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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Why do I write? This is a question I have asked myself for years. I have always felt a need to write ever since I was a child. Like everyone, this need has gone unfulfilled for long periods of time, and this ends up causing anguish.
When I was a child, I would go through notebooks with no problem. I could quickly fill one in less than a month. I took a journal with me whenever I could. I wasn’t always writing about things that I saw or experienced, most of the time I was writing about how I felt and how I saw the world. My parents thought this was a wonderful gift. They encouraged me to write as much as I wanted to, and they never complained when I would grab a notebook or two at the store.
As I grew older, I stopped writing as often as I had in the past.The desire was pushed under the surface as I made my way through the world, but it never left me. It would return from time to time. When I was in the Navy, I would write letters to friends and family that often ran for 5-6 pages. The postal clerk on the ship joked that I should have to pay extra postage because the envelopes were stuffed full. I knew that writing took my mind away from the isolation and drudgery of Navy life at sea.
I always knew I was different. No one else wrote as I did. I took pride in my own handwriting. I wanted people to be able to read what I wrote instead of a scribble that no one could understand. I didn’t consider myself to be better than anyone else, but I knew that I didn’t fit nicely into their view of the world either. When I left the Navy, I tried to get back to writing on a regular basis, but there were too many distractions in my way. I was trying to erase my loneliness with a flurry of activity, but all that accomplished was to take me away from my love of writing. Perhaps, inwardly, I was afraid of what I would write, what my feelings would look like pouring out onto the printed page. That fear led me down some dark paths. Luckily, I found Hal and my life began to turn around.
I am 54 years old now. It is hard to believe that I have been with Hal for approximatelyone-thirdof my life. Obviously, I am happy with how my life has turned out. That happiness eventually led to me writing once again, and now I feel so free. My concern now is to write on a regular basis. Most of the time, what I write goes into this blog, but there are occasions when I find that I have written something so intensely personal that I cannot send it out to the world. I consider this a fair trade in exchange for my sanity.
As I have made my way through this life, I have learned many valuable lessons. Sometimes I have to remember lessons that I had forgotten about.” One instance of a lesson from my parents was brought back to my attention when I was reading a quote from the late John Lennon, which read
“When I was 5 years old, my Mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them that they didn’t understand life.”
Happiness is a choice. It is a choice that we all must make each and every day as we go through our lives. Happiness isn’t something that we earn, it cannot be given to us by others. Happiness is a deeply personal choice that is the most important choice that we can make. There will always be people and circumstances that will push their own agendas onto us. Our Happiness is not their concern at all. We usually give in to the constant pressure to conform and find ourselves further and further away from the happiness that we seek. Eventually, happiness seems unattainable and impossible.
We try to make ourselves believe that we are happy with things and personal pleasures, but the emptiness persists. Deep down inside, we know that something is missing, but we have been so conditioned that we fail to realize what we are missing is happiness.
The world is full of schemes to trick us into believing that we can find happiness by following someone else, by doing what they tell us to do. Sometimes we force ourselves to believe that we have actually found happiness when we really have no clue. The plans that others laid out for us lead to dead ends, or worse, to conforming to something that takes away our freedom without us realizing it.
If we maintain our intellectual freedom, we find that the only way to reach happiness is to strive for that goal. This is the decision I mentioned. It is easy to make, but difficult to make work. The decision goes against every aspect of life that we have been forced to accept as we grow up. This decision can cost us dearly because it involves throwing off so much of the life that we have built, but we realize that the life in question wasn’t the one that we really wanted.
Personal priorities must be re-evaluated. Choices must be reshaped to determine if they are actually helping us along the way to happiness. Sounds impossible, I know, but life is a journey, and we decide which way to go. Happiness is also a journey that often takes us in a different direction than what is expected of us. I am not advocating abandoning everything and taking off on some wild goose chase, I am advocating making a personal decision based on what it is that we really want from life, what will it take to make us happy?
I said that Happiness is a choice, and the first thing about this choice is to decide to embark on a journey. As with any journey, preparations must be made before setting out on the trip. In this case, the first decision to make is where we want to go to find Happiness. That answer is different for each of us, and it requires breaking free of the patterns we have fallen into.
Plan your trip carefully, determine where you want to go to find happiness.
Once again, I am attempting to start and finish a blog post. I have slipped over the holiday weekend and not been posting things that I actually write myself. I still a posting articles that interest me, and hopefully also interest my readers, but it is time to get back to writing for myself.
For some reason, I am drawn to the topic that Snoopy And The Gang brought to my attention, and that is being creative. I like some personal flair in my writing, and in my life in general. Creativity is what makes things worth doing in the first place.
I found out that practicing guitar is something that I really enjoy because I can see the slow progress each day. I know that I am getting better, and that gives me the confidence to keep practicing. My technique is getting better each day, and the callouses are appearing on my fingertips. Although the callouses are tender, I know that they will develop over time and the pain will go away to be replaced by the joy of hearing myself create music.
Since Hal and I are going to see the new Star Wars movie this evening, I should probably end this post now. I can send it out and feel a sense of accomplishment for the day, and that is something creative that I will have done for today.
Since everything is calming down here after the initial adjustment from the move, it is time to think about getting into the kitchen and preparing dinner for Hal and myself. I have 4 pork chops that have thawed out,andI will marinate them this evening. I will cook them tomorrow,andthat will provide us with meals for a few days since these are large and thick pork chops.
Afterwork,I made sure that I had the ingredients for the marinade I prefer to use, as well as the necessary spices.Also, I made sure that we have the side items for the meals. This will be the first real cooking adventure in the new apartment. I have used the Instant Pot a few times, but not the oven in the kitchen. There are always a few quirks that have to be accounted for, but I am confident that things will turn out delicious after I finish cooking the pork chops tomorrow evening.
I am tempted to get some applesauce from the grocery store, as well as some fresh asparagus. I don’t want to go overboard, but I also want this meal to be special for Hal and myself. We already have potatoes,andgreen beansandbaked beans. I know that I will have to get an onion or two tospicethings up.
I will be glad to cook in the new kitchen at last. As great as the Instant Pot is, it cannot replace something that is prepared theold fashionedway in the oven.
After a short time away from the computer, I realized that tomorrow is the night that we are going to see the new Avengers movie. This shouldn’t affect the overall plan to cook, it will just push things a bit later in the evening. We are going to the early eveningsessionso we won’t be out late. I expect we will be home by 2030 tomorrow evening. Probably too late to eat after cooking, so it will be a decision at that time whether or not to put things off until Thursday.