I wish the real world would just stop bothering me

Getting out into the world is a lot different now then it used to be. I think.

I didn’t really get out into the world much, until I reached adulthood. Sure, my family took me on vacation. I ran screaming from a log cabin (with no bathroom – it was housed in a communal facility down in a common area); went on cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico (and when I was a teenager, drank way too much); saw Niagara Falls (Canada side); and went fishing, clamming and crabbing in Long Island. I did some great family and travel stuff, but it didn’t prepare me for… well, adulthood.

There it is again. Adulting. Something that I think about now, in mid-thirties, much more than I did in my twenties. Life was going along swimmingly, at least until the year I turned 27.

That was the year of two car crashes, one causing anxiety attics that prevented me from driving for a time, and one taking a loved one and leaving me emotionally traumatized for many years. Six months after the second collision, a mysterious illness came on, and over four months I gradually lost mobility at an alarming rate.

January, the following year, it was diagnosed as RA. I drove my ex-girlfriend (very recently broken up) to Boston to live with family, and I returned to be laid off from my job.

I’d call that a low point in my life.

Picking myself up by the bootstraps (or, writing a couple of essays and going heavily into student loan debt), I enrolled in a Master’s program. The Doc put me on all kinds of meds, with some odd side-effects. (Drinking while on the medication resulted in extreme cases of aggression, where I thought it would be good to fight bars full of people. I also had liver enzyme issues, and was often pulled off and placed on new prescriptions.)

I’ve since forgotten what it was to feel in sound body, but at least I’ve not taken medications for over a year and still feel alright enough to move around. I travel now, not just the week-long vacations but month or more-long immersion. I love camping. And that moving around is bringing me to the question of what I should say no to.

Finding this bit of text in Tim Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors led to this post, and I think I’ll be adapting it for my use:

“…the more clear I am about what my goals are, the more easily I can say no. I have a notebook into which I’ve recorded all sorts of goals, both big and small, over the last ten or so years. When I take the time to articulate what it is that I hope to achieve, it’s simple to refer to the list and see whether saying yes to an opportunity will take me toward or away from achieving that goal.”

-Samin Nosrat

Said another way, “Will this get me closer to my mountain?”

Adulting 101

Had drinks with my friends following a birthday dinner the other night. I think there are things that you talk with lifelong friends about that you don’t talk to anyone else about. At least, not to the fullest extent.

  • I shared some issues I was having in my personal life, both emotionally and with a relationship.
  • We spoke about issues relating to money, and homeownership.
  • We talked about working, and having a business.

There are classes in school that teach so many facts and stats, but where are the principles of adulthood? Where do you learn how to file taxes, or make a budget? Where do they get off saying that student debt is okay, when really it’s the largest portion of debt now in the United States, and it places American students with outstanding debt on uneven footing.

Out of our discussion, we came to the conclusion that schools should have an actual class, and that life lessons in those classes become progressively more challenging each year. Budgeting, taxes, investing, business ownership vs. being employed, college vs. trade school.

No tests would be necessary, but each student must annually present on what they’ve learned, what they hope to accomplish, and a career path that interests them. Not an elective, like home economics or shop, but an actual dedicated curriculum spot for every student.

That is Adulting 101.

Relationships with money

When considering your life style, your finances and living situation, do you feel as if you’re thriving? Or surviving?

If it’s the latter, it may be harder to ever reach a place of thriving.

I’ve been an advocate for the law of attraction for nearly three years now, since I began making life changes that were so drastic that I wouldn’t have believed them possible. Prior to that, I was using reactionary methods of attraction – still creating life, but with little sense of what I was doing.

Even now I sometimes experience the reactionary method (usually around money – major purchases, debt or job issues), and I have to remind myself that what I focus on is what I attract.

So I remind you (and myself) that we live in abundance. This is not a zero-sum game, and we are all capable of winning and achieving our best lives. The trick is to believe that we already are, even if we’ve temporarily stepped out of the abundant circumstances.

Credit where credit is due

We beat ourselves up when we do something stupid. Make a mistake, or fail.

We forget that we are miraculous creatures. Able to think, design, build and imagine.

In the animal kingdom, failure means death. Starvation, or becoming a predator’s meal. Unable to find food. Not being able to mate.

Humanity has an amazing propensity for failure, for everything we think of can have a corollary error. Miss your goal? Failure. Not a passing grade? Screw up. Under target for sales? Blew it.

But we get to come back at it. We get to take those failures, and incorporate them into the knowledge of who we are and what we do. Failure is not death, not for us.

Failure is just one step on the path to success.

Poetry’s resurgence

I just finished writing about a life post-poetry, and was in Target browsing the meager book section. A book section with some shelf space devoted to books of poetry. Poetry! (Also, the Spanish language Cat in the Hat, which I very nearly purchased because… why not?)

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Given my meager Spanish, I doubt I could even understand it…

So, poetry. At Target. And thus I’m reminded of the growing poetry sections at Barnes & Noble. That poetry is still relevant has never been in question. But that poetry is seeing new consumption, that is the wonderful element to the story.

 

Sipping on gin and…

I was clearing out some old files last night. I hard drive used for backups, old documents, scrambled writings, a ton of music, and pictures.

Some pictures made me happy. Some nostalgic. Others brought tears to my eyes.

Pictures are snapshots of a moment. Pictures may tell a thousand words, but they hide ten times as many. Because those snapshots of moments aren’t the moment themselves. They are representations. The moment was ephemeral, the snapshot a forgery.

In You Are A Badass, Jennifer Sincero says something like, “Focusing on the past is depression. Focusing on the future is anxiety. Focusing on the present is peace.” (Looking it up, she was quoting Lao Tzu.)

Though wonderful reminders, photos are the past. Even the ones your friends (and occasionally I) post on Facebook and Instagram. Lingering on them will only cause depression.

(The title comes from The Botanist Gin that I was drinking while clearing out folders. If you like gin, I recommend it.)

Circadian living

Been conducting a personal experiment of sorts. First, I’ve taken what Dr. Satchin Panda said in his TED Talk (you can also hear more on the Bulletproof Radio podcast), and have been eating within a ten-twelve hour period during the day, no longer snacking later than that window.

Second, I’m being more mindful of the light that inhabits my senses. I try and wake at sunrise (to an extent), and shut down blue lights at sundown. I’ve been slowly adjusting into this experiment, and am finding a better night’s sleep.

(One exception to my better sleep were the two nights following my viewing of the film Hereditary. Honestly, that last ten-minute sequence – or however long it was – has been playing in my mind every time I shut the lights off. Didn’t care for the movie on the whole, but that sequence was enough to give me pause before crawling into bed.