Monthly Archives: June 2012

Tidbits

Here are some random thoughts I’ve been having as of late.  I thought I’d put something down…clear my head for more random thoughts.

1.  My son is 16.  S-C-A-R-Y.  We went driving, and he picked it up rather fast.  That’s good…though my heart fell into my feet every time he slammed on the breaks.  God help us all.  😉

2.  If you go to a movie theater, shut up.  No one cares what you think about the plot, what you think about the actors, or whether or not you know someone in the film.  In fact, if you just keep your mouth shut through the entire process, you will be more than fine.  Because believe it or not, your diatribe of useless chatter was not a part of the filmmaker’s vision.  I can guarantee it.

3.  I have a pretty awesome mom.  More on that later.  But it’s nice to know she believes in me.

4.  I’ve been feeling frustrated with my work.  I don’t say career, because the career I had chosen didn’t turn out so well.  But frustrated with the lack of communication in what I do.  There’s just no room for advancement.  But I’m taking steps to remedy that.

5.  I am going back to school and it overwhelms me at times.  Not so sure why…but maybe because I want it so bad.

6.  I wish I was debt free.  Being self-employed, I pay for my own health insurance and it is prohibitively expensive.  And right now, I’m living paycheck to paycheck.  The whole idea with going back to school is so that won’t necessarily be my reality anymore…though who can say.  Can you major in millionaire?

7.  The weather in Seattle has been very bipolar as of late.  We’ve been seeing sun, and then all of a sudden, we see torrential rain.  It reminds me of Florida.

8.  Second Warrior in Yoga is difficult.

9.  I’m happy I’m a gay man.  Today is pride, and for all of those out there celebrating, coming to terms, or not sure whether they like themselves because of this one thing…I can tell you it gets better.  And easier.  But number 3 helps quite a bit.

Have a great day.  🙂

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Defying Gravity

I finished work today and realized how unhappy I am. There’s no growth, no human interaction, no change. The same thing day in and day out. Some routine is okay, but isolation is not.

I am going to jump off the cliff spread my wings and fly.

I’m making a monumental decision and moving forward. It’s time to try defying gravity.

35

This post comes after a conversation I had with a friend.

We were sitting on my balcony, overlooking the water.  It’s not really that fancy.  There are a bunch of trees in the way.  Still, it is relaxing.

As we sat there, talking, the question came up again of what to do, where to go, this journey, this life that we lead.  Both of us find that being in our mid-30’s, we’re facing a crisis of what do we do with our lives.

Both of us had dreamed of being on the stage…but life sometimes gets in the way in major ways.  I don’t know if that means persevering, or what, but when major life events happen, you start to look at things and wonder is this really worth it anymore.  The pounding the pavement, and hoping for that one big break.

All of this was circulating around the idea that I feel something monumental is coming in my life, yet…I don’t know what that could be.  I feel stuck in a job I hate.  She asked me what my dream job would be, and I said, “Working for Disney.”  Unfortunately, that means I either need to become a software engineer (not smart enough) or move to California to work the loading zone for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Since I hate California, I predict that is not going to happen anytime soon.  BUT, as the song says, “A dream is a wish your heart makes.”

So, what does this have to do with anything?  I’m glad you asked.  I’ll do my best to sort out whatever is going on in my head and see if it makes any sense.

I had a dream that I was going to die when I turned 35.  This was a while ago.  But my life had been planned up to that point…and frankly, nothing beyond.  There was no 10-year plan or 20-year plan.  It was simply somehow, I was going to be dead at 35.

I’m still alive, obviously.  I’m not a zombie, and typing this on my quest for brains.  That hasn’t happened.  But yet, I do feel as though part of me is dead.

There used to be a joie de vivre, a sense of life, adventure, experience.  But that seems to have gone.  Remember that major life event I mentioned earlier?  It happened to me about five years ago, when I turned 30, and since then, there have been major hopes and lows, as I felt like someone had picked me up, and thrown me in the ocean and said, “Find shore.”  I didn’t know which way shore was, and so I tread water for months.  In the timeline of events, this was what I called survival mode.

Sure, I may have come out of it stronger, smarter, faster, experienced, whatever, but it took a lot out of me.  And still continues to take a lot out of me.

There are times when I’m engaged, as I used to be, but those moments are few and far between.

It’s not depression.  I know it’s not that.

It’s feeling like, what is the next step?  What is the ultimate end goal?  And even though I can’t see what that end goal is, why am I so hesitant to move forward, to set in motion a chain of events that may lead to something bigger and greater?

Fear.

Fear holds me back, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of unhappiness, fear of still meandering through whatever this is, this process, this life.

I turned 35.  I’m now six months into it, and I still don’t know what the next step is.

That’s hard.  To wake up and spend my day trying to figure out who or what I am, trying to reinvent myself, yet, not knowing how to even begin.  Struggling to make ends meet and feeling like I can never get ahead…and by the time I’m finished with my responsibilities, there isn’t even time for myself to begin contemplating that next step.

So, I cautiously wait out the days.

In a sense, I have died.  The dream…which was just a dream… seems to have come true.

But I feel like there’s so much more to accomplish, so much more to strive for, to change the world, to give back, to create, to express my ways that only I can do.

The original title of this post was “The Emperor’s Wearing No Clothes,” and as I got to writing, I realized it wasn’t quite where this was post was going to go.  It was simply the cover for what has lied underneath for a while, and seems to bubble up to the surface every waking hour of every day.  And that starts to feel more and more excruciating as I figure out how to fill those days.

I guess if you’re still reading here, you’ve followed what I’ve had to say, and maybe have had a strong reaction to it.  “Grow some balls,” or, “Yes!  I feel that way too.”  Or maybe you’re completely indifferent to it.

I’m slowly become that way about the whole situation.

But there’s the rub.  If I am indifferent, it means there is still fight within me, fight to do something, to BE something.  To go forward and give good to the world, wherever, however I can.

That’s the part I have to figure out.  It’s simply not enough to want it.

It’s 9:32…only three and a half more hours left of whatever today has been.

Thank you for reading.

iPhone and Spelling

Sometimes I write these posts as they come to me, and the only thing available is my iPhone.  I don’t tell you to brag that I have an awesome iPhone, I simply tell you so that way when you see sentences that don’t make sense it is because the iPhone and my fat fingers don’t often mix.  :-/

Minor in Possession…

I was grocery shopping of Friday night. Yes, yes, I know, the glamorous life. But I saw something that I thought was rather fascinating and has stuck with me for the past few days and thought I would write about it. Not sure why it’s still in my head, but hopefully this mini-essay will help clear it up.

At the grocery store, I went to pay for the groceries as you do when you’re finished and something was afoot beyond the registers. A flurry of activity.

A little backstory. Washington State had just passed a law making liquor available…well practically anywhere. Target, Rite Aid, grocery stores, Costco…any retailer that applies for the license can sell it. I am not much of a drinker…and when I say much I mean hardly at all. Once Ina blue moon do I engage in any sort of alcoholic activity…and even then I can probably count the number of drinks I’ve had on one hand in my 35-year life. As far as I was concerned I didn’t even know you had to go to a liquor store to get alcohol. It was just something that never occurred to me.

With this new law, retail stores are seeing a major uptick in shoplifting a tremors by minors who think it would be fun to get drunk on a Friday night.

As I stood paying for my groceries a clerk hurried past the store manager and said something to him about something going down. Because the store was nearing later hours they had closed one of the entrances and the suspected shoplifter was apprehended by the store’s security team.

And then the pleading started. This kid, who was no more than maybe 16, 17, reasonably dressed, had been caught putting a $40 bottle of scotch under his shirt and attempting to walk out. The security team took him in and basically told him they were calling the cops, filing paperwork and calling his parents.

Honestly, I don’t know what was the more serious threat. Clearly the kid didn’t relish the thought of having to go through the court proceedings but his parents were going to be called in and that is what prompted him to start pleading with the clerks to let it go, he’d never do it again, etc.

I’m not saying that their punishment was too harsh or not harsh. But it made me wonder at what led him to believe that this was an acceptable course of action…and now, because of his choice, he would most likely have a record.

The clerk and I made small talk as she came back to help me, and she mentioned that with beer it was usually a “don’t do it again warning,” but that they were much more serious about the hard liquor. And they were pressing charges.

I get it. I understand that it’s just another revenue stream for the stores…and that this kid was, in fact, shoplifting. But clearly this was t thought out on their end. Their security team consist of store employees who need to catch the thief and then detain him until the police get there. And because it is a grocery store, they obviously can’t ban children from going in there. They are a crucial demographic as well, and while they may not have the same type of income their parents have, cereals, sodas, chips and candy bars are marketed to them rather heavily. And what parent hasn’t heard the constant nagging of, “Mommy can I PLEASE have that????”

But if the store is going to enter into something that previously had been restricted to over 21 establishments, such as the state-run liquor store, while not changing their general model, then maybe they should also invest in hiring a security guard who is more able to deal with these sorts of problems Ina n effective and controlled way. It only seems fair. That way the safety of the store employee is t at risk and can go back to checking out the other customers and let the safety security officer do their due diligence and their job.

What is most heartbreaking about this entire thing is that this kid made a stupid choice and now is going to have to pay for it. Perhaps he’ll only have a warning or perhaps it’ll be on his record for much longer than that. But as these bigger chain grocery stores start protecting their bottom line even more so, they are going to go after this generation of kids that really didn’t think of the consequence. Their customer service will suffer and in the end the kid, the store, and the other customers will suffer.

I guess this long missive really comes to the fact that while the proponents of this new law that passed won, more than enough people have lost.

but maybe I don’t get it. As I said, I’m not a drinker and therefore chasing the liquid dragon is something that has never appealed to me.

Friends…?

I’m not trying to be a downer here.  But sometimes I wonder once you’ve outlived your usefulness to people, whether they even make the effort to see what’s going on in your life.

I do my best to make sure that I am around for those in need.  “Dial-A-Dilemma” has become popular.  Or people needing to bounce ideas on how to get their stuff together.  Yet, when I might need something in return, it almost seems as if answering the phone is bothersome.

And I have a ton of thoughts on this subject.  Mainly that technology (ironic, isn’t it that I’m writing about this via technology) has played a huge role in our isolation from our fellow human beings.

I can walk down the street, without my headphones in, and my head up, alert.  People on the street in my neighborhood will say hello, will nod their heads and smile, a gentle wave.  But as soon as I put my headphones in, it’s almost as if it is the universal sign for “He wants to be left in his small iPod fortress of solitude.”  Check.

Or cell phones.  Now that everything has caller ID, making a phone call just to talk is a thing of the past.  Remember when we used to hear those old contraptions on the wall ring, excited at the prospect of who might be taking time out of their day to remember us, to just pass the time connecting?  But now we know instantly who is on the other end of the line, and depending on our grumpiness, we make a conscious choice to not answer it.

I’m not speaking from a “woe-is-me” attitude.  I’m speaking from personal experience, as I have done it myself.  “You?  No….I don’t want to talk to you.”  So I’ll let it go to voice mail.

It becomes really easy for us to blame outside distractions…”Oh, I didn’t see it.”  Liar.  “Oh, I didn’t hear it.”  False.  “Oh, I wasn’t in the room.”  Not true.  The real reason is simply, “I’m too selfish to think outside of my world.”  It’s sad.  But true.

Case in point.  There is someone who shall remain nameless, but whenever they say hello, all they do is launch into a litany of complaints about their life, and how much they hate it.  Okay, fine.  You hate your life.  So, rather than do something about it, you wallow in self-pity.  Got it.  Check.

But when you come to someone and ask them for advice, and then meet E-V-E-R-Y single suggestion they have with, “I can’t do that.  That’s not possible,” blah blah blah, then what’s the point?  You drive home the point that you really don’t hate your life, you simply hate change.  And now that you’ve chosen to get yourself stuck in the perpetual quicksand of emotions that you seem to feel on a constant day-by-day basis, you are trying to grab everyone down into that bottomless pit with you.  Misery loves company.

But I don’t.  I try to have a smile, an encouraging word, a friendly piece of encouragement, a little joke, whatever.  Maybe it’s my naivete, or simply I was handed better tools to equip with life.

That’s not to say my life is all rosy.  There are hardships…more than I care to discuss in this blog at this point.  Especially considering my name is attached.  Maybe if I change my name to something like, ‘Random Person You’ll Never Meet” I’d feel a bit more comfortable discussing all these things.

I’m off topic now.  And the topic is, what constitutes a friend anymore?  Are we simply content with looking at each other’s Facebook page, and saying, ‘Wow, Susie was at Restaurant X.  I feel so much closer to her.”  “Wow, Susie is pregnant?  Good for her!”

No.

We, as a society, are content to let life pass us by, to see things from afar, and not experience them.  And in short, we make our own prisons for ourselves.  Prisons of our own failures, our own inadequacies, and our own shortcomings.  And it seems that most of society is pretty comfortable with living there.

A pretty rotten way to spend your time, your days, your life.

But, hey, that’s your choice.  Mine happens to be to go out and enjoy it.  Because it’s not what I’m doing, it’s who I’m doing it with.  If we’re shopping for ceramic bathroom tiles, that can be just as much fun as flying an airplane, or driving cross country.  All of those things can be what you make of it.

So, what will you make of it?  What do you make of your day?

I encourage you to go out there and connect.  Actually CONNECT with someone.  Take time out of your internet-tethered world to interact with someone.  It may make a difference in your life.  I know it does in mine.

I’m flying

Today I went flying for the first time.

W-O-W.

I’ve been in planes before but this was different. A two seater. It was beautiful and just an adventure from start to finish. How many people can say that they flew to an island for lunch? It was quite amazing. An I even got to handle the controls for about 30 minutes. The sheer power in your hands….as you are 3,000 feet in the air…. Wow…. I’ve included some pictures for you to see….

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What do I want to be…

That’s the big question.

When I grow up.

I’m 35. You would think I know.

Sigh

Reflections

I have this playlist on my phone that whenever I’m feeling down, I put it on, and it brings up whatever it is that I’m feeling.  Maybe I deal with it, maybe I don’t.  But it’s become a source of comfort for me the past few weeks, as I traverse the streets, listening to the gentle songs.  

All of the songs have a sense of belonging, moving forward, and of eternal happiness.  I suppose all songs are a reflection of that quest, right?  Though one could argue that “Old MacDonald” is not, but even he has everything that he could want on his farm.  Chickens, ducks, pigs, horses, cows….with a moo, moo here and a moo, moo there.  Still, he is content.

Each of the songs on the list goes back to a particular person or time in my life.  Something that I feel has shaped me.  Some of them are newer songs, some of them are songs that someone might go…”What?”  Still, they are a road map to my inner psyche.  Whether you want to follow that map or not, the answer is right there, and the X marks the spot.  

If you’re curious…and I know you are…the playlist includes the following:

We Will Find A Way (from Corrina, Corrina)
Man In the Mirror (by Michael Jackson)
Somewhere (from West Side Story) 
So Far Away (by Carole King)
Back to Before (from the musical Ragtime)
Louder than Words (from the musical Tick Tick Boom)
Feels Like Home (from Randy Newman’s Faust)
My Immortal (by Evanescence)
Collide (by Howie Day)
Southbound Train (sung by Sally Mayes)
Once Upon a Time (from the musical Brooklyn)
Home (sung by Michael Buble)
I Could Fall in Love (sung by Selena)
I Need You (sung by LeAnn Rimes)
More Than Words (sung by Extreme)
Superman (sung by Five For Fighting)
A Way Back to Then (from the musical Title of Show)
Yesterday (sung by the Beatles)
Let It Be (by the Beatles, but from the soundtrack from Across the Universe)

So there you have it.  

What does it mean?  I suppose that’s for you to guess/speculate/ponder/pontificate/whatever.  I just listen to it.  And love what each of the songs say to me.  

Happy June