Overcomers Journey – When Fear Made My Choice For Me-11 NOV 2020

Today’s prompt asks the question about a point in my life when Fear made a decision I couldn’t make for myself, and what the impact of that is even until today.

When I was ready to graduate college with my BA, I seriously thought about going to Law School. It seemed like a natural progression to take with a degree in Political Science. The thing that held me back was fear of the future. I knew that only Dad’s death and the help from the VA had allowed me to go to college in the first place. Mom was doing her best, but I yearned for my own independence.

I knew that if I went to Law School, it would mean moving to another city in another state, with no guarantee that the VA would still help. I checked on several law schools and even in the 1980s the prices were obscene.

Fear convinced me that I had to move on without further education. The decision wasn’t hard because the fear already has me in its grip. I ended up in the Navy and made my way through several career bounces since before settling on the job I have had for the last fifteen years.

https://dreamer9177.com/2020/11/11/destination-journey-my-job-11-nov-2020/

Thankfully, a lesson I learned from my parents was to avoid looking back at things that already happened. It saved me from second-guessing about what might have been.

I recognize that I am who I am because of the choices I’ve made. The best option is to be as happy as possible with the results of those choices.

Destination Journey -My Job -11 NOV 2020

The daily prompt is about my career.

For the last fifteen years, I’ve worked as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for a software company with a major government client. I utilize my education and my background experience to demonstrate to the client how our products can improve their own data management processes, written procedures, and their overall data quality.

The job sounds both exciting and boring, and yes, there seems to be equal measures of both most of the time. I am constantly learning new systems and how we can integrate them into the infrastructure we have already constructed. This proves challenging because I can’t control how any external system creates and maintains its own data. The external company is solely responsible for those processes unless we can negotiate a written agreement on how to share data in formats which each separate system can process correctly.

There are times when I wish that I could try to market our products to other data producers, but that job is not in my career path. I exist in that nebulous world between client and software developers. I normally receive high praise from the client who sees what I can show with their data, while at the same time, the software developers in the same company i work for seem to view my inputs less favorably. I attribute this to the software developers mindset that they think they know best what everyone wants. They also seem to have forgotten to approach any data management system from a client point of view.

So, my job is interesting and often full of surprises. I wouldn’t still be doing it after fifteen years if I hated it, but there are some days that are worse than others, as with any job.

Tuesday update

As I prepare to start Tuesday here at home, there are several things that I want to take care of. First of all, I want to walk this morning for exercise. I’m going to try and get back into shape as safely as possible. I’m going to browse for some new comfortable walking shoes later today. I don’t have a lot to spend, but I do want to take care of my feet.

I am not working today because I’m fighting the system to get approval for short-term disability. If I go back to work now, I’ll look be surrendering my chances to qualify for short-term disability unless I am hospitalized again. I definitely don’t want that. Therefore, I’m not returning to work this week as I go through o all of my follow-up medical appointments. I’ll submit all the paperwork after those visits and hope for the best.

I don’t miss work yet. I’m not sure when I will, honestly. I just know that I do need time to recover from all that I’ve gone through recently. I also know that work stress doesn’t help at all.

I decided against shopping for shoes today because that would violate my deliberate plan to avoid crowds of people. I can always order some shoes online and return them if they don’t work out for me. I just want some comfortable hiking shoes so I can start exercising again.

One last thing that is sort of related involves our new method for getting groceries. Placing an order and then picking things up curbside at the store is working out better than planned because it makes us plan more deliberately for what we need rather than just run into the store without a clue. Definitely a win for us.

Virtual Happy Hour

Yesterday I experienced a new phenomenon that is a direct result of social distancing. The company I work for decided to hold a Virtual Happy Hour at the end of the workweek. At first I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but everyone actually had a very good time.

The rules were very simple. All the participants had to show what we were drinking, and either describe it or show the bottle. At first we proposed a series of toasts to set the mood and get everyone relaxed,and within a few minutes it was almost like we were out at a neighborhood pub together.

The software we used was MS Teams, because of the recent issues with Zoom, our company is moving away from Zoom rather quickly. The experience was interesting and different, but apparently this is the new “normal” that we will be dealing with for a long time to come.

Dreamer’s World April 15 2016 – Identity

 

 

I decided to try a new profile picture for the post today. I still love having my calendar included to provide myself with a sense of time, and the Lucy and Charlie Brown item adds a touch of unreality as well. The Bose SoundTouch 20 adds music for my mood. The song that happened to be playing was “Message In A Bottle” by The Police, which remains one of my favorite songs of all time. I suppose that I needed a change to things around here as the week rolls to a conclusion.

 

I finally feel like I am in a good place to write again. My Evernote is filled with abandoned blog posts from this week. There are so many times that I start to write something only to realize that I shouldn’t be posting it after all. I sometimes re-read these aborted posts to get a sense of perspective on things, and I find that really helps me in my day-to-day life.

 

It often escapes us, in our busy lives, just exactly who we really are. Myself, I am a very intense person with a strong sense of purpose, but in a very Zen type of way. By nature I am a Type B personality and I can easily manage myself when left to my own devices. I find that deadlines and the encroaching problems of other people cause me to tune out subconsciously. This gives others the impression that I am aloof and uncaring. Nothing could be further from the truth as far as my friends are concerned, but it a stark truth to those who approach me in the wrong way.

 

I am an interesting mixture of introvert and extrovert. I usually take my time to formulate a response before I speak in order to say what it is that I really want to say. Once words have left our lips, or appeared on these pages, they can never be withdrawn.

 

I seldom interact with people that I have difficulties with because experience has taught me that these people seem to only thrive on chaos that they can cause in those around them. My life and my time are far too valuable to waste on these people. When I was younger and more naive, I wanted to think that I could single-handedly change the world and everyone in it. Now I realize that is impossible, and a waste of time and effort.

 

I welcome a wide variety of people into my life but they remain a part of my life only provided that they behave properly. I believe that each of us has the responsibility to maintain order and happiness within our own lives, and to NOT attempt to be a cause of turmoil to others. This has resulted in my discarding some old friends but those have been replaced with new ones that I would not trade the world for.

 

I know that life is transitory. We never stand still, but it is up to us about which direction we move. People are a part of our lives at all times, but we are the ones who determine how long they remain because we are each on our own journeys and paths often diverge.

 

I love cats. They are the animals that I can most easily identify with due to their independent natures. Cats choose people with whom they wish to associate, and so do I. Cats show affection to those they care about, and this is much different than simply showing interest in those they have to tolerate.

 

I love music more than TV. Music is timeless and not trying to get me interested in something to buy. I seldom watch TV unless there are sports or cartoons on. The news is a complete and utter wasteland to me because I get my information from online sources. Basically all of TV is trash and info-porn that I have zero use for.

 

I prefer a small group of friends to a mass of acquaintances. There are no benefits to me of being a part of a large group of people because I tend to focus my attention on the person/s I am with at any given time.

 

I hate people who cannot communicate without giving the appearance that I am something that isn’t that important to them. Being out with a friend who constantly checks their phone means that is the last time I will waste my time with them. I purposefully will silence or turn off my phone when I am spending time with another person.

 

I am introspective. I can lose myself in my own mind very easily when I am bored, and the boredom goes away quickly. I can be extremely quiet at times, and this puts some people off.

 

I served in the US Navy. I appreciate and respect those who serve and have served, but I know that there is nothing tremendously unusual about the experience. It is simply a system in which some people have worked. My prior service does not govern my life now any more than my experiences in the 3rd grade. There were some impacts, but I frame myself in much larger terms.

 

I am unique, I am special. However, in the grand scheme of things this is meaningless. Rather, I am as important as I choose to be. That is true for all of us.

Dreamer’s World March 11 2016 – What A Difference A Few Kind Words Can Make In Our Day

d85c902d85efa736a6b037166b054d4d.jpeg

Far too often, we let life pass us by without a second thought. We get busy with work and we miss out on things that are truly important. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get a second chance to correct an oversight, and that is what happened to me earlier today.
     A friend, Xena, I cannot call her a friend in the sense that we have met face-to-face yet, contacted me through this blog to let me know that she wanted to have us follow each other on Twitter as well. I am all for that, but it turns out that she has a restricted Twitter account, and for some reason, I never received her follow notification. Such is life in the 21st century, our parents would never understand what I just said, and our children will also be clueless as technology leaves us in the dust. All a part of life, as I would say.
     At any rate, Xena contacted me via this blog and I told her that I would be honored to follow her on Twitter as well as to follow her blog. She responded quickly and I hope that things will be worked out soon.
     In less than an hour, everything is right with the world once again. The pleasant feeling I have over re-establishing contact with Xena is incredible. It is truly amazing how much interacting with another person, even in the digital realm, can make even the worst day into a wonderful one.
     I am so glad that Xena took the time to contact me. I promise that I will do everything in my power to not let us lose contact again. If we are physically close enough, I hope to meet Xena in person one of these days in order to thank her in a more personal way than this blog post. Until then, this will have to do.
     Xena, thank you so much for being a friend and for brightening my day. I hope that you will have a wonderful weekend.
Evernote Camera Roll 20160311 171135

Dreamer’s World February 22 2016 – To Be Happy

One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life is how to be happy. Being happy is a choice that we all have to make for ourselves, no one else can ever make us happy without our choosing to be happy first.
This isn’t an easy thing to do. The world seems intent on not allowing us to be happy. The pressures of everyday life can be overwhelming at times, and so many of us react by throwing ourselves deeper down the well in search of relief rather than just stepping away from the edge and re-evaluating our lives. That feeling of impending doom is a warning to us, when we ignore it we have willingly chosen to deprive ourselves of happiness.
Remember that each one of us is special and unique. We can never be replaced. We deserve to be happy and to let others around us see that happiness as an inspiration to them. When I tell friends this theory, they look at me like I have lost my damned mind, but that is because they fail to see the truth in it from their inner perspective. They look at this as the world tells them to and this won’t give them the happiness they seek. You cannot buy happiness, as the old saying goes and it is very true. Only you can choose to be happy within yourself first. After that choice is made, it is amazing how much easier it is to deal with the world, and it is also amazing how people respond to you after you make that choice.
Being happy isn’t some mystic roll of the dice. It is a choice that each of us has to make.

Dreamer’s World February 15 2016 – A Snowy Day Off

IMG_1321

IMG_1323

Today is a holiday so I am spending it at home with Hal (person) and The Stooges. It is always a good idea to not plan things out for these Monday holidays because it takes away the freedom of choice and serendipity and puts you on a schedule. I thought that a holiday was all about NOT having to conform to a schedule for a change.
     It looks like we will get more snow than was predicted. Estimates now call for 3-6” of the white shit before it turns to rain tonight. I am sure this will make tomorrow morning’s rush hour a disaster for those who have to commute. Luckily, I work from home and will miss out on all that fun. By tomorrow, the temperature should be in the 50s and hopefully between that and the rain it will melt all of the snow.
     Any plans for going out today have been effectively squashed. There is nothing that we need to do so badly that we would risk being on the roads with the lunatic drivers around here. The main road outside the apartment complex is almost deserted right now to prove a point, even though there have been multiple snow plows out and about this morning.
     I will write more throughout the day, but the morning post is done for now.

Dreamer’s World February 6 2016 – Mom’s Birthday

IMG_1290

We all have days when the past comes roaring back into our lives. Today is one of those days for me. My Mom, who passed away on February 2, 2001, was born on February 6, 1925. She had an interesting and difficult life, most of which seemed to always be beyond her ability to control. Since I have written about her in the past, I decided that this year I would write about some of the things that concerned her rather than about her simply being a wonderful Mom, which she was.
     Mom was an orphan, it happened when she was a small girl. The details have never been that clear to me about what exactly happened. I do know that she was part of a very large family (more about that in a moment), but she was sent to an orphanage until she was adopted by a loving family that raised her as their own daughter. Mom knew that she had been adopted, but from all accounts she led a happy and normal childhood, even though she grew up during the Great Depression in rural Kentucky.
     Eventually, Mom met my Dad. They married and moved to another town where, as fate would have it, one of my Mom’s older sisters also lived. Contact was re-established, but this was years before I was born. It is easier to fast forward to a point where I can take over the proper narration.
     I was born in 1964. As I grew up I noticed that there was always tension between my Dad and my aunt, Mom’s sister. As I grew older, Dad told me that Mom desperately wanted to re-establish a real family bond with her siblings and at first he supported her. I wish that the story ended right then and there, but it didn’t.
     Mom’s older sister was a real piece of work. As I got to  know her, I began to sense the manipulative nature that she possessed. My instinct was to resist, because even knowing her as an aunt gave her no right to interfere with me or my parents. Episodes occurred throughout my childhood that drove me further away from my aunt and more to the point of view that my Father held about her. Mom never gave up trying to make an extended family based on blood ties where there was really nothing else that bout her to her sister or to any other sibling.
     Looking back through the years I remember that none of the siblings ever seemed to contact Mom unless they also contacted her sister. There were a few “family reunions” which were always held at my aunt’s house. When I was a small boy of about 5 or so, I remember seeing an uncle arriving in a Winnebago. Like any kid, I was enthralled at the site of something so wonderful as a vacation home on wheels.      I asked my uncle if I could look inside and he said “sure”.
     When I approached the screen door to the Winnebago, two Dobermans lunged at me. I wasn’t necessarily scared because I remember the old movies about the “Doberman Gang” where trained dogs robbed banks, a cultural reference that some might have to Google. My Dad ran over and grabbed me to prevent the dogs from getting closer as they tried to burst through the screen door. When my Dad asked my uncle exactly WHAT IN THE HELL HE THOUGHT HE WAS DOING allowing me to get that close to the dogs that were trained to protect the Winnebago, my uncle laughed it off.
     Well, he laughed it off at least until my Dad grabbed him and I though he might have killed him, but he let him go. Dad took me away from the rest of the crowd and we sat and talked until Mom noticed us and realized it was time to go because she hadn’t seen what had happened. When we told her, she was shocked but I never heard what, if anything, she said about ti to her sister or her brother.
     My final straw came around the age of 7. We were visiting my aunt and something was brewing in the background between her and my Dad. I had no idea at the time what the problem was other than his mistrust of her, but I was about to get both barrels of BITCH from my aunt.
     I commented to my aunt that she had a beautiful home. Since I had not been in the adult conversation, I didn’t think that this was anything destined to cause trouble. I was wrong. My aunt told me to my face in front of my parents that “If your parents were “better” then you would have a house as nice as this one”.
     There was nothing in my Dad’s background that warranted such a remark. He met my mom when she was with her adopted family. Perhaps Dad was over-protective of Mom since he had observed this “relationship” between her and her sister for years before I was even born. I distinctly remember my Dad grabbing me before I could run across the room to start attacking the BITCH for saying that about my parents and where we lived at the time.
     From that day onward, I only set foot in her house when forced to by Mom, and after a few years, even she realized that it was best to leave me and Dad at home. Dad died in 1981, but we talked about the situation many times. He said that my aunt was a manipulator of people and that she would rather spit on you than have you around if you wouldn’t knuckle under to her demands. I realized that I was like my Dad in the sense that neither of us would accept that. When Dad died, my aunt was  constantly trying to get information out of my Mom about how much was left to her. I saw no concern for my Father at all from her.
     Mom tried for the rest of her life to walk that tightrope between Dad and myself on one hand, and her family on the other. I have a tremendous amount of relatives, but I have never met most of them. At this point in my life, it no longer bothers me. A cousin of mine, daughter of the aunt, was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Sadly, we never grew that close because of the situation. My second cousins are all wonderful people, but we hardly ever spoke growing up because of the situation with their grandmother.
     To my cousins I mentioned, I hope that all of this sounds completely unbelievable to all of you, and that you never saw that side of your grandmother. I hope that she treated all of you like the wonderful people that you are. I can accept hard feelings based on the feeling that I must be the one with the problem who doesn’t know what I am talking about. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The last time I saw the aunt was right after Mom’s funeral, and I only did that because the BITCH didn’t bother to show up at Mom’s funeral and I am convinced that she knew that I didn’t want her there.
     I wonder what drove Mom to continually try to “get along” with her sister. They were raised differently and there was never any real chance that things would get any better. I know that they had strong feelings for each other, it was Dad and myself that despised her sister, and I believe that the feeling was mutual. My parents were not perfect, but they were not terrible, they were human like everyone else. For my aunt to ever call our family into question as she did revealed a side of her that others might not have seen, but I did, and I didn’t like it one bit.
     After Mom died I wondered why things couldn’t have been better. Mom was a good person, but she had a fault and that was trying to be part of a family that she could only remember vaguely from many years ago. I know that she probably suffered because it seemed that she had to make a choice between her siblings and us. Once, when I told Hal (person) about all of this he asked me a question that I had never even thought to ask. If Mom’s natural family was so wonderful, then why didn’t the older siblings, and there were plenty, take the younger ones in with them rather than see them sent away to orphanages? I will never know the answer to that one, and I have no real interest in trying to find it out.
     Despite her troubles, Mom was a wonderful woman. It just made sense for me to get all of that out of my system before saying so. I have been in touch with a girl I went through school with and she remembered my Mom as a Room Mother, an outdated concept that seems to have faded away through the years. Whenever the room mothers would organize some event for the class, Mom would always make sure that each child got a hug and some time. This started in 1969 and the girl I mentioned remembered that a white woman had never hugged her and talked to her as if she were her own child. Mom made those impressions on people throughout her life.
     She met Hal (person) before she died, and she approved. I never knew her to have a mean bone in her body, and perhaps that is why she went through the emotional suffering that she did. She never stood up to her sister in defense of her husband and son. It isn’t my place to fault her for that, I know that my Dad never did. We empathized with her and wished that things could have been different. Sadly, they never were.
     I don’t believe in god or heaven, but if I am wrong I hope that Mom and her sister and other siblings have gotten over their issues. Grudges are too painful to hold, it is best to let them go, but at the same time, it is helpful to let them go in the open sometimes to air them out before you toss them behind you as you move along with life.
     The most important thing I learned growing up was what my Dad taught me. It was us against the world. We all make our choices and to a large degree we also make our own families. Never experiencing the real extended family thing means that I cannot really miss it. I am who I am and I am happy with myself. After all, isn’t that the important thing in the long run?