Happy 36th Birthday, Self!

It has been a crazy year. This is the longest I’ve gone without playing sports, and I probably miss that the most during this state of global COVID baloney.

As I write this, I’m staring out over the Pacific ocean. A “king tide” is bringing big waves and strong current, making swimming dangerous for the unwary weekend beachgoer.

Lia and the girls are swimming in the pool at the foot of the condo. Isla has been progressing aggressively with all this time in the water, shedding puddle jumper, fins, and fear of submersion to retrieve rocks from the pool bottom.

Some uncomfortable things happened this year, I think for everyone. We were all put into our own segment of the ice cube tray and frozen. I got better at cooking, and chess. Initially, I drank more, then not at all. Now occasionally – but there simply aren’t any occasions anymore.

I got my real good taste of low-level, constant, anxiety. Inexplicable difficulty taking a full breath. I tried 5MEO DMT and found that same oneness with the universe that I’d touched during last year’s hero dose.

I jumped a lot, alone. And played a lot of online chess.

I started Isla on online music lessons, and had to work through some frustration. My expectations were getting the better of me, and drifting in a potentially harmful direction where love and approval were too interwoven. I realized (with the assistance of drugs) that love needs to be its own thing, completely separate from expectation.

Through being ambushed by anxiety, I discovered how profoundly important social connection is for my mental health. I scheduled weekly hangouts (digital if need be) to guarantee that some friend time was built into my life, and it was a game-changer.

Lia and I are still waiting to hear back about vacant land we’re trying to buy on Amherst Island. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, trying to turn that dream into reality. Through learning about stoicism, I became more cautious about becoming overly hopeful.

I’ve been writing a science-fiction novel, and have joined a writer’s group for accountability and the occasional bitch-slapping. I’m a little more aware of when my ego emerges, and it’s helped me find less defensive/reactive chains of thought when navigating creative criticism and general uncertainty.

My girls continue to infuse my days with joy, parenting struggles, love and unbearable cuteness.

Lia’s getting more time to work, and kicking ass with it. She finished her Holistic Nutrition certification with honours, and is aggressively ramping up to working with paying clients.

I’m waiting for the waves to clean up so I can attempt cutbacks, airs, and other tricks way above my current skill level.

At this point, life returning to normal sounds like a dream. Just being able to get together with people again, to hug friends and shake hands with strangers, would be so satisfying. The other day, I shook hands with someone and it felt so unfamiliar, dangerous, and important.

What am I aiming for this year? The usuals: to jump higher, be less reactive and more present, and to take things less seriously. At the end of About Time, Domhnoll Gleeson’s character hits the nail on the head, by living each day as if he’d already lived it once before.

My aim is to do the same.

Happy 35th Birthday, Me!

Last year I was very goal oriented, and it got all fucked up. I did a massive dose of mushrooms and broke my own mind, then sabotaged my business.

After that I got really sad for several months and had no money. I felt like a failure as a dad, a husband, and I even questioned why my friends would want to play sports with me.

I learned as much as I could about stoicism and it changed how I think. Less “woe is me” more “I’m so lucky it isn’t way worse than it is.”

Music is very meaningful when you’re super depressed, and this was my song:

Somewhere along the way I caught a few really good bounces and business sling shotted around the black hole it had been heading for.

When it’s your birthday people ask if you feel different. This is the first time I would say “yes” and really mean it.

I just feel way luckier to be who I am and to have the life I have.

I’m more astonished than ever at how awesome my friends are. The 6 of you reading this right now, I love you so much it hurts.

Also I’m going to die sooner than I thought. Because before I half assumed I wasn’t going to die. Nope. Gonna die. Hopefully not soon, but it’ll happen. I want to do a good job of being alive while I’ve got a shot at it.

That’s about it. I have it in my calendar to read this on my next birthday. My “theme” for the year is “freedom” whatever that means.

Lately it’s meant: freedom from being so damned self-concerned. The less I focus on me (and yes I realize the irony and hypocracy of writing that in this of all articles) – the better life gets.

Still can’t dunk, but working on it.

Drawing lots.

Haven’t jerked off since November. Sorry Mom if you’re reading this.

Loving being a dad.

Probably loving winter more than I have since childhood.

More in love with Lia than ever.

Trying to learn how to lucid dream. No real progress there as of yet.

Probably a good time to stop writing. Happy 35th birthday me!

– love, you

Ryan’s Mushroom Manifesto Podcast

3 weeks ago I did a heroic dose of magic mushrooms and experienced “ego dissolution” – which is to say, from my perspective, I died. Then I filled my journal with pages and pages of notes, observations, and rules for my life now that I’m me again. This podcast covers most of what I now believe to be true about how I feel I should live.

The Self Acceptance Podcast Episode

Lia talks about body image, and how she’s working on getting to a healthier place mentally after pregnancy. Ryan gets a chance to talk about dunking and seizes it with everything he’s made of.

Debating Having a Third Baby Podcast

In this podcast we have a conversation about whether or not to have a third child. We also stray into alcohol vs. psychedelic hangovers, why we don’t turn our lights on at night, and strategies for keeping the fridge full without decimating the bank account.

Anything Is Possible Podcast Returns!

After 4 years, Lia and I have decided to start publishing these podcasts again! We’ve found that the forced conversation is as close to a date as we can manage these days, and so we’ll be doing these bi-weekly.

The technology has also gotten much better, so it looks like we’ll be able to publish these episodes to iTunes for easy subscribability.

Dunk Journey Update: Post Ankle Sprain

24.5 inches.

It’s not as bad as I thought. I’m only 3.5 inches lower than my personal best, before the ankle sprain.

I’d been doing single leg squats to try and keep some strength in my legs while I waited for the ankle to recover. I’ve also be extremely active with rehabbing the ankle itself, so today when I tried a maximum effort jump there was very little pain.

The swelling is almost completely gone, which is incredible considering it looked like this just over a month ago:

I’m just grateful that I can jump again. Having this forced time away from jumping has shown me that I’m really just lucky to be able to use my legs at all.

The game now is going to be finding explosive movements I can do without further pissing my ankle off. So far, every plyometric jump movement seems to require high amounts of force to travel through the ankle joint. So for now I’ll probably just limit exertion to a point where I’m not feeling any pain, and hope to do more good than harm.

Happy 34th Birthday, Me

I have it in my calendar to write one of these every year. Two years I wrote for 10 years out, this year I’m writing as if it’s my 34th birthday (so, one year from now).

I enjoy circling back to these entries in my journals, and on my blog, and seeing how much of it has become reality. There’s something to writing it down, almost like it gets submitted to the subconscious mind, and from there it becomes directional. Something to be drawn towards.

I’m not convinced that getting what I want is the hard part. I think it’s trickier to truly figure out what I want in the first place.

I’m also wondering if getting what I want is how happiness happens – or if it has more to do with wanting what I have. There’s a potential snag in this line of thinking:

  1. I’m not happy until that moment I get what I want or
  2. I’m embracing stagnation by not pursuing my goals

There has to be a bit of both I think, at least for me. I’m at my happiest when I’m setting little goals and achieving them. They add meaning to my days, and give me something to chase, which feels good and requires discipline. Discipline I can always have more of, and it rarley feels good to exercise it, but its fruits are tasty.

But it also clearly feels great to meditate, to let go and to trust that everything is going to turn out alright. That I don’t have to control things. And maybe that I don’t really have much of a say in my fate anyway. That last thought is a weird one, and it comes from Sam Harris’ app, Waking Up which I’ve been using as guided daily meditation. It’s been really good so far. But he says we have no free will, that we’re as much a reaction in the universe as anything else. I struggle to understand the validity of this, but it does seem as though he’s onto something. It also seems to me that if there’s even a trace of authorship in my life which I control, I’d better fucking slam that pedal to the ground and do the best I can with it.

Nobody wants to die with a full tank. Fuck that.

So where do I want to be, and what do I want to have done by my 34th birthday?

Here’s my Google Keep list:

  • Deliver on family time every day
  • Earn $10,000 in online info product sales (Publish 100 FrisbeeThrows videos/blog posts, Master the funnel, actively engage and grow community, grow email list to 1000 “true fans”)
  • 25 frisbee videos / blogs by the time we leave Ecuador
  • Bad first draft first info product for sale
  • Invest $40k
  • 5 minute breath hold
  • Lift 1000lbs between deadlift/bench/squat
  • Dunk a basketball on a 10ft rim
  • Get my first cutback surfing
  • Meditate every day
  • 3 month Duolingo streak to jack up my Spanish
  • Clear $100,000 in income
  • Hire someone to both build and maintain websites for Butter

Getting out of my own way mentally helps. I have thoughts pinned to some of these goals, old thoughts, that the goal itself is out of my reach somehow.

When I was 32, I learned some of the truth behind the Henry Ford saying “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

How do I just flip that switch though, mentally? For dunking, it was looking laterally to other guys my size and under, on YouTube, dunking basketballs like savages.

For income, it had more to do with looking at how I was spending my time and being more efficient. Putting in higher quality work on tighter time constraints. People way busier than I am do way more than I do, and are happier too. I have no excuses.

So I think the first step is going to simply be sitting with these goals, and having them solidify in my mind as “100% doable”. So doable, they begin to feel inevitable. That’s a great place to operate from.

So I’ve got my list! We’ll see how the year goes.

Sourdough Demystified: Sourdough Pizza on the BBQ

To see how I got to this point (preparing the dough) you can start at the beginning.

Otherwise, we’re picking up after bulk fermentation.

Preparing the dough is similar to bread except we don’t need to be as concerned with timing things perfectly (as with bread) and letting the dough “over-proof” a little can actually help us with shaping (the dough is more extensible the longer you let it proof). I’ve left the dough in the fridge for up to a week and it’s still made really tasty pizza. The longer you leave it, the more sour it gets. But you lose some of that fresh, “doughy” flavour, if you’re into that.

I usually make an obnoxious amount of this pizza, equating to 3 extra-large pizzas if you were to order them from an actual pizzeria. Leftovers for DAYS!

One thing I don’t cover as thoroughly as I ought to have in the video is the actual baking portion. If you have a pizza stone, get that thing as hot as you possibly can in your oven. Sourdough responds well to sudden heat transfer, so if you are able to heat up a stone with some decent mass, that heat will quickly transfer into your pizza in the first seconds of baking – giving it a lighter composition as the air bubbles within the dough get a chance to expand.

I bake on oiled parchment paper, and the oil gives the bottom of the pizza a pleasant crispiness which I’ve had difficulty reproducing without a little oil.

I find that my oven struggles to get hot enough to do an adequate job of baking pizza, and I’ve gotten better results on the barbecue with a cast iron plate.

Here’s a video of my current barbecue setup for pizza: