Reflections on Half-a-Century (+)

As I washed up for the weekend and ensured I had my most whitest of my tighties cleaned for whatever might await me on the eve of my biggest day of the year – my birthday – I got to reflecting.

I reflected because I was reminded how lucky I am and how great things are for me. It was a clear moment for me and I thought, “I was money and I didn’t even know it.”  (Swingers) And though I haven’t been feeling so lucky as of late I pontificated about the years gone by and the pretty fabulous life I have lived and what has been bestowed upon me. My conclusion:

I am Blessed.

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My memories swirled through my head like an old 8mm film with the voice of Morgan Freeman narrating (as he always does in my head). My emotions rose like geysers gushing from the Earth  as I sorted through the laundry list of situations and loved ones that made me smile and cry. I peeked in on my sleeping kids and stood in the doorway for a moment – thinking of their futures and the guidance I have given them. And it really finally dawned on me that I am doing okay in life’s fast-paced game.

It isn’t that I don’t have challenges about bills, love, betrayal, or the likes (wait, that sounds like an episode of Empire); but it is the fact that I am still in my right mind to shift. Shift my being to something different. It isn’t a big shift, just a nudge, yet it gives way to those memories that reinforce the good that I have encountered.

So on this eve of me arriving on this planet I reflect on the following:

  • I have a great, supportive family full of love, joy, empathy, and faith.
  • I can smell the fresh summer rain outside my window and take it in like vitamins.
  • I live in a country where I can express my thoughts, feelings, and desires and not be crucified. ‘merica, dammit.
  • I have a nice roof over my head and the heads of my offspring. This blessing should never go unnoticed.
  • I ate a good healthy meal. And even if it wasn’t the healthiest it was still a meal worth eating.
  • I can anticipate the upcoming NFL season – with or without Colin Kaepernick (but I wish him well).

I can give love to my friends and I can receive it in return.

  • I have gained knowledge through education and observation.
  • I am able to work an honest shift and be proud of what I have accomplished.
  • I am can enjoy a great beer or glass of wine or even something harder from time-to-time.
  • And I can write…however I want to, whenever I want to, and to whomever I want to. We can all create something new, every day we are alive.

These few things give me pause as the clock strikes midnight and I go into celebratory mode. I will enjoy those things around me and I will look for the good in life – because I have the power to do so. And for this I am grateful.

Go well and with love good peeps.

And Happy Birthday to me. 🙂

 

The (F)Laws of Attraction

We are all familiar with the Laws of Attraction – you know – where you attract what you desire? Well, it has been stated to me by a friend that we are also prone to attract individuals that are at the same level of unhealthiness as we are.

Wait, what?

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Yup, just like that…the attraction laws go both ways. And that kind of sucks if you ask me. But it makes sense.

Let me try an example: let’s say I have some SERIOUS issues with commitment (hypothetically speaking). These issues keep me from finding a great relationship because I haven’t dealt with them head on. Maybe I have abandonment issues, wasn’t breast fed long enough, or just am anti-social (again, hypothetically speaking).

Then I meet a fine, wonderful, intelligent woman, whom I seem to connect with. However, because I have my own serious issues it is inevitable that our relationship will reveal her OWN serious issues! Her issues might not be the same as mine – maybe she can’t manage her money or has she’s irresponsible – but the LEVEL of unhealthiness of her problems rival the unhealthy level of my own issue.

So we find ourselves in a conundrum. We like the person but we don’t want to deal with their crap nor do they want to deal with our crap. And we want to start attracting healthy individuals. So, what to do?

Get your shit together, son!

Yup, it’s about that simple. Decrease the level of unhealthy issues holding you back in life. Rebuke that ‘ish in the name of Jesus! Or find a hypnotist to help you rid yourself of your issues, or at least bring the levels down to something more manageable.

I decided to create a short 5-step program [based on my experience as a PM] to battle these challenges:

  1. Become self-aware – take a moment to recognize your flaws. We all have them so don’t pretend you don’t. The first step to anything is recognizing you have something to deal with.
  2. Evaluate your flaw(s) – not all flaws are created equal, know what it is you are dealing with and determine how serious of an issue it is for YOU! No one else matters when we evaluate ourselves, so be honest and accept what it is you get to tackle.
  3. Make a plan – it doesn’t have to be in writing but it should be something that becomes tangible. Enroll in a self-help group, find a good therapist, or join a gym, no matter what it is just think of a plan for you.
  4. Execute the plan! – A plan is just a plan until you actually put it into practice. It doesn’t matter if you fail just start it. Starting is hard but it really is a matter of setting your intention and let your actions follow your thoughts.
  5. Review your progress – like any good plan-of-action a periodic review and establishing check points is a helpful way to keep your progress moving forward. I usually ask myself daily where I believe I am in my restoration process.

Don’t expect to rid yourself completely of your flaw but manage it to where it becomes a mole hill and not a mountain.

Now go out there and find a healthy love – one that is on YOUR level!

In the end, it’s always a good idea to work on who we are as individuals. However, we are always afraid to face our short-comings and we usually act like we don’t have them. But we do. And that’s okay as long as you recognize, devise a plan to deal with them, and then do it.

I, for one, will start right now.

Go well and with love good peeps.

How to Avoid Love: A User’s Guide

I have become an expert at masking feelings, not showing all of my cards, or just not having an ounce of emotion flowing through my veins. In sports it’s a good thing – “that boy has ice water flowing through his veins;” in relationships, uh, not so much. Let me preface this article by stating that I am not a SME [subject matter expert for non-corporate types] nor have I ever slept at a Holiday Inn proving that I’ve gained some universal knowledge about the subject. I just simply like to think out loud and capture that shit in a blog.

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I’ve noticed through various exploits and other accidental mishaps that I’ve become a stone of a man. Maybe it was all of the Jägermeister I drank, drunk, consumed throughout my life but somehow I seem to have become devoid of feeling. Now I don’t mean feelings for my kids or my mama don’t creep up every now and again, but feelings that are expected in relationships. Don’t get me wrong – I want to have these feelings percolating through my being but they just don’t seem to be happening. Therefore, I thought it best if I just prescribe how I deal in hopes of providing some kind of guide to the other misguided and disenfranchised men out there in dating land. NOTE: in the words of the great Jimmy V, “don’t ever give up, don’t ever give up,” (even though it might appear that I have by writing this column).

The Guide

  1. Avoid prolonged and unnecessary eye contact when out on a date. She’ll give you those puppy dog eyes and next thing you know you’ll be buying rounds for the whole got-damn bar!
  2. Do not engage in small talk after work. I get it. You’re tired, you wish you had someone to talk to. You want to be heard. But, don’t give in. It’s better to stay silent and go into listening mode rather than engage in the fact that your co-worker is an ass and it’s getting on your last nerve.
  3. Ignore compliments – even though they feel reeeaaaalllll good. Let’s face it men, we’re like women in this way in that we want to hear how good we look, how strong we are, or how well we screw. Those are all compliments that get the best of us. And before long you’ll have a hoop through your nose while being strung along like a pregnant mule. But hey, if you’re happy about that I’m not one to judge.
  4. Say stupid shit. Like this blog. And you’ll be sure to avoid any possibility of love seeping into your heart and you being captured like a wild boar. Image result for roasting boar cartoon Roasting over a flame. In the middle of a jungle. Lost.  Damn, that imagery just sucks.
  5. Never, and I mean never, bring your kids around. God knows, she’ll do some nice stuff, the kids will be impressed, then you’ll hear about her for a long time to come. Better to keep the kids guessing.
  6. Get a job! Shit, any job. Three jobs. Stay busy. If you just do that you’ll stay lonely like a mutha. (Just buy a lot of those magazines like The Source or Smut.)
  7. Follow the relationship advice of our male compadres. We don’t usually fare well in this arena so it would only make sense that you’d listen to the gibberish coming out of the mouth of your bro; because your bro is so knowledgeable about sport’s and statistics it makes sense he knows about the opposite sex.
  8. And finally, don’t be such a mama’s boy. How can you turn your back on a woman you damn near fell in love with if your mama says, “so-and-so is such a nice girl?” Before you know it you’ll be saying “yes, dear” for many years to come.

And finally, follow Steve Martin’s “Lonely Guy” for further advice.

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Go well and with non-love good peeps.

I Used to Love You…But I’m Good

I remember the exact moment when our eyes first gazed. I had beautiful thoughts of you run through my mind as my mind imagined “us.” I envisioned you and me in a foreign land laughing, talking, and foreseeing the future as one. I felt your presence in my spirit as our brief encounter seemed like an eternity. However, it was only brief as I was introduced to you, but I remember the feeling well – euphoric.

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As I made my acquaintance I remember the feeling of your skin as I reached for your hand. Because I am a renaissance man I chose to kiss your hand as a sign of respect as well as a chance to feel your silky smooth skin grace my lips while briefly catching the scent of your perfume for the day. What was that? Jean Paul Gaultier’s Classique? Or maybe it was your natural scent that danced around my nose and awakened me like a splash of cold water on a hot summer day.

I did not want to release your hand for I believed you would be mine. I wanted to run through the building with you in tow down to the fountains hidden behind the finely manicured greenery purposely placed to welcome in guest of the building. And I thought to myself “this is where we will have our first kiss.”

Your laugh and giggle tingled my spine as you sheepishly flirted with me while I gently released your hand. I glimpsed your bright smile and I was overcome with an emotion I had not felt before. The smile of a goddess right before my eyes. And if you had noticed, albeit a very brief nano-second, you would have seen how I lost my cool, calm, and collective demeanor all because of your smile. I nearly melted away.

We exchanged meaningless pleasantries as we both tried to contain the obvious metaphysical connection we were experiencing – hoping not to expose our true feelings to one another. But the bystanders knew because of the energy we shared created an aura around us like a firefly at night. You and I had forgotten we were among friends as the world seemed to stop for the moment as we took in every detail of one another.

And as I walked away I knew. I just knew. That someday we would be in an embrace sharing our vows and professing our love for each other to the world. As the sun is inevitable to rise our path to love would bear just as true. We would never love another the way we fell in love that day.

But I’m good now. And I’m over you now. And I release you from my spirit.

Go well and with love good peeps.

How Do You Decide?

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Choices, choices and more choices surrounded by decisions, decisions, and more decisions amidst a complicated landscape of relationships. My mind is overwhelmed as my time is limited yet the thought of sharing and giving remains an innate part of my overall being. Thus, the desire to connect in some type of way (apparently I’m feeling some type of way) is continually vying for my attention and demanding I take action. All actions will result in reactions.

Therefore, how do I decide?

Relationships are a mutha; let alone our relationships with our kids, parents, siblings, friends, etc. Yet, our makeup as human beings relies heavily on our ability to create relationships and sustain them. When you think about it – it is a very selfish act. The intended result is to satisfy the bubbling need to connect which is within all of us. Of course, you are free to live a nomadic or reclusive life and rid yourself of any true human connection.

Most of us don’t want to be reclusive – or alone. Therefore, we find ways in which we connect through church, extracurricular activities, and other social functions. Upon connecting we develop and nurture a relationship with another individual hoping for great things to come. And ultimately we sustain a long lasting relationship in which we can look back over time and proudly reflect on the journey it took to achieve that pinnacle. I imagine a Gandhi like figure sitting atop the mountain overlooking a serene and beautiful valley while mind, body, and spirit are one with God.

But before I become so Gandhi-like, I still need to decide, make a choice; take action as it relates to engaging in a meaningful relationship.

So here’s where I become creative and design a process (I know, it’s so “business” talk).

  1. Be deliberate in my actions and desires. This method is very Neanderthal-like; I knock you on the head with my club, throw you over my shoulder, and wander off into the sunset heading for my cave. A bit outdated (and quite illegal) but the intended result is achieved.
  2. I sit back and wait for a line to form as women anticipate meeting me… (crickets, crickets) Yeah, this has a very low probability for success but nonetheless, it’s an option.
  3. I can always let the chips fall as they may. There is absolutely no control in this method and I leave it all to the “universe” to guide me. What happens if the universe says “No RELATIONSHIP for you!?” (In my Nazi Soup Kitchen voice.)
  4. I can devise a very scientific approach to understanding the landscape of choices and then act on those choices very methodically. Oh, wait, eHarmony and Match.com have the patent on this method.
  5. Pray my way into a relationship. Somehow, I see this as very similar to #3 above, but this “universe” is a true serving God. However, other complications can be debated with this method (religious beliefs, science, etc.)

Finally, as I sit back and think about these methods to become engaged in a relationship the fog clears from my head and I listen to the voice directing me – be still my child. I come to the realization that I can’t force the magic of a relationship but I should anticipate its ability to be present when I least expect it. During this time my focus becomes inward as I rid myself of the skeletons and complexities I’ve created to become a renewed man. This I can live with.

Go well and with love good peeps.

I Done Peed My Pants (or How I Mastered Mind over Matter)

Have you ever had to go to the bathroom so bad that you begin doing the antsy dance the closer you get to the urinal? You know that movement we have all done where we are jiving and jerking our way as we approach the stall. And when we are close it feels so far away. There is only an additional few seconds needed to completely loosen our belts and buckles, unzip or pull down, and squat or stand – thanking the Almighty that you didn’t pee on yourself. Whew.

And sometimes we aren’t so lucky.

I’m not talking about as how I might not have been as lucky as a grown man but as a young boy. I recall walking home from school years ago and I was experiencing the moment of truth. I was rushing as fast as I could that was humanely possible for an 8 year old to get home. I recall I was only steps away from my home when I couldn’t stand it no more. BTW, I’m talking having to use #2, not #1. Alas, I was unable to make it all the way. (Insert sad face)

Shame spread across me and I felt I couldn’t face my mom. I was so nervous going home I desperately tried to figure out how to explain what occurred that afternoon. My mind raced as my pants – well – were soaked. This memory sticks with me today and I vowed to never do that again.

So I devised a technique for control. I implemented the mind over matter concept to achieve this greatness. Mastering this feat is no small task and only the manliest of men or the womanist of women should take heed. This is only for the strong. You ask how? Let me tell you how…

  1. Deep breaths – as you feel you are approaching the moment take deep breaths. This does wonders for slowing your body down.
  2. Alternate your thoughts – think of something else besides doing the do. Whether its baseball or other fantasies find something that takes your mind to another place.
  3. Relax – as you find yourself relaxing you gain control of your body.
  4. Pep talk yourself – YOU CAN DO IT! Okay, you have to do it. If you don’t it won’t be a pretty sight.

These are just a few things that I have done over the years. Unfortunately, the urge to pee comes to grown men and women as well so the techniques are good for a lifetime. However, let me state that these techniques are useless should you a) find yourself drinking all night, b) have bladder issues [go see a doc, cuz!], c) constantly forget to go pee, or d) find yourself traveling with no rest stop in sight. Good luck to you.

Don’t be ashamed should you experience “leakage.” Yeah, it’s not cool but sh*t happens. Otherwise, carry around a pack of Depends and call it a day. There are worst things to overcome in life.

Go well and with love good peeps.

You See Red, I See Blue

Irreconable, irreconcievable, irrecon…IRRECONCILABLE!

That’s the word I was searching for! Yes, it is that moment when you can no longer relate to that other person in your life – be it a spouse, a friend, family member or whomever. It is coming to grips with a thought process that may have taken time to mature and eventually accept but you understand where it stems from. It comes from a place that has taken all of your personal experiences over your years of living with the attempt to mesh them with another human being’s experiences in which none of those thoughts are shared between you. It is the absolute discovery of relating – or not relating.

I love sports but you do not and therefore we just can’t have the conversations I have about sports.

It becomes obvious after a while that what we communicate about is entirely out of sync. Many times this is to no one’s fault it is simply how we are wired. I can’t help that I abhor fashion and completely hate shopping. I mean, seriously, how many pairs of shoes can one own? Or I see you are not interested in technology but I’m a geek.

There we are sitting quietly on opposite ends of the room with nothing to say and nothing in common. Our eyes barely gaze at one another because of these differences. We can’t muster up conversation and the air around us becomes tense. With an outburst one of us declares, “I can’t take this anymore! The silence is deafening.”

And so the road to irreconcilable differences begins.

But is it really so formulaic? If it is, is it preventable? Is this a giant snowball we can prevent from escalating merely by recognizing and dealing with the avalanche that occurred to create it?

Or is it merely the way we are wired? A life-long event of equipping us with our desires, turn-offs, our wants, politics, religion (or lack thereof) and needs that fashions us as to who we are? If this is the case we only would hang with those we have things in common with. We would find ourselves drifting to others like us. We would have the tendency to be among those most like us and those that can relate to who we are. Hmm, don’t we already do this and how’s it working out? Maybe we recognize that it isn’t merely searching out for others like us but that we are formed by others in their image.

How would we ever overcome this conundrum? A weird cycle of Catch-22 is initiated when the repetitive life-cycle is repeated generation after generation, time after time, never allowing evolution to take hold and catapult us to another level.

I say “Stop it then!” Don’t allow our differences and our comforts get the best of us. Don’t allow the negativity of irreconcilability seep into our psyche’s and mess up the most advantageous paths our lives can take. Don’t take away our life’s potential or our children’s lives potential with an inadequate substitute due to our challenges to communicate. We should be thinking positively before we step down these negative paths. We need to understand fully what the future might hold as we embrace this life of irreconcilability.

For now, I will like many others come to the conclusion that life may bring me to a dead end and there is no other alternative for reconciliation – therefore thrusting me into a different direction than previously thought. Hope is not lost but the path will change. I just hope this path has the potential as my previous path.

Go well and with love good peeps.