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Showing posts with the label Self-Improvement

Showing Compassion, In A Scary World

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September 11th, 2001. A serious post today. Yesterday marked twenty-years since the 9/11 attacks. Thousands of innocents died that day. Imagine the family impact? Many mothers and fathers, did not return to their loved-ones. The world suddenly seemed cruel and brutal. Back then I was much younger. It was shocking and still I can't process it. It didn't make sense. For my generation, it felt like a significant period in time. Much like the JFK assignation or the moon landing, you remember where you were. Years on, as a parent and family man, I view it with further sadness. A generation of children were left without a parent, and are now adults themselves. For twenty-years, they have functioned through grief. Time doesn't heal everything. Their loss must feel as real today, as it did back then. Showing Compassion Sadly terrorist attacks still occur, all over the world.   And the world feels divisive, and in conflict. Terror attacks, wars, pandemics and climate change, only ra

5 Tips To Work From Home, And Parent

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Home-working, what a thrill, what a Buzz! The children returned to school this week, but there were no changes for dad. It's now eighteen-months, since I joined the 'working from home' gang. School closures, lockdowns, and Joe Wicks workouts, seem a distant memory. The world is (supposedly) returning to normal, but not for me. Imagine working from home for so long, ABBA have reformed, and put out new songs! In some respects I'm lucky. Being at home affords me time with the kids, and that's a blessing. For now, there's no alternative option. But I'm not fully onboard. I miss the office life, personal space and even the commute. Because, by default, I'm an introverted lone soul. Imagine working from home for so long, ABBA have reformed, and put out new songs! That said, I'm making the best of this situation. With planning, structure and boundaries; you can operate as worker and parent. So this is how I do it, for what it's worth. 1. Create A Dedica

Stay Young, And Invincible

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"Stop it dad! You're 40!" Don't get old, never get old! Always, maintain a youthful approach to life. Impart your wisdom, but stay young. Be mature, be adult, but never lose a sense of fun or adventure. It's a common trap, as we become adults (or parents). The aging body, transcends into an aging mind.  That's what I admire about kids. They attack life with youthful exuberance.  Life is there to be attacked with fun and purpose. Live by this philosophy. Be the cool mum, dad, uncle, aunt, etc. Don't get old, never get old! Don't Become Boring Life places expectations on us. Society has a template for adults, and we foolishly play along.  Society has a template for adults and we foolishly play along.  Too many people, approach adult life in 'mundane mode'. Sadly, for many, our best personal qualities disappear. I say screw the rules. Stay young of heart, and stick two fingers up to convention.  Maintaining A Youthful Mindset I read a book recentl

Parent Fitness, 7 Principles of Healthy Living

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You've got this dad! I just read a book called ' Total Fitness After 40 ' by Nick Swettenham. It blew my mind. It covers the seven principles of health. I was prime clickbait. A forty-year old dad, overcoming injury. My injury occurred in May, after I cracked a rib. During the recovery, I pondered my mortality. Where can I improve? What can I do better? Parent life is exhausting. Who doesn't what more energy?  I realised there were was room for improvement. Health extends beyond nutrition and exercise. As you age, you must cover all aspects of body health. Sadly, too many don't! Forty seems to be that age, where the excuses creep in. Parent life is busy, but find time to maintain yourself. Don't fall apart, sort it out! This is serious business, so I won't be cracking many jokes or ribs! Staying Healthy, As We Age I believe the impacts of aging are overstated. For men, our testosterone depletes a little, but we can still gain strength and muscle. It may be h

How To Make 'Dad' Friends

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Social Dad, up for a beer! Recently I've been trying to obtain 'dad' friends. That's right, what a loner! I have friends, but I don't have many 'dad' friends. As such, it can become difficult to relate to your friends. It's nobody's fault, friendships don't stay perfectly in sync. Today I discuss parenting awkwardness. How I overcame it, to win parent acceptance and dad friends. The journey began in September, when my son started school. I work from home, so school-runs are my job.  Soon I was surrounded by cliquey mums in the playground, sharing feminine anecdotes. "Samantha, can you make Zumba on Friday? You can? Oh brilliant!".  The school playground is a lonely place for dads. In fairness, I attracted the odd smile. Half-smiles, not the real McCoy. The type reserved for neighbours and strangers.  Perhaps in the early days, I exuded weirdo vibes? Who knows. But slowly I rescued the situation. This is my journey from shrinking violet

Why I Started A Blog, Six Months On

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Joe (Dad) Bloggs. Happy blogger-versary, six months in! Blogging works for me. I'm too busy for podcasts and YouTube, they take effort. It's a passive hobby, some fun, nothing more.  Not everything works in blog world. I'm learning that. Some posts hit, some do not. If you are reading this, I suspect you have some interest in me. Thanks for reading! Aside from last month, I've been consistent. I post weekly, no pressure. Sometimes it resonates, sometimes it doesn't. That's ok. I just get it done. Why do I blog? Let me take you on a journey. Why I Started Blogging When I graduated (in 2019), I stopped writing. I got lazy. When you study, you write continuously. In my final year, my prose were tight. Words flowed  like Angela Lansbury on Amphetamines ( click here, if you don't get that reference ) . Then I graduated, and the writing stopped .  Without deadlines and dissertations, the motivation went. If there's no incentive to write, you don't write! T

Dealing With Slumps and Regaining Motivation

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Demotivated dad! I seem to be stuck in slumps-ville. Slumps are destructive little buggers. They creep up on you, and before you know it, you aren't attacking life with the same zest. I blame my recent injury for this decline. A number of weeks back, I cracked my right rib, getting out the bath, dumbass. It was clumsy and stupid.  Weeks of soreness followed, on prescription painkillers. Exercise took a back seat, as I recovered. Ribs take around 6-8 weeks to heel, so I'm waiting it out. I feel like a wounded animal. A dad losing his edge. Fitness and health levels have declined. Never underestimate the importance of a healthy life.  Low motivation becomes a cancer. It can damage all parts of life. Now it's time to snap out and stop feeling sorry for myself.   Passions like music, reading, learning, blogging and fitness are taking a backseat. It's time to reset, recalibrate and get things going! Calibrating Body and Mind Slumps normally have a trigger. Low motivation doe

Broken Hearts and Broken Bones

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Breaking Dad, Breaking Bones. Nothing like a bit of physical and mental pain. First my wife's grandfather passed away unexpectedly, which was really sad.  I then went and cracked my rib, ouch. More on this later, but my sides are sore and I'm on prescription pain killers! I try to remain upbeat, when life throws out these challenges. Finding the motivation to write blog posts, becomes tougher.  But that's life, full of unpredictability. The route out of every hole, is always up.   Dealing With Loss Her grandad Robin was a fabulous guy. He could talk forever, but he had the stories. That's the tragic part of loss. You never get to hear their stories, in their words, from their perspective, again. You never get to hear their stories, in their words, from their perspective, again. All loss is tough, but unexpected loss is worse. You aren't prepared for it, and then it comes. But you always have the memories. There's a famous scene in Blade Runner, when Rutger Hauer

Five Podcasts For Dads & Podfathers

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Are you a Podfather? Make no mistake, podcasts are big business. Everyone is listening to podcasts (it seems), it's a growth area. Big media corporations have spotted the trend. Spotify for example, have spent fortunes buying podcast content. The likes of Joe Rogan, Michelle Obama and Dax Shepard have all joined the stream giant. All tastes are catered for in podcast land. It's niche after niche. We even have podcasts about podcasts.  Today I'll discuss the phenomenon and share my favourite 'Dad' podcasts. Brief History of Podcasts Let me take you on a journey. I've been listening to podcasts since 2004, welcome to the party. In 2004, my favourite podcast was the 'Daily Source Code'. It was presented by former MTV presenter 'Adam Curry'. His podcast was slick and ground-breaking at the time. He revolutionised podcasting, earning the title 'Podfather'. He still podcasts today, on the satirical show ' No Agenda '. Curry is a podcast

Cycling: Embracing The Bike, Tour de Dad

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I like to ride my bicycle. Cycling has enjoyed a surge in popularity of late. According to sources, the pandemic generated an additional £1bn of UK bike sale s  (Forbes, 2021). What the Wiggins is going on? Bike rides were a large part of my youth. Back then, I had the freedom to roam and explore. I feel for kids, who've lost this freeness and adventure. Social media connected us, then convinced parents that the world was unsafe. You can't fart without it hitting Twitter. Plenty of my friendships were cemented over bike rides. Think of the movie 'Stand By Me', on bikes, with less Corey Feldman and corpses. Until last year, I hadn't rode for twenty years. Now I'm back in the saddle, making up for lost time. This post is about my journey back into cycling.  Getting Into Bikes Again   So since shifting lockdown pounds, I have been maintaining my fitness. As it happened, my 40th year came at the right time. The good wife treated me to a hybrid bike, which was not ch

Studying For A Degree, With A Family

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University challenge! Unlike many, I didn't go to university after school. Armed with average grades, I concluded that I lacked brains. Plenty of intelligent people drop-out of university, what chance would I have? Why demonstrate my stupidity on a grandiose scale? So I dismissed the pipe-dream and moved on.  As it turned out, this was rubbish. I was stupid, but only for doubting myself. Learning is a long-game and nobody is defined by poor grades, or achievements in school.  I recall one teacher describing me as a "constant daydreamer". That part was correct, I dreamt of not being in his class. Naturally I felt pigeon holed as a "non-academic". As I progressed through my twenties and early thirties, I could not shake the feeling. I had "unfinished business" in academia and something to prove. So in 2014, I had a mad moment and enrolled for a degree programme. Five years later, aged 38, I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business & Management, at the

DIY Projects: Getting Creative and Making Stuff

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This is not a drill. Time for a bit of "show and tell". In this post I share some of my DIY projects and creative moments.  I love to create, repurpose and upcycle things. My wife is cut from similar cloth, and together we embrace it. Our house is full of creative pieces and practical DIY projects. I suppose we are habitually built this way! The purpose of this post is to throw out some ideas and get you thinking. The Internet is a fine place for creative inspiration, such as sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Creativity exists in us all, it just needs coercing out. How To Get Creative Many people claim they lack creativity, but I don't buy it. Dismissing your creativity, is falsely declaring you don't possess ideas. We all have ideas and we all see opportunity. Us creative types just act on it and follow it through.  Dismissing your creativity, is falsely declaring you don't possess ideas.  Ideas should not remain ideas, get them out and share with the world. I love

Learning Guitar: How And Why You Should

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We rock tonight! I have played guitar for years and once again, my six-stringed friend is keeping me sane. Studies have shown that playing instruments can prevent diseases like Alzheimer's, by boosting cognitive abilities. Guitar is effectively brain training, and a way to sharpen your reflexes. Progressing through the early phases of learning is hugely enjoyable. Nobody turns into Jimi Hendrix over night (or ever), but with consistency, a decent standard is possible in six months. As hobbies go, it doesn't have to be pricey. I own a few expensive guitars, but there are brilliant guitars under £200 ($275). If that's too much, explore the second-hand market where bargains are plentiful. Mental Health Benefits My early twenties were perhaps the more challenging moments of my life. My family had moved back to Essex and I felt a little lost in the world. I was stumbling through temporary jobs, not knowing what I wanted from life and lacking motivation. This period lasted a coup

Fashion Advice, For The Maturing Gent

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The mature gentlemen! Many men lose their fashion mojo in middle-age, or after becoming fathers. Just like the 'dadbod', it can slowly sneak-up on us. This is a tragedy, because men often look at their best, during their 'James Bond' years.  In truth, anyone can dress badly, at any age. At forty, I have entered the classic 'danger period' of middle-age. Women are not free from risk, but Gok Wan solved a lot of their problems. We don't have a 'Gok Wan'........we have no-Wan! I have always recognised the need to mature my look over time. It can be difficult adapting, adjusting and upgrading the wardrobe accordingly. Some men lose the plot with clothes and never recover, it should not be like this. Men can age like a fine wine, if they want to. It is great for our mental health, because evidence shows dressing well boosts confidence. However, it can be confusing to understand boundaries and the 'cans and cants'. I find it tough, because I still

Mother's Day and Lady Stuff

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Mum's had worse days! Monday was 'International Women's Day' and today is 'Mother's Day' (in the UK). Our moment comes later in the year, with 'Father's Day' and 'International Men's Day' respectively. "Every day is friggin' men's day!"  my wife would say. Mother's Day gets tricky with small kids, as effectively your are stung twice! I can hardly make my 2 and 5 year old, visit the card shop and florist alone. So the burden falls on me, along with gifts for my own mum. They should rename it 'Wife Day' or 'Valentines 2', because if you have small children, that's your reality. This morning we enjoyed a McDonald's takeaway breakfast, something different. It goes against my healthy living, but hey, it's a special day.  Today's gifts include flowers (standard), Charlotte Tilbury make-up (pillow talk?), chocolate truffles (yum) and a small bottle of Sauvignon blanc (pisshead). I'll

Seven Lessons Learned In Lockdown

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At peace with life, and pink! I've done a lot of growing over the past twelve-months, and not just the period where I got fat! ( read here ) By growth, I mean the personal and self-development variety. The kind where you experience epiphanies, clarity and new perspectives on life. So much has happened, yet so much didn't happen!  German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" (or was that Kelly Clarkson?). In short, setbacks help us to grow and improve. Forgive me, I am about to go all Zen. I present to you, my seven lessons learned in lockdown. 1. Avoid The 'Comparison' Trap Social media has revolutionised the way we connect, I love it. The problem is, we often consciously and subconsciously compare ourselves to others. Too easily we become envious when the grass appears greener. Don't get caught in that trap, focus on your own purpose! People rarely have perfect lives, and believe me, many battle their own dem