Day 1

Voice in my head last night before bed:  “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my happier life.  Hurry and get to sleep, Randy.  Tomorrow’s going to be great!”

Voice in my head this morning when I woke up:  “Damn it, it’s Sunday and I have to exercise?!  This sucks!  Who lives like this?!”

Moderation and I have never really been close.  He knocks on the door a lot, but I’m typically too buried under excess to answer.  Which usually means any new thing I take on, I take on hard and then burn out.  Today, I invited Moderation in for morning coffee, and we had a nice chat.  I would take things easy today—instead of trying to run 5 miles, I’d go for a walk; instead of an hour of meditation, let’s try 15 minutes.  I got going about noon.  It’s now 2:30 in the afternoon, and I’ve completed all 5 tasks and it wasn’t that bad.

Random Act of Kindness

Interestingly enough, this was/is one of the hardest, on a couple of different levels.  First, it’s uncomfortable for me to think about sharing this one with people since it looks like I’m publicly patting myself on the back for nice things I’ve done.  I know people who do enjoy this kind of thing (a lot), and they make me want to stab sharp pencils in my ear so I don’t have to hear it anymore.  But this is part of the project, so I do it in that spirit.

Second, trying to think up something kind to do for other people is tough!  I actually googled “random acts of kindness.”  I did.  Weird, I know.  Even weirder?  There are entire websites dedicated to ideas for this.  I decided to go close to home.  It’s one of my BFF’s birthdays today and she just got engaged, and they left today for a celebratory Hawaiian vacation, so I found out where they were staying and called 3 different places before I finally found someone who would deliver a bottle of champagne over to their hotel so it would be ready when they got there.  I’m a nonprofit worker, so future acts of kindness can’t be as grand, but it felt good to do something for someone who does so much for me.  And I could do it from home.  Yes, I own my laziness.


I think my 15-minute meditation experience can best be conveyed in a drawing.  The goal was to count breaths and start over when I lost count.

Day 1


I had to go to the market today, so I decided to integrate a life task with a happiness task.  I live in San Francisco where any destination you walk to is up a steep hill—both ways.  Right outside my door, is one of the steepest hills in the city.  I have done massive research on routes around the neighborhood to avoid this hill.  Today I stared into the pavement-y eyes of that small mountain and boldly asked, “Who’s your daddy?”  The hill flippantly replied, “not you.”  That hill kicked my ass.

But I like the metaphor of it (I’m a writer; I can’t help myself.)  I just kept thinking about all the metaphorical hills you constantly have to climb to get anywhere.  And just like those life hills, this actual hill was hard and unpleasant and sweaty and awful, but the reward at the top was astounding—this amazing view of the entire city.  Even better?  It was all downhill from there.  Until the next hill.  Which in the spirit of moderation, I did not climb.  I’ll save that one for tomorrow.  Overall, though, it was probably about a two-mile walk I went on.  Not bad for a Sunday where I’d typically be on the sofa desperately avoiding all things outside.

Journal about something good that happened today

When I got to the market, I picked up a few things for dinner because I have a friend coming over.  Part of the shopping list was two bottles of wine – a bottle of white and a bottle of red, since I can’t remember which she likes best.  Having wine with people isn’t such a problem for me, it’s having wine alone (every day) and relying on it to get through the evening—that’s when I get into trouble.  I’ve made a concerted and successful effort this past month to cut the wine consumption down tremendously, but I still slip up occasionally.  This one, though, I wasn’t too worried about.

However, when I walked up to the cashier, one of the employees there who I know through my roommate and who is following this blog, said hello to me and called me out on the wine.  He also congratulated me for doing this experiment.  I said I felt a little strange about putting all this personal info out in the world, and he replied, “Sometimes that’s the kind of kick in the pants you need.”

This was amazing for two reasons:  1) I lied when I said I feel “a little” strange about putting this personal info out in the world.  I feel A LOT strange about it.  It’s uncomfortable sharing this stuff, letting people see the cracks and inviting them into the experience.  Seeing someone in person, someone I don’t know too well but now knows an awful lot about me, and was completely easy about it, encouraging in a way that normalized it, something everyone needs sometimes, really eased that anxiety (for today).  2) I will not be able to hide.  People are watching.  He noticed those bottles in my hand, and he was going to make sure I knew that he knew.  I love this guy, and I thank him for that!

3 things I’m grateful for:

1)  My friend, adopted family member, and roommate – Matty.  He’s encouraged and helped me through this entire process and in everything I do.  In my depression and anxiety, I am sometimes (often times) short with him or easily frustrated.  He’s away this weekend, and in the silence of the house, I realize how important he is to me, how much he puts up with from me, and how steadfast his loyalty and encouragement is.

2)  A hot shower whenever I want or need one.

3)  The kindness (and watchful eyes) of strangers.



  1. Wayne Bowerman

    So I hope this is not discouraging/uninspiring but my full on/hard core day 1 is starting tomorrow (with the exercise, journaling and meditation bit). I am planning to abstain from alcohol for the month as well, also starting tomorrow. See I thought not why not add quitting smoking (for the 10,000th and hopefully last time) to my list. The exercise will be brutal enough who needs to complicate it with extra huffing and puffing for air?! And for me the beer and the smokes go hand in hand so I am nixing them both. But I am starting tomorrow because it’s a holiday, my wife and kids are out of town and I had planned ahead on drinking and smoking with some friends tonight.

    But I did sit down today and write out three things I am thankful for: Good coffee, great music and my family and friends, especially my mother, 10 years gone this weekend, and still the greatest single influence – for both better and worse – in my life. I feel as if she is watching over me as I enter into this process. I also filled out about 15 thank you cards to people who have been saints in my life over the last two years, helping to hold me together.

    In the AM I shall join you full force. Godspeed!

  2. Daniela

    Have you considered yoga? You’ll get exercise and meditation in one.
    Good luck in your journey, it’s insipiring to see you take charge of your life and happiness 🙂

    • randyscotthyde

      I have actually. My problem with yoga is that I really need to be in a class to stay motivated to complete it. Doing it at home, I give up too easily. And I haven’t found a class here that I like or that fits in my schedule. But I’m still on the lookout and will revisit the at-home thing when I get more practice at following through on exercising. Great idea, though, and hadn’t considered the combo advantage!

  3. SBJ

    YES! Congrats on Day One! I joined ya!
    And thanks to Sandra for the app recommendation – I was just going to look for one this morning! 🙂

  4. deborah briskin

    hi randy,
    i am really enjoying your postings and writing. i want to congratulate you on all of the effort
    you are making and am rooting for you! you are a wonderful writer.

  5. Parissa Ebrahimzadeh

    You know what best compliments a warm Hawaiian breeze the week of your birthday and your engagement?!?! A delicious bottle of your most favorite champagne delivered the night of your arrival to Hawaii from one of your bestest friends who means the absolute world to you. That what compliments a perfect warm Hawaiian breeze. Acts of kindness are the biggest hug from your bestest friend. Felt soooo loved and taken care of. You. Mean. The. World. Grateful for this blog. And my BFF.

  6. Sabra May

    I’m kind of pissed off I just found this awesome blog. Now instead of exercising or getting anything done, I think I just want to sit on my ass and read this. Also, I genuinely appreciate how crass you are. It’s not significant, or grandiose-I’m trying to showcase what a renegade aging hipster I am-over the top, it’s natural. I like it.

  7. Rajat

    Hi Randy, I have started walking on the road that you created a few months back. Just turn around and you could see me. Thanks for the mentoring 🙂

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