Before I close down for a week off I thought I would get in a few parting shots at 2018 on a more personal note. I already did my best to sum up my thoughts around Reclaim for 2018, and admittedly it is hard for me to separate myself from my work on the bava, particularly when my work is what I love to do, but I’ll try nonetheless.
One of the big changes I made two years ago was embracing exercise. It took a while, but spending as much time as I do in and around the mountains made it next to impossible not to give in. I’ve taken to hiking the last couple of years and it has had a significant impact on my physical and mental health, and that has made all the difference, I am 25 pounds lighter, I can knock-out a 10-mile hike pretty easily (unless it’s Mini Mt. Marcy in the snow), and I no longer get winded when climbing steps. In fact, on average this year I hiked 4 miles and climbed the equivalent of 33 flights of stairs each and every day. That’s a bit more than last year, and extending that streak to two years feels really good. I found hiking provides the time and space I didn’t give myself before. I spend almost two hours every day working through various scenarios in my head, thinking through issues, and generally mulling. If you are a manic depressive like me, mulling and working through scenarios can be a nightmare, but when it is tied to mildly vigorous exercise it’s more like catharsis. I feel so much healthier as a result, and I believe the end result is that I am far less rash and reactive when issues arise at either work or home.
Family life continues to rule. I am really thankful for the time I have with Anto and the kids. I’m present in ways I don’t think I was previously. I joke a lot about EDUPUNK and ds106, but for a good 4 or 5 years while I was working I felt like I had at least partially checked out. The kids were smaller, we were pretty broke, and I was hustling on the road for rent money. It was a relatively generative time professionally, but by 2013 shit had caught up to me, and I was not healthy in many respects. Quitting the sauce in 2013 was a crucial first step, but it took at least two or three years for me to get back on track. I remember visiting Dave and Bonnie on Prince Edward Island in August of 2015 and I was on the inhaler and Dave straight-out said, “You’re not really healthy, are you?” LOL, I was like “Yeah, not really.” But that was also an eye-opener for me, and I think the last 3 years has put some distance between myself and the inhaler boy I was, at the same time it has also been a way to be more present with the family. No question, the freedom Reclaim has allowed me is a huge part of all this, and for that I’m ever grateful, but I also know my kids are growing up fast and I want to avoid the trap of missing it for work. We all went to London for Miles’ 14th birthday, and that was an awesome time. We made all kinds of memories, like when I told Miles to lie about his age at a movie theater so we could see Halloween together, but he couldn’t close the deal and the usher called us out and made us see Bohemian Rhapsody*—which we loved BTW. We also got to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum Video Game Exhibit which made a powerful impression for me, and even inspired some maker activity back at the Reclaim HQ.
Anto and I also got to visit Helsinki, which was awesome. I am a big fan of that city, one of my favorites in Europe thus far, but I think my company may have colored my experience.
But arguably the biggest change in 2018 was the adoption of an Italian Spinone who uses the moniker Duke, but is also known as the bavaduke, Duke Nukem, and Freakin’ Duke. I’ve become obsessed with this dog, and if I have my way I will have a puppy Spinone by early Summer. It’s been quite nice to have consistent company on my daily walks for the last few months of 2018, and the old adage is true, we became fast friends and companions. The precarity of our financial and living conditions up and until the last 5 years or so has precluded my having a dog for the previous 30 or so years, but it’s high time to make up for that absence now.
It’s no secret that our first family dog, Daphne, is basically Anto’s dog.
She has one love, and one love only. Duke is a bit more polyamorous, to my chagrin:
2018 has been a pretty amazing year on a personal level, and I’m all too aware anything can change at anytime, so I want to be sure to capture and enjoy the good times while I can. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2019 to the one or two people who made it this far, I’m talking to you Pat Lockley—you just may get your server name in 2019 🙂
*NB – I didn’t say I was a good parent, just more present. But really, WTF with the Brits not letting parents decide if a kid under 18 can see an R-rated film or not? Nanny state!