August 20, 2014 – 6 Things I’ve Stopped Doing Prior to Surrendering to Federal Prison

Blogging 101 dictates that readers like to go through lists. There’s something satisfying about it and it makes a blog easy to read. With that, this is my first ever ‘blog list’. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list by any means. Since being sentenced to federal prison, I have stopped doing certain activities – most has been by design and intentionally done; some not so much.

  1. Reading – It’s probably more accurate to label this ‘voracious reading’ as I am still doingsmall amounts of reading from time to time. But I just can’t justify spending too much time reading when I know I’ll be able to read while being incarcerated (my goal is to read and summarize 100 books while being down).
  2. Working out – Same logic as why I’m no longer reading. While this may be therapeutic for me to do now, I just don’t want to dedicate time to working out now when that time could be used to spend with my family and friends. On a side note, I think my wife already has unrealistic expectations for my physique when I get out of prison so I’ll have to deal with setting expectations after I establish my workout routine while incarcerated.
  3. Eating healthy – Moderation should prevail here but once again, I don’t expect the prison fare to be especially tasty. Who am I to pass up a milkshake, nice steak or pizza now if it will be a while before I’m able to eat that again? It’s worth pointing out that #2-3 on this list have a clause, which is that I need to weigh less than 180 lbs. If I were to hit that 180-pound threshold in the coming weeks, then I would resume working out and start reining in my eating. With that being said, I still have ~3 pounds of wiggle room before this matters.
  4. Networking – I’ve met incredible people during this journey over the last nine months since the FBI came to my doorstep. As I like to say, I’ve lost friends and I’ve made new friends but it’s been a good trade because I most certainly have upgraded. My time is scarce over the next 4 weeks so I’ve suspended all opportunities to “network” and meet new people. There will be a time for this down the road but the pursuit of adding more quality relationships in my life is no longer as worthwhile an activity given my prison sentence ever approaching.
  5. Cleaning the house – Stopping this activity is much to the chagrin of my wife. Since I haven’t worked in the last nine months, I’ve spent more time cleaning the house. Every few days I would dedicate a solid couple hours and really clean up the mess which resulted in a much cleaner house for my family and a sense of accomplishment for me. If only that feeling lasted. Within hours, the kids would undo my work and we’d be back to square one. It was a vicious cycle that left my wife repeatedly nagging saying, “See? Now you know what I’ve had to deal with all these years.” I can now see this from her point of view; however, spending a few hours tidying up now seems very low on the priority list given its temporary nature. Sorry honey.
  6. Sleeping soundly – The other five things were all intentional but unfortunately this one is not. Before I discuss in more detail, there is something that everyone should know about me. I have never had any difficulty sleeping. As soon as my head hits the pillow I’m out. I can fall asleep in any scenario, noise, lighting, etc. I grew up near a military base and slept like a baby as the aircrafts zoomed over our house at all hours. I’ve never tossed and turned before big work meetings or presentations, even during the most stressful of times. I’ve raised four kids and have been through the ‘baby’ phase with all of them screaming and crying throughout the night, yet me sleeping peacefully and never even hearing them. My wife and I joke that I have borderline narcolepsy. Even throughout this stressful nine months, I’ve probably only lost about 3-4 nights of sleep… until August 8th. It’s been 12 days now since I was sentenced to prison and I have not had a good night’s sleep since. Tossing and turning in the night. Lying in bed staring at the ceiling. Waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning and just deciding to wake up. This has been my new normal. And I don’t like it. Like everything during this time, I’m learning to live with it.

Brian Jorgenson



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