My Ever Changing Life

Today I planned to take things easy, mom is leaving tomorrow morning so it was a day to get last minute loose ends tied and relax for a bit…….

HAH!!!!  Not a chance, while mom ran some minor errands I got a call this morning from a job I applied for earlier in the week asking if I could show up for an interview at 1:00 PM.  So much for spending the afternoon relaxing before mom left.

Last night we made lists for ourselves, my mother had to drop off a clock to be repaired, pick up some minor items, and we were going to drop off items for donation.  I had some simple tasks of going through things, getting my utilities and change of address stuff in, etc.  Nothing super difficult, nothing too tedious.  Then as usual, all hell broke loose (or rather we came up with more to do).  Things in my life seem to change every couple of minutes, all of a sudden I need to do this or we need to get that or, or, or.  At least my days aren’t always boring!

Between the job interview, going through stuff, getting another load from storage, on and on and on I’m absolutely wiped.  I didn’t even allow myself time to blog this morning!  I’m okay with that honestly, and truly today was a good day.  I will be sad to see mom go but also relieved (sorry mom, I love you but I also love my moments of solitude and self reflection).  I’ve got exactly a week before things double in magnitude on the hectic scale and I need to be prepared if I’m to make it through sane and sober.

All in all I’m incredibly optimistic, a little disheartened by the difficulties in changing career but this is to be expected.  If anything, I am learning to accept rejection better than I ever have and this is not a bad thing at all.  A lot of these jobs I don’t even want and would most likely be miserable after a very short time.  I have to face the fact that I need income, and rightly soon!  So, I keep plugging away in a seemingly futile attempt to avoid going back to the tech industry at all costs.  Something has to happen.

Something *WILL* happen.  I am sure things will get better over time, I’ve been working too hard at progress for it not to be achievable.  I just need to keep leaning forward and stop looking back.  Going through my belongings has made this both difficult and easy at the same time.  Throwing away some things makes me feel just that much more free, finding bits and pieces of the past here and there sometimes makes me dwell.  Odd how our brains and hearts work sometimes.  Time for a restful sleep and a good final morning with my mother.

Never trust a man that doesn’t love his mother,

~Joe

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Feeling a Bit More Free

Sometimes you need to let go of some things.

If you’ve been reading any of my prior posts you will know that I am preparing for a move to a new apartment on the first.  I have also filled two storage units with items from the home I lived in about 3 years ago and have “stuff” scattered about two other family homes.  While I’m not exactly a hoarder, I must admit that uhm…. well….

*My Name is Joe and I’m a Packrat…*

Rather than my normal morning ritual of reading the paper over my coffee I began going through old CD’s and DVD’s that I have kept for the better part of 18 years.  Old backups, outdated software, just stacks and stacks of plain “old”.  Boxes filled with cd books stuffed fat, thousands!!

It took about an hour and a half before I decided anything labeled “backup June 2002” needed to just be dumped.  I haven’t had access to these CD’s in 3 years, and god only knows the last time I’ve pulled anything from them if ever.  So what was going to be a several day project quickly turned into another hour and I was done.  I pared two file boxes worth of CD/DVD books to one single book.  Yes from thousands to less than a hundred.

Being one with severe ADHD I’ve had a million hobbies over the long haul and the amount of stuff I have been dragging around since I achieved self consciousness as a child reflects that.

Oddly enough, I found the entire process rather enjoyable!  I feel a bit more free right now, dumping old files from a company long gone and a career I’m hoping to never return to felt like removing a pair of handcuffs.  In fact, dumping a lot of the things I’ve made decisions on yesterday and this morning has made me feel just a little bit lighter.

Why is it that we tend to hold on to some things that serve no utility and often really have no emotional value either?  Being one with severe ADHD I’ve had a million hobbies over the long haul and the amount of stuff I have been dragging around since I achieved self consciousness as a child reflects that.  Do I really need that electric motor from the remote control car I had when I was 12, or that sucker in the shape of a bear that someone gave me when I was 16?  Hah, not so much no.

Granted there are a few trinkets with great emotional value, and I plan on assembling a few “memory” boxes.  I see no need for a 5X10 “memory” storage unit anymore though!!  So today it is onward, hoping to do at least one more load of boxes though I don’t think I’m going to go as hard as I did yesterday.  I’ve got to help a friend figure out some technical things in preparation to a function he has tomorrow and lets face it, I’m in a good mood but holy hell I’m tired!

Keep the candy not the wrapper,

~Joe

Getting it Done and Finding Old Memories

Going through boxes during a move can be interesting.

Sorry for the late post today, I’ve been quite busy here going through boxes and boxes and yes… more boxes of stuff in preparation for my new apartment on the first. I did have my mother who is still in town helping which made things go a lot faster but there were some highs and lows when opening certain boxes. We got a late start, leaving to get our first load from the storage unit just a bit after noon. We did manage to do two loads in total with each one lining the garage in three rows and two rows respectively.   Working through till around 8 PM we finally finished sorting and re-packing not just both loads but a good bulk of kitchen items that I already had here.

What I find interesting is how my attitude constantly changed, I will fully admit to being a complete moody prick today. I can make up plenty of excuses for my changing attitude, from getting organized only to have mom move a box on me trying to help to not getting much sleep but those are just surface avoidance tactics. Excuses are a waste of effort for me anymore, I try not to make them and still end up doing it anyways out of habit and sometimes shame or guilt. Sucks to step out of myself and watch “me” sometimes, I don’t always like myself.

I turned into a rubber ball bouncing from highs and lows with so much as a glance at a random nick knack changing my course.

The reality is, opening each box was a moment of holding my breath. Not knowing what I would find and what memories would spark was the worst, harder than dealing with the memories most times. I came across a good number of things that fired up old emotions good and bad and with the added anxiety of the unknown.  I turned into a rubber ball bouncing from highs and lows with so much as a glance at a random nick knack changing my course. Wow, I’m absolutely exhausted mentally this evening!

All in, it was still a successful day, we went through about 30 boxes / tubs and a few tackle boxes that I use to organize random items. I’m quite pleased, I managed to thin out a lot of items to give away, garbage, or sell piles emptying a total of 14 boxes a rolling bin, a small tackle box, and a medium tackle box. These empties will come in handy for my next few runs between now and the first and I should have a smooth move overall.

I’m okay with that, I’m comfortable and safe here right now and those are good things to be.

Depending on the job situation I may end up having to stay here a few extra days before I can get my key and move my bed in.  I’m okay with that, I’m comfortable and safe here right now and those are good things to be. Besides, staying a day or two will give me the opportunity to help my grandparents settle in.

Tomorrow I think we will try another load if there is time, as well as get the donate pile dropped off and god, laundry, and everything else. Mom leaves Tuesday so we’re trying to capitalize on as much time as we can. We also plan to meet my love for lunch tomorrow and I am wholly looking forward to spending some time albeit short with her.

*Treasure*

I’ve kept every card my wife has ever given me, and found the box that I kept them in when we lived together, this made me smile and honestly tear up a little. I came across my father’s paperwork that he left behind, his arborist certification, etc. this was slightly stressful as he died from alcoholism while I was in my first rehab. I came across many photo books, one of my beloved Akita who passed several years ago; her ashes sit in a small urn underneath a beautiful tile made in her likeness in the back corner of this yard that I will soon see sold (I will be taking urn and tile with me). There were many emotional treasures I found, along with a penny and a Starbucks gift card with $35 on it!!!

I suppose over time these emotions will stabilize, I cannot honestly say I am enjoying feeling so much but I cannot say that I am hating it either. Life is odd sometimes, I can only hope to keep myself from being so moody in the future and work to become a better person that provides hope, support, and love to those around me most notably my love K. and my family.

Feel your emotions but don’t let them control you,

~Joe

 

A Good Idea

A Glimmer of Enjoyment from My Morning Paper

Yesterday started with a whimper, I had no motivation but a million things to do. I was able to force myself to start going through things and doing the tasks I had planned but it was not easy. Over time I did manage to build up steam and as my attitude changed for the better I became more productive. I managed to get more done than I expected yesterday morning but still less than I wanted to, but that’s okay too.

This is not the subject I want to write about today though! Yesterday morning my mother noticed a review in my beloved morning paper for a play called “Sylvia” at a theatre that I had never heard of. The play is about a married couple who fight over a dog that the husband took in as a stray. Apparently, Thursday nights are discounted so we decided to fork over the big whopping $11.00 per person and take a break from life.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a play, in fact over 15 years! I dated a gal that was an actress for a few small plays and I would go and watch her. In any case the review stated to show up early so you can get front row seats and “see all the action on the floor”. We left early and showed up a half hour before the show started accidentally securing the first spot in line. The venue was incredibly tiny!!! Cool as all hell though, they had a string of doors connected together separating the entrance way from the seating and stage area and a tiny booth for the box office. Lots of local art, very uhm…. Modest.

What we saw last night at Funky Little Theatre Co. far exceeded our expectations!!! I commented to my mother after just the first 5 minutes that we already got our $11 worth!! The entire play was amazing, incredibly hilarious and incredibly touching at the same time. I was in tears several times from laughter and twice during sad parts. Turns out the director had to put his dog to sleep just last weekend so the program had a picture of his dog and a dedication. I am glad we made the spontaneous decision to see this play.

To add to the awesomeness they were taking donations, as well as selling raffle tickets to support a dog rescue group All Breed Rescue & Training and $1 from each ticket sold was also donated!!! What a great newspaper find!

In fact, not only was this a good idea, it turned into a great idea! I managed to get a card from the young man that produced the show, Chris Medina and decided that my experience was positive enough to ask him permission to mention him and the Funky Little Theatre Co. in this blog. You can count on it I will be going by there as often as I can to catch other shows in this wonderfully small 40 seat venue!

So, if you are ever in Colorado Springs, Colorado, check them out, you can hit the site at http://www.funkylittletheatre.org or give them a call at 310.909.3694 to see what’s going on!

Woof,

~Joe

Picking Myself Up

My Hectic Life and Not Giving Up

These past few weeks have been full of a lot of ups and downs, sadly there have been a lot more downs.  My job search keeps coming up with frustrating results and of course most of the aspects of my personal life have been less than desirable.   So I’ve been on this crazy emotional rollercoaster lately and it’s sure to have a few loops in the coming weeks with all that is going on.

So what to do this morning to set the right mind set?  I started with a cup of coffee and my paper as is my routine.  On the job front I took some time to set a goal of 10 applications submitted today and sat down with an intense focus.  I ended up hitting the mark of 18 with medium effort, coffee in hand and typing skills at my finest.

I did not pick and choose this time, and of course for every application I put in I know I am just one of many.  I am still hopeful of course, as I know I have a good skill set that can be put to good use should someone decide to give me a shot.  Career changing makes finding a job difficult, I could probably drop back into tech with so much as a few phone calls.

So today I am going to focus on making my living space a little cleaner, putter around the house while I seriously consider making those phone calls.  It’s a thin edge that I need to stay on the right side of to ensure my sobriety which is most important overall.  I’m still optimistic and plan to stay that way.  Sometimes it truly is hard to stay positive however I can pull this off today.

Drive on,

~Joe

Letting Go in a Positive Way

There is a difference between memories and physical objects

I love my grandparent’s home, I grew up here I have memories here. My grandfather built me a clubhouse in back, I used to climb a plumb tree and pick gooseberries and raspberries to eat on the spot. I remember my grandmother used to pick me fresh strawberries from the garden when I would stay the night and I would sit and dip them in a bowl of sugar to eat in the evenings before bedtime. I used to use the crawlspace under the stairs as a clubhouse, in fact “no girls allowed” is still scrawled on the little wooden doors. I remember watching Sesame Street on the color TV, one of those giant cabinet deals that must have weighed a thousand pounds!

I know this neighborhood, I listen to Revelry in the morning and taps in the evening from the nearby army base. I can hear the coal trains on distant tracks, I love this home. My grandfather always wanted a champion yard, it’s one of the best in the neighborhood and has been as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I moved in to get a jump start on a new life and tonight I sleep in the same room and the same bed as I did then.

Now word is they signed a year lease on a place in Arizona where they have been wintering the last two years. I think it is best for them, much better for their health as well as mobility as it’s a somewhat assisted living place. So, it’s inevitable the house here will go up for sale sometime in the future. I know they are stressed about telling me even though I already know as they are well aware of my attachment to the home. In all reality yes, I will be sad however this is the best thing for my beloved grandparents and I support that above any brick and mortar “thing”.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of “letting go” lately, today we moved all my belongings out of the home I shared with my wife for over a decade. Today was very emotional and between pondering this post and pacing the house aimlessly I’ve been stress cooking. Cooking has been a solid fall back for me to keep my mind off things, currently I am working on a soup for tomorrow with various beans, fresh veggies, and pan seared pork seasoned with turmeric, garlic, rosemary, and a little bit of Portuguese sausage seasoning. Unfortunately, now I am at an impasse waiting for the beans to soften, boil and soak… boil and soak… repeat.

It’s been an emotional week for me, and I need to remember to keep a positive mindset. My mother is in town and we have done well at mutual support. I also have an excellent support system in place by way of my online community at HipChat, everyone there has been nothing short of a god send for my sanity and most importantly my sobriety. So today I am going to re-frame, my life is in a reconstruction phase (go figure the title of this blog) and I have some flexibility in how I move myself forward. I can focus on the positive and create a better me and that is what I choose to do today.

The house going up for sale? I’ll probably get furniture and *hopefully* kitchen stuff for my new apartment. My grandparents moving out of state permanently? I can always visit, and I know they will have help when they need it from the place they are moving to. Moving all my things? Well, I need to go through them it’s an opportunity to clear out all the junk I’ve been dragging around. I will soon have a place where I can sit and not be bothered, a place of my own again. And it’s dog friendly so when things stable out I foresee a pooches in my near future!

I’m off to find something to cook,

~Joe

Time to Turn On

Let’s put that positive attitude to work!

This morning in just less than an hour I have a second interview for a marketing company. I cannot say that I am particularly excited about the position, however I need the income and its comfortable territory given my entrepreneurial background. Business development is paramount to any company’s success regardless of market and of course that is what I will be doing should I get / accept the position.

This position will require me to talk to people, a lot of people! A skill that I developed over time and would like to think I am rather good at on most days. It is going to require me to maintain a positive outlook and attitude regardless of what is going on “behind the curtain”. The pay scale is, eh…. O.K. a long shot from what I was making as a network engineer. I cannot go back to that career for my own health though, and I will have opportunity for commission which could balance the scale.

It will come, it has to.

So, I sit here sipping my coffee and pondering the need for some dress shoes as I stare at my brown Merrell hiking shoes. Waiting for time to pass before I leave early to arrive early (it’s one of my good habits). With all that is going on I definitely need a job, I’m at the point where any job will do. In all earnest, I am having a difficult time finding a positive attitude this morning. It will come, it has to.

I’ve got less than an hour to find that golden egg, and so I will. Perhaps I might actually like this position? I do enjoy remaining active which is part of this position as I will be doing events and such. The stress reduction in having a stable income as well is a huge plus. Not to mention having something productive to do on a consistent basis. This might not be such a bad day after all!

Trudge on with a smile,

~Joe

Emotion, Attitude Translated

attitude-emotion-state-modificationemotion-attitude-matrix-1How a good attitude can modify emotional inputs

Recently I have been attempting to maintain as positive of an attitude as I can regardless of emotional state. To preface this I must admit that my life currently is in a state of extreme change and emotions have had a tendency towards the lesser desired. To accomplish this I have set goals to write and perform positive tasks throughout each day as a sort of self-experiment to see how it might affect the outcome of my actions and overall sense of being. This article is a part of the experiment attempting to detail the definitions of attitude and explore the interaction between attitude and overall mental state.

I must disclose that I have no psychology experience (other than that of a patient) and anything in this article should be taken only as my experiences documented as I see them. In a way, as a recovering alcoholic this article is also an attempt to maintain honesty with myself as it relates to my emotions, my attitude, and my actions through this experiment.

Digging in I feel it imperative to define what I believe emotion, attitude, and mental state are. Without correlating definition this article has no direct context and will inevitably be misread.

Emotion: For context I am defining emotion as any raw overall and direct feeling over a mid to long term meaning more than just minutes. These feelings typically last several hours or days to several months or even years. By direct I mean that these feelings are singular in nature and not a varietal combination of feelings.

Attitude: Again for context, I am defining attitude as a more immediate sense of how things are going or are going to go within the short term. Attitude is much more dynamic in nature and can change quickly. Typically, an attitude is held for hours and sometimes days or months with practice.

Overall Mentality: I would define overall mentality as the immediate sense of being or the absolute of how one is feeling overall. Overall mentality directs how we interact with the world around us and think as it relates to “right now”.

So now that we have our definitions let me begin with my overall thought process in how these interact, we will dig a bit deeper later. Again, as this is a self-experiment I will be using myself as an example for context.

The past few months I have bounced between two primary emotions: fear and sadness. More recently I have started this idea of maintaining a new attitude: positive. This is to say that I can be sad and positive at the same time. Originally. I would frame my mental state to be either one or the other however, through this self-experimentation I am finding out that they are indeed two separate items that maintain an interchangeable relationship.

I have found that emotion itself is merely an underlying constant and attitude is more of a current modifier that acts as a catalyst to create overall who I am at any given moment. Over the course of the last few weeks my attempts to maintain a positive attitude has directly affected the outcome of multiple aspects of my life:

  • Despite numerous setbacks I have persisted in my forward progress
  • I have been much more approachable
  • My overall routine has become more enjoyable
  • I have been able to maintain solid productivity
  • Etc.

I find myself examining this dynamic and piecing together a somewhat “aha” moment as it relates to my propensity to sometimes fall into periods of depression or anxiety. If I examine periods of say, depression and work backwards treating the depression as my overall mental state things get even more interesting. Working backwards, I can see that during my most recent fit of depression I had a pessimistic attitude combined with emotions of either sadness, fear, or guilt.

In the middle of the spectrum I have had times where even with a happy emotional state moments of negative emotions change the dynamics resulting in a less than desirable emotional state. What I find more interesting about this is how quickly an attitude can change due to external influences.

I can describe the times when I find myself moody by this effect. I may have the same emotions however my attitude will bounce up and down like a rubber ball. Others then describe the outward appearance of my emotional state as “moody”. Examining this personal trait illustrates how something so simple as maintaining a singular attitude can have a profound effect on day to day life.

So, I begin to ask myself a whole new question entirely, how can I maintain a consistent attitude towards the positive regardless of external influence? If I insulate myself entirely from external influence I cut myself off from possible inspiration. Opening the flood gates to let everything in allows for poor circumstances to directly change my mental state.

The goal here would be to establish some sort of effective filter allowing external influences that reinforce my target attitude, while denying other unnecessary influences. This water gets muddied when I examine how external influences and growth of intelligence are directly tied together. As part of human nature; we often associate our own opinions to be factual (or at least semi factual), when those opinions are challenged there exists opportunity for intellectual and emotional growth.

By filtering out any challenging thought, we tie ourselves to perceptions that may be one sided or inherently wrong. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that drives me nuts when counselors say it to me: “What does that look like?”. If we were to erect such a filter how many layers are we building around ourselves simply to maintain an attitude?

Consider for a moment the option of “practicing” a positive attitude. If I make the conscious effort to relate maintaining a desirable attitude during an assault of undesired external influences with perhaps military boot camp; it now becomes a training exercise. With this idea in mind I can reduce the smothering nature of so many layers of filter and allow for open dialogue to change views or increase intelligence.

This is not to say that I will not be filtering at all, there are many instances of extremes both to the minus and the plus that should be avoided. Becoming overzealous and overly optimistic can often be just as damaging as having a “woe is me” vision. As far as the intensity of the need for a negativity filter, simply spend 5 minutes looking at the news and the reasoning should be directly apparent.

To avoid beating a dead horse I will close this article at this point and attempt to illustrate attitude training in a future article. As always comments and suggestions are welcomed and this article as well as its accompanying diagrams will be available for download via pdf.

~Joe

Promoted Before I Have the Job?

I guess stranger things have happened, crossing fingers!

I need a job, any job regardless of my technical background.  Not only do I need the income but I also need something to do I don’t like to sit, I need to be doing!  Last Thursday I applied for a customer service position with a local company, lo and behold human resources for this company called me Friday morning with an interesting twist.

 I don’t even have the job yet?!

The call came in while we were shopping which made it slightly awkward but I can roll with the punches.  Let me find an empty flat space here and whip out my trusty notebook and pen.  I always carry a notebook and pen, this is one of the reasons why!  Anyhow time for the twist, I effectively got promoted for a job I don’t even have yet!  The woman stated “I know you applied for customer service but based on your resume I would like to bring you in to interview for Business Development Manager”.

Wait, what??  Okay, I’m game lets do this!  We had about a 15 minute conversation during which time another shopper asked me if I worked at the place we were shopping at.  I get that a lot, maybe it’s the fact that I like to dress nice?  In any case she mentioned that they needed to fill the position fast and we set up an interview for Monday morning (today coincidentally).

So off to the races, another interview.  I must say shot gunning applications and doing constant interviews with either no word back or “your overqualified” is getting extremely old.  Something has to give, maybe this one will be it?  I can not exactly say I am excited about marketing and business development but having done the entrepreneur thing it’s not exactly uncharted territory for me.  And let’s face it, despite the fact that I hate people I will approach and talk to anyone.

So, wish me luck!  I’m going into this with a positive mindset and the idea that I can do whatever they need without much struggle.  Effort yes, struggle no!

Attitude wanted, inquire within,

~Joe

We Didn’t Really Sluff Off, Oh Noes!

A Saturday Sluffing Off Part Two

Well, we didn’t really manage to meet our goal of “sluffing off” today. Today we planted an entire planter box all the while with me zapping paper wasps out of the sky with my trusty can of flying insect spray (cover fire). We managed to get the job1-IMG_6393 done and done fairly well in my opinion, even though it was quite a bit of work churning the soil around and moving this and that around.

Then of course we got to the flower pots…. Originally, we were looking at doing about 3 which turned into 8!! And another trip for more flowers as well as some wasp traps which I set and hung. Aaaaand some general cleanup of the houseplants…. Aaaaaand a few other cleanups here and there, hose hookups…. Yaaaadaaa yaaaadaaa yaaaadaaa.

Hah, and it’s not even 4:30! I’m going to start my rice for stir fry soon but I figured I would share some photo’s I took just a few moments ago 1-IMG_6371for no other reason than I could and I was losing my light.

Go big or well, don’t!

~Joe