Happy New Year of the Tiger

“You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar

Today is a new year. Year of the Tiger. The tiger’s motto is “I win”. How appropriate that Year of the Edgar should continue this year. You heard right. This is not JUST a one-trick pony.

I have a confession to make. 2009 was an important year for myself. It is the year that you guys saved my life, in a way. Let’s go back to 2008 and before. I was a depressed individual. It was severe. I was unhappy, and lonely. I was also tired of being this way. I had been for years. No one really knew this, my close friends even. Some people suspected it, like my sisters, but I would push it away and try not to think of it.

Come December 2008. I was secretly filming my extra work with The Guild, and I met Ryon Day. I also had a very nice conversation with Felicia Day and Kim Evey. I mean, I had resolved to do something about this but probably would have just coasted in 2009 like every year. Something these people said, and my sisters, and other friends, it just flipped a switch. I had an epiphany. I literally stated, “I just can’t take it, next year will be my year. Year of the Edgar.” I added THE because some of the guildie fans for whatever reason started calling me “the Edgar” within the community site. I bought the domain and started working on the design/finding a theme. A guildie created the logo using an image another guildie created of me called “super Edgar”. Check my About page for this.

Basically, 2009 was about fixing myself mentally. Through your support, and my want to change, I managed to successfully stop being sad and depressed. It truly worked! This is why I bought so many bobble heads. So many people thought I was crazy to do this. What I was doing was giving myself the confidence boost I so needed. I have one at work, at home, and I carry a box of them in my car. Wherever I go, if I need it, I can look at myself giving me a thumbs up. I also wanted the ability to send them off to people so they could also be reassured by me and my thumbs up. I definitely did not have the money to do this, but I went with it anyway. Sure, you could spend thousands like I did, but I think and hope you can achieve the same thing I did with just one of my own bobble heads.

There were minor setbacks too, finding out I had diabetes in Feb was a difficult blow, then later in the year there was a tragic death in the family, but I managed to deal with it all and managed myself. Things happen for a reason, everyone says this, but when I think about it, both of these events would have devastated me even worse had they happened before last year. Yet, they happened last year and not before.

Some things I took away was, joining a support group and wanting to do it is extremely refreshing. I go to a monthly diabetes group/class and it is very much a therapy session. I don’t think I need it, but I still go each and every month. Even if you don’t think you need it, do it. Participate. It does wonders. Another thing I learned was to be honest to yourself and to others about how you feel. If you are sad, there’s nothing wrong with it. If I continued suppressing it, I would never get out of that rut. Seek support, from friends, family, or even strangers. I lean on my twitter friends all the time and get encouragement from them.

It is now 2010. Chinese New Year. “I win.” What is on the agenda? Actual weight loss. I made mistakes last year and my cholesterol suffered. By the end of this year I will have lost two dress sizes at minimum. At minimum. I will also do more video this year. I wanted to last year, but school and work and friends kept me very busy. I will graduate in a few months, which has been a major goal. I will start taking a language class this year and I also hope to take a dance class.

I want to prove to you that living positively, even through adversity, is the way to go. It is a good way to live. All of this is for me, sure, but I also want to help out everyone else that I can. So many people in my life are not happy with their current situation, through me I want them to know that it isn’t as bad as they think. My life’s anthem is “Lean on Me” because I enjoy helping others. I know of a few people working towards adopting a YotE attitude and I applaud them. They are the beginning of a very good thing.

There is one more goal for me this year. I will probably not talk too much about it, because it isn’t something I will be too focused on. Love. I won’t delve too much into this, but I’ve had an interesting love life in the past and hope for some normalcy. Again, I won’t be talking about it, but I will be keeping my eyes open. I’m a good man and I am looking for a good woman. Someone positive like me.

So I challenge you to make 2010 your year. Wake up every day and smile. First thing you do. Think of a reason to do it and do it. Try to better yourself by doing things for yourself. Reach for the stars and think big. Be confident. Someone pointed me to this article on how people are afraid to think big and how you really should think big. Don’t be afraid to fail either, my take on this is learn from your mistakes and keep trying. Another friend showed me an article on being better than yesterday. How can you make today better than yesterday?

Lofty challenge, but I only challenge because it is what I am doing. Do this with me. Year of the Tiger is your year and it is my year.

This year I will be 30. This year I win.

3 Comments

Getting Healthy in 140 Characters or Less

“Moderation in all things” – Terence

My coworker wanted me to get on the Master Cleanse diet, or the lemonade diet, and wanting to know what my friends thought, I posed it to twitter. The overall responses were to avoid this “fad”, but Ryon Day (@Ryon_D) had a series of tweets I just had to pass on in this post. If you are into being healthy and living a good life, follow this man right now. RIGHT NOW. He’s one of the main reasons for Year of the Edgar, a year ago this month.

What follows are well written tweets and a perfect guide to great health, and weight loss:

Our detox mechanism is called ‘the liver’ and it’s extremely effective. The best way to detox is a substantive lifestyle change – source

Our lifestyles and habits are toxic, NOT our bodies. Even if a 7 day ‘detox’ worked (it doesn’t) it’s bailing out the sea w/ spoon – source

Here’s the order of operations: 1: Stop smoking/drugs/heavy drinking – source

2: Proper diet: Lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds, no refined sugars, no grains, some starch. Lots of veggies, lots of healthy fats – source

3: Excellent sleep habits. No shift work. Avoid bright lights (TV/computer) after 10-11PM, bed by midnight – source

4: Excellent exercise habits. If you aren’t into physical culture, concentrate on a McGuff “Body By Science”-type protocol. Safe.- source

At this point you are 80-85% of the way there. ONLY THEN optimize with Fasting, Supplements, precise nutrient ratios, etc etc etc. – source

TRUE health and longevity results from doing less, eating less, spending less, and exercising less, but doing them all CORRECTLY! – source

Only by following these steps, will we enjoy a healthy and fruitful life. Tell me what you think!

No Comments

Trend Setter

“All things change, nothing is extinguished. There is nothing in the whole world which is permanent. Everything flows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature; the ages themselves glide by in constant movement.” – Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)

My last post I mentioned PCC Salud Family Health Center. I’ve been attending a monthly diabetes class, where we discuss a particular topic regarding my disease. Yesterday was one such class.

I’d like to thank Courtney Matthews, RD LDN who’s a dietitian at Salud whom has been instrumental these past few months in affirming my new lifestyle in the way I eat. Through her also, I was introduced to a dietetic intern from University of Illinois at Chicago named Dioscelina who needed to complete some type of poster/board as part of her rotation.

Courtney said she wanted to “feature” some of their inspirational patients on their waiting room walls, and because of my progress and this website and you guys, she thought to start with me. Such an honor.

I’ve known for a couple of months, and the poster was completed a while back, but nothing was really official till yesterday after my diabetic class. Their corporate HQ actually made up a specific release form just for me.

PCC Salud release form

Notice “publish information regarding the positive lifestyle changes of” in the form. Puts things into a whole other perspective. I mean, I know I was doing good, all my numbers say so so far, but having this piece of paper state it so eloquently that I am bettering myself, and its pure existence is due to me and what I’ve been doing, it just reaffirms everything for me. This is just one of many examples to a life of positivity. Everyone tends to focus on all the negative in their lives, if they took the time to do the opposite, maybe some good vibes will come their way.

I hope to get a shot of the poster when its hanging up on the wall. I did manage to get a picture of it, although I believe that a picture of my face will replace the one in the center.

PCC Salud Poster

I hope that with this poster, it will give people encouragement as they wait to see their doctors. Its very important to me that people get motivated to help themselves. Its not a lost cause. If I can do this, anyone can do anything.

No Comments

The bright side of life

I am proud to announce that my blood pressure is controlled. I’ve had high blood pressure for some time now, since even before my diagnosis of diabetes. Sleep apnea was definitely one of the reasons, but with my dietary changes and CPAP machine, and medicine, my blood pressure is finally normal.

Score another victory for me! I’d like to give a little shoutout to Salud Family Health Center, a PCC Community Wellness Center and the group there. They have been wonderful to me.

I am on track, I have my sugars and my salts controlled. I need to make sure my cholesterol remains good as well, so in December I will be checking up on that. It is my plan to start up going to the gym once again, I had stopped a while back, resorting to walking only. So, given this, I should be well on my way to some further weight-loss as well as continued success in my battle with diabetes, blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Since sleep apnea is usually due to weight issues.

This year is nearing a close, but I feel that I have progressed well in various aspects of my life. Mostly, that I continued to look on the bright side of life. I hope to have several posts before the end of the year, but these next three months (including this one) hopefully will be filled with more fun and excitement.

Stay tuned. Stay happy.

3 Comments

A Good Cause by a Great Person

Marathoner

Marathoner

Amy Guth, whom I’ve known for a short while now wears many hats. Her stint as the literary maven on ChicagoNow had me blogging on my personal blog the other day because she inspired me to write short form fiction.

Amy volunteers for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. I mean she really puts in her time. She is also a runner, especially for causes. Which brings me to the current situation. Late last year, in November, Amy was in a car accident in Pittsburgh which totaled her car. Back then she recognized issues with her neck, back and hips. She’s been in rehab ever since.

Recently, her pain flared up so much that its forced her to use a cane, making her look ever so sophisticated, mind you. At the Great @redeyechicago Outdoor Tweetup, I saw Amy and witnessed first-hand how banged up she still was, almost a year after her accident. She’s working through it like a trooper, which just shows how determined she can be.

I bring this up because as a runner, and as someone that goes above and beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations when it comes to helping those in need, Amy Guth has outdone herself. She had committed to run the 2009 Chicago marathon as part of the Run Red Team as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

Amy will be walking, obviously, but she intends on participating, even in her current condition. She needs your help. As Amy says, “I know times are tough, but every last bit counts.” If you’ll notice, I donated day one. Sponsor her here. The marathon is this Sunday and she is barely at 25%. I implore that you dig deep within your pockets (or credit cards) and consider donating. Yes, any donation works, but I want to see some people give as good as it gets.

Anyone donating $50 USD (what I donated) or more can contact me and I will send you one of my coveted Edgar bobble heads as a thank you for helping my friend. Its Tuesday and Sunday is not that far off. Help Amy meet her goal. She deserves our support, as the Red Cross does, its the least we can do to thank her and the organization for keeping Chicago as safe as possible in the time of need. Leave me a comment and please help spread the word too. This is, after-all, Year of the Amy.

*UPDATE*

I’ve also decided to take requests for donations. Lets be reasonable here, I am obviously not doing something illegal nor something inappropriate, or like gross. Do you want me to karaoke a song on youtube? Signed picture? Dancing? Or the bobble head. (Man, I hope the bobble head.) Tell me in the comments what you’re willing to donate and for what.

No Comments

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” – George F Burns

I used to be a worrier. It was one of several issues I had with myself. I was a nervous kid, what can I say?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Worry as:

Main Entry: 2worry
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural worries
Date: 1804

1 a : mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated : anxiety b : an instance or occurrence of such distress or agitation
2 : a cause of worry : trouble, difficulty

Stress will make you sick. Literally sick. Once you realize that worry and stress and tension are all our enemies, we can begin working on fighting it. Its not easy to not let things get to you. I know. I’ve worked for over ten years to get to where I am at now.

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – Lee Iacocca

One trick I developed when I started working on stress management, was to keep busy. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re not stressing about it. This doesn’t work for everyone, but hey, it did not hurt one bit.

Think back to the last few arguments you’ve had. Particularly, the “stupid fight” ones. Could it have been avoided? Yes. Did someone overreacted? Most definitely. Was the argument worth it? No way! These arguments or fights stem from this unconscious stream of fear and worry. I’ve talked about fear and thinking positive before. Imagine handling those situations with a little forethought. Tell yourself “I do not want to argue” and with that in mind, imagine how the conversation would have happened. Go into every situation knowing that it is not the intent of your loved one to cause grief or worry. Go into every situation knowing that everyone has the ability to push your buttons, but showing restraint will show you to be the better person.

This is how I got rid of most, if not all, my stress and worry. I recently found myself in a strange situation between two people, and I did not want to be in it. I simply told both parties that I will not be a part of this issue, for I do not want this kind of drama in my life. I continued by stating that should they want to continue a discussion with me, it would be done civilly and without explosive argument.

Ultimately, things happened, and I wasn’t stressed from it. I also tend to look for and avoid stressful possibilities.

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.” – Natalie Goldberg

Nothing is that important. At least as your personal health. It manifests physically, through ulcers or migraines or who knows how else. Considering how hard life is already, we might as well make things a little better by reducing stress in our lives. Sometimes a symbol helps, my bobble head helps to calm me and to remind me what it is I am trying to do this year. Sometimes its the thought that by changing yourself, you are ensuring that someone or someones in your life sees this and begins their own transformation.

Or through song. Or through three little birds.

Whatever the reason, whatever the solution, keep in mind that you have to want to stop letting stress rule your life. You need to actively think about things and how you can ignore the stress. Calm down, breathe right, drink more water. Take a bubble bath with a rubber ducky. Do something with a friend. Life goes on.

Finally, something else that always helps me put things into perspective, is that I try to make someone smile every day. Sometimes, several someones. People that I know, or know me, or even strangers. Do something good and watch it multiply throughout the universe.

Being creative helps too.

Garson Kanin put it best:

“There are thousands of causes for stress, and one antidote to stress is self-expression. That’s what happens to me every day. My thoughts get off my chest, down my sleeves and onto my pad.” – Garson Kanin

2 Comments

Best. Picture. Ever.

So, some of you may have heard that my family’s recently gone through a very difficult death in the family. If you haven’t, well, there you go. It was bad. Real bad. The circumstances is what made it worse. Anyway, thank you all, once again for your ongoing support during this very rough time. Much appreciated.

” The hardest battle you’re ever going to fight is the battle to be just you. ” – Leo F. Buscaglia

I wanted to post something a little more light and funny. The show must go on. I hope to write more about the good stuff that’s been happening this year soon. My sister and I had gone to Dragon Con, Labor Day Weekend, and while there, we saw lots and lots of art and artists. We were intrigued by this sketch, pencil, pen, ink, colors, artist by the name of Brent Woodside of www.nihm-art.com/. He’s known for his Star Wars® drawings on starwars.com. My sister ended up wanting a portrait of herself so I figured I join in too. Here is the result of me coming up with something:

Edgar vs Astronaut, Caveman, and Pirate

And thus, the age-old question is answered.

4 Comments

Health quickie

“Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow — that is patience.” – Unknown

I know I have been slacking here, but know that IRL I have not. There are several YotE updates coming up I promise. I did want to update my health, though, since I had a very good day yesterday.

Every once in a while, I get an A1C test. Its basically a blood test that tells us how my sugar has been over several months. This is because red blood cells carry the “memory” of how much sugar there was. Weird.

In some ways, the A1C test is like a baseball player’s season batting average. Both A1C and the batting average tell you about a person’s overall success. Neither a single day’s blood test results nor a single game’s batting record gives the same big picture.

Now, A1C tests the percentage of blood sugar levels and a normal non-diabetic is at 5, although it could vary 4.5 to 6.

A result between 6 and 6.5 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes.

For most people who have previously diagnosed diabetes, an A1C level of 7 percent or less is a common treatment target.

I was diagnosed with diabetes, if you’ll remember, and the last A1C came back at 6, which was good. Yesterday, it was at 5.4. YAY!

This means that I have a very controlled case of diabetes. This means that my lifestyle change is working. This means that I actually have a VERY good chance at a normal life, quite possibly off medicine. I have you guys to thank for that, your support has kept me true to myself.

As for my blood pressure, it had turned out that I was not taking the correct medication as prescribed. I replaced a medicine when it was supposed to supplement it. Yesterday, it showed my BP to be lower than before, which is what we wanted. We’ve adjusted the medication once more and next month it hopefully will be at normal levels. Further weight loss and eating right should make that go away too.

Lastly, sleep apnea was discovered when I had a sleep study. Its been three months, but I finally got a scheduled appointment for a CPAP machine fitting. This too should help my BP.

That’s it on my front. Just know that patience IS a virtue, but there’s a fine line between patience and laziness… please be very proactive about your health, and do whatever is possible to get checked for anything and everything. You are very precious to yourself and your loved ones. I am living proof that its never too late to motivate yourself into health.

Year of the Edgar is going strong!

3 Comments

Edgartown Lane

Great street to live on!

My good friend, Amy Guth, found this street today and took a picture of it. Thanks Amy!

Having friends actively reminding me that this year is my year, especially through street signs, is definitely something I hope to never take for granted. I always hear of constant reminders of people’s flaws or mistakes but I never hear positive constant reminders. Unless I am the one giving them out. Its definitely something I try to do, but I don’t try to say something I don’t mean.

Take some time to appreciate the people in your lives, thank them for putting up with you. Find several nice or positive things to tell them and throughout the day, let them know. Make sure you mean it because it will come back to haunt you later. Sincerity is a gift worth giving out time and time again.

Edgar

3 Comments

Awareness through Perception

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked-as I am surprisingly often-why I bother to get up in the mornings. – Richard Dawkins

Misunderstandings keep us back. They keep us from fully embracing ourselves. When we finally get rid of that aspect of humanity, can we, as a people, further ourselves wholly and totally.

What do I mean with what I just said? What’s that quote all about up on top? Meaning is what this blog post is about. Each of us find meaning to something based on our own unique experiences with life. Good or bad. Its like when we were young and we played Telephone. That’s the game where a person on an end whispers something to the person next to them. That person then does the same thing to the next and so on. The experiment here is that ultimately, the original message will have been lost by the time it reaches the intended target, or the last person on the line.

This actually happens all the time. Your intended message gets lost. Much sooner than expected. So what do we do then to ensure that the message is fully understood? Since, this could lead to a misunderstanding through a miscommunication and ultimately leads to hurt feelings or worse.

Its obvious that we need to be careful in what and how things are said, but ultimately, we must prepare to be misunderstood. Patience and empathy can be very helpful in understanding where the issue lies and how to come up with a positive solution for all. We also need to realize that the only real way to fight against the negativeness that comes from these issues is to be as open-minded when you’re the receiver of the message. We can’t worry if our own messages get lost along the way to our intended audience.

Empathy, the ability to understand what someone is going through. The ability to let go of our selfish tendencies to not think about other people. To try to understand why things happen, why people react, or even why they are the way they are.

Patience, the ability to understand that things take time. Things take further explaining sometimes. To know that not everyone think exactly as you do and there are reasons why this is true.

When you understand empathy and accept it as something you can do, you will easily be patient. There are people out there that cannot be patient, which is also fine, everyone is built differently so its ok.

Know that having these tools at your disposal, you will be better prepared to fight the misunderstandings and the miscommunications. At least on your end. That’s what matters though, there’s only so much you can do and as long as you are sure of yourself, then everything’s fine.

Even before I began this project, I learned the value of empathy and of patience. Its helped me understand people. They are different and thus require different interactions. It helps me reduce my stress and it helps me avoid fear and the other negative thinking that may come.

Lastly, being humble will help us realize that we aren’t perfect, we make mistakes. This helps because we are ever learning, and we will continue to evolve this. Its all about being open-minded and adapting to change. Change that comes from learning or hearing something that sounds like it could be an upgrade to the way you think. This helps me deal with things I’ve not dealt with before, and ultimately I can get through most issues quickly and efficiently.

To sum up, we each perceive things differently because of our unique view of the world. This is based on our previous experiences. Most of us are raised to be selfish in our thinking. Not much empathy in that. Every event or action is dictated by the one question “how does this benefit me?” Its no one’s fault we are this way, its just how society currently is. Once our eyes are opened, and we can truly see the sun for what it is, only then can we enjoy its rays. Before its time to go to sleep again. Just realize that even the sun’s rays burns. So once you can understand why, know that it doesn’t mean its ok. I’m nice, but I won’t be taken advantage of.

Hope this helps your year be just a little better. Until next time.

Edgar

4 Comments