Mario Villalobos

A Quality Life

I went to Walmart today because I wanted to buy some frames to hang up the new posters I bought, but when I walked to the frames aisle, I found that they still did not have them in stock. About a month ago, I bought a mirror from them because I wanted to make sure my work attire looked good. Today the entire frame of that mirror broke. I discovered that it was constructed really poorly and made out of some cheap material that would not have lasted long regardless. This just gave me a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to that store, and I vowed today that I’m never going to shop there again. In fact, I’m in the process of replacing most of the things I’ve bought from them in the past few years with newer, better designed, and higher quality items from artisans that actually care about the stuff they make.

Quality matters to me. I’ve written about that before. Quality items last longer and they age beautifully. All that comes at a cost, obviously, but I’m willing to pay it if it ensures longevity and trust in the product. Once I drove back home, I spent a few hours researching new frames to get for my posters. I came across some highly rated and really beautiful black, real wood frames on Amazon. I had a certain aesthetic I wanted, which limited my choices, but once I found these, I felt relieved and excited. I ended up buying a few more things โ€” most of it with my Discover card rewards points โ€” to round out my desk and bag, and I’m confident this finally completes phase 1 of Operation: Interior decorating. Awesome name, I know.

Once I purchased these items, my mind next went toward working out. Today was Day 1 of the Insanity/Insanity: the Asylum hybrid workout I’ve been building up to for the past month. I don’t know how I did it, but I worked out for 90 minutes of pure Insanity goodness. The first workout was Strength from the Asylum. This workout is over 47 minutes, and involves the use of my two 15 lbs dumbbells. Last year when I did the Asylum, I used 10 lbs dumbbells, and those gave me a good workout then. For the past month, I’ve been using the 15s, and man did that extra weight make this workout tougher. Today, though, this workout was better than it has been all month. I’m stronger now, naturally, but I kept pushing myself until I couldn’t anymore. I finished the workout soaking wet and super happy. Except, I had to do 40 minutes of Pure Cardio from the original Insanity program. Like the name suggests, I’m constantly and continuously pushing my heart rate higher and higher for long stretches of time until the end. I was exhausted after the warmup. The warmup! I pushed through, though, and I finished Pure Cardio even more wet than before and feeling a level of tiredness I’ve never felt in my life. But I kept smiling because I felt great.

A quality life means a well-earned life. I know the dictionary defines quality as something measured against something else, with the former’s degree of excellence higher than the latter’s. I’m not comparing my life to anyone else’s but my own. I know what I was before this blog, and I know who I want to be after. I’ve been focusing so much on the quality of my inner life for a long time that I’ve been completely ignoring the quality of my external life. I really believe that if I surround myself with quality items I’ll be better, not to mention happier. Does this bode well for my wallet? Of course not. But I’m an obsessive budgeter and highly responsible with my money. Even though I don’t consider myself a minimalist anymore, I still only buy things I need or will be used and improve my life in some way.

In the end, though, I know stuff will not make me happier. Hell, focusing on just my inner life will not make me happier. A combination of these things with a willingness to be better and to wake up ready to earn every day ensures a quality life. That’s what I’m after, and that’s a journey I’m excited to embark on.