The Morning “Me”

I’ve found over the past few years that I have in fact become a “morning person”, often awake around 4:30-5AM shuffling to the kitchen to start coffee and checking the doorstep for my paper (which sadly has been showing up a bit later the last two days).  I’ve begun to love these times as a chance to practice some self care through a healthy breakfast (often two breakfasts over a few hours) and while I do live alone and in theory have plenty of “me” time to think and self reflect for some reason the mornings are the times that I seem to naturally do this.

Of course seeing Pikes Peak change colors from a dark ominous mountain to an amazing purple then slowly hues of oranges, reds, and yellows through my kitchen window as the sun rises provides an amazing sense of awe and a sense of peace as well.  I start up one of my many favorite podcasts or streams for background noise and pick through my paper as I wait for breakfast to cook sipping ample amounts of coffee and water, I do the dishes and return to my paper which is at least “skimmed” cover to cover and sometimes journal in my notebook or as is the case this morning I’ll blog some random thoughts.

This mornings thought is kind of funny and perhaps I’ll do some research on the subject.  Here in Colorado Springs our garbage services are privatized and all of them charge for recycling services.  I know people living in many other states get encouraged to recycle and are provided free recycling services and I wonder one big thing:

If Colorado is supposed to be so “green” why is it like this?

Now, I don’t drink much anything from a can or a plastic bottle (I use my water bottle, my camel back, or my coffee cup) so I do not really have much in the way of aluminum but with the paper and my cooking I generate plenty of tin cans and paper waste.  Our complex has a nifty dumpster right there but nothing in the way of recycling sadly and I’ve begun bagging my cans and papers with the intention of either plopping them in my aunts recycle container when I visit next or just taking it all to a recycling center about 3 miles away.

I begin to ask myself this morning what I am going to do when due to work schedule these bags of recyclables start piling up?  Do I stop recycling temporarily or get tired of tripping over the stuff and inevitably trash it?  And then there is the thought of whether or not recycling glass has much purpose sometimes?  An interesting factoid is that there are not too many uses for recycled glass, the primary being asphalt.  When road construction is on a down turn centers end up with surplus glass somewhat defeating the purpose.

Yesterday I wrote about a fertilizer made from food waste, the primary subject was more along the lines of simply cleaning my fridge and using the fertilizer to hopefully grow a garlic that was sprouting but now I wonder what ideas might be out there for glass recycling?  I often re-use my sauce jars for other things but on a larger scale I’m curious if anyone else out there has ideas and uses for these harder to recycle items?

Let me know your thoughts

~J

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Fast Enough

Some people fear change, in fact I think everyone does to a degree at some point or another.  We like our comfort we like things to just “be” even when things are not exactly ideal.  Sometimes change is necessary to survival and growth, sometimes change causes great waves of negative consequences in either case change is in fact inevitable.  Regardless of whether or not we ourselves invoke it or it comes from external influences change is a fact of life.

My life is in an incredible state of flux currently, with many things that absolutely must change regardless of how comfortable or uncomfortable I may be.  The primary question bouncing around the gray matter that I prefer to call a brain is “are things changing fast enough?”.  unfortunately it seems a daily occurrence that I mill about a number of thoughts in my head about regrets and frustrations with who I was and who I have become.  In this moment of my life change is an absolute necessity.

A necessity not just for survival but so that I may atone for many of the wrongs I have done.  I know it is probably best not to do too much in a hurry as I have always had this way of being overly alarmist and reactive.  Often this reactive nature exacerbates whatever problematic situation I am in and this is not a good thing at all.  While a lot of change is necessary for me I need to continually remind myself to step back and not force situations.  So many things are out of my control and it becomes outright scary sometimes.

My attitude teeters between depressed and anxious and sometimes a mix of both almost constantly and very few moments of clarity exist.  Fact is, I’m lonely lately and that makes for long days where I seem to just stew in my thoughts.  Finding things to do to take my mind off of things is not difficult, the difficulty lies in motivating myself to actually do them.  I live in my kitchen rarely seeing any other room of the apartment other than the bathroom and if I’m lucky enough to quiet my thoughts the bedroom for sleep now and then.  I typically only sleep after full exhaustion sets in now and am finding the act of going to bed nothing more than an exercise in futility.  Funny I waste more energy tossing and turning than I would by simply not even attempting to sleep and doing something productive.

Change will come, eventually and I need to welcome it this time as what I am doing now isn’t quite working so well.  I know it doesn’t seem to be a very positive post but I need to think about this subject and work these thoughts out so that I no longer bury them.

~J

 

Forward Momentum

I still have plenty of fight left maybe it’s time to dream again.

Life continues…… Despite me taking my day of self reflection and avoidance of people the world does not stop just because I did for a day. In all honestly things are not that bad this morning! I could go on about all the things I don’t have or the faults that I do have but that really gets me nowhere at all. Today I think I will work to spend every minute of my time just a little more wisely.

I’m slightly annoyed and incredibly tired of trying to pick up a shift or two here or there and payday doesn’t come soon enough. Reality is, I’ve got it pretty good my kitchen is stocked and I live in a decent neighborhood. Things could be much worse so there is no sense in dwelling on any of that. After all we create our own situations is this not true? So it’s time to spend today shifting focus from past and present to the near future. We don’t naturally walk backwards it’s just not in our biology so why is it that I spent so much time trying to make that work?

Odd when I think about it, with all this self reflection I suppose I do risk dropping back into a depression again. Of course if I choose to bottle it up and ignore it how can I ever progress past this dangerous ledge that I seem to keep skirting? Nope, I don’t think I want to do that anymore so off we go! In the absence of a shift this morning I have a little bit of time to sit with a cup of good coffee and my thoughts over breakfast. The one meal I rarely miss is breakfast, it’s become the cornerstone of my mornings whether I can sleep or not.

So today (after breakfast of course) I will hit it hard looking for a more stable career track. I will make some calls, send some emails, fire off some resumes, and somewhere in that mess I will sit down and put together a nice list of goals and values for the next 3 months or so. Thinking too far ahead is dangerous for me, thinking too far behind buys me nothing. I’ve got to stay within a nice small window for now until I can achieve some stability. Best to keep thinking but not think too much!

I much too often wonder what life would be like today had I chosen a different track long ago? Would I be successful? What is the definition of success for me? Yes I think too much. Continuing this thought (and there I go thinking again), perhaps something I lost along the way was the ability to dream. I lost the ability to look forward and feel the wonders of excitement about the future again and have real actual goals. This is today’s task for me and I hope it keeps my direction properly aimed.

Momentum is an interesting word, a near nebulous term I think much like the word “mechanism”. Words have interested me lately as I read other bloggers and tap into some of my older books as I have unpacked them. I am currently focused on a passage from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio (Purgatory) 25th canto line 4 “Therefore, like one who will not stop but moves along his path, no matter what he sees, if he is goaded by necessity….”.

I’m a huge fan of Dante’s works, in particular Vita Nuova (The New Life). It’s quite interesting that the opening of the 25th canto of purgatory is the start of the ascent from the 6th terrace to the 7th (Gluttony to Lust) I suppose in a way our dreams and hopes for the future could be easily connected to them both. I will re-read this canto today I think, if not for anything than to have consumed something resembling art today. I have 3 translations of this wonderful book and much like I do with the Hawaiian creation chant the Kumulipo, I will enjoy comparing the translations today.

And so this post is getting a little bit too long now, I have in fact defined two very short term goals while typing this though. I will finish breakfast, pull a few books from the shelf, and enjoy something I haven’t done in a long while. I will spend a short time comparing old writings and let myself get lost for a half hour or so in deep thought. I will then be off to action today, no more walking backwards.

Time to dream again,

~J

Some Thoughts on Time

Today is a fairly odd day for me, it’s my birthday. I hate my birthday……

I hate the 10th of July, every year I attempt to hide under a rock on this day. To double down it’s also the anniversary of the day my father was cremated. I hated my father for a good portion of my life and it wasn’t until the last year or so of his life that I sort of reconciled. Funny, October used to be my most difficult month as it was the month a mentor of mine drowned in a boating accident. Dads passing wasn’t a shock, the timing however was uncanny.

I now understand why it was important.

My father drank himself to death on Fathers day while I was in rehab for alcoholism. The weekend before during visiting day Karen brought me a Fathers day card to sign for him, I suspect this may have been the last thing he read. For years I harbored frustration when Karen would try to get me to reconcile with my Father. I now understand why it was important.

Thinking of aging, and somewhat still battling issues with my father today makes for a rocky day. I did manage to have an okay day overall. I binge watched movies and commentary and sipped coffee. I answered the phone a few times but for the most part I met my goal of staying off the radar. I did pop online for a bit in my hipchat and of course stared at a blank blog post for the bulk of the day. This is a tricky post to form.

Today as a whole for me was a day for reflection and self awareness, a day to think about my direction and check my actions against my values. Today was a day to hide from as many people as possible and examine myself and my path. Today is *MINE*. I’m trying very hard to be a better person and rebuild my life but I feel like I keep hitting walls. Such is my own doing and are my lessons to learn, I can make no excuses only amends and repairs.

I suppose this thought shift I chose today makes things just that much more bearable. Maybe today isn’t so bad after all? Today after all has in fact been relaxing and emotional. Tonight I’ll ponder one last thought before attempting sleep: “Perhaps it might be cathartic for me to take today back?”

The opportunity to inventory myself should at least prove interesting.

~J

Digging in, Digging out

Something *had* to give, and finally it did

I blogged a while ago about pulling myself out of a deep depression, sadly it did not last very long and I’ve found myself less than apt to do much.  Life has a way of being hard for everyone not just me and I must accept that.  In fact, it should be stated that I have been extremely blessed in life.  I have an extremely supportive family despite how poorly I have behaved both in the past and recently.  I have food in my belly and a roof over my head.

Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening

Not having motivation to do much is incredibly emotionally painful for those of us who have always maintained an active lifestyle.  Stewing in all we’ve done wrong, not being able to shut our brains off and only catching sleep a half hour at a time becomes maddening.  I found myself avoiding everyone in particular my family.  Something had to give.

 It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case

I used to suffer light depressive periods which are fairly normal for most human beings.  I never really understood a long term debilitating type of depression until now.  Short periods of pulling out and actually accomplishing small tasks such as cooking a meal or sweeping the floor, even smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke inside) become major wins in life.  The frustration seems to feed on itself- depression keeps me from doing things, thinking about the things I haven’t done creates more depression.  It’s a sad reality that when one plays a game against the self, he/she loses in either case.

So I’ve been working here and there as a day laborer, which has paid me just enough to pay for the gas and cheap lunches with little left for living.  Yesterday (Sunday) I was prepping for a good nights sleep as the day labor game requires me to show up at 5:30 AM in the “hopes” of getting work among the 100 other people.  I received a text from a friend of a friend of a friend asking if I would swing by to talk about a job.  A job in a career field I have been in before: hardwood flooring!

This was a small lead I got about a week and a half ago, I used to do gymnasium floor installation about 20 years ago and not only did I enjoy it but I was also quite good at the work.  And so I went and met with the man, I start tomorrow (Tuesday) morning!  Good work, full time, good pay!  I decided that today I was not going to shovel dirt for no money and instead prep lunches for the week and practice a little self care.

For the first time in months I used my camera to take some macro shots of wildflowers, I folded laundry, I vacuumed, organized some things.  I’m in a good mood and am hopeful that this time around I wont slip back again.  Tomorrow morning I go back to a career I truly enjoyed decades ago and I’m incredibly excited.  I am taking today to go through and do a personal inventory of all the ways in which blessings and luck have fallen on me through my life.  No negatives, just the long list of gratitude’s.

And I might even call my mother

~J

Of not sleeping and avoiding going absolutely nuts!

So, it’s been a while since my last entry as I’ve been running at 100 miles per hour for a while now. Moving is hard enough but being a pack rat definitely exasperates the str- er frustation.

I hesitate to say struggle even though it seems that way. I have received unparalelled support from family as well as the upstairs neighbors.  I always knew I was a packrat but I was not expecting to have packed so many emotions away as well.

In particular the last two days have been filled with emotions good, bad, sublime, regretful, fearful, strong, even guilty. I have found myself so high strung and stressed that sleep has evaded me now 3 nights in a row.  It comes in little 15-45 minute spurts and I wake up with night terrors or a severe panic attack.

So I change my sweaty pajamas and try again as I know it will get better soon.  I find myself stress cooking which I don’t think of as bad.  In fact not only is it a more positive way of dealing with stress than many other methods I’ve engaged in but, I’m eating healthy food which I suppose is keeping me going.  Maybe I’ll write a cookbook on that someday “Cooking yourself sane”??

All in all I’ve made great strides, I am still throwing/giving away a lot and have listed a lot to sell.  I’m also remembering a lot of past experiences and people in my life and realizing that I’ve been amazingly blessed and lucky.  

It’s almost as if I’m reading my past as someone else’s story sometimes and thinking “this guys a few fries short of a happy meal”.  It’s not that I’ve come to realize most of my struggles and problems are self inflicted, it’s more that I’m beginning to accept it. I have always known I self destruct but change is tough.

I’m still working on changing and I suppose it’s going to be a long task.  For tonight though I’m feeling pretty okay about tomorrow, I even managed an entire 2 hour nap without waking up badly!! 

I have to confess though being on my inversion table and absolutely exhausted from putting it back together might have contributed.  In any case I figured while I wait for my “ham and bean with stress reducing veggie” soup to cool enough to freeze / refrigerate I would stop digging in boxes long enough to post.

A good friend once told me “Don’t be afraid of life”

~Joe 

(Note the image is yesterday’s stress cook not my soup lol)

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

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

 

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