Writing Up a Reason

Something funny happened nearly three years ago in the months following a sad decision to shutter my sixteen-year-old blog.

I did less.

No, really.

I took fewer photos. I went on fewer adventures. I engaged less and less with new projects. I virtually stopped attempting to tackle new skills.

Admittedly, I was busier day-to-day with being a responsible human, busier outside of the fun, hobby-type things I generally wrote about. There was just less free time.

I had taken on a new job with significantly more responsibility (which brought with it more risk of personal-meets-professional exposure from some of the things I was posting) and the job overall just gobbled up more of my life.

Yet somehow, looking back on it, there was a clearly corresponding relationship between the things I wrote about and the volume of interesting things in which I participated.

Writing gave me a reason to do stuff.

I needed content for my blog, yes.

Yet, in writing I also inspired myself to think about things I had never tried, and motivated myself to try those things… then write more about having tried them.

Having spent nearly forty days on this new blog, a blog that is still very young and particularly hamstrung by a pandemic and brutally cold winter weather, I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about why I’ve decided to start blogging again with this renewed daily vigor.

There are people who write for money and fame.

There are some who write to find peace and clarity.

And there are still others who write for passion and inspiration.

There is overlap between any and all these purposes, of course, but after nearly two decades and multiple blogs, I’ve realized much of my purpose is simply to find a reason to do more. I want to write up those reasons here.

I want to cook better food.

I want to seek deeper adventure.

I want to frequent the outdoors.

I want to explore lesser traveled trails.

Writing a blog inspires me to step out the front door and make choices that lead me out into the world to do these things more often and more deliberately. It’s an aspirational space, and a source of inspiration for myself and others.

One Month Down, Many to Go

February one. It is the first day of the second month of 2021 and so also the start of my second month of daily blogging here on castironguy.ca.

I thought about writing of the challenge of finding time, space, and focus to write here every day for a whole month, and while those words may describe the experience, they don’t explain it all.

Sunday afternoon I went for a neighbourhood walk with my wife. Along the way we chatted, and one of the topics was mental health. And I know; if you’ve been anywhere online or reading the news lately, all anyone talks about is mental health.

It’s important, yes.

We should talk about it, of course.

It has been relevant for myself and my family for generations, more than I can elaborate on here without going into long personal anecdotes that I’m not ready to share.

See, talking about it is not the problem I personally face.

On the other hand, while everyone talks about it, few people give others the tools and skills to deal with fixing declining mental health and decreasing mental fitness.

For example, we talk about mental health frequently in meetings at work. These meetings are long, exhausting video conferences that often go overtime and blur into the next time slot. I have made it my 2021 mental health mission to add into every one of these conversations that if we actually want to improve mental health we can start by ending this meeting five minutes early so that everyone can have a short break to get a coffee… or stretch… or pee.

My own personal mental fitness program is a multi-part effort.

I spend time outdoors, walking, running, and adventuring, enjoying nature and the beautiful world in which I live to improve my physical well-being.

I spend time with my family, friends (when I can), and my dog, sharing love, food, time, and energy with those around me to improve my emotional well-being.

I spend time writing, drawing, and creating interesting things (such as this blog) that I can nuture, refine and share to improve my mental well-being.

Simple actions. Real balance.

So, as I post the first post of the second month of a daily blog, looking ahead to more months … a year … or even many years of writing, this is simply me acknowledging that is much more complex than just work. Sometimes the very point a thing is actually all about the challenge of finding time, space, and focus because that’s what gives it value in the first place.