New Year, New Mike: The wheel of reinvention never stops.

Yes, it is January. And what does that mean? Reflection but of course. My blog is one big ode to my self improvement. Years ago, I had the brilliant idea of using my blog as a way to keep track of my New Year’s resolutions. A look at what I want to be and a way to hold myself accountable. Since then, I’ve been able to look back at years past and see if I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. I’ve had surprising success writing out my resolutions this way and I’m excited to share what I have planned for this year.

What I’ve Learned

Since I’ve started posting my habits on my blog, I’ve kept my goals as continuous goals. It’s not a one and done list! Instead, I modify and adapt. As such, my goals aren’t shear chaos as they were in years past. They are a constant and I’m glad. With each passing year, they become more focused and refined.

I have started using January as a planning month. Instead of running to the gym come January first, I take my time to carefully consider what I want to do. Since I’ve only started doing this quite recently, I have no idea what the end result will be.

Not a French Kisser

One of my goals for last year was to learn French. My German has become much improved since my youth and I found it time for a new language. I have a French friend and one of my dreams is to make my triumphant return to Europe, not as a boy but as a man. So I’ve been practicing French. The great news is that I’ve started. The bad news is I haven’t been practicing as much as I like. So this year, I’m doubling down. Lessons every day, more French shows, and listening to podcasts. As an added goal, I want to do more to measure my success with languages. My reasons, pardon my French, are rather dorky. I am learning Japanese simply for the sake that I’ve played Nintendo games my entire life. French is to impress my friend. And German was so that I wouldn’t starve to death in the airport when I did study abroad.

My goal right now is to learn French, German, Spanish, and Japanese to fluency. Outside of those languages, I may or may not pick up sign language but only time will tell. My Spanish is rusty and needs work. German I can understand but like Spanish my goal is to learn it so I can hold conversation. This is going to be a year of polish and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Coding

Coding went surprisingly well. My main focus this year is web development. I’ve been lazy the last couple of months but I found coding material that is not only practical but enjoyable. But tough. Very, very tough. If I build a game, great, but web development comes above all else. I’m putting no pressure on myself for this, I am simply treating it as another skill to learn. It could take years or weeks, but my pace is my own.

Piano Man play me a tune

One of my goals has been to hone my musical craft. In my effort to be the smartest man in the room, music is one obstacle I haven’t quite been able to tackle. Motivation is key. So I reviewed instruments and landed on piano. It’s a social instrument and meant to be shared. I can walk into a building and should I find a piano, nine times out of ten I can sit down and play. The other aspect is lessons are easily available. Piano song guides are plastered around the internet and if I want to learn a song, I can. Try doing the same for violin and you’ll find much more of a headache. I still have my Skillshare account, so I’ll be doing lessons over there. It’ll be off and on but I’m hopeful something will stick eventually. The goal is to make it fun and slowly but surely I am getting there.

Cooking

An elusive habit since I’ve moved back home. In college, I learned how to cook. I made many dishes during my studies and found that cooking was not only cost effective but also a tastier option to eating out. So this year, I’d like to ease back into cooking my own meals. The plan currently is to sign up for a New York Times Cooking subscription and to start looking through a cooking blog I only recently found out about, Food52. I am going to slowly integrate cooking as a lifestyle choice rather than simply force myself to cook for the sake of cooking. There is no set plan for my meals but I’m starting the year by simply looking at interesting recipes. Life is a little chaotic right now so I don’t know when I’ll go shopping but I have faith this year I can really get back into making delicious meals.

Big Picture Goal

Individual, SMART goals are great, but they’re not enough to move someone forward. As has become tradition, I’ve been theming my years. A year of Assertive here, a year of New there… These frameworks help set up the plan for the year and help bring together my “Why”.

So this year I want to be my year of Desire. Desire in the sense of asking myself what I want and setting out to get what I want. When I became an Eagle Scout, I picked out a silver coin of one of our laws. In that moment, I picked courteous as I thought it best represented who I was. Always thinking of others, trying to please everyone to the best of my abilities. Later in life I learned that if you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. And now I’m ready for the next evolution of that concept; being courteous to myself. So this year is about my goals and getting ahead in life. It’ll be paying off my student loans, helping with as many events as I can and eventually transitioning to project management roles. It’s time I stop sidelining myself and focus on my success, whatever it takes to get there.

Other Goals for the Year

While new skills are a blessing to learn and typically what I choose to focus on, I also want to instill other habits beyond simply building my human capital. For that, I have two goals for 2022. And those two goals are more walks and riding my bike again.

Walking

In Corvallis, I opted to walk every day to class. It gave me time to think and enjoy simply being in the moment. I could walk everywhere and it was great. Now, when I try to walk, I find I have no destination. So I’ve been looking to change that. I’ve recently gotten into Pokémon Go this past year and downloaded Pikmin Bloom as a way to encourage walking. Now going out has a destination and I couldn’t be happier. This year, I want to ramp up my walks and make them more rewarding. Between the two apps, I think I’m on the right track.

Biking

I bought an electric bike. Right before the Pandemic… The good news, last year I finally put it together. How many times have I ridden it? Once… I went from biking every day in college to nothing. So this year, we are going to course correct. I want to ride and I’m going to use my brother to help me get back in the habit. He’s started riding a lot this last year and he clearly has found a motivation I am lacking. So the easiest way forward is to join him. Sibling outings until I’m comfortably riding on my own again. I’ve felt rather homebound for the last couple years with my anxiety, so I’m hoping bike rides will help restore some of the freedom I lost. It’ll be nice to bike to work instead of taking the bus and should I need to get somewhere, it’ll hopefully be less of an ordeal than it has been for the last two years.


Happy New Year! That’s it for the article! Overall, I’m hopeful 2022 is going to be a great year. I’ve taken a lot of time for myself during the Pandemic and have come away better for it. Cheers to 2022!

June 2020 update

It’s June. As I currently mull over topics for my blog, I am at a loss for words. 2020 has been a mind boggling start to the new decade. From the botched response to the Pandemic from our government to the murder of George Floyd, I am left utterly speechless. A part of my life philosophy is to be well educated and informed on topics but knowledge has left me with no solace. I’ve slowly been transitioning this blog to be a larger platform and a part of that has been my desire to have a voice in this chaotic world. While I won’t get into the topic too much during this post, I am absolutely disgusted by the police brutality and use of military force; the protests have been largely peaceful and the sirens should be sounding when the police are armed to the teeth and have better protective equipment than our healthcare workers during a Pandemic. To a certain extent, our government is murdering its people and it’s important to take a stand for what’s right.

Scrapped Articles

Over the years, I’ve scrapped many articles. The most prominent of which was my gun violence article. I’ve talked some politics on this blog but have primarily kept the focus to creative content. I write on WordPress to relax and discuss personal growth projects. My Mental Health Awareness month series in 2018 was my greatest challenge but I was able to talk about my Father’s alcoholism. These last couple months, I’ve been reassessing how I post content. Business articles had a time and place on this blog but I’ve been happy with the decision to move the articles to Linkedin. I’m also beginning to start writing projects outside of the blog, like writing a book. Before June, I had begun work on integrating calls to action into the format of the website itself but that still is currently in progress. As for articles on race, gun violence, and politics, I am now reconsidering writing on Medium. That’s not to say I won’t write about those topics on here but Medium will allow me to write one off articles when I feel the need to voice my frustration. My blood is starting to boil again and I want to use that passion constructively.

Now… The month of June

The blog has steadily been growing over the last couple months. The new format will be an update post the first week of the month followed by typically 2 posts in the following weeks. In addition, I’ll be adding 2 annual series; Mental Health Awareness month and an Earth Day/Sustainability (Earth month) series. These series will be an article a week and last for the entirety of their respective months. Eventually, I would like to integrate the causes I support onto this site. At the moment, I have a couple I’ve donated to. Over the next couple months, I’m going to take a look into various organizations and learn more about social impact. As such, I don’t have an ETA on this. I have a couple ideas of what I want to do but nothing concrete.

Skillshare

The Pandemic I’ve been using as a time to reinvest in myself. I saved money from work and when I quit my job, I was ready to leave. Over the last couple months, I bought a Blue Yeti mic for streaming, podcasting, and more. I also signed up for Codecademy to have consistency with learning to code and am using Skillshare, so I can finally take writing courses and hone in on my other creative endeavors. Right now, I’m learning to paint and eventually I want to get out and take photos again. It’s been keeping me busy. I’m still learning languages and surpassed a 30 day streak on Duolingo; when the Pandemic ends, it is my hope to go out and see the world.

In Summary

It’s been a roller coaster of a year. These monthly update posts are meant as a way to keep you informed and let you know some of my thoughts outside of the articles I write. It’s a time for feedback and general discussion.


As always, thanks for reading! I’m excited for the year ahead as I finally start to do what I want with my life, not what I think others want me to do. The last couple months have been great seeing the blog grow and I’d be blown away if we hit 200 followers by the end of the year. Part of my strategy has been to promote the site and that starts on the individual level. Every like, follow, and share helps bring new viewers to this site. If you’d like to support me as a creator, below is the link to my donation page, which includes Patreon and Ko-Fi:

Support this Blog!

Have a great week and stay safe!

A look back at the last Decade

The planning phases are nearly done for my blog. I have posts planned and ideas for branching my writing outside of WordPress. It took a Pandemic, but I’m slowly getting there. As the world ends, I’ve had time to reflect on my current predicament and take stock, something I recommend everyone do periodically throughout their lives. As we delve into the new decade, I wanted to take a look back at how far I’ve come and what’s next.

10 years ago today

Twenty-Ten. My God. A lifetime ago. I was a Sophomore in High School and a scrawny cross country runner. I went to class, played video games, and ran; that was my life. Fall was cross country and come Spring, track and field. Socially awkward, I tried to impress everyone, and really only had a few close friends. I had a High School crush, someone I had known since the first grade, and life was relatively well. It was the year after my Freshman year and if my faded memory serves, I was happy. I’d go as far as saying it was the peak of my High School years. Then came Twenty-Eleven, my Junior year. This was the year it all began to fall apart. I brushed off my childhood crush and a week before homecoming found out she was dating another runner. Had I had the courage then, I wonder how things might have turned out differently. My whole love life in High School was a complete mess to be honest and what could’ve been never ended up being. My 4.0 GPA began to waver and I simply stopped caring whether I succeeded or failed. This was the year I applied for a couple colleges and chose Oregon State for my studies; it was also the year I tried to get my family to go to counseling. Looking back now, it’s clear that I was depressed, so as you can imagine, I was not in the best shape going into my Senior year.

Twenty-Twelve. Twenty-Twelve in all reality, was my ticket year. I had one singular goal; to graduate and prep for College. I grew out my hair to the point it covered my eyes and stumbled my way into College. Years of Alcohol abuse by my Father had left it’s mark and I had the foresight then to know I had to remove myself from the environment I was born into. My great escape, if you will.

Twenty-Twelve

This was my transition year. My Father, in all likelihood, was too drunk to notice I was even in college. Regardless, looking back, this was a fantastic year for me. I had successfully done it; I had removed myself from my haunting household. This was a year filled with chaos but I have always had the drive to be better and I used that as my compass. From pre-engineering to undeclared to pre-business, I had successfully transitioned to where I needed to be. The College of Business saved my life and while in the end I was ultimately pulled back to Hell with chains only Hellfire can break, I am still eternally grateful for Oregon State and the opportunities it provided me. I would say I could never repay the debt, but I’ve currently been paying that down over the last year and it’s now a much more manageable amount than it was. While I’ve told this story before, I think my experience throughout college is worth sharing. The more I tell it, the more I can see my growth and finds ways to improve even further. My Freshman year ended with a choice; continue College or drop out. If I continued, I would essentially be on my own, with sporadic funds from my parents. Dropping out would’ve been easy and I knew I would essentially be signing a death sentence for myself, so I chose to stay.

Twenty-Seventeen

… Five years later. Haha, you didn’t think I’d go over the entirety of my college career, again? Did you? If you’re curious, check out my Journey’s End series where I reflected upon my Journey through College as a final project for my Leadership class. The Twenty-Sixteen, Twenty-Seventeen school year was hands down the best year of my life. Everything that had been set in motion had come to pass and I not only realized that my dreams were achievable, but that I had actually accomplished them. Every goal I had set for myself, I had accomplished and I had become the man I had always wanted to be. Come June, when I walked, I hugged our Dean before throwing my cap up and grabbing life by the horns. But I had made a mistake and hindsight is always 20-20… For now, I could revel in my success and know, that despite every challenge I had faced, I had rose above and made it. Not simply tell myself I had made it, but actually made it.

Present Day

Ok, so not quite present day. In a nutshell, I graduated into a strong economy, and found work relatively quick. I’ve been with the same company, in the same role for the last 2 years now. On paper, I look great. And to be honest, I still believe I am in a good spot. I am ready for my next big adventure and I finally know how I want to get there. I want to go abroad to study Business Analytics or at the very least, go to Portland State University. After a Masters in Analytics, I want to further my studies with a PHD in Sustainability. And I am gearing up for logistics driven, supply chain management roles. Shame it took a Pandemic and weeks left to my own thoughts to realize this. But ultimately, I think this is where I will be happiest. I won’t know until I get there, but it’s the best picture I have had since graduation. And that was my Grand Mistake. I spent so much time doing what I thought I should do to be better, by the time I graduated I had no idea what I actually wanted. Necessary? Perhaps. But a part of me will always wonder.

In the Meantime….

I am applying my logistical and analytical mindset to this blog. Call it the missing link if you will, but I’m excited. I have time to write and I’m going to use it. The Pandemic has actually given me the courage to speak up when typically I have kept my head down and simply done my job. LinkedIn is becoming home to business related articles written from the heart (I’ve written one article, but the ideas are there!). No new poetry for a bit as I compile all the poems I’ve written into a book and publish hopefully during World Poetry month! And I’ve reformatted how I ask for donations based on feedback as I want to make it as easy as possible to support me as well as fun. I am cutting into my emergency fund right now, so any help is much appreciated. As always, comment below; I love hearing from everyone!


Payments!

This is still in its experimental phase! I am happy with what I have set up but if you have suggestions, please, please, please, tell me! How it’ll work is below is one link. Click on the link and you’ll be directed to my Payment page. Three options: Patreon, which is set up monthly, Ko-fi as a one time payment of increments of $3 so you can pay per post or whenever, and a simple payment button that’ll send the funds directly to my Paypal. In addition to the donation page being cleaned up, I will also be making it a point that if you like my content, please, please, please, share with your friends! I love having a community and my philosophy has typically been, “build it and they shall come”. Since I’ve finished up my planning phases for content flow and structure, I realized this is silly. Yes, great content is important, but sharing is part of human nature! So remember, give this blog a shout out anytime you think a friend might enjoy an article, it truly does help! And without further ado, below is the link to support this blog!

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Also, let me know what you think of the new format!

Journey’s End: A Tale of Love

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln


A Note From the Author

A post written nearly 2 years ago. Lost to the ages, brought back to life. This article has been left in its entirety, with minor edits made to help the overall flow of the article itself. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!


In honor of this being my 69th post on WordPress (nothing to read into here), I thought it would be fun to talk about relationships and love. So if you’ve ever been curious about my thoughts regarding this topic or wondered what deep secrets Mike is hiding, this is the time.

A Rare Glimpse

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m management by trade. A benefit of management is a lot of proper management and leadership is understanding people. To not put a one size fits all label but rather see the little nuances, do some math, and create a picture of each person. One aspect in particular is emotional intelligence. Which, in a nutshell, is how well you understand others emotions, as well as your own. Can you accurately read someone’s facial expressions? Their body language? Are they fidgety? Does this mean they’re nervous? Excited? Uncomfortable? As you can see, it is a fairly complex topic and it’s taken me about 5 years (if not a lifetime) to have a somewhat decent grasp over. To go further, I’d also like to acknowledge the unconscious mind. I read a lot of business/ business psychology books and I’ve spent years learning how to pick apart my mind in order to reprogram my behavior. As such, I have a good understanding of who I am, what I want, and how to get there. I’ve also been an observer most of my life, with excellent listening skills (developed over time) and a desire to understand.

I Walk a Lonely Road

Say what you will about when boys and girls start to fall for each-other and develop crushes, but for me I’d say it was around first grade. The scenario was this: I go play with my friends or I go for a walk around the schoolyard with a cute girl. What did I choose, being a first grader? My friends of course. Any regrets? Nope. Then after first grade, there was another cute girl that came along. We went through elementary school, middle school, and high school together. I’m 99% sure she liked me and while I liked her, I made the mistake of going after the girl I couldn’t get. How did that go? As well as one can expect.  The girl that got away? perhaps, but let me make a note of that.


Everyone talks about the one. You listen to any love song and more often than not it’s about the one that got away. Usually the singer is filled with regret and what sounds pleasant to the ears is more often than not obsessive. You want to know how stalkers are born? Surprise, this is how. It’s not letting go and moving on. It’s OK to be upset and give yourself time to heal but sooner or later you have to move on. And of course, love is messy. Hormones run wild, people go insane. Love is indeed a feeling… Anyways, the point I want to make is that there are multiple “ones” out there. If a girl breaks your heart, don’t worry, another will come along. It may take a while, but it’ll happen.


So, back to the story. Come college, I took a break. I was waiting for someone to come along and save me from myself. I thought I deserved a girlfriend and resented those who had one. I sound like quite the charmer, no? Everyone has their issues and nobody is perfect, so I figured it would be fairly easy. My philosophy back then was girls dated assholes. And yet no one came… So I started burying myself in my work. Work was a distraction. After bumming around my Freshman year, I had a job by my Sophomore year. I’d go to class, work, and sleep. My first real taste of responsibility. I had money and that was spent on books and classes. Then I quit and joined student organizations, where I had even more responsibility. I was shy and awkward back then but I still remember one of my mentors saying, “one day the right girl will come along for you”. Simple, yes. True? Don’t know yet. Fast forward a few years to last Winter, when I first installed Tinder. I had my first date. Coffee by the water front. And afterwards? A walk along the water front and then a walk back to her car. We exchanged numbers and then? She got cold feet. I uninstalled Tinder and continued to focus on making myself a better person. I wasn’t perfect, but at least I was trying. Then came Spring… The cherry blossoms began to bloom and my professionalism was at it’s peak. At this point I was juggling both being the Director of Social Media for management club and being the Service Chair at the same time. I wasn’t looking for love. And then one of my friends decided to touch my arm… The cruelty of the human touch. Like a witch, she put me under a spell. I, being the rational individual that I am, tried to fight it and didn’t quite understand what was going on. After the touch and suggesting that we go dancing, she went in for the hug. If I had any chance at this point, it was now gone. The casual arm brushes, the “accidental” touching of hands, the subtle mention of weddings in everyday conversation, or the “how much I love fro-yo, we should go sometime”. Of course there is more (all of which is well documented in my personal journal) but I think you get the idea. So I said, “what the Hell?” and asked her out to drinks. She said yes and she tried to drag me back to her place to do God knows what with me. I politely declined, citing that I had a job interview in the morning. Being the Gentleman I was, I was in it for the long game. So come the end of Spring, we were making summer plans and it felt as though I was on top of the world. So I figured I would ask, “do you want to go on a date”? Not asking to date regularly but rather than “hanging out” it would require a tiny bit of commitment. What did she say? “I’m flattered Mike, but right now I’m looking to have fun, focus on myself, and then see what life has in store”. Best part? She was playing the field with her childhood friend, saying they were just “friends”.

So my fragile heart was now crushed to dust and I was  left to sweep what was left into an urn. And what did I do? I buried myself in my work. I found a summer job and simply worked. It was a summer thinking of what could’ve of been but what would never be. Up until this point I had always assumed women were more mature than men but this instance shattered that illusion. And then I was in Germany.

Germany was there to mend a broken heart. I had 3 months of pain and in a sense got a chance to hit the reset button. I worked on my flirt game. I learned German pickup lines, reinstalled Tinder and tested the waters. My goal, as I have so elegantly put it, was to be “wild and free”. So I played the field, saw how far that got me, and simply enjoyed the ride. Of course, it being 4 months, there wasn’t enough time for anything meaningful to transpire. That’s besides the point. I gained the confidence I needed, changed my look, and essentially was reborn in Germany as I made some of the most meaningful relationships in my life. This was the final hurdle, to break away from the shy and awkward Mike of the past and fully embrace who I wanted to be.

Coming Home

And now that I’m back from Germany, I’ve gone on a few dates. The first date was terrible (nothing in common) and the other date was interesting… Nice date (although no second date). And of course, the story wouldn’t be complete without a little more heartbreak. There was a girl in my class who once again touched my arm. Then she’d sit next to me everyday and invade my personal space. The “accidental” brush, the flushed face, dilated pupils, heavy breathing, even mimicking. And then the cursed corporate holiday came, Valentine’s Day. A holiday where people who are in relationships try to make up for 364 days of neglect (love should be year round) or a holiday that has now become single’s awareness day. So I, being the hopeless romantic I am, decided to ask her out to coffee after conferring with her friend beforehand on whether or not she was single (according to Facebook and the friend, the answer was yes). The result? I got a, “I’m flattered but I’m kind of seeing a guy from Spain right now”. And was my heart broken? Not at all. I was frustrated but I learned a lot in Germany. Perhaps more than learning to love others, I learned to love myself. So being rejected on Valentine’s day didn’t phase me.

The Fragility of Love

Over Spring break I went for a walk. I live on a mountain (more a glorified hill) and at the top of this hill is a park. I sat down and enjoyed the view. To the side I overheard a girl and a guy talking. The guy was trying to convince the girl (who was with another guy) to be with him. Over the course of a few minutes, the argument the girl made eroded and at first she talked about being loyal, then how they weren’t really together, and then it was over (rationalizing her decision all the while). The mood had soured and while I was simply there to gaze out to the horizon and ponder the vast mysteries of the world, I got up and without looking, walked back down the hill.  I always have to wonder how truly happy people are. People profess their love for each-other yet I don’t think many know what that truly means…

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