By Alexander Pereira
Welcome to January! The month of new beginnings – well on the Gregorian Calendar, which is just the Roman Calendar with some holidays renamed. Other culture’s calendars may beg to differ – Sorry my anthro major got away from me…. Where was I? Oh right, the Month of the New Beginnings, a clean break from the slothful you of last year and a fresh healthy start… until March. And then everyone sorta just goes back to what they were doing before. I’m not making fun of them, not really. I’ve certainly been guilty of doing the same thing, going to the gym takes effort. Eating healthy is just so… so… well you know. All of which is to say, hey I’m taking advantage of this mental and temporal ‘fresh start’ myself! If you’re a fan of the podcast, you’ve heard me talk a bit about this on episodes 14 and 15 [Links] but I’m going to set it in stone, as it were, here.
Operation Respec is about me, Alexander Pereira, making myself into a better version of me, the version I want to be. This is bigger than a weight loss goal, or aiming to run a 5k, although holy crap if you can do that I worship you.
For years I’ve felt like I’m not quite the person who I am in my self-image. I don’t feel like I look like I should. To the point where I’ve written videos about how my mental image of a hero doesn’t, and can’t, match with who I am, physically — and racially — in the past. I have an ideal for how I should act that I regularly don’t meet, interpersonally or just in how I go through life. You’ll hear me say “cause I’m lazy” a lot and, arguments with mom aside, I hate that I do. I’m not actually lazy when I care about something, as this freaking WEBSITE proves but I need to break several years of bad habits. I also have an annoying social confidence issue that hits me at weird times. I spent the better part of my two years in university not thinking my school friends were friends with me, just friendly strangers. Because I was afraid to make an assumption and maybe weird them out. Now of course, they’re the biggest group of people I tweet at on Twitter.
As for who I want to be? Take Commander Shepard, Honor Harrington, Aragorn and Admiral Anderson, blend them up and throw in some healthy realism and you’ve got me. Or just check out my friend Giselle Gonzalez. I want to be living my life as fully as she is. Or my friend Keezy Young, who’s a badass artist who is really leaning into her art and that’s brave and awesome. Those two are the ones who are really inspiring me to push toward meeting my own bars. Wil Wheaton and Rooster Tooth are the ones who made me realize public accountability is something I can use to motivate myself and others.
So what does Operation Respec entail?
- This is traditional. I weigh 213lbs. I want to weight no more than 190lbs. I can’t keep the level of activity I used to be able to do. I want to change this. What does this mean?
- Go to the Gym. No really, I’m a former black belt gone to seed 5 years running, I HAVE to get myself back in shape.
- Eat Healthier
- I’m not going to diet. I hate diets. I love good food. Calorie counting makes me mad.
- I am going to modify my current diet to cut out the crap foods.
- That means no more M&M packages a week, no McDonalds, try to cook and prepare my lunches better.
- Instead of a diet, I’m going to work to be more mindful of my food.
Be More Disciplined
- I procrastinate. I avoid work. I play games when I should be writing. I’m bad at scheduling things or planning ahead… in some very poignant places. I’m still going to do/be all of that. But I’m going to work on doing it less.
- Write 30mins-1 hour a day
- Apply for that job, or message that person on OKC with a day of finding it/them
- Schedule the Website, Podcast and personal life better
- I AM GOING TO LEARN TO BUDGET
- I’m bad at money. I am so freaking bad it’s not funny. I’m going to actually try and change that this year.
- Help with cleaning and cooking around the house more.
- Be more helpful in general
Be More Social
- When I was living in Calgary, I was rooming with my only friend in the city. I knew literally no one else. I had to go out to meet people because I need more than one friend locally. I got to know some really cool writer people in Calgary but my other attempts to meet people ran up against my own anxieties or a general freeze from the board game scene. I Started playing World of Warcraft again, I STARTED PLAYING WORLD OF WARCRAFT AGAIN.
- Here, I fell back into the comfortable cushion of childhood friends and the network I’d grown up building. I mean I live with the family of my best friend. We hang out weekly-ish and play lots of games online together. It’s good, I love it. It’s also really safe and not helping me grow at all. So I’m going to try and change it up.
- I’m going to find or found a Writer’s Meetup Group. It’s going to help me write more and be more social.
- I’m going to try to find and go to a Board Game group or dabble in local board game store communities. Seattle tabletop gaming community is so much more diverse and welcoming than Calgary’s that I need to take advantage of it.
- Participate in the communities I’m already in. My dance studio has a pretty healthy community that I’ve been sort of skirting around being a part of because there isn’t a lot of people my age there. I need to actually take up getting to know people there.
- Find Friends to go on Adventures with.
- Adventures are fun but a lot of my close friends aren’t the sort to want to go do random adventures and the few who are don’t live nearby. I need more friends to do adventures with.
- SEE MY SCHOOL FRIENDS MORE.
- COME ONE GUYS WE ALL LIVE REALLY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER THIS SHOULDN’T BE A PROBLEM.
- I mean, yeah. It’s a problem. I might see them more than once this year. Or like, ever. In the case of Doc. Seriously, Doc and I haven’t seen each other outside of a convention in like 3 or 4 years.
- Last but not least? I’m going to actually try and use things like OkCupid to meet some people… rather than use it as this weird pseudo-meat shopping site it seems to have a tendency to feel like to me… there is an article on this.
- Am I admitting that I use a dating site? Yup. Is it a big deal? NO. Meeting people is hard after school. Hell meeting people was hard BEFORE school was a public thing. That was the point of all the nobles holding balls and parties in the Dark Ages.
Be More Adventurous
- Given no push, I will stay at home and play video games, read or write before I do anything else. I don’t love travelling and I’ve been bad about going hiking cause summer camps are exhausting work. So this year I plan to:
- Travel More
- I’m already flying down to visit Newman in San Diego and I’ve already hit up Portland but I also want to plan a Vancouver weekend visit and go visit my friends in Bellingham. Maybe more? I want to remind myself to go see the world.
- I’m not going to go on a crazy globetrotting tour because that’s not me, but I’m going to work harder to take even small trips outside of my own haunts.
- Take Advantage of the fact that I LIVE IN SEA-FREAKING-TTLE!
- I mean seriously. I live in Seattle, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I’m going to try to go hiking more, maybe go kayaking again or find a trail riding place for an adventure. Things like this.
- Work in fields I’m not intimately Familiar with
- I’ve worked childcare/after school programs for most of my life. Maybe it’s time I try something else?
- Do things I’m not comfortable with
- Humans have a tendency to prefer things they are familiar with and know. I’m human. I want to do things that stretch my comfort zone.
- If that means I’m doing things like taking a yoga class at my gym or going to see an opera, then that’s what I’m doing. I started this one a bit last year because I asked a freaking classmate out to do stuff. I actually talked to people.
- I am doing the Spring Showcase at my Dance Studio.
- I REPEAT I AM GOING TO PERFORM A WALTZ IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.
- I DO NOT PERFORM. BUT HERE I AM
I’ve given myself quite a job, haven’t I? Yes. Yes, I have. But like I said, I don’t expect to hit everything here but I expect myself to try. Because if I don’t I’m not the me I know I am.
What can you expect from me?
- These aren’t going to be long updates or big ones necessarily. I will check in with reports about any social or adventures I manage and more importantly, I’m going to be posting regular updates about my Exercise, Food and Writing Habits. Those are the biggest pieces of public accountability I want from this program.
An Example to Follow… or a Warning learn from
- I’m not an expert at any of this. That’s the whole point of the website. We don’t know what we’re doing but we know are doing something. This is just another example of that. I can’t promise this will go well, but if it does I hope someone decides they want to do a Respec of their own. If this crashes and burns, well the lessons we find can make the next go around better.