And there's only about four months left. But there's so much to do. If anything has been drilled home to me over the course of this summer, it's that my timetable for things never goes according to plan. Here's what I have left to do and my thoughts on it before the year is out.
1. Convert to Catholicism
"Still?" you ask. Yes, still. I'm in the process of, actually going through RCIA as we speak. It's slow. It's methodical and frustratingly so. The book given to me to study and work out of is so small and I can blaze through that puppy in a day. Instead, I'm going lesson by lesson at a crawl.
I wish it was faster but I understand why the pace is slow. It's a lot to learn, even if the book is small, and the deeper insights are where the real work is done. I get it but I'm frustrated. Nevertheless, I'm taking the opportunity presented to me through the RCIA process to dive in to other Catholic practices, putting them into action with other Catholics my age.
But then there's communion, where I continue to be among the few, if not the only one, to sit in my pew as just about everyone else around me goes forward. That, by far, is THE most frustrating thing out of all of it. I realize I'm not Catholic and don't qualify for it, but every time it happens I feel like the guy in the room that's highlighted. That's the biggest turn off of my "put things into practice" method ... but that's the way it is.
2. Lose Weight
"Still?!" Yes, still. The summer has been kind to me and I'm back down to last summer's weight of 145. Am I glad? Absolutely. It's nice not to see the scale in the 150s anymore after a long winter of woe. But I've run the numbers and seen, first hand, what a lower weight on a similar (to myself) body looks like and it looks WAY better than what I'm at.
The new goal is 128 pounds, which means I have a little over 17 pounds to lose. I'd like to get this done before the month is out but that's unlikely. My self-control has been okay but not great, especially with how social I've been these past few weekends. I've failed to adhere to things but haven't paid horribly, thankfully.
But in order to knock my body fat percentage down to 12 percent and try one more time to get rid of the unsightly loose skin, I must go this far. It's not terribly low, but it is lower than my initial projection of 130. Whether I can succeed in this endeavor at all is a valid question, as seeing I've never been able to get my weight lower than 138 (two summer's ago) and that seems an awfully long way from 128.
Still, I have to make the attempt.
3. Learn Etiquette
It has come to my attention that I look uneducated at the dinner table with the way I do things. From my utensil usage to my body posture, I come across as a slob. I'm pissed about it, no doubt, because it's yet another flaw in the long list of flaws that I need to correct in order to be even a remotely decent human being, but this one is going to be a hard flaw to correct.
Much like losing the 133 pounds I did prior, this flaw has a long history and is built into me. I really, really don't care about it that much as it pertains to me. But I do care how others perceive myself.
Still, there needs to be real consequences attached to this and I can only come up with one strategy to successfully teach myself how to do right: by putting the meal on the line.
I've decided to embark on a simplistic "three strikes and you're out" system to teach myself how to do this. At every meal I will judge myself (and have others judge me if they so wish) on proper table etiquette and my performance therein. If I mess up three times, whether by holding a fork incorrectly, misusing a knife, propping my elbows on the table, or leaning over the table, then I lose my right to eat.
Essentially, I either perform correctly at the table or I don't eat. With a meal on the line, I should quickly be able to develop better habits. If not, I lose the right to eat, in which case that'll help my weight loss cause.
It's a win-win situation, really. It may not be pretty in the early goings, but it'll be effective.
4. Learn How to Dress
Men's fashion is a lost cause with me, perhaps. I've been attempting to try and work out some way to figure out what works for me and what doesn't, and I feel I have a decent grasp on it, but I'm not where I should be and my wardrobe is rather limited. My fashion sense is more like an inkling mixed with a guess.
I've stuck this one lowest on the priority list for, depending on my success in losing weight, the needs for it might change. As it stands, I'm satisfied that I'm okay with it, but as seeing that I'm lacking in other areas, I can't justify the effort to be better at it.