October 2016 — The Most Pivotal Month of My Life
An unedited entry from my journal.
Today is Sunday, October 30. I am in San Sebastián. October has been an amazing month with many big accomplishments of things I’ve always wanted to do. This is just a simple exercise in reflection and appreciation.
- For the first time in 6 years, I was able to:
- every day, do my old stretching routine (back from my basketball days, 10+ something years ago),
- perform 100 pushups,
- meditate for 15–20 minutes,
- and finish of with a 3-minute cold shower which gives me a natural high, EVERY DAY.
- I’ve gone back to wearing my favorite, most comfortable shoes, Nike Free 5.0 which literally have made every day a blessing since my wife and I walk a lot every day.
- I’ve switched from a smartphone with data that connects me to the internet daily, to an old, used, iPhone 5C, with only texting, calling and WhatsApp installed. I realized I needed to do this after 3 days without internet on Halong Bay which felt like a 6-week vacation and totally reset my system. I have cut all data and made it a dumb phone. This has taken me a lot of time and research, but it was all worth it. It has given me the biggest positive impact on my anxiety levels yet and I intend to keep this up, even upon return to the U.S..
- I have stopped checking email and installed an auto-responder. Email me, if you want to see it.
- I have improved my marriage with my beautiful wife through creating a note that I read daily, with guidelines and values to follow every day.
- I followed a new rule with my wife, my family and friends:
- “Be nicer to the people in your own home than to anyone else.”
- I found this quote profound as I feel like with most people and families it is the opposite, however remembering, that your spouse, family and friends matter the most is key. They deserve to be treated the nicest out of anyone. Why is it that most people treat their family, spouses etc. not as nice as their co-worker, the person behind the counter, a new person that you meet? Treat your family the nicest, they deserve it.
- I have started reading more and am trying to make my Kindle my number I device.
- I made my MacBook Air super dumb and simple, deleted Chrome and now mostly work with native Apple apps and paper.
- I purchased the domain, “thegoodlife.io” with no idea of what to do with it. Let me know if you have ideas!?
- I have met my best friends from childhood — Hasib, Max, Marcus and Alex, for the first time after almost half a decade by playing poker, I lost… :), but it was incredibly joyful and so funny. Our conversations were now all about real estate, buying a house, kids and of course basketball vs. what we talked about 6 years ago: finding the first job, where to work, what career to choose. This has truly been one of the most unforgettable evenings and I made it my goal to increase my effort for staying in touch. With one of my friends, Marcus, I go back 22 years…crazy.
- I have traveled back to my favorite city in the world, Barcelona as well as neighboring towns like Sitges, my favorite coastal town.
- I enjoyed a real dinner. In Barcelona, my wife and I went for dinner at my now favorite restaurant in the world: La Flauta. It was just simply incredible. A normal dinner in Germany or the US takes maybe 1.5 to 2 hours. In the US, they simply put the check on your table when they want you to leave and make room for the next party. At La Flauta something was different that night, we were 5 people (and we mostly did not know each other) and after 1.5 hours, I was expecting for us to order the check, but instead, one of us ordered another bottle of wine and with it started the 2nd wave of the dinner. 2 hours turned into 4 hours, 2 bottles of wine turned into 5 (I think…) as well as more tapas and we enjoyed the best conversation. That evening was special and as it turns out, breaking bread together with friends, is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
From Daniel Gilbert of Harvard to Martin Seligman of Princeton, the “happiness” (self-reported well-being) researchers seem to agree on one thing: meal time with friends and loved ones is a direct predictor of happiness. Have at least one 2–3-hour dinner per week — yes, 2–3 hours — with those who make you smile and feel good. I find the afterglow effect to be greatest and longest with groups of 5 or more. ~ Tim Ferriss, fourhourworkweek.com/blog
- I have started to do a road trip with my wife through Spain (here is a running list of my recommendations by city), so far we were in Barcelona, in the wine region Rioja as well as the “European Culture Capital 2016”, San Sebastián.
- I have had a bottle of 27-year old wine from the smallest and one of the oldest wineries (16th century) in Rioja. In my wife’s words: “truly incredible — soft and highly complex”.
October 2016 has been a pivotal month and I am extremely grateful and glad for it. I will aim to keep up with my new and old cornerstone habits, especially the ones in the morning, as I feel they influence and/or create the rest of my day, week, month, year, life.
Good night from San Sebastián.
30.10.2016, 11:50pm, San Sebastián.