Unlikely Sources of Enlightenment

It’s easy to fall into negativity because it’s a survival mechanism. Having ambitions way past your current situation triggers a danger response. In the background there’s always a silent voice coercing you into doing the thing that has been known to get people by. You become your environment and the common environment is not very inspiring. If anything it’s depressing.

There’s inspirational/motivational/rational speeches and videos that are part of my routine although not my daily routine. I see them more as my religion than I do self-help or motivation.

As much as I believe in what they have to say, not being surrounded by others who believe what you do as deeply as you do diminishes the potential of the possibilities. Being the lone attendee at a powerful sermon does not make for a spiritual environment that lingers on. Instead, you might look around, see no one and think you’re a fool. Power in numbers.

There’s this guy on YouTube who looks like a meathead but has some inspiring videos. I watch one of his videos regularly and try to burn his words into my brain.

“…don’t complain about it, don’t whine about, don’t tell other people how destitute you are. You followed your heart. You own your heart and balls. Now eat the cake associated with it. That’s the problem. People want to follow their hearts but they also want the guarantee of the traditional path.”

“…you will be cast out, you will be a weirdo, you will be eccentric, it’s just the way of the heart. But it will be your way.”

“…the difference is that the traditional path has a ladder of success, you can look at it, go to college, get a career…which is no longer a reality. It’s a hope. It’s a wish. Get a pension plan, retire, blah blah blah. There’s a linear approach. When you start following your heart there’s no guarantee. You don’t know where that motherfucker is going to take you.”

It’s true. You don’t know where that motherfucker is going to take you.

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Holding On

When the ride of life feels as if it’s running on fumes you agonize where it will leave you. A vehicle once filled with sufficient fuel welcomed all passengers and journeys is now stripped to its bare bones leaving the driver to aimlessly navigate in solitude.

Belief is the essential additive that fuels the daily driver through its everyday journey whether to worthy ambitions or blind madness. Like a desperate illusion of a mirage the mind will search for any belief to grasp onto in order to convince you to continue on in a situation which seems past grim.

Most will accept the partially stale gas because it’s better than nothing. It may or may not get you to where you want to go but it’ll keep you going. A little bit of crazy is what is needed to survive what is mostly a long flat road that seemingly degrades over time and ends with you driving over a cliff one way or another.

Phone Culture

If I wasn’t getting a free meal and beer I might have been annoyed with the 3 of them at a pub all staring into their phones. Before smartphones you would have to entertain each other by saying something or doing something, sometimes almost forcibly. The phone appears to be a device to entertain yourself and if entertaining enough you say, “look at this.” After a second of acknowledgement the head comes back down. One was looking at shopping flyers while the other 2 were scrolling through social media or playing a game. If I had to guess though, this is something that happens more so with the younger generation.

I’ve recently been active on Twitter with the 18 people who I follow and my 2 followers. It’s possible half of my followers accidentally touched the follow button. With 18 people there’s more action than I can keep up with. Now it makes sense to me how people can have their faces in their phones all day, liking, tweeting, retweeting, scrolling. Some people follow hundreds of people and have hundreds of followers.

Twitter is just one platform. Many people also have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and maybe a few others. Most of life for some people is lived through their phones. It’s easy and constant entertainment.

Everyone is trying to participate to get some kind of validation with a witty one-liner, meme or a photo that they may or may not have taken themselves. A life fuelled by strangers. Guaranteed you’ll find someone out there to connect with, perhaps enough that you’ll give up doing it the old fashioned way.

 

 

5-Speed Fears

When we were young if you voluntarily chose to buy a car with an automatic transmission because you didn’t want to drive a manual transmission then you were considered a wuss. That’s the PG term. What you were really labelled as was a fucking pussy. Maybe I’m being extreme. Let’s just say you weren’t cool.

One of the worst fears of having to drive stick was the possibility of having your car stall which was directly related to your clutch action. I’m not sure why it was so embarrassing but if you stalled, people would shame you. It’s one of those things that can feel significant at the time but it’s so insignificant that it won’t be documented for future generations to read about. In the year 2178 all that they will know is that we drove our own vehicles at one time.

Another cause for anxiety was the thought of having to successfully get your car moving when stopped on a steep incline. What if you roll into the car behind you? What if you can’t do it? What if the ground is wet? Burnt clutch! Ahhhh!

I had an unease with the idea of learning to drive stick but I figured if small Asian women could do it then I don’t have an excuse. That statement might come off as misogynistic and racist but it was just the way I rationalized it. In those days I would look to take the chicken route in most situations unless if I felt I had no good excuse. If a small Asian woman has more balls than I do then I’m not even worthy enough to be called a pussy.

 

Daily Prompt: Clutch

About a Dog

A dog sitting on your lap is the same as having a naked hairy guy sit on your lap who doesn’t shower or ever wipe his ass. I probably have fecal matter all over my jeans.

The dog has 24/7 access to the yard through a doggy door but has a tendency to hold out until I take her for a walk. I know this because I can see the business almost coming out of her butt while we’re walking to the nearby park. I suspect she gets enjoyment seeing me pick up her mess. When someone is picking up your fresh poo all the time you know who is the boss. At the vet yesterday she decided to unload a hot turd in the middle of the reception area. Luckily, no one was there and it was a healthy turd that didn’t leave marks on the floor.

Over time she’s found ways to optimize her life around me. She probably brainstorms these ideas when she’s lounging in her bed for most of the day. What else does she have to do?

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It’s the bonus they give you when you let them upsell you

 

That Guy

A few years ago I had a envelope to deliver at a Vietnamese pool hall in the afternoon. It was open but not really. It was the type of place that you walk into and a second later walk out of. Aside from the tinted windows the 5 unkept middle-aged to oldish men smoking cigarettes around one pool table made it unwelcoming. They’re probably there almost every day. Don’t they know there’s no smoking allowed under the Health By-law #9535?

I walked out of there thinking that I never wanted to be like those guys. I’m not sure if it’s because I just don’t want to be like one of those guys or if I’m shit scared that it could easily be my future.

There’s always going to be a small percentage of men that end up in that similar situation in life. It’s probably not going to be the ones who come from well-off families or even average familes. The most likely demographic would be the people from the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder who grew up with poor influences.

“That’s us and the guys that we know.”

He agreed. My snooker friend and I last night swore we would never become one of those guys but those guys probably thought the same thing in the previous century. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that him and I were bumming around together after high school and that we’re kind of doing it again 20 years later.

In many aspects I’m already “that guy” but everyone has a different idea of their worst nightmare. Most guys have a section of their life that others dread…broke, disabled, single, nagging wife, screaming kids, shitty job, stressed. We always try to cut those guys slack by saying, “at least he has…….”

I guess it’s one’s choice to bring themselves to a shady pool hall at 1 PM on most weekdays. If one did not want to be one of those guys all that they would have to do is not do that. I kind of doubt that most of them want to be doing what they’re doing but that’s the choice you might make when the other option is solitude.

Illusory Options

If you’re not good at making decisions when you have multiple options then life will narrow it down for you while you can’t decide. Sometimes we think we have options because time is on our side but often it’s just the illusion of freedom to procrastinate.

When you’re quite certain of your goals it makes it easier to get there because you know where you’re going. The quickest route between 2 points is the straightest line. If you’re not sure where you’re going everything becomes a successful distraction.

I should have given more thought to what an old friend said to me many years ago. We were talking about jobs that I could do and I forget what he said exactly but it ended with, “you’ve basically narrowed it down to nothing.” I didn’t disagree but I continued to go against my will without an exit plan. Life kept on making the decisions for me. I just couldn’t dream past a job, or I could but fear made itself an obstacle.

After I quit my job to do “nothing” I came across what I thought to be an opportunity in the stock market. In 2010 I swore off ever getting involved again with any financial paper asset that could lose value. I was convinced the stock market was a scam. Everything can seem like a scam if you expect to succeed greatly without having the knowledge to do so.

After researching, and deliberation with myself I slowly put in 65% of my savings into high risk growth stocks, 15% into growth stocks, 3% into one safe stock and the rest into what I called, money for the year in case nothing happens or if shit hits the fan. A professional financial adviser would have you do the exact opposite but my goal wasn’t to crawl to the finish line in 30 years. Conventional rules will get you conventional results.

Most people who have done what I did end up with a sob story. A few of them end up jumping off of a bridge. If I tell you it won’t happen to me because I’m smarter than them you’ll roll your eyes and whisper a prayer for me or against me.

It sounds crazy and it might be but this is what can happen when you don’t give yourself another option…you either succeed greatly or fail greatly. The rationale was if I didn’t do this then I would be going back to work. If I did it and failed I would be going back to work. However, if I succeed I might not have to go back to undesirable employment. It was almost a choice between die, die or live.