Hindsight is 2021 – Part 3

This is the end of week 2 of my new blog and my fourth post. Thanks for reading this journey of discovery and sharing. I hope you are enjoying my writing and my blog so far!

In part 1 I talked about my new found sobriety in 2021 and my new love of running. Funny enough, today is Sunday and that means “long run Sunday”. I continue the tradition thru the winter, and thru the off-season of running extra distance on Sundays. Today was no exception. In 2022, I’ve been focused on 2 hours of running on Sundays, which works out to about 10 miles or 16 kms. It’s refreshing and rewarding but requires dedication!

In part 2 I shared my professional team that I work with to maintain my physical and mental health as well as my work on meditation in 2021. That continues in 2022! I have had 8 meditation sessions so far in January, which is every other day. It’s hard but I enjoy the quiet time in my own brain and with my own thoughts. I continue with physio, psychology and massage monthly in 2022!

In part 3, I’ll continue my journey and talk about some of my hobbies and passions, including:

  1. Journaling
  2. Dogs
  3. Camping
  4. Golf

Journaling

Journaling became important to me as part of my mental health maintenance. I started journaling in July 2019. After trying a number of methods and different journals, I settled on The Five-Minute Journal. I love this journal and it meets my needs perfectly. It’s quick and easy and effective!

I usually start with a quick statement on how I’m feeling: Green is great, Yellow is ok but maybe feeling sick, Orange or Red is angry or not in control, and Blue is feeling down. Combine that with another adjective such as: good, happy, sad, sick, hung-over, tired, sore back and you have a pretty good summary of how you felt that day. A normal day is: Good-Green. An off day might be: Tired-Yellow. A bad day might be: Blue-Sad. An exceptional day might be: Green-Full of Energy!

The journal includes a morning section:

  1. List 3 things that I am grateful for.
  2. List 3 things that would make today great.
  3. List 2 daily affirmations (usually I write down happy and aware!)

The journal also includes an evening section:

  1. List 3 amazing things that happened today.
  2. List some items that I could have done for a better day.

When I look back on my drinking days, I didn’t have enough Green days in my journal. My journal now looks very different, much more positive. The section on improving my day had too many items, and many days ended with “drink less”.

Journaling keeps me grounded and keeps me in touch with my feelings. It keeps life real. I’m sad that I journaled for almost 18 months before I made a change. The writing was there, in my words, yet the mind is a terrible deceiver.

Today, my journal is mostly full of positive vibes. But not always. As I feel better and stronger, the need to journal diminishes and truthfully, I’ve journaled less in 2022. But I’ve picked it up again. It’s a welcome activity to maintain a pulse on my mental health.

Dogs

I love our dogs. And working from home has only strengthened our bond with them. We get to spend so much time with them. It might be the single best part of the pandemic other than no commuting!

We started our dog journey with Leo, a shih-tzu / bichon cross that we found on an acreage close to Ponoka. We drove up to the farm one weeknight and came home with a our first puppy. I’ll never forget the horde of puppies jumping all over me. He was almost named Louie but in the end he was named after one of my favorite people in history: Leonardo da Vinci. He brought joy to us for many years. But he’s no longer with us and we still grieve his passing. Our little Leo was loved.

In a couple of years, we added Maggie, a toy poodle / bichon cross. We got Maggie thru a friend. We knew she was the pup for us when we visited the litter with Leo and found her grabbing his leash and tugging him around. Haha! She picked us. She’s 14 years old and still going strong. She opened up our love of poodles.

8 years ago, we added Jack, a pure bred moyen poodle. Moyen in French means medium. Officially, according to the CKC in Canada, he’s consider a standard poodle. He’s a beautiful, perfectly size poodle! Not too big, not too small. When we got Jack, I started to take dog training and skills seriously. We did some puppy classes and I researched how to manage dogs. With 3 dogs, we needed to be assertive and in control at all times. I’ve done a lot of training with Jack over the years. Our dogs are well behaved (I think) but it took a lot of work and effort to get there. I’ll share more in a future blog about my dog training adventures!

So, during the pandemic and in isolation, we’ve spent a ton of time with our pups. They get to spend all day with us. Jack gets a lunch time walk nearly every day, and we walk them both at night during the summer. They love us. They bring us joy. There is little in this world that is more satisfying than the love of a dog when you return home. Their love is unconditional and constant. Most importantly, they let us know when a package has been delivered!! Haha!

Camping

A few years ago, we started camping. My parents had a motorhome parked in a lot and we decided to try camping, so they generously let us park and use the motorhome on a campsite. It was a bit of a trial period. Talk about good timing when the pandemic hit. Camping became an oasis away from home. With lockdowns and restrictions everywhere, camping just 60 mins away from home meant a mini-vacation every weekend.

We finally purchased our own trailer in August of 2020. My in-laws bought a new trailer themselves and allowed us to use their old trailer for the summer of 2020 with a purchase deal if we were happy. We bought the trailer. It’s ours. We have a seasonal site out at north Pigeon lake close to the town of Mulhurst.

Camping isn’t easy, it’s tough work. My brother-in-law is very knowledgeable and he is super helpful at the trailer! There has been a steep learning curve when it comes to shutting down the trailer for the winter, spring opening, yard and site maintenance and general care. Thanks Stu for all the help! I really do appreciate it!

Unfortunately, it also meant learning how to replace the door window after a break-in. The park has had a string of break-ins over the last couple of years. And we got hit in September 2021. Lucky for us, the damage was limited to the window and some stolen stuff. The hardest part is feeling unsafe in your own dwelling. Everything felt dirty afterwards. No amount of laundry and cleaning can change that feeling. It was near the end of the season, so hopefully our minds will be clear for the start of camping of 2022 in May.

While camping can be very relaxing, there is a lot of sacrifice that comes with it. It’s not cheap having your own camper and paying for a yearly site. The cost comes with the pressure of using it or “wasting” your investment. You effectively manage two houses and two yards.

Saturday is golf day, so I spent most Saturdays, up super early, driving back into the city for a round of golf. And of course, we already mentioned long run Sundays. So after a weekend of camping, I returned home Sunday morning just to put on my running equipment and out for 3 hours of running. A couple of times, you could find me running the streets of Mulhurst, trying to get my miles for the week!

Finally, 2021 was the first year that we camped and I was sober. Saturday morning early golf was a lot easier to manage! It’s certainly a different experience since a lot of campers sit by the fire at the end of the day with drinks, sharing wild stories and laughter. Was I different? I don’t know. During the pandemic, we mostly kept to ourselves; we’ve been super cautious thru the pandemic. Maybe this year, we’ll be able to branch out a little and be a little more friendly. I look forward to camping in 2022.

Golf

Fore! Golf is a sport also known as a good walk spoiled! Many golfers say that a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day at work. I’m not sure I believe that, but I sure enjoy golf.

I have high expectations for golf. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a good golfer. But what does that mean? That means some different to everyone. No, I don’t get paid to golf. No, I don’t want to be a professional. But maybe I want to be good enough to compete in amateur events. I want to be good enough to enjoy golf when I retire.

I’ve spent a lot of time and money on my swing with coaches. I started in 2012 with my current swing coach, Katrina Kelly. It’s the 10th anniversary of our relationship! Ironically, on blog day, I have a tune up scheduled with Katrina this afternoon. My winter golf game (virtual golf) is acting up. And I want to make sure that I keep my swing into the spring for 2022 golf.

Katrina and I finally have me in a spot where I’m hitting the ball longer and straighter than ever before. I’m finally working on mini-tweaks rather than significant swing changes. She teaches a biomechanical swing. Without spending too much describing it, she teaches a swing that is built to use your body the way it moves naturally. It’s a different concept to teach golf and I love it.

I have also worked a ton on my mental game. Truthfully, my mental game in golf was terrible in past years. I’m an angry golfer. I swear and slam clubs. I imagine, in a bad round, I probably wasn’t very fun to be around. I’ve worked hard on that. I’ve read a ton of golf psychology books, and some of my favorites from the crew at Vision54. I saw a sports psychologist at Zone Performance and used neurofeedback to improve my brainwaves. I’m happy to say that my mental game is better than ever, but still needs work. I’m constantly working on it!

I have to constantly remember my mantra “next shot”. I didn’t invent this. I read it in a book or got told by my sports psychologist or both. “Next shot” means focus on your next shot. It sounds so easy, but it’s so hard to implement. It means don’t worry about what happened on the last shot. Don’t think about your score. Don’t think about the 40 years that you’ve been golfing. Don’t think about the thousands of hours of practice and learning you’ve done. Don’t even think about all of the hours you put into your mental attitude. Just look at your next shot. It’s a work in progress! But I think my attitude on the golf course is better than ever, and continues to improve. I’m no longer that grumpy golfer that slams his clubs…ok, most of the time, I’m not. No one is perfect!

Last year was my best year of golf. But it’s been hard work getting there. I’ve worked on my physical and mental part of the game. We golfed nearly every Saturday. I took lessons. I practiced. I bought a putting mat last winter and it improved my short putts. I worked on my mental game. And the results showed!

I had 2 rounds of 79, and a round of 80 last year. Most of my scores started dropping into the mid-80s. I started playing very well, late into the season. All of that work came together, and I started reaching my goals. Being able to shot in the 70s is my goal. And it can only get better…with more work!

I’m playing virtual golf nearly every Saturday in the winter. It keeps my swing in shape, and it’s a wonderful distraction from winter. My winter golf has been pretty good but with less opportunity for practice, my swing is good but not great. Hopefully the lesson today will correct a couple of things and that should get me ready for spring golf.

Wrap Up

When I started this blog journey, I didn’t know if I had enough content to get thru January. But here I am, mid-month. we’re on the 3rd episode of Hindsight is 2021 and I have more to talk about.

Today, we talked about some of my passions: journaling, dogs, camping and golf. These things keep me healthy, both mentally and physically. It’s important that we have outlets for fun to take care of ourselves. And these 4 things are key to my survival. What do you do to keep yourself sane? Let me know in the comments.

Hindsight is 2021 – Part 4 is coming!

Yes, I still have more to talk about including:

  1. Movember 2021
  2. Formula 1 racing
  3. Crypto
  4. Video games

Thanks!

Once again, thanks for reading. I hope that someone out there today, reads something that inspires them to change or do one thing in their life they always wanted to do! I would love to hear from you if you enjoying my content!

5 Responses

  1. Excellent.. all around!! I have to commend you on doing this blog. It is inspiring, funny, educational (“Next shot” can apply to tennis too) and heartfelt. Congrats on all that you have accomplished these past many months. I look forward to reading more!

  2. Congratulations again Dennis, the recovery journey has many twists an turns, many being positive. I think you’ll find a bit a Journaling tool on page 86 Big Book for a step 10 daily inventory. I read that page for 6 months straight one time, every night. Also pg 87 a great way to start the day w morning meditation. Great to see u sober. Love to hear your great attitude, outlook and positive vibe for life , mom dad an I look forward to spending more time w u in your new found freedom……..lov your brother jeffrey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *