up…What Now?

Part of it was too many irons in the fire.  I’d been blazing along with all of those things, all at once.  It’s part of the “all in, all out” mentality.  When I get into something, I’m really in – all in.  I put everything else aside, physically and mentally, and I focus on the one interest.  It comes from a) a sheer fun desire for the experience, and b) a drive to master a new skill or hobby. It’s a very common and usually positive state of mind, Dubbed Hyperfocus, or Flow.  Anyone can get hooked into a keen interest and lose themselves in it.

How Flow Works

I’ve started researching the state of Flow and its positive aspects.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian-born psychologist and professor at the University of Chicago and Claremont Graduate University, discovered the concept of Flow and its conduciveness to happiness and productivity.  When we are fully engaged in our work, a hobby, whatever, we’re in Flow.  Also known as in the zone, in the groove, our senses are heightened and focused on the one task to the point where we forget about everything else around us, including time.  When athletes achieve a state of Flow during competition, they are performing at their very best.

When we love what we do, when we are intrinsically motivated by our work, it’s much easier to enter a state of Flow.  When I’ve got the Flow going, whether it’s writing, working out, playing hockey, or even working on a car, there’s no stopping.  And while Flow is widely recognized as a positive, productive condition, I do my best to moderate the interest level.  Keeping organized and structured is key to fending off the uber-intensity of, and subsequent crash from, the Flow.

No doubt, being in the Flow is a great thing.  But nothing lasts forever, and what goes up, must come down.  And with me, it’s usually a complete crash.  No motivation, no ideas for what’s next, just bored and moping about.

Have you ever had that nasty habit of second-guessing yourself?  One minute, you’re flying along, things are going great, and you’re on top of the world.  The next, things have crashed to a halt, you can’t get anything going, and you feel like a complete dud.  You start with the “what ifs”, but that’s only the beginning.  You wonder, “Where did all my motivation, my inspiration, go?  I’ve lost it, lost it all.  Maybe I’m not even supposed to be doing this.”

So…just get back in the Flow, right?  Yes, and no.  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:” From Ecclesiastes 3:1.  What I take from this, personally, is that no matter what, I will have good and bad times.  For every Flow, there is an ebb. Tide comes in, and it goes back out. I will have a stretch of incredible creativity and productivity, followed by a drought.  When I’m in a drought, I’ve got time to do some introspection.  I pray and meditate, think on what I’ve been doing, and what I should be doing according to the His plan.  It comes down to priorities and motivations.  Did I veer from the path?  Did my motivations or priorities change to something more self-serving?

We are all made with certain talents; strengths that come naturally.  When we use these talents, we work and feel at our best, right?  Correction – when we use these talents PROPERLY, outside of selfish ambition, we are at our best.

What I’ve found during this down time is that I wasn’t using my talents properly.  I was motivated by material returns – making money.  That was at the forefront of my mind.  I was pushing hard to start making a side income, so I could be wealthier.  This is why I was pursuing copywriting, and why I was so concerned about output – hitting big numbers.  What I should’ve been doing was developing my writing for the sheer enjoyment of it.  Not that God doesn’t want me to make a side income with my writing, but that shouldn’t be the main priority.

Teachers love to teach.  They don’t get paid very much, they work long hours outside the classroom, and often have to fund some or all of their own supplies.  But they do it because it’s a calling; they’re making a difference in kids’ lives, and they love that.  I’m a writer, and I want people to be entertained, enlightened, and encouraged by my words.  I want to make a difference in people’s lives.  That should be my main motivation.

This is my Brand.  I didn’t even fully understand what that word meant a month ago.  Entrepreneur.com partly defines it like this:

Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Wikipedia has an entry for “Personal Branding”, with its opening line as follows:

Personal branding is the conscious and intentional effort to create and influence public perception of an individual by positioning them as an authority in their industry, elevating their credibility, and differentiating themselves from the competition, to ultimately advance their career, increase their circle of influence, and have a larger impact.

While I don’t subscribe as wholeheartedly to the moneymaking or competitive business aspects of branding, I fully believe we all want to be heard, to make a difference in others’ lives, to have a positive impact with our words or actions.

Once I settled that, the gates opened back up.  And I mean, REALLY opened.  I tried starting a new blog in April, but it wouldn’t take.  I tried a couple of times, even organizing my thoughts and ideas on paper, but I had to give up on it.  You might be thinking, “But you just said the gates opened back up…”  Right. I had to give up on the blog not because I was still blocked; on the contrary, the topic I chose was so huge that it wasn’t going to fit into a blog post.  Or even a couple.  It needed to be a book.  Talk about an “ah-HA!” moment.  Some literary stars aligned that day.

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a kid in sixth grade.  I made some attempts at it about fifteen years ago, but I was going about it the old-fashioned way and trying to get my short children’s stories accepted by traditional publishing houses.  These were the big ones – Random House, MacMillan, and so on.  Rejection letters from every one, at least the ones that bothered to respond.  There were “vanity” publishers, outfits that would gladly take your manuscript – and your money, several thousand dollars – and turn you into a published author.  I couldn’t afford that, though, so I was stuck.

But now in 2021, I figured, why not?  There are much better resources out there that are either free or low-cost to help the budding writer self-publish into real authorhood.  I acquired one of these resources, read the instructions, and got to work.  The whole process, from starting with a blank sheet of paper in front of me to finished, edited manuscript, took about four months.  The book is done and launched on Amazon.  It’s available in e-book and paperback formats.  A link to the product page is below.

And guess what?  The well hasn’t dried up.  I’ve got this post done, and I’ve got another one already in the oven, spawned from ideas hatched while writing this one.  And I’ve already got ideas for a couple more books.  One’s pretty much written, one of the children’s stories I tried pitching back in the mid-2000s.  The other one is another non-fiction work, a “How To” guide.  And I’m sure there will be many more where those came from.

One more thing.  While it’s important to dig deep and figure out your personal brand, it’s even more important to know who your brand master is.  You’ve probably heard the phrase, “God is my copilot”.  Well, He is my brand master.  Yes, I’ve figured out my brand.  I know who I am and who I want to be, and how I want to be perceived.  I know now what’s really important.  By letting Him lead the way, I may still have droughts, but they will be fewer and farther between.  To quote Becky Walker, successful YouTuber and entrepreneur – Put God first.

Check out my book here:

Getting Fit At 50…And Beyond

Been feeling a little “bleh” since the holidays?  Mid-winter blues can take the wind out of anyone’s sails.  Age is a big one, but not one of the more obvious ones.  Once we get into our 30s, our respective hormones are starting to fade.  If we’ve neglected exercise for a long time, age comes up as a secondary reason to not engage; “I’m too old for this.”

When we don’t keep up the maintenance, the fenders start to sag a little.  Into our 40s, the spare tire really starts to show.  The battery doesn’t seem to want to stay charged, and the gas tank empties quicker than it used to.  If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, whether it’s the winter blahs, busyness, or getting older, read on.

Even if you’re under the half-century mark, everyone can benefit from this advice.  My main point with targeting the 50 and older crowd is that it’s easier than you think.  Most of what I’ll describe here benefits overall physical health, and can be applied to everyone.  As with any fitness advice, take it, try it, and tailor it to your specific needs and body type.  Nothing is set in stone.  And, whether you’re 25 or 55, if you apply it and stick to it, you’ll see positive results sooner than you think.

I’ve written a longer article on the topic of fitness after 50, but it’s more tailored to men getting bigger and stronger.  It’s published on LinkedIn and you can find it on my website.  If that’s more your speed, check it out.  With this post, I’ll share some personal experience, cover a couple of main ideas behind getting fit at any age – especially the 50+ category – and hopefully leave you feeling inspired to go out and get pumped.

Can It Be Done?

About 15 years ago, I found this little hole-in-the-wall gym a few miles from where I worked.  It was around in back of an old bowling alley.  The gym and its owner are long gone, but the memories of working out there, even just a few times that I did, will stay with me forever.

The owner was a little 70-something year old guy.  He looked the part, shuffling around the gym, slightly bent over.  He wore a varsity-style windbreaker and a Harley Davidson hat.  He might’ve reminded you of Burgess Meredith’s Mickey in “Rocky”.

He was always sharing advice, ad hoc training tips, especially if you were squatting or deadlifting.  But unlike his famous boxing coach doppelganger, he was a former competitive power lifter, and…well, man!  He still had it.  I watched this guy squat 500 pounds, deep, for 10 reps.  This little 70 year old man!  My jaw hit the floor.  I still haven’t hit a 500-pound squat, even for a 1 rep max!

And he did it…to teach me a lesson.  The lesson was, go deep.  He did not believe in stopping the squat at or above horizontal (when your thighs are horizontal to the floor).  His point was, you won’t hurt your knees by going deep on squats, if your form is correct.  It gets the most strength and muscle development out of the exercise.  And he’s right.  I’ve done it myself, and it works.

“You’re a tank!”

This guy was still training competitive lifters, too.  He had guys in there that were in their 40s and 50s, some who’d never lifted much at all before.  Rank beginners, and he had them deadlifting 400 pounds within a few months.

So yes, it can most certainly be done.

What’s The Secret?

I’m probably not going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before.  What I can offer that’s different is this: I’m not selling any products or programs.  I’m just a guy in my early 50s who’s done these things, and they work.  Period.  I’ve seen the results first-hand.

There are gimmicky programs out there that tell you that because you’re over a certain age, you shouldn’t be in the gym trying to build muscle. While it’s fine to shoot for a lean, trim physique, it’s a complete falsehood that someone over a certain age can’t hit the gym to gain size and strength. If that’s your goal, go for it!

So, where do you start?  What’s the number one key to gaining a fit and stronger physique, even after 50?

Diet!  Of course.  It’s the old tried and true – garbage in, garbage out.  The first thing that comes to my mind is: Do not drink soda, or too many carbonated drinks of any kind.  The carbonation is not good for you.  Cut out sugar as much as possible.  Avoid other junky foods and additives.  Common sense stuff, just start with a general clean-up.  When all else fails, drink a glass of water.

  • As far as a particular menu plan, a keto or other low carb plan works best.  Fruits and vegetables, a good amount of protein, and fats.  Don’t shy away from avocados, butter or coconut oil for cooking.  Keep your carbs at 10 grams or less per day.  Carbs take time to break down for energy use, so they get stored and used a little at a time.  Fat is burned immediately by the body for energy.  By keeping the carbs low with a “healthy” fat content, your body will burn the carbs and then dive into its own fat stores for energy.
  • There is confusion about how healthy or not a low carb diet is.  You may have heard that the keto diet isn’t safe to sustain long-term.  With proper management and food choices, it can be safe and healthy for the long haul.  If you’re unsure, try it for a few months, then switch back to a normal carb-loaded diet for a while.  For more details on low carb diets, check this out.
  • I tried the keto diet at the turn of the new year a few years ago, and coupled it with intermittent fasting.  In three to four weeks, I’d dropped 10 pounds and gained lean size and strength.  I kept it going for 3 months.  My energy level was better than ever, and I was sleeping great at night.  It works.

Exercise:  This one is pretty flexible, because it depends on your desired results.  If you want to get lean with some increased muscle tone and strength, you’ll want to incorporate more cardio or HIIT training, with a moderate, higher-rep resistance training plan.  If you want to get big and strong, hit the weights.  Hard and heavy.

  • Try to do your cardio and anaerobic activity in the morning.  Your strength training is better suited to afternoon to evening hours.  Again, there are no hard and fast rules, but research shows these are the optimal times for the respective activities.  You can pair your cardio/HIIT with your strength training, if you don’t want to do two workouts in a day.  Or split up the days, one for cardio and one for lifting.

Sleep:  The last (but not least) piece of the fitness triad.  How much good, quality sleep are you getting a night?  Everyone’s different and have differing sleep behaviors.  But, there are well-established studies and guidelines relating a healthy amount of sleep to good overall health.  This is not a new topic, or new advice.  In general, if you’re an adult, you need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night.

  • I have always been a light, fitful sleeper, so it’s taken some work for me to get at least 7 hours of sleep during the week, when I have to get up for work.  I try to hold close to the same schedule over the weekend, allowing myself up to an extra hour on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s tempting to stay up late on a Friday or Saturday, and sleep in the next day.  But significant changes to your sleep schedule will have negative effects on your sleep quality and health.
  • Your body does the majority of recovery while sleeping.  If you want to get in – and stay in – great shape and stay there, don’t skimp on sleep.

The Big 3 Are Common For A Reason

The “Big 3” – Diet, Exercise and Sleep – are so commonly repeated because they are the core elements for getting healthy and fit.  At any age.  Someone in their 50s isn’t going to be able to go out, at least not right away, and keep up with a 20-something in the gym, or on the treadmill.

But proper diet, sleep and exercise can get ANYONE fit, no matter how old.  The key is consistency.  There’s yo-yo dieting; don’t yo-yo on your exercise, or sleep.  Keep it up.  You’ll always have an off day or two, just don’t let them become slumps for days or weeks.  Get right back in the swing of things and stay on target.

The Pros and Cons of Doing It Yourself

I am, admittedly, reluctantly mechanically inclined.  My DIY career started off in a fitful, hesitant manner.  I did things (as many of us do) out of necessity (translation: save money).  I did not always enjoy working on cars, dishwashers or toilets…actually, I still don’t like toilets.

“Uuugh…”

But I work on them.  I’d rather be under one of my kids’ cars, or unclogging the dishwasher, or even up to my elbows in a toilet tank than call a professional.  I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years buying over-the-counter parts and putting them on myself.  Money can be a big motivator.  Let’s see…have a “certified pro” fix it for $500, or buy $100 worth of parts and spend an hour or two on a Saturday getting my hands a little dirty?

It’s A Nasty Job, But Somebody’s Gotta Do It

Fixing things around the house wasn’t always easy.  In fact, it didn’t really come naturally.  Oh, I could figure out what was wrong easy enough.  I could think through how things had to come apart and go back together.  But, this is the great difference between academic and hands-on knowledge.  Knowing and doing are two very different things.  I learned the hard way that, especially with cars, it rarely goes the way you expect.

Maybe you glanced through a Hayne’s repair manual you picked up at the local auto parts store.  Or you’ve watched a YouTube video.  They make it look so easy.  So you think, “ah, give me an hour and I’ll have both front brake discs and pads changed on my kid’s car.”  That, my friend, is fantasy.  In reality, an hour and a half later when you’re just getting the first side put back together, and you’re muttering to yourself, and the occasional wrench goes flying across the garage accompanied by a much louder, far more emotional outburst, you’re thinking, “what did I do wrong?  This should’ve gone so much easier than it did!”  Welcome to the world of DIY.

If you’ve only occasionally tried to fix something around the house yourself and had a bad time of it, you’re not alone.  There are those who are truly gifted with their hands.  They can knock out a repair job like nothing the first time through; they can really “spin a wrench”, as the saying goes.  Then there’s most of the rest of us.

But take heart!  Just like anything, practice makes perfect.  Not that we want stuff to break around the house so we can chalk up more training hours, but it’s a simple fact.  Unless you’re naturally talented at something, it’ll take several times before you’re really proficient at general around-the-house repair.

The Benefits of Doing It Yourself

Besides the money savings, if it takes a while to get proficient at it, why do it at all?  Most people have a budget for emergencies, or car repairs.  Plus, it’s so much nicer to have someone take care of it for you, isn’t it?

Believe it or not, there ARE tangible benefits to DIY.  For one, your problem solving improves.  It also aids creativity.  And, if you find that you like fixing things yourself, it can become a hobby and even a weekend side gig.  Not to mention, you’re learning something new and keeping active at the same time.

A former neighbor of mine is a certified Honda mechanic at a local dealership – he can really spin a wrench – and he’ll take several side jobs a month for a little extra cash.  He’ll even go to people’s homes, if they can’t get their cars to him.  He’s helped me out a time or two.

DIY time can mean together time

My current neighbor, who bought the house of my mechanic friend, is a builder and an expert at home improvement projects.  He spent a couple of weekends helping me rebuild our deck from the joists up.  He just loves to stay busy, and he likes helping people.  Not such a bad thing, eh?

The Co$t of DIY

But…don’t you have to have a lot of nice tools and equipment to do a lot of repairs?  No, not really.  It depends on what you’re doing.  Most plumbing jobs require just a few simple tools.

For example, when I work on our slow, stubborn drains, the only thing I need is a pair of regular pliers or small channel-locks, and a long screwdriver.  Our plumbing is all PVC under the sinks, so I can easily hand-loosen the joints to remove the trap and pipe from the sink drain.  The screwdriver is actually used to shove the paper towel through to clear out all the gunk.  You can use a butter knife or any similar long object.

Now, the garage is another story.  I’ve put some money into my tools for car repair.  But…I still did it economically.  I have hardly any name-brand equipment.  The vast majority of my tools, both hand and power, have come from Harbor Freight.  If you haven’t been to Harbor Freight, look up the closest one to you and go wander through.  It’s a veritable toy store for the DIY-er.

Both of my tool chests came from Harbor, as well as my floor jack and my electric impact wrench.  I have an old reciprocating saw that, if you believe the reviews, is cheap plastic junk that doesn’t last more than a few jobs.  But I’ve had that thing for years now…I’ve used it to cut suspension components off of our cars.  And it’s still running strong, for less than half of the name brand competition.

The weaponry of the weekend warrior’s arsenal

Harbor Freight has really increased the quality of their lines of power tools recently, and they have some good quality products that rival Snap-on, Milwaukee and other top brands.  And they’re still much cheaper than the big names.  Everything in my garage was bought at a fraction of what I would’ve paid if I’d gone name brand.

Are there downsides to DIY?  Sure, a few obvious ones.  Such as…

  • You Have To Buy Your Own Tools: If you don’t have many tools, you have to go out and get them.  This is especially true for the car repair side of DIY.  Like I mentioned earlier, this is where my biggest investment is.  And I can’t count the number of times I had to stop what I was doing and run back to the store to get just the *right* sized socket or wrench for something I encountered further in.
  • You Could Make It Worse: Then there’s this elephant in the room – if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re liable to mess it up even worse, which could mean a very costly professional repair (or replacement). 
  • Time Is Not On Your Side: Doing it yourself takes time, especially the first time or two you do a job.  Like I said, you don’t get good until you’ve paid your dues.  I’m much faster now at most around-the-house jobs than I was when I first started out.  But I still sometimes make mistakes that cost time.

Try It, You Might Like It

Despite the few drawbacks, everyone should give some DIY a try.  The benefits outweigh the negatives. The biggest, most obvious benefit is the money savings over having a professional do it.  But the other benefits can be just as positive – learning a new skill, improving problem-solving thinking, even finding a new hobby that’s useful as well as stress-relieving.  You might just surprise yourself and enjoy it.  And, you can use some of that hard-saved cash to spend on something fun.

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: Is Reading One Better Than the Other?

TO BE honest, I was surprised at what I found when I first started researching this topic.  By searching the simple “reading fiction vs. non-fiction” query, I was inundated with far more results indicating reading fiction was better for you than reading non-fiction.  Yes, I tried reversing it (“reading non-fiction…”); the results were the same.  It seems public opinion – and a good amount of research – leans more toward fiction literature being better for your brain than, say, a biography or travelogue.

In order to better understand this question, we must first understand what we hope to gain from our reading.  We must also understand what each type of literature can offer.

Not Much Of A Reader?  Pick Your Poison, Then.

Before you click away to something more interesting – “I’m really not much of a reader…”, consider this: reading in general greatly improves your brain function.  Reading helps you sleep better, have less stress, and have less mental decline later in life.

With those kinds of positives going for it, why not?  Many of us will do much harder things for the sake of our physical health: Force ourselves to eat things we don’t really like, go to the gym and exercise (when we’d really rather be home relaxing).  Reading is easy, you just sit there and do it!  It takes less willpower and energy than drinking a green, gross super-smoothie or hitting the weights for an hour…AND it can improve your quality of life.

A Tale Of Two Stories

But back to the original question – to Fiction, or not to Fiction?  For those of you looking to expand your intellectual skill set, reading fiction helps to develop empathy, problem solving, adaptiveness and theory of mind, among other highbrow, academic traits.

But…you can’t beat non-fiction for boosting productive brainpower…here’s where type As rejoice.  From learning valuable life lessons to concentration to you’ll just be flat-out smarter, non-fiction is a fountain of educational possibilities.

Non-fiction gives us practical enlightenment.  Fiction provides the abstract knowledge that we need to be real, well-rounded people.  Sixteen years ago, Daniel Pink wrote in his book A Whole New Mind that we had moved from the Industrial Age (factory workers) to the Information Age (knowledge workers), and were moving once more into the Conceptual Age (creators and empathizers).

Employers are putting as much emphasis on associates with creative and empathetic skills as any technical skills.  I’ve personally seen in my own career journey: the practical skills of the job can be learned, but you can’t provide on-the-job training for people skills.  You either have them or you don’t.

Working in automotive quality for 20 years, I’ve had times where I’ve been able to accomplish as much or more with diplomacy and empathy than with statistics and number-crunching.  A phone call, and especially a face-to-face meeting with a distraught customer can do more to defuse a major issue than sitting at a desk and sending an e-mail with a report attached.  Why?  Because they want to know you care.

When you call and they hear a reassuring voice; or better, when you show up and they see your kind, understanding face, you’ve just taken the world’s weight off their shoulders.  You sit down and talk it out with them.  The problem solving is secondary; it happens as a natural part of the conversation.  But it’s the conversation, the contact, that matters.  And reading fiction can help develop those intangible, abstract skills that have become so highly sought after.

My Recommendation

When I was younger, I devoured fiction.  I thought non-fiction was too stuffy and boring.  As I grew, I developed an affinity for “realistic fiction” in the form of Michael Crichton.  If you’re not familiar, think Jurassic Park.  He wrote some amazing novels, usually backed up by real scientific research.  He work was really a fusion of the two genres.

Since about 2017, I’d switched course and read almost exclusively non-fiction.  Now, as of 2021, I’m consuming a balanced diet.  I’ve typically got one to two non-fiction books going, and then I relax before bed with a good work of fiction…currently, a Dean Koontz novel. The non-fiction is educational, for my own benefit. I love learning new things, always have. The fiction is to help me relax, and to (re)develop those intangible skills that make us better people. The world is sorely lacking in creativity and empathy, and we can all do better at developing those traits.

It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days: The COVID-19 Employment Quandary

I don’t know about you, but my company’s been in a pinch.  Trying to find decent, reliable help has been near impossible.  We’ve been trying to place a temp worker or two for some simple sorting work, and secondary help on one of our bigger machining operations.  For months, the misses have far outnumbered the hits.  You name it, they’ve suffered from it: unreliable, slow, even showing up under the influence.

“I’m gonna need to take a day…”

Help Wanted…Please!

Granted, finding good quality hourly temp workers is more challenging than, say, hiring an engineer, salesman or even a technician on any given day.  But it’s been especially hard since COVID-19 shut everything down last spring.  There have been “Help Wanted” signs everywhere.  Several companies have had signs up since last year offering regular job fairs and walk-in interviews.

Employers everywhere are hard up for good help, and they’re having to make concessions to try and get bodies in the door.  A particular company’s Help Wanted ad mentioned that a drug screen is required, but that they are “THC friendly”. One business owner had enough of not finding good help, and bumped his starting hourly rate far above the norm.  This one was a big hit, and from reports I’ve heard from local colleagues, he’s had a flood of new help knocking at his door.

Why Is It So Hard To Find Good Help Lately?

Shutdowns

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has certainly been a novel virus.  And it’s brought some novel side effects to local, state and national economies.  Nationally, the effects were devastating as early as April of last year, with record job losses across the country.

Michigan’s unemployment rate was at 3.9% in September 2019.  A year later, it had more than doubled to 8.5%.  Shutdowns have crippled the entire economy, but they’ve hit small businesses especially hard.  Restaurants have been the hardest hit, with record numbers of them closing their doors for good last year.  Overall, over 1/3 of Michigan’s “mom and pop shops” went out of business last year.

Nationally, the unemployment rate hovered at about 4% just before the shutdowns.  It spiked to nearly 4 times that in April, and has been on a slow but steady decline since.  Even as recently as January, though, it’s still a full 2 percentage points higher than before the shutdown.

Relief Money

With all of this unemployment and so many productive people out of jobs, why can’t the companies that are hiring find good help?  Enter the financial stimulus packages.  Everyone received either a $600 (individual) a $1,200 (couples) check last year.  Businesses received forgivable loans in the Payroll Protection Act.  Congress dealt out another $600 per person late last year, and they’re looking to fully repeat both individual and small business stimulus plans this year.

Add in the extended unemployment benefits… Michigan citizens received an extra $600 from March 28th 2020, retroactive as needed, to July 31st, and the benefit timeline was expanded an extra 6 weeks.  As of late December 2020, an 11-week extension and a $300 bonus was given for unemployment benefits.

In short, people and companies are being paid not to work.  I’m not implying anything diabolical here, I’m just saying it’s yet another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic.  What was a well-intentioned action on the part of congress has had unintended negative effects on the economy.  Businesses were closed or on very reduced hours; people were out of work, not collecting their normal paychecks; bills, like time, march on no matter what – rent, mortgages, car payments and groceries all needed taken care of.

Fear Factor

There is concern among many that going back to work means exposing themselves to the virus, which has had devastating effects on some people.  Every day for months on any number of news outlets, all you heard about was increasing case rates; increasing death rates; hospitals near or at capacity.  I get it, the point of media outlets is to inform the public on the state of current events.  But another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic is, all of the constant broadcasting about it has created an attitude of fear.  People fearing for their health, even their very lives.

On the other side of the COVID coin, people are encouraged to call in and stay home if they feel even a little under the weather, because it could be the coronavirus.  They’re supposed to go to the doctor, get checked out and get tested.  But the doctor’s offices have been so overwhelmed that, unless the person has severe symptoms, they’re told to go home and treat it like a normal cold or flu.  So they stay home for a day or two, just to be sure.  If they do warrant a test, and the result is positive, there’s the two-week quarantine.

It’s no wonder that people aren’t going back to work regularly, and businesses are struggling to get back up and running like normal.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Pfizer and Moderna were both at the front of the line to release their COVID-19 vaccines, and those are in the process of being rolled out now.  Johnson & Johnson has a very promising candidate awaiting approval, also.  Once the vaccines are fully implemented, people can start feeling safe again and hopefully get back to normal.

Their arrival is not a moment too soon…for the physical health of the public, of course, especially the vulnerable demographic.  But also, for the health of our economy.  And for people’s mental health.  One of the more sinister yet less broadcast side effects from all of the shutdowns and sheltering-in-place have been the marked increases in depression, anxiety, substance abuse, domestic abuse and even suicide.

I believe that a majority of America is ready to get back to normal, and get back to work.  There is a difference between caution and fear.  What we need from our media and our government are words of encouragement and hope.  This can really turn the tide – change the public mindset, and get people fired up again.

Unclogging Those Stubborn Drains: Stop Procrastinating and Just Do It

I was going to write about something else completely last week, but then I got to thinking: I ended my last post about freeing up time to get other stuff done, like unclogging a slow bathroom sink.  As it turned out, I had three of them to deal with, and finally got to them…a week later, just before I started writing this.  And then I thought, “unclogging stubborn bathroom drains” can be a metaphor in itself for procrastination.

“Daaad!  We’ve got a problem!”

Do It Right, The First Time

A slow or clogged drain comes on slowly, over time.  At first, it’s barely noticeable.  Then it gets a little annoying.  But we put up with it, because it’s a pain to clear out a backed-up drain.  We’d rather stand back and wait a minute (or two, or three…) for the water to finally go down than mess with actually cleaning it out.  When I finally got around to doing the job, I got all three sinks cleared and back together in less than forty-five minutes.  I don’t just dump Drano®, or baking soda and vinegar down the drain, either.  The trap comes off, the stopper gets pulled out so I’ve got a straight shot down into a catch bowl below, and I push a wadded paper towel through a couple of times.  If you’ve ever done this – or just go Google “clogged bathroom sink” and check out some images – you know the hairy, gunky, nightmarish mess that comes out the other end.  I want it done right and I’m not waiting on a chemical reaction.  It’s messy, but it’s fast and gets the job done right.

(If you want to uber-clean your drains, as in a total teardown preventative maintenance that leaves them like new, check out these guys.  They’ve taken it to a whole new level.)

So, procrastination…about that.  A funny thing that this post has taken me forever to write.  I’ve been sputtering, stopping and starting for days now.  My goal is to write a post a week.  I did good with the first two, and now…well, I got stuck.  I didn’t want to procrastinate on it, but I just couldn’t get my mind back on topic.

Isn’t it ironic?”

Mmm, yeah.  The irony. Distractions – minor ones like watching a funny video to major ones like chaos in the house – are major sources of delay.  They can throw off the flow, and it can be surprisingly hard to get back on track.  By that time, we’ve got more on our plate to deal with, so decisions need to be made.  What to do…what’s more urgent?  Or easier?  Procrastination is as old a problem as humankind.  There are even verses in the Bible about procrastination: “Whoever watches the wind will not plant, and whoever watches the clouds will not reap”, Ecclesiastes 11:4; or, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth”, Proverbs 10:4.  One of my favorites – certainly a more proactive one – that I’ve called on plenty of times to get me through, is Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

How Do I Delay Thee?  Let Me Count The Ways

Why do we procrastinate?  Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t always laziness.  There can be a host of other reasons.  It can be anxiety, self-doubt, or perfectionism.  We might be control freaks.  A perfectionist wants the results of the work to be error free, so they delay the inevitable imperfect outcome.  Like that, a controller purposely delays a task so that it can’t go wrong, or out of their control.  Maybe we get overwhelmed at the size of a project.  The bottom line is, most of us care about the work we need to do, and when we procrastinate, we tend to regret it.  When we finally end up doing it, we feel better for it afterward.  In fact, I usually end up wondering, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  Like with the slow bathroom drains.  I could’ve done them earlier last week.  Granted, it’s a messy, stinky job, but it’s fast and easy.  We generally have the desire to get something done, but there’s that mental roadblock standing in our way.  On the contrary, by definition, laziness is the unwillingness to do work or expend energy.  Lazy people couldn’t care less if something gets done.

Another big reason we procrastinate is disorganization.  We have so much going on around us, and the freedom to choose between so many things, we often lack the self-control to choose the thing that needs done.  So we choose a distraction instead.  Being disorganized plays right into this.  If we’re not good time managers, any and every little shiny bauble will distract us from the task at hand.  Some rely on the old “I work better under pressure” fallacy.  Been there, done that.  Ultimately we find out that less time to meet the deadline often ends up in the project providing substandard results, or it doesn’t even get finished.

Dream It?  Do It

Are you a dreamer?  I hear you.  We’re always coming up with new and fanciful ways to live life, to do the “next big thing”.  The trap of being a dreamer is, all of these wonderful scenarios play out just perfectly…in our heads.  When it comes to putting an idea into action, we get vapor locked.  That great idea that’s been bubbling in our brain can’t seem to get to get from point A to point B, our hands.  As one who’s lived through this, I can say that the biggest culprit is fear.  What if our grand idea doesn’t turn out as good in reality?  How do I even begin to make it a reality?

With writing, procrastination can come on very easy.  Two words: writer’s block.  But what is writer’s block except just a mental roadblock like what I’ve shown above?  That’s a whole other topic for a different post.  Writing is like any other task, except those of us who write love to do it, so it’s not generally seen as a chore that we might put off until later.  But it can be just as subject to stress, distraction, depression, perfectionism – some of the same causes that lead us to procrastinate on our work or household chores.

Just as there’s a host of reasons why we procrastinate, there are plenty of good ways to get over that bump in the road and get moving.  Nike made millions starting in the late 80s with three little words: Just Do It.  Simple, but effective.  I used this phrase endlessly with my kids as they grew up.  I used it myself countless times.  Just get up and get moving!  Take a step, even a little one.  If the task in front of you seems too big to take just a little step, break it down.

This is where schedules, to do lists and even diagrams can help.  I went out and bought myself an easel and a big paper pad to make notes on.  I’ve used it to list sources for an article – now turned book – that I started over the holidays.  I also plan to use it for article and blog post outlines, and even make flow chart or similar diagrams to help break a bigger project into more manageable pieces.  If you’re a visual learner like me, having it written or drawn out does wonders for being able to see it, grasp it, and do it.  Schedules and to do lists are great time management helpers, and time management is at the core of a lot of procrastination.  We don’t understand or we lose track not just of time, but the value of time.  Time marches forever onward, and we don’t get one second back.  When you let the urgency of that sink in, it’ll help motivate you to get up and get done today what you could’ve put off until tomorrow.

Leaving Social Media Behind

Oh, 2020, What Have You Done?

2020 was, if nothing else…interesting, and it will be memorable.  It turned our country – heck, the world – on its head with the Coronavirus outbreak and the race to one of the most momentous presidential elections in U.S. history.  The other thing 2020 will be remembered for is a culmination of division.  The division of our society, to the right and to the left.  Vitriol and animosity were alive and well in 2020.  This scary phenomenon reached a fever pitch the closer we got to November.  And it didn’t let up after the election, as accusations of cheating and fraud flew.  Since our newly elected president didn’t take office until a little over a week ago, that left plenty of time to amp up and shoot more political arrows to and fro across Facebook and Twitter

Is It A Boycott, Or An Act Of Self-Help?

I tried my level best to keep up with friends and family, primarily on Facebook.  I have friends on both sides of the political aisle, and for the most part, can dialogue and even engage in a spirited back-and-forth with those opposite of me and come out at the end laughing, okay with each other.  I’m no angel, and I’ve had my moments where I’ve lashed out at someone I felt was being unreasonable.  But generally we each make some minor concessions, ultimately agree to disagree, and both make concerted efforts to reach common ground.  That’s ultimately what’s missing on social media.  It’s a lost art, having a conversation between two people of opposite belief systems, but remaining good friends.  Even though we may disagree on major points, we make an effort at relationship, and even learn a little bit from each other.

With the recent cancellations of accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, an outrage has gone out across the land, and even liberal leaders from other countries have spoken out against Big Tech’s apparent censorship.  It’s been dubbed as “totalitarian” and “straight out of 1984.”  Whether you agree with those charges or not, it is unprecedented for such a large, public forum to have certain people – voices – outright cancelled.  I know, they’re private companies and they can allow who they want.  But at what point does it become discrimination?  If I own a business and choose to not serve certain people simply because I disagree with their socio-political views, I will most likely have a complaint and a charge of discrimination filed against me.  Bear in mind, people on both sides of the aisle are being suspended and cancelled off of Twitter and Facebook.

It’s Not A New Idea

With all of that being said, there are other reasons besides “boycotting Facebook” to get off of social media.  I did it about six years ago for personal reasons. For one, it was sucking me in nearly every spare minute I had.  I stayed off – and really didn’t miss it – until 2018, when I ran into my best friend from high school at my mom’s funeral.  We hadn’t seen each other or talked in years, mostly due to distance apart.  So, I got back on Facebook with the intention of ONLY friending and communicating with close, personal friends and family.  It worked pretty well, for about a year.  Then the invariable sucking-in started happening again.

Most people agree that social media, whether you’re a fan or not, is a huge time waster.  It causes you to multi-task, which experts have determined is not an optimal state to work in.  Abby Schubert says in a recent post, “…the American Psychological Association estimates that trying to juggle multiple tasks at once—such as clicking back and forth between Facebook and an important project—may reduce your productive time by as much as 40 percent.”

Don’t Let It Get You Down

Beyond that, social media can affect your self esteem and create anxiety.  When we get caught up in so many other people’s daily doings, we can end up measuring our own life and lifestyle against that of others – keeping up with the Joneses, internet-style.  Closely related to that is the nagging desire to always want to know what’s going on, what other people are saying.  The blogger Cubert sums it up well in one of his recent posts: “…it’s much too easy to fall into the trap of lifestyle comparison…(and) There’s the phenomenon of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that is causing social anxiety among many Facebook addicts.”

Get Up Offa That Thing

Try it, you’ll like it.  Consider it a challenge – see if you can go one week Facebook-free.  Then shut off Twitter, and go another week.  Then Instagram, or whatever else you have.  The peace of mind you’ll have will be priceless.  Not to mention, if you have any kind of side things going on – hobbies, weekend work, charitable or volunteer activities – you’ll be so much freer to do those things.  Go out and live life.  Pardon the notion, but having your nose stuck in a phone or laptop screen scrolling Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is not living life.  Go out and spend that time doing something worthwhile.  Take your sweetheart on a date, play with your kids – in my case, talk to them, since 20-somethings aren’t really in a “play with dad” mode anymore.  Unclog that slow drain in the bathroom.  Do something constructive.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  I’m going on a week Facebook-free, and I don’t miss it at all.  I’ve got more time to write…and unclog those stubborn bathroom drains.

What’s In A Blog, Anyway?

This is my first official blog post, so…

“Please excuse the crudity of this model.”

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Bill Klubeck

Personal

Introduction (a little bit about me)

I have wanted, needed to get into this amazing world of freelance writing and online blogging. I’ve been working and dreaming of this off and on for years now. I’ve loved writing since I was young – I attended a Young Author’s workshop in sixth grade. But as many childhood dreams go, I tried – and failed – to make a go of it. In high school, I snagged a spot on the school newspaper by getting into the Publications class a year early…they generally accepted sophomores and above, but with some clout from my big brother, the teacher let me join as a freshman.

Problem was, I didn’t know what to write about. Oh, I had a great grasp of the English language, people teased me about my extensive vocabulary. But the creative juices just weren’t flowing yet. My brother was the creative one, I was more technically minded…although I didn’t know that just yet. I bombed the Publications class, set that dream aside and took up other side-track pursuits until I ended up in college for engineering. And so I’ve worked in an 8 to 5 quality engineering role for the last 20 years. A few years ago, beset by stress from my position at a former company, I rediscovered my love for writing. I didn’t jump in right away. Years as an engineer, especially in the quality field, taught me the importance of preparedness and doing it right the first time. I didn’t want to jump in chock full of passion and excitement, but empty on the knowhow. That’s a sure way to bomb out, and if you’re not prepared for rejection and failure, my dream could’ve very well died a second time, for good.

Ready, Set…

So I prepared. I studied copywriting, and have a couple examples of that work on the front page of this site. I even went out and hunted for some freelance gigs, pitched my craft to several local companies. Didn’t get a bite, but that’s part of the deal, I know. And I wrote. I’ve written a couple of articles that I published on LinkedIn (they’re also on this site). I started keeping a Word file journal at the beginning of 2010. I kept entries fairly steadily for about two years, some rough life stuff came up, and I set it aside for several years trying to get everything back on track. I started up again in late 2018, and it’s only increased since. My journaling, up until a few months ago, was nearly daily and between 200 and 300 words per entry. I’ve been writing daily since mid-December, hitting a 700 word average.

Go!

So now it’s time. I know it is. I’ve felt something inside that keeps stirring, not the typical come-and-go fits of inspiration that can fall off as suddenly as they hit, leaving you with days, even weeks of writer’s block and no ambition. I try not to ruminate, play the “what if” game. Sure, I wish I’d done this ten, fifteen years ago. But I didn’t. I was busy working and supporting my family, raising five kids. I am not going to waste time and energy regretting the past, only looking forward.

I’m already doing pretty good. I’ve got a lot done in the last month. I’ve had the WordPress site, but now I’m making it more legitimate with my own domain name (and blog posts). I got the final project of my copywriting completed, submitted and reviewed. Now I’m ready to take the certification exam for that. And reading, learning. Never stop learning.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll be getting more content posted soon. Finding my niche, settling in. Peace.