Worth Living

It’s weird to consider that I’m spending a lot of my free time working on setting myself up to have more free time.

At the top of my list of such personal projects is to get out and do things much more often than I have been.

But, it occurred to me…what’s the point of doing things and going places by myself?

Cyber space has made it way too easy to encounter new contacts from anywhere in the world, but I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit I’ve let this functionality keep me from making friends in the flesh.

I want to correct that.

I miss going out with little to no advanced notice. I miss going out with little to no advanced planning. I miss going out with a large group of acquaintances.
I miss going out with an even smaller group of close friends. I miss going out with that one person I’ve always wanted to impress. I miss going out with that one person who makes me feel comfortable. I miss going out with that one person I hardly know, but with whom I’m willing to be seen with because I’m convinced the time will be well spent.

Recently, someone whose presence I value commented that I’ve been spending noticeably diminishing time on my writing. She was right. During this particular stretch of time, I’ve been spending more time becoming comfortable and happy and intimate with those for whom I have no reservations about losing my mind and my heart. Yeah, this has put me farther behind on my writing than I was already was, but what I did and who I did it with made my life, even for just that brief time, a life worth living.

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Exiting 2019: Step Into the Pain

I wanted so much for 2019 to be a memorable year.

Apparently, the Universe mistook the word ‘memorable’ for ‘discomfort.’

Back spasms that made every step I took a new adventure in pain. A dislocated thumb I had no idea how I got. Allergies that flared up when I was convinced I wasn’t allergic to anything. And, of course, there were all the complications and discomforts stemming from my heart issue.

“On a scale from one to ten,” I said more than once, “2019 sucks.”

But, maybe not as much as I thought. Or, at the very least, maybe the hidden benefits made it seek tolerable.

A few years ago, I wrote lyrics for the purpose of motivating someone I care about to stop being so sensitive and adverse to the discomforts of effort, and just get out there and show the Universe you want what you say you want…stand in direct opposition to the unpleasant feedback and reverb.

steppain

What I didn’t understand at the time was that I was outlining—prophesizing—what I would soon go through.

I’ve been saying for more years than I’m going to admit that I wanted to lose some of my unnecessary girth, but my attempts either faded and fell backwards after a brief amount of time, or just outright failed from the beginning. This past year, I noticed I was getting heavier, despite my efforts to reduce my portion sizes, but I balked (for some inexplicable reason) at taking it seriously.

My subconscious decided to get into the act. Twice within a two month span, I dreamt I was looking in a mirror at an almost completely flat stomach. In my dreams, I verbalized my impressions of what I was seeing: “How did this happen?” “I hope this is for real.” “Cool! Now, I can hit the dating scene again!”

Sometimes, there is no accounting for my subconscious’ mindsets.

Yet, I can’t say I did much to turn these images into reality.

A very short time later, lightheadedness and labored breathing talked me into doing something for myself.

The doctors explained that, because my heart was too weak to do its job to the fullest, a lot of body fluid was not getting pumped out of my body, which accounted for some of my excessive puffiness and respiratory issues.

The hospital staff did what they could to make sure my stay was as comfortable as possible.

It was the hospital itself that plotted against my comfort. The bed, in particular, was miserable beyond compare. And, I’ll pretend the kitchen staff didn’t make my grilled cheese sandwich with wheat bread and tasteless low sodium cheese.

After six straight days of a controlled diet and getting pumped full of a drug that causes the expulsion of fluids via urination, I lost over 30 pounds. My work pants that previously fit a bit too snug were now too baggy to wear without a belt. When I was getting dressed to prepare for my trip back home, I realized for the first time that much of my gut and puffiness was missing.

Kinda like what I saw in my dream.

Yeah, I suffered to get to that point. But, of course, I stepped into the pain before the suffering got any worse.

While describing my experience to that person I care about, I posed a question: do you like your current painful condition so much that you will reject putting yourself through a temporary discomfort that will lead you to where you say you want to be?

Watching how much she has been fighting since I got out of the hospital, but with an encouraged and determined smile on her face, tells me she actually listened to my advice, plus I can confirm she is doing much better. That makes me smile.

[CHECK OUT EVERY EXITING 2019 POST HERE!]
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Running Start…Sort Of

I lauded on another social media outlet how I was already moving at a sprint when 2020 started, so I essentially had a head start.

I apparently stopped to tie my sneakers after the first week and never restarted, because my accomplishments during January and February were on the anemic side.

What I didn’t mention on that other platform is that my ‘running start’ also included a few other personal projects that have not much at all to do with writing. I might mention them in a future post, but, for now, here’s what’s going on with actual writing projects:

The angry person story…
I’m happy with this story. I’m unhappy with the cover artwork.

The questionable round of golf story…
After putting this story aside during the winter months, I’m now beefing up my MC’s back story. Not surprising, I’m beginning to feel a genuine level of empathy for him.

The time travel story…
I’ve not touched this story in months. I have no excuse. Actually, I do, but it’s a dumb excuse, so I’ll just suck it up and get back to work on it.

The bad dream story…
I’ve done about as much work on the world building portion of this story, and am now back to working on the story itself. In my opinion, it already reads a heluva lot better than the first version.

Even with all of this (plus, a few things I have yet to mention), I still plan to put in another major effort to my personal projects. March should be fun…as long as my sneakers don’t become untied again.

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January 33rd

Come to find out, I was not the only person to believe this past January was exaggeratedly lengthy.

january

To that effect…welcome to January 33rd. As a reminder, I will be celebrating my birthday on January 59th.

All kidding aside, the imagined drawn out nature of January was a benefit to me…if only in my own mind. In addition to writing, I was working on a few personal projects that required time and patience. Unfortunately, I decided to place a January 31 target date on these personal projects (under the category of “What the Hell Was I Thinking?”). Suffice it to say, the target dates weren’t exactly met, but at least it seemed I had the time to get them as close to completion as I did.

As for the projects themselves…one is getting a new (or even a used) car for the fleet, one is a change of how I live my life (with writing more often being at the forefront), and one or two other things I’m not prepared to talk about out loud just yet. Since I’ve already discovered their complexity requires a large abundance of my time and attention, here’s to February lasting as long as January did…if only in my own mind.

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Great Ambition

With great ambition, comes great* and multiple ideas.
*‘Great,’ in this context, is determined by the perspective of the audience.

With great ideas, comes multiple tasks*.
*Some ‘tasks’ never make it past the ‘initial draft’ stage, so the actual quantity of tasks to work on may vary.

With so many tasks, comes additional time constraints.*
*‘Time constraints’ are also caused by family and personal issues, jobs in which you are working for somebody else, and the inconvenient reality that our species requires food and sleep every once in a while.

With less time available for desired artistic tasks, comes an undesired level of frustration.*
*‘Frustration’ may include one of the following:
1) a lack of feeling fulfilled in one’s life
2) a sense of futility
3) depression
4) irritability with those who subtract time from what you would rather be doing
5) irritability towards people who have nothing to do with your time constraints but just happen to be in the way at that moment

With increased levels of frustration, comes a stronger reason* for wanting to work out these issues so you can do the tasks in life you want to do so you can live the life you desire.
*‘stronger reason’ might be one of the most difficult mindsets an artist of any medium ever has to conjure and maintain, but it is well worth the effort.

Be ambitious towards your art form.

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Exiting 2019: Mismatched Legs and Other Trippy Discoveries

I wanted so much for 2019 to be a memorable year.

Apparently, the Universe mistook the word ‘memorable’ for ‘weird.’

Optional homework assignment: I invite you to read (or revisit, as the case may be) an essay I posted earlier in 2019 that deals with my discovering I have one leg shorter than the other.

OK, so that experience explained why my right shoes always wore in a different pattern than my left shoes.

It also explained why I often catch myself leaning to the right when I think I’m standing up straight.

It could also explain why, when I sprinted, I almost always felt like I was losing my balance. Personally, I attribute that particular event to me just being uncoordinated.

I spent several weeks wondering why I never figured this mismatched legs issue out about myself. At a certain point, though, I stopped worrying about that oddity, and instead asked myself what else there was about myself I still didn’t know.

I learned that, when I put my mind to it and/or actually pay attention, my subconscious dream state is more than just a source of amusement and disorientation; it serves as an adviser and an advocate for my desires in life. In other words, my subconscious mind is making itself my biggest fan. I’ll probably touch on that topic in another post.

I learned I was closer to altering my reality more to my liking than I believed was within my abilities. The reason I’m not getting enough results for the amount of effort I put in is because I spend too much time working on the ‘research’ half of the equation and not nearly enough time with the ‘development’ half.

There were a few other things I learned, which are more on a personal level, and will not be mentioned here at this time. Suffice it to say, though, these lessons were well worth learning.

But, above all, I learned that, while it took major discomfort to discover the LLD issue that was with me for nearly 58 years, I could discover other truths and wonders in a far shorter time just by pausing the clutter of my day and looking for them. Or, more accurately, looking directly at them.

[CHECK OUT EVERY EXITING 2019 POST HERE!]
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Exiting 2019

Last year, I experimented by writing a series of year-in-review essays under the title: Exiting 2018.

I enjoyed the process of recounting some of the cool moments of my last twelve months, but I didn’t feel there were enough such moments to write about. baybridge The exercise also got me thinking about how so many of the ‘same-old same-old’ stretches of the year could have been reworked into something worth writing about. So, I decided that, if worthy, I would write a similar series for 2019.

Except, by the time October 2019 rolled around, I changed my mind. My quote to a friend via text explains why the mind change: “On a scale from one to ten, 2019 sucks.” Health problems. Personal problems. Certain problems I will not discuss out loud. I was depressed and frustrated quite a bit of the year, so I spent much of my time to myself because I didn’t feel like inflicting my unhappiness on those who did nothing to deserve it.

October threatened to roll over top of me.

November succeeded.

But, somewhere along the line, I discovered that the discomforts and disconnects in 2019 were actually restocking me with strength and motivation that would allow me to make 2020 more to my liking. I’m hoping that the following Exiting 2019 essays will illustrate how that belief came to be.

And, of course, a year from now, I’m expecting my 2020 essays will illustrate how successful I was.

[CHECK OUT EVERY EXITING 2019 POST HERE!]
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