Jeffrey's 12 Rules for Living

I can't think of what to write today, so I'm jumping on this meme train. I do try to live by these rules, but I don't guarantee they will work for you or that they will stay relevant to me past the end of today.

1. Tell my friends and family that I love them.

I struggle with expressing my emotions verbally - especially to other men. Following Clare's lead, I have tried for the last eight years to tell those around me that I love them.

2. Listen first.

I like to hear the sound of my voice. Sometimes, especially as a cis hetero white man, I can drown out the opinions of others. So, I try to listen and give those around me space to express themselves.

3. Seek out differing opinions.

If you have known me longer than a year - you probably notice that my opinions on any given topic can shift frequently. I read people who disagree with me and try to see the world from their point of view. Forcing myself outside of my comfort zone is psychologically uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding.

4. Meditate every day.

Today was 251 days. I can't describe how much this has changed my life. I recommend trying twenty minutes per day for a month.

5. Have a morning routine.

Every morning, I meditate, make smoothies, write a blog post, pack lunches for Clare and me, sometimes make dinner (if it is a crockpot night), and do all the remaining dishes.

6. Have lots of sex.

I am currently rereading "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. In his book, he discusses a paper by John W. Howard, and Robyn M. Dawes called "Linear Prediction of Marital Happiness." Howard and Dawes found that the "rate of sexual intercourse minus the rate of arguments was highly predictive of self-ratings of marital happiness." So, while I didn't need an academic paper to tell me that more sex makes a marriage better - it is nice to be backed by science. 

 7. Dance whenever I can. 

I love to dance. I dance at weddings. I dance in the kitchen. I dance in my seat at restaurants. It is impossible to not smile when you are moving with music - and usually people around you smile as well.

8. Get AT LEAST eight hours of sleep.

For a while, I thought that being in bed for eight hours was enough. However, after getting my Fitbit, I realized that I was only getting to six and a half hours of sleep on average. So, I've been trying to stay in bed longer and take naps to make up the difference. Sleeping more improves my mental health. I highly recommend doing this.

9. Take care of myself first.

Going to protests gives me severe anxiety. Going door to door canvassing and calling strangers can paralyze me for days. Not doing these things fills me with guilt. However, I've been trying to let go of my guilt and focus on the ways I CAN help without hurting myself.

10. Don't over-commit.

When I get excited, I want to jump in with both feet. I volunteer to do everything. Then, I quickly get overwhelmed, fail and then fall into a guilt spiral where I feel like I let everyone down. So, I try to only commit to things I can do. And I try to do one thing at a time.

11. Try new things.

Being new to anything - especially physical activities keeps you humble. Nothing deflates your ego like falling on your face.

12. Put my marriage first.

Clare and I put every decision through this filter. Our marriage is the most important thing in our lives. A healthy marriage where we actively support each other allows us both to pursue our goals.

Many of the above rules are new. But, they have helped the last three months be a considerable improvement on the months prior. I hope you enjoyed them!