Monday, September 30, 2013

Mini Goal - Caffeine Free for Fourteen Days - COMPLETE!

I made it!

Fourteen days without caffeine!

It was pretty difficult at first, but by the end I didn't even miss my daily fix.

I absently reached for my wife's coffee and Bailey's yesterday, but I caught myself - as I noticed her face of disbelief - remembering that it had caffeine in it!!

I had my customary cup of fresh French press coffee this morning - mmmm...

It was delicious!

But I didn't have my 'gotta have it before I wake up' feeling as before.

I may try to limit myself to my one cup a day going forward...which means, I need to give away these chocolate covered espresso beans that have been teasing me for the past two weeks!

Yours in exploiting life!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How My Short-Term Goals Are Going

An update on my goals!

I've really been slacking...yep, that's the update.

Even sharing them with the world did little to encourage me to meet (or exceed) my short term goals.

I do feel like I've replaced some of this time with exploiting activities - not just time wasters!

But, alas, that would just be an excuse...

I started working out Monday night - three days now, 30 minutes a day.  I'm breaking back into P90X (if you want to work hard, this is the workout!). As soon as I started on Monday, I knew why I like working out - I had the "I've done something" sore muscles the next day, and it motivated me to workout again.  Let's see if I can make it four in a row!!

Meditation and Spanish are big on my list too - maybe I'll start these tonight!

Yours in exploiting life!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mini Goal - Caffeine Free for Fourteen Days - UPDATE


My name is Quinn and I'm a caffeine-a-holic.

Its been eight days since my last fix.

I still catch myself wanting to grab the pot of coffee and start guzzling it.

I wake up in the middle of the night with the sweats - the espresso sweats.


If I can do this, then you can too.

OK, so it really wasn't that bad to go eight days without caffeine (only six more to go!).

I did have the standard headaches the first and second days - the first being a horribly debilitating afternoon pain! - but then it calmed down. (I was pretty cranky - my wife might not agree that it wasn't 'that bad' these eight days.)

I was also pretty tired the first week - in the past (yes, only 8 days ago!), I'd reach for the coffee or tea as soon as I started feeling lethargic - but at this point I'm able to roll out of bed (at a decent time).

I'm not sure about the extra energy though. I'm still pretty tired at night.

I'm curious if going for the second week will make a difference in the energy levels - maybe steady energy throughout the day, instead of crashing in the late afternoon.

I'm pretty happy with myself - not only for making it eight days, but making it eight days while making coffee for my wife each morning!! It was my 'extra' challenge, to tempt myself every day.

She's pretty excited though, she gets a full pot of coffee, and no sharing!

Yours in exploiting life!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mini Goal - Caffeine Free for Fourteen Days

Time for another mini goal!

I have a feeling this one will be much more difficult!

Let me espresso myself.

As a lover of espresso, coffee, cafe, tea, and Starbucks...I drink way too much caffeine.

Instead of going down to one cup a day (yes, it's much, much, more than this), I'm going cold turkey...for two weeks!!

Fourteen days without my morning french pressed coffee.

Fourteen days without my five cups of coffee/tea at work.

Fourteen days without my Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans. (New favorite! If you haven't tried them, you'll be hooked!)

Fourteen days without my Thursday ritual Starbucks grande mocha (extra shot!).


I don't think this is too much of a stretch goal.

About two years ago I made it twelve days without caffeine.

On the other hand, my intake of caffeine since then has increased dramatically!!


I'm going to be watching to see if I notice any differences in my body.

Any headaches or mood swings in the first few days (my wife will be the judge of this one). Possibly cravings and withdrawals.

Any increase in energy and waking up in the morning (I hear this can actually happen...we'll see).

I know I'll be tested daily, because I told my wife she didn't have to join the challenge - and that I would continue to make her french press coffee in the morning (she'll actually get two cups now, instead of one!).

In replace of my coffee and tea, I plan on drinking a lot more water.  I'll also add in some caffeine-free tea for a little variety.

Decaf coffee? Hell no! That's an abomination to the word coffee!


My guess is good preparation would be key to this goal.

Start weening myself off during the week prior.

That would be the easy way...

Instead (and maybe because I know I'm going to be deprived of it) I've been ramping up!

My coffee in the morning, tea at work, and a handful of chocolate covered espresso beans! It's been a great week!

(I'm literally eating the espresso beans as I write this.)


Challenge set, challenge accepted.

I start Monday morning!

Do you drink coffee? Would you be able to go cold turkey for a week? How about two?

Yours in exploiting life!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

And I Cried

(Not related to the joys of exploiting life, but rather realizing that exploiting life comes with pain too.  This is a life event that has had a big impact on me.)

I don't cry at funerals.

I don't cry when my family is hurting or suffering.

I don't cry during movies.

I don't cry - or at least I don't cry very often.

I don't think I'm insensitive.

I sympathize, I empathize, I listen.

I care, I feel, I hurt, I support...everyone, including animals.

But for some reason, no tears normally flow.

The other day, I cried - a lot. I cried all evening. I cried with my wife. I even cried the next morning in front of co-workers.

The reason, my dog!

She recently had a tumor on her lip removed and a biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

An aggressive enough form of cancer to warrant x-rays and an additional surgery.

The second surgery required removing tissue around the original tumor spot, trying to catch the mutated cells before the spread.

We were warned that she would look different. Her canine tooth would show and it may appear that she is snarling.

I had no idea the impact on me.  Maybe I had no idea the amount that I cared for this dog?

When I picked her up and saw the result...I cried. And I cried.

I had no control.

She definitely looked different - but that wasn't why I cried.

No. I cried for two reasons -

I could finally, physically, see what was so intangible before. That she was fighting cancer. That this was impacting her. I hurt for her, as I imagined she was hurting inside.

I worried that this person-loving, can't-get-enough-of-new-people, animal would be shunned. Shunned, by something she had no control or understanding of. Something that she couldn't see, but the new come-snuggle-me stranger would see - and who would turn from her when she ran up for cuddles.

I knew she is better off now, even if she doesn't realize it.

And I knew there are others out there, who like me will see a happy, tail-wagging full-of-life puppy when she runs toward them.

But this didn't stop me from crying.

And crying.

This was part of exploiting life - part of experiencing all of the emotions of life.

Don't be afraid of crying. Most have been through similar situations.

We are not alone.

Is there a particular moment that you remember crying uncontrollably? Have you loved your pet and not known it until after?

Yours in exploiting life.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What is a Time (Life) Waster?

How do I define a time (life) waster?

Any activity that gives me that stomach sinking feeling that I should be doing something else with my time.

Excuses, or habits, that I revert to whenever I find myself bored and unmotivated. Activities that bring regret.

Starting new T.V. shows, when I have no interest in them. Reading multiple news sources (when they all say the same thing).

Sitting through useless meetings at work. Sleeping in to an unreasonable time. Eating unhealthy, tasteless fast food. Procrastinating.

Activities that I wouldn’t want to rave about to friends and colleagues.

What are activities that I don’t consider time (life) wasters?

Any activity that brings me joy and the feeling of wanting more time to continue. Activities that bring new stories.

Spending time with my wife. Spending time with family and friends. Spending time outside. Reading a good book.

Traveling and experiencing new places, cultures, and foods. Trying new restaurants (especially when ordering the chef’s choice).

Spending time on activities that are achieving my goals. Helping others. Trying new hobbies. Trying new drinks. People watching (not the creepy kind, but while enjoying some sunshine or a cup of coffee).

These activities let me experience life, live life, and exploit life.

What do you consider time (life) wasters? What do you consider exploited time?

Yours in exploiting life!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Financial Goal Time!

 UPDATE: We were able to pay off the last of our debt early! It was an amazing (and challenging) journey from over $70,000 of debt to ZERO!

Setting financial goals can be very difficult - especially when you sometimes just want to buy that (second) beer on Friday night!

Recently, my wife and I decided that if we buckled down, we could pay off our remaining student loans in 2013!

This would be awesome and it's our last debt. We'd be debt free at last!! (A goal we've been working toward for the past two years.)

Debt about exploiting life.  There won't be anything tying us down!  We can work jobs to make just what we immediately need, we won't be working to pay off past (sometimes bad) purchases and experiences!

It's definitely been a journey getting here - originally we had six student loans, a car loan, credit card debt, and a personal/family loan.

Slowly (but steadily) we've worked our way through them.

Just do it now!

If it was easy, it wouldn't be a goal.  We'd just do it and be done. But...

There's still $13,000+ owed on a total of four loans and only four months left!

How're we gonna do it?!

Time to 'pinch our pennies'...

Okay, so we don't have to quite live on ramen noodles every day for the next 116 days - though this is my default food choice when our weekly food budget is gone!

We just have to stick to our budget.

Which means - saying 'no' to some fun invites and activities, eating at home more, and finding reasonable entertainment.


I think we can do it...the challenge and satisfaction will be our fun.

Do you have a financial goal that you're trying to complete in 2013? How are you approaching it?

Yours in exploiting life!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

When Exploiting Life Gets in the Way of My Goals

This summer has been amazing - probably the best since moving to Portland. My wife and I have done so much exploring, traveling, and exploiting!

Between camping, day trips, trip to Morocco, and this last weekend's trip to San Diego, the summer has flown by.

Its been amazing, and I love that we're taking advantage of our time.

The draw back, something has been left behind...

My goals.

Since most of our exploiting takes up our weekend time, we've tried to fit our day-to-day lives into the five weekdays.

Working our traditional jobs, keeping up on the house, doing our budget, planning our next trip, taking care of the dog...

This doesn't leave much time for my goals.


Deciding to pick the priority of travel and exploration over my goals of health, meditation, and self-employment has been gnawing at my stomach lining.

What about reaching my goals from two months ago? The ones I wrote down and shared with the world...

I've spent the last day trying to determine what is the biggest priority to me - turns out, maybe the solution is to combine them.


Not that I haven't thought of this before, but I obviously haven't acted upon it. (Again, maybe writing my goal will help me stay motivated.)

I think with the next weekend outing, I'll try to multitask my goals.

While camping with friends (exploiting life), I'll take some time away from camp to meditate and exercise (at least stretching, push-ups, sit-ups).

Maybe I can ask them about their plans for the future, whether they believe their finances will take them there (self-employment).

Act! Action!

It all comes down to action, not planning.

I can think about this, plan it out, talk about it - but if I don't actually do any of doesn't matter!!

Have you ever had to give up one high priority for another? How do you make the decision?

Yours in exploiting life!