What I’ve Been Doing the Past 4 Years
Hi, my name is Mario Villalobos, and I’m flawed. Super flawed. Undeniably flawed. That just makes me human.
I’ve made mistakes, and I’ve owned up to my mistakes, and I feel and am better for it. I’ve documented my life for the past 365 days out on the internet, a place that never forgets, and I’ve tried my best to be as honest and as forthright as I could. I may not have always succeeded, but I’m better for having tried. I’ve kept a journal for years, but this was the first time I’ve ever kept one publicly.
How did it go?
It kicked my ass. It really did. I did a lot in 365 days, and I’m kind of amazed that I didn’t break my streak1 in that time. I drove from Ronan, Montana to San Diego, California, and I pulled over to the side of the road, opened my laptop, and wrote my entry. I spent about a full month combined out in nature while firefighting, and I still managed to write. I couldn’t do it without the valuable pieces of technology that made it all possible: my iPhone 6 and MacBook Air.
And some may say my tenacity. I set out to write for a full year, and I didn’t want anything to stop me. My heart broke last year, and when it was just beginning to heal, broke again, but now it’s healed and stronger than ever. I started it all because of some stupid girl, but because of that stupid girl, I am where I am now. Over 300 (yes, 300, on and off) days of Insanity later, over 202,000 words later, over numerous ups and downs and downs and more downs, and over 360 entries later, I’m stronger and better off than I’ve ever been in my life. Thanks, Rel.
Nothing will change except for the fact that I won’t be updating my blog on a daily basis. My current host is Squarespace, and my account expires in a few days. I’ll be eventually hosting my own WordPress blog, but I’m not sure when that will happen. Keep your eyes out on this domain for updates.
I’ll still be writing in a journal as close to daily as possible, but I will be taking it day by day. I don’t want to feel burdened by the daily act of journalling, especially if it interferes with real life. I’m excited for what’s next. I can do anything. Grad school is a real possibility. EMT classes start in a few weeks. My novel needs to be rewritten. I could meet a girl…
My life is what I make of it. It’s a blank page with a blinking cursor with my fingertips on the keyboard ready to start typing. I can create anything, and that’s what’s so exciting about life: it can be whatever you want it to be, and if you want it to be amazing, then make it amazing.
How do you change?
By taking it one day at a time and trying your best to be as honest and as tenaciously you as you could. And, who knows, maybe the question isn’t how to change but how to actualize your true potential, and that, my friends, is all part of the journey.
Thanks for taking part in my journey.
I’m high right now. So fucking high.
Today was my niece’s sixth birthday party. I’m writing this after that whole ordeal, where mostly my sister’s husband’s family came over and gave my nice a whole lotta shit she doesn’t really need (says the guy who just yesterday went on a shopping spree). She’s a bit spoiled, but she’s turning out okay. I didn’t get her anything. Does that make me a bad uncle? Probably.
I was finally able to see where my brother lives and how he lives. Turns out, not bad. He’s made a pretty good life for himself after the first few years there not knowing how life would turn out for him. It looks like he’s very comfortable and that he eats. That’s always important. He lives very nearby, too, so if something bad ever happens, I’m right there for him.
I never smoked that much weed in my life. Everything got dizzy and I didn’t think I was going to be able to walk back into the kitchen (because we smoked outside) in a straight line. The music sounded so good and the conversation was actually pretty interesting. I forgot what the hell— oh, I remember: politics. My sister’s husband hates hates hates the government, and we were talking about Obamacare, and everything just went to shit. Luckily, someone suggested we play One Night, and so we did, and we had a lot of fun.
I didn’t thinK I was going to be able to drive home, but I somehow managed to, and now I’m in bed writing this. I’m still kind of high, so I have no idea how I’m not dead yet. Part of me kinda feels like what I’m doing now isn’t real. Is that funny?
This is my penultimate entry, and I’m high and a little bit drunk. And it was my niece’s sixth birthday party. What the fuck is wrong with me?
What have I learned after doing this project for 364 straight days? I’m glad I was able to keep it going during firefighting season because I know how tough it is to keep any semblance of real life going during fire season. I’m so much better off now than when I first started. I didn’t have a job, I was too hung up on Zharelle Edwards, I was sad and depressed and hated myself every time I drank. And now I can drink and get high and still love myself. That’s so much progress. I also have a finished novel to my name, and entirely new home compared to last year, all my books and so many more, I’m a squad boss in firefighting, I have a great job with great co-workers, and I performed Insanity for over 200 days. This was a great year. And it all comes to an end tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be my last entry on this blog for a while. My Squarespace account expires in a few days, and I think my blog will be offline then. I’m working on transferring it over into a WordPress blog, but I have no timetable on that. So I may be saying goodbye tomorrow. If I will, then I hope I’m not too high.year one
Well, Amazon and Ugmonk were happily paid today by me. I have stuff coming next week!
I spent close to $600 on 12 items today, and it took months, maybe even a year, to build up my wish list, and today, it’s 12 items shorter. My purchases were a mixture of definite needs (a new frying pan, windshield wipers for my car, a snow broom), and needs (a $38 black leather mousepad, a small $200 SONOS speaker), and others were in between (a 2 TB hard drive, an Apple Wireless Mouse to replace my broken Apple Wireless Trackpad). I bought stuff for my kitchen, car, and home, and I’m excited. Unfortunately, this is just phase 1 for me. I’m building phase 2 as we speak, but I might not pull the trigger on it for a few months. It might or might not include a TV.
Today was slow, calm, and awesome. I spent most of this rainy day indoors, and began to re-watch season 7 of Doctor Who. Season 8 came out on Netflix not too long ago, but it had been so long since I watched Doctor Who that I wanted a refresher. I love this show so much. I’m so happy I pulled the trigger on it years ago when I saw it on Netflix because wow… it’s one of my comfort shows. That and probably Gilmore Girls. I don’t have many of them, and I rarely go back and re-watch past episodes or seasons of shows I’ve already watched, but Doctor Who is definitely one of them.
The one purchase I’m most excited for, and it definitely falls into the want category, is the $200 SONOS Play:1 speaker. I don’t know how many times I wanted to simply listen to music aloud while reading or writing or doing chores but couldn’t because all I had were the builtin speakers for my iPhone and Mac. Not good enough. So I’m entering the world that SONOS has created with its speakers, and I can’t wait. The other purchases I’m most excited for are the Apple Wireless Mouse with black leather mousepad.
Is it weird that I’m waxing rhapsodic over fucking products? Especially when I’m so close to the end? Considering how great the products I bought last year have treated me, I think the answer is that no, it’s not weird. I try to choose my products carefully. These have been on my wish list for a long time, and I’ve thought about them, and I cull my list all the time. I will use everything I bought, and that’s what I think makes my shopping sprees different from other people’s. Yes, maybe that’s arrogant, and if so, so be it.
I have two more entries after this one. I can finally reclaim my nights! I totally would have kept lying on my couch watching YouTube and Netflix if I didn’t have to write an entry on my blog. But my willpower will only have to last for a few more days. Then: BAM. Blog will be offline.year one
I need to stop driving while spending some of the night drinking. It’s going to bite me in the ass sooner rather than later.
I had fun, though. After work, I bought some beers and drove directly to my sister’s place, where I hung out with my mom, had some amazing Mexican food, and then slept on and off for the next few hours because I was exhausted and full and a bit buzzed, but afterwards, once night fell and more people came over, we played some One Night, which is an awesomely fun game. I’m tired right now, and it’s late (11:09 PM), but I feel awful that it’s day 362 and I’m not writing that much.
My mom’s here. I only get to see her maybe once a year. Fire season is over, and she’ll be here up until day 365. I will write what I write. I have nothing spectacular planned. I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I no longer care about some stupid girl and instead am eager to find the next one. Who is she? Where is she? When will I meet her? It’s fun.
I’m also eager to reboot my life again. God, again. How many times do I need to do that in a given year? A lot, apparently. I need to start working out again and eating better. I need to rewrite my novel. I need to buy needed supplies. I’m still conflicted whether or not I should buy a TV. A good TV will set me back hundreds of dollars, eating into my ability to buy other much needed items. But a TV is a TV. I can buy a PS4 and play video games and watch DVDs and Netflix and Hulu and invite people over and watch TV on my couch and bed and have fun. Or I could buy more kitchen equipment, cook delicious meals with them, and help with my diet and social skills in that way. I think the latter is where I’m leaning toward. I guess the TV will have to wait.
I don’t know how far I’ve come since it seems like I’m still worried about and struggling with many of the same things I’ve been struggling with all year. I weigh more than I did then and probably in not much better shape. I can cook better. I am happier. I do have a finished novel to my name. I do have a wonderful and high paying job. I’m rid of the toxic people in my life. I’m a squad boss in firefighting. I have a wonderful home. Life is awesome but can always, always, improve.
Kaizen is the concept of continuous improvement. Maybe that’s simply the theme of my journey: continuous improvement. No matter how far I get, the process is still in the journey. I will never reach my destination because my destination comes with death. And I’m living until then. So you’ve all been part of just one year of my journey. We’ll see what happens next.year one
It’s late because I spent the last 7 or so hours with my mom and my family. We played One Night, which is this really awesome game where you play roles and try to figure out who, if anybody, is a werewolf. It’s a fun game that makes you lie, investigate, and deduce who you think might be a werewolf. There’s a lot more complexity to it than that, but even just that simple premise makes this a really fun game. I can’t wait to play more of this tomorrow.
We went to eat at this pretty good pizza place in Polson, where I had more cheese than I’ve had in a long time and a small, 16 oz (!!) Cold Smoke beer. Oh, I also finally used my Dodge Durango to drive a full 7 people to eat. It was really cool to drive my whole family there, and everyone seemed to have a great time.
My mom looks great and it’s great having her back. I took her out to lunch today, and it was good catching up with her again, and then she even played with us at night. We had a really fun night.
I’m on Day 361 now, and I’m tired, so I don’t think I’ll make it to 500 days. I’ve yet to shower, and I won’t tonight. I might tomorrow. I’m sleeping in an hour, which means I might just skip breakfast.
I ate and drank too much anyway.year one
If I didn’t have to write this entry tonight, I would be asleep. Just sayin’.
This is going to be weird once this ends. Ends with an asterisk. I’m planning to figure out how to create a WordPress blog and import my Squarespace entries into it. But that won’t be soon. Give me a few weeks. Then I’ll just have a blog that I’ll update every now and then. I’m not too well known to care about it with any sort of seriousness. Still gotta rewrite my novel.
I’ve had a long booze-induced nap this afternoon, and now I’m just groggy. I’ve been watching Attack on Titan today and been completely entranced by it. I started it Tuesday night and now I’m on track to finish it by tomorrow. It is so good.
My mom comes in from San Diego tonight.
Still haven’t worked out since coming back from firefighting. I’m definitely feeling the effects of that on my body and mind. I also haven’t meditated since coming back. So I haven’t done both of those things in about a month now. And to think how great it was to be getting those habits back a month ago. Nothing wrong with starting over.
So I made a spreadsheet of about 50 items I want to buy. The columns contain the name of the product, what kind of product it is, its price, and a link to where I can buy it. Most of the stuff I want to buy is on Amazon, which makes it easy. However, by giving myself an arbitrary $500 limit, I’m finding myself with the hard choice of culling my choices to a select few, and since I’m cutting things I want but also including things I want, I’m paralyzed by my choices. I also haven’t added everything I’m thinking of buying into it, so those choices will only be made harder. Most of the stuff I want is for the kitchen, but I have a few things for my desk and my car. Nothing for my living room. It’s better to planning this than simply buying this shit impulsively.
I also know that once I get WordPress running, I’m going to want to buy a few programs for my Mac that would make updating my blog easier. Jeesh.
EMT basic training classes start on the 21st of September, and I’m going to take it. I’m going to become a certified EMT person. I might have to postpone my grad school aspirations for now. I really like being a firefighter, and if I’m also a fireline EMT, then even better. An EMT friend of mine told me I could work for the ambulance on weekends, which means extra money. It’s intense, though, he said. Am I ready for that?
Like with anything else in life, I simply have to jump in and wet my toes. I don’t know if that’s the right expression. I’ll be wetting more than my toes if I jump in.
I’m confused.year one
One the things I should’ve started this week but haven’t is Insanity. The big reason why is that I want to drink after work, and I know I can’t workout well with a belly full of beer. That’s a horrible excuse, I realize, but at least it’s an honest excuse.
I have less than a week before my one year project ends, and I think the thing I’m going to do is export my site to WordPress and host my blog on my own. Squarespace made it super easy for me to get started, but at $96 a year, it’s just too expensive, especially when I can get my domain name for $12-13 a year. I’ll have to do all my own coding, though, but that might be better than what I have been doing. So many apps support WordPress that it could make things even easier, once I set everything up. But I’m just talking out loud right now, so things might and will change.
I’m finding myself using fewer and fewer apps in my day to day life, and it’s making me feel freer and happier. I’m barely using OmniFocus for my daily tasks, and instead, I’m using the default Notes app in Yosemite and iOS 8. I simply created a note, titled it Today, and have been writing down the few things I want to get done that day. If I don’t finish something or even start something, I’ll leave it in the note for tomorrow. Then tomorrow I go through it again, add anything I want to do, and work from that list. I also have one for work; in fact, I created the one for work first, and I just liked it so much that I adopted it to my daily workflow. Don’t know how well this will stick, but it’s something I’m experimenting with. My life, to be frank, isn’t that busy that I need something like OmniFocus to keep it in check. Most of the things I do are things I want to do because I know they’ll make me happy or better in some way and not because I have to.
Like this blog. I really don’t have to keep this blog updated. I didn’t really have to the past 358 days, but I did because I wanted to and I knew it would make me proud later. I’m sure 95% of what I wrote has been shit, but if I didn’t write that, that 5% would never have been written and I would have never learned from it.
I’m still using OmniFocus, though. It’s a repository for a me I think is achievable but so far unattained. The note in the Notes app is fluid and impermanent, which I like, but it doesn’t hold up for long term planning. And I’m always thinking in the longterm. Once this year is up in the next week, how will I spend the following year? That’s a question that has me excited and scared. It’s something else I have to succumb myself to. Grrrrrreat.year one
I had some crazy Pinot Noir-infused dreams last night, and I finished the bottle tonight, and I can’t seem to keep my eyes open. My blog ends next Monday, and all I want to do is rush through to the end.
I’m tired and lazy and I just started watching Attack on Titan on Netflix and I just want to go back to watching that and did I mention I’m tired?
So I get paid at work tomorrow. I only worked two days this pay period, but I had 40 hours of vacation time saved up so I ended up with a bit over 50 hours this pay period. That’s awesome. That’s more money than I thought I would have earned, and that should keep me afloat for September, so I can actually use the fire checks toward debts. I’m thinking of allocating just $500 or so on wants and saving the rest. This will cover a lot of my kitchen wants and maybe a few things for my desk. Cool cool cool.
I planned to workout today, but that didn’t happen. A friend of mine actually wanted to go hiking with me today, but she had to go to Polson, and by the time she got back, I was already at the bottom of my Pinot Noir bottle and in no shape in going out. Maybe we’ll go out some other time. She did tell me of a few cool spots to go hiking, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on in the coming months.
Will you guys actually miss me writing this blog? If there’s enough interest (and judging by my stats, there isn’t), I’ll consider switching over to a WordPress site or something and keeping a blog there.
I’ll be honest, there are times when I do like my blog. It’s the burden of the daily entry that has tainted it, though. Live and learn, right?
This is more of a freewrite than anything. I used to do a lot of those back in high school and college. God did I do a lot of them in high school. I thought I was the shit back then, that every word I wrote was golden and heavenly and the whole world should bow at my feet and worship me. Not much has changed. Ha.
It’s the last day of August, and god damn did this month go by fast. I was out fighting fires for most of it, but damn, still went by fast. Tomorrow is a new month, and I’m supposed to get my life back on track. Shit… didn’t I say the exact same thing last September? So I guess not much has changed in the past year.
That’s not entirely true. Remember her? Yeah, me neither. She still overshadows this blog as she was the purpose of it in the beginning, but the blog became its own thing and I grew a lot as a person. What do you guys think? Have I?year one
Today went by too fast because I actually did what I set out to do.
I cleaned my house. Boy, did my house need a good cleaning. The bathroom is clean, the kitchen is clean, the living room is clean, everything is clean. I cleaned the fridge and that funky smell from all that expired food is gone. It actually smells amazing in there now that I have fresh food in there. I made homemade guacamole and salsa roja, and their fragrance is very welcome in my life. I made chicken salad with the guacamole, and oh god, I missed fresh and tasty and healthy food. No more fast food. Blech.
I also read a lot today. I’m nowhere near getting caught up with what I missed when I was gone, but I made a big dent in it. I should, hopefully, catch up this week before the new issue of the New Yorker arrives on Thursday. Then I can finally read some of the books I bought while I was gone. Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that yet: I bought four books while I was out firefighting, and I want to read them. One in particular is called Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, and that’s one I really want to read. Maybe sometime this week.
So I cleaned, I read, and I made some good food. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos. I’m not sure when I discovered him, but I’ve been watching and enjoying the ComicsExplained YouTube channel. He goes into great detail on various comics-related topics and characters and events, and it’s so much fun to go through many of his videos. I’m learning a lot. One thing I haven’t lost progress on are all my email newsletters. The thing about these newsletters is that they’re so easy to consume, and I know how far behind I am by simply looking at my inbox. And since I love to have zero emails in my inbox, I make it a priority to consume them as quickly as possible. In that regards, I’m caught up and I feel good about it.
I have a little over a week left before my one year project comes to an end. I don’t think this next week is going to inspire my best content, but I will try to write some good shit. We’ll see. It’s no surprise that I really just want to end this and maybe — maybe — continue my blog but in a different light, with a different angle. Who knows.
Anyways, tomorrow I hope to reboot my workout regiment and to continue making good food. I also hope to start writing again, at least the early stages of it. It’s time to rewrite my novel, and that’s something I really want to focus on completely. So maybe it’s good that my blog is ending now. My novel should take all my writing focus anyway.
I’ll see you guys later. One more week.year one