Monday, October 20, 2014

...IS AN ANCIENT OCEAN WIDE


Intimacy is not who you let touch you. Intimacy is who you text at 3am about your dreams and fears. Intimacy is giving someone your attention, when ten other people are asking for it. Intimacy is the person always in the back of your mind, no matter how distracted you are.


TACTICAL

Tuesday I will (finally!) be meeting with a counselor about my classes and what it will take to get out of 2-year college.  I have also switched up my training so that days that I work I will be doing cardio and my off days will be my resistance training days.  My goal is to be around 215-220 lbs. by Christmas.

One the workouts that I plan on doing is a kettlebell workout that combines both strength and cardio.  In fact, several of the kettlebell workouts involve multiple movements in one exercise, so I guess that also work as cardio training as well.  For instance, the squat-snatch-press movement is a single exercise that gives you everything you are looking for in one routine.  Bundling the exercise up with several other movements and you can slash the time working out and still tone and shape your whole body.  

Finally, I purchased a new-to-me phone… it looks really neat and I think that somehow it is representative of my progress in Omaha.  As it relates to me, it is a sign that not only am I doing well, but I am also gaining with regard to my personal achievements.  Speaking of which… I need to stop dragging with my personal trainer’s certification..!

INTIMACY

For quite awhile I have used the image of the person who you call at 3 a.m. with a dead body in your trunk  with the expectation for help as the measure of how deep a friendship runs.  I mean, the “shovel conundrum” is a rather extreme example but the test of friendship, of love, has always been one of extreme.  But I think that this statement does a better job of it than wanting help in one of the most desperate of times.  These moments are elements of universal feelings that connect people to each other.

I once held that it takes the “thousandth, thousandth” of myself to participate in a fling, a pseudo-relationship that is born of physical attraction, self-esteem and Daddy issues.  But to truly participate and be present in a relationship takes much more energy and is far more demanding.  The person that you trust with your deepest fears and grandest hopes, the person that you let hold you when you are hurt, who you choose to celebrate your victories, big and small, that person is part of your intimate, spiritual selves.  And having lived outside of and without this person for most of my life, it has become something that I have taken note of and regarded with an analytical eye.  I have wondered what makes a person happy in a relationship and what are the components of this mythical good relationship.  Now I don’t have a firm and concrete definition of what makes a good relationship, nor do I have any examples to share.  It is something that “you know it when you see it” kind of thing as it simultaneously contains traits that are easily identifiable and are at once familiar to us all.  But, at least it seems to me, the problem with this knowledge being available and easily accessible to us.  What makes this a problem is that we have become conditioned to take so much for granted, and especially the easy things.

A kind word.  Thoughtful gestures and considerate acts.  Genuine interest in another person.  These and a host of other positive energy-generating emotions and acts, we take them for granted because they don’t cost anything.  The qualities that make up our character seem to be the things that people pay the least attention to when it comes to relationships, with others and with ourselves.
When you are “bad” with these emotions, I believe you tend to have problems with intimacy, especially the kind of intimacy that I reference when I use the word in my blog, the kind of intimacy that is responsible for the emotions that are evoked by the quote that inspired this post.

The security that it takes to feel comfortable with a person is made up of all of the previously mentioned acts.  Again, not to engender any pity for myself (because this is an objective observation and not a subjective whine), the reason that I note this is to say why “I don’t like people”.

My introversion allows me to act according to my own set of mores and not those shaped by social groups or subgroups.  By not being constrained to the prejudices of external influences, the abstractions that I make are mine alone.  If someone happens to agree with me, it is by chance as much as common interests, because of “the how” that we have arrived at our conclusions.

The difference in the things that we give and the things we receive..” can be measured by our expectations.  And if you expect to receive financial rewards, public praise, great love, then you must be prepared to give a great effort.  If not, well, according to Blake, “You’re gonna be shinin’ my shoes!”, which in this case is a metaphor for wanting something great for minimal investment.

Looking back over the past decade-and-a-half (?!?!) of my intimate personal relationships, the thread that runs through all of the fail is the investiture of the emotions that make a relationship work.  Love depends not on what you are willing to get, but instead is determined on what you are willing to give, which is everything.  And I have no problem with saying that the women I have been involved with all had this one trait in common: they were not willing to give of themselves what was required to be IN love.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

STANDING ON THE THRESHOLDS OF THE UPS AND THE DOWNS


TACTICAL

October 3rd marked my four-year anniversary here in Omaha.  By any measure, it has been a good fit for me in every area of my life.  More than simply being happy, I am at a level of contentment that is the rival of any period of my adulthood.  That said, the installation of a new fuel source for my motivation to strive towards my goal will continue.

I thought about discussing why I chose Princess to be the focus of what I will call “my two minute-hate” and not Nebraska (with the detente between Nebraska and myself undergoing a recent thaw notwithstanding).  But for purposes owing more to our history and connection to one another, she wouldn’t have been a good “Goldstein”, anyway.  Which brings me to …

The gratefulness that I have for Ken and Beth and their “surprise insistence” that I visit with my Dad only grows the more that I reflect upon it. By “surprise”, I already knew that visiting my Dad was part of visiting the Motor, but as to what made it important for them ended up making it important for me.  The visit took me back to when I made it through Air Assault school and my Dad drove down to Fort Campbell to watch me get my pin.  That was a special moment between us, and for him to see me doing well and in good company, well, that was a moment that was another special moment in its own way.  Thanks guys!

I’M STANDING ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE UPS AND THE DOWNS

Another thing that was symbolized by visiting with my Father was my ability to listen to people who really have MY best interest at heart.  This is a different from someone who wants what they think is best for you, which is often skewed by their own prejudices.  It is a trait that I have had to develop since my injury was confirmed.  The whole notion of “who can I trust?” is an important part of choosing who it is that I can rely on for honest opinion, and not their personal bias.  So it happened that people with whom I place implicit trust in, felt that I should, against my own judgment, see my Father while I was back home, however brief, and let him know that I love him.  Talk about priceless!
One of the reasons that the “what’s my motivation” question has the prominence that it has recently is due to the scheduled review of my life mission and its scope.  Recent developments has brought new urgency to my goals and would alter the grand vision of my long-term future.

The position that I want at the Fitness club where I am employed only requires an associate degree as qualification.  Had I already obtained my credits, I’d be working in that job NOW. So a sense of urgency has presented itself as it has at no other time during my journaling.  I cannot afford myself a leisurely pace, just as I cannot risk a mistake made in haste.  For instance, I have been worried that should I take a full-load of classes at Metro, that I would slip and possibly fail a course.  Not only would there be academic repercussions, but financial ones as well.  But you know what..?  Without daring, nothing great has ever been accomplished.  And for me, to have come from where I came from seven years ago, the reaching of full employment and no longer being on disability would be a great achievement, to say nothing of obtaining my bachelor’s degree.

What are the stories that you have told yourself about your life, your fates?  Whether it be in romance, material wealth, professional goals, what stories have you told yourself about the highs and lows of your life?  Have you been knocked off track by choices that you realized after the fact were questionable and that the signs were evident beforehand??  Because of the stories I have told myself about my life, the importance of forbearance in my decision-making cannot be understated. Not surprisingly, I have long sought a encompassing philosophy for myself, and through which I would live a fulfilling life.

The Jon Gruden quote, “It’s not the right way because it’s my way, but it is my way because it’s the right way”, has been in my thoughts since I left Mookie Dee.  I don’t really “question” myself… at least not the way others do.  For instance, I stand on my “Rules To Live By” and form my value judgments accordingly.  They shape and outline my life’s approach and I find the answers to my journey in my life’s most persistent questions.

In my relationships and personal interactions I think of myself as considerate.  I don’t make a choice that is most favorable or advantageous to me, but the decision that I can be most responsible for, the one with which the consequences are those that I can live with.  And I also think that this is a universal consideration that is taken in all personal relationships, so I do not believe that this is a quality that is unique to me.  In my mind, the key story that I tell myself about my life hinges on this point.

In my mind, this is a measure of a person’s character.  There is no reason to assign a specific trait or to define what exactly is the particular issue or how this development relates to our relationship.  “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” -Katherine Hepburn.  Anyone who chooses to prioritize the things in life that is important or a priority to them over you cannot be a person with whom you can expect much from in a relationship.  So whenever I encounter such a person, I don’t expect much from them.  Ever.          

Because of the nature of my injury, being able to trust that a person isn’t trying to take advantage of me is THE determining factor of those who are close to me in my life.  Without exception, if I have to wonder about the motivations of a person…

Since I knew of both Ken and Beth’s intent, I had to surrender to their judgement.  And the reason that I could do that was the trust that I have in them.  Their motivations were unimpeachable, their supporting arguments valid.  With so much committed to the executive functions of my life, the energy to think through social functions are limited.  But with most of my life spent recognizing and celebrating my introversion, I feel prepared and capable of living independently, and doing so happily.

Contentment is within reach.  When I meet with my counselor for school I will find out how fast I can finish my stay at Metro Community College.  I will worry myself about my bachelor’s degree later… it is on my life path and my future includes working toward reaching that goal.

Much of my future revolves around making sure I am on the path of my choosing.  I want the things that are important to me to be relevant and a priority in my life.  Without that, then everything I have done to this point will be for naught.  Relationships, the people I have allowed to be “that person” in my life, I believe, has been my sticking point.

Monday, September 29, 2014

DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE


TACTICAL

Treated Nebraska to lunch… went to Cascio’s, a well-known, long time fixture, on the Omaha dining scene.  When I got into town I had either heard or read that it was Warren Buffett’s favorite place to eat, and given my penchant for appearing at The Whitney in the Motor, I felt obliged to give it a go.  What was really cool was that one of the members of my gym is a waitress there and I had been telling her for a while that I was going to give it a lunch date-- and by chance we were seated in her section!  That went well, the only “but” being my awkwardness at having “a friend”.  This, needless to say, will remain a work in progress.

Having had my bona fides verified albeit indirectly, as friendly as I can appear at times, I am equally, if not more so, capable of cutting people out of my life.  This has been hinted at with my claim of only ever wanting to venture back to see if Tee Jay and I could reignite our relationship (and, I guess, to a lesser extent, same with Nebraska).  And what I discovered in finally having the valuable “face time” with Tee Jay, is as with the matriculation I endured with Mookie Dee, is that I really can’t get into “going back” with regard to relationships.  But it isn’t just because I want to move forward (which, IMO, is enough of a reason not to, in and of itself), but that trying to find a path to a new relationship that has ran its course in hopes of re-living the good, also means that the assuming the negatives that either existed as a result of the coupling, or, exclusive to each individual prior to the initial relationship.

No matter what type of chemistry that may exist with a person, the principle of uncertainty, whether Heisenberg’s or Von Clausewitz's, when either is applied invalidates the relationship.  I am less certain of the reliability of someone who has proven themselves to be questionable and promising something different than I am of someone that has yet to prove their mettle.  It is a rare case of potential being worth more than a track record.

BREAKING THROUGH THE LEVELS OF DISBELIEF

Doubt is what makes monsters out of the shadows.  Some people can thrive off it, like I mentioned in the previous entry, Michael Jordan was a fusion reactor of doubt, from high school, college, the NBA draft… I mean, I could go on and on.  This doubt was not of himself, but from others who not only did not think he would be MICHAEL JORDAN, but did not think he would reach the heights in anything, let alone in basketball.

He is not alone.  Just like the beautiful woman who remembers being unattractive and awkward as a teenager, people who know success in all walks of life are often driven by an internal motivation that pushes them in spite of any and all difficulties.  This observation of mine that I have, as intuitive and uneducated as it is, has always been tempered by what I see as the bitterness of opportunity and having to work as hard as necessary to “be” “whatever”.  Michael Jordan again exemplifies this, as he is graceless in comparisons to him and current stars, contemporaries, and even former teammates.  This is something that I understand… and where I think that have been in want.

There has never been a time in my life where my drive has been fueled by an antagonistic challenge, an imagined foe or instigated by a lack of anything.  As evidenced from my journal, I simply face my problems and do what I can to solve them.  But what I haven’t been able to do is motivate myself to go too far beyond my comfort.  That has to change, particularly if I am going to make the most of what is left in me.  I have already forgiven myself for being reckless with the gift that has been my life so far.  Now, in believing what I do about myself, I am going to be more driven, more focused and more centered on the things that I feel is right, and more scrupulous with myself and with those who I let into my life.

THE STRAW MAN

Because I have never felt the burning fires that those who have been able to reach their goals, I am going to use a technique that Michael Jordan, among others, have used to push themselves to their successes.  I am going to create the antagonist, culled from the memories of coming up short, being told that I can’t, and from the disbelief of people who did not share my vision.
Of course, logically, this person doesn’t truly exist.  But there have been enough people who lacked the faith in my goals and purpose, who through their own poor logic and lack of reason, could not share in my vision.  Up until now I have always told myself, “hey, I can dig it,” but just beneath the surface I really was NOT “digging it”.  And now, I tell myself that I don’t have to, and I DON’T.

My relationship with Mookie Dee, and in subsequent possible couplings, confirmed for me that the typecasting done by some women and included long-held negative prejudices against men (brothers specifically).  These preconceived notions are among the issues that will not allow them to have the kind of relationship that I feel is suited for growth in a coupling.  So to that end, I am going to let Princess be my “straw man”, the focus and representative of all the unjustness of my life.  When I made the decision to allow this irrational, illogical thinking to be a part of my consciousness, a strange thing happened.  I felt a burst of energy, a shot of adrenaline surging throughout my body, and my thinking became crystal clear.  I knew what I had to do, and I want to do these things despite the obstacles ahead of me.

With that in mind, I will likely be posting about irrational and contrived situations where she plays a character central to the conflict.  I had thought about creating this imagined clash within myself before, but I always have shied away, thinking that I would become embittered and paranoid from always thinking and seeing the “less than” of people and situations.  I always had held that people who do this never seem to find pleasure in their life.  And that is what I see in Michael Jordan.  He has raged against his imagination so much and for so long, that all he sees is the shadows of his own fears.  I don’t think that I will have that worry.  Just as Michael and those like him, have been the way that they are for too long to be any different, I don’t think that I could be at risk of losing my true self.  But I do want to “get somewhere” and perhaps the tilting at windmills can drive me to effort and a success beyond my current perceived abilities.

When danger is greatest.  --It is rare to break one’s leg when in the course of life one is toiling upwards-- it happens much more often when one starts to take things easy and to choose the easy paths.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
 
And so shall it be with me… I will not let comfort be my companion.  Instead, I will acknowledge threats, real and imagine, to move me towards my goals.  From the leavings of relationships past, I will create and give life to a notion that pushes me when I want for a respite, wearied from struggle, to break through my fatigue and continue on in spite of the ghosts and spirits that were against me.  Either you are an acolyte or an infidel… a true believer or a heretic.  There are no skeptics in my life and if you are, then you will be exiled, to be among the masses of those who say that have it in their minds that “it can’t be done.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

AS A MARK THINKETH (a VERY long entry..!)




TACTICAL

Post holiday/vacay hangover was very brief.  Had a staff meeting on Saturday at 6 AM.  The biggest surprise was that the manager who called the meeting DID NOT SHOW UP.  The club president/general manager (I am not sure of his official title) WAS THERE, as was all expected employees.  This was preceded by a NO CALL/NO SHOW on Friday!! Needless to say, the plot thickens..!

One of the things that I have been coming to grips with is having validated my faith in myself.  It has, not for one moment since I accepted my diagnosis and the subsequent end to my relationship with Mookie Dee, that what I was going to set out to do was ill-advised at best, and should NOT be undertaken.  Were you to go to a medical professional and tell them that a medically diagnosed CTE patient was going to go live on his own, in a strange city, with no family or friends* in the immediate vicinity, I am sure that they would scoff at the possibility.  But here I am, doing my thing, going to school AND managing my life all on my own.  Which makes what Ken and Beth did for me all the more meaningful.

My Dad was happy to see me.  I have no doubt that he appreciated that I came home to see him and was able to bring people who care about me in tow.  From the experience of being a parent, I have a greater understanding of what it means to watch your children go off into the world, and I have no doubt that it is a concern that will never leave a parent.  So to see that his disabled oldest son is still doing his thing and doing it at the level that I am, well, he had to feel good about that.  I was glad that I was able to give that to him, and I feel so grateful to the Riches for giving me the opportunity to  give that to my Father.

OVERCOMING THE DIFFERENCE IN THE THINGS WE NEED AND WHAT WE RECIEVE

One of the things I have wondered about is the difference between me and the cats like Michael Jordan… and by “difference”, I mean what is it that makes people continue to strive and become surpassing of their own expectations and dreams.  The reason I use Michael Jordan is that his competitiveness is legendary and seemed to be only exceeded by the grudges and slights that he holds against people and institutions.  While I could share some, like the one between him and Isaiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons, if that was one the the prominent features of this blog, I would, but that isn’t what it is about.  Just as IRL, I like to spark thinking and if you aren’t thinking as your read stuff, then what are you doing with the stuff between your ears?

Now Jordan isn’t the only superstar athlete that does this kind of thinking to motivate himself on to greater achievements, just someone for whom this is a well-documented trait.  And he shares something with me that makes me wonder where he got his drive from.  See, prior to his ascension in basketball and marketing, there was no athlete who was from a stable, two-parent home, or at least, that was not the archetypical story.  It was always some struggling, underprivileged, ghetto super-hero, who magically rose above his surroundings and through the physical gifts that nature bestowed uncannily upon him, achieved his dreams.  Though my parents divorced while I was young, they maintained an amicable enough relationship where they both played roles in determining the shape of my character.  I had a relatively comfortable upbringing, not ever experiencing want or need.  I assume that Michael Jordan didn’t either, so where did he get the cutthroat ruthlessness to be MICHAEL JORDAN?  In short, where does ANYONE who achieves find the qualities that drive them to their prodigious achievements?

I have never, ever, had a “killer instinct”, never have I been a finisher, a closer, someone who comes on the scene and everything changes because of the force of will that a person brings to the fore, somehow alter and warps the destiny of those around them.  There are those who seem to, like magic, just be “better” at everything, not just in passing, but more importantly, when they need to be.

Winning is an all the time thing”, said Vince Lombardi.  He was right.  Winners didn’t start winning when it came time for the penultimate event or competition.  They have been winning since the first opportunity for victory presented itself.  So the question is, is this a quality that is innate or can this be cultivated and developed within a person?  And while the argument can be made that it is something that some people have, or like a diamond, is something that is to be developed only through circumstance and nature, I do believe that it is also a trait that
learned and employed by anyone who dares… the rub is, that it is a quality that is an “all the time thing”.

I strive to where my character is an “all the time thing”.          

One of the stories from my boxing days that I have told a few times around the fitness center where I work is one where I was training with a world champion that I happened to know of long before he was a champion.  Of course, back when we both were aspiring amateur fighters, I could not see the skills in him that led to his moments of greatness.  In fact, at that moment, I felt we were on equal ground!!  Anywho, as time passed, he had went on and became one of the best boxers of his generation, while I… quite simply, faded into obscurity.     

But this was a moment where I would have one of several “cups of coffee” with the highest levels of the sport of boxing.  The Champ was a different person, far unlike the teenager that I had known growing up.  He was a jerk, ignorant and tactless, just a rich douchebag who happened to have the skills to beat the crap out of pretty much everybody.  I noted the change in his personality (and that of his Mom, who was pretty sh*tty as a woman) and simply persevered to do my job.         

During the early part of training for this big fight, it felt like the difference between us was small, that with the level of experience and my particular talents, I was not that far off from the Champ.  Well, I don’t think anyone reading this journal would mistake me for someone who lacked confidence, and in thinking that I was a “champion-as-yet-to-be-discovered”, I was not surprised at how I was faring in training.  Then, as they say, sh*t got real.

We went west for the last four weeks of training, so that the Champ could get adjusted to the climate.  One day, during one of our training runs, me, along with the Champ, the other two sparring partners, and “the rabbit” (a friend of the Champ who was a track athlete), went running in the early morning Nevada heat. Now earlier that week, I had been able to fare well, coming in at a respectable rate behind the Champ and his paceman, and I even envisioned maybe beating them on a run.  Until I saw how wide the gulf was between me and the Champ.

After a little bit of Indian running (where one person takes the lead and the last in the line runs to the front) between us, the Champ hit another gear and with his rabbit, they took off.  I tried to keep to their pace but was failing, and as they pulled away, with each step I saw the difference between me and him.  That ineffable “whatever” was a part of the Champ and I did not have it.  And so, the question remained… how could I “get it”?  And I wondered if it took becoming a douchebag to win it??

I have thoroughly enjoyed my life.  Regrets are few, and the reason why that is, will be explained eventually.  But I have known that the “it” that people who seem to have more success at life than me, is something lacking in me and that is keeping me from attaining “whatever”.  And that, is my unfulfilled pursuit.

My “bucket list” has been exhausted and I am to the point where I am after new challenges to move me.  This missing piece of “something”, this lacking that I sense, is something that I want to eliminate from me.  In doing so, I think that I will have fulfilled my destiny.

The only “take back” I have had in my life is my marriage.  That is the only thing that has ever come up for consideration when it comes to things I wish that I hadn’t done.  And the reason has more to do with how I see the world and existence than it does with emotional angst.  My wife had shown me her character and had proven that she was a person that I was never going to be in synchronicity with.  I wish that I had been able to have obeyed my own kenning and left her to her own devices, but had I did that, my own life, the ups and downs that it contains, would have been unmade.  And that is something I could not imagine, living this life without the growth and adventures that I have had.  Which brings us to NOW.  

Given my frustrations and my desire to live a “quantified life”, I can at this point determine what will and what won’t be harmonic to my existence.  And that, is something that achievers all have done, and the things that do not feed directly into their desires and goals, they leave by the wayside.  They are comfortable with their idiosyncrasies and they are tireless in the pursuit.  I want to be more that way.  Not because single-mindedness is limiting… but being single-minded increases limits and capacity for things to be a part of you.

I’d make a note of those people who are surprisingly well-rounded, highly accomplished people, but again, that isn’t this blog.  What I will say, however, is that the trite “Facebook Philosophers” that post stuff about “how the people that aren’t blah, blah, blah” and “those who “blah, blah, blah,” were to really follow the wisdom of their posts, they would not have to post it… they’d be DOING IT.
I will still be blogging… but I don’t know if my personal details will be blog worthy material.  I don’t have issues with the people in my life, the concerns of my day-to-day are balanced by my overall pursuit of a well-lived life.  If anything, politics, because of my reliance on agencies of the State, both federal and locally, is a bigger concern than any person in my life.

Will Nebraska and I ever become friends?  Will Princess suddenly re-enter the picture??  Will my current friend ever come off probation??  Do you really give a sh*t??  This stuff matters to me and I DON’T.  But as I close this super long entry, I will say that Princess has been the subject of stuff relating to discussion about Jordan, the Champ, and the quality that I lack but hope to cultivate in time.                

Friday, September 19, 2014

SUMMER IS IN RECESS


I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, ‘Ah, I wish I was not good to that person.’ You will never  think that.”  ~Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed

The above words were echoing among my thoughts as I consider my stay in Nutwood.  I cannot recall anyone having gone to the extent to be as accommodating as Ken and Beth both were during my stay.  Other than being badly trounced at horseshoes, I cannot think of a single moment where there was any sense of loss or discomfort while I was visiting.  There were no periods of angst, no feelings of anxiety.  It was, as I told both my host and hostess, one of the best times of my life.

Ken, Beth, and I  took time and walked around the campus of Notre Dame.  It was invigorating as we toured around the stadium and went into the Basilica (and did not immediately burst into flames upon our entrance!).  Later on, we went into town to meet with friends of theirs, several who have been mentioned in their blogs.  The next day, it was off to Detroit!!

It was a quick ride.  We’d have a lunch with my Dad and my youngest sister at a neighborhood bar, not too far from where my family (had once!) lived.  Lunch was preceded by the discovery that my family had moved and that I had bounded upon the porch and INTO THE HOUSE OF ANOTHER FAMILY!!  Thinking that it was still “home”, I went crashing into the front room to find strangers sitting in the living room, with both Ken and Beth in my wake!!  Thankfully, the enthusiasm with which I burst in the house with was taken in stride by the new tenants, and we were able to leave THEIR house without further incident.  After lunch, we checked into our hotel rooms and rested before our dinner date.

It was a real treat to finally meet both Alaina and her husband Tony, along with a couple who were local net friends of my host.  Tee Jay would show up with her (now adult) daughter in tow.  I took in the moment… sitting at a dinner table in my favorite restaurant, dining with some of my favorite people in life, filled with fond memories and I sat and tried to absorb as much of the moment that I was experiencing.  These were the kinds of experiences that I had looked forward to having once I left “the provincial town I once jogged ‘round”.

The kindness that Ken has shown me (over the years..!) has been invaluable, as has the thoughts and acts of others I have come to know through this blog.  Words fail me when I try to express the depth of meaning and affection that has been represented in all the heartfelt comments and actions taken on my behalf, actions that have helped to bring me to where I am now… living a full and happy life.  That was evident during our visit to the Motor and solidified in my visit with Ken and his wife.

NOW THERE ARE DISHES TO BE DONE

It is always good to take a step back and look at what you have accomplished, looking over how you did what you did, and how you are going to get to where you are headed.  While I think that I have done well to get to this point (I grade myself at a solid ‘B’, which is also my G.P.A !).  Getting away from Omaha and being able to enjoy the fresh air of Nutwood Junction, I felt clear-headed enough to where I had an epiphany (of sorts).

Although I am comfortable with myself and where I am at in my life, but that comfort is relative to things that I think are arbitrary in comparison.  I mean, if I were to set myself to my co-tenants in the building I live in, I think that I would not be self-centered in claiming to be doing better than other residents in my building.  Still, that is hardly satisfying to my internal drive.  I want more than to be a happy subsistence member of society.

Being grateful for my current state is not the same as being comfortable with it.  I think that is what drive is about, that voice inside of a person that won’t let you cheat on your last rep or let you skimp on studying for your next exam.  While I was on vacay, I did some reading and came across a section that really spoke to me.  In my mind, I have lived a VERY First World life, meaning that no matter my station there are excesses that conspire to sap my drive and higher desires, desires beyond those of shelter, food, and safety.

I am going to take my certification test in October so that I can begin my career as a personal trainer.  In November, I will resume college, with the goal of making this my last year of junior college.  This means I will be taking on a heavier academic workload, but I think that doing so will get me ready for the demands of attending UN-O (University of Nebraska-Omaha). Besides, maybe my comfort has become a detriment to my future progress.  See, until I arrived in Omaha in October 2010, I was waging a desperate battle against complete and irrevocable fail, and for years the the threat of fail was more real than any of my hopes.  Thanks to belief in my quest and the good will of others, I am at a place where I am in full control of my destiny.

Confirmation of my approach has been made; I am heading on the right track.  It is now that I can begin moving in a direct fashion towards “wherever it is I am going”.  Again, thanks to all who have made this journey with me, and to those who have gone on in their own direction whilst I blogged away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

GOING THE DISTANCE


FILLING THE UNFORGIVING MINUTE

Time flies in the wake of putting together a string of good days that have eventually became months and since have led to years.  Moving to Omaha has been what I had hoped it would be for me, and that is one more opportunity, one more shot at getting back into this thing, this existence, this whatever you want to call it.

While I have endeavored not to begin celebrating before the game is over, I am really looking forward to heading to South Bend and making the drive to Detroit.  While it is very unlikely that I will have the chance to see my oldest daughter, meeting blog friends and getting the chance to see my Dad were and still, the main purpose of the trip.  The cherry on top will be getting to have dinner with Tee Jay (and maybe my sister if she wants in) and sitting at my favorite restraunt with some of my favorite people of the last seven years.

Upon my return I will finish up my study for my certification to be a personal trainer.  Once I pass that and become certified to be a trainer, it would leave matriculation as my main concern alone, and I am looking forward to the challenge.  I have to say that once I arrived in Omaha, that my life has gone better than I could have pictured it.

There have been moments where “the days of my nights are like the nights of my days”.  Thankfully, those have been few and far between.  Had to take a little something “on the chin”, relationship-wise.  Nebraska and I never got off the ground (though recently there has been a thaw between us; a wonderful lunch date a week or so ago in CB), and there was the still-born development between Princess and myself to account for, not to mention several “one-off” dates.  But remember, I never purported to be about finding love in someone else.  This was more of my finding myself, “the man that I know and love”, and rejoicing in the opportunity of being.

It hasn’t been easy and the road has been far from smooth.  I have never labored under the premise that things would be anything but, anyway.  The reason that there haven’t been too many woeful tales in these pages has been the axiom, “Problems that have solutions aren’t problems.”  I don’t panic, and another piece of military wisdom/saying that I have adopted, “working the problem”, is more helpful to me than being paralyzed by my fears.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”  - Alexander Graham Bell

Going back to when I began my journey, because there were so many romantic or romanticized overtones to my writing, my words may have held a certain affect to the casual reader.  I am CERTAIN that it created a character profile of me in Nebraska’s mind that I believe adversely tilted our relationship.  Hopefully we can grow in spite of the foundation that has been laid since my arrival and become friends, no hyphenated suffixes or qualifications added.

There has always been a certain unease when I think about past loveships.  It was this feeling that kept me from a full-on pursuit of Tee Jay, and perhaps to a lesser extent both the SFC and Nebraska, too.  “History never repeats”, its been said, but, if one repeats history then what is history doing?  That is the thought experiment that I could never compel myself to ignore and it was a question that I always had to have an answer for.  This time when I see my “true love”, it won’t be to try to reignite something that burned brightly over a decade and-a-half ago.  No, this time it will be in celebration of what we had and the bond that we obviously still share.  And for me, that will be something new.

One of the really exciting things about this trip is the validation that will take place.  It was not without cause that the feelings and emotions bound us together… and I hope that I am not being melodramatic in saying this - and these bindings are around tightly about our souls.  I know that I don’t know where I would be without having made blog friends, and how they have refreshed my purpose.  Maybe I will have to go back to Chicago for a visit… and there are a couple of stops in Texas that I can imagine making, especially if they involve a trip to the Texas State Fair!!  And just maybe, maybe I will dare to visit New Jersey; Lexxie intends to move to Philly and that would be a good enough reason to go east in and of itself; visiting a blog friend - priceless!

"I began the process of unloving you that day… unloving you for the sly and uncaring way you were betraying us. More than this, I began to un-love you for being a stranger to everything my mind and heart had erected you to be." ~from Like Litter in the Wind by L.M. Ross

Though I am seemingly putting our relationship misfire solely in Nebraska’s court, I am not forgetting that there are two parties that have to act in concert to make a relationship work.  But my interests lay with myself, as I am sure her lie with her and what’s best in that regard.  So what do you want from me?  Still, this isn’t about that as it is about Princess.

One of the tactics that I have used since the beginning of memory has been to invite the ghosts that populate and linger in my heart and mind in for “tea and cake”, and to chat with them politely.  The quote selection that accompanies this part of my entry applies most directly to her and me.

The suddenness that our relationship came to a close was as jarring as the whipping of the cars on a roller coaster.  For the sake of this entry, I replayed how the sequence of events played out.  We spent Valentine’s together, then in March she had a procedure, and when April came, I was DX’d.  I don’t know what happened… I mean, her boys were so sold on our relationship that her two youngest were wondering if they would need to change their surnames after the eventual nuptials!

Kicking the idea around of what is NEVER going to happen (she has not contacted me at all in two years; and likewise, neither have I reached out to her, save a lost afternoon in Council Bluffs two years ago), I find myself not seeing where the gap is in my thinking that would allow me to welcome her back again.  Nor do I think she would be interested in looking for an opening anyway, but this is more about me.  This is the exercise that I have had with myself at the end of each and every relationship that I have been in.  The essence remains within, but it stays locked away and I have never had anyone ever try to recover whatever was left of my love for them.  And that, ladies and germs, is likely why I have not lost much time in trying to rekindle the embers from a once-burning flame.  I mean, what?  I gave it to you before??  So what, now that it has to be earned, it doesn’t have any value???

Friday, August 29, 2014

EXPANSION ON "HOW I LOVE"


TACTICAL
Thursday was an interesting, very good day for me.  I did not do anything of note, simply rode my bike a little, caught a bus for the sake of catching a bus to North Omaha, and took a nice afternoon bath and sat down to start my entry.  So my “Tactical” for this will hopefully segue into the main body of my entry.
I want a new computer.  I have been thinking about getting a notebook (no, I never did get the laptop running, but that is a story for maybe another day) and not having the burden of carrying a laptop around.  My stops was a local pawn shop franchise, Sol’s, where the lady who was helping me was very kind and knew her stuff, and Office Depot/Max, where I saw  several replacements, one less expensive than the one at Sol’s.  But with my not knowing the differences between the specs, the trip was more about the intel than actually making a purchase.
Because I rarely go across Dodge Street, the North Side is intriguing to me in the same way the East Side of Detroit is to me.  Despite its reputation, I still see more spots where I could picture myself setting up shop and chilling.  Then, in another reminder of why, like the East Side of Detroit, North Omaha has such a fearsome reputation, there was a detour set up by the police.  Seems like there may have been a shooting in the afternoon, and two passengers exclaimed, “That’s our house!!” as they leap up to exit the bus.  Maybe I will have to shelve the idea of going to the North Side… a disabled cat who rides around on $800 bikes kind of shouts, “potential victim” to the ne’er do-wells who look for opportunity.
Got back safely to my apartment and called the woman who is still on “probation” up and we went to 5 Guys for some take-away and watched “Star Trek: Into The Darkness” on Netflix.  We also made meaningful conversation and it was good, quality time spent in one another’s company.  And thus I was sprung into my long weekend of working Friday, Saturday AND Sunday for the first time in MANY years!
COMMITMENT LEADS TO ACTION; ACTION BRINGS OUR DREAMS CLOSER
Each time that I begin to think about the question, “How do I love?”, the expected saccharine-coated “twee” is not the among the ideals that enter my mind.  Whenever I have thought about participation  in a loveship, the word “commitment” has always been kept at the forefront of what it means to love and to be loving.  I know that I have cultivated an image of being a darling (or is it of “This Charming Man?”) man, strong yet tender, firm as well as considerate.  But what I think has always been missing in assumptions made about me is that of my deliberate nature.  And it is this omission from the equation that I believe contributed to the fail between Nebraska and myself, among other attempts at being “in love”.
I see love as the default nature of man.  I could string together some poorly-understood academic ideals  to support my theory, but I won’t.  I shouldn’t have to.  I won’t accept into philosophy something that I have not vetted and verified for myself.  And in that statement, I think you get a handle on how I love, and what love means to me.
Because I believe what I do with regards to love, I also do not think that it needs our approval to be present in our lives.  It is a part of the natural order of things and as such, is neither in need of “magic” or “luck” to be a factor in our lives.  Rather, I would claim that instead of chance, love is about surrender and acceptance, as it is a voluntary acts from which growth takes place.  The gap that keeps some from finding the love that they seek, the choice to be a part of the spiritual growth of another person, is the only real obstacle between “love” and being “in love” with another person.  To rely on the non-essentials to being in a loving relationship, like material wealth and what is best only for oneself, inhibits a person from fully being “in” anything; their concern with the objective forces outside of the relationship prevents the relationship from fully actualizing and reaching for it truest potential for being.
The idea of commitment is one that in my mind that is connected nobler and higher notions than does not allow for the kind of degradation than the casualness that comes with love.  Commitment, is for me, more than just a promise to do something, it is an action that places you not only in the present with someone, but in the future with that person, along with their hopes and dreams, and all that they ever hope for.  A “promise” is something that is made with the same guile and insincerity that is found in elementary school negotiations all over the country.


Commitment is spoken of throughout the speech in the video.  The game can be a metaphor for life and the speech by Coach Gaines is essentially a primer for how life should be lived.  The appreciation for where you are and fragility of each and every moment is a part of his motivation, as well as the sacrifice that they have implicitly promised one another -- is very similar to how I feel that a intimate personal relationship should be set upon as its foundation -- based on doing everything that can be done in the name of building a successful relationship.
Whether it is to a person, a cause, or your own well-being, a commitment is a choice.  So to be committed you have to be fully conscious and in being conscious, my idea of love is not one where I am struck by an arrow as it is the possible solution to a complex calculation, a theorem.  And like any theory, once proven incorrect, it is discarded and it is on to the next possibility.