I’m sorry that today’s post is not a real post. I wrote something for today but it isn’t quite ready yet but I hope it will be soon. Instead rather than not post, I’m writing this. And rather than be nothing, I’ll talk about food. I love food so much. Especially Pasta, Pizza, Burgers, Rice, basically all carbs. Its one main reason why I have a spare tire these days.
In the UK I’ve justified it because at least there are no preservatives and I do a lot of walking and its worked. I’ve been able to maintain my weight while upping my carby foods. Today I ate no carbs. I had some Shakshuka for breakfast instead of my usual breakfast tacos. I had a Chipotle substitute with no tortilla and veggies instead of rice. I snacked on almonds and carrots and an apple and for dinner I made stir fry with Cauliflower rice.
I’ve had headaches all day and my energy was really low until I had that snack. Maybe I’m not cut out for this adulting thing in the end. However, I think I might be and I’m going to keep it up. I’m not being crazy about 0-carbs or Only whole-grains. Its more recognizing that when I have a choice, consciously choosing the healthier option and recognizing the value of that.
Don’t worry, I don’t think I could make a diet that didn’t have my cookies in them so those won’t be going anywhere.
You can say many things about me except one. I am not a morning person. Unless by morning you mean about 10am.
That being said, this morning the sun woke me up I felt energized. After doing some reading and catching up on emails and texts, I felt the need to do something else uncharacteristic. I put on my shoes and went for a run. I’ve never really enjoyed running but if I’m going to do it I need a view.
Now where I live is nice but there isn’t really a good place to run that isn’t just houses and neighborhood. So instead I walked 20 minutes planning on running a 1 mile route around a garden nearby.
As I get near the garden I realize I’m just another 5 minute walk from Kensington Palace so I keep walking.
‘I made it all the way to the palace so I might as well put it to good use’ I tell myself and so I find a route and end up running a 5k.
Towards the end of my run I realize the pure insanity of this. Me. David Baker. Who hates mornings and running just voluntarily woke up early and accidentally ran 5k. WHAT!
It was at this point that I passed alongside this statue and realized what has happened. I’ve grown up. This morning I woke up and behaved like a responsible adult and in doing so went to the birthplace of Peter Pan so I could be reminded of that fact.
I’ve been blessed to live in a fantasy world of school for the past year but that has ended, it’s time for me to put away my childish irresponsibility while keeping my childlike sense of learning. It’s time for me to wake up while still appreciating all around me like this view I caught on my run.
From the first time I watched Lindsay Lohan in the Parent Trap I’ve been fascinated with London. I’ve kept it under wraps for years but I’ve subtly expressed my love of London over the years. From wearing a union jack belt buckle I found in my step brother’s closet after he moved out (sorry Tommy), to my keep calm and carry on phone case that made me instant besties with a client, to my love affair with the BBC and their programming of Robot Wars as a kid to Doctor Who and Sherlock today, including sneaking off to watch Queer as Folk UK on my laptop at BYU.
So when I stepped off the plane in July 2014 to spend a week in London before meeting up with friends in Ireland I was giddy as could be. I hopped on the Tube and checked into my hotel near Buckingham Palace. I visited the British Museum, Soho, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, and even popped up to Oxford.
That trip changed my life because I walked away from Oxford telling myself I’d be back someday and I did. I flew away from London’s Gatwick Airport headed to Dublin and I told myself that I had made it. This kid from Utah who had been kicked out of BYU, who had survived living in the middle of nowhere in Texas, whose Mom never graduated college had made it to London.
This past month I’ve woken up in ‘my London flat’, walked to the tube and chatted with Sunni my coffee guy, found a local pub, found about a dozen ways to work for when the tube breaks down. I have upped my wardrobe to fit in with the ‘London Style’. Spent Sunday’s having brunch with friends and exploring the city. I am so far from becoming a Londoner it isn’t even funny, but at the same time I am closer than I’ve ever been before.
London isn’t perfect but it has some of my favorite bits of every city. It is the political heart of the UK and (until recently) a lot of Europe in just the same way DC is. It is the financial heart like New York and has the theatre scene to back it up as well. It thrives on distinct neighborhoods just like Chicago with each one very proud of its heritage and even local football teams. It has a tech bubble in East London just like San Francisco, complete with areas I’d avoid as much as the Tenderloin.
London has parks and green spaces, public transportation with connections to 4 international airports for cheap flights to Europe. London, while it may have its risks post-brexit, represents a unique chance for me to live where I’ve dreamed of and experience the new cultures that it has to offer.
A best friend tells you when you are full of shit. She tells you ‘if you audition for American Idol, you’ll be on the blooper reel’. She also will support you when you insist on auditioning anyway.
A best friend will cheer you on when you need the encouragement to block out the haters, but he won’t simply tell you what you want to hear, he will challenge you to be better.
Over the course of my life I’ve been blessed with many best friends and they have been my rock and support. They are who I call when I’ve had a breakup, who I celebrate with when I get a promotion. They are the source of wisdom and perspective when I’ve faced difficult decisions like where to move or what new fields to look into. They help me refine the answer to the questions ‘Where am I going?’ and ‘What am I even doing with my life?’
Businesses don’t have best friends. They are surrounded on all sides by enemies so much so that they read books on war and military strategy in order to learn how to defend themselves against attack or go on the warpath themselves. I’ve spent my time on the MBA and before as an independent consultant trying to figure out why a company would hire a consulting firm.
At first I thought it was for liability protection, as in ‘if this plan fails we can blame it on the consultants and I can keep my job’. Then I thought it’s because they lack key capabilities. Both are true to an extent.
But as I’ve spent time in-house with a strategy consulting firm I think the reality is, businesses need a best friend. Someone who will tell them honestly that what they are planning is a bad idea, and if they still decide to go through with it will build a plan to succeed as best they can.
So now that I’m living in London, when I get asked the question moving forward ‘So what do you do’ I may just say that I’m business’ best friend, with all the good and bad that implies.
They say you get better at doing something by doing it. then doing it again … and again … and again, and you keep doing it until one day you look back at where you were and so see you’ve gotten better. Well I want to get better at writing and telling stories.
To that end I am going to combine a few pieces of advice and write up to 500 words each day. I’ll publish it here and if people read it and give me feedback on it, great. If not at least there is a public record to keep me to task if I fail to publish.
Years ago I read some advice on Lifehacker about how to be productive. It was your usual “not-reallly-about-productivity” advice but it included an anecdote from Jerry Seinfeld that has stayed in my head. The post discussed a conversation with the author and Jerry.
“He [Jerry] revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis
– My goal is to not break the chain.
I am a recent Graduate with a Master in Business Administration working in London as a digital strategy consultant. I have a lot of interests and a past that reflects that. My writing will be on whatever is pressing to me that day. It might be interesting to you, it might not be. Frankly I don’t care. I only care if I break the chain.
So with that in mind, stay tuned and tomorrow you’ll see your first Daily Dose of David.