Explainable haze pt.2

This 365 blog is quite a challenge. It’s been a month and so far I’ve stayed true to my goal. It’s not so much the difficulty in logging on to write something, but writing something worthwhile. I’ve cheated a few days here and there with nothing more than a sentence. A least I did it right? Anyways, as I plug along in this little journey I’m slowly starting to get a grasp of what it would be like to make sense of more things in my life. I other words, I’m still a little far off from where I need to be mentally, but I’m confident I’m on the right track. I strive to pour some emotion into some of these but for some reason I can’t right now. Tonight will be a struggle to stay focused on what I feel like saying. Partially because I just rolled my ankle pretty damn hard playing racquetball. It was the creepiest sound I’ve ever heard come from my body. It rolled to the outside and it felt like every bone and muscle was ripping apart. There’s even a little pain up to my knee because of the way it pulled. It almost sounded like I stepped on a pile of walnut shells. Soo I’m trying to ice it now with a few doses of Motrin to help. I’m not so much in the mood to be disabled right now.

So, a few days ago I wrote about finding god. Assuming you’ve read it, I’m not going to explain again what ‘god’ is to me in this context. The first place I’ve mentioned is finding god in the battlefield. Or again, for non military types it could mean school, church, family, workplace, or in any social arena. This could also mean battles within race or gender. I guess it doesn’t really have to be a battle per say, but more so a level of interaction that we have with other human beings as souls.

Tonight I’ll talk about another avenue that I feel we can find god. I relate it to finding it in the gym. I say something simple like that because its easy to explain. Not that everyone participates in physical fitness, but hopefully it can be understood because of the commonality. I’m no body builder by any means, but I’ve thought about this since the last five months or so I’ve committed nearly every day in the gym. Lately I’ve backed off for reasons I’ll discuss later. Whether its the gym, running on the road, bicycling or even something that has nothing to to with physical activity, there’s times in our lives when it’s between us and god. No one else. When I get myself mentally pumped for a workout, I focus on nothing but my soul, the connection to my physical body and the limits that I push it to. I find that I don’t push myself hard enough and I hate it. The battle is truly between myself and my self imposed limits.

Not even in the gym, when I find a way to break through these limits I find out things that I never imagined before. It’s this ‘god’ thing I’m talking about. I realize who I am and what I am really made of. Now I’ve done some random things in my life to push my limits but only a few times have I truly found the edge. It’s beyond tears and pain. You realize that your body won’t break itself and its capable of much more than we think. The bigger realization is that when we approach certain things in life, it’s not about anyone else.

I don’t believe that we are solitary beings. Our quality of existence relies not only on our interpretation and acceptance of things, but also that of other people. Before allowing myself to rant about the influence of other people, I’m going to try and stay focused on our souls within. My soul within. Though physical trials have brought me closer to a realization, so has the solace in solitude. It has become an important part of my life that I had otherwise taken advantage of until this past year. Allowing myself to be alone was a struggle a long time ago. Not that I was an overly social person, but I didn’t like the idea of being alone with myself. I knew that coming back to school was going to be a culture shock. What I should have prepared myself for is not having my own quiet time. I don’t have a peaceful home to come to at night and there’s not many places I can go to get away from obnoxious commotion.

There’s a slight reason I mentioned being around certain situations in this topic. I don’t have many things around me that I can use to push my limits. Working out gets old and back alley fights just don’t cut the mustard. I lose the desire to enrich my own life when there is little support structure. This is partially a motivation for starting this blog. The lack of consideration I receive in my everyday life is in a way my pseudo-gym. How much endurance do I have before I snap? When you’re in a gym, you don’t kindly ask the weights to lift themselves. You put them in their place. We find ways to destroy our demons within. Well, being around humans is a little more dynamic than a set of dumbbells. (I actually beg to differ to myself after re-reading that last sentence). This is the connection I find between finding god within yourself and finding god in the battlefield. You push yourself when you can for yourself, and you accept that others will push you when they can. But really, it’s not a fault of the others. It’s simply them living their life for themselves. Generally being adversely influenced by others actions is an unfortunate coincidence of being in the wake of their own life path. That is why I generally strive to leave people alone and move along when I can. What’s more important to me right now is not the battlefield with others, but the struggle within myself. A cliché quote I like is ‘How others treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.’ Just like the guy who robbed me years ago. Though he put my life into a dark place because of his desire for money, my survival depended on how I handled myself with no help from anyone else. He is a scumbag but I can’t fault him beyond what I know of him. I’m quite positive my actions have affected people’s lives in adverse ways. Maybe not as violent as the robber did mine.

If there would be any persuasion I could give to someone, it would be to find ways to look within yourself for answers. You may not figure out the purpose of the universe, but you may end up figuring the worth you have while playing your part.

One of my favorite topics on finding god is in the bedroom. I know I was supposed to write about that one but this one popped out today. That one will come soon.

My favorite love affair

So finally! I got on my Harley today since it was well into the 50’s. Hard to imagine since it was only this morning that I was skidding on ice patches going to school. The love affair between me and my bike is something I’m not sure I can do without. It was my second deployment and I was contemplating how I was going to treat myself when I returned. I thought of getting a new truck or maybe paying for more ballroom dance lessons. Then a part of me starting looking at street bikes. They look cool and all and go pretty fast but the cost to quality ratio is horrible in my opinion. The overseas sales program had a fairly decent lineup of Harleys for sale so I gave it a closer look. I never thought I would actually own a Harley simply because the cost is seemingly outrageous. I looked at the V-Rod model as well as some sportsters. It was hard to visualize what I would actually enjoy owning. A good friend of mine suggested I take a look at the Street Bob. For some reason I had passed over it before because when I saw it I fell in love. It was a simple design, decent price and customizable just the way I like it.

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We were stationed at a base about a twenty minutes (by Blackhawk) from Mosul, Iraq. Luckily we had the Internet so I spent countless days researching options, reading reviews and coordinating my finances. My love affair had started as if it were some online dating service. I finally worked up the courage to take a trip down south to Tikrit where they had an office for the overseas purchase program. I was shown what was available for purchase and would soon be introduced to a vin number that would soon be all mine. Wanting it to be specifically mine, I asked to have some custom handlebars put on along with a few smaller additions. I even had LoJack installed alongside the security system. Pretty cool setup really. I put ten thousand down on it and it was officially mine.

Over the next six or so months I spent my days and nights fantasizing about my new love. Her name would be… Amanda. Others would spend time on the Internet chatting with loved ones, or browsing dating sites for a good time when they got back. I however was thinking of Amanda. Where I would take her, who I would show her to, who would get to ride her. This moment in time would be all about me. I sacrificed enough for a cause I may or may not agree with. No one else was going to do for me what I really needed so this inanimate object would be one of the few things that makes me come alive.

Upon returning to the states, the only thing I could think about was meeting her. After a few days of reintegration briefings and a few delays at the local dealership, the day finally came. She was everything I had hoped for. Plastic film was still attached from the assembly line and the minor customizations made her like nothing else I’ve seen. Much more was to be done, but it due time. The first ride around the block was a bit nerve wracking. A 1584 cc motor has quite a bit more torque than one may experience from smaller bikes. After getting comfortable, I signed a few papers and I was off and running.

To date I put 25,000 miles on her. A new exhaust, air filter, computer and aesthetic accessories are about the extent of changes that I’ve made so far. Something I forget about during these long winters is what this thing has done for my soul. It’s not so much the materialistic aspect of it, but of what it has created in my life. There is a brotherhood of riders that often go underestimated. I’m not a member of any particular club but I have ridden with and remain friends with people from all walks of motorcycling life. Some are bad ass mofos that have had my back during some sketchy situations, and some are truly amazing people simply because they understand that being a true motorcycle rider takes a certain breed of character. Misfits and wannabes aside, the hidden treasure of this brotherhood is just what a person like me needs at times.

That being said, my recent decision to sell my bike may have to be rescinded. I wasn’t offering it for sale due to desperation. It’s paid off and I don’t have a reason otherwise to get rid of it aside from having less stuff to take with me when I leave this place I’m in now. Though my ride today was short and less than high speed as usual, a part of me started to come alive again. Everything I’ve worked for in the past decade of my life can be summed up by the indescribable feeling I get when I wrap on the throttle and take off losing just enough grip on the road to remind me what I’m in control of. The looks I receive from others is a funny little bonus as well. Presumptuous I know, but when I see a man and a women driving by, a lot of times the woman is staring, almost in a trance. I wonder to myself if she has a desire for freedom that I have. I know that when men stare, that is exactly what they think! (Mostly…:) ). Sometimes I’ll simply smile to myself when I’m on the road remembering anything from my trips from motorcycle rallies, to rides with {insert deviant motorcycle club name here} and even the entire process of how the love affair started. Everything in between as well. Some things will remain between me and her.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me and I may end up in a position where the best decision will be to get rid of the bike. What I’m learning now though, is that if I give it up, it better be for something damn good. Not because it needs to replace this mechanical object, but because whatever it is needs to be able to give me a life that I can enjoy. If we can’t find a happy place for ourselves, how can we expect to be a part of anyone else’s happy place?

My first and only century

Tonight I think I’ll write a story of something in my past and how it’s lesson has carried over to how I see life today. I used to ride my bike a lot. (Pedal bike). When I was ten or eleven-ish I found a freedom in riding that I couldn’t get anywhere else. The problem for me was that my parents were extremely strict about where I could go and how far. My limit started out no more than 200 yards from the house where I could still be seen from the living room window. Slowly but surely I was able to plea my case to be able to ride around the block as long as I was back in a given amount of time. The frustrating part about that particular route was the fact that there was a super awesome jump that headed off into the woods. Each lap around the block I would take one or two jumps and head back, only to ask if I could go again and do the same thing.

This scene would repeat itself over and over again until I was given more options for how far I could go. I worked up riding to the 7-11, then onward to the BMX track at the local park, then eventually down to the waterfront. My eventual rides would total about fifteen to twenty miles every day. Not monumental by any means but for being so young and still in school it was fairly significant. Especially since I did it almost every single day. Most of this pedaling was done on a mountain bike as well. Quite a pain in the ass when I could have saved up for some sort of road bike.

During that particular time in my life, my longest ride was about fifty miles. After school I decided to ride from Port Orchard southbound until I got tired then I would turn around. I took the back roads and ended up crossing the Tacoma Narrows bridge and headed into Tacoma for a bit before heading back. Being that I was in no way physically prepared for this journey, my legs and ass were jello by the time I got back.

There was an opportunity to take a trip across the U.S. when I was in high school over the summer. It was about a 3,000 mile trip and would take about three months. There was a handful of people at the high school that were going and the training would take about eight months before the trip. I committed myself to it. I figured out how I could save the money and I even found someone who was going to donate a brand new road bike for the cause. Just as when I was younger, the one thing that stopped me… My parents. They refused to sign the release form. I was under eighteen so I had no choice. I’m not going to say my dreams were shattered because it was really of no surprise that it happened. It was a fact of my life.

I don’t regret the fact that I wasn’t allowed to go, but I do regret the fact that I haven’t done it since becoming an independent adult. You know how it is, things happen. Jobs, bills, responsibilities etc etc.

Between my two military deployments I tried to get back into riding when I could. Time was in short supply so I mainly stuck to trail riding and short hops around town. One Sunday morning I woke up about six a.m. I decided to go for a bike ride. I headed south from Fayetteville to Clinton. About three hours into the ride I called my friend Tara and asked her to mapquest how far Clinton was. It was just about fifty miles there. I continued on, with a horrible headwind hellbent on making it to Clinton. After arriving in Clinton, I rode just a bit farther to make sure I got my fifty miles in. I did have a computer on my bike but I wasn’t really sure if it was calibrated correctly. I stopped to have a sandwich and about three gatorades. Riding fifty miles wasn’t so bad. Until the way back.

By the latter half of the day the winds had shifted and I had just as a horrible headwind coming back. The entire trip took me about nine hours. Keep in mind, this was done on a twenty one speed mountain bike outfitted for trails, not the road. After making it back to my apartment my legs were on absolute fire. Before allowing myself to settle in with a shower and rest, I ate about 6 chicken breasts, countless gatorades, water up the ying-yang and any snack-ish foods I could get my hands on. After a shower, I laid out on my floor not entirely confident that my legs were going to stay attached to my body on their own. As a testament to the kind of shape I was in, the next day we had a four mile squadron run and though I warned my commander I may not be ale to finish, I did the whole damn thing without falling out once. Hooah!

This story progression has little weight on the feelings I keep inside about things, but it does help me normalize my abstract feelings of trying to keep my dreams alive. I may or may not ever decide to ride cross country. The purpose for me doing it now would be simply for focusing on past problems, not the future. I’ve lost interest quite frankly and it’s a bygone. Growing up with unreasonable limits at times caused issues for me. I’m sure it’s fuel to allow people to judge me as being not even close to as perfect as they are. The important part of this has to do with understanding my personal limits when it comes to dreams. The limits I tend to place on myself consist of a question of why I’m doing what I choose to do. It’s usually to please other people. Sometimes my limits come from a realization that I’ve done nothing more than convince myself that any certain thing is my only option.

If you’ve read this far, you are lost for sure. Thanks for hangin’ in there.

Sometimes the one thing that stops us from accomplishing our goals is the limiting desires of other people. Be it overprotective parents, insecure lovers/partners, judgmental friends or misunderstanding peers. No wait, you’re right. The inability to function perfectly is our own fault. My bad. Forget what I said about being influenced by others.

Explainable haze pt. 1

Oh my. So much to say right now with so little structure. If my life was a movie right now, today would be the aftermath of an experience that left me hung out to dry. All these profound thoughts that I’ve had lately seem to mean nothing for some reason. Whatever has just happened to me seems to be dragging me back to a reality that I don’t know much of. This reality is what seems that everyone else knows of. I’m sure my twin in the parallel universe is laughing at me right now because I’m not catching on to something right in front of my face.

I want to write about finding god. The issue I have with that right now is the quantification of god as it applies to my interpretation. To say that god simply ‘is’ serves none of us. It’s a cop-out for a lack of understanding. I say ‘god’ because its simple. Whatever it is, big or small is irrelevant to what I’m hoping to convey here.

I came up with a catch phrase for myself in regard to where I’ve been able to find god. I don’t feel the desire to spell out my entire theory on it right now. I will choose one area that I feel is important in finding this elusive concept that we convince ourselves we should understand.

I’ve found god in the battlefield. Not through direct warfare but through the immersion into a world where the human condition comes alive. What people live and die for baffles me at times. To each their own. Our battlefield doesn’t have to be at war though. It can be within our family, church, school, groups or anything with a communal structure. Maybe even a place of work. It could also be amongst the issues of race or gender. If we dissect our interactions with other people we may notice some continuity within our souls. If we responsibly allow ourselves to be consumed by social interaction we may find a deeper meaning within ourselves. Understanding others may be a little more of an elusive realization. Coexisting is undeniably part of who we are as a species. As we play our parts in this life, something else is happening. All the variables in this universe are being orchestrated either by random movement or divine intervention. Regardless of what is causing it, the movement of everything is what keeps us going forward. At least it keeps me motivated to look ahead. If we can look beyond what we become consumed with, we may just see something a little more enlightening than some quotes being transcribed into thumbnail pictures shared all over social media.

The paradox in my idea here is being able to look beyond what we are consumed by, by allowing ourselves to be consumed by it. I wouldn’t expect anyone to understand what the war experience can do for a human soul if they haven’t been immersed in it. Just the same as I can’t understand the effect of religious activity as it applies to the advancement of society. I’ve actively denied the validity of organized religion and I think it’s merely incubating ignorance. In recent time I’ve immersed myself in a less volatile situation to not only allow for personal growth, but to understand how a certain part of our society works. Quite honestly it’s annoying. ‘Higher education’ provided by institutions is a crock. Too much of it doesn’t enforce critical thinking and advancement beyond the status quo. Annoying as it is though, I’m learning from it more than I’ve ever thought possible. My soul feels drained. I find it hard to look anyone in the eyes and peer into their soul. The massive voids soak up any desire I have to bond on a deeper level.
This idea comes to a halt right now because my next vehicle for finding god will be in a later blog. Finding god in the bedroom. We cannot rely simply on our role in social confines to find the answers we yearn for. Stay tuned.

Hodgepodge

Throughout my teen and adult life I’ve collected some personal thoughts about my purpose. A lot of them probably make no sense and its merely a purging of messes throughout life. A truth I have for myself is something I may or may not have written in one of these blogs. I’m starting to lose track already of what I wrote. One of my biggest fears is not dying, but dying before doing something absolutely extraordinary with my life. Maybe I’m wrong about what I’m really supposed to be doing with my life but I’m not entirely satisfied doing these ordinary things. I fly. Cool right? Well, I don’t want to take anything away from the awesomeness of that but the path I’m taking with it is for career, not pure enjoyment. I’ll discuss flying in a later blog but it’s something important in my life and causing influence as to what my next move will be.

I’ve written about being slightly good at a lot of things. I get bored I think. When I die I want to know that what I chose to do with my life was absolutely worth it. Some people live for one dream, and that’s fine…. For them. I however am a dreamer and am extraordinarily unapologetic for it. It’s my gypsy soul. It may settle one day but until then I will do what I can to contribute to my story which someday someone may like look upon and be able to reflect a little better on their life.

I was given ‘the talk’ by the doctor the other day. I am in otherwise great health except for my unexplainable spike in blood pressure. For those who know numbers, I used to hover around 110/70 ish. Even while I was deployed I never saw it over 120/80. The other day it was quite a bit higher. Since I try not to self incriminate I won’t divulge too much of those results here. They don’t disqualify me for my FAA or DOL medically but the trend could cause quite a change in my life. Aside from lately, I’ve been working out at least six days a week for the past five months, generally don’t drink except for one or two now and again, don’t smoke and eat decent food. I’m not going to spell out right now what the catalyst is right now, but I do know that I need to be able to center myself.

I work with a small handful of people at the lumber store. It’s a generally easy going atmosphere. Sadly, it’s becoming the place that I can relax. A coworker of mine thought it was quite odd that when she would reach for something and get close to me, I would move away. I can be comfortable while being physically close to someone else. ‘Within my bubble’ per say. This coworker made a snarky comment about getting into my ‘bubble.’ They didn’t quite understand what I said next but it’s how I feel about reciprocation of consideration. I move away from this person because I don’t want to invade their space. I don’t want to chance being that person that is always ‘up in someone’s shit.’ In a literal sense I offer this consideration because I try to really care. As well, I expect others to respect me in the same way. Golden rule stuff right? It’s been very difficult lately for me because my effort of consideration is taken advantage of. For example I gave my boss a run down of my school schedule to work around. I said I was extremely open for shifts but I want limited hours and would like ‘me’ time but wasn’t going to request irrational days off. Wrong of me to assume otherwise but it was taken as being available every hour that I wasn’t in school. I could just quit right? Eh, not quite yet. I actually felt bad when I had to lay down my terms to them and change my schedule. I don’t know why it bothered me so much because I don’t owe them anything.

This blog is going nowhere. Just like a random conversation today with coworkers about religion, I couldn’t get my mind on a track that made sense. Of course their reaction was looking at me like I was crazy. If anything this blog might be something I look back on for ideas. I’m sitting down here again at Columbia Park listening as Hallelujah is coming across pandora. Reminds me of such an awesome time in my life. As novel as it would be to try and re-live certain moments in my life to try and capture those feelings, I merely think back and it helps get me back on track with who I am and who I need to be.

It’s MY blog

There are quite a few blogs that I read that inspire thoughts of not only what I’d like to write about, but how I’d like to live my life. As technical as I am, I have yet to master the skill of linking to these blogs from within the WordPress app. Anyways, I was reading one today from ‘The Better Man Project’ and it struck a few chords in me. It discussed the role of blame as it pertains to how we deal with life. We can’t blame others for how we react to our current situations. Ideally, this makes sense and it is a waste of time and energy to make excuses for how things are. I often re-read writings of mine and think, ‘sheeze, I need to stop with the reasoning and excuses and just accept things for what they are and move on with life.’ But then I come to terms with the fact that the way I choose to live my life is my choice. If someone doesn’t like it then what do I care? Why would they care?

I see the stats and I notice a lot of people read my blog every day. Maybe it’s different people on any given day, but still quite impressive. Assuming that people are truly reading what I write I figure I’d set something straight.

This is a 365 blog. It is a reflection of how I feel about things in my own life, and observations of situations that I’m around. Life is a progression from one level to another. Sometimes we go up, sometimes we go down. I’d love to write about happy and cheery stuff all the time. I’ll get there someday. My thoughts on life are a little harsh right now. I have owned up to being responsible for everything that I’m choosing to be surrounded by. It’s not all bad and the lessons I’m learning are going to be at least valuable to me, and maybe to someone who’ll listen to me down the road.

Though this blog is a distinct reflection of who I am right now, it should not be a single basis for judgement as to what kind of person I really am as a whole. That being said, the idea that we just need to let things go is grossly misinterpreted. The past is in fact, the past. I won’t argue that. Our pride will inhibit us from admitting that past events really do dictate how we deal with our current life circumstances. Some of us hide behind quotable quotes and preach values that we can’t even live by so we stick the judgement onto others. Truth is, it’s easier to see the apparent faults in others and not ourselves.

I going to beat someone to the punch and ask myself the question, ‘If you hate it so much, why don’t you just leave?’ I am going to leave, just as I’ve done several times in my life. I feel no need to explain myself beyond reason as to why I choose to put up with stuff and then bitch and whine about it on a semi-public forum. It goes back to what this blog is all about. My candid thoughts and feelings. No sugar coating or fronting about how I see life. My life. My approach may not be the most desirable in other’s eyes but it’s what feels natural to me. Be careful if you ever ask for more truth from me as well. Sometimes my filter is out for service and I might just piss you off.

Instead of taking advice from armchair preachers and pretending like I’m above all the things that trouble me, I want to get to the root of the matter. It truly is me that is the problem in my life. The people and things that annoy me will never really cease. Just as traffic jams delay the commute and computer viruses cease the computing, its simply a fact of the world that we live in. Those things are not the problem though. I want certain things out of this life. I have no specific definition of what I want. Times I’ve tried to define it has yielded skewed visions of what my past has molded me into thinking happiness is. Hence, I lay it all out on the line in a medium such as this and maybe I can discover something beyond my meaningless life. Life has a different purpose for everybody here. I realize that my existence on earth will eventually become nothing more than a name in a record book, just as we see when researching ancestors now. What’s the point then? Who knows and who cares. I’m willing to accept whatever this life has in store for me. Along the way I’ll simply play the part that I’m called for and do it the best I can.

Center of the universe

My visit to Walla Walla to see an old friend in prison was quite an experience. For sure, it will be motivation for writings in the future. Our conversation was quite frank about everything. There’s no room for bull or trying to be someone you’re not. A majority of people think of prisoners as the scum of society. Granted, there are quite a few that simply are scum and don’t deserve to be let out into society again. (Rapists etc) On the other hand, many are there simply because they got caught. How many of us have done something that we shouldn’t have? Drove while drunk? Speeding a little too fast? Fudging numbers on taxes? Trying to come up with examples is futile because no matter what, unless you get caught or kill someone, you’d never really admit to things you’ve done wrong. Lets say you tie off a few too many and head home thinking to yourself that everything will be fine if you can just make into your neighborhood. You might say ‘Thank god I made it without getting pulled over.’ Little do you realize that as you were thanking your god, you drive up on a sidewalk and run over some neighbor kids. Killing both of them. But you’re a flawless person right? The life you live is something only really special people can live right? This can’t happen to you right? You’re better than so many other people! Maybe you let your pride get in the way and you think no one saw you. It’s dark out and they didn’t even have a chance to scream. No one comes running out so you decide to drive off. Phew! Made it home right? Assuming you can squash your conscious, you think you got away with it. Until someone’s hidden camera on their porch captured the whole thing… So the story writes itself from here on out.

My friend is not in for anything like that above. But it could’ve been him. Just as it could have been the Mayor of Port Orchard who just a few years ago got away with a DUI. Just as it could be you! Just imagine… your name on a prison roster. Chances are, many people can’t truly fathom the idea.

My friend is making amazing progress from the person he used to be for so many years. He is of course hardened from doing time, but his sheer understanding of how things are puts me almost at a loss for words. Nothing like prison to truly understand the side of the human condition that is rarely acknowledged but influences so much of our life.

He was worried that since we hadn’t seen each other in such a long time we’d have little to talk about. I was a little apprehensive as well because the last time I saw him he was pretty much a zombie. We ended up talking for all three hours. Of course we talked about stories from the past and people we knew then he was extremely open about things that he had done that he wasn’t proud of. All the reasoning for his punishment really doesn’t mean anything now. The lesson he’s learning can make a profound impact on not only his life and family, but of others as well.

Something that this visit has made me think about today is how I used to feel about things when I was coming out of high school into the real world. I felt the world owed me something. I also felt that the few things I had done in my life commanded respect from anyone, regardless of their background. I knew it all! When I was turning twenty one, the world was my oyster. My confidence was through the roof. At that time I was promoted to an Alignment Tech for Goodyear, making ten bucks an hour, drinking like I knew what good alcohol was, planning my life out as if I knew every possible scenario. I even quit my job at the drop of a hat because I thought my boss was being a dick. No worries at all! I even had a girlfriend that I could do such awesome things with that made me so much more of a person! We would have… Brace yourself… Sex! I knew what love was, and wasn’t. Short of taking another human life, there was nothing else I needed to learn to become everything anyone needs to be.

A few years later when my ass got handed to me, he offered me my old job back. They were also going to pay for me to go to school and get ASE certified. A better opportunity came up at the time so I couldn’t take up his offer but I did ask him why the hell he wanted me back after I walked out. His almost exact words were ”You were a stupid kid that thought your shit didn’t stink. We saw through it and want to give you another chance.” Now at that time, I wasn’t anywhere near being the person I wanted to be, but I was realizing on a daily basis that my arrogance about life had absolutely nothing backing it up. Granted, I was pretty damn good at what I was doing but I had no grounds to think that anyone should respect what I had to say about things.

To this day I’m given ‘gems’ from people who have a better answer for things than anyone else. It comes in many forms. Sometimes people say ‘you should…’ or ‘don’t let it get to you…’. Other times it comes across as advice to stand up and be a total dick to deal with a situation. Everything in between as well.

Luckily I never got caught doing bad/illegal things. Just as some common criminals live with the consequences of their actions, I live with the consequences of my choices in life. My desire to keep driving on is fueled by a desire to never be content with a sub par life. I’m ‘doing time’ per say, but it’s on my terms.

I’ve learned that the best advice I can take from someone, is advice I give myself. I find motivation from others by the actions (or inactions) that they take in life. I apply it as I see fit and formulate a way to cope with this life I’m living. I’m surrounded by kids just like I was. I wasn’t as outwardly expressive about things as some but the general attitude is the same. Through some passive aggressive commenting and blog writing I tend to vent a little of my frustrations. Some people talk shit to voice their opinions, I like to play by a different set of rules. (insert: if it bothers you, then quit reading it)

I think back to my manager, John at Goodyear. During my untouchable phase I think I even told him to fuck off a few times as I was quitting. I failed to realize at the time that he sat there without a hint of shock on his face. My opinions and assumptions about him seemed pretty solid back then. He drank an eighteen pack a night and looked like death every day at work. What a loser right? His ‘stupid stories’ never quite sunk in. He’d tell a story about something that had happened and I’d think to myself ‘Im better than that. That’d never happen to me…’ He was sixty years old at that time and after some digging, I learned that his drinking (and other activities) wasn’t because he liked the taste of beer. Needless to say, he had some pretty damn good reasons why I should have listened.

The end result of this rambling comes down to the idea I wrote about before. Being humbled. I imagine being able to sit in a theater and watch my life happen with a few people beside me. One of my favorite lines from visiting my friend was about a guy that came in bitching about having to do time at that particular prison. My friend says ‘shut the fuck up you idiot, my time earned for good behavior is longer than your entire sentence.’ It’s funny hearing that from him because he’s one of those stoic people that never has to say anything like that. He lets people be who they are. He humors them. He watches them act the fool then they fall flat on their face. I think one of the reasons I’m friends with him is that I understand his level of sniffing out bullshit in people. He gives a little smirk when he sees right through you and is already planning his next move. There are plenty of other people on the non-criminal side of society that I know of that have the same traits. Just like John, who sat there probably thinking to himself ‘who does this kid think he is?’ Gently shaking his head as my ego and I walked out that door.

Maybe one of my favorite quotes is wrong for some people. ‘Your playing small’ might actually be serving the world quite well…