Week 1 Progress

I’ve been on my “no Facebook” routine for a week now and I am really quite thrilled with the results. I definitely feel like I have more time and energy, and my productivity has been pretty high. I don’t think FB really took up much time, but the constant fighting, negativity, and news kept my mind in “fight or flight or flee” mode, which isn’t conducive to creation and life improvement.

I’ve been fairly busy with work but I’ve managed to meditate every day, run every day, and hit the gym three times. I also stuck with my nutrition goals except for one “cheat day” that I allowed myself when my partner and I visited some friends. I also finished one book and will probably wrap another one up today or tomorrow. My podcast is also coming along nicely and I’ve been consistently working with Codecademy to learn to code. All that sounds great but it is difficult to truly measure progress without some objective measures. So, here are some of those with regards to my fitness goals (reminder: I generally feel healthiest around 155-160 lbs and 15%-17% body fat). But first, some photos… not a lot of visual progress but I feel like my waist looks a little slimmer. I also continue to look miserable in my pictures, maybe I’ll have my partner take pics in the future so that I can get a better angle.

Pre-Photo:                                           Week 1 Photo:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Measurements:

Pre Weight – 187.5 lbs
Week 1 – 177.5 lbs
Change – -10lbs
(This is mostly water weight, glycogen, and an improved digestive tract. I am aiming for only 1-2lbs fat loss per week)

Pre Waist – 37.75 inches
Week 1 – 36 inches
Change – -1.75 inches
(Again, mostly just bloating and water weight in response to not having a shitty beer and salt filled diet)

So, that’s where I stand now. I’ll update again next week whether it is good, bad, or ugly.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail about life in general?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

Little Boxes

“Although we might think we’re a certain type of person, the more we witness the transient nature of body and mind, the more we realize that our true nature is forever undefined. As human beings we like to define things, to put labels on things, to put things in boxes. That’s especially true when it comes to ourselves, we like to think of ourselves as a certain type of person. We may wish we weren’t that type of person but we’ve still decided to think of ourselves as that type of person.” – Everyday Headspace, 2/6/2018, Headspace App

I spent most my life putting myself in boxes. I defined myself and my behavior certain ways because I believed that was “who I was”. I was a jealous person, therefore my jealousy was justified. I couldn’t help it. That’s just who I was. But emotions are always changing and my mind was able to practice control over them. Now, I am no longer jealous, and the first step was changing the way I talk to myself. I had to stop wrapping my identity int he emotion, in this weakness.

The same thing applies to many aspects of my life. I told myself that I just “wasn’t a runner” and that I didn’t and couldn’t be good at it or love it, and today I signed up for three 9+ mile trail races and have come to really enjoy running. I don’t identify as a “runner”, but I don’t identify as a “not runner” either. Running is currently an act I am capable of, it is a way to experience the world and this body that evolved for activity.

When I first started evaluating my diet and the ethics of food I was convinced that I could never be a vegan. I loved cheese too much, I could never give it up. I had a running script in my mind that highlighted my weaknesses, my lack of control, and I was just a victim of circumstance. All the ethical standards and health reports relating to dairy production meant nothing until I got rid of the internal dialogue that told me that I “couldn’t do it”. But here I am now, I vegan. It is still a struggle and I fail from time to time, but I know that I actually can live without cheese… all of us can. There is certainly a time and a place for exaggeration and hyperbole, but that place doesn’t include our minds and limitations.

Of course, sexuality and relationships are a big part of the human experience and how dynamic it can be. It is easy to classify myself as one thing “monogamous”, “straight”, etc. but those labels only box us in and put up barriers to new and authentic experiences. I had a drill sergeant once ask my company how we knew we were straight if we’d never sucked a dick. Crude, yes. But there was some truth to it. I certainly think that people know the basics of their sexuality from birth, it isn’t just a conscious choice and there is a genetic component to it, but if we take that genetic starting point and decide that we can never exist beyond it then we are just limiting ourselves. If I tell myself I could never be in a relationship with or have sex with or experience intimacy with a certain person based on genitalia, gender, or sexuality then I am only isolating myself from new opportunities.

Nobody should do something they don’t want to do or squicked out by, but that should be an honest response to a situation and not a mental model put in place in the abstract. We don’t know what we are capable of until we break down the negative identities that tell us what we are not, what we can’t do, what experiences aren’t true to us. We should be critical and examine all information received, particularly the information that comes from our own minds.

“There is nothing that is stable, and there is nothing that can be defined. That’s freedom.” – Everyday Headspace, 2/6/2018, Headspace App


 

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Wanna become penpals and send each other letters in the mail about life in general?

Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

Little Moments

I got back from a work trip at 7pm tonight and all I wanted to do was zone out. Being productive, fulfilling my commitments to myself, keeping my habits going… that all sounded too exhausting. I wanted pajamas, a bath, maybe some masturbation, and the numbness that comes from zoning out to shows on Netflix that I’ve seen a thousand times.

But, I didn’t do that tonight.

Instead, I got my ass outside and went for a run. My partner and I have a daily Netflix and chill date most nights at around 9pm and I knew that I had limited time to get the things done that I needed to get done. It is always so easy for me to just neglect a day of habit building because I had to travel or work was busy or I have friends coming over or I have too many errands to run. There is always a reason why the day isn’t the perfect one and I should be excused from my commitments to myself.

There’s always tomorrow… until there isn’t.

Memento Mori

So, instead of waiting until tomorrow I made a quick list of what I needed (deserved) to do. Run, yoga, write, read, meditate, and coding. Yes, I can do all that in two hours. It won’t be a lot of each thing, and I won’t be great at any of them, but they will get done.

So, I went for a run. It wasn’t long and it wasn’t fast, but I beat the pavement.

Then, I meditated. It wasn’t long and my headspace was shitty, but I sat.

I followed that up with yoga. It was only 15 minutes and my mind wandered, but I practiced.

I also did some reading. Only a few pages and it was hardly mind-blowing, but I turned those pages.

CodeAcademy got some practice as well. The lesson was quick but there are new skills marinating in my mind.

And now I’m writing. Just word vomiting on the page, but I blogged something again and my daily streak continues.

Sometimes, or maybe even often, greatness isn’t about a result. Sometimes, greatness is just showing up (again and again and again), even when the day is long and shitty and you just want to sit down and lounge.


Day 4 and 5 Update of “Operation: Shut Off Facebook and Become Who You Want to Become”

Mixed results for the last two days. On Sunday I did a pretty good job of prioritizing my habits and eating well while I was at home. My partner and I went to Myrtle Beach to see some friends and because I had a work thing on Monday. Dinner went well but after dinner, we had some drinks while playing board games. My original plan was to go without booze for all of February but I’m rethinking that (or coming up with an excuse). I think I’m going to allow myself up to three light drinks if (and only if) there is an event going on with friends. I’m not going to force myself to have those drinks, but I’ll allow it if I feel like it, particularly if it isn’t beer. I also did a very quick Facebook check on Sunday to see if I had any messages or friend requests or anything urgent. There wasn’t anything of real notice and I felt no urge to scroll or post or anything… which I see as a good sign. I think a weekly check for urgent things may be a new thing I do too.

Monday was uber busy with work stuff, which really put my routine out of my control. I didn’t really get any exercise or walking and my food choices were limited. I did keep my kCals and eating time in check though, which is good. I just wish I would have had more time for some running or getting to the gym. Alas, no day will be perfect.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

Invincibility – Revisited

Today’s “Daily Stoic” reading and associated journal prompt involve one of Epictetus’ most popular pieces of writing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or a bit profound:

Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice. – “Discourses”, 1.18.21

Two short sentences.

A question and an answer.

So much to digest and ponder over. (In fact, I did a blog post about this subject a year ago…)

First off, is invincibility even truly attainable? Or is it some sort of religious/spiritual/philosophical ideal that should be pursued with full knowledge that it will never be attained? Is it an end goal, or a horizon like Buddhahood or Christlike perfection?

I see it as the latter. Something to desire, to strive for, to put into our daily practice but realizing that we will never be invincible and that we will be upset by things outside of our reasoned choice.

I have two reasons for seeing it this way. First, Epictetus seems to treat invincibility as part of a binary. Either you are invincible or you are vincible not invincible. But that doesn’t seem to be the case in the real world. Control over your emotions exists on a spectrum, it isn’t “yes, I’m in control” or “no, I’m not in control”, it is “I am more (or less) in control now than in the past”. Controlling our emotions involves practice and building the mental muscles necessary to handle the challenges, and the challenges are infinite.

Second, to see invincibility as attainable is to see the possibility of becoming THE PERFECT STOIC. But perfection in this sense can’t exist. Our minds are a combination of genetics, free will (maybe), and reactions to our environment. We can’t control two of those and free will may not really be a thing. I think this is one of the weaknesses of Stoicism (at least as an attainable ideal), it doesn’t recognize that there is more to our mental processes than just being strong and using our rational mind. Mental health issues are real and they distort these processes, some people can’t just use their rationality to overcome their emotions. Trauma, chemical differences, and a plethora of known and unknown processes shape how we respond to the world around us. We are more than just reason.

But, I still think it is something to shoot for. There is great joy in pursuing something that you’ll never attain, struggling just to struggle, pushing to see how far you can get before this moist meat-suit that we call a body decides to return to the dust from which it came. At least it is to me.


Day 3 Update of “Operation: Shut Off Facebook and Become Who You Want to Become”

Yesterday was my first real weekend and it went really well. I went to the gym, got my 10,000 steps in, read, meditated, did some coding, practiced yoga, and kept my calorie consumption where it should be. I even went out for a friend’s birthday party and stuck to my diet… and I didn’t even drink alcohol! I actually had a really good time, I’m not sure why but I felt more open, personable, and interested than I normally do in social situations where I don’t really know anyone. It certainly helped that Anna was there, that I sat next to our friend, and that two of the people next to us were SUPER talkative and friendly. Sometimes extroverts can be overwhelming to me, but these people were good conversationalists and asked us real questions. We chatted about world travel, the military (he was a vet), and drug use very openly. I think it helped that I didn’t have booze or Facebook to retreat into.

So, it was a good day. I didn’t lose any weight (but that’s not surprising given the 7 lb drop on Friday) but the weekend was productive and off to a good start. I have reasonable goals for today (several of which I’ve already accomplished) and my partner and I are heading down to the Dirty Myrtle tonight to make the most out of a quick work trip I have down there on Monday.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger
Also, I wrote a book about a cross-country bicycle ride I did!
“Wandering Oak: A Rite of Passage”

In With the New

Pre-script: I’m sorry for filling this blog with just random “self-help” and personal routine stuff. I do plan on blogging about current issues, sexuality, and such more soon. And, of course, I’m always looking for questions for my AMA (Shit, I need to update that page with the last few “Ask PJ” posts). If you’ve got something you’d like me to talk about or have a question about relationships, sexuality, anarchy, drugs, or anything else that’s on your mind, or maybe you just want to tell me I’m wrong, then you can submit your thoughts anonymously to the following links: Sarahah or SurveyMonkey

This probably won’t surprise the two people who read this blog, but I kind of thrive off of new experiences. Variety is really the spice of my life and I find myself feeling confined, suffocated, and bored when things become routine. That part of my personality has driven me to live in 8 cities since 2007, bike across the country twice, explore drugs and new sexual experiences, and work at five different places since graduating college in 2009. I love that I’m adventurous and my personality pushes me into new, unexplored (by me) territory regularly.

Unfortunately, seeing “stability” as a four-letter word also has a downside. It is very, very difficult for me to stay interested and motivated with something long term. I get really excited about things and then burn out fairly quickly. I’ve been trying to be better about that, with mixed success. One thing I’ve come to realize is that I need to refresh my practices every few months. My morning routine has been awesome but it has started to feel a little stale and I’m happy that my current journal (Go Journal) ran out of pages and I started a new one (Phoenix Journal).

These two tools have a fairly similar goal but go about it in different ways. They both want to help improve your life, which is awesome… I need all the tools I can get. GoJournal is less of a daily time commitment, more philosophical, and great for reflecting on your life. The daily questions are mostly the same and include things like “What am I grateful for today?”, “How can I keep my life in balance today?”, and “What do I want to focus on today?”

Which are all great questions and they help get me into a strong mindset in the morning. Unfortunately, my answers got quite repetitive (particularly with that last question). I can only say I want to focus on finishing work, eating healthy, getting exercise, and reading so many ways. In general, my days are pretty repetitive.

Phoenix Journal, on the other hand, is much more “nuts and bolts” to improving my life and it is a significantly larger time commitment each day and week. I spent nearly two hours this morning answering the set-up questions (see below) and planning my first 3-month, week, and daily plans. There is a few philosophical type daily questions but a lot of the journal’s focus is on incremental steps to accomplish long-term goals. I think my daily commitment to this journal is going to be about 30-45 minutes (as opposed to 5-10 for the Go Journal).

That all being said, I’m super excited to start this. I’ve got that “New Relationship Energy” (or NRE for all you polyamory familiar people out there) with the journal and I think it is more in line with my personality and goals than Go Journal. And, as a way to help me flesh out my thoughts and educate and maybe motivate others, I’ve decided to share my answers to the questions I completed this morning to get the journal started. If this sounds like a good plan for you I highly recommend you pick up the journal and make it a part of your morning routine (or use it to create a morning routine).

Oh, first some quotes that I highlighted. Some of these are kind of cliche but they are powerful (at least to me):

“If you realize that there will never be a time outside of this moment to act in alignment with your full potential, then you will have discovered the key greatness.”

“In order to create a powerful vision and goal, try to connect it as tangibly as you can with the four main categories of life: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.”

“Your thoughts preceded your actions. Your repeated actions create your habits. Your habits create your life.”

“If you get into the habit of going to sleep and waking up at consistent times, exercising regularly, and eating the right foods – your levels of mental clarity, energy, and focus will advance tremendously.”

“By spending just a few minutes every morning reading and touching base with your future visions, you will set your focus and intentions in alignment with these aims. This is important because our aims manifest our reality. A routine of exercise, meditation, visualization, and planning, every morning, can radically transform the quality of your life.”

“Whether or not you achieve your goals, true success lies in having the courage to live up to your own word.”


The journal starts with asking me to make a commitment:
I, Peter, vow that from this point forward I will be a person of my word. I will no longer treat my time as a commodity. From this moment on I will endeavor to be the greatest I can for myself, my loved ones, and the world. I give my word to make time for this journal every day until it is completed, and in doing so bring to life my dreams, my purpose, and my highest potential.

Then, a vision of my future:
I want to be a successful writer. This will allow me the freedom to travel, security to care for my family, and feelings of accomplishment.

I want to become healthier and stronger. I want to try out for American Ninja Warrior, model nude, be considered sexy and attractive, and see how healthy I can become. Strength and health will allow me to travel, climb mountains, go on yoga retreats, improve my sex life, and live a longer, healthier life. It may even allow me to live to the point where death is an option.

I want to heal others using yoga, meditation, massage, therapy, or something similar. I want to be able to help people recover from past trauma and injuries, as well as reach their peak potential.

I want to be a leader in my community through volunteering and philanthropy. I want to lead my community into a stronger, better future.

I want to be financially secure so that I can provide for my family, travel without concern, and have a few luxury items.

I want to learn as much as possible, which will increase the chances that creation and creative solutions will come to my mind. 

Next, a future I fear:
I’m afraid of wasting my life and dying alone and unloved. The ideas in my head will die with me, never brought to life. The years pass and I live a mediocre life without travel or adventure. I don’t end up seeing the world from a mountaintop or dive into the ocean or experience silent meditation or try new drugs. Instead, it is a sad, mediocre life without financial security or new experiences. I don’t truly live and I never find my potential. 

Now, it gets down to time frames to make the kind of vague “life” into goals with a Three Year Vision:
In three years I want to be:
– A writer with at least one published novel, a bunch of short stories, and The Adventures of Higgins Complete
– In the best shape of my life and I have run at least one 100-mile race and several obstacle course races
– I have started training along a healers path of yoga, massage, or therapy
– I am a volunteer in the community with the Unitarian Church and as an end-of-life doula. I continue to work with CFCLT to assist low-income families and also volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter
– I am debt-free (except for my mortgage), have maxed out my Roth IRA for 2017, 2018, and 2019, and I have set up investment accounts for my nieces and nephews
– I have read over 200 books and developed new skills (TBD)
– I’ve gone on at least one meditation retreat and one yoga retreat

Three years is still way in the future, so the next step is a 12-week vision (which takes up all the active pages of this journal).
– I want to end my habit of drinking alcohol and have a healthy relationship with it
– I will have finished my Rite of Passage podcast series, written/submitted three pieces of essay size writing and one short story
– Near my goal weight of approximately 155 lbs and 15% body fat, run a half-marathon, and found an active hobby that I attend weekly (MMA, dance, rock-climbing, etc.)
– I have attended the Unitarian Church several times, I donate to the CFCLT, I have donated blood at least once, and found a new volunteer activity
– My Roth IRA is maxed out for 2017, I’m caught up on my taxes, my credit card debt is $0, and I have paid down 25% of one of my student loans
– I’ve found an end-of-life doula training session to attend and I’ve read one book each on meditation, yoga, massage, and therapy.
– I’ve finished 15 books, completed all the free CodeAcademy courses, and the Tableau courses I paid for on Coursera
– I am practicing yoga almost daily and attend at least one group class per week

After all that prep work it gets down into even more incremental details. I hope this works for me, but even if it doesn’t completely (or I flop on it like I have so many other times) I know I will learn something from it.


Day 2 Update of “Operation: Shut Off Facebook and Become Who You Want to Become”

Things went well yesterday. I found myself still occasionally opening the browser on my phone mindlessly and typing “f” in the search bar so that I could log on to Facebook. I don’t really miss it, but the muscle memory is there during times when I’m bored, procrastinating, or waiting for a work thing to load or download.

According to the scale I lost about 7 lbs yesterday, but I know that isn’t all fat. It is mostly water weight from a super salt heavy weekend and using up all my glycogen stores from fasting. Realistically, I probably lost about 1/2 of fat from the fast day. I stuck with my fitness and nutrition plan really well yesterday too, I only ate in my 8-hour window, consumed 1721 calories (despite having a small piece of cheesecake), walked 15,898 steps, and burnt 1,254 calories from exercise. My exercise was a 6.5-mile run, 20 minutes of yoga, and a little walking. I’m a little worried now that the weekend is here because there is less structure and more distraction.

Oh well, I’ve set reasonable goals for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday… basically go to the gym 1-2 times, run daily (even just for a mile), meditate daily, read when possible, get 10,000 steps daily, and keep those calories in check. Any other accomplishments are nice bonuses.

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger

 

Curiosity Over Certainty

It is pretty likely that everyone reading this is human. It is also pretty likely that the majority of creatures that we interact with, love, and hate are also human. So, I think it is very important to try and understand why we humans think the things we do, act the way we do and find ourselves disagreeing so strongly with each other. We are all made up of the same flesh and bones but we come to drastically different conclusions on things. The easy way out is to dehumanize other people, to assume there is something wrong with them, that they are wrong (obviously, because my perspective is so clearly right).

But, when we take the easy way out we do ourselves and our community a disservice. The truth is, I should not be certain I am right because there really is no “right” perspective. All of our points of views and opinions and passions and habits are shaped by a combination of our genetics and environment, and if I had grown up in a different place or time then my views would be different than they are now. I have had your life, then my thoughts would be very similar to yours. If I lived the life my mother did then I would be a conservative Christian who abhors drug use, sexual promiscuity, non-heterosexuality, and non-monogamy. If my mother had grown up with my life then she would be taking Molly, engaging in pleasurable acts with many consenting adults, explore bisexuality, and tend towards polyamory.

Conflict arises when we see our perspective as an absolute truth, which eliminates opportunities for understanding, compromise, and love. As is stated in “Difficult Conversations” by Sheila Heen, Bruce Patton, and Douglas Stone (my current morning read):

There’s only one way to come to understand the other person’s story, and that’s by being curious. Instead of asking yourself, “How can they think that?!” ask yourself, “I wonder what information they have that I don’t?” Instead of asking, “How can they be so irrational?” ask, “How might they see the world such that their view makes sense?” Certainty locks us out of their story. Curiousity lets us in.

So, as I encounter people who make decisions or have points of view that don’t make sense to me I’m going try and be more curious. What information do they have? What have life experiences led them down that path? What would make a reasonable, rational person have that point of view?  Whether they are Trump or Clinton supporters, atheists or evangelicals, straight-edge or drug use advocates, polyamorous or monogamous, vegan or meat-eaters, white nationalists or cultural internationalists, these people I meet all have experiences that differ from mine that has drawn them to their current perspective… and I would gain a lot by being curious, learning their stories, and striving for understanding.

It can gain a lot of understanding and compassion simply by changing, “They are wrong/evil/should be destroyed” to “What would have to happen in my life so that I would agree with what they are saying? What experiences would push me in that direction?”


Quick Day 1 Update of “Operation: Shut Off Facebook and Become Who You Want to Become”

Things went pretty well yesterday. I was (and still am) riding that productivity high that comes from starting a new project. I took yesterday off of work (except for sending out an invoice and a few quick emails), which helped with my overall productivity but I think quitting Facebook has freed up about 1-2 hours of time. My only concern is that I’ll find some other shitty thing to replace it… so I got to stay on top of that.

Yesterday, I fasted and ended up losing about 7 lbs (probably less than 1/2 lb was actual fat and the rest was just water weight, digestive tract, glycogen, etc.). According to my phone, I consumed 550 calories and burnt about 1600 from exercise. I know that counting exercise calories is a really imperfect science and I’m not really aiming for certain numbers (on the scale or otherwise) but keeping count does help motivate me.

Overall:

  • woke up at 6am and did my morning studies
  • ran five miles
  • spent an hour at the gym
  • did 30 minutes of yoga
  • recorded 30 minutes of a podcast
  • finished one book
  • went grocery shopping
  • spent 30 minutes on CodeAcademy
  • wrote a blog post
  • cleaned the house
  • meditated
  • took an ice shower
  • started GRE studying

Today is off to a good start as well and I hope to keep busy. I’ve found that when I give myself too many moments of downtime I ended up procrastinating, so moving quickly from task to task is important for me. I’ve also found that masturbation seems to kill my productivity, so I’m trying to save that for the end of the day (daily orgasms are important for your prostate health… so go do that).

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backward? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger 
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger

Here we go again!

So, the holidays are finally over… I guess technically they ended a month ago but with my partner’s birthday in late January and my birthday in mid-October, it feels like the holidays never end. The new year is off to a steady but chaotic start and I am pretty unhappy with how much I’ve let myself go. Eighteen months ago I was in the best shape of my life and now I am closely approaching the worst. It is time to bunker down and make some changes, so I’m going to get back into the habits I was in when I felt and looked my healthiest.

First, fuck Facebook. Facebook is a time suck that destroys my productivity and mental health. There are some diamonds in that rough, but I need to be honest with myself and admit that I am addicted and right now I can’t handle just a little taste from time to time.

Second, I need a month (at least) off of alcohol. So no booze in February. It won’t be easy because there are a handful of events this month but I need to stick with it. One drink turns into two drinks turns into four drinks turns into junk food, missed workouts, and periods of depression. Again, I can’t take a little taste right now and abstinence is the best course for me.

Third, get my diet under control. I need to have fast days once or twice a week, get back into an 8-16 eating schedule, and focus on micronutrients instead of calories.

Fourth, get back into a strictly scheduled routine that stimulates my body and mind. When I was at my healthiest every day basically looked like this:

  • 5:45am – Wake, coffee, morning readings
  • 7:00am – Daily run and other exercise (gym or yoga) – yes, I ran every day. sometimes it was 6 miles and sometimes it was 1 mile
  • 9:00am – Shower (ending with 1-3 minutes of cold water)
  • 9:15am – Meditation
  • 9:30am – Write
  • 10:15am – Skill building with Khan Academy, Coursera, CodeAcademy, etc
  • 11:00am – Work
  • 3:00pm – Walk
  • 4:00pm – Work
  • 7:00pm – Evening routine
  • 7:30pm – Run or Walk
  • 8:00pm – Read
  • 9:00pm – Netflix and Chill
  • 10:00pm – Lights out

So, why do I want to do this? Because I feel healthier, happier, and sexier and because it will allow me to accomplish the things I want to do with my life. If I keep the trajectory of the last six months then I am going to start facing serious health problems and lack the strength necessary to live the life I want. A healthier Peter is a better lover for his partner, a better volunteer in the community, and a better employee. Bodily health increases mental health increases relationship health increases community health.

So, I’m going to turn this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Into this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And read all these this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to try and track my journey over the next month(s). So, here are my starting measurements:

  • Age: 36
  • Height: 5’7″
  • Weight: 187.5 lbs
  • Waist: 37.75″
  • Hips: 37″
  • Neck: 15.5″
  • Chest: 41.5″
  • Biceps: 13.5″
  • Thighs: 23″
  • Calves: 15″

Wanna stay in touch? Got a question for me? Want to tell me why I’m wrong and are curious how I got everything so backwards? Have an idea for a blog post? Drunk and wanna send me a snapchat? Feel free to reach out at any of the ways below while I take a Facebook break!

Email address: pjneiger@gmail.com
Instagram: @peterneiger 
Questions:  pneiger.sarahah.com or www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH
Snapchat: @pneiger

Spiraling Away From My Goals

The last week or so has felt very hectic to me, like I’m spiraling out of control and away from my goals. It is frustrating and difficult and I’m annoyed with myself for letting even a small part of my life fall victim to chaos.

But with time that annoyance passes and I see the beauty in the chaos and realize that is where life is truly lived. Those moments where I lose control, where days drift by, where I neglect my nutrition and fitness and sleep schedule are the days that I live for. I use periods of control to strengthen myself so that I can jump into chaos with minimal repercussions.

There were times in my life when a weekend of booze and partying and MDMA and late nights would have thrown off my life for a week or more. One weekend would turn into a week would turn into a month. One small moment with my guard down, a moment where I allow myself to enjoy life would start a flood of dominos that were impossible to set right.

But not anymore, my work is paying off. Sticking with my routines that strengthen my body and mind most of the time means that I recover more quickly and can get back to them without any serious loss. Now, I can correct the spiral after two days instead of two weeks… and maybe someday it’ll be two hours instead of two days.

There is joy in losing control. There is a thrill as life spirals around me like a skydiver before pulling a chute. Joy in riding white-water rafting, taking drugs, one-way plane tickets, late night parties, and neglecting responsibilities… especially when you know you have a life vest, a day for recovery, friends and family, a warm bed, and plenty of time to do what is needed.

I love that I have a routine that is becoming more stable, but I don’t feel the thrill of life when I’m meditating, reading, writing, exercising, or eating right. Those are all just tools that allow me to experience the life I want without major repercussions. They are ways to strengthen my mental, physical, and social foundations so that I can jump out of that plane again and again and again… and just lose control.

Do you have a question or comment for me? Feel free to use the links below. There is literally nothing that is off-limits. You can also email me if you want a personal response and I won’t post anything publicly if you want privacy. You can also friend or follow me on Facebook, I don’t really say no to requests.
Sarahah: pneiger.sarahah.comSurveyMonkey:
Oh, and if you get some value out of this I’m always accepting tips and my book is available via the Amazon link below on Kindle and paperback. Book: http://amzn.to/2f2tkYi PayPal: pjneiger@gmail.com Bitcoin Wallet: 3BZQcA31awrYj7LAXmMY5armp5s1T2gpsL Ethereum Wallet: 0x05F040cd6FB61377c375d487A37229359Dd6D976

Ask PJ: Why doesn’t my hetero male partner like going down on me?

Welcome to another edition of "Ask PJ", where I answer your questions about love, sex, open relationships, drugs, politics, religion, and everything else. If you've got a question you'd like to submit anonymously you can find a link at the bottom of this article. Most questions I get are about "taboo" subjects like sex, drugs, religion, etc. but I'm open to answering anything, even personal questions.
 
Hey Peter! First, thanks for offering this platform for open and honest discussion/debate. I am always curious to see what you’ll post next, even when I find myself disagreeing with your viewpoints. It’s refreshing to have frank dialogue (even if some is initiated anonymously). A romantic partner said something to me recently that I took issue with and I immediately thought- “now I have an AMA for Peter- I want to know what he thinks of this!” Here’s the context: I have had an on/off hetero romantic/sexual relationship with this man for a few years. He’s typically very dominant and aggressive sexually. He’s also very closed off emotionally. We were discussing sexts and what types of photos you might request when asking for nudes from a woman. During the conversation- he mentioned how a genital pic from a woman wouldn’t “do it” for him. The implication was that he doesn’t like to look at vaginas/labia and that a breast photo would be optimal. Side bar- he also really dislikes performing cunnilingus. This is a man who is by all accounts 100% heterosexual. He’s never (that he’s willing to admit) been with a man sexually and has only had relationships with women. I’m perplexed that a straight man would have such an aversion to female genitals. What are your thoughts on this? I find myself going back to his level of heterosexuality- as if that should indicate more openness and willingness to look at and enjoy vagina. However- I think it may have less to do with the spectrum of heterosexuality and more to do with his aversion to intimacy and a deep buried mysogny. I’ve had sex with men who were much more fluid on the spectrum of hetero/homo and they were much more open and generous with their appreciation of vaginas. Do you think this is a form of sexual repression? Is this a form of sexism? Or is it just that some straight men really dislike the look and taste of vagina?
 
 
 
Hi stranger! First off, thank you for including labia in your question instead of just referring to the whole area as "vagina". Most people have never really seen a vagina because it is an internal part of the sexual system. What is generally visible are the labia minora and majora, vulva, clitoris, and clitoral hood. Okay... anatomy lesson over (for now... unless someone has questions about that).
 
 
 
So, why doesn't your on/off partner like sexts with your genitals and why doesn't he enjoy going down on you? I don't have any magic insight into his mind but I think it is one of the reasons you mentioned, or possibly a combination of them. Given the other information you've provided, I think it is most likely an aversion to intimacy and vulnerability and some buried misogyny. It is kind of an old-school view that going down on a woman was unmanly and that real men didn't do that (there is even an episode of The Sopranos where this subject almost started a gang war). Basically, sex was pleasure for men and any specific act that didn't stimulate the penis or provide the man pleasure was unmanly and a sign of weakness. Since you say he exhibits other red flags for misogyny like dominance and aggression this seems like a strong possibility.
 
 
 
It is also possible that he just doesn't like the look and taste of genitals. As for look, that kind of makes more sense to me. I am more aroused by the entire female form, particularly breasts, more than just the vulva in isolation but I wouldn't really say that a vulva pic "wouldn't do it for me". I do think it is a shame and concerning that he doesn't like performing cunnilingus though. There are lots of things we do in an equal sexual partnership that is more for our partner than for us. Giving you pleasure, learning your body, and participating in mutual sexual satisfaction should be some of his primary concerns, even if that means that he does something that isn't a focus on him. If having him go down on you is important then I hope you are making him do it (so to speak), you are within your right to withhold certain sexual acts or sex entirely if he is unwilling to give you something you'd like. Particularly if you are willing to go down on him.
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the taste issue. In my moderate experience men generally, complain about taste as an excuse. Bodies that are showered regularly do not have any particularly offensive odors or tastes.
 
 
 
Lastly, is this a form of sexual suppression or closeted homosexual desires on his part? Maybe... I actually first thought this until you said he enjoy receiving pictures of breasts. I'd say most homosexual men are not aroused by breasts but it is possible that he is somewhere on the bisexual scale and is aroused by the sight of breasts but not vulvas (brains are complex and have a ton of variety, our labels never do them justice). I don't know what is going on in his head but maybe when he is doing it doggy-style or receiving oral sex he is imagining a man but it is difficult to make that mental leap when licking a clitoris. So maybe it is some sort of repression and he covers that by being a "manly man" who dislikes pleasuring his partners. I do find it interesting that you said "He’s never (that he’s willing to admit) been with a man sexually" because that seems to imply that you have some doubts about what he has told you.
 
 
 
So, I guess I really don't know. I think it is most likely sexism, which could possibly include the other two theories you mentioned. Either way, I hope you are getting what you want and need out of the relationship and are standing up for your own pleasure (even if that means pushing him to his knees). All these theories do point to some red flags with this guy and I hope you act cautiously.
 
 
 
Do you have a question or comment for me? Feel free to use the links below. There is literally nothing that is off-limits. You can also email me if you want a personal response and I won’t post anything publicly if you want privacy. You can also friend or follow me on Facebook, I don't really say no to requests.
Sarahah: pneiger.sarahah.com SurveyMonkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYRDXHH Email: pjneiger@gmail.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/pneiger
Oh, and if you get some value out of this I’m always accepting tips and my book is available via the Amazon link below on Kindle and paperback. Book: http://amzn.to/2f2tkYi PayPal: pjneiger@gmail.com Bitcoin Wallet: 3BZQcA31awrYj7LAXmMY5armp5s1T2gpsL Ethereum Wallet: 0x05F040cd6FB61377c375d487A37229359Dd6D976

Bookending My Day

I’m constantly trying to improve my habits and get the most out of life. When my partner and I decided to stop our nomadic lifestyle and live in Wilmington I basically had no habits for dealing with “normal” life. That clean slate was good, in a way, but it also meant that I had no idea what I was doing. Still today, almost two years later, my ability to build habits that will help me reach my goals is still in its infancy.

For me, the key to accomplishing what I want is using the time in my life wisely. We all have 24 hours in a day (obvi) and I realized that I was wasting much of this precious life by focusing on the wrong things and inefficiently approaching the right things. So, I know what I should do… alas, reality is much more difficult.

During a perfect day, my life would be broken down into four sections: Morning Habits, The Day, Evening Habits, and Sleep. Morning and Evening Habits involve the work I’m doing to improve myself. During this time I would journal, meditate, exercise, write, read, take online classes, record podcast episodes, plan The Day, etc. This is my time to start and end the day on a strong path. It is 1/3 of my day when I am focused on becoming, creating, and consuming the things I want. My life, my potential, my future is built during these hours. This is my general daily plan, which I often fail at:

Then, throughout The Day, I would take care of necessary business. When my partner is at work that means working but it can also mean cleaning the house, taking care of the yard, running errands, and any other responsibilities I may have. When my partner is home this The Day turns into hanging out, going on dates, exploring Wilmington, etc. Lastly, I would get around 7-8 hours of sleep between around 10pm and 5:30am. Here is a perfect day:

 

 

 

But, as can be expected, there is no perfect day. I wake up late, slack on my morning routine and try to make it up later in the day, I get distracted, stay up too late, and neglect my evening habits. A real day looks like this:

 

But, I’m going to keep trucking on. I’m going to keep trying new techniques and sticking with ones that have worked. I’ll build and rebuilt systems that push me closer to success, forever refining the process. And, maybe most importantly, I’m not going to be hard on myself when I backslide. Maybe I fuck up one day or maybe one year, as long as I keep coming back and trying then I am on my way to success. The perfect day is impossible, there is always room for improvement, and perfection isn’t really the goal I seek to attain (again, because that’s impossible). The goal is to keep trying, growing, and testing myself to see what my potential is. If I do that, then I will have had a good life.

Do you have a question or comment for me? Feel free to use the links below. There is literally nothing that is off-limits. You can also email me if you want a personal response and I won’t post anything publicly if you want privacy. You can also friend or follow me on Facebook, I don’t really say no to requests.
Email: pjneiger@gmail.com
Oh, and if you get some value out of this I’m always accepting tips and my book is available via the Amazon link below on Kindle and paperback. Book: http://amzn.to/2f2tkYi 
PayPal: pjneiger@gmail.com
Bitcoin Wallet: 3BZQcA31awrYj7LAXmMY5armp5s1T2gpsL
Ethereum Wallet: 0x05F040cd6FB61377c375d487A37229359Dd6D976