Friday, December 29, 2023

Year in Review and Look Ahead

2023... wow. And, I thought 2020 was rough. But, I learned a lot. Without going into specific situations and people, I'll just go through the lessons I learned over the year, before I go into my hopes for the year to come.

- Don't make career or job choices to satisfy what you think others want or to attract someone else. Remember that your critics are choosing to be your critics. What I've discovered over the years and this year is that many will fault you for doing a good or worthy task imperfectly, while they will congratulate and praise someone for doing a poor job, if they want have that person in their lives more than you. You won't impress your critics by doing more, and those that you attract would be more interested in the image and what they can gain from you in those position more than you, yourself.

- People are driven by hormones. No matter how nice someone is, it comes down to what you are designed to want. You can suppress attraction to maintain a friendship (see more in another point), but you cannot create attraction. That is also not based on beauty, necessarily. It can be personality characteristics, as well. I've been on both sides of this over the course of the year. If it doesn't work.. it's not going to work. If they don't find you attractive, they won't... no matter how much weight you lose or job or anything else. So, just move on to another that does work. Another may find you their dream, and if they are yours.. you can build on that.

- Friendships are more important than romantic connections. If would be nice if you can have both, but I've had a couple ex's that were friends and romantic interests, and now we have nothing but friction. I've also lost friendships with women to make ex's happy, who never stayed happy with me and ultimately was left without a support system of friendships. It's sad, but lovers come and go, but friendships will hopefully remain. It is not true that a man and woman cannot be friends, as stated in When Harry Met Sally. At times over the year, I did think it was impossible. However, it is possible, if one or both suppress that attraction for the greater friendship connection they can have. It might be possible to move from that to more, but the dangers of destruction of the friendship are great and can only happen if both express interest in more.... but that is VERY hard to decode and a misstep can destroy something beautiful. I've made the mistake, and I paid the price. I've also had others express interest, while I was not ready to consider it and lost them as friends, as well. So, be careful to preserve your friendships, even if that means not having all you might imagine, as you will want and need those friendships in the future.

- You can make it through a lot more than you think. Several times over the year, I felt like I was at my limit of what I could handle, but then I had to handle more. Even when you are tapped out, feeling alone, have little solutions or more... life goes on and so do you. Eventually, you'll come out the other side.

- Dedicate more time and care for those that give you their time and care. Those that show less are giving you the signal of how close they want to be. And, those that ignore you in time of need or do bad things to you do not deserve to maintain a point in your attention or regret.

- Make your choices for your life based on what you like or what makes you happy. Then, when it's just you in holidays or more, you'll still be happy loving yourself. However, if someone invests in that happiness, make sure to return the favor.

- Do good. Contribute to the happiness of others.. not to get them but to add to the good in this world.

My Future

My future goals would include these lessons, but it would include a few more things...

- STOP thinking about those that misused you or rejected you or hurted you. It's a waste lf your time and tension.

- Plan for your success... not how you'll deal with failures. If a path doesn't lead to happiness, get another path.

- act, speak, try... within reason and boundaries above.. take risks. It may fail, but what do you have to lose? Life is short. Live it. Make the memories you want to have.

- Live until you die... don't start dying early from fear and regret.

And, next year end, let's see where that leads us.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Hope and Happiness

 Hope is hard.  I think I said that in a past post.  It sounds nice in Christmas carols or pillow stitch patterns.  But, when you actually need hope, it is one of the hardest things to muster.  Hope isn't faith.  To lend my theological training to the moment, faith is concrete.. you know what you want and expect specifically how it will come about.  Hope, on the other hand, is not based on specifics.  It is more like having faith in faith.  It is the belief that good things CAN and will happen, even if you don't know what they may be or how they may look... or what changes in your life will be required to get you there.  Faith is easy. You can see the potential of success.  Hope requires courage. It requires  something that escapes me, many days.... expectation that not only does good exist but that it will happen to YOU.

But, you don't find hope in joyful celebrations.  Those come after the hope has been realized.  You find it when things are bleak.  You find it when you face challenges that test you.. break you.. and you find rock bottom and make it into a firm foundation from which to rise.  It's the realization, like I've been reflecting on lately, that it didn't break you... that you passed the darkest days and didn't let them consume you.  Then, you begin to realize.. yeah.. maybe I CAN rise from it all and see better days.  

But, those days won't look like perfection.  I noted it in a past post, but I heard a quote from a neuro divergent girl in a video and put it down in writing, as I thought it was perfect...

"Listen to me.  You have to stop putting conditions on your happiness.  Boo.  Don’t do that.. saying I’m gonna be happy when or I’m gonna be happy if.  That’s dumb.  Don’t do that.  Here’s why.. you’re waiting for a perfect life where you have no flaws and everything in your life is just going well.  Well, let me tell you something.  That’s never gonna happen. Sorry.  You are a human.  That means you have flaws, and your life is gonna have flaws.  Nothing is ever gonna be perfect.. ok?  So, just choose happiness.  Be at peace with your imperfect existence, because that’s all you’re ever gonna have."

I have been able to weather some incredible storms this year, but it isn't because I have such great faith.  It's because I've been through so many over my life, and I found that I survived them and kept a positive view for my future, so why can't I do it, again.  No matter what happens in my life, and even if my faith in the Heavens gets shaken, I've developed hope in MYSELF for what I have learned about myself.  My wings have been tested, and I am always able to rise to a better tomorrow. And, that is what I hope for you, as well.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Instant Karma

 I had the idea for this blog post for like a week, but it didn't feel right time.  Feels ok, now, though.

So, I think there exists this thing called instant Karma.  I don't mean that someone that did someone bad suddenly faces bad, though the videos out there for that are awesome.  What I mean is natural consequence.  The more I reflected on it, the less stressed I am over other people that reject you or don't get you.

Here's the deal...  We don't have to do anything, and we don't even have to think about it.  It will happen on it's own.

If someone is nice to you, they will get more of you. If someone does bad things to you, they will get less of you.  If you are nice to people, you will probably get more friends.  I learned that over the years, and some of my closest friends are those of which I used to have loud debates... but always circled back because in my opinion care for someone doesn't ever really go away.  It is just either shared or not.. fueled or dwindles for lack of nourishment.   But, to get back to my point, people will get good if they give good, because people LIKE good.  If they are distant, they will get distance... because who wants to chase someone that is only interested in you when they are bored.

So.. not a long concept.  So, it's a short post.  Point being, if you want good, be good.  Feed those things you want to stick around in your life, because you will give them a reason to stay.  Then, if they leave, let them go.. give them that Karma to lose you, and find another worthy of it being given.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Recognizing Your Limitations

 I have been working overtime... literally, like 60-70 hours a week.. to walk a fine line in my budget to cover my necessary expenses in the 3 weeks post surgery that I cannot work, due to the fact that I have to be face down for the bubble that will be in my eye.  Then... Sunday, we had a huge thunderstorm during dinner delivery time.  Monday, I had three people ghost me at the meeting point for something that I was trying to sell, taking up delivery time.  Then, today, Ubereats had a national app bug that took out at least all lunch time.   

This would be a major setback in my planned surgery.  But... luckily, last night I began to realize that I just couldn't be running on steam like that and was vulnerable to.. well.. this... unexpected things that could affect the budget.  So, I contacted my doctor and asked for a delay in my surgery for a couple weeks.  They agreed, and poof.... my budget problems go away, as I can access the 1,100 or so after distribution fee money from the retirement plan that I accumulated from teaching and my work at the state and am vested in (vesting should be illegal by the way... it's theft of the money when you are not and a violation of your initial hiring offer).But, my point is that if I kept trying to just push through and make a bad situation work, I would potentially have ended up being homeless and/or not eating for days.  Recognizing that I couldn't DO one option actually made it possible for me to HAVE happiness.

And, this concept is true for more than just a surgery date. As I am realizing over the past weeks, all truths are universal and apply to different things, similarly.  I've noted before the amazing parallels that can be found between work and relationships, but those same truths apply to other social forms of contact or personal goals or more.  Thomas Edison is famous for trying 2,000 times to make a light bulb, before he finally did.  What if he said.... Let's try this same way again, maybe it will be different.  Or, what if the KFC founder stayed in automobiles.

I had a friend that I did a lot of things with over the year, and we did a lot of things with Meetup app groups and such.  And, a lot of those that are in those groups have a lot of money and time.... of course... retirement and Entertainment state. So, they are always like... this is coming up.   You're doing it, right?  The idea that you might not have the budget or time wouldn't really occur to them.  It's like that Friends episode when half of the group mentioned to the others that they just didn't have the budget to keep doing things that they suggest.  The richer group looked at them like they just said a monkey gave birth to a bowling ball.  What?  And, I tried to keep up with them, which required more side work and less time and less happiness... all because I didn't recognize my limitations.  Dating can be the same way, and I tried doing that while short on money for a while, but all it did was make me look cheap and let to more problems, as the other person would expect me to be the provider or at least have something to provide.  It also came from dating in the wrong group, too.. again.. wealthier state.  If I dated in a lower class, it would be less of a problem.

So, my only point is this.  If you keep trying to make bad or difficult situations work, you might just be spinning the wheels, before they come off.  You might find more happiness recognizing your own limitations and finding paths to joy that actually WORK in your life.


Saturday, December 9, 2023

Wealth is an Ego Illusion

Over my life, I’ve made more, and I’ve made less.  One thing that I’ve come to understand is that wealth is an illusion.  

Even this year.. I didn’t have the money to do if, but I did some meetup events and met a lot of people with money.  And… they all complained about how much they struggled with expenses.  Of COURSE they did.  Just in those few months, I felt the pressure by the groups .. hey, we have THIS to do or THAT.  You’re coming, right?  And, people did it, because they wanted to fit in… to have “friends”.. even if that friendship only lasted as long as their bank account to do things with them an no further.

The Bible says increase seeks increase.  It’s never enough.  So, they do more and more and have the same few real connections.  So.. what are they paying for?  Ego.  That’s why rich people want to be seen for donations and charity work.  If they don’t have an audience, it serves no purpose for HAVING money.

The irony that I see is that at least in Tampa Bay, the most financially liberated are those living in section 8 housing (which is rather nice in places.. I know.. I worked at the Tampa Housing Authority once).. paying very little and spending money on fun, alcohol, clothes, and living life without concern of debts or image.  Then, they learn not to work too hard to lose it.  So… they have much better residences and assets than me, who is working every day to not go homeless after a surgery.  And, they don’t have to work as hard to do it.  So, all things considered, I’d say they are the richest and most free of anyone in Tampa Bay.

Wealth is an illusion.  No one feels they have it.  Everyone feels poor.  And, happiness has nothing to do with your income level. It has more to do with not feeling the need to prove it to anyone else or fit in others’ groups.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Unrealistic Expectations

 I realized that there is something else that I understand that has not made it to the blog, so I am doing this to correct that.

 Today, I was doing some ubereats deliveries, as I often do.. and someone messaged me a complaint, which is rare.  However, her message and the situations is a perfect lead into this topic.  She said, "What is taking so long.. another half hour?"  

First of all, it wasn't a half hour but 16 minutes till I would arrive to bring her food, but people that have that kind of tone generally aren't operating within reason.  But, the fact is that she ordered 8 items from a small Japanese restaurant, which is already a slow type of restaurant to have food prepared when I arrive, and I had to wait for it to be completed.  Then, she ordered near rush hour and the path from the store to her house would take me through one of the most congested traffic areas in general, and this evening was even moreso.  So, she ordered a long preparation meal to be delivered in bad traffic... and was wondering what was taking so long.

And, that leads me to my topic... unrealistic expectations.  It is a society problem in general, lately.  You can find it in many different segments of society, but I will mention one that I've had a lot of experience with over the years.... older age dating.  What I have seen in these years is both genders when they exit a relationship or marriage and are out in the dating world, again, start looking for the type of person that they wanted in their younger ages.  After all... you can see them on some dating apps...ha.  Those that you find on the dating apps like that are actually fake accounts.  But, they have this expectation of finding someone that has financial stability (a few years after worldwide economic collapse that required everyone to beg for stimulus checks), rock hard abs and perfect hair (while their own bodies decay and sag), no emotional baggage (after being divorced), and wants to be "family" despite having their own.  And.. let me burst another little bubble... you aren't going to find a virgin at our age that hasn't had sex with you and probably not someone that is sexually vibrant.  Chances are that both will have self esteem issues in that area.

I've noted it a couple times, but statistically you are unlikely to find your person that matches what you need.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't want it or saying that you should settle for someone bad for you.  You need to seek what you want, but you should realistically understand that you will probably not find the perfect one for you... you (or me) are definitely not perfect, either.  But, it will help everyone involved, I think, if people understood their post divorce expectations are often unrealistic.  Then, they can settle into a soft, self confidence of themselves and be open to connecting with others for what it is... people that just want someone to talk to and begin re-framing what happiness looks like in older years.  

Of course, this is not limited to dating, as I said... always seek your happiness and definitely don't allow yourself to be in a toxic situation, but from work hours to family connections to bodies to even what you find to do for fun... You  may find that it is more comfortable to enjoy what you can find in your days, instead of wallowing in despair over what you cannot.













Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Nutrients for Happiness

 I should’ve done this post a long time ago, since it’s something that I personally practice.  I learned many years ago that the right nutrients can make you feel better and happier and the loss of them can make you feel incomplete.  It takes an emotional affect, as well.  Sometimes, you may feel like you are down about things or struggling, when all you need to do is eat something and take a vitamin or mineral.  So, I want to go over some of my own things I take and why.

B E D - it’s a funny little combination of letters into a word, but if you take B vitamins by themselves or in a multivitamin combined with vitamin E and D.. you get a peaceful rest and are less anxious over things.. but I’d take B early in the day, so it doesn’t affect sleep.

Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc with D - this is a way to get that D as well, but I break up the daily supplement amount to spread over the day.  It helps with eye calmness, too.  Plus, Zinc helps with colds, but if you take a multivitamin this might become less important.

Iron - Last week, I was feeling very drained and weak one day, but I realized that I hadn’t had any red meat or iron fortified foods in a bit.  Women’s multivitamins often contain it but not men’s, as they assume men will be eating meat.  With I gave blood, it confirmed that yes.. I was on the very bottom of acceptable range.. AFTER I started taking Iron.

Protein - I’ve watched people that were working out and avoiding fat so much that their protein levels were a fraction of what they need in a day.  I have absentmindedly done it myself at times.  But, if you go too low in protein, you not only cut down on your body fuel source but slow your metabolism.. meaning your body isn’t processing what you DO eat to function, too.  This can make you lightheaded or weak in itself and make you feel achy in my experience.  Also, keep in mind that to make full protein from non meat sources, you need both grains and nuts or beats to make complete proteins.

So, I hope this helps you.  I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice, but it’s what I have noticed in my own life.  Also, be careful of the ranges of what is safe to take, and you can adjust that if you know.. for example like I knew from my blood history that I run low on iron and with diet in mind.. but again consult your physician if you have questions.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Be Happy Alone

 I know it’s very off trend, especially in this time before holidays.  But, you can be happy as a single person.  Am I suggesting that forever?  No.  But, bowing to pressure to be a couple is the story in part of how I ended up with two bad matches for my emotional needs.. my 2nd ex was literally proposed to at Christmas.

I am very slowly building up this blog into a vision I have in my head without the time to focus on it, so it will take some time.  But, while I will include some elements that the romantic will like, I plan to also include a roadmap to happiness if you remain single.  I may be in that camp, for all I know.  

You can be single and be happy.  You can buy yourself flowers as Miley says.  You can sexually satisfy your self as Inna and Hailee Steinfeld sing and of which Emma Watson calls being “self partnered” in Vogue.

It has taken me years to get to the point of being confident that I can be happy single to wait til it feels right and be able to walk away if not.  Funny, isn’t it?  You have all this feeling of need to find someone after something ends, but once you discover self love you lose that need and only then are you ready to find someone.

But, make connections to friends.  They are more important than a mate to have in your life.  And, if you need a friend, reach out to me.  I’ll be your friend.  Just don’t let the holidays make you feel incomplete and convince you that you are unhappy.  A few suggestions …one.. listen to “My Future” by Billie Eilish in my current playlist. Second, watch How to Be Single and He’s Just Not Into You.  And make a list of things you love about yourself.

And, then believe in yourself enough to enjoy yourself and be happy with what you find.  Fill your cup, before you start pouring out to anyone else… and save some of that cup to toast yourself, along the way.

Friday, December 1, 2023

You Are Doing Just Fine

I am taking time from my playlist listening.. new playlist, listen here.. to do a post.  I won't have time to do more blog format work till Sunday.  I'm in a work cycle connected to a surgery coming that is sucking up all my time in work to cover expenses.  But, I wanted to take a moment to do this post.... short one, but I think needed.  Most of my posts are philosophical, but here's a practical one.

I know you are feeling overwhelmed at times.  It is only magnified in the holidays.  But... Here's to us, as Halestorm sings.  You are doing a great job and are to be celebrated just for taking a step forward and believing in hope.  I know it seems dark, and I know you feel tired.  Don't judge your days based on whether you can escape that.  Struggle against darkness and striving for success is the same steps, only with a different perspective.

Just keep going.  Breathe.  Look for happy moments or make them.  Expect your life to change.  Make effort in that direction.  You can make it through, and you are not alone.  People don't talk about it, but every generation has been where you are, right now.  One day, you'll be an "elder" to advise others on how to make it through.  But, I'm just here to say.. it's ok.  You're doing just fine.  Tomorrow will be better.  Forward to happiness.