Friday, May 27, 2011
So why don't I feel better about it? Usually the Spring/Summer gets me going and I'm working on a thousand projects at once. Instead I sit here on my back porch, sipping a freshly brewed K-cup blogging the Friday afternoon away. Could it be that I'm enjoying the moment for once and taking a break? Or am I just overwhelmed with the to-do lists I have created for myself and am just avoiding everything. Perhaps it is a little of both.
A fellow blogger called it getting your MOJO back. In my case, I've misplaced it. I'm a people person. When no one is around I need to keep busy on things or else I start to think too much. It is the way my brain is wired I suppose.
I could be at a coffee house tonight with the majority of my church. I could be busy taking pictures and eating and hanging out with all of them. Instead, I just wanted to just "BE".
I'm finding I've done a lot of that recently.
My therapist who assigns me weekly homework assignments (I need the structure) has asked me to do something I'm finding quite difficult. Part of this week's assignment is to make a list of 5 core characteristics that describe myself, with 2 examples to illustrate each one.
Now I've filled out surveys and tons of dating profile stuff in the past but this to me is very different. This isn't what other people think of me, this isn't even what I "want" other people to think of me. This is what "I" think of me. She doesn't say if they should be positive or negative either.
1. I'm DETERMINED. I am about as determined as anyone I know. With this core characteristic comes good and bad. When I put my mind to something I can get the job done. However I can be stubborn about certain things and even get my priorities mixed up at times. I don't like to be wrong and only when there is irrefutable proof will I concede to defeat.
I have accomplished many things to many. I'm restoring a beautiful home in a seaside community. I run my own business and have for almost 20 years. I'm raising my daughter on my own. Yet, I feel I'm missing something in my life.
2. I'm a SURVIVOR. This goes without saying. I'm always recreating myself to suit the situation at hand. If there is a bill, I find a way to get it paid. I struck out in the world at an early age with very little determined to survive the elements and make something of myself. I'm a chameleon of sorts, adapting to my surroundings. However, there is always the control I feel I need in these given situations. Perhaps it has a lot to do with my feelings of abandonment when I was a child. I can remember being 3 or 4 and being outside on my own and not having anyone to play with. I have always had a great imagination. I guess that leads me into...
3. I'm a VISIONARY. When hyper-focused I can clearly see the forest through the trees as well as the entire forest simultaneously. I can set the tone of a focus group as well as drive a point to the masses via any podium I step onto. I'm a people person and have no fear of public speaking. (Again it is that feeling of being in control that drives me.) I guess I'm a leader of sorts or at least that is the way I perceive myself to be. I have belonged to many organizations and it doesn't take long for me to be in some form of leadership role in the group. (Again, being in control gives me the power and the high that I feel I need to function in my capacity as a leader.)
4. I'm INDEPENDENT. I have been independent all of my life, but interdependent on others most of my life. I'm independent and try to do everything myself at first. I like figuring things out on my own and like solving problems. I'll think outside the box. Sometimes I'll do something and have people tell me, "You couldn't have done that." To which I reply: "Oh um hmm. See?" and show them that I already have. I am interdependent on others for my emotional needs and support. Something I never got growing up. I seek validity in what I say and do a lot because I feel if I don't speak up or say: "See what I did?!" I might go un-noticed.
5. I'm EMOTIONAL. I'm actually passionate to a fault at times. This ties into being a very determined individual. However, I used to get angry a lot and it took a long time to figure out why. Getting in touch with more than just the basic emotions is critical to the learning process called life. Now I know I can be disappointed in something or someone and not be angry about it. If I watch a movie or TV and there is a scene that I relate to even at a subconscious level I will get emotional. (I have to imagine that is natural and being human.) I have learned that I need to work on my empathy skills and have made some progress with those. Life is more about just me. I just need to keep reminding myself this now and then.
Well that's five.
The sun has set and the coffee is gone. I have survived another evening alone with my feelings. I'll be interested in hearing what my therapist has to say about my selections of core values.
It's time for some food.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Harold Camping the founder of Family Radio, a nonprofit Christian radio network based in Oakland, Calif. and his devoted followers claim a massive earthquake will mark the second coming of Jesus, or so-called Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, ushering in a five month period of catastrophes before the world comes to a complete end in October.
Yikes! Does that mean I won't be paying $4.00 a gallon for gas in the coming months or worry about the last bits of milk going bad in the fridge this weekend? Will I leave this world as single as I came into it? My camera batteries are fully charged can I at least bring the one with the wide-angled lens with me. I think I'd be able to get a great shot of the earth from above as we all ascend to heaven.
All I know is that if I am aware of the time at 6 this evening, I'll hold my breath for just a moment before hopefully exhaling into a quiet evening. I'll be taking some pictures at a local coffee house and more than likely having a glass of wine before bedtime. Maybe I'll do some reading as I drift off to sleep tonight.
I wonder if the pastor at church will even mention it during his sermon tomorrow?
Wouldn't it be funny if they played REM's rendition of "It's the End of the World" inbetween services. I keep humming the chorus: "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine...
It's about a quarter to 3 in the afternoon and I'm still in my sweats. I haven't done much of anything today. The weather is sunny (the weatherman had predicted rain) and I have the windows open. It is starting to feel like summer at last. The grass I planted out back is finally growing and I still have tons of yard work to do. I still have a lot of interior work that needs to be done on the house. The bar/gameroom and laundry area, my workshop, the upstairs hallway,and my daughter's bathroom.
I'll get to it all eventually. I always do. Meanwhile it's a lazy mans Saturday. It might not be the end of the world and I might not be getting much done today and I know it, and I feel fine...
Saturday, May 7, 2011
I have been around the interwebs long before Al Gore took credit for inventing it. I not only remember floppy disks but the 8" variety to boot! It was sometime in the late 90's that I discovered on-line dating. Back in the day, finding dates on the Internet along with just about everything else was free. At first there was only AOL dating, then Yahoo Singles seemed to hold the #1 spot when multiple sites started popping up all over the Web.
I gave Yahoo a try and although the results varied I did meet a few good people along the way and equally went on my share of dates I'd rather not have gone on. Live and learn right?
Between 2002 and 2006 the on-line dating scene changed again. Pay sites came into existence claiming to have better compatible matching techniques. Yahoo also went pay while social networking sites began to take hold, especially in the 15-21 age crowd. Friendster, and then MySpace were the choice way of reconnecting with old friends and yes even dating people. New free sites replaced those that had gone pay while others like (POF) - Plenty Of Fish offered the best of both worlds. Sites like POF allowed you to meet people on the free side of the site but allowed you to do much more customizable searches once you joined the paying ranks.
Meanwhile Craigslist, a free listing service for everything from jobs, rentals, household items, and yes singles took shape and began competing for a different way to connect people with one another by allowing you to post via an online newspaper style ad.
I did the MySpace thing while it was popular and posted ads on Craigslist while it was still possible to find quality people there. I even dated one girl on and off for almost three years that I met on Craigslist.
Meanwhile sites like Match.com eHarmony, Christiansingles.com, Chemistry.com, and Perfectmatch.com although pay sites, pushed the fact that you paid for what you got.
This always bothered me. Did I actually have to pay to find the woman of my dreams? Was it worth shelling out my hard earned cash to find "The One" for me?
The popularity of Internet-ready mobile devices took on-line dating to the next level. The free dating sites exploded with new members. You were no longer tethered to the computer at home or risked getting caught at the office looking for love on-line. The fact was, everyone was doing it including married people and people looking for a one-night stand. Even some of the cheaper pay dating sites have become "meat markets" for the random hook-up.
It was during this time that Facebook took the crown of the social media networking sites. Call me old fashioned but I decided not to do the Facebook thing and have abstained from the pressures of friends, work colleagues, and even my own daughter to "just do it". I feel that the online world of social media has taken some of the personalization out of meeting people. The sharing of too much information (TMI) comes to mind when someone brings up Facebook.
Sure, Facebook does have a way of connecting you with long lost friends but quite honestly they may have been lost for a damn good reason.
So meeting new people, although not difficult for me, has become a recent chore for me. The fact that I have been single for a period of time now with no prospects on the horizon hadn't really hit home until a recent college fair held at my daughter's high school. The dean of admissions of a local community college asked me what was next for me. At first I wasn't sure what he meant. Then it began to sink in. What was NEXT?!
Not only is my future in the "here and now" stages but so is an opportunity to date again. I'm pretty successful in all other aspects of my life so why is it that I am having difficulty in establishing a lasting romantic relationship?
I discussed this at length with some of my closest friends and one gal-pal pointed me to an article titled: "10 Things Men are Looking for in a Woman Vs. What Women Really Want". I could relate with most if not all of the obvious reasons like "#6 A woman must have her own life and have her own purpose in it." or #4 "A woman must be as free from drama as possible. AKA - No drama queens!". Topping the list of things men are looking for in a woman was "Honesty".
That one made me think... As opposed to??? Why would I date a dishonest woman?
Now I got to the list of what women really wanted and prepared for a long list of must-haves and needs. Listed was just one:
"Women really want a good dishwasher."
It seems given the choice of dealing with men and "their long lists" these days, most women like the Independence and freedom of being single, so they want a high end programmable appliance. Something that is stable, gets the job done, and is "drama-free". A device that comes with a warranty (extended at an additional cost and even a payment plan in some cases.
My friend joked that she should start a love column and call it: "Dirty Dishes - How to program your man like an appliance for the ultimate date."
All joking aside, woman have pushed enough of my buttons to know that I cannot be programmed nor do I choose to be.
So back to my homework assignment...
I took a business approach to this and looked at the financials and ROI of the five leading pay sites. I narrowed it quickly to two and then decided on the pricier one thinking that my chances of finding someone serious out there was willing to pay the same. Now all I had to do was sign up.
I really thought about this. Was I ready for this? Well, after all it was homework. I called and took the plunge and got three months for the price of one convincing the phone rep that a friend had done the same not long ago.
So *gulp* let the matches fill and overflow my inbox.
Besides... I already own a dishwasher and might just be willing to let "The One" push some buttons and program it!
Friday, April 29, 2011
Another week has just about been ticked of the calendar of life. Time is always moving forward and it is how you make use of this time that makes one's life interesting or not. I knew this past week was going fly by as I had something scheduled for each day. Work, therapy, and a many things like paying bills that just kept me busy.
"Busy" is good for me. It means my brain is busy hyper-focusing on what I should be doing and not sitting idle and thinking about other stuff. It is during the times where I have a few minutes to myself that the brain starts to wander and think about past events that have saddened me. That is when I go into the "I Should Have" or "I Could Have" thoughts and those are just nonproductive for me.
With that said...
Easter service was great! I took almost 500 photos and I got about 25-40 good shots with a handful including some panoramic shots that came out great! I sat in the same area as I did last year with my camera bag in the seat next to mine. I reserved the entire row for Ron and his family and Nuno even showed up this year.
After hugging much of my church family (there were approximately 1,100 people there) Nuno and I headed to my dad's house. My daughter had spent the weekend at her mom's house again and got dropped off just as the food was coming out of the oven.
My dad had called a few weeks ago and asked what my daughter was doing for Easter. It always bothers me that he doesn't ask me what I'm doing. I need to let that go of that resentment once and for all.
My dad's main form of entertainment is sitting around his big screen TV and channel surfing. So that is what we all did for most of the afternoon and headed home in the early evening.
As the clock struck midnight this Easter thoughts of how I spent it last year surfaced. I hoped that (K) had had a good day. I also hoped that whatever she did this holiday she at least spent a moment remembering last year and how special it was.
So what is next?
I have done a great deal of thinking about this. A few weeks ago there was a college fair at my daughter's school. An impressive 88 colleges were represented, mostly from the East Coast. I struck up a conversation with the dean of admissions at one of the local state schools and we briefly talked about my daughter and her goals. Then he shocked me and asked: "So what's next?" I wasn't sure what he meant at first and started re-explaining how my daughter was a Junior and still unsure of where she was going. He stopped me and said, "No Glenn, I mean WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?"
It is very rare that I am speechless because the people that know me, know I can ramble on about anything for hours. But every now and then it happens. I couldn't even wrap my mind around the concept of the question. I don't think he was selling me on a future college solution per say but being really genuine and asking me from one human to another.
Indeed! What is next!
This has lead my mind in a million different directions recently. I have a lot going for me, really I do. I have my house, a job, a good group of friends, church... the list goes on. But am I really happy? What is next?
While in my teens I was purely in survival mode. I lived for the basics - food and shelter. I received my street smarts during those years.
While in my early to mid 20's I established myself with some roots and an apartment. I experimented with a lot of things - drugs, alcohol, and yes, even women. My friend Carl reflects on these years as the years we lived like we were above the law, didn't have responsibilities, and had no fear of consequences of our actions or even of death itself. He once stated, "We are fortunate enough to not only be alive today, but to not be in prison for a very long time."
It was during these experimental years I met my daughter's mom and she got pregnant. That changed my life drastically.
I became a "weekend dad" and for the next 13 years I made it a priority to be there for my daughter each and every weekend. It wasn't easy leaving her at her mom's on Sunday nights. During her early years she would cry as I pulled away from her mom's house. I always tried to be the strong parent , letting her know that "daddy" would be back next week to pick her up and that I would call her during the week. The feeling of separation weighed greatly on me. I would myself be crying the minute I had turned the corner wishing she were still with me.
As she got older and progressed through grade school I stayed active in her school system's PTO - parent teacher organization but by middle school all weekday ties had been broken. She had fallen into a routine of living with her mom for the majority of the week and with me on the weekends. Her attendance, grades and attitude were all sliding in a downward spiral and I knew I had to do something before it was too late.
It wasn't until my daughter started high school did she come to live with me on a full time basis and attend a local school here in town. Her grades improved dramatically and with them her attitude towards school. She plans on going to college and living a fulfilling life of her own. :-)
So here I am today with a beautiful and brilliant daughter, a junior poised to take her SATs, attend college, and go on to live a life of her own. Will she keep in touch? Oh I'm sure. Will she see me during the holidays or other special events? Sure. But she will be on her own, and that is the reality of it.
Which brings me to that nagging question that seems to live in my head these days.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
So it is Easter eve and the morning's first sips of coffee are hitting my lips. A good columbian dark roast this morning. In about 20 minutes I will be headed out with my daughter to get our hair trimmed. This for me has become an annual event over the past 3 years. For those that know me, know I don't get my hair cut all that often. Last year I got it trimmed in the Spring when I reconnected with (K). The year before would have been for my grandfather's funeral in the early Spring of 2009. I can't remember the time before that. It's odd that I'm doing it this year as I have no real reason. I (guess) I want to do it for me. My daughter is getting hers trimmed because her Junior prom is a few weeks away.
After having her hair trimmed she is going to her mom's for the weekend, something she has been doing for the last few months. Her mom is going through a divorce and relocating in the city and my daughter has been helping her out. I miss having her on the weekends but also enjoy the freedom it has given me to be able to do what I want.
I need more coffee...
5:03PM @ Ron's house. (My first mobile post)
So my hair is about 3" shorter than it was when I woke up. (Bye bye dead ends.) My daughter's hair looks beautiful even though it was just a simple long-layered wash, trim, and blowdry. I have to also mention that haircuts have gotten expensive. It cost me a quick $50.00 including the $7.00 dollar tip. The last time I remember spending around $15.00 for my trim. Anyways it is done and my daughter is happy.
Her mom picked her up this afternoon and I hung out for a bit wondering what I was going to do with the rest of the day. Then Ron called and invited me over for dinner. I brought my camera gear as I needed to prep it and charge the batteries for tomorrow. He gave me the 8GB micro SD card from his old phone and I put it in my tablet. This allows me to put music and pictures on it without worying about running out of room now.
11:32PM @ Home
So it is minutes before Easter and I guess I'm sad. (Something I have been avoiding admitting this entire BLOG posting today.) It was one year ago this past Easter when (K) and I went to service together at the Z. It was trully a special day with her dedicating to me a study bible for Wednesday bible study classes. I think what made it more special was what we did after church. We went for a ride to the large state beach, a beach I had always wanted to take her to in our past tiem together.
So there we were laughing and enjoying just being in the moment. Collecting shells while enjoying the warmth of the sun. If that day could have just gone on forever...
Here I am a year later witnessing an away message appear on an account that she has not been on in over a month that states: "Moving on."
It is the eve of Easter and I know I will be at the Z tomorrow for service at 10AM as I was last year. I'll just be going by myself. :-(
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I'm self-employed which means I'm technically on the clock 24/7. I set my own rates, do my own advertising, find the customers, service their needs, bill them, collect and cash the check, and the cycle begins again. Needless to say there is a lot of "Down Time".
This down time can last for hours or even days at a stretch. During this down time I find a lot of things to do. I own a big old house built in the 20's that is a constant work in progress. I have owned it for just over five years and have made quite the progress on it thus far. Aside from the painting and restoration projects in constant progress, it is quite the chore to keep tidy and clean. I think I do a decent job most of the time.
When I'm not working on the house I can usually be found in front of a computer surfing random sites. I have a habit of archiving things such as movies, music, TV shows, etc. I always think, oh I'll watch them later, but rarely do. Well, sometimes I do. I recently am in the process of aquiring the entire House MD collection through season 7 (the current). I have seasons 1-3 currently. This is a show I saw a handful of episodes a few years ago, did not think much about it, but have grown fond of. In fact I thought Dr. House was a bit of a jerk. Now that I have seen the pilot I understand a bit more about who the character Dr. House is and what he represents.
But, mostly I stream stuff over the web on-demand.
During the Summer and even during the Fall I spend time outside with friends BBQing and hanging out. I enjoy gardening and going to the beach and relaxing with a good book.
However, Winter is a difficult time for me. It was not until I met (K) that I had heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder and how it affects more than half the population of this world in one way or another. I believe it affects me in ways I was not too sure about until recently.
By default, I am a people person. I can strike up a conversation with anyone about anything and it is all good. However, in the winter my exposure to people in general is limited by the weather and especially the cold. I just don't like to go out in the cold. I don't like the snow and I despise shoveling. My ears hurt when exposed to the cold and that gets me aggravated to no end.
That leaves Spring. Early Spring always has me hoping for the best. The best weather, the best jobs, and a fresh start for a lot of things after a long and cold winter. Unfortunately, Spring seems to linger about a bit too long every year, or so it seems. The Spring rains although great for the vegetation, dampens my spirit more than I want to admit most of the time.
Maybe it's because I seem to find myself single again in the Spring that I feel rather blah during this rainy season. But I digress...
It is Spring vacation week for the kids and my daughter is spending it with her mom. This leaves the big old house and I to spend some quality time together. I can sleep in a little later than usual although my eyes seem to have snapped open at 7AM each morning.
My coffee intake seems to have sorted itself out over the last two years. Since purchasing the Keurig K-Cup machine I have reduced my intake greatly and feel that it has helped immensely.
I work out of town this Tuesday and Thursday and have had a couple of local service calls this week. Today I find myself burning CDs for a local school and sitting in on some online recovery meetings. I find it comforting to know that even though I may be alone physically in this house there is an entire community of others out there ready to chat up a storm.
I'm not as stressed as I was about finances a few short months ago. I have found some promising employment with long term prospects. More recently, I have survived a two day audit without any repercussions. I have been attending all of the school related functions to do with my daughter going to college and learning about the financial responsibilities that go along with it. And then there is her Junior prom. She's just not that little girl that I could push on the swing.
The seasons change, and so do we all.
Friday, April 15, 2011
I'm not expecting anyone I know to read this Blog, nor do I imagine someone wanting to meet me because of it. I Blog because I want to. I'd like to think that these bits and bytes of data I am putting out there on the "Inter-Webs" is making the overall collective smarter and better informed. After all, don't we learn from one another?
Last night I began on the first of two assignments my therapist had assigned me. To read up on "Radical Acceptance". I had no idea this term even existed until last night. In concept and theory it sounds quite simple.
It is required when presented with an issue that causes pain, grief, suffering, or any combination of the three. There is an infinite number of things that can cause these things. But there are only four responses to any and all of the aforementioned causes.
1. Solve the problem.
2. Change how you feel about it.
3. Accept it
4. Stay Miserable
I've found that the fourth response is what I've done in the past. Now seeing this homework in black and white in front of me and realizing I only have four choices to choose from I have to think... Why would I want to choose to stay miserable? Why!
So the first part of accepting is realizing reality is what it is. It's as simple as saying the ball is blue if it is blue.
The second part to accepting is accepting that every event and every situation has a cause. Accepting that every event has a cause is the opposite of saying 'why me'.
Now there's another opposite for thinking events have causes and that opposite is when you say: "Things should not be the way they are". Now 'should not be the way they are' is non-acceptance. We never say that about things we're accepting, we like, or we want. We say 'should not' about things that we think aren't caused - they should not be this way.
So the opposite of should not is should. And once you think that everything has a cause, then you think reality should be the way it is. Acceptance from this point of view is when you say 'everything should be as it is'.
Other things I have gotten from the reading of this assignment thus far. The following statement jumped out at me and is the final thing in acceptance.
You have to accept that life can be worth living, even if really painful events are currently in your life.
To go from an unendurable agony to an endurable pain, you're going to have to accept that you can build a life. Because if you don't accept it, what will happen? You're not going to build a life. And building a life worth living actually takes a fair amount of work. Believing that you can't do it makes it almost impossible. Believing that you can do it makes it a lot easier, so the chances are a lot higher that you'll actually do it - you'll build a life worth living.
"Unendurable Agony to Endurable Pain" Wow... That's a powerful statement. Is there such a thing as endurable pain? I have to admit, that, yes there is.
"Acceptance" It sounds easy. It is NOT.
Today is day two and I will work on what I can endure for the moment. I'm not worried about yesterday or tomorrow. I'm in the here and now. And for now, at the moment, I am in the solution.
Now THAT is Pretty radical.
Another reason I write is so I can look back and see where I was and how I've grown and progressed from the person I once was. I've written a book on recovery based on my life and the events that have happened thus far and started a second book continuing where the first one left off.
But the reason that is tugging at me these days as the now electronic words hit my screen is that it is a "Constant". A constant meaning I am always here. The "Journal" or "Blog" is always here. Patiently awaiting its next entry. Non-judgemental. My Blog does not have an opinion nor can it interupt or interject things after I have written them. It is what it is. Sometimes the entries are filled with daily events which mean nothing, but at other times they are raw and pure.
And for the first time completely public. I figured, if I can write a book on my life and publish it, I can put this out there to the universe.
Me. My Blog...
Me. My life...
As Seen Through These Eyes.