Welcome to My Instruction Manual

On April 11 — one day before my 45th birthday — my sister gave me a second chance at life by donating one of her kidneys.

This was a huge sacrifice — nearly two months later, she’s still not fully recovered — and I am determined not to waste this selfless gift.

This new blog will chronicle my attempts to live my new life to the fullest, to be happier, healthier and more productive. I’m calling this blog “My Instruction Manual” because it will become a guidebook for life and how to live it well.

It’s not like I was unhappy before. I am blessed in marriage, have unique and delightful kids, have run half-marathons and have had a variety of successful careers in journalism, public relations, social media and publishing.

But something was missing. I was stressed and grumpy too often. I was bad at maintaining friendships and worse at keeping them. The habits I learned to cope during childhood were getting in the way of the life I wanted to live as an adult.

Like most of us, I never really learned how to be human, not really. So now I’m learning this basic but fundamental skill and I will share my learnings and experiences here.

Here’s what you can expect from My Instruction Manual.

  • While this blog fits into the self-help / self-improvement / personal development categories, I’m not interested in exploring a bunch of unproven new age theories. Everything I talk about here will be grounded in science.
  • To start, I’ve defined my focus as becoming happier, healthier (eating and exercise) and more productive. But this may evolve over time as I explore the most important elements to include in an instruction manual for humans.
  • For the first few weeks, I’m committing to posting almost every day. Here’s what I’m planning for the next few days. Tomorrow, I’m writing about bullet journals, Thursday I’m writing about resolutions and Friday I’m writing about friendship.

So with that, welcome to My Instruction Manual! I’m excited to set off on this journey and thrilled to share it with you.


  1. I’m really excited to follow this, Keith! Hope you and the fam are all doing well. xo

    • Ashley – thanks for reading and thanks for being the first person ever to leave a comment!

  2. I can’t wait to read this! So glad to hear about your new lease on life Keith. Looking forward to following your journey, and maybe learning some things along the way 🙂

  3. We will be following your blog faithfully, Keith. Best of luck. Jim and Kathy

  4. I am following and know you will have beautiful and insightful things to share. You always did have these things in you. Looking forward to seeing them here in writing.

    • Thanks Terrie. Looking forward to seeing you soon when we get the old band back together!

  5. So far I’m in, Keith. I too had a personal trauma in my recent past that fundamentally changed how I live and view the world. Life is a gift if you can commit to see it that way. It has been an interesting road to recovery that has crystalized my perspective. I am very interested in sharing your journey as I continue to evolve myself. Bring it on, bro.

    • That’s the right way to look at things Sara! We don’t get to decide what shit life throws at us but we can decide how much we let it make us stink.

  6. Looking forward to this Keith (and prepared to overlook the possibility that Skylab may use the contents to create even more, human-like cyborgs to subjugate humankind as part of the ongoing struggle between the Terminators and humanity…. although, to be fair, the Aliens will probably get us first…)

    Hope Stephanie and your respective recoveries continue at pace!

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