Living the Dream

A woman I know once called me a, “dreamer.” At the time I thought it was a semi-compliment because I wasn’t aware of the meaning. It was more likely meant to be a polite insult.

Dreamer:

person who lives in a world of fantasy; one who is impractical and unrealistic.

a person who spends a lot of time thinking about or planning enjoyable events that are not likely to happen

The only enjoyable event I preached was not having to work an unenjoyable job full-time but still be able to live an enjoyable life or at least not a miserable one. Maybe I wasn’t so much a dreamer as much as others were unimaginative and fearful. A chihuahua thinks a human dwarf is tall.

How you accept your goals and circumstances in life is highly dependent on what you think is realistic for yourself and how badly you feel the need to not be left out. It sounds adolescent but trends don’t end they just change. The only difference is that you can throw away last season’s jeans and move on but you’re stuck when you handcuff yourself to adult misery. You can laugh at old pictures of yourself but serving a life sentence in your own version of prison is no joke.

If you’re not dreaming you’re following.

 

 

 

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Part-time Work

In the early years of my last job I confessed to a co-worker how I would rather work part-time hours. Her response?

“That’s not very attractive.”

I guess to her a single man’s purpose in life is to be attractive to women. Her husband is probably a sucker. Women don’t necessarily have to be in love to marry a man, they’ll settle for a slave. So would I though. If someone is willing to give you everything you want in exchange for hanging around while also providing a pension if you ever decide to leave, it would be difficult to resist. Ironically or maybe not, she only worked part-time which is acceptable of course because she’s a woman. How come the term loser is never assigned to women? I ignored her for the next 5 years.

Recently, I entertained the idea of part-time work again. There was a union gig I found near my home servicing public bus coin boxes. I want to say I turned it down but I can’t because I didn’t even apply. It seemed like a really lonesome job that only offered money in exchange for my effort and time.

The way I see it is that an unfulfilling job is going to take away much of my good energy. When I finish my shift I’ll want to do crap all or at least only activities that are easy(watching videos) or fun(eating hamburgers). On my days off I’ll be recovering from work from the day before and will likely continue doing crap all. Hangovers aren’t only created by alcohol.

Perhaps I’m not very productive as it is but my belief is that having too much time will make me really bored which will push me to do things I wouldn’t do otherwise. This all sounds crazy or at the very least a poor excuse to not work a job but I don’t want to take any chances. Dead end jobs only pay you for your time. If you have a Plan B then you’re doing your Plan A a disservice.

As for now my choices in the stock market have been financially supporting me. It was punching me in the gut late last year but I have been slowly catching my breath back. If it decides to assault me more severely in the near future I’ll still be okay. If it continues to rally then I guess I’ll also be okay.

 

Reading Books

My former Amway sponsor said if you don’t read books you might as well be illiterate. I responded by saying I would still need to read restaurant menus, but I get his point. I don’t believe that people who read abundantly are more intelligent because it depends greatly on what you read and how you process the information. Finishing a large catalogue of books from the teenage vampire genre doesn’t make you an intellectual.

In the past couple of years I have been trying to make it a habit to read more and I have been failing at it for the most part. In a book that I have been slowly reading over the past few months it suggested that when it comes to progress anything is better than nothing, just don’t give up. So I made a promise to read at least 2 pages a day no matter what. I’ve been failing even at that but I never mentally called it quits.

I’m on a quest towards self-improvement and progress. For $20 or free you can get a lifetime of information from people who are smarter, more educated and more experienced than you are. All you have to do to absorb their powers is to read what they wrote.

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I don’t know if I’d recommend any of the books I’m reading to many people. Marilyn Manson’s book is the most entertaining…surprise surprise. The other 3 books have good information but can be boring too. Reading internet articles seems to be more practical. I believe books have to be a certain number of pages so that the publisher or whoever can justify a higher cost, and in return you get a bunch of filler pages and paragraphs.

If you want to improve in a particular area in your life, reading the appropriate books is a must. If you’re not seeking out information to improve in a particular subject it means you’re not interested in improving or you think you know it all.

If I was a parent I would be reading books on parenting, children, social sciences or at least a stripper’s autobiography for lessons on what not to do. There’s books to help you with your career but a good sign that you don’t like your job is if you have no interest in doing it better. Who wants to read books on something they hate doing? If you’re not interested in seeking information on raising a better child then maybe you don’t really want to be a good parent?

Today I read 20 pages. I deserve a cookie.

Forced Discipline

Like many others in this world I have difficulty doing things that I don’t fully believe I have to do which is why most people have Santa Claus bellies and are not very good at anything.

It’s common for prison inmates to become quite muscular because there’s nothing to do in prison besides lift weights. Just within this last hour I came up with the idea of chaining myself near the piano with only a couple of books within arms reach. If I don’t feel like practicing piano then my only alternative would be reading or push-ups. This only works if I throw away the key so I’d have to strategize a way for someone to release me before I shit my pants. I suppose a bucket nearby would handle that issue. It could all end badly so it would be best if I had bolt cutters beside me in case an extreme situation arises like arson or a passing ice cream truck. There really isn’t any excuse not to go through with all of this other than it just seems very unconventional.

Winning Matters

Not knowing or avoiding the laws of life landed me in Nowheresville by the time I was 30 years of age. Life is a competition. If you’re not competing then you’re not playing. If you’re not playing then you’re just watching other people score(I stole that line from a TV show).

The name of the game is being better than others because that’s the difference between feeling good and feeling like a loser. A few try to win but most play not to lose. The common mindset is to tell yourself that you don’t want to win so that you don’t feel so badly about yourself for chickening out. Spectators in the arena criticize the competitors but also secretly envy them.

People feeling inferior about their lives while in my presence should have been my goal in life. It may be lonely at the top but sheep get slaughtered, they just don’t see it coming. This all sounds slightly primitive and unevolved but to believe otherwise is pretending we’re fundamentally different than our recent ancestors. The game changes but the rules stay the same.

 

 

Decision Making

The ones who make better decisions will do better in life. Most people don’t do so well in life. They do okay, satisfactory maybe, average. In other words, they would do things much differently if they could do it over again.

If you could figure out how to make good decisions then you would be set. Some figure it out but often only after they have handcuffed themselves to the consequences of a series of bad decisions.

Since I have no positive residuals to show for from any decisions I made in my 20s then I may have made no good decisions during that era. My path in life during that time may have been attributed from the lack of a decision. Like the saying goes, not making a decision is still a choice. 

To be able to make good decisions requires the appropriate knowledge, experience and objectiveness. Too often the beliefs, ego and emotions interfere with rational decision making by ignoring statistics, science and math. 2 + 2 = 4 except when you want it to equal 5.

Fear is often the constant emotion involved in bad decision making. Being blinded by love is more often a case of being plagued by fear. The occupation that one chooses is often a decision based on a perceived probability of not losing. Settling too soon for too little feels safe but the guarantee you’re also promised is that you’ll never win.

An immediate catastrophe is often not the consequence of our decisions which allows people to prolong the idea of an improbable rosy outcome. There can be substantial comfort in the time between a bad decision and the day of reckoning.

If your life has not gone or is not going the way you would have liked it to then you have to question your decision making ability. If your main priority in life is to not feel down on yourself which is often the case then you will make many bad decisions. The universe does not care about your feelings.

Make your decisions as if the right or wrong answers would mean life or death the next day.

 

Land of Opportunity

At my first job at a big-box retail store we had a 19-year-old Pakistani immigrant working the auto parts counter. His English was good enough and his auto parts knowledge was good enough only because you didn’t have to know anything about cars. He was enrolled in university at the same time going for his engineering degree.

Just over half a decade later he’s working at Blackberry making use of his university degree. Fast forward another 10 years he has his MBA and now working for another big corporation with some fancy title. I don’t think he’s earning minimum wage.

A lad from Mexico from the same store with similar beginnings also had a similar trajectory as my Pakistani ex-colleague. I’ll bet the both of them did better than any of us Canadian-born schmucks working at that store. We had every edge on them on paper. Comfort often breeds weakness.

Perhaps in the West we’re surprisingly melancholic because we often don’t capitalize on what is available to us. Centuries ago the great explorers jumped on a ship to seek out faraway undiscovered land without GPS, internet or multi-vitamins unknowing of the many horrific surprises that awaited them. We can attempt almost anything we wish, fail, not get scurvy and then have the opportunity to try again. Instead we often seek out what’s barely good enough thinking the comfort and mediocre cultural milestones will glide us joyfully through life. If you don’t dream at least a little bit then you might end up living a nightmare.