Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016


It is a new year, a time to look over and review what is and isn’t working in my life. A time to reflect on where I am and where I want to go.


In 2015, I lost my mom, I added a second job (a goal achieved), reduced my depression medications to zero, and navigated several relationship Tsunamis. All of which could have easily triggered a major depressive episode and none of which I could have endured without several good people in my life. 

Knowing I need people, I will attempt to add to the very short list of people in my support circle in 2016.


It is said that to find happiness or meaning in life one can/should belong to something larger than one’s self. Some use career or family to answer this need, but for many it is religion they turn to…or a combination of the three. None of those seem to work for me, I’m not happy/proud of my career path, my family is the most disjointed and disconnected one I know of, and as far as religion is concerned…for me, right now, that is a solitary pursuit between me and God (and contentious at times). 
I have devoted myself to one thing larger than myself and while I have found strength and peace there, its foundations have been shaken several times over the past six months, causing undue stress in my life. Things are better now and hopefully will continue that way.


In my life I want…
More greens and less grains
More water and less sodas
More moving and less sitting
To reconnect with old/lost friends
To reaffirm those pillars in my life
To reach out to new friends

I recently reread my strategy for 2015 post and it all still holds true so I will just try to continue working on that plan.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Insignificance



 Recently while driving a bus, I was struck at how insignificant I am. Choices in my life (or avoidance of choices) have led me to where I am. If I were not to show up for my bus-driving shift it would not matter at all, I would not even be missed. I even believe that if no one replaced me, these young adults would easily find their way to campus and back without a bus at all.

Feeling so insignificant in this job, I began to think of my primary job in a local school district working with adult special needs students in work like environments (my focus is Autism) and sadly I realized the same held true there as well. Many of my students are not suitable for a job (more complicated, severe, profound, or unmotivated) and so the program is ineffectual and meaningless. If I were not present at this job, even if no one else replaced me, there would be no significant change for these students…or the world.

At my age, many men (and women) search for or hope for their life’s work to have some meaning. I have written some in this blog about life purpose and meaning stating that common people are needed to set contrast against great people.
Feeling insignificant has spilled over in to all areas of my life from time to time. I cannot think of a single person for whom I am a top priority, including myself.

I suppose I could console myself with the fact that most of us lead insignificant lives (or at least have insignificant days).  Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and Hitler come to mind first when thinking of people who have made lasting change in this world. Going to work, paying bills, eating healthy, working out, writing a blog, and cleaning house have no lasting effect on this world, no meaning. Yet many of us fill our days and our lives with such drivel. I do.

Procreating has a lasting effect, the child a person produces can have a profound effect on the world (positive or negative…I’m thinking over population). While I have raised children, (many fostered and one step son) I have chosen to have none of my own. I read a meme recently that said, “If you do not reproduce you will be the first organism in your direct line from the beginning of time to do so.” Well at least I am first at something.


I am so common that I will likely die of America’s most common killers heart disease and/or cancer both prevalent in my immediate family. Sadly the only thing a person has to do once they are born is die, everything else is a choice. Looking back it appears I chose poorly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Dangers of Grocery Shopping



Recently I made a quick trip through my hometown on the last Friday of summer. My plan was to see mom, family, and maybe a friend or two. I chose not to call ahead because mom always makes such a fuss when I come to town, that choice meant I didn’t get to see mom as she was off with her friend for their Friday adventures. I did get to see and briefly visit with my nephew and a longtime friend.

At one point in my whirlwind tour of Kerrville, Texas I was obliged to stop at the local grocery store, HEB, where my shopping enjoyment was interrupted by a walking, talking memory, for in the isle ahead of me stood one of the bullies of my childhood. I recognized his face and his voice as he spoke to his companion, but I still cannot recall his name. Surveying him from head to foot I judged that life had not been kind to this bastard from my early years. His clothing was dirty perhaps from a job best done outdoors and he was lean, but no longer strong looking to my mature eyes.

My posture straightened and my shoulders squared. I am not a small man and while I am heavy there is a fair amount of muscle lurking beneath my soft cuddly exterior. I now know that the man before me would pose little or no threat to me physically.

We locked eyes for the briefest of seconds, my green to his mud brown. Then he turned, walking away, still speaking to his friend. I seem to remember he always had friends with him back in the day. I think it is safe to say he most likely did not recognize me for the years have certainly taken liberty with my body.

As I drove towards home later in the day I found myself thinking back to my grocery isle encounter. I entertained and enjoyed the thought that in that briefest of stares he saw a man he did not want to trifle with.

He also never knew he was a Nano second away from the beating he should have gotten 33 years ago.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Today was a rough day.

I spent a good portion of the day in bed. I didn’t sleep and I wasn’t having sex. I recently read that one way to deal with very strong emotions was to go ahead and experience them without acting on them as opposed to bottling them up or holding them back until they explode. The chapter I read this from was specific to jealousy, but ended by saying many strong emotions could be dealt with in this way.

Therefore, I lay in bed and I suffered. This strong emotion washed over me, it filled me, and it crushed me. At times today, I knew that I was dying, that no one, especially a weak coward like me, could survive this.  I did not die.

I do not know how long I cried, but it felt never ending…
until it ended.

Once the crying was done, the emotional junk washed out, I laid there and thought, I reexamined  where I was in life and where I was going.
I thought of what I wanted and what I was willing to do to achieve it.
I thought of past wrongs and future redemptions, quality of life as opposed to quantity of life, and I thought of despair oddly mixed with hope.

Sometimes when you are rebuilding something it is not only easier, but also better to just strip everything down to the foundation, make sure it is sound, and then begin construction. I am trying to rebuild a life that I have spent decades doing shoddy work on. I have not educated myself and feel it is too late to correct that, I have no ambition for my career I am as high as I am likely to go on my own, and I have failed at two marriages, both of which I probably could have salvaged (or at least not given up so easily).
Looking back on that kind of life there is no wonder I never wanted a long life. I used to joke that I’d be dead by 45, well I’m 47. Not all that long ago I would have told you I’d be ok if I only lasted or survived another 10 years because all I was doing was surviving.

I want to live not just survive.


My strong emotion session is over for now and I cannot tell you I am completely better or stronger. I certainly can’t say that I will not have to face that beast again, but I can tell you I am still here and I am okay.

Friday, May 29, 2015



Today I am forty-seven years old. I have spent 17,155 days, 564 months, and 2,444 weekends in this life. 

I cannot say I have spent them wisely, but I will say I have spent them well. I have spent them in the company of friends, in pursuit of laughter, and I have had the honor of spending my time with some of the most beautiful women. Those women who were and are way out of my league, whose smile could light a room, and whose sweat soaked embrace is a memory I will forever cherish.

I have not educated myself, I have not become the man many say I have the potential to be, and I have not reproduced. What I have done is, I have raised a fine son who continues to welcome me in his life and I have touched lives, while these fleeting moments fade, I like to think for that short time I made a difference. Most people strive to make a lasting change in this world, while I have accepted that what I have done in this world is ephemeral and it will fade as simply and quietly as I will.

The first writing of this piece spoke of my doubt as to my self-worth, but that was not what I wanted to express so I have started over. It sometimes feels as if I have started life over several times, improving just a bit each time. My sense of self-worth is strongest when I am with those people who value me, whether I completely understand their reasons or not. Why then do I struggle to carry that with me when I am alone?

That is my task in this 47th year of life to see myself the way those that love me best see me.
To have faith in those few that have sought only my well-being. Even if I can’t be first in their priorities at this point in time, I can be someone of value to them, to her.

A therapy intern recently said to me if I can find no worth in me how can I expect anyone else to find worth in me? That statement shook me to my foundations, but those that already find worth in me have rebuilt that foundation.


Now I need to build upon that…in the next 1 year, 52 weeks, 365 days…

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Foundations

I have been down lately, ok I’m down a lot of the time, but here recently I have been extra down.  The issue was that one of my solid foundation relationships wasn’t so solid anymore and apparently had been a bit shaky even prior to this. My girlfriend, a source of light and love for me, and I were having issues. Due to our circumstances, we were carrying out this ‘spat,’ our first one in this relationship, via text. It was not going so well.
I was sure I was losing her.

And it scared me.

No one wants to be the needy partner and few people want a needy partner. Yet here I was being needy.
I am oh so happy to say that today we were able to finally speak about our issues via phone and we have begun our path to recovery. I am also proud that we ‘argued’ like mature, civilized people, like people who have been hurt in other relationships and want more from this one. We did not name call, we did not play the blame game, and we stuck to the issue at hand by not citing past issues unless they had some relevance. We each expressed how we were feeling now and how we wanted to feel in the future.
In not playing the blame game, we simply accepted the situation for what it is, no matter how we got here, and then discussed how we want to proceed from here. Were there tears? Yes. Was there some pain? Yes (caused most IMHO by the crossed signal/messages via text).

We have both owned our portions of the issue, we have both agreed to compromises, and we have both reaffirmed our love for one another.


Today is looking like a much better day.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My strategy for 2015…

In years past, I have made the wildly unattainable resolutions, the no resolutions resolution, and the vague and easily attainable resolutions. None of them made me any happier, even if I was able to attain them.

So how will I proceed in 2015? What strategy will I use? There’s the key word ‘strategy’.
This year my strategy is to construct my resolutions so they are attainable, but not too easily so as to steal the positive feelings of a goal achieved. I also want them to overlap so that I am improving in more than one area of my life at any given time..

I intend to lead a more healthful life by:
• This year I will cook more homemade (less processed) meals. While paleo and clean eating may be asking too much of me, I can certainly improve from where I currently am.
• I will move more and sit less (especially at home). This is doable since any action would currently be an improvement.
• I will exercise more control of my sleeping habits (become more of a routine, 1030 to 6).
• I will drink fewer sodas (anyone can do less, right?).
• I will have a spring, summer, and fall garden (gets me outside moving and produces good food).

I intend to have more control of my depression than I currently do by:
• Practicing my counter-depression techniques (correcting negative thoughts, noticing when I find something enjoyable no matter how fleeting, and setting myself up to experience those things I find uplifting ).
• Moving more and getting more sunshine see bullets 2 &5 from the above list (Ooo see what I did there? Using my multi-beneficial techniques!)
• Improve on my sleep habits (See bullet 3 from above list. Yep! I did it again).
• I will let go of those things (dreams, desires, or wishes) that have always led to regrets for me. To acknowledge where I am in my life and that there are things I will never achieve, dreams I will not realize, and desires I will never know.
• Practice gratitude.

I intend to improve my living situation by:
• Having a garden (see bullet 5 from the above list).
• Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom daily.
• Organizing my office weekly.
• Getting rid of the things (possessions) I do not use. This year I will be the king of reuse, recycle, repurpose, or donate/discard. (heavy on the donate/discard)
• General house clean up weekly.
• Painting. Paint is cheap (relatively speaking and will keep me busy all weekend, which means less sitting).
• Yard work, yard work, yard work (again less sitting).

I intend to improve my financial situation by:
• Being more mindful of where my money is going.
• Continuing my search for a second job.
• Spending less on food (see garden and homemade meals).

My hope and desire is to move toward what I conceive as a better life. One that is also attainable by me.