July 8, 2013

The 7 Ingredients for a Perfect Day

I read once that the perfect day occurs when you do everything you planned to do that day.  If that is true, then it seems pretty easy to have a perfect day.  Yet there is always something to sidetrack you from accomplishing it.  That is why I try to avoid unnecessary distractions, or live a more simple life.

I am pretty happy with the last 24 hours I had.  I ticked all the boxes. 

It started last night with dinner.  I was sitting there with my friend from Brazil and we were both discussing the path each our lives took to bring us to Australia.  Neither one of us ever imagined we would end up here.  We were both grateful for crazy ride life has taken us on.  And of course we had the same conversation we always have about the anomalies of living in Perth and how much better life in America is and how cold it gets here…Oh no, we are becoming Australians now.    

I went to bed at 10 o'clock that Saturday.  Agreeing that it would be silly to go out to club, spend 300 dollars on drinks, and not have any fun.  It’s not really me, so why try to push that way of life?  I am beginning to learn to just be who you are and roll with it rather than forcing something you are not.  So I woke up at 6AM Sunday morning eager to have a big, productive day.  That is what makes me happy.  That is fun and satisfying to me.    

The first 30-40 minutes morning was spent reading and reflecting while sucking down a litre of water.  It is best to schedule the most important thing on my day’s to-do list first.  It sets the tone for the rest of the day.

I then drove 10 minutes to John Forrest National Park to do a “long” run.  I ended up doing a 16 km hilly circuit on the Eagle View trail.  My body felt alright during the run, possibly indicating good fortune ahead for my running (don't call it a comeback).  I love this part of Perth, because it doesn't really feel like Perth.  The high desert style foliage, hills and single track trail remind me of the rugged Granite Mountain Wilderness in Prescott minus the altitude and big hill climbs.

The other bonus out of today’s run was returning a dog to its owner.  It added an extra 2 kms to my run but it saved the owner a lot of headache and time.  For that I felt good about myself.

After the run, I went back to the house I am squatting in this week.  I systematically spent 45 minutes going through my post run routine.  I am finding that I need about 30-45 minutes a day to work on my body to keep it supple and healthy.  I start with the post workout routine with Myofascial Release which is just a fancy word for self-massage.  I use a foam roller and a small rubber ball to massage trouble areas on the body.  I limit myself to 4 body parts for approximately 3 minutes each otherwise I could spend all day on it.  Today, I focused on the hips and calves, especially the left calf which has been giving me issues for two years.  After the self-massage, I did 15 minutes of AIS stretching.  The last 15 minutes or so I spent doing some physio/core related exercises (glutes and planks) to maintain muscle symmetry.

I multitasked while doing that 45 minutes or so of post run recovery work.  I have gotten into a habit of watching 1-2 TED talks per day the last few weeks.  I watched two of these, Brene Brown and Bruce Aylward, while going through the post run routine.    I had a homemade protein shake with some random additions like ground pepper, cinnamon and cocoa powder to spice things up a bit.  I also had a snickers bar which I purchased off the clearance shelf at the gas station the previous night.  Not the healthiest thing but I haven't had one since I moved to Australia.  Delicious.          

After the run and post run routine, I got my hands dirty doing some yard work at the house I am camping at this week.  I allowed myself two hours to work because by setting a time limit it allowed me to work steadily and focused.  It was good ole fashioned raking leaves, wheel barrowing rocks, and removing weeds and sticks from the back yard.  I enjoy the rare opportunity to do it since I don't own a house or live at my parents’ house anymore.

I was dirty and had a sore back, not injured, just sore which is a good feeling.  So I hopped in the warm shower to soothe the tired muscles. 

I worked up an amazing appetite after the long run and yard work so I cooked up some pre-made manicotti with a side salad and another side of pasta with marinara sauce.  It was a lot of food to eat but I know when the metabolism is firing on all cylinders.  Today, the furnace was hot for the first time in quite a while.  I ticked off one more TED talk while eating by Bryan Stevenson about injustice as it relates to the American prison system and the power of identity.  I hardly watch TV anymore.  I much rather stimulate the brain and pick up a few new ideas while watching a 20 minute talk or podcast.  I am always amazed at the creativity and ideas they speak about. 

I lounged around the house until 530 getting ahead on blog posts for the upcoming work week.  I need to be writing every day to keep my blogging streak alive for 30 days in a row.  It is really satisfying to create something every single day which is one of the reasons I started to take up this challenge.  I also caught up on few emails from old friends and read some of Annie Dillard’s masterpiece, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  Finally, I reviewed the life plan that I created a few months ago for the first time.  I am following Michael Hyatt's Template.  Part of his strategy is to review your life plan weekly for 1-2 hours to makes sure you are on track.  I have obviously put this as a low priority and have not done it yet.  Today, I finally ticked that off my to-do list. 

After spending all day alone, I was eager and excited to go to the evening church service followed by dinner.  I heard somewhere that one of the most healthy things you can do is have dinner with 3 or more friends.  In fact, I actually read that the reason people who drink one to two glasses of wine per day have lower rates of heart disease because drinking is typically done in company, not because of the miniscule amounts of resveratrol or antioxidants/flavonoids or whatever.  I definitely need to get out more with groups of friends as I spend a lot of time alone.  The TED talk by Brene Brown I watched today even went so far as to say we are here in this world for connection.   

Now, I am sitting here reflecting on the day and what I am thankful for by writing out this blog post.  I might even sneak a little more reading of a Pilgrim at Tinker Creek before calling it an evening. 

Sure, it was not the most productive day, but i ticked off everything on my to-do list.  So I am satisfied.

7 Ingredients for a Perfect Day:

Spend time in Bible (or any text) and Reflect (Morning reading and reflection)
Exercise (long run on trails in John Forrest National Park)
Serve Someone (Return Dog to Owner)
Create Something (Blog posts)
Connect with People (Dinner with Friends)
Learn Something (TED Talks and Reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Be Grateful (Reflecting on the day with this post and/or writing out what I am thankful for)

Picture is from outside a restaurant in Northbridge.  I liked it.  

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