Kindness Journey – Day 189 – I am the luckiest man in the world. Even more relevant today #ClubQ

The world is full of things we all know are negative, destructive, and hypocritical. Thanksgiving is presented as the time to be grateful for what we have, followed the next day by a blatant wave of consumerism that preys on the feelings of inadequacy from the things we just celebrated being grateful for.

I remember being aware of these inconsistencies from my childhood because my parents never sugarcoated life. They taught me to find the joys in life each and every day instead of pretending that only one day was special. I never forgot that lesson.

There have been times when life was hard, but I always tried to live by what my parents taught me. I had lapses, but it was that inner knowledge that never let me stray too far away from the truth.

In my personal life, I have been the luckiest man in the world. I have been in a wonderful relationship with Hal, my partner, for almost 23 years. Now, I want to say that I waited for 36 years to find him, and there were times when I just felt like I was destined to go through life alone. I hoped for change, my optimism never wavered, but there were times I grew so tired of waiting. My patience and belief has been rewarded many times over.

Life can be hard and unpleasant, but finding the right person, the one you love, makes things wonderful.

Kindness Journey – Day 188 – Watching Twitter Burn from afar

I used to use Twitter on a daily basis. Initially, I thought it was a great way to keep up with news, but eventually I watched it dissolve into a cesspool of hatred driven by algorithms that showed people the absolute worst that humanity had to offer, and the equally sinister bots that promoted views similar to your own but we’re not real people.

Twitter reminded me of the old Monty Python skit about the argument clinic. While hysterical when viewed from a distance, twitter was nothing but a cause of anger and frustration.

Kindness Journey – Day 187 – Memories of Maine

Nearly 30 years ago (where have the years gone?) I was a young man in the United States Navy, ready to serve my country and save the world. After I completed basic training at the old Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Orlando, Florida, I went to school in Pensacola, Florida, for nearly a year before being assigned to a follow-on school in Winter Harbor, Maine.

I remember the drive to Winter Harbor. I had never been that far north or to any part of New England. Everything was an adventure, and I was so excited about it all.

As I drove north from Boston along I-95, I realized how far I was traveling. Once I passed Portland, I was in a different environment. When I arrived in Bangor, or Ban-aware as the locals called it, I felt like I was in another country, but I still had a way to go before I reached Winter Harbor (or Wintah Haabaah as the locals called it.

I left I-95 at Bangor and proceeded to the town of Ellsworth along US 1A. I didn’t know it then, but Ellsworth would soon seem like the big city.

From Ellsworth, it was another trip along US-1 through some beautiful, rugged country towards the coast. Eventually, I turned on to 186 and proceeded to Winter Harbor. When I got there, the town looked like a Rockwell pairing come to life. There were fishing boats in the harbor right where the road made a sharp left. I continued for several more miles until I reached Acadia National Park. The base was inside the park. A twisting one-way road eventually brought me to the base’s front gate. Here I was greeted by what looked like a castle

The command building was associated with the Rockefeller family. Sadly, I cannot find a picture of the enlisted quarters and the galley, demolished after the base was closed.

Winter Harbor was very remote. When I was there you didn’t have cell phone service, and landline phones still had pulse/rotary dialing, and you only had to dial the last 4 numbers for the base and the entire town.

The best story that illustrates how isolated the base was happened when a Subway restaurant opened in the town of Ellsworth, about 25 miles away. People from the base drive in caravans to buy Subway sandwiches in bulk because it felt like civilization had finally discovered us.

I made some friends Ike I was there, but military friendships are often temporary and transitory. I’m no longer in touch with any of them.

I left Winter Harbor and went on to my next duty station. If the mood hits, I’ll write about that one as well.

Kindness Journey- Day 186 – A Past Life

Nearly thirty years ago, I was a proud sailor in the US Navy. I served for approximately ten years before leaving the service. People ask me why I didn’t make a 20-year career since I was at the halfway point. The answer is complicated, but it centers on my Mother’s health.

I was scheduled to be stationed overseas for my next tour, and I was looking forward to the adventure. Fate had other plans for me. My Mother suffered a stroke when I had less than a year to decide about re-enlisting. I talked to the detailer, that is the person who matches sailors with available positions around the world. One of the rules was that my next tour was supposed to be overseas, but I asked for an exception because I knew that my Mom wouldn’t last 3-4 more years.

I didn’t want to be halfway around the world, dreading a phone call or a visit from the Chaplain telling me my Mom had passed away. Mom did not want to be in an assisted living facility; she preferred to stay at home.

At any rate, the Navy refused my request for an exception, and I sadly informed them that I would not reenlist.

Within a year of that decision, Mom passed away suddenly. I got to her and was there with her when she passed away.

Since I have made a decent life for myself, I am at peace with my decision. Friends ask me what the Navy was like, but due to the nature of my job, I still have to give vague answers. The friends I had from those days have drifted apart. Sadly, a few are no longer alive.

As my Navy years fade into the past, I keep looking forward. We all have critical moments where there is no right or wrong answer. We should learn from those moments and be better people.

Kindness Journey – Day 185 -My Sanity

Our never-ending election cycle just rolls on and on without stopping. We can’t catch our breath at the end of one election before the greedy and corrupt grifters who never worked an honest day in their lives start the madness all over again.

I have had enough. My personal wellbeing and sanity are more important than any candidate. I refuse to let the media scurry from one self-manufactured fake political crisis to another and drag me along. I just won’t take part in any of the bullshit between now and the next election. At that time, I will make my informed decision and vote accordingly.

Until then, I want nothing to do with politics or candidates or elections or campaigns. I began filtering my online content, and if necessary, I will sacrifice sone friendships if I’m subjected to more bullshit.

I want to be Kind, but the first thing about practicing Kindness is to be Kind to yourself first. I want to protect my health, both mental and physical, from the never ending onslaught of political bullshit.

Kindness Journey – Day 184 – Regrets

Everyone has regrets. We all have made decisions, or avoided making decisions that we look back in and wish things were different. Personally, I believe that the worst regrets come from those choices that have hurt others as much as ourselves.

While we can try to make amends for our choices, it is important to remember what we did, and that it cannot be undone. We have to accept responsibility for our actions and express remorse when called for.

Kindness allows for change. We are not prisoners of our past decisions unless we choose to be. Regret does not have to be eternal, time will heal all wounds if we allow it to, and if we make the changes that allow us to move on.

Anyone who reads this blog can look back bat my posts from more than a year ago and think they were written by a different person. In a sense, they were. I was bitter and angry all the time because the world was unfair, and people were suffering. Those things are still true, but I discovered the gift of Kindness. Kindness leads to Acceptance. Acceptance allowed me to overcome the regrets I had about my own past.

Regret should never hold you back from living. Learn the lesson and carry it forward.

Kindness Journey – Day 182 -Coping with Disappointment

Disappointment is part of life. Things don’t always go the way we hope for, or planned for. I think that it is important to recognize the difference between expected and unexpected disappointment.

Unexpected disappointment is exactly that. It hits without warning. There is no time to prepare for the trauma.

I’m going to focus on Expected disappointment because I used to go through it every year watching Kentucky football. Early season promise raises expectations that are quickly dashed when UK has to play in the big, bad SEC. In most years, UK could at least count on beating Vanderbilt, but not this year.

This year UK was ranked as high as #7 in the country. This was before UK had to play the tough teams. When things started going wrong, the coach did what he always does. He just looks fat, confused, and out of place.

The coach has a great agent though. The coach gets a raise and an extension every year for achieving the same level of mediocrity as the previous year. The cycle just keeps repeating itself. This is the textbook definition of expected disappointment.

Kindness Journey – Day 181 – Flashbacks

Every so often, I find myself questioning which reality I’m really in. I can’t explain it any better than that. I will suddenly feel like I’m back in the hospital, even if in my own eyesight, I see that I am not in the hospital. Sometimes the flashback lingers for nearly a minute before fading away.

I’ve tried to see what triggers these flashbacks with no success. I am worried when these events happen because I can’t control them. The fear and anxiety are real. I know that my health is slowly fading, and that my mental faculties might be degrading as well. These are not comforting thoughts to have.

I suppose that as long as I’m concerned that I might be crazy, that I’m probably not going crazy. I hope that the flashbacks will stop eventually.

Kindness Journey- Day 180 – Simplicity

The other night I was going to bed when I accidentally hit a button on my alarm clock that caused it to play a soothing ocean tide sound. I tried to find the button to turn the sound off, but there were so many buttons on there without clear labels or symbols that I couldn’t find the right one.

After about 5 minutes of trying to silence the soothing sounds of the ocean tides, I started to lose my mind. I even found the operator manual for the alarm clock, but it didn’t help me.

By this time, the pounding waves coming from the alarm clock were starting to annoy me. Why did this thing have to be so damn complicated? All I really wanted was a bedside alarm clock.

I unplugged the alarm clock and the thunderous sound of the breaking waves finally ceased. I order an alarm clock like the one pictured above.

Sometimes, simplicity is the best answer.