Why I Stopped Drinking Alcohol

I don’t normally get very personal on this blog but I thought I would let all the readers in on a few important decisions that have impacted my life. This is a long post but may be useful if you have ever questioned the role of alcohol in your life.

I have a funny relationship with alcohol. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve hated it (often in the same 24 hour period). I’ve said on multiple weekend mornings I’ll never touch the stuff again only to profess the very next week how excited I am to tour the new microbrewery in town. I’ve had a few friends that didn’t drink for various reasons and I’ve been with friends who can’t enjoy a social situation without alcohol. I’ve replayed the constant battle for years in my head about the joys and tragedies of consuming alcohol.

Photo: Train Wreck Winery

So, Why aren’t you drinking? It is hard to capture the social complexities and subtleties that encapsulate drinking in two sentences. I’ve spent years trying to figure out exactly what my thoughts were about the age old liquid. I’ve spent a lot of mental energy debating the pros and cons of the substance, its marketing, and its social status. I’ve traveled to countries where wine is everywhere and spent time in countries where alcohol was illegal. I’m impressed at the range of views that exist on the simple fermented beverage. (Photo: Train Wreck Winery)

After a particularly exciting night out with a bunch of buddies downtown, I woke up with a massive headache. I don’t know if it is just me but it seems like the older I get the worse those get too. I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I thought: man, it would be nice to take a little break from alcohol. Maybe I’ll stay in this weekend. Maybe I’ll take a week or two off. Maybe a month or two to clear my head. I needed time to answer the questions: Is alcohol giving me the true satisfaction promised in its advertising? or maybe: Is alcohol truly adding value to my life? Continue reading Why I Stopped Drinking Alcohol

People Are Your Greatest Asset

If you woke up tomorrow and your money, job, stuff, and house were gone- What would you do? How would you feel? Do you have people in your life that could help you make it through a tough situation? Do you have a supportive community that can support you in times of distress? How valuable are the people in your life? (Picture of Ms and Baby SE)

2013-12-14 20.15.32American society seems to suggest priorities that move the most important people to the margins of our lives. If we are not careful, our time and attention will drift towards our jobs, money, and our stuff. Again, if you analyze the average American family you will see how little quality time they actually spend together. Everyone has the romantic notion that our family and friends are important yet very few people intentionally make them a priority. Work always seems more urgent. Money is easier to measure than strong relationships. And families rarely take action on problems and prioritization until things get so messed up it is hard to fix. Can you put a value on a truly happy and fulfilling marriage? Continue reading People Are Your Greatest Asset

The Great Detox Challenge for 2014

I love writing about life hacking and intentional experiences designed to expand our comfort zones. In addition, my life tends to accumulate clutter over time – both mental and physical- and I often need to detox. I need an intentional cleanse to purge the unnecessary things that creep into my life and replace them with only things that I truly value. Partially inspired by Hatmaker, Cain, and Leo, challenges are a great way to try something new and observe our own reactions. The project and challenges I have proposed are two fold. They are exercises in self control; but also activities that produce personal awareness about some aspects of our lifestyle. I dislike leaving my comfort zone, but I enjoy the process and learning new things.

challenge

I’ve written about 30 day challenges before. But I’ve never offered publicly the ones we plan on attempting. I do enjoy public accountability and I also like the support we get when we invite others to join us in experimentation. I honestly think that habit formation and change is one of the single most important things anyone can do to make their lives better. In addition, this will be a joint challenge as Ms. SE has decided to join the lifestyle experiments and even added a few of her own. A supportive partner is another crucial element to a life of contentment, and her participation gives me extra motivation. So, what are we going to do to detox our lives? What to join us for a challenge? Feel free to pick ones that you want to do with us here. Continue reading The Great Detox Challenge for 2014

Stacking The Odds In Your Favor

Some people say good things in life happen to those who are lucky. But some people seem to get lucky over and over. It appears, that some people may be actually creating a bit of their own luck. We are all dealt a different set of initial cards but what we do with them is up to us. And, from my simple life experiences, stacking the odds in your favor is a sure-fire way to create the most opportunity and be positioned to take advantage of opportunities when they come available.

poker-chips-cards1Stacking the odds in your favor is simple. The basic idea is to set up environments that are conductive to success. Often, choosing your surroundings has just as much of an impact as the actions you take. If you are trying to lose weight and everything in your house is unhealthy – bad odds of being successful. If you are trying to stop smoking and you work in the restaurant industry in a place where everyone else smokes – you are stacking the odds against success. Trying to meet classy ladies at your favorite biker bar (think Harley not Trek) is an effort futility. Civic or religious organizations often provide much better opportunities to meet that bring-home-to-mom type lady. When I worked as a counselor at a summer camp, there were twice as many girls as guys- better odds. The complete opposite would be trying to find a wife at a tech school or video game convention. Think about where the odds give you favor and seek those positions out. Continue reading Stacking The Odds In Your Favor

Ms. Simple Economist’s Favorite Things

Hi SE readers! I’m excited I get to write another guest post. Mr. SE shared his favorite things a few months ago and asked me to do the same. So, here is a list of some items that bring joy to my life. I believe these are things that I will always enjoy no matter what stage of life I am in, and I think you may enjoy them too.

pbFreshly Ground Peanut Butter
I love peanut butter and always have. I’m one of those people who can just eat it by the spoonful. I used to get the processed stuff, but then I decided it might be better to get something with less added sugar if I am going to be eating it everyday. I used to buy it from the market already ground, but now I make it conveniently at home anytime I have the urge. Just put some unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts in the food processor, give it a little wiz, and there you go. Awesome, delicious peanut butter ready to eat! You can do this with any other nuts as well, but peanuts seem to work best.

nikeNike Tempo Shorts
Probably any girl from the age of 12-35 will tell you these shorts are amazing. Not only trendy, they are great for working out, going to class, running errands, or lounging around the house. They come in any color you can imagine whether you want neon, your school colors, or to go with that favorite t-shirt. And they have built-in underwear and elastic band for the perfect fit! Continue reading Ms. Simple Economist’s Favorite Things

Blogs I Read

blog Before I decided to jump in and join the writer’s crowd, I spent years reading posts from a wide variety of authors. My life and perspective have been thoroughly challenged and changed from the words written by many of the authors who write weekly to an audience around the world. At first, this post was going to be a shout out to all the other bloggers that I enjoy and that have helped me on my way. But I’ve made it a little more specific and retained only the blogs that I actually read. Ones where I read every post right after they hit my feed. Here are the blogs I enjoy.

The Classics
Zen Habits – Written by Leo Babauta who is a self described minimalist and habit creator. His material covers a healthy lifestyle, habit formation, parenting, and focus. He has been writing for several years and his content remains epic. One of the few old school bloggers that still writes consistently.
Great Post: A Brief Guide to Life

Mr. Money Mustache – The best face punching, entertaining financial literacy author writing right now. A wealthy early retiree who maintains a low impact lifestyle. A must read for anyone who is working toward living a more efficient life. I’ve already written about his best posts; but I’m impressed he keeps the new material coming each week.
Great Post: Is it Convenient? Would I Enjoy it? Wrong Question Continue reading Blogs I Read