Too Many Avenues for Excuses

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Our society has created too many avenues that we can use to find excuses in life.

Despite what the gurus have been spouting lately, life is not easy. Love, making money, reaching your dreams; these things are not easy. Existing is, but living is not. Success in anything takes hard work, perseverance, and often times, a lot of failure.

It is so much easier to find a reason to not try. Anymore, it seems that we are actively finding excuses that allow us to avoid the unpleasant feeling of failure, but in that we also lose the ability to fully experience life. Its the ups and the downs that show us what true joy is and we may never find it without falling hard on those low points.

We have to move aside those blocks that we have put up with excuses and fears in order to make things happen for ourselves. Looking deep inside ourselves we know what our real hurdles are and what we have maintained as mere excuses. Both hurdles and excuses can, and need to be, cleared in order for us to get what we are after but it us up to us and fully within our ability to do so.

The constant barrage of new reasons to remain complacent or unmotivated will not end, it is up to us to move forward despite them.

Bad Poetry – Snapshots of Anxiety 2

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I recently dug up an old folder filled with scraps of paper and a dusty notebook that included some of the thoughts and some poetry from my earliest days of writing. As I poured over the old scribblings I remembered the time of my life that the had come from, a time when I was at my lowest, letting the darkness close in around.  I have since recognized how low I was during that time and been able to open up about my struggle with anxiety as I climbed up out of the pit.

What follows are many of thoughts and “poems” that I am calling Snapshots of Anxiety. They are each a look into my mindset during some of my greatest struggles and some are merely a single sentence. Many are just plain bad, but I thought they could provide a little insight to some out there, so here they come nonetheless.  I will try to follow each one with a bit more insight into the times and situations that triggered them, if I am able to recall the details. I would love to hear other veiwpoints on these and welcome comments and questions.

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This snapshot came with a rare bit of optimism attached to it, but with contingencies. It was more or less directed at other dreamers and hopes for their success. I had convinced myself that any dreams of mine were only to be chased and never captured. I could not find a compelling reason why I would be able to achieve anything that I reached for. Why me? Why would I find success over anybody else? I was just a part of the masses and nothing more. This was the driving argument.

My dreams of writing had only just developed and seemed more of a fleeting thought but it kept returning and brought a compulsion to put my thoughts down. It became my therapy just as much as my desire but I still would not let myself believe that I could ever make anything out of the idea, I scribbled away nonetheless, I guess just hoping that some form of divine intervention would intercede on my behalf and bring me up in spite of myself.

The one positive idea that I did employ while scratching away at papers and waiting on miracles was that at least I was not wasting the minutes by staring at walls, I was doing something, even if I was convinced that it was all for not. This has been my greatest struggle; even if I allow myself to try diving into something that I have dreamed of, I can’t let go of the idea that I am not good enough, that I can never make it work.  The “Why me?” argument persists and continually breaks down hope.

It was several years later that I refocused and realized that the question had changed. “Why would I be able to find success?” became “Why not me?” Why not any of us? We are not just a part of the mass that inhabits this world, we are individuals in a crowd and each one of us is capable of standing out.  It may not always be in the way that we hoped but any of us can find success in many ways. It may just be that we are asking the wrong question.

Bad Poetry – Snapshots of Anxiety

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I recently dug up an old folder filled with scraps of paper and a dusty notebook that included some of the thoughts and some poetry from my earliest days of writing. As i poured over the old scribblings I remembered the time of my life that the had come from, a time when I was at my lowest, letting the darkness close in around.  I have since recognized my struggles from that time and been able to open up about my struggles with anxiety as I climbed up out of the pit.

What follows is the first of many thoughts and poems that I am calling Snapshots of Anxiety. They are each a look into my mindset during some of my greatest struggles and many merely a single sentence. Many are just plain bad, but I thought they could provide a little insight to some so here they are nonetheless.  I will try to follow each one with a bit more insight into the times and situations that triggered them if I am able to recall the details.

on-the-wall-tick-tock-tick-tock

I remember this one very well.  I was in an apartment that was shared with three others, one of whom was a cousin (we did have separate bedrooms), so it was not like I was isolated and alone during this time.  I had just returned to college after a failed business attempt and was lost in my life. I was somewhat lost before I started the business which was one motive for setting out on my own, but I think that I let that drive me too much and I didn’t properly prepare for the future and for the consequences.  After it failed I let all my past pain and regret flow in and quickly sunk into the dark places of the mind.

I was sitting in my room thinking about my failures when the ticking of the wall clock started to catch my attention and reminded me of all the time that I had wasted in trying to accomplish something.  Part of me seemed to have been searching for darkness so I only focused on what was lost not the fact that I had returned to school to further my education, or that I had checked off a career path that I now knew I did not want to follow. The only time that was really wasted was that which was spent reflecting on time that I thought was wasted. A simple change of perspective is night and day and there is always good to be found, although we may sometimes have to search harder than others.

Living of Two Minds

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My dad read my book just a few days ago then called me with a few questions about the subject matter. He asked the first few merely to try and delicately steer the conversation to the question that he actually wanted to be answered. Basically I had to reassure him that I didn’t have a drug problem. After the phone call I realized that my dad didn’t really know both halves of me. I had had this same thought before, but it was fleeting. This was the first time that I really reflected on it. You see, the book, while it is about drugs and addiction, is also about anxiety and depression. I have now, just within the last few days, allowed myself to freely admit that I suffer from anxiety.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with what an anxiety condition actually is, its more than being nervous or worried; it’s a roller coaster of emotions, often without reason; its quick mood swings that can be shifted by the most menial of things; its disparaging yourself, your decisions, everything that you have ever done; it’s the highs and lows of that roller coaster. The deep troughs are usually only seen by close family and maybe some close friends, but my dad had only really ever seen the top half of the coaster. My parents had divorced a long time ago so it wasn’t hard to keep that half of me from being seen by him and I have grown quite adept in hiding that part of my life from the world. My mom, brother, sister, and now, my wife all know it well but not really anyone else. They know the balance that I have struck and witnessed the steep drops followed by the steep climb back up the other side. But, like I said, the lulls are reserved to be viewed by only a few people in my life. Most see what my dad sees, the normal, above ground, highs and lows.

It is less like there are two halves of me than there are two minds. Each has its own perspective. They battle for control of thought, one a motivator, the other an oppressor. The motivator drives life forward, encouraging and hopeful. Even when life requires a reevaluation due to a bad direction of poor choices, the motivator moves in a positive direction.

The oppressor can accomplish the same end of examining poor choices and direction but does so by self-deprecation. It pushes one back into a small, loathsome corner by reliving past regrets and poisoning confidence with self-doubt.

Once the two start battle, the oppressor usually wins out, it is far more aggressive. The motivator can win on its own from time to time but more often than not it will need some assistance. The trick is to find some form of relief to fall back on, something that can vent out some of the oppressor’s steam so that it has less power to wield. That relief could be anything and will vary for everyone; something as simple as sitting outside to watch the trees blow or be much more complex like solving differential equations, for me that has been writing, and recently, sharing my thoughts. I let the oppressor’s ideas soak into paper which takes away some of its aggression, not all but enough that I can feel like I am in more control. All the while I pass through the world with a select few individuals ever knowing both of the minds that battle within me.

The Cost of Money

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Yesterday was the first Thanksgiving that my wife and I had spent apart from our families, even last year we were not able to make it home but we still had a few family members that were willing and able to make it to us.  It was a decent day, a good meal, my wife is good company, we entertained ourselves just as we would have if we had headed home.  But the absence of any of our family, the long distance separating us from them, cast a bit of a gloom over the holiday.  Not to mention the start of the dreary days of a long winter here in the upper Midwest which always make me homesick anyway.  All of this made me reflect on the reasons for our being apart.

There is more than one contributing factor, as there always is.  First off, the reason that we were unable to make the trip out west was that we have a newborn son and such a long trip would not be an easy one for him.  By no means is he any sort of burden, he is a blessing, we tried and failed for several years to have children before he came.  We also had to consider the travel time and how much that would cost in vacation hours which we are trying to save for a trip out at Christmas time.  These are all some of the contributing factors but there is a single driving factor that led to the others.

What it really comes down to is money.  The cost of money is what I have really been thinking about the past couple of days.  I, like many people, moved away from home and from my family for a better job, for more money.  But ever since I got here there has been the nagging thought, ever-increasing with time, is it really worth it?  I have concluded, (several times actually, as I go back and forth within my own tormented mind) that, for me at least, it is not.  Family is everything to me, it always has been and why i moved here to begin with is a little bit of a mystery.  It was probably the allure of a larger salary, new career, new challenges, these are all good changes, all good things.  But again, is it really worth it?

I’ve spent much of my time scheming on how to get back but many of those ideas hit hard at the wallet.  So it again comes down to the cost of money.  Had I not ever taken the new job, gotten used to the larger salary, then it would not play such a large role in moving back.  But I did and now that has to be considered.  All in all, i believe that the costs in attaining more money are greater than its value and it is only a matter of time before i let these reflections motivate me to move on to what is much more important.

We seek more money so that we can buy things that we think we need, what we are told that we need.  When really thinking about it we can figure out what is an actual need and what is an illusion that just drives us to seek out more money and that seems like something that we should all be doing on this Black Friday.  So that is what I have spent my Thanksgiving and Black Friday doing; staying home, not shopping for anything and thinking about how I can get back to my family without sacrificing too much of our livelihood.

Today is going to be a good day.

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Today is going to be a good day.

Even after our reckless hopes were crushed again and again; today is going to be a good day.

Even with all the positive pregnancy tests then the heartbeats we lost; today is going to be a good day.

Even after all the mental and physical pain was relived with each loss; today is going to be a good day.

Even with 1500 miles separating us from our home and our families; today is going to be a good day.

Even though over the past three and a half years I have watched you endure five miscarriages; today is going to be a good day.

Even with all of the doctor appointments and inconclusive infertility consultations; today is going to be a good day.

Even after long days following sleepless nights running well past 4 a.m.; today is going to be a good day.

Even though I am too exhausted to think and to tell you how much I love you; today is going to be a good day.

Even with the recurring rounds of inconsolable newborn cries; today is going to be a good day.

Because we have just realized our dream of our little family when you brought our baby boy into the world; today is going to be a good day.