I Wrote a Thing!

I wrote this. I’m incredibly proud of it, and would love some feedback. It’s just part one of a story I’m working on. It’s completely unedited and is definitely a first draft, but it may be one of the most fun starts to a story I’ve ever done. 😀

Stuck in Neutral   <- working title

Dying was uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable like sitting in the backseat of a Chevy Camaro. More like hearing your dad tell a racist joke in front of your one black friend. That kind of uncomfortable.

I mean, imagine yourself just hanging out, doing whatever it is you do. Now insert a sharp pain somewhere, and a sudden realization that you’re staring at your cold dead self on the ground. No one is around and you’re definitely not looking at a mirror. You’re dead. You might try to get back into that shell of a thing you just got unceremoniously kicked out of, but it’s just not working.

My name is Dave. I died just a few minutes ago. It was uncomfortable.

I stood over the lifeless meatbag that I used to call home wondering where my flurry of lights and flashbacks were. I was only thirty, but somehow I expected there to be some awesome movie that gets played where I watch myself at Christmas, or see my parents, or even the first time I kissed a girl. None of that happened. I just got to stand up and look at the mess of a person I left behind. I mean, I wasn’t that much of a mess. I had nice hair, and I was only slightly overweight. Speaking of, why wasn’t I glamorous now that I’d reached the afterlife? Looking down at my small gut, I realized that my spirit self looked just like my physical self. Now I’d like to have a discussion with all the pastors who said I’d get a “glorified body.” What gives?

While standing around being mopey, a light glowed in front of me. Finally, I thought to myself. I’d been standing there for a good five minutes and nobody had come to get me yet. I was starting to worry whether I’d be able to go anywhere, or if I’d be stuck staring at myself on the floor of Wal-Mart for all eterinity. I guess by now a lot of people had seen the thirty year old, somewhat healthy man fall down and die. I’m sure the ambulance will be here soon and maybe they’ll let me get back in. For now, I better just go to the light. It worked in Poltergeist, so maybe it was what I was supposed to do.

I stepped over myself and went through the glowing portal. It had no defined edges to speak of, but I call it a portal nonetheless. It took me into another world, completely white. As far as I could tell, there was nothing. Just a big white room. There was hardly a sound either. I tried tapping my feet, but despite my hope for a huge echo and glorious tapping sound, there was nothing. I may as well have been tapping my feet on a cloud.

Dave Johnson!” A loud voice bellowed all around me.

God?” I asked, hopefully. I had a ton of questions and I was seriously hoping this was my opportunity to have them all answered.

No, this is Peter. Turn around.”

I spun around to see a small double panel white door in the wall. Or at least seemed to be a wall. It was really hard to tell in a place with no shadows. There was a man sitting at a desk near the wall, clothed in white. He had a badge on though, so he was probably important. I’m guessing this was the Saint Peter that everyone is supposed to meet. I was hoping he had some good news and I would get to wander through those doors. I’d always wondered what heaven looked like, and I was finally going to get a peak.

Hey, man,” I said awkwardly, not knowing how to address him. He just looked at me with squinty eyes. “So, what’s next?”

You’re not supposed to be here.” He said, no humor in his eyes at all.

Wait, what?” I was shocked. “Please tell me I don’t have to go downstairs! I did all the stuff and things!”

What?” His eyes got wide. “Oh no! No, it’s not that you’re not supposed to be here at all. You’re just not supposed to be here now.” He smiled a bit. “Sorry. I hope I didn’t give you a heart attack. It’s been a long day.”

I immediately let out a sigh of relief. “Oh good! That was awful, Pete. You need to work on your delivery.”

I know. It’s in my performance improvement plan every year. I’m working on it,” Peter said as his grimace returned.

So how do I go where I’m supposed to go if I’m not supposed to be here.”

Give me your hand.”

I reached out my hand as Peter dug through his desk. He pulled out a large stamp and pushed it onto the back of my hand.

Rescheduled,” I read the stamp aloud. “Okay, so when am I supposed to be here.”

That’s classified, Dave. No one gets to know that information.” Peter pointed to the right, “Head out that door and you’ll find yourself back where we found you. Just get back in your body and everything will be fine. We’ll see you in a while.”

I started walking over to the door then looked back to Peter, “So, I guess I’ll see you in about forty years then?”

Nice try. Goodbye, Dave.”

It was clear to me I was going to get nothing out of him, so I went toward the exit door and down the stairs. Another white portal met me a few flights down. I was convinced at this point that this must all be a big joke. If I was going to walk through a portal anyway, why make me go down any stairs at all. I guess the folks in Heaven were Zeppelin fans. It’s the only thing that made sense. It kind of made me curious to know if the maintenance people in Hell were fans of AC/DC. That would all make perfect sense to me.

After my short jaunt in the afterlife, I found myself. Literally. I was back in front of my body, but this time I was in a hospital. The nurses and doctors were all poking me with instruments. I thought for a second about actually getting back into the body. I mean, I didn’t want to wake up with them jabbing me with sharp utensils. I’m not into the pain thing like some folks. I watched myself for a minute before I felt the sudden need to go ahead and just take my body back over.

I went over to my body to touch it and my hand was zapped. A red shieldy looking thing covered my body. It faded as quickly as it appeared. Must have done something wrong, so I tried again. ZAP! It hit me again. There was some sort of forcefield on my body not letting me in. Peter didn’t say anything about it. He didnt’ send me off with a guidebook or instructions on how to get back in. Panic started to set in.

That’s when I saw my eyes pop open.

They weren’t my eyes though. They were bloodshot beyond anything I’d ever seen. It would be safe to say that they were just entirely red. My body started moving and all the nurses and doctors looked to be relieved as they began setting their stuff down. How could they be relieved if I was still standing here very much dead? I reached out to touch the now awake body again. ZAP! Still no way to get in. I picked my foot up and kicked myself in the head. ZAP! Again and again. ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! Nothing. I had a feeling I was about to have a very rough day.

Then my body did something that I know I would never do. It lashed out maniacally at the doctor standing over it checking its heart. It grabbed him and pulled him close biting a giant hole in his neck. Blood went everywhere. I tried to throw up and quickly learned that ghosts can’t throw up. Good to know.

My body hurled itself off the table lunging at everyone nearby biting and swinging at them. There was blood everywhere and people screaming. It was awful. I tried to tackle myself to make the whole thing stop, but it just kept blocking me. Whatever shell was on this thing was powerful. I wanted my body back to stop all the crazy that was going on. Likely I would spend a lifetime in jail for killing an operating room full of nurses and doctors, but at least I would stop it.

I watched helplessly as my body peered around the room at the carnage it had just inflicted. I crouched down and slowly leaned into one of the nurses still convulsing on the floor. I watched in horror as my body started eating her. Just gnawing on her like a hungry guy eats a steak. I had to look away. I mean, I had tried to save these people, but there was nothing I could do. I had to find some way to remove this weird shield off of this guy. I quickly decided I couldn’t refer to this beast as “me” or “mine.” Whatever accountability I had for this needed to be removed quickly.

I heard shouting outside of the operating room, and so did the thing I used to drive around in. The monster wheeled around to face the door and ran full tilt at it. It burst out the door and out into the world. I stood in shock at what I had just seen and considered what I was going to do about it. I couldn’t go to Heaven, and I couldn’t get back in my own body. I was stuck. Nothing to do now but figure out what was going on and how to set things right.

Then I heard the growling noises behind me. Oh crap.

 

State of the Stephen – 2015

Hello, blog! Long time, no see.

I have no idea what to write or what to say or what to talk about in this blog post. It’s been a long time since I wrote anything and I think it’s part of my failing relationship with the written word. This year has been a lot different than past ones, mainly because I became a dad and I have a beautiful baby boy taking up a lot of the time I used to have. There’s also a lot of evolutionary stuff I’ve gone through that just won’t ever leave my brain, let alone be talked about in a blog. Maybe one day, but today is not that day. I guess we can start with the recent stuff and highlights.

My incredible wife and I had a baby, and it’s been easily the most challenging thing I have ever had to face in my life. I’m super happy, and I would never take it back, but it’s been a tough run for sure. He started out pretty sick and had a hard time with a lot of digestive stuff early on, but he’s totally leveling out now. He’s sleeping better at night, but still waking up super early. He’s eating food well and playing with stuff. It’s really cool to watch him grow and do stuff. I can’t wait til I can take him places and go on adventures. It kind of allows me to be a kid myself and engage in all the things I actually really want to do again. We’re going to have so much fun, but I have to get him through bottles and diapers first.

I moved on to a new job this year as well. Back in July I took a job with Duke Cancer Institute. It’s been pretty good. ….Well that’s enough of that.

Podcasting has fallen severely on the back burner this year. Primarily due to having a baby and just not having the time that I used to have. If anything has been the hardest this year, it’s been missing out on that huge aspect of my life. Podcasting and entertaining on the internet is just built into my DNA. The best analogy I have for how that feels is related to the game Grim Fandango. There’s a dude named Glottis who is a speed demon. His entire purpose for existing is to go fast, but the powers that be took his license away so he can’t drive. He works on cars and soups them up in order to fulfill his destiny, but it doesn’t quite do it for him. It’s just enough to keep him alive. You see, speed demons will die if they don’t have go fast after a certain period of time. Once unleashed by the game’s protagonist, he can be his full self and is happier than he’s ever been. Podcasting is that for me.

Podcasting is what I’m good at. It’s what I do. I’ve been working on stuff in the background in order to get past the issues I have with not being able to do it with any regularity. I’m working with Ashley and Jacob to build a network of stuff that we want to produce. We’ve got a few things that we’re working on but not much has actually come to fruition. I’ve been doing a solo show called “The Stephen Show” that I’m actually really enjoying, but I don’t do that as often as I should either. It’s really a blog of sorts, so if you want some real me, you can listen to that and get filled in on some of the stuff I haven’t put on the blog. I really want to get back to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, but at this point, I just can’t put a date on it. Having babies kind of puts things on the back burner for everything but going to work and coming home. That’s the tough part.

I’m going to go out on this year saying it was awesome though. I have never had more happy moments or sad moments in a single year than I’ve had this year. It’s been an absolute emotional roller coaster, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I watched a TED talk a while back that was a study on happiness. They determined that people without kids have a fairly consistent happiness level and it tends to level out somewhere in their 20s. On the contrary, people WITH kids have a constantly fluctuating happiness level. The big difference here is that the fluctuations in happiness for people with kids show that they have greater moments of happiness, but deeper levels of sadness as well. Personally, I’ll take those mountains of happiness and valleys of sad over a lifetime of ‘meh’ happiness.

All in all, some good decisions and some bad decisions were made this year. A lot of challenges were faced, and some were overcome. If there is anything I need to learn and work on in the coming year is that maybe sometimes I don’t need the rest and chill time I think I need. Maybe I’d be happier if I just busted my butt more. I need more sleep. I need to take care of myself better. If I take better care of myself, I can take better care of my family. That’s really what matters. I need to learn to overcome the fears that hold me back, of which there are MANY of them. Sometimes I just can’t do the safe thing because there’s no guarantee anything will necessarily work out better for me.

Goal for 2016: Conquer the fear. That should help everything else fall in to place. Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Fatherhood

WOW.

This will be the first of many posts in which I try to pull together the wave of emotions that fall over you when you become a dad. Sam was born by C-Section on March 9, 2015 at 10:02 pm. He weighed 7 lbs 6 oz and was 20.5″ long. When I first saw him he looked like a little alien, all purple and covered in … stuff. The whole process is hard to even put into words because it all happened so fast. Just so we all get to remember it, I’ll write it down.

Stephanie and I went into the hospital to have a baby on Sunday, March 8 around 8pm. We got the call at 7 that they were ready for us to check in and we immediately sprung into action. We threw our bags together and drove to the hospital, ready to roll and hopefully having a baby sometime on Monday. If I had my way it would be Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite go that way.

We spent all of Monday dealing with different kinds of pains, monitors, pregnancy balls (those sitting ones you can use,) decisions, and all kinds of other wildly difficult things. Stephanie decided to get an epidural about halfway through the whole process, sometime around 5pm or 6 after they manually broke her water. That was intense. They let us know that he wasn’t low enough for them to break her water earlier in the day, and they were worried that if they tried, there could be some major complications. Like the cord being pulled out first, or the baby turning and sending his foot or arm out before his body. They ended up waiting just a little bit and finally got to where they could do it without worrying about anything bad happening. Around 4 pm, they said he was on his way but it would take some more time.

Five hours later, homeboy hadn’t done anything. He hadn’t dropped and Stephanie hadn’t dilated anymore. It was decision time, but there really wasn’t any decision to be made. If we wanted to have a baby, we would have to have it by c-section. I remember feeling sort of terrified, but relieved all at the same time. We were going to be having a baby in an hour, and our lives were going to change.

They started prepping Stephanie for her C-section while I started putting the ridiculous amount of bags into a pile so that the hospital staff could bring the stuff to our post-partem room. By the way, if you ever have a baby, just bring essentials. I brought all kinds of stuff that I thought I would use while Stephanie was laboring and I don’t think I looked at anything. I didn’t pull out an iPad to look at comics, or use my laptop to do anything. My entire day was spent texting on my iPhone to let people know how Stephanie was doing and whether we had a baby yet.

They wheeled Stephanie out of her room and had me sitting around in a waiting room, watching Better Call Saul and putting on scrubs. We had only slept about 3 hours by this point so we were both kind of loopy, and I was dreaming. I really didn’t know where I was or how I got there. It all seems like such a blur looking back, and I still remember being fairly calm about the whole thing. C-sections are pretty common and I figured that everything would go just fine. I really didn’t know what to expect either so there wasn’t any sense in worrying about it.

Then the nurse came to get me. That was terrifying. Things got real very quickly. I remember following the nurse into the operating room. She threw the doors open and I was all of the sudden in a massive room with peach walls. It kind of reminded me of an auto garage, but I really didn’t take much time to take it all in. They pointed me straight to this little stool over by Stephanie’s head. There was a big sheet up so that she and I couldn’t see anything on the other side. I really didn’t want to see my wife’s guts, no matter how much I tell her I love her for the inside. I’d like the inside to stay inside. I sat there talking to her and reassuring her, and within two minutes we heard our baby cry for the first time.

This is where things got fuzzy. I can’t decide if it was adrenaline or confusion, but I really just floated from one space to the next. I was completely overwhelmed by the degree that my life had changed in a matter of seconds. They brought him to the ‘head side’ of Stephanie and let us look at our new son for the first time. He was a wailing purple alien, but he was OUR wailing purple alien. The emotions were incredibly complicated. The crazy thing about c-sections is that everything happens so fast that they don’t really let you get yourself together. By the time I looked at Stephanie and was ready to cry, they got me up to take me into another room where they were cleaning Sam up. They told me to take pictures and then swaddled him up for me to carry back to his mom. I took him back in the room, ignoring the fact that I could see his mom’s guts all over the table, and took him straight over to her. I sat down with this fragile little human and showed him to his mom. Apparently, I wasn’t doing it right becuase moments later, the nurse grabbed him from me and held him straight up to her face. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever witnessed. A mom meeting her little baby face to face for the first time.

After they got her all stitched up, they took me to the recovery room so they could clean him off, check his temperature and all the other things the hospital does. They wheeled Stephanie around about 10 minutes later and it was then that the wave of responsibility hit me. I’m responsible, not only for the well-being of my amazing wife, but also of this brand new baby human. That’s a huge thing to figure out in just a few minutes of time. My whole world was laying on hospital beds and getting worked on. Honestly, it’s a feeling that was beautiful but terrifying. To think that everything that means the most to you is currently in a hospital and in various states of wellness.

All that being said, this was one of the most incredible moments of my life. Surrounded by family and receiving my first child into the world. He’s incredible, and the fact that he exists is a miracle to me. God’s letting Stephanie and I borrow him for a bit and try to raise him right. We’re going to do the very best we can to raise a good man. At the end of the day, that’s the main thing I want for him. I don’t care if he is an astronaut or a janitor, I just want him to be passionate about the things he pursues, resolute in completing the things he sets out to do, and compassionate in his dealings with other people. I think that can make a pretty well rounded guy.

Here’s to the adventure we just started. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

Samuel Parker Adams

My first child is coming into the world tomorrow.

Writing that sentence is nuts. It’s still sinking in that tomorrow is the day that my life changes forever. We found out a week ago that we would need to have this pregnancy induced in order for Sam to make his way out into the world. It’s kind of awesome knowing the day we’re going to get him, but it’s also a little terrifying. It’s given me time to be more anxious about the whole thing that I would have if it was a total surprise. I’m currently downstairs on the couch, letting Stephanie rest up for the time we have ahead. We’re going into the hospital tonight to start the process, then tomorrow they’ll really try to get this ball rolling. Praying that everything goes well and she has an easy time delivering the little guy. I still haven’t fully processed everything that is going to happen, but I don’t think anybody is able to predict how they’ll feel or what they’ll do after they have their first kid.

Samuel Parker Adams will be his full name. We’re so proud of that. Some might say we’re setting him up by naming him after a beer, but that’s really not what it’s about. Samuel means “God hears.” It’s based on Hannah’s story from the bible. God blessed her and provided her with a child who she named Samuel. It also happens to be the name of Samuel Adams from American history, as well as a Samuel Adams in my family line who fought in the War of 1812. Stephanie’s revolutionary war ancestor was also named Samuel, so it’s a name that has a lot of history behind it. Parker is a name we both just liked. No real story behind that one other than we think it’s nice. It’s kind of awesome how it blends classic and modern. Sam Adams. I love that!

We’re waiting on the call from the hospital now. They’ll call us, we’ll go in and do this thing. I’m nervous, but also just enjoying some downtime before everything changes. Stephanie and I went out and enjoyed a wonderful date day yesterday, because we know it might be a little while before we get some “us” time. We know good and well that there may be some reduced time for us just to chill, but we’re both super excited about it. We don’t really look at Sam as an end to an era, he’s the beginning of an amazing new journey that we both get to go on together. People have been super awesome at supporting us and letting us know that they are there for us and are at our beckon call if we need anything. That’s been amazing. We’ve also been told a bunch how much sleep we’ll lose, how dirty we’ll always be, how tired we’re going to find ourselves, and how unable we’ll be to spend time together as just the two of us. All of those things are true, but we’re choosing to approach this as a new opportunity to grow closer to each other. We’ve decided to look at it as a tighter union, and a joint effort to raise a young man who can be someone that may do some amazing things.

I’m just excited to discover things with him. I want to take him on adventures and see the world through his eyes. Everything that has become somewhat stale to us is going to be brand new because we get to see him experience it for the first time. Everything he sees is his first time seeing it. That’s incredible to me, and I can’t wait to see what kind of person he is. He might be totally opposite from what Stephanie and I are, and that’s okay. I want him to be who he is. Of course as long as that person is someone with good character. I want him to have integrity, honesty, resolution, drive, and all of those other things any father wants. Those are principles you can build a successful and happy life on. Everything else is up to him. Computers, horses, sports, music, business, and any profession is completely up in the air, and I want him to pursue his passions.

This is super excited to talk about and I could go on forever. I just can’t wait to meet him. Hopefully tomorrow’s events go quickly and easily. He’s got a fantastic family waiting for him to join us. I love him so much already.

Introspective

Almost every six months or so I find myself in a weird introspective phase. I take a look at my life and the things I do and kind of take some weird inventory of those things to see if I’m living up to the things I expect out of myself. I have no idea where this inclination comes from, but I do it and I often have a really good time chasing down some of the things that bother me.

It’s really weird to do one of these kinds of weird journeys, but it’s also pretty energizing. This time, I think the whole thing is triggered by the fact that I’m going to be a dad in a month. Someone else is going to be relying on me for pretty much everything. I look at that not as just them relying on me for food, shelter, or simple things. I think about him relying on me for moral fiber, character, examples of strength, duty, honor, integrity, and all of those other intangible things that we provide as parents without thinking about it. I’ll be his first example of what a man should be, or what he thinks a man is. I want to live up to what I think a man should be so he has a good example. It’s a lot of pressure O_O

I know I’m thinking a little too hard about it, but I can’t help it. Either way, this practice has been really fun. I’m trying to go through some of these virtues in Manvotionals and seeing how I live up to them. This book is incredibly motivating. It’s not something that changes your life immediately, but its something to look at when you feel like you should be doing better or doing more. That’s kind of how I’m attacking everything. Focusing in on some things that I know I might be able to change over time.

This whole phase has honestly been really fun. You would think that this much time spent thinking about all the things you need to do might be a little distressing, but I find it to really energize me. I hope I can keep up with it and continue to make those changes for the better. This blog is part of that and one of the things that I want to dedicate some time to so I have a record of things that are important to me. These rambling streams of consciousness will mean a lot when it comes down to it. 😀

Manvotionals

I picked up a book the other day called “Manvotionals” by Brett & Kate McKay. Those are the folks who write The Art of Manliness blog. I learned about that blog from my buddy, Josh, and every now and then I will pick up something incredibly profound from it.

Since I’m well on my way to becoming a father, I thought I would pick up this book and really study on the things in it. I’m going to be responisble for raising another man in this world and I want to make sure that I exemplify the values that man should live by. It sounds pretty high and mighty, but it’s really not. It’s really about humbly taking on the task of being the man I should be. It’s about character and actions.

Anyway, there have been several passages in this book that really grabbed my attention. Some of them are quotes, and some are lengthy stories. This morning, a short paragraph got my attention and I’ve decided to paste it here so I can come back someday and remember what was so special about it.

The Hunter and The Woodsman
An Aesop’s Fable

A hunter, not very bold, was searching for the tracks of a Lion. He asked a man felling oaks in the forest if he had seen any marks of his footsteps, or if he knew where his lair was. “I will,” he said, “at once show you the Lion himself.” The Hunter, turning very pal, and chattering with his teeth from fear, replied, “No, thank you. I did not ask that; it is his track only I am in search of, not the Lion himself.”
The hero is brave in deeds as well as words.

^ Doesn’t that just grab you! It’s the simplest illustration of a very important point. I know I’ve been guilty of this at least one time, or at least had that moment of, “Oh crap, I just found what I was looking for and now I’m not sure I want it.” The instinct to preserve self is a powerful one, and that’s where courage comes in. Are you willing to throw caution to the wind in the name of some action that is greater than you? Maybe that’s not always the case. It’s not life and death that we typically deal with, but there are moments when we are called upon to step up and put ourselves second in favor of the greater good. This often requires a huge amount of courage.

I’m learning a lot from digging through this book and trying to take the many passages to heart, study on them, and reflect on how I pursue the character of ‘manliness’ in my life. There are seven virtues promoted here, and they all play a role in a persons character.

I highly recommend picking it up if you’re into these sorts of books. It’s also free on the Kindle Lending Library, so it’s at least worth a look. I’m truly getting a lot out of it.

Until next time!

2015

Well, last year went by fast! You didn’t even get to check out any of it! Thanks mostly to my complete lack of dedication to writing in my blog. I feel like that’s one lost year in my life that no one will get to read about. I have all kinds of notes all over the place, spread across multiple notebooks, so it’s not like there’s no documentation. I did exist! I just didn’t share any of my inner most thoughts with the internet in text form. If you really want to catch up with what in the world I’ve been up to, you can listen to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. Lots of good stuff in there!

I didn’t accomplish some things last year that I had set out to do. I’m not sure why I can’t seem to pull any of my goals together. Lately I’ve been coming up with tons of ideas for awesome stuff, but I’m garbage at the execution. Not a whole lot matters if you can’t pull it together. My job is going really well, and I’m enjoying learning and doing some awesome stuff, but it’s the personal goals that are tripping me up. I want to finish my book! I just got texted from my mom tonight letting me know that she finished what I had done. She loved it! She’s also the kind of person that would let me know if there was some kind of weird point or something she didn’t like about it. That makes me feel pretty good about it. Maybe I’ll finish it this year.

And that brings me to what I need. I need some written goals. I’m going to go ahead and bullet point some things that I want to finish. That way, when 2016 rolls around, I can tell if I didn’t make it or not. Some of these will be more likely than others, but I’m just going to throw them all against the wall and see which ones stick 🙂

  • Get RHCE certification
  • Finish “Crooked Fellows”
  • Get super proficient with Docker
  • Write the H&H Coffee Table Bookk

I honestly think that’s a pretty good start. If  I can accomplish those things, I’d say this year is a win. Of course, I’m also becoming a dad this year, so we’ll see how that changes things. So pumped! My son will be born in March, and I can’t even begin to express how excited I am. This is going to be really awesome year 🙂

Later!

2014

It’s a new year…again. Congratulations to everyone for surviving another revolution around our big, fat, glowing star. We clung to this little, blue rock despite it trying to toss us every direction and just generally screw us up throughout 2013. When the rock wasn’t trying to kill us, our politicians were. No worries, though! This is an opportunity, like all others before it, to make a difference. We have a chance to do the things that we want to do, to set our goals again, to revisit the things we failed to accomplish, and to celebrate the things that went right.

earth9 Last year was a tough one for many people I know. We all suffered some heart break, tragedy, pain, and other things that no human being ever wants to go through. Look at you, though! You and I both came through unscathed and ready to tackle this next 365 days like the last ones never happened. Start fresh and wash away the things that are holding you back. Logically, yesterday and today are absolutely no different, but for whatever reason, we like to believe that January 1st signifies a time to reboot our lives and move on.

Throughout the last year, I saw a lot of the motivation I had for many things in my life take a nose dive. I spent a good while trying to figure out what to do with myself, letting things go, and desperately trying to cling to whatever it was that made me feel alive. This year I’m going to do my best to make some goals and actually reach them. I want to give it my best shot to do something awesome. Even if it doesn’t impact everyone around me. I want to set some personal goals for myself that can be achievable, measured, and actually mean something to me. One of those goals is to finish my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, “Crooked Fellows.”

To further cement in my brain that this is a fresh start, Stephanie and I are buying our first real home. It’s a beautiful two-story colonial home, and I’m super excited to get in and start making it our own. We close on January 10th and I imagine we’ll just go in and sit on the floor dreaming of what we want to do with it. We have so many dreams and ambitions for what we want to turn our home into. I’ll be posting more on that in the near future. Hopefully we can start building a family this year also! I’m pretty pumped about that. I just want to try to raise some kids that are smarter, stronger, and better people than Stephanie and I. I guess that’s probably all any parent really wants, but we’ll see how it all goes!

It feels good to write in this blog again. Maybe I’ll continue to write in it this year. I can’t promise it will be every day, or even every month, but I’ll give it my best try! Here’s to 2014 everyone! Let’s make awesome things happen.

Back Porch Coffee

I’m sitting on my back porch right now, just hanging out and really enjoying the warm weather. It’s that awesome time of day where the sun is going down and the temperature is just right. The only thing not so awesome about it is the traffic going by no less than 50 feet from where I’m sitting. It’s not too bad though if you close your eyes and just pretend it’s the ocean. It’s not the most convincing illusion, but it will have to do for now.

bare-knuckle-sirI wanted to come out on the back porch tonight and spend some time because I spent most of last year griping about how cold it was and how much I hated winter time, and I feel like I owe it to nature to spend more time out here. I also got inspired to sit out back when I read an article today about brotherhood. I’ve started keeping up with a blog called “The Art of Manliness” and it’s done a lot to kind of point me in the right direction in a lot of different ways. The whole premise of the thing is that men aren’t men anymore. We seem to stay in a state of continuous adolescence and it’s doing us no good in the long run. Gone are the days of guys at the age of 24 slapping on a suit and starting to take care of a family. We’re lucky to be grunting at each other by that time. Most of us make our way through college and still have no idea what to do with ourselves. There’s also a loss of the “gentleman” factor. Many guys are glorified for how many women they’ve slept with or how often they go out and party. That just shouldn’t be the case. Dudes should just be proud to find one awesome girl and treat her like she is their universe.

Anyway, I got off on a tangent there. The big thing today was an article about how a man needs a “brotherhood.” We need a group of guys to hang out with who can teach us to be better men for each other. A bond between guys is a really awesome thing, because it tends to bring out this undying loyalty to friends that we often lack in our casual acquaintances we have with each other. It made me think a lot about the bond that Dave, Lando, and I share. It’s something that I’ve been unable to replace since moving to NC. I immediately thought of how we set aside one night every week to get together and porch. I realize how much I miss those times when I sit around and think about it. I may be well on my way to forming a pretty awesome “brotherhood,” but I’m not quite there yet. There are a few guys who might be willing to come hang out with me once a week, but we’re also so spread apart geographically. I’d be down for hanging with them though. We’ll have to see how this goes.

The article was really cool and I highly recommend you check out The Art of Manliness and see what you can learn from it. They have some really awesome stuff going on there. Well, back to coffee drinking and porch sitting!

Routines

Over the past few months, it’s been my goal to become more fit, eat healthier, study more, learn things, and just be a generally all around better person in a lot of different ways. I guess I want to get the most out of everything I do, but I’ve come to a painful realization: I’m pretty LAZY.

I have no idea what’s wrong with my “motivation engine.” Something is just downright broken. It takes so much more focus for me to keep the momentum up when I really get into something. I have these spurts of drive that help me really get things done and accomplish some pretty awesome stuff, but they are way too few and far between for my liking. I don’t think I’m ADD, because once I find something I have a passion in, I tend to focus on that pretty hardcore. It’s hard to pull me away from something that I really love, but that’s the problem. I love some pretty useless stuff.

I’m going to try an experiment for the next little bit of my life. I’ve figured out that I’m one of those people that needs some pretty intense rules to live by in order to succeed. If left to my own devices, I’m most likely going to choose the path of least resistance. I’m going to the easy route to accomplish things. A lot of things have come really natural to me. Ever since I was little, there were just certain things that I was really good at and I never had much of a struggle. This was both a gift and a curse, as the things that I struggled with are just things I tended to avoid. I’m really blessed that the things that keep a roof over my head and food in my belly are things that I’m also good at and come pretty easy. I need to start tackling things that aren’t exactly super simple for me though.

It’s high time that I set a routine. I’m going to attempt to alternate days and do at least an hour or so of something that will make me a better person. It will kind of look like this:

Body > Mind > Body > Mind > Body > Recharge

So I kind of want to just workout every other day of the week, then do something that helps out my brain the other two days. That includes spending time writing, learning something new, focusing on something that will help out at work, or just being creative. I need to spend lest time browsing Reddit or watching TV and more time trying to become Batman. I probably won’t be patrolling the streets of Cary at night, but I can at least do something good for myself. There’s a lot I need to get done that I’ve put off for a long time.

I need to call and talk to people more. I’m way too used to texting back and forth with people. Something gets lost there. That was my random thought for this post.

Anyway, today is Mind day, so I’ve spent time writing in this blog. I also updated the theme of it, so that was fun. Then I spent a few minutes reading some articles about Linux. Which may end up helping me out in my job. We also have a show tonight, so that always pushes me to do my best. I love my podcast so much 🙂

Later!