This Needs a Title…

I don’t really know what made me think of it. I was in my car on the way to work and being grateful just popped into my noggin.

My brain does weird things. Don’t ask.

So, I thought about being grateful and, of course, what came up are the things for which I am grateful. There were a lot when I really got down to thinking about it. Then I got into the whole taking things for granted issue in my head. I do this a lot, too. I take things for granted. Lots of things. Then again, don’t we all?

The short version of things for which I am grateful goes like this…

Life.

I am grateful for life. Pretty short, eh? And it’s easy. Think of something in your life that does not bring pleasure, make the day better, make the day-to-day easier, make life worth living, or teach you in one way or another to live life, differently if needs be. All of that adds up to life. If you are not thankful for it, get rid of it. It isn’t worth having, doing, or suffering through.

I try to tell myself these things, and my self does not always listen, but sometimes it does, and my life is the better for it.

Then there are those things that I take for granted. Like I said, this is a big list. Pretty much it goes like this…

What do I take for granted?

Life.

Not always, but a lot of the time.  Other issues that seem important and life altering at the time tend to take precedent and demand immediate attention and action of some kind.

After taking a little time to consider what I am thankful for and what I take for granted, I have come to a conclusion.

For me anyway, those things which I am typically most thankful for are things that I want. Those things which I take the most for granted are those things that I need.

Now I could go into a long, drawn out debacle concerning those things I want and those things I need, but I won’t. I know what I need and know what I want…I think.  Here’s the thing, though. When I don’t get the things that I need, I feel off. Things don’t feel right. I might feel depressed. I’ll probably feel anger, and probably have a sense of despair. I don’t feel these often, but when I do, I feel it all down to my bones.

When I don’t get what I want, I tend to whine about it in that moment I want it…no…that moment that I think I need it. The situation in which the thing I want is needed passes, and the pissiness goes away. Sure, I will mull it over and wish for it should the desire arise again, but it just toddles off like a passing fancy. Usually anyway.

I have been thinking a lot about this over the last little while…weeks, months, years..a little while anyway. I’ve written countless pages about it in one of my little journal books, trying to understand it and cope with it. I know there are a LOT of books out there that will claim to tell people what they need and what they want, but how does some author or specialist that has never met me, spoken with me, or even seen me know what it is that I need or want? How do they know what makes me happy? How do they know what makes me sad? How do they know what angers me or depresses me?

There are some good general rules, I suppose, but each of us is different. We each experience life differently and have different experiences that add to the lives we live. I will not assume what makes you happy, but I am continually learning what makes me happy, and what makes my life worth living. I know this, writing, is one of those things. Sharing my thoughts with others makes me happy. It is something I need. It is even better when I find people that agree with me, though it does not happen as often as I like. That is something I want.

Needs and wants are pretty closely linked. They seem to be anyhow…to me, and with a world full of seemingly infinite possibilities to fulfill any number of wants and desires, it is easy to lose focus on what is really important.

I know I feel better when my needs are met, and for that I am most grateful. I am thankful for those wants that I have acquired as well; but it’s those things I need that I receive that bring the greatest joy and greatest sense of fulfillment to my life, and that is what’s important.

 

The Best Idea Ever….EVER

I have the writing bug this morning, but no clear topic on which to write, so please bear with me.  Sometimes it is just better for me to put some words down on paper or screen, as it were, than to let them just keep swirling around the abysmal black hole that is my mind. Good, earth shattering ideas or thoughts come up all the time, and are immediately lost without the opportunity for the greater humanity to even catch a glimpse.

Right now, it’s hot. I mean hot. I’m talking over 100 degrees hot because the weather cannot make up its mind on whether it wants to stay cool or get warm, so the ancient prehistoric HVAC system at work is having a more than difficult time adjusting to the schizophrenic temperature changes. I could go on and on about that, but you would bore quickly…let’s just leave it that I am hot and tired of my clothes sticking to me.

Now that you have that wonderful image branded into your imagination, word has it that the NBA has helped confirm that there are still racists living among us in the good ol US of A. Some say the douchecanoe was set up, but does that really matter? If you’re going to be a racist, own up to it. You apparently have principles. Stick by them and let others know what they are, otherwise you’re just a douchecanoe that sells out your principles and resides below those loud and proud racists that inhabit the lower levels of human decency, but at least they are principled.

There’s a nutjob out in Nevada that wants to take on the Federal government that has apparently garnered quite the following. To him and his followers I say bring it on. I think history shows what happens to those that pick a fight with the government of the United States. Put up or shut up. We’re tired of your grandstanding. Your moment in the spotlight is over. Your fifteen seconds are up. Shit or get off the pot. Think of it this way…we Americans are proud of the strength of our fighting forces, our men and women in uniform. We dare countries to get in our way or fuck with us. Do you think for one minute that the same fighting force that represents the physical might of the United States government, the same fighting force that eats sovereign nations for breakfast, will blink more than once when it comes time to bite instead of bark. Get over yourself. Pay your fines, shut your mouth and move on.

And there it is…Damn, we are a petulant, whiney bunch of people. Note, I said we. We whine about everything…EVERYTHING. We whine about the government. We whine about food quality and food standards. We whine about the media. We whine about popular culture. We whine about how people with which we disagree suck. We whine about gas prices. We whine about food prices. We whine about rising prices. We whine about global warming. We whine about evolution. We whine about creationism. We whine about schools. We whine about common core. We whine about racists. We whine about religion. We whine about atheists. We whine about abortion. We whine about pro-life. We whine about pro-choice. We whine.

Some people get paid a lot to whine about this stuff to us, and we LISTEN TO IT. We choose to listen to whining. We don’t listen to, or read, coherent, well put together arguments. We listen to, or read, the whining…the fractious pissing and moaning that goes on and on and on and on ad nausem. And these people know it. They know that we are too lazy to think for ourselves or too busy to do the grunt work and research a topic about which we may or may not care. They know that we are intellectually weak because schools don’t teach to think anymore, just how to do things through rote memorization.

Why? Because that is the easy way, just like taking the media’s word for it. It’s easier to just listen to someone blather on endlessly about utter ridiculousness rather than put the time in ourselves to come to an informed and rational conclusion.

Read a book. Read a few books. Can’t find a book that supports your point of view. Bullshit. You are not looking hard enough, and you are not looking hard enough because you don’t care enough to look for it. Listen to lectures. Go to presentations. Research on your own.

We are all guilty of it for one reason or another. There are people out there working for the cause or principle you believe in. If you believe in it so much, help do something about it. Write. Speak. Converse. Donate. Rally. Dream. Act on it, and be constructive.

If some douchebag decides to start a pissing contest with you, cut them off. They, or their pissing and moaning are not worth it. Whining promotes only whining. Pissing and moaning only promote more pissing and moaning. Anything deconstructive. Disengage. It has taken me some time to learn that, and I am the better for it.

This is the third time I’ve noted this quote on this blog…

Be the change you want to see.

Make your voice heard and follow through with constructive action. It doesn’t have to be big. The smallest of actions can create huge reactions.

There is no better time than the present.

I know there are those out there that already work for what they believe, and they believe in a cause, or causes, greater than themselves, and I applaud them all. It is time for the rest of us to follow their examples.

I guess the problem is that we all want different things. Well, really, we all want the same things…just different ways of achieving the same goals. Perhaps in talking to one another and acting, we can find some common ground, something on which to build.

There are a lot of ways this can go. Which way do you want it to go?

It took some time, but my rambling finally made it somewhere. Where it goes beyond this, who knows?

 

Relax…

 

imageI came across this litte gem a few days ago on Facebook, and a thought came to my mind…

Who on earth wants to be an adult?

Maybe I was a weird kid, but the last thing on my mind was wanting to become an adult.  Work, bills, a mortgage, rent, car payments that seem to never end (like a mortgage), health insurance, and a plethora of other things adults have to handle were NOT my aspiration.  Oh, and kids and raising a family…definitely were not on my to do list when I was 15.  Truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted at all at that time.

When I turned 18 and graduation loomed on the horizon, I knew I wanted to go to college, and I thought I knew what I wanted to do.  As it happens, I was wrong, as are a lot of teenagers. I know a lot of folks that did know what they wanted to do, and have done it. I even know some that began doing what they wanted to do, saw that it wasn’t up to the snuff they thought, and then found other things to do.

The fact of the matter is that too many are in too damn big a hurry, and… AND, this little piece of wisdom illustrates, there are things that people are supposed to do as they come of age.

We are supposed to become adults.

We are supposed to raise a family.

We are supposed to have a career.

All of those came before living life without failing at it.

There is my thought in a nutshell. Life is not about the things we are supposed to do. There is more to living than that. Living is doing what you enjoy and figuring that out for yourself. I’m learning that slowly.

I am big on routine, so big on it that my most regimented routines are more like rituals. If one piece of the routine goes wrong, then chances are my whole day is screwed.

I like plans. I love it when a plan falls perfectly into place and runs itself flawlessly. If one part of the plan comes undone, then panic mode immediately sets in, impatience ensues, and the world as I know it comes to a grim and bitter end.

Some may think I’m being a bit melodramatic. Just ask my wife if that is an overstatement. I’m working on it though, It helps that my wife is the most spontaneous and erratic individual that has ever graced the earth.

It comes and goes, more going than coming at this point, but my patience with life will grow. My patience with living life will overcome. I will survive.

The rituals and knowing what we are supposed to do may make life easier and more manageable, but it does not necessarily make it better. One never, ever knows what is coming around the corner.

So, I would boil down this little proverb into two words.

Relax. Live.

That is all we really have to do.

Impulse

“Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know…” ~Jerry Mac

Though based on a quote by Will Rodgers, I’ll give Jerry the credit…

Just browsing my facebook status feed and came across this gem posted by a friend of mine, and thought about how it relates to something else I have been working on.  I’m doing some soul searching of sorts; attempting to discern what is needed versus what is wanted. What makes it so hard is the fact that, with a little ingenuity, one can justify pretty much anything they want as a necessity.  I do it often…not necessarily to impress anyone, but to add a little “pop” to my life or to make my life easier or to make it possible to do the things I want to do.

I can be an impulse shopper.  I try not to be, but it happens. Usually the way it goes is I see something I want and I say, “I’ve got to have that,” or, “I’ve got to try that.”  Usually, or maybe sometimes, my brain kicks in and searches out the necessity of what it is I’m seeking to purchase. It will find a reason most of the time. I may not be able to buy it right away, but it goes into the bookmark file of my computer or in the back of my mind as something that will be purchased at some point in time.

I’m going to leave it at that for now because I don’t want to get into a thought that I haven’t fully worked through just yet. 

Need vs. Want is complicated!

Looking out the Window at Work…

It’s a slow day, so I thought, “why not write?”

Truth is, I am bored at work. I mean…really bored.  So this will end up being a bunch of rubbish from start to finish. Sometimes I just like the feeling of typing something out. Always have. I can remember when I was a kid and our old Tandy computer with no games on it. I would find my way to the word processor and just start typing. Nothing of any real consequence (like this), but just typing. Maybe not even real words, just jibberish like this…

ajkekmenjdn dikenyeooie ,fnliha wusndimfb vi fjknf fhjs nsl,fnlufhyrnosnuemdnaha.

I don’t know why. It is just something I would do when I was bored…kind of like now.

There is somethng that has me thinking this morning, but I’m not quite sure I am ready to tackle it just yet. I did leave a bit of a cliffhanger with one of my previous posts asking what do I want to see concerning being the change one wants to see in the world.

As I sit here at work, that comes across my mind as a pretty complex question, and one that I probably shouldn’t try to answer, but sometimes it’s good to go with your gut. So here goes…

What do I want to see?

I want to see a world without apathy. I want to see a world where people care about something beyond themselves and their wants. I want people to consider others when they make decisions. I want more empathy in the world. I want to see more people care for one another. I want a world without labels. I want a world that is inhabited by human beings. Not Europeans. Not Americans. Not Asians or Mexicans or Latinos or Hispanics or Whites or Blacks or Chinese or Japanese or Italians or Greeks or Germans or Turks or Iraqis or Iranians or Christians or Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus or Sikhs or Eskimos or Canadians (don’t ask me why Canadians came up last. I don’t know). I want to see people live according to their fullest potential and see them happy doing so.  I want to see myself living according to my fullest potential and be happy doing so. I want to see a world without regret. I want to see others living without regret. I want to see others and myself learning from those regrets and no longer regretting them. I want the poor to no longer be poor. I want the sick to be healthy. I want to see it snow. I want to see the sun shine. I want to see it rain. I want to see the wind blow. I want to see the sun rise and set. I want to see the moon.  I want to see the ocean and the tides.  I want to see a world where possibilities are realities everyday. And right now, at this very moment, I want to see food because I am starting to get hungry.

What do you want to see?

More on Living and Being Alive

I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about this since posting it yesterday.  I always come back to one glaring question.  When the writer talks about “life” and “aliveness,” what, exactly, is he talking about?

To most evangelical Christians, or maybe I’m just inferring or assuming this, but to most evangelicals, the life being talked about is the life given where one is “born again” in Christ.  Essentially, having been saved through the Spirit and decided to live more according to the rules set forth within the Bible or the Church.

However, when I consider other things the writer has written, I know that to not be the case.

Everyone, saved or not, has the ability to live this life.  Everyone can receive it, and we can all bring it to others. What the writer is referring to is the idea of the awakened soul or the self-actualized person.  Each lives to their fullest potential, using the gifts we have to bring positive and constructive purpose and change to the world around them.

Imagine a world where everyone was awake within…feeling alive and, as the writer states, bringing “aliveness” to others.

I admit the idea seems less than realistic.  Not everyone could possibly tap into their full potential, right?

Well…

Why Not???

Personally, I believe it has to do with one word and one word alone…

FEAR

I admit it.  I fear a lot, and fear holds me back.  What is it that I fear most of all??

Failure.

FAILURE!

There is nothing that will bring me to a halt more quickly than believing that I will fail.  Nothing crushes my hopes quite like the realization that failure is possible.

For a long, long time I have called myself a realist, and I base that on knowing that failure and disappointment are real.  They exist, and they matter.

But for those living at their fullest potential, does that matter?

I struggle with this, I admit.  I am well set in my “realist” ways, and those ways are difficult to break.  I’m working on it, though, and I’m sure I can get there.

One thing is for sure.  The state of mind is much, much more pleasant and infinitely more free, and THAT is what matters!

Elastic House

So, a couple of weeks ago I found House on Netflix.  This is probably one of my favorite TV shows for several reasons.  One of which is the depth of the main character, House.

I won’t go through a detailed biography of the character.  If you know the program, then you know the character.  If you don’t, I invite you to watch an episode or two, perhaps three or four, to get an idea of him.

I was driving home from work a couple of days ago and I had a thought.  What if there was more to the show?  Let me give you this much.  Each episode begins with someone getting sick or getting into an accident of some kind.  Then House and his department take the medical case and discern what it is that is wrong with the patient.  Typically, it ends up being something completely outlandish – something that no one would ever consider.

This begs the question, how do they come up with their diagnoses? They use a lot of conversation among one another, conversation with the patient, and conversation with the patient’s loved one or ones.  With each conversation usually comes some kind of medical test or exam.  Only a handful of times does the cost of those texts or exams come up.

And there is the genesis of my thought…

I could give you an exhaustive list of tests, scans, and exams that the characters use to find their diagnosis and save the day, but I won’t.  You rarely see the patients or their families after the fact, but one can imagine the mountain of medical bills that have been issued.  There is little talk of insurance coverage beyond the doctors’ (mainly House’s) malpractice insurance.  Yet, it cannot be denied that huge costs are incurred with every decision the patients or the doctors make.

It reminded me of a time some years ago…

My ex’s dog got pretty sick. I was at home with our dogs and she was at school, and her dog, Misti, began pooping blood.  Needless to say, I completely freaked out. I called her, left a message.  Called my dad to get in touch with his sister (a veterinarian) to get her to call me.  After I talked with my aunt, my ex called and told me to hurry to campus and pick her up. She got an appointment with a vet in town.

Once we got to the vet’s office, the attendant at the desk asked us if there was a limit to the treatment we could afford.  My ex, without hesitation, said, “there isn’t any.”

And there, there, is the point.  I read something once, and it has never left me.  Essentially, what it said was that the founding fathers of our country, knowing that the cost of national defense is infinitely elastic because security is paramount to establishing a stable society, socialized it.  At the same time, the medical care of those whom we love, or ourselves, is quite the same.  How many of us have ever told a doctor not to perform a test on ourselves or a loved one because the test will be too expensive, especially if one is really, really sick?  Personally, I don’t know anyone that has ever done so.

Back to House… I believe that one of the underlying purposes of the show is to illustrate that point.  People will pay whatever they need to pay in order to ensure that a doctor, or doctors, can find the cause of an ailment.  They will consent to the test.  Occasionally on the show, there is a lack of consent.  Not because of money, but because the treatment or test is perceived as too dangerous. They will knowingly consent to the debt without question, and why wouldn’t they?  People want to be well.  They want to live as long as possible, and they want their loved ones to do exactly the same, regardless of the possibility that the debt incurred will live long after they are gone.

If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but I don’t think that I am.  This is something that I will probably continue to mull over in my mind.