Last New Year’s I Named 2015 my “Year of Enlightenment”. I continued the changes I made into 2016 and still continue my open mindedness to this day.
This New Year’s I am naming 2016 my “Year of Physical, Mental, and Environmental Health” . Towards the end of 2015 I watched a documentary that profoundly impacted me. It’s called “Racing Extinction” and it explores how we are impacting the environment to the point where we are currently in motion for the 6th mass extinction event for Earth. It was a real wake up call. So much so that I took it’s movement’s slogan, “Start with one thing”, to heart.
One of the facts presented showed that if everyone just refrained from eating meat one day a week it would be the equivalent of taking 7-8 Million cars off the road environmentally speaking. So I started researching vegetarian and veganism . Leilani Munter, who was the driver of the Modified Tesla projection car in the documentary and an outspoken Vegan, was someone I already followed on Twitter. So I tweeted her for more info on protein substitutions. Happily she replied to my tweet and suggested that I watch another documentary called “Forks Over Knives” to learn more about a plant based diet. I watched it and learned so much about the health benefits of a plant based diet that it solidified my resolve to make a change . The change was for not only the environment but for my own health and quality of life as well.
Starting at the beginning of the year I began as a vegetarian thinking I would ease into becoming a Vegan. However after a couple of days I just jumped in and went all Vegan. I bought a couple of cookbooks and started shopping at Whole Foods and Sprouts to get produce and healthier options. I did a lot of experimenting at first to find things I like and once I had a base of things, it made shopping and meal planning easier. It has been challenging because I am the only one in the house doing it so there are two grocery lists and different meals planned for dinners. However my awesome wife Lori has really helped me and been very supportive. She and my mother made the two big holiday meals, Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners, a lot easier by making special versions of my favorite dishes for me as well. I continue to eat Vegan and the health benefits covered in “Forks Over Knives” are real. I lost ~20lbs and have not felt this great in years. All of my health screenings have been great as well. I will continue this indefinitely and hopefully it will help me to live a long, healthy , and enjoyable life.
Along the lines of increasing the quality of my life, I started delving into my mental health as well. I started reading Eastern philosophies such as the “The Art of Peace” by Morihei Ueshiba , the founder of the martial art Aikido. I also started meditating using a guided meditation app called Headspace. I only did the 10 day trial and unfortunately haven’t been good about making the practice into a habit. However that will be a goal for 2017.
While there were very positive changes in my life this past year, there were still some negatives , but none that weren’t, or couldn’t be, overcome . In March I lost my job due to my company closing my facility down and I was not able or willing to relocate. So I contacting people in my network and fortunately one of my former companies was willing to hire me at a higher salary and matching or exceeding all of the benefits I had before.
Overall 2016 turned out to be a good year for me, Lori and the girls. Lori and I continue to fall deeper into love with each passing moment. Taylor and Spenser are now both back living at home and Lori loves having her babies home. Which especially helped this year because my new job had me working quite a bit during the last half of the year.
While many people are looking forward to 2017 with a sense of dread, I however am going to continue to focus on myself and the things that I can control. Striving daily to be the best person I can be. Being kind to others (Kindness is Magic by the way). Making some art (Writing and recording Music, Writing prose and poetry). Taking time to read more. Continuing my search for truth, peace and joy .Taking care of myself, my family, my planet and leaving the world a better place than I found it.
I wish you all Peace, Bravery, and Joy for the coming year 2017.