Leaving All This to Be Undone.

People not having faith in me, and a result me not having faith in myself has been a recurring theme in my life. When you’re constantly told that you can’t achieve something, it’s very difficult to achieve anything except the low expectations set for you. And when you’ve been convinced by friends, co-workers, teachers, parents, and others that you’re not going to succeed, it’s very difficult to prove them wrong.

I’ve had that scenario for so much of my life. But, lately something has changed. I don’t know where it started, but people have been encouraging me. They’ve told me that I’m worth something. They’ve told me that I deserve good things. They’ve told me that I CAN achieve more. And more importantly than people telling me that is that I’m starting to believe it.

Even though I’ve been writing about the changes in my life lately and how good things are going, it’s still so new me that I don’t know how to process it. It’s weird. I know things are different. They feel different. I feel different. Things are good. I don’t know if it’s the standard doubts that I always have, but there’s something there that’s saying “this isn’t right.”

The voice in my head saying “this isn’t right” is probably just confused since my normal has always been set to “meh.” And that “meh” is a large grouping of things: Expectations, mood, results, etc.

The best way for me to try to understand all of this right now is to go back to thinking about how surreal some aspects of my life have been over the past. Someone once told me that some of the things that I’ve said are surreal will stop being surreal and will just be very normal. I don’t know if I want that to happen. I like them being surreal to me because I think it helps magnify my appreciation for them. And right now, I’m using that same way of thinking/feeling to process the change

Over the next few months, a few more really good things may be happening for me. I say “may be” because final say in how good things get for me is out of my control. I can do what I need to for it, and I’m in the process of doing that. But, it’s not up to me what happens after that. And before you ask if I could be more vague, yes, I could be.

What I’m about to say is not my usual bit of doubt/self destruction, it’s me (thinking that I’m) being accurate about things. I need to find more motivation for other things. As much as I’m enjoying all of my progress, there’s more that I need to do. And that means that I need to curtail my willingness to quit and give in. It also means that I may need to force myself to get out of bed earlier. And I do mean “force myself.” It seems that no matter how much sleep I get, I cannot wake up and start my day without effort.

As I’m also searching for balance in my life, I sometimes wonder if my inability to achieve the things that I used to be able to achieve is now the balance for being to achieve other things. I’m also doing my best not to think about that too much, because if I do, I may immediately start that downhill path that my mind can so easily go on. The balancing act of my brain is pretty much a tight rope over a canyon.

And while I am getting the praise from some places, I’m not getting it from others. I don’t seek praise. I want it to be voluntary. I don’t like bragging about my accomplishments. But, then again, it’s probably because I’ve been conditioned not to believe that anyone would care. As you can see, there’s a lot going on inside and the scales of balance easily tilt towards the doubt and negative thoughts.

I’ve stopped myself a few times in this entry to regroup my thoughts to stay as upbeat as possible. I’ve also stopped myself because my attention span sucks and there were shiny things to look at elsewhere. But, anyway…
I do want to keep this from going to the darker thoughts, so I’ll end the entry now and say that I am genuinely optimistic about what should be happening soon. I’m finally on my way to better things.*

* = I really wanted to add some sarcastic thing there to imply doubt. But would it really be sarcastic? See! This is what I’ve been talking about…

Hold the Whole World in Our Hand and Greet the Dawn With Open Arms.

For so long, I’ve floundered. For so long, I’ve been sure that I won’t succeed. For so long, I’ve been sure that I can’t succeed. For so long, I wasn’t encouraged. For so long, I was put down. For song, I believed them.

It appears to be a different time, and I still believe them. But, the difference is, they’re telling me that I can. They’re telling me that I’m doing well. They’re telling me that I’m worth it.

And the difference is astronomical.

I’ve lived in a “World of Can’t” for so long. I was told about all of the things that I can’t do. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. I can’t apply for this, I can’t apply for that. I can’t achieve this, I can’t achieve that. It didn’t matter if that the thing that I was asking for was permission to do something or if I was asking if I was capable of achieving something. Constantly being told that I can’t made me sure that I can’t, and won’t.

Over the past few months, there’s been a change. Negative forces, while still present, aren’t the loudest voices in my head (even if they’re quite loud). The voices that encourage me to do more, the voices that praise me, the voices that offer me help and guidance, are the ones that I hear the loudest.

The change in my demeanor is very noticeable. I’m energetic (after coffee). I’m not as cynical as I was about myself. I don’t see myself as having the dead end life that I was programmed to believe that I was going to have. That dead end may be opening up. A conditional use variance was granted to it and I may be able to get around it. I may actually be on the path to success.

That last sentence would have been a great way to end this entry, but I want to keep going with these thoughts and get a little deeper into this.

I don’t know if my lack of esteem is a nature or nurture thing. It’s probably a combination of both, so let’s go with that. If, by nature, I was predetermined to half a lack of esteem and confidence, the lack of encouragement that I received from friends, family, teachers, employers, and other authority figures in my life just further nurtured my sense of blah. This is why it’s taken me so long to not be 100% sure that any and all good things that happen to me will be shortly followed by something horrible. That type of thought is so ingrained in my head that if/when something bad happens to me, even if I continue to ride this high that I’ve been on for a while, part of my brain will still have the “it was bound to happen” thought to attempt to deal with it.

If things play out for me as I think they’re going to over the next few months, I’ll be in a better position to do things than I’ve been in before. I am fully aware that a lot of me getting to this point is due to a lot of effort on my part, but I didn’t do it alone. There’s been a lot of people, circumstances, and situations that have played a part in this. From friends and co-workers encouraging me, from me asking for help with various topics ranging from weight loss, physical pain, and mental health concerns, and job related things. All of it’s coming together. I needed the strength to get to where I am right now, but I don’t think I would have done it if certain people didn’t tell me that I could.

I’m going to fall along the way. I’ve done it recently. But, I wasn’t belittled, insulted, discouraged, or reprimanded. I was encouraged. I was basically told “it happens, you’re doing so well. Keep going.” Hearing those words is amazing for me. I’m not used to it. It’s genuinely nice to hear. It’s even nicer since I believe them. I’m in a good place. That place is likely to be better soon. It’s a feeling that I’m not used to. I’m also not used to not being concerned about it. It’s been a long road. I’m finally arriving.

I Have Waited a Long Time and Dragged Myself a Long Way.

In last month’s entry, I discussed the self-destruct mechanism in my head. It’s usually pretty prevalent. It often pops up when things are going well. It also often shows up when things are going poorly. It’s easy for me to not finish something and feel a moment of relief, since going through with whatever I had stopped doing would cause anxiety. However, all of those unfinished things create different anxieties for me, often leading me directly into a depressive spell when they pile up.

It’s also very easy for me to be in the self-destruct/give up mode when I don’t see a scenario getting any better. And when I’m in that mindset, my desire to do things is severely diminished. When my desire to do things is diminished, I’ll leave so much unfinished that I get more anxious and go further down the depression slide.

It’s sometimes difficult to snap out of that mood. It’s even more difficult to sustain a good mood when I’ve recently been that far down. None of this is new to me. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, even though nobody, not even myself, saw the patterns.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen some improvements. I’ve developed some habits that (I believe) are healthy for me. I’ve made a lot of steps in a positive direction.

And yet, even as I hear from people about the positive things in my life, I’ve had a hard time believing them. I’ve been down for so long that it’s never been possible to be too optimistic about things to come.

However, recently, things have started to change.

In many of the recent posts when I’ve talked about how good things are going, there was always a black cloud over my head. It’s dissipated a bit. There’s some rays of sunshine there now, but hopefully not too much since I burn so easily in sunlight, but I digress.

The biggest source of stress and anxiety in my life has usually been my finances, or lack of. That’s been less of a burden over the past few years, but there’s often been the fear that something will happen that will to cause me to NEED to spend a lot of money. And while that fear is still there, there’s also now a sense of relief since there’s things in the works for me with my job that should see my situation improve.

The potential of the financial improvements have really helped me clear out some other worries and help keep me on a mostly positive path lately. Money isn’t the only thing that’s been good for me though.

Late last year I decided that I just needed to be healthier. Not just physically or financially, but mentally too. I’ve taken steps to improve all of those needs. I can also say that I’ve made progress. From the middle of October until now, I’ve lost 20 pounds. I’m sort of stuck at my current weight, but since I’ve also started regularly exercising again, I expect that I can make more progress there. I’ve also signed up for two 5k races that will be happening in a few months, so I have time to prepare for them. I’ve enjoyed my workouts, my weight loss, and the progress. But, there’s more than that.

The enjoyment isn’t just due to finishing something, it’s also from starting it. Over the past few years, my desire to workout wasn’t there. I don’t know if it was to not having anything to strive for, a lack of interest, or just being in depression that I didn’t even realize that I was in, but I’m not there now. I enjoy the effort that I’m putting into it.

I also recently removed some unnecessary items from my life and by doing so, I felt another sense of accomplishment. And this one was so very simple. I had a desktop computer that had barely functioned for a while. Even after I bought a nice new laptop for myself, I kept using the desktop for some stuff, regardless of how annoying and frustrating that old machine became. The desk in my room had its space taken up by the monitor, keyboard, and other related items. I didn’t use the desk for anything. By removing the computer and being able to utilize the space on the desk, I felt accomplished. Yes, something that simple made such a difference for me.

In addition to the minor changes that I just described, I’ve replaced other items throughout the house. And the small changes make things seem more practical for me. Simple things can make a big difference.

Another source of non-stressful energy is the phone call that I received from my doctor a week or so ago. I just had my annual physical and any items that were a concern last year were not a concern this year. It made me see that all of the efforts to be healthier have paid off.

I’ve been sleeping somewhat better recently. Although, I still often wake up in the middle of the night. The time that I wake up is pretty consistent and would be very convenient if I still worked early morning retail hours, but I don’t, so it isn’t. However, whether I wake up early or not, the most difficult thing that I do every day seems to be getting out of bed. I’ve been forcing myself to get up at sometime between my first alarm and when I NEED TO. I’ve been getting some stuff done in the morning too, and even if I’m a little bit tired during the day, I have the sense of accomplishment that I hadn’t had for a while.

I like that feeling of accomplishment. It’s so much better than the literal and figurative piles of things that I’ve put off. The weight of my burdens has been lessened and I feel inspired to keep going.

There’s more potential good things for me soon. And the combination of progress, effort, hope, and the ability to put those things together has me not just thinking that things are going in a good direction, but I’m actually believing that things are going in a good direction. There’s a difference between thinking something and believing something. Right now, at this very moment, and for the first time in a very long time, I believe that good things are happening. It’s a nice feeling.

And I’m not going to end this entry doubting myself…

No, that doesn’t count as doubt.

Tossed Into My Mind, Stirring the Calm.

As good as things are for me right now, I’m always concerned about things falling apart. I’ve said that many times in these entries. I question good things. I question why I don’t feel awful. I question why I’m doing well. I’m so used to chaos, misery, sadness, anxiety, angst, etc, that I’m almost calm when things are bad. Various lyrics from bands like Nirvana, Garbage, and Katatonia just popped into my head as I was writing that last sentence. I will offer another Marvel Comics-like No-Prize if you can figure out which lyrics. But, don’t worry about that now. Keep reading.

The first month of 2023 is over. It’s been a good month. I’m (mostly) in a good place. I’m doing pretty well with my weight loss. I’m doing well at my job, and there’s so much happening there. My social life is good. And yet, there’s a feeling of dread. What’s causing it? Is it my aforementioned doubt of good things? Is it fear of change? What’s the issue? Seriously, I’m asking you. I don’t know.

My car is old. If it were an American citizen, it’s legally been allowed to buy alcohol for a few years. I don’t know how much more life is left there. My mechanic, who I’ve been with for a few years and has taken very good care of the car recently made a comment which makes me know the time is numbered. So, based on that, I went car browsing recently. I made it very clear to the dealer that I was NOT there to buy. But, I was there to price some stuff. Just the fact that I couldn’t afford ANYTHING monthly did trigger a mild downward spiral for me. That is the one thing that I can isolate as being a factor recently.

When that slight bit of discouragement happened, my mind went into a self-destructive mode. I started stress eating. I bought a few more things that I probably didn’t need. Based on one setback, my mind’s instinct was to destroy all of the progress that I had made with my weight and my finances. Those two things have been some of my biggest stress causing areas for a while. And I’ve made positive changes in both of them. But, a voice in my head told me to blow it all up.

This type of thing isn’t new to me. I can very clearly remember being told about the first new television that I was going to get as a gift. I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but the hand-me-down TV that I had was either broken or had some issue with it. I was told that for a birthday I would be getting a new one. I emphatically told my parents not to get me a TV because I did not deserve one. Self doubt, misery, sadness. It’s always been there.

I am capable of being proud of myself. I am also very capable of being ashamed of myself. More often than not, my mind has me closer to the shame side of things, even if I haven’t done anything to warrant it. It’s just where is goes. The pride/shame mid-way point is not where my mind goes to. The balance isn’t centered. It’s not even one or extreme or the other, it’s just more a of 30% off to the side of the shame direction for a while and then 30% on the proud side, but for a lesser time. There isn’t that content middle point.

When my mind starts going to the darker areas, my attention span also suffers. I can’t distract myself with a book or a movie. I don’t have the ability to do much. I’m fully capable of going through most of the motions. I’ll go to work and do my job effectively and accurately, but without a sense of being there as I’m doing it.

As I was typing that last paragraph, I thought of two somewhat recent things that happened. In both of those situations, I drove to an event and met some friends there. And in both of those times, I dealt with really bad traffic. While I did get to my destinations and (basically) on time, my ability to really enjoy the events was not there. I should have had a much better time and been in the moment, but something that stressed me out had prevented it, even if the direct cause of the stress was no longer an issue. On the bright side, I’m aware of this. It’s something that I can work on. I think this is more easily controlled than other things that I’ve talked about here.

I am pretty sure that I thought about more scenarios from my life, I could keep this entry going for a very long time. But since I’m tired and don’t want to ramble on and on and on and on and on and on and on (see what I did?), I’m going to start wrapping this up. I’ve always believed that being aware of issues and wanting to fix them is the first thing that anyone need on a road to recovery. I don’t want to be complacent. I don’t like the self-destructive nature of my mind. Just saying that pushed me closer to the self-destruction because that’s on the shame side of things. I hope that my awareness of these things will eventually start to transition to progress in changing them, and then I can think about how I used to be self-destructive and my mind will go to the proud side of things, because I’ve made it happen.

Reflective Summary Froze Me in a Frame.

I always write an entry at the end of each year where I look back and ask myself the same question that I asked myself one year earlier. “Am I better off than I was one year ago?” I can look back at 2022 and say that, for the most part, I am definitely better off than I was one year ago. 2022 was not perfect. It had its ups and downs, but as long as whatever remaining time in 2022 doesn’t throw me a major curve ball, I can say that 2022 was really a good year for me.

One of the very first things that I talked about in my 2021 recap was how I had managed to still avoid having COVID-19 at all. That streak didn’t last long into 2022. By the end of January, I ended up getting sick with it. It wasn’t bad for me at all. And due to the fact that I (most likely) had a sinus infection at the same time, I think it’s very possible that I wouldn’t have even known that I had COVID-19 if it wasn’t for that sinus infection. But, as I attempt to look at the bright side of things, not only was my experience with the illness not bad, but I got 10 days off from work. And they were seriously some of the most relaxing days that I’ve had in years.

With the world returning to somewhat “normal” behaviors in 2022, I was able to compete in one 5k race. I knew going into it that having one of my best times was not likely to happen. It had been 3 years since my previous race, I was a bit heavier, and just out of practice. Nothing that I said in the previous sentence was meant to be an excuse, the statements were just facts. I probably could have put more effort in, but I didn’t. And I ended up finishing with my slowest time ever. However, the important part isn’t the “slowest time ever” part, it’s the “finishing” part. I finished the race and I’m thrilled to have competed in it.

So, I just said that I was a bit heavier than I had been. That was then, this is now. I’m currently the lightest that I’ve been in a long time. That doesn’t mean that I’m close to the lightest that I’ve been. I’m just lighter than I’ve been for a while. I still have a lot of work to do there.

And building from that is my workout routine. I don’t have one at the moment. I’ve barely done any type of workout since the 5k race a few months ago. I fully intend to recommit myself to that in the new year. My goal is to compete in as many of the local 5k races as I can, and in order to get the most of them that I possibly can, I need to be in shape for them. That will require me putting in a lot of work and if I stick to a plan, I should be able to do it. But, since I mention this ever year, DDPY (formerly called DDP Yoga) is the plan that I’ll be returning to. And unlike in 2021, when I was able to pull it off one time, I did not successfully complete a Black Crow pose.

Every single year that I’ve enrolled in a book reading challenge, I’ve failed to meet my goal. I’ve been doing this for a few years. My goal has always been to read 12 books in the year. It’s always seemed simple enough for me. One book per month. But, I’ve never been able to do it. And in 2022, I did not read 12 books. I read 13. I’m very happy with that. I COULD easily point out that many of the books that I completed were pretty short, but I did not make any rules about the length of the books. It was just how many that I could read from beginning to end within the calendar year. I’m going to keep the same goal for 2023 and I hope to match or surpass it.

Nothing stresses me out more easily or frequently than my financial situation. And for various reasons, my bank account isn’t nearly as high as I would like it to be. But, for the first time in a very long time, there looks to be potential for something to change there. A few things need to fall into place, and that includes me making some things happen, but if all goes as I’m hoping, when I do my 2023 recap, I should have good stuff to say here.

My social life was pretty good in 2022. If I gauge it only on if I have more friends than I started the year off with, then it was definitely a success. As is the case with basically all aspects of life, my social life had some ups and downs. But, when looking back, I really have no regrets. There’s nothing that I would change about my socializing during the year.

One of the things that I’ve said many times during 2022 (and even a bit before) is how surreal some aspects of my life had become. I’m not going to name names, but those that know the names know the names. There’s a few bands that I’ve seen multiple times. I’ve gone from being a fan of their music and their shows, to knowing people that know them, to knowing them personally. That has morphed into being called up on stage to do backing vocals a few times (including at the legendary Stone Pony) to being invited to do backing vocals on an upcoming album. I also got to appear in a music video for another band. A friend once told me that this surrealness would wear off and I told him that don’t ever want it to, because it helps me appreciate just how amazing the entire thing is. And while having some drinks with one of the members of a band a few months ago, I was talking about how surreal all of this is for me, he said “you made this happen. You talk to people and you made this happen.” After hearing something similar from another friend a little while ealier, it was that moment when it finally clicked for me. While I’m not still a bit of an introvert, I’m also out there doing things. It’s sort of a contradiction, but it’s worked out for me in ways that I would never have imagined and’s pretty awesome.

And that brings to me something that another friend recently said to me. I told him what I’ve said recently about my life and how “there’s never been a better time to be me.” He looked at me and said “there’s where you’re wrong. There’s never been a bad time to be you.” That was a “WOW” moment for me. The only bad thing about my friend’s statement is that I really like my own phrase and want to keep using it, even if I think it’s lessened by his great affirmation.

My New Year’s Resolution is ALWAYS the same. It’s always “I want to make it better.” I want my 2023 to be better than my 2022. It’s simple, it’s to the point, it’s achievable. But, I think it’ll require a bit more effort than I put forth in 2022. I think the biggest motivation for me to put forth all of the necessary effort is that I’m pretty sure that I’m at the point (or beyond it, depending on your perspective of “norm”) where I have no choice. I need do to more to achieve more. When I look back one year from now, I hope to have good things to say about that.

So, to summarize this entry which has taken me way too long to write, “am I better off than I was one year ago?” I think the answer is defintely yes. I have my anxieties, frustrations, and other issues, but I really do feel like I’m in a good place. And like I just said, I hope that I’ll have similar things, if not better things to say at the end of next year.





The Healing Through Years. So Obscured By the Tears and the Strain.

I’m doing well. I’m doing well. I’m doing well.

The reason that I repeated that just now is that I’ve found myself needing to remind myself lately. There’s just so much good going on with me. I’ve been a part of so many amazing moments over the past year. I’ve increased my social circle a bit over the past few months. I’ve had a lot of fun doing a lot of things. I’ve started taking steps to be healthier (physically and emotionally). There’s just so much good happening.

And yet, there’s also that lingering doubt in my mind. The doubt that creeps in when things are going well. The doubt that tells me that the good stuff isn’t going to last. The doubt that tells me that I don’t deserve to enjoy myself. The doubt that continues to make sure that I can’t fully enjoy any moment. It’s always there, even in small doses, but it’s always there.

There’s a lot of how I’ve been programmed to think, feel, and behave in various situations that I’m trying to work on. I need to re-program a lot of the wiring in my head. The reason that I have any hope at all at being successful with that is that some of the praise that’s been heaped on me by various friends has made me think more about what they’re saying instead of my usual instinctual dismissal of it.

So often, I’ve found myself justifying my relationships with the very people that I was hanging out with. I’ve often wondered “why am I here?” I’ve thought that I’m unworthy of being associated with some people. My mind has told me that I’m in over my head. But, a few times recently, that thought process was challenged by something that said to me or a situation where I felt completely welcome. That type of feeling isn’t something that I’m particularly used to, but I kind of like it.

I’ve always known that my interests aren’t usually the most popular things. And, for the most part, that’s never bothered me. I like what I like. It hasn’t always been easy to find other people who have similar likes and interests. I think that’s why I’m someone that has really thrived on social media. I’ve always managed to find groups of people to discuss stuff with. And this isn’t new for me either, I was doing it on America Online in the mid 90s. And from doing that then, there’s people that have been friends of mine ever since.

My obscure interests also have a downside. They’re definitely part of the reason that I’ve always been a bit of an outcast. I’ve been shunned a lot. But, to be honest, there’s LOTS of reasons for the shunning and the outcast thing that aren’t related to my interests. A LOT of it has to do with the amount of times that I wasn’t allowed to do anything based on parental restrictions. And this is where I start to clam up and become unwilling/unable to get into details. If/when I’m able to say more there, I will.

One of the things that I’ve told people lately is that “there’s never been a better time to be me.” And while I really do mean that when I say it, the doubting voice in my head has had me thinking about it. I’ll start to think “Really? What’s so great about now?” “How is now any different?” “You still haven’t changed anything.”
Those thoughts are there. I don’t know if I have a definitive answer, but I just know that something is different. Earlier in this entry, I said that I believe the praise of friends instead of immediately rejecting it. That alone is a HUGE difference for me.

Another word that I’ve used a lot to describe my life is “surreal.” Sometimes I can’t wrap my head around how great certain experiences have been. For a while, one of my friends has pretty much insisted that I should have a podcast or write a book at some of my experiences. I really don’t know if my stories of celebrity encounters have enough details for either of those mediums, but I’ve also recently found a forum where I can drop an anecdote about some encounter I’ve had and get a pretty good response. But, I digress…

The point about the “surrealness” of my life is that while I’m thoroughly enjoying so much of it, I’m also fully expecting it to come crashing down at any moment. I think that because I’m programmed to think it. I’m programmed to think it because of reasons that I’m not even sure of. Is it the influence of my parents and their lack of encouragement? Is it because kids in school were downright cruel to me? Do I doubt that I belong in social settings because I was shunned? Do I prefer to be by myself because it’s a defense mechanism that I built up due to being left out or do I just prefer it?

I don’t know the answers to the questions that I’ve asked. The more I think about those answers, the more my anxiety builds up. If my anxiety builds up, the doubts in my head are magnified. It’s a vicious cycle. I may know the answers one day. I’ve seen some gradual changes. The answers will come to me, just probably when I stop looking.

Inside My Head, Smokescreen’s Gone.

Emotions are a weird thing. It’s simultaneously possible to be fully enjoying yourself and dreading the situation that you’re in. I’ve written about this before, but it happened to me again recently. I was surrounded by people that I know. But, while fully enjoying that, I was also isolated. I’ve been thinking about that since it happened.

As weird as it may sound to some people, very often I’m at my most comfortable when I’m by myself. I’ve been very careful to not say that I’m “alone.” I very rarely feel alone or lonely. Being by myself and being alone are two completely different things, at least as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve found a lot of outlets over the years. I’ve explained this in my entries. For over 25 years, I’ve been on social media sites and have been connecting with people that have similar interests. Those interests range from Professional Wrestling, old TV/movie references, music, and more. I have “real life” friends that I can go to discuss some of my interests, but if I don’t know which of them I can talk to, I have online forums where I can go. Social media can be destructive for some people. But, it’s really been an outlet for me. I really do believe that people that I interact with on those sites are what keep me from being “alone.”

I’m sure that if I gave it a lot of thought, I could pinpoint various situations from my childhood that helped create these feelings. But, I don’t know if I have the ability to do that right now. Detail like that would need a lot of time and effort.

The thing that I need to stress the most to anyone that reads this, and especially to any friend that has seen me recently, it’s very possible that you’ve been with me while I’ve been in one of these moods. I assure you that if I told you that it was good to see you that I meant it. I also assure you that if I said that I was having a good time, I really was. But, I also couldn’t wait to leave. That is more about me than it is about anything or anybody else.

I’ve been telling people lately that “there’s never been a better time to be me.” There isn’t sarcasm in that statement. It’s 100% true. But, it doesn’t mean that anything that anything else in this entry is invalid. It just means that I believe that I have a a pretty good concept of perspective of my current situation. I know where I am and I know where I’ve been. Where I am now is a lot better than where I’ve been.

I don’t know if I would be able to be in such a good place if I didn’t have my means of escape. My escapes are all of what I mentioned earlier, podcasts, movies, tv, concerts, and other events. And yet, sometimes while I’m attending those events, I want them to end so I can leave. And I may be fully enjoying myself while I’m there. I know there’s some mental/emotional contradictions there, but it seems so very normal to me.

If you read this and you start thinking that something’s wrong or that I’m not in a good place, don’t worry. I really am in a good place. But sometimes, I just don’t feel comfortable where I am, even if the most comforting of settings. It doesn’t mean that anything is wrong, it just means that sometimes I’m very much in my own head. And maybe that’s the best place for me.

As I’m Walking I’m Breathless, I’d Welcome Clarity.

“We all change, when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s OK, that’s good, you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.” – the Doctor

Why did I start off this entry with a quote from an (allegedly) fictional character? That’s really simple, because when I was thinking about this entry, that quote came to me. I interpret that quote from the Doctor as a way of saying that you need to change. You need to grow. You need to evolve. Specifically, you need your views on life to evolve.

Way too often I see people criticizing modern kids for spending too much time playing videos games, looking at their phones, and not doing more “manly” things such as sports. What I think people fail to realize is that they’re doing things that are right for them. They’re also doing things that some of us didn’t have the capability of doing. While I did have video games to play at my house when I was a teenager, I didn’t have the capability of playing with people all over the world. I was THRILLED when more than two people could play when multi-player games were available.
We didn’t have cell phones when I was a kid. And when cell phones were first available to me, there were barely any features. Heck, the first one that I had didn’t even have a clock on it.

People my age and older that would go outside and do play in their yards did that stuff because we didn’t have as many ways to entertain ourselves as kids do now. Our grandparents didn’t sit aorund and watch television when they were kids, because that wasn’t even a concept yet.

I remember back in the late 1990s when Pokemon cards first became really popular. I did not understand what the big deal about them was. And to be honest, I still don’t. But, to some people, they mean a lot. Their value isn’t necessarily monetary, it’s personal.

I don’t care about cars, football, or motorcycles. That doesn’t diminish me in any way. It just means that I have different interests. Just like the kids that collected Pokemon cards. Their interests were different.

I started this off with a quote and I’m going to use another one that I like, this one is from the late, great Bill Hicks. He said “All your beliefs, they’re just that. They’re nothing. They’re how you were taught and raised. That doesn’t make ’em real.”
I think that quote shows the point that your ideas can and should evolve.

When we were children, there were a lot of fairy tales that we were told. We were told about the existence of various fictional characters. We were told some of those characters would bring us gifts, give us money, or deliver candy in the middle of the night. Ignoring the fact that some of those things seem pretty creepy when you think about it, but there’s also a time when we stop believing the existence of those characters.

My point about brining up the belief of those characters and things that we’re told is to emphasize part of what Bill Hicks about beliefs not necessarily being based on reality. WE need to evolve how we think about things, people, and society. WE need to realize that just because someone is riding an electric scooter instead of a motor cycle that the person on the scooter is not failing to live up to a standard of manhood. Again, it’s just something different that wasn’t an option before.

I’ve done my best to change how I look at life. By evolving how I think about life, I’ve become a lot less jaded and angry than I was in younger days. I don’t look at things that I don’t understand and belittle them. In fact, If I don’t understand something, I may use my phone (which has all of the technology that I didn’t have as a kid) and do some quick research on what I don’t understand. And maybe, just maybe, by doing that, my way of thinking about something will evolve.

The Truth is That Our Youth Was a Carpet Laid in Stones.

As I always state in my late June entries, my birthday is in early July. Because of that, I really do see my calendar years as distinct halves. And I will always start to look back at what’s happened over the past six months and, in this year’s case, look at the 45 years of my life that I’ve completed.

I really enjoyed this past year. I think that’s been pretty obvious by my entries here. By no means has it been perfect, but it’s been very good for me. My mental health has (for the most part) been good. It was a very fun year.

2020 and 2021 basically blend together in my mind. They’re just one long chunk of time when not much happened and I didn’t get to do much, but that goes for just about everyone. I ended 2019 really doing well. I was enjoying myself quite a bit and did a few things that I thought were “surreal.” When the Pandemic started, all of that stopped. But, my mood never changed. Things continued to go well for me, just differently.

When things started to open up in 2021, I was able to somewhat pick up where I left off in that surreal life. And due to conversations that I’ve had with some friends (two in particular), I’ve realized that when you look at my life from the outside, it looks like it’s a lot of fun and just really good. I’m very much aware that what you see on the outside doesn’t always match what’s happening on the inside. But, I think those conversations have helped me feel as good as others think I do, if that makes sense.
And, it’s not lost on me that one of those conversations was with someone that’s a big part of the surrealness.

So while my inward happiness and my outward happiness appear to be in sync right now, that voice in the back of my head that was dormant for a while has started to remind me that this could all be temporary, especially as I’ve looked at my bank account recently. Not much triggers my anxiety more easily than my finances. And while I’m still doing so much better than I was a few years ago, I’m not doing nearly as well as I was just a few months ago.

This is not going to turn into anything to do with politics when I talk about my financial situation. I’m way too informed and aware to know that the world’s economy isn’t great right now and it’s not there’s way too many factors involved for me to place blame, although I can, and even though I said I won’t get political, I’ll just say that a lot of us wouldn’t be in the situations we’re in if there was ever a “Trickle.”
But, I digress…

Anyway…

My bank account is a lot lower than it was a year ago. Yes, things are more expensive than they were a year ago, but I also made a major investment last year. Just about 13 months ago, I had LASIK surgery. And even though I had four years to pay it off, I’m almost done with payments on that. I also bought myself a new laptop computer, which I’ve also paid for in full. While some people may think that fully paying for a laptop and being 80% with the payments for my LASIK in one year is HUGE for me. A few years ago, I was at the point where I was telling people that I couldn’t hang out because I didn’t have enough money for gas and tolls.

Which brings me to my next point:
Gas and tolls. The price of both is so high right now and that has played a factor in my bank account being lower than I would like it to be. I know that I need to adjust my mindset and start thinking more like I used to about doing things.
I do want to make it very clear that while these thoughts about money are in the back of my mind, they’re still just in the back of my mind. They haven’t manifested into full anxiety or panic yet. And before I start going down this path and depressing you, as well as myself, let me quickly get to the end of this entry.

It’s my hope that when I look back at this entry one year from now that I can say that I’m, at the very least, still doing as well as I was when I wrote it. I really am in a good place right now. The good is outweighing the bad. I haven’t always been able to say that. I know that I have a lot of work to do on various things over the next few weeks and months. If I’m able to get that stuff done, I think it’s very possible that this good ride that I’m on will keep on going for a while.

Tears For a Hopeless Case.

When I first started thinking about what I was going to write about in this entry, I thought about some of the conversations that I’ve had over the last few weeks. I was going to talk about the incredibly kind things that have been said about me or done for me recently. I was going to talk about a conversation with someone that I knew from high school and how I thought she was one the “popular kids” but she described herself as “very depressed” during that time. I was going to talk about how many of friends are doing so many good things and how happy that makes me, but as I sit here trying to figure out what to say in this entry, it’s very difficult to look around at the world and not feel sad. While I am personally (still) doing very well (mentally), there are just so many reminders of things that are wrong and how the “powers that be” don’t seem to want to attempt to fix anything.

As of the time that I’m writing this, the Uvalde, Texas mass-shooting is the most recent mass-shooting of note to happen in the United States. By the time that you read this, it could be pretty far down the list of recent ones. There is no humor in my last sentence and I take no pleasure in typing that sentence, since it’s probably going to be accurate.

Every single time a mass-shooting happens in this country, ther same conversations start. One side says it’s time for action to prevent more of these events. The other side says “now is not the time to politicize it.” And as they argue those two things back and forth, the conversation gets lost in the shuffle until another mass-shooting happens. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Another constant discussion when any sort of gun violence happens is how we should address mental health concerns and not worry about the guns. Well, yes, we should address mental health concerns. We should always address that. But, the fact that mental health issues are worldwide and mass-shootings are not also gets lost in the shuffle. A society that has access to the abundance of weapons of mass destruction (guns) will have significantly more mass destruction than a society without them. It’s a pretty simple fact.

Usually, the blog entries that I have the most difficulty writing are the ones about my own personal stories. In particular, the stories that are hidden deep in the back of my mind. The ones that I say that I’m starting to “scratch the surface” of and that I’ll “re-visit at a later time.” But, I’m really struggling writing with this entry. I was going to say that I’m not sure why, since gun related deaths have not impacted my close friends or family, but I think part of what has me so emotional about this topic is how easily this could impact the people that I care about. Not just my friends and family have kids or are teachers. But, anyone, since the American epidemic of mass shootings is not relegated to just schools.

Accidents happen all of the time. Some accidents have tragic results. We may be powerless to prevent those tragedies. Mass murders are tragic, but they’re not accidents. They can be prevented. In order to prevent them, action must be taken. Laws and regulations need to be passed and changed. We’re in the 21st Century and it’s time for society to evolve past the senselessness that doesn’t help anyone.

I don’t want there to be any more stories about Americans being shot to death in malls, places of worship, movie theaters, concerts, schools, or wherever. I didn’t specify “Americans” just now to proclaim any sense of patriotism for America, I did it because as the facts show, over and over again, America is the only place where this happens, over and over again.

Our indifference to human beings getting killed for no reason whatsoever is, quite honestly pathetic. Change has to happen. For the sake of humanity.