Mario Villalobos

Year One

From 2014 to 2015, I kept a daily journal where I tried to explore who I was and who I wanted to be. These are those entries.


I could feel the cracks showing today. My goal for this week was to just start: start working out, start writing, and start getting my life back together.


I’m afraid of myself sometimes. There are times when I’m so overcome with emotion that I truly don’t know what to do.

The Past

I have trouble letting go of the past. As much as I want to focus on the present, I can’t stop my thoughts from always drifting to some lingering memory of my life.


The excitement and necessity that came from starting and writing this blog has waned, and now I’m facing resistance.


My first day on the job was overwhelming. I arrived to work half an hour early because I totally miscalculated the time I thought it would’ve taken me to get there.

The Weekly Review

When I first started to seriously delve into improving myself and my life back in 2009, the first book I read that seriously helped me was Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Seeing It Through

I made a promise to myself 25 days ago that I was going to write 365 daily entries at least in this blog, regardless of what the future held for me.

Doug Funnie

One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Doug. It was one of those shows I would always watch when it was on, and as I’m reflecting on my childhood, one of those shows that shaped who I am today.


I want to be different. Don’t get me wrong, I like who I am most of the time, even though there are things I really want to change about myself.


I almost didn’t workout today. On my way home from work, I remembered that I forgot to pick up my MacBook’s power charger from my office.

Shut Up and Listen

The process of creating all these entries, even going back to when I journaled privately, has always been the same: me, a blank page, and no idea what the hell I’m going to write.

Organizational Fetish

Organization is important to me. I don’t just need to know where everything is, I also have to know that everything’s organized in the best and most efficient way possible.


I thought I was done with Windows. When I bought my MacBook Air last year, I decided to go all in into the Apple ecosystem.

Be Like Water

One of the key people that I looked up to when I first started on this journey five years ago was Bruce Lee, the philosopher.


One day, all this, all these things I’m doing every day, from writing to working out to eating right, will end.

Change Sucks

I call her maybe five times a week, but since she blocked my number on her iPhone, my calls go straight to her voicemail.

Burnt Out

I thought of writing about the concept of being burnt out, but as I kept thinking about it, I totally changed my view on it.


I have doubts about, frankly, everything. I don’t know if what I’m doing is the right thing I should be doing.


Reflection, true, personal, and daily reflection, is tough. It involves looking inward at a remarkable depth, examining every fiber of my soul, every act, every thought, and every moment of my day.

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.


The Insanity hybrid workout is kicking my ass. I think I sprained my left shoulder and right foot during my workout today.


I just bought Ariana Grande’s new album from iTunes, and that’s what I’m listening to right now while I’m writing this.


I feel good. Actually, I feel great. That’s not something I could’ve said sixty days ago.

On Routines

I like to be organized. Whenever I have an idea for a task, I have a trusted place where I can put that so I won’t forget it.


Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing. During those times, I feel like none of what I’m doing is worth doing anymore.


Winter is in full force up here in Montana, with the temperature ranging from the single digits to below zero.


There are so many things I want to do, tasks that have been on my todo list for a long time, but I just haven’t found the time to do them.

Take It

I think we all have imaginary relationships with the people we encounter throughout our lives.


Frustration is one of those emotions I feel incessantly. Part of it stems from my desire to be perfect, and the other part stems from my finite resource of willpower.

I Don't Know

I’m lying in bed, utterly and completely exhausted. My body aches everywhere, and my mind wants me to fall asleep and rest.


I’ve never been the type of person who thinks about all the things I should be grateful for; instead, I think about what I don’t have.


I like to daydream. I like envisioning a life where I’m the man I want to be, with the life I want to have, with the girl I want to love.


One of my favorite snacks that I just recently started making is to take a banana, remove the entire peel, and drizzle honey on top of it.


At the end of every day, when I’m lying down with my laptop on my lap, my fingers on the keyboard, and I’m thinking about what to write about for my blog, one of my first maxims, per se, is to try not to repeat myself.


When I was younger, I read this short story about a guy who was locked up in prison, and he was given access to as many books as he wanted.

Just Keep Trying

This week has been pretty great. I broke a couple of 100 day milestones, which I’m very happy and grateful for, and today I found out that the school I work for chose to hire me full-time.

Maybe I Can't Do It

There are areas of my life I’ve always struggled to respond to appropriately and instead have been constant disappointments throughout my entire life.


Today brought lots of laughter, and all that laughter, along with some news I received today, lifted some sort of veil I didn’t know was covering my eyes and now everything looks brighter and better.

Game Night

I’ve been playing Cards Against Humanity and Settlers of Catan with my family, and I’ve been having a bunch of fun.

Happy New Years

I’m staring at all the boxes of stuff that’s the primary reason why I drove down to San Diego from Montana, and I’m sitting here thinking about my car, which is in the shop, my home back in Ronan, my family, my friends, my job, my blog, my health, my accomplishments, my failures, everything I did and didn’t do in 2014, and I’m grateful for all of it.

Cruise Control

I left San Diego last night at around 11 PM. I drove for a few hours, then I pulled over onto the side of the road and fell asleep for a few hours.

A Nice, Normal Day

I’m back, baby. Things went back to normal today, which gave me so much joy that I completely forgot for a second that my car is injured and my credit card debt is high.

For Posterity's Sake

A big reason why I wanted to buy furniture and decorate my home was because to both move on from her, who always complained about how my home looked, and to show it off.

The Known Unknown

Even though I try to be as open and as honest as I can be on this blog, I purposefully omit many things that happen to me throughout my days and most pertinent thoughts I’m having.

Under the Weather

I woke up today with a runny nose, and I’m writing this with a runny nose, and I’ve been tired all day, even after taking a few naps, and I went to the grocery store and bought some hot chocolate, and I’ve been pouring honey down my throat all day, and all I have to say is that it looks like I might be getting sick.

Feeling Better

I feel better today, which is awesome. I still woke up this morning super tired, super sick, and super irritated at the fact that my ceiling began leaking during the night, which cut my sleep short tremendously.

Quiet Desperation

I want to do things better. I want to do my blog better, I want to do my novel better, and I want to do every aspect of my life better.

Still Fighting

I still didn’t fix what’s plaguing our network at work, and my car was still not returned to me in working order.

Bad Day

Nothing was resolved today. I couldn’t get the network back up and running; in fact, I seem to have made it work.

Three Hours

On Monday, I finished reading Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by 99U, and yesterday I started to read Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career by 99U.

Showing My Work

Back when I tried to pare down my possessions to just the essentials, I had a strong desire to digitize everything that could be digitized and toss their analog copies away.

That Fire

With each sunrise and sunset, I move further away from the person I don’t want to be anymore and toward someone I can’t even imagine; yet, I will always keep dragging the weight of my past behind me while chugging along into the future.

Embrace the Suck

I learned how to disarm a guy today at school. You grab the barrel of the gun with one hand and pull it away from the perp, grab the barrel with the other hand and twist his arm toward your body while turning your back against him and pulling the gun away.

No Internet

I came home yesterday with my internet down. I called Charter, my ISP, and the customer rep tried a few tests, which all failed, and concluded that a technician would have to come to my house and check it out.

Not There Yet

I’m reading Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and one of the many things I love about this book is the systematic detail she goes into.


Continuing from yesterday’s post, I haven’t had any fun today. It doesn’t mean today was a bad day, per se; it was quite the normal day.

Stay Tuned

I stared at the instrument panel like nothing had happened. I turned to my right and saw a red truck stopped about 25 yards away, its emergency lights flashing.

Digital Permanence

In this entry, I’m going to think aloud about something that not only took over my thoughts today, but has regularly occupied them for the past few years.

The Right Tool for the Right Job

There’s the past, there’s the future, and then there’s now. Today is the first day of a new month, and I can’t help but think about where I’ve come from and where I’m going.

Before and After

Before and afters can be very enlightening. Years ago I took selfies of myself when I was somewhere over 220 lbs.

Satisfy Your Inner Geek

I’ve been thinking a lot about my tools this week, and the only real conclusion that I’ve made is that I’ll never stop thinking about my tools.

Starting a Commonplace Book

I’m journaling into four different tools, and they’re all different, all serving a singular purpose, and all very helpful and changing my life in their own way.

An Introvert? Who? Me? Get Outta Here!

I’m an introvert, and I don’t like going out. I like staying in, reading and writing and living “a life of the mind”, a phrase I read in Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Grab Doubt by the Balls and Kick Its Ass

In the past few years, I’ve written over a thousand pages of my novel in a couple of drafts, hundreds, possibly thousands more pages in my various journals, and over 340 pages for this blog, and I’m still afraid I’m not supposed to be a writer.

First Draft Philosophy

Take nothing for granted. Life is short and anything that impedes your ability to live it as fully as possible should be excised immediately.

This Is Me

I’m going to try something different with my blog. For months, my blog has felt like a place where I had to try to say something important, in a sense.

It Just Works™

For the past few weeks, I’ve been learning about and setting up a piece of software called System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2.

Successful Limits

For the past few weeks, as I’ve been doing more and more, I’ve been sleeping less and less because I’m still waking up at 5 AM every morning.


Since the day I first started writing a blog, I’ve always yearned to write really good personal essays, but I never gave myself the time to grow enough to accomplish this.


I sometimes write my personal essays and journal entries with the understanding that I’m going to re-read them in the future; therefore, I try to write about what I wish to do or hope to become as a way to force myself to do those things.

Unintentional Confidence

I wanted to write about discipline today, and discipline is very important to ensure I show up every day, but I believe it takes a lot of confidence to do everything I’m doing to improve myself.

I Work There

She didn’t come to school today. One thing I hate to think about but think about anyway are my missed opportunities, be it with girls (like her) or things I shouldn’t have said or should have done.

I’m Not Alone

No matter how much I want to rest and goof off and neglect my duties, I must keep writing because my life is too short not to.

Montana’s Void

The days are getting longer in Montana. I’m staring at my window and can see the bright rays of the sun seep through the blinds.

Casual Friday

I wore my Green Lantern shirt at work today. I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately, but take my word for it: I looked good.


I spent the majority of the day watching Daredevil on Netflix, and it’s so good that I almost succumbed to my desire not to do any work today.

Let’s Go

As a reaction to yesterday’s entry, I read Don Quixote as much as I could, fitting in reading times during the little breaks of my day.

I Just Want to Read!

I finished reading the first part of Don Quixote, and a few hours later I received Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor and Runaway by Alice Munro.


I read the first short story from Flannery O’Connor’s book, Everything That Rises Must Converge, and it was great.

Human Regret

The end of the day sometimes forces me to look back at my day with a wish that it had been different, where I should’ve acted with more purpose and joy.

I’m a Writer

I watched the Social Network on Saturday, watched the first scene a few times yesterday, watched the last of my Drama students perform the scene in class today, and finally showed the scene to the class.


I think the greatest test for me has been owning up to my mistakes honestly and courageously.

Better for It

I’m grateful for the familiarity habits and routines bring to my life, especially after some tough times.

What Now?

I made it to the end of my 200+ day Insanity workout by finishing the Championship video in my hybrid the Asylum Vol.

Lost and Floating

Day 239. I have a little over four months left before my year is up, but I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

To Drink or Not to Drink

Day 240. You wanna know what’s scary? All I’ve been thinking about whenever I have a free moment at home is how much I want to buy some wine, drink it, watch some TV or play video games on my iPad or draw on the Paper app on my iPad, and then go to sleep early.

Taking a Break

This entry will be short. I’ve been playing Batman Arkham Asylum in Steam today, and I drank a full bottle of Pinot Noir without breaking a sweat.

Balance and Limits

I’m starting over. I’m throwing away everything I’ve done on a near daily basis since starting this blog and rethinking everything before starting over.

Learning and Finding Balance

My days, now that they’re simpler than before, feel good. That guilt I was feeling the past few days over not doing things I used to do no longer make me feel guilty.


I gave in and bought beer today. I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would back when I decided not to drink at all, so progress, I guess.

Mad Max

After 250 days, I’m going to give myself permission to slow down and not write 500 words an entry every night.

My Diary

This is what my blog is: it’s a diary that I use to capture whatever thoughts and feelings I have during the actual act of writing.


Are you still there? The world hasn’t ended? I can drink and have fun and not fill every minute with something to do?

Why We Fight

I’m slowly settling down into my new routine, and I’m enjoying it, mostly because of the weather.

How Do We Live Well?

We never learned how to live well, did we? It’s not something we learned in school, and honestly, I don’t think many of us had role models we could have looked up to who lived or were living a great life.

The Quantifiable Life

It feels good to be back. The routine is sound, except I’m still figuring out how to properly implement my novel rewrite into my day because I’m not too sure how I’m going to approach the rewrite yet.


All I needed was a change in attitude. I’m doing many of the same things as I did during the days leading up to my burn out, but I feel more relaxed.

Nostalgia and Maturity

We finally screened all of our drama students’ fairy tale adaptations in class today, and they were super fun and adorable and good.

Thank You, Pinot Noir

Montana is wearing me down. I didn’t show my drama class my movies from college because I was stupid enough to ask them if they wanted to watch them.


More of the same today. Scratch that. I worked a lot in OmniFocus today, actually, and I converted a lot of stale Someday/Maybe items into actual projects that I intend to work on and actually get done within the coming weeks and months.

That Fire

One of the big things on my mind lately has been the question of why I feel the need to do so much on a daily basis.

Baby Steps

I think I found my new favorite place in Montana, and that’s the Shakespeare & Co.

Every Ending Is a New Beginning

I want to give everyone I see a hug because it’s such a beautiful day, and I had such a beautiful week, and I have great hopes for the upcoming week and all the weeks after that for as long as I can see, and I feel good because I have books and music and a home of my own and ideas I’ve implemented or will implement, and I’m simplifying my life as much as I can in an attempt to be less rigid and structured and a bit more spontaneous and creative and it’s working.

Well-Lived Day

It’s hot. Summer doesn’t begin for another two weeks, and it was 99 degrees in my car after work today.

Protechnology, Antiintellectualism

I wish I had more money. I want to buy a TV, a Playstation 4 to play all my DVDs, a soundbar and some Sonos speakers to play music out loud, a couch or a reading chair, and more stuff to hang on my walls.

Main Course

I have to write. I’m paraphrasing here, but I watched this talk today with Zadie Smith, and she said there are two types of writers: there’s the writer who writes from all the stuff she’s read, and a writer who writes from experience.


I’m 76% of the way through my year. I have three more months of this, just through the summer, and I’m done.

If It’s Broke, Fix It

Today marks the end of a pretty good week. I didn’t work out or write or do that much reading, but I still consider it a good week because I made some great progress at work.

All Work and No Play

I went to Missoula today, exchanged a bunch of books for store credit at the Book Exchange and came away with On Beauty by Zadie Smith and Ulysses by James Joyce, then went to Hastings, looked around a bit and came away with just the Complete Stories by Franz Kafka, and finally I went to Shakespeare & Co.

Status Update

I had my first writer’s group since college, and it was nice reading my stuff aloud and getting feedback for something I wrote.


I had my firefighter physical exam this morning, and the docs say I’m in great health.

Fasting Crankiness

I fasted today because I’ve been feeling really unhealthy lately, and, in an act of completely openness and honesty, I didn’t want to wash my dishes from last night, which included my only plate and frying pan.

Just Be

I received my very first issue of the New Yorker magazine, and I was uncharacteristically excited for it.

Day 285

I’ve been drinking since about 3 PM, and I don’t want to dig deep with my writing tonight, because all I want to do is watch TV and drown in self pity because I think I’m destined to ruin every good thing that’s ever happened to me.

It Is What It Is

In order to distract myself from the hardships of life, I spent today rearranging my home in preparation for my new couch.

Small Steps

My home feels great. I really love my couch, and I love the idea of the two new posters I bought and that are coming within the next few days.


I’ve been thinking a lot about the stuff I’ve bought and the stuff I want to buy.

So Dramatic

I passed my pack test and completed my refresher course, which means I’m qualified to be a wild land firefighter for the summer of 2015.

Day 293

It’s hot. I’m in shorts I wear no more than once every few years, and the breeze feels good.


I find it really, really tough to write about myself without bitching or writing with a tinge (or a splash) of self-hatred or solipsism.


I’m still here. No fire yet. I’m a handful of computers away from completing my Windows 8 upgrade at school.

Get Hard

I’ve come to a conclusion about myself that is both mind shattering and unbelievable.


In my pursuit toward greatness, I’ve stumbled and battled with many internal conflicts, but a lost battle doesn’t a lost war make.

Getting Old

It’s 8:21 PM on the 6th of July. I’m somewhere in Jocko fighting a paltry 1 acre fire that we lined, contained, and pretty much finished today.


I have this overwhelming amount of guilt weighing on my shoulders right now because I completely forgot to write Tuesday’s entry once I got home from the fire.

Better Than That

I’m better than them. That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot for the past few days, with them referring to pretty much every member of the 10-person crew I was out fighting fire with the past two days.


I’ve been up since 2 AM because I drank a full bottle of wine last night while watching my friends new movie Dude Bro Party Massacre III which was insanely funny but it didn’t help my body not feel dehydrated which is why I woke up at 2 AM and wasn’t able to fall back to sleep but it turned out to be okay because I watched Beyond the Lights on Netflix and I loved it especially Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s magnificent performance and beautiful voice and then my alarm went off at 5 AM and I made my coffee and made breakfast and tried to take a nap afterwards but I didn’t feel too good so I couldn’t really nap before work which I went back to today and I was tired and cranky but happy to be back and going through my old routine again which is what I needed especially after the horribleness of the fire I got off of earlier this week and I’m listening to Miguel’s Wildheart album right now and holy shit it’s amazing.

Regroup and Refocus

Tomorrow I’m going to try to eek out every last ounce of productivity I can get from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep.


There he is! I’ve missed him. I’m happy right now (I’m literally dancing in my seat right now to some Janelle Monae) because I performed my first Insanity workout in over a month, and I feel GREAT.

I Made Ice Cream

That right there is my first attempt at making Paleo-approved banana strawberry ice cream, and it was delicious.

Some More Paleo Fun

I had more fun in the kitchen today. That right there is Sweet Potato Has topped with a Pork Chop seasoned with Paprika and Cayenne Pepper.

Uninterested Dick

Week 2 of Insanity Max: 30 didn’t go very well. I was winded really quickly, and I dripped more sweat than I’ve ever done before.

Thoughts on Apple Music

I’ve been trying Apple Music since it came out a few weeks ago, and in the beginning, I added about half a dozen albums into my collection that I’ve since listened to many times.

First World Problems

For the past few days, I’ve been writing a lot about technology, from Apple Music to why I don’t like Windows to why I love Apple’s devices.

My Story

I’m taking the next two days off from work because the floors outside of my office are being redone, which means I can’t use my office until they’re done, which won’t be until Friday.

My Car

I slept in about an hour and a half this morning, which felt amazing, but once I woke up and started my day, I remembered that I had set up an appointment with the mechanics at 8 AM and I really didn’t want to honor it.

The Spectrum of Life

Day 18 of Insanity Max:30 went very well. Since starting this workout again, I’ve lost 2 lbs and I’m on track to get back to my ideal weight that I lost during the dark months of May and June.

Outgrown It

I had nothing really to write about (again) until I got out of the shower and checked my phone and saw that the Division of Fire called me, so I called them back and found out that there’s a fire in Arlee, but since I was a measly 7 minutes late in returning the call, they filled my spot with someone else.


I write to help me think, and I’ve been sitting here thinking for the past 30-40 minutes about what to write about tonight, but the only thing worth writing about, I thought, was about what I was thinking.

Elk Fire

It’s been a long day. I’m lying down in my tent out in the Bison Range on some pretty hard ground but comfortable enough for me to sleep on.


We did a whole lot of nothing today. We were supposed to grid the same area we did yesterday, and we did for a little bit, but then we took a break, which turned into a lunch break, which turned into a get off the mountain break because a thunderstorm rolled in above us and it was too dangerous for us to work.


I’m home. We finished containing the Couture Fire today. Actually, we contained this fire on Thursday and have been milking this fire since then.

Making Those Dolla Dolla Bills, Y'all

What a god damn fucking hot day. One of our crew members went down with heat exhaustion today, so I made sure to give my squad members enough breaks to rest up and water up, and they all performed wonderfully.

Red Flag Warning

What a fucking day. I fought two fires today, and I wish I could stop it there and have you all know exactly what happened during them, but that’s impossible without writing it all down.

Back Home

We made it to day 13, and now we’re heading home to take one day of R&R, and we’ll be back at it on Tuesday.

Back at It

I’m getting the hang of being squad boss. It’s getting easier to delegate my tasks to other people and the extra responsibility is very welcome and nourishing, in a way.


Well, I’m home. We didn’t demobilize or anything. We were just given the opportunity to go home at night and come back in the morning, which is an idea I’m in love with.

Shit Rolls Downhill

T-Minus 3 more days. It’s hard being the boss sometimes. You’re held responsible for everyone’s actions, and when shit goes wrong, you’re the one who’s blamed.


I’m back home. My 2015 fire season is over, and I go back to work tomorrow.

Not Feeling Good

Today was awful because I woke up with a runny nose, and I drank two Cold Smokes, which caused me to take a nap for about 2-3 hours just now, and I really didn’t want to write this entry, but here I am writing what I can.