The Big Day

     It was 56 years and today when I entered the world. Obviously, I don’t remember that exact day, but the fact that I was born on my Dad’s birthday has always been special to me. 

I have never been a person who celebrates birthdays with over-the-top parties. Historically, my birthday has always been a quiet event for family and a few friends. As my family has dwindled through the years due to geographic separation and emotional indifference, friends became more important. At least that was how I felt until those times and people began to deteriorate as well. The reciprocal buying of gifts always turned into a question of who spent more on their gift, them for my birthday, or me for theirs.

With Hal (person) I have enjoyed a quiet day with lunch at Golden Corral and then some errands to spend time together for the rest of the day and evening. Gifts were given but I am glad that Hal didn’t spend a ridiculous amount on me. Personally, I believe that my birthday is just as much about showing how much I care about those close to me as it is about them making a fuss over me.

56 years ago today, I came into the world. I am still here and doing just fine.

Chaos

I’m sure that I am not the only person in the world who feels a sense of chaos when thinking about the future. Have I planned well enough for retirement? Have I made any critical mistakes that will impact my future?

Chaos is always lurking around the corner. It is as close as we allow it to be, and its influence is proportional to how much attention we give it. Chaos feeds off our fears, it grows stronger as uncertainty grows.

Chaos is the by-product of modern life. With all of the distractions, we lose track of the small things and allow ourselves to be manipulated every day. When we try to take control back, we realize how much we gave up in the first place. This is chaos.

Top 5 Fears

I spent much of my life dealing with the fear of being alone. Loneliness is a terrible thing if left untreated because we are all social beings. My attempts to cure loneliness were often unsuccessful because I was raised so differently from the other kids I grew up with. I had two great parents who took an active interest without the “helicopter” approach that seems to be all the rage now.

I made friends easily, but most friendships didn’t last that long because I was seen as opinionated and arrogant. FOr my part, I thought of so many people as shallow and insincere, willing to follow whatever mindless trend dominated the moment. I felt that I was held to a higher standard by my parents, not necessarily making me superior in any way, but making me more mature and honest.

Romance was difficult as well, and this highlighted the loneliness. I seemed to be unable to find the right person. It wasn’t until I realized that I was never going to meet the “right” person that my loneliness started to ease. When I met Hal (person), I was mature and experienced enough to not try to rush into anything, and neither was he. We had shared experiences that brought us together, and that is where the first bonds were formed.

I no longer fear loneliness. I have spent a lifetime dealing with it and overcoming it.

Who doesn’t fear failure? I struggled as a child to do my best to live up to my parents’ expectations. Thankfully, both of them told me that there were no standards that I had to meet other than being honest and to be myself with them. I had a great deal of trust from my parents, and that added to the perception that I was aloof and arrogant as I mentioned earlier.

I learned that failures are what we build upon as we go through life. No one likes to fail, but those who never fail have never tried.

There is a trend here because the next fear is rejection. The hardest lesson I ever had to learn was that not everyone will like me, regardless of what I do or say. The struggle to gain acceptance can cripple us emotionally. I eventually learned that the people who would demand that I meet their expectations were the people who wanted to exercise that level of control over me. I refuse to give my life to someone else.

If you ever saw the movie “The Replacements” about a football team, then you will understand the reference to quicksand. It is the fear of getting into a situation where you feel that there is no way out and that anything you do will only serve to make the situation worse. Eventually, you decide to stop struggling, knowing that you will sink, but afraid that trying to change anything will only make things worse. If the outcome is predetermined, then struggling is not going to make a difference. I refuse to accept that there are those situations. It is always better to strive to improve things rather than simply accept them as they are because the choice to accept is more comfortable.

I used to fear being ridiculed. I overcame that one, so go ahead, I can take it 🙂

Unconditional Love

     Sometimes when I get so wound up with my own problems such as insomnia, I lose track of the important things that are happening all around me. As I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself, Stevie Nicks showed up at my feet. 

     After I greeted her, she jumped onto my lap and began rubbing against me, almost like she was telling me that everything was going to be OK. Her purring soothed me and I managed to get the following picture where her expression is one of Unconditional Love. 

     Soon after taking the picture, Stevie Nicks jumped down and wandered off in search of a snack. Her kindness still lingers with me. 

What I Wanted To Be As A Child Growing Up

Growing up,  I wanted to be a professional baseball player because I thought that I was really good at the game. I loved being outdoors and enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. I was a decent pitcher and an average hitter.

As I got older, I realized that other kids were growing stronger and faster than I was. I played through high school and never hit a home run. I was a contact hitter but that made me absolutely mediocre compared to guys that were able to crush the ball. That marked the end of my aspirations to be a professional baseball player.

I thought seriously about becoming a fireman because one of my best friend’s father was a fireman. The normal childhood dreams of riding around town in the big red fire truck were intoxicating. I know that this was a dream of many of the kids I grew up with in a small town. Ironically it was a fire at our house that stopped the desire to be a fireman after seeing all the damage and thinking that I wasn’t cut out to be dealing with that type of stuff on a regular basis.

Because I was born in the 1960s I thought about becoming an astronaut. Once again it was a generational thing that appealed to everyone my age. The intense math and science brought me back to reality and ended that dream.

I thought about becoming an actor for a time. I always enjoyed being the center of attention and I was never shy. My parents weren’t keen on the idea because they wanted me to live in the real world as much as possible. The other thing that killed the desire to act was I never thought of myself as attractive, and I still believe that all cameras are out to embarrass me at all times.

I wanted to be a teacher because I really loved to learn and to share with others. It was later in life when I decided that I wasn’t really cut out to be around children all of the time. I was raised by very progressive parents and was always considered mature for my age. I had a wonderful childhood, but it was not as carefree as some of my friends. I was always taught to think of others and the world around me rather than always just myself. Later in life, I found that teaching adults is something that I am rather goods at.

Now I work with data mining and analysis. I pull patterns and predict future behavior of information for the client. I measure changes and trends. I model data to demonstrate to the client where they should focus their efforts to improve their productivity and responsiveness. I do have the opportunity to train/teach others on my job, and it gives me tremendous pleasure to do so. This is not where I would have predicted that I would end up, but I find that very few people actually do end up in their dream job that they visualized when they were children.

Life is about adapting to change and making the best decisions that you can each and every day. Make the best of what life throws at you and remember that nothing is preordained.

A New Writing Tool

I was rummaging through my desk drawer when I came across a book that I had forgotten buying almost a year ago. I bought the book to help with my writing and then promptly forgot all about the book. I decided to pull the book out of the drawer and take another look at it. 

The book is titled “Choose Your Own Journal” and it is a guide to daily blogging/journaling. It is divided into sections such as “Spiritual Journey”, or “Achievement Journey”. The book allows the user to select any entry to comment on and then provides a guide to the next subject in that particular journey. Actually, this is a really interesting way to guide me through the list of topics.

I remembered why I bought the book in the first place, to help my writing. It is past time to start using this book again to guide me with topics to write about each day. The journey begins.

Dreamer’s World February 27 2017 – Daily Prompt “Center”

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The Daily Prompt is “Center”. To me this means the point at which all things converge, and therefore, the place where we must deal with them all. When I studied meditation (not seriously) I was advised to find my “center” as the point where I had absolute control. I was to then either allow or reject all of the things that demanded to get into my “center”. In effect I was triaging the events and issues in my life and determining which ones had to be dealt with immediately as opposed to those that simply wanted attention that was better directed elsewhere.

The first step was to empty the “center” and become calm. This was a lot harder than it sounds and is the place where many give up on the practice of meditation. It takes time and patience and continuous practice to get to the “center” in a clear state of mind. Each step was a journey as I tried to learn to block out all of the things that demanded to go along for the ride with me.

Once there, the second step was to learn to embrace and enjoy the peace that the “center” offered. It is a spiritual experience once you have mastered the willpower to get there in the right frame of mind. It always helps to have a singular focus point. I would visualize a candle burning and try to think of nothing but the flame.

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It was a living thing as I learned to watch it and see how the variations happened. I didn’t physically look at a candle, I simply imagined it in as much detail as possible. What at first was rather boring was in fact a way to focus myself. I had to learn to let the distractions go and simply keep my mind on the candle.

Step 3 was to learn how long I could maintain this “center” and the peace it provided me with. As time went on, I was able to stay there longer and longer. I then began to learn that the “center” is a place that we should only visit occasionally.

There is a scene in the Harry Potter movies where Harry sees his dead parents in a mirror. Obviously Harry doesn’t want to leave and constantly gazes into the mirror because it makes him feel complete. He has found the thing that he always knew he was lacking. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” is the advice that Dumbledore gives to Harry, and he is absolutely right.

The hardest thing about the “center” is letting go. When I broke away too quickly, I was overwhelmed by the onrushing issues and concerns that I had just recently escaped from. I had to learn to gradually put out the flame on the candle that I focused on. I would slowly extinguish the flame and then I would picture myself turning away from the candle and leaving the room and locking the door behind me. As I did this I was consciously allowing the real world to filter back into me. In this way, leaving the “center” was not as hard or painful.

The “center” is within each of us. We should all visit it regularly, but learn to never overstay our welcome. The temptation is great to never leave, but I refer to the quote listed above as to why we all must leave it. It will always be where we left it, the journey to find it is an exercise in self-discipline and is worth the effort because once we have found it, we can return as needed.