Mario Villalobos


Barely Alive

  • Notes

For the past week, I’ve been battling a cold that has kept me from living the life I want. I first felt the sickness coming last Thursday when I felt that familiar yet godawful tickle in my throat that developed into a full-blown old man’s cough by the weekend. I remember I slept for over 9 hours one of those days and I was still tired.

My only saving grace was that my new Playstation 5 arrived that Thursday, so while I recovered, I played a lot—and I mean a lot—of God of War, so much so that I’m only three trophies away from earning the marvelous platinum trophy, a feat I usually don’t care about but I do in this instance. My whole entire week has been focused on recovering from this sickness and playing this game on my new toy, and it’s been nice. Unproductive as hell, but nice.

I returned to work yesterday for the first time all week, but I could only manage half a day before I clocked out early and went home. I woke up this morning hacking half my lung, but I feel better. During this sickness, I’ve still been going through my comforting morning routine, and that meant that I cold achieve this little accomplishment I can hang my hat on:

I can’t believe it’s “only” been 100 days since I started meditating again. It’s been a much needed companion for me these past few months, and I’m grateful for it. I’m still not at 100%, but I’m getting there. I have been able to sit at my desk and work all morning today, for example, and that feels good. I’m still not able to workout or do anything that requires 100% focus, but I’m getting there. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel again, and that feels very nice. I’m hoping for a restful weekend so I can be back at it again by Monday.

Here’s hoping.

5,000 Minutes Meditated

  • Notes

A short post to note a personal accomplishment.

I’ve meditated for 5,000 minutes with Headspace. Another way to think about it: that’s 3 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes spent focusing on my breath with my eyes closed.

Sunday Appreciation: Headspace

  • Notes

Toward the end of October, I added Headspace back to my morning routine.

I first heard about the app from this 2015 article in The New Yorker. At the time, I had used Insight Timer to help me meditate, an app I loved for its simplicity and the fact that it was free. But Headspace appeared interesting, so I tried it. I used it briefly, but I missed Insight Timer, so I returned to it and moved on from Headspace. A few years later, I learned that Headspace offered free lifetime access for educators, so I applied and upgraded my account, and I began to use it again to meditate. Like before, I used it for a few months, tried their new meditation courses, but for some reason, I couldn’t stick with it. Around that time, I had learned that Calm also offered lifetime access for educators, so I applied and used that app for a while. I liked this one more because they had a nice daily meditation, so I stuck with Calm.

Sometime last year, I stopped meditating. I think I had hit a plateau, and I no longer felt like meditating was bringing my life any value. So I stopped, and I didn’t miss it. At least, it wasn’t something I craved. All those years of meditating didn’t mean much to me anymore, and I felt like I was okay with that. As you might be able to guess, I wasn’t okay with that. Over time, I had started to feel on edge more and more. It’s remarkable sometimes how something could affect your life so much, but you only realize by how much when it’s gone. I had lost something when I stopped meditating, and the only way to get it back was to meditate again.

So—toward the end of October, I added Headspace back to my morning routine.

And I love it.

I setup Headspace to send me a reminder every day at 8:15am, and every day at around that time, I open the app and start my day with The Wake Up, then I follow it with that day’s meditation. Sometimes they include nature videos, videos of animals in the jungle or the sea or the desert, and these ten minute videos have been a joy to watch in the afternoon and evening. At the moment, I’m only meditating for ten minutes every morning, but I am planning to add another meditation later in the day.

My current streak stands at 39 days, and I’ve been meditating everywhere, at home, at work, and in different times throughout the day. I feel like I’ve regained a piece of whatever it was I was missing—some mental edge I had lost over the last year. Will I ever quit again? Honestly—probably. I’m human, after all. At the moment, though, I’m appreciating what this app has done for my life and for my mental health.

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