Today I’m turning 44. It’s a very special moment.
Why? Well, if you add 4 with 4 it gives 8, and 8 is a very special number. It signifies luck and balance, in all numerology interpretations. In Asia, number 8 is considered to be very lucky. And if you switch it horizontally, you get the symbol for “infinity”. And I can go on like this for hours, but, to be honest, I think it’s a very special number just because I choose so. 🙂
During the last few years I made some sort of a habit to tackle a new challenge with every anniversary.
I remember the year in which I tamed 12 monkeys, one monkey per month. Boy, that was a good year. A lot of useful stuff emerged from that year-long challenge, running included. As a matter of fact, running is one of the healthiest and most rewarding habits that I created during that challenge. I still run regularly, 3 times a week, and I participate in official competitions. I have run 3 marathons, three semi-marathons and many smaller 5k and 10 k races in the last two years.
And I have no intention to stop. For instance, tomorrow, in the first day of my 45th year, I’m running my first ultra marathon, a 56 km race. I really, really, really look forward to it. Oh, by the way, if you feel like you want to give me something for my birthday, you can donate whatever amount you feel like for the charity I support, the link is here.
But let’s get back to my birthday.
The Blogging Challenge
This year’s challenge will be a blogging challenge. It’s something that I’ve never done before, although I blog for more than 8 years now.
For the next 100 days I will publish each and every day an article based on an entry from my most visited blog post so far, 100 Ways To Live A Better Life.
If you’re new here, you have to learn a few things about this post. First of all, it has more than 500.000 unique visits until today. Second, it generated a book (which has the same name, and which is available on a “get it for free, pay as you like” distribution model – which basically means you can get it in a matter of moments, for free, as a PDF). This book was translated (along with its companion, 100 Ways To Screw Up Your Life) in Korean and in Farsi (that would be Persian). The translated books sold more than 6000 copies in Korea and got distributed freely in Iran (they don’t quite get the “copyright” stuff over there, but it seems there was some interest over the book). So, in a nutshell, it was a significant moment in my evolution as a blogger.
Another part of the challenge will be to use a new social network for promotion. I choose tsu, a newcomer which aims to compensate its users for the content they create. Without going into much detail, I will just note that I consider this approach to be the correct one. I don’t know yet if tsu will find the correct way to do it (as an entrepreneur myself I know how hard it is to really sync your business with the right conditions) but I feel like giving them a chance. So, if you want to follow the challenge (or just to give tsu a try) go ahead and sign up here. At this moment, tsu is invitation only, so the link will count as your invitation. Regular updates will appear on my Facebook and Twitter account too, but the main network will be tsu.
My Birthday Present
Before closing in, I want to thank to all the people who contributed to my birthday present. It’s a GPS running watch (the one in the featured image of this post – and that should solve the mystery for those of you who were wondering what the frack that picture is doing on top of this post). It’s the first time I get this type of present, and I don’t mean the watch, but an object which is “crowd-funded”.
A couple of weeks before my birthday, my girlfriend secretly started to ask my friends if they would want to contribute to a nice present. I’m enjoying a circle of friends with regular income, I’m not living among incredibly rich people, but also not among incredibly poor. Normal people.
So, first my girlfriend asked me what exactly would I like for my birthday – she had some suspicions after seeing me frantically searching the web for the best running tracking device, but she wanted to be sure. I told her. From that moment on, I started to have my suspicions, but it wasn’t only a few days before the event that I realized this actually happened. My friends contributed a small amount each one and, together, they raised even more than what the watch costs. The rest of the money will be spent on a small party.
I love the watch. It’s very helpful and it improved my running a lot. But it’s not only that. I’me very happy that I have friends who can think of me this way. It’s a simple, warm and very positive feeling. I just feel alive and appreciated. And it means a lot to me. Thank you, guyz’n galz. You know who you are. 🙂
With that being said, let’s see you all tomorrow, with the first post from this challenge. It’s going to be fun for me to rewrite 100 entries from that blog post (which were already complied into a book), into an article per day.
But hey, that’s what challenges are for: to be challenging, right?
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.