Saturday, December 5, 2015

Unemployment Day 1

It's been a while since I've written anything on this blog. As the title of this post suggests, I no longer have a job. I could make it a long drawn out story as to why I no longer have a job, but I think it's better that I leave short and sweet. The short of it is, I followed my own advice and at the same time I went against my own advice. Here's what I mean; for years I would tell people that "if you hate your job, quit." I also would tell them that "it's really stupid to quit a job when you don't have another job to go to." So what did I do? I hated my job so I quit...without another job... and I've never been happier.

Today is the first day unemployed. I've not not had a job since we quit our jobs in Las Vegas in 2008 and moved to Austin. It only took a month and a half for me to find a temp job and start working again. It took me another few months to find a permanent position and be working full-time. I thought that I would be more scared this point, And maybe next week, on Monday morning, when I have no job to go to, the fear will kick in, but as of right now I feel alive. I feel invigorated. I feel excited. I feel like I took the only obstacle out of my life that was stopping me from moving forward. Frankly, I feel FUCKING AMAZING!

So what am I doing on my first day of unemployment? Hell, it's Saturday so I'm doing nothing! I cleaned up the kitchen. I've made breakfast and coffee. I'm contemplating cleaning the house, but instead I'm watching a little television. I might box for little bit. I decided to write for a little bit as you can see. I've also danced in my kitchen, sang around the house, and I've been smiling all day so far.

I didn't quite expect this to be my reaction to being unemployed. I thought I would be a lot more stressed out. I thought I'd be spending this first day digging into job postings trying to apply for whatever I could. I thought that I'd be learning a skill or practicing my Excel workbooks and worksheets, trying to get ahead of the game before Monday hit, and I realize that my world has completely changed when I wake up and have nowhere to go. My relaxed attitude kind of scares me. Maybe it's because I expected myself to react differently. Maybe my relaxed attitude because my gut is telling me what I did was right and that what's waiting ahead for me is infinitely better than what I'm leaving behind. As for the rest of today, I'm going to continue on this happiness hi that I'm riding right now.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another one Bites the Dust

Well, the last 30 days have been a time for death. I really only thought this happened once you pass 70. Another "friend" died. Its been over a week since I heard. It has taken me that long to process this one. I used quotes around the friend in this because we were no longer friends. It's what happens when there is a falling out.

I have not cried yet. I have yet to feel deeply sad...well, sad at all. I have been thinking about this off and on and have come to the conclusion that the sad part of this whole event is not that he died, but how and that it took his death to hear from friends I don't hear from regularly.

The lesson is loud and clear:
LIVE Healthy. 
BE Active.
DON'T Wait to do things. 
TELL Those you love that you love them regularly. 
CONTACT Those far away more often than at holidays. 
REMEMBER Who loves you. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Street Festivals and I

So I am finding that street festivals thrive in Chicago. There are at least 5 each weekend in different neighborhoods. There is a neighborhood fest, German fest, Polish fest, bacon fest, rib fest, and I could just keep going on and on. The thing about these fests are, they are practically all the same! A street closes down. A company comes in with the same beer and furnishes the booze. And there are some similar over priced foods involved. It is crowded and in my opinion, not that fun.

I think mainly I don't enjoy them because I don't like beer much. So to sit in the heat drinking something I don't enjoy, being in a crowd of people (which I don't like crowds either), and eat food that is not that great and way over priced just doesn't sound that fun to me. I have hit a total of 4 street festivals since I moved here (Plus Gay Pride and Market Days) and I really don't feel the need to do them again. There is always the hope that one will be a little different, but like the Cathedrals of Europe, once you've seen a few, they all tend to look the same after that. Give me a beach day. I'd much rather do that!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lust for Life

So it has been awhile. Far too long actually since I last blogged. Just like with many things in life, I've been putting it off. Not because I don't want to, but because I was lazy, or just not making the time. And just like many things in life, an event triggered a realization that I need to get off my ass and do something about it.

What event? Well, unfortunately death. And old Frenemy killed himself this last week. "Frenemy" you might ask? Yes. We hated each other for the longest time. It was more like we felt each other was taking something away from the other and jealous of it. It was not until years later when we spent a long evening in a friends hot tub that we talked it out and though the years had caused the hate to fade, they also gave the maturity to understand each other.

So while this event stemmed this post, it is not about death, but about life, friends, and living. While I never expected to have someone who I have not seen in a good 10-12 years death cause me to cry, it did. It brought back memories that, actually, were all good. What it also did was cause me to reach out to people who I don't normally. People who I should more regularly. People who helped shape the person that I am and who I love dearly for it. People who live far away, so are often forgotten in my everyday life, until an event like this happens.

I am on both sides of the spectrum here. I have been the one still loved yet forgotten from everyday life. I have also been the one forgetting about special people. The saying is kind of true, Out of sight, out of mind. I don't think we ever intend to do it, but as I think I said many times in the last couple of days "Life just gets in the way". But why? If people are important, they should be part of your life. I appreciate Facebook for that. I can see what people I love and appreciate are doing on a regular basis, "like" what they do, leave a comment of sarcasm or approval, and move on. But that is only for a few. What about the others? Those who don't have a Facebook or post on it. Those who I only have their email or phone number. I have detached from calling people or emailing them. The "time" doesn't seem to be there when it really is. It is understandable though. We do keep social during the week and often forget. And I am not pleading to be better at it. Just stating it really. We are in a world of overload where we often do forget.

While I am making memories with my friends now, here, in the present and place I am now, I need to remember the memories of those in my past and work to making more with them. Could it be a need for a long weekend and flying to see them? OR even meeting up somewhere with them to hang out? I don't know. I am still figuring that part out. But that brings me to something more...having the lust for life also. I am guilty of sitting and doing nothing, and sometimes one needs to do that. We do need to rest. But I don't want to rest from work, I'd prefer to rest from doing fun things that exert my energy. Get out and do, and stop fucking just thinking about doing it! That has been my goal this year is to do. I think I am doing better at it, but not as good as I'd like to be. Is it fear? Laziness? Time? Well, I doubt it is the time. My mother always told me that I tend to always make the time and have the money to do the things I really want to. The rest is an excuse. Honestly, she is right.

I don't know. I feel I am all over the board on this post right now. I don't want to write a tribute to my friend who passed. His memory to me is enough. But I do want to remind myself to live life. To make the time for what I want to do and to DO IT. To think about and communicate more often with those in my past as much as I do with those in my present. To remind people that I love them, even though I don't say it enough. To make sure that I am who I am without apologies. To never regret not doing something. To explore the world and its beauty...the places, the people, the cultures.

I am not getting younger and don't want to be the man on his deathbed saying "I wish I had..." but the man saying "I did everything I wanted to do."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Resolutions, but WORDS to live by in 2014

So it is the end of the year, a time when we reflect and see how the last year went and what we hope for the coming one. Often resolutions are made, forgotten or broken and at the end of the year it feels like a failure. I haven't made resolutions in ages and don't plan on now. What I do plan on doing it defining my year with words. Putting the words out there so that I can live them. It was not easy finding the words. You would think it was easier, it is only a word. I tried to think of one, but found 5. Five words that I want my life to reflect this coming year. There is no order of importance. There is only the meaning of them. So I will attempt to not only list them, but define my vision of what they mean for me.

The 5 Words of 2014

1. Love. It is not that I don't love, or love enough, but I think that I don't show it enough to the people I should show it to. I also feel that I don't accept it as much as I should. So love will not only be for people, but for things. Love can bring happiness and contentment as well.

2. Passion. I feel that in the past many years I have not been passionate about anything. I just go day to day "passionless". When I speak of passion I am talking about those things that make you happy that you do. Some have a passion for baking while others have passion for the outdoors. The thing that you love to do that makes you happy, calm and centered. It is my goal to find the passion again. I love to cook, and maybe it is becoming better. Trying new things. Maybe it will be centered around fitness. I am sure I will find it. This is the year to find it.

3. Adventure. I don't think I am boring by any means. I can get bored, but that is by choice to do nothing at times. I want the things that I do do to be full of adventure. No limit as to how big or small the adventure, but it needs to be amazing! Adventure is defined as "an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity." I need more of this in my life. It doesn't have to be hazardous, but it should be unusual and exciting! More of that this coming year!

4. Live. While this one seems obvious, I think people in general don't do it. I find myself finding it "easier" to sit at home, save money, and do nothing, missing out on some of the living of life. The adventures that I seek to fulfil. It is like when Auntie Mame says, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" I want to feast this year! Be gluttonous on what we have in this great city I live in, NO, this world we live in!

5. Fearless. I look back to the fun I had in my 20's. I was poor, but experienced so many things. Took a month off to travel Europe, took a trip with my best friend to England on minimal funds, jumped off cliffs, moved on a whim (which we still do) and lived life without fear. No fear of being broke, no fear of not making rent. I just did things and everything worked itself out later. I miss that part of me. I became responsible, which is not bad, but in doing so, I lost that fearless side of myself. I became fearful. I was in a relationship. All my choices were now going to effect me and someone else. What if my choice was a bad one and now 2 people have to suffer the consequences. I am done with being fearful. I left this word at my number 5 for a reason, because it  will be the catalyst to make the other ones work out.

As the last few days of 2013 pass, I will commit these words for 2014 to memory. Retain the meaning of them in my soul. Remember to live them and do it! It will be a revolutionary new year full of me being FEARLESS!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving...a day to remind ourselves of what we DO have.

I find it interesting that people take the time to be thankful on Facebook each day of this month. It makes me wonder if they think about what they are thankful for on a daily basis. As a child I would say a prayer and I was always "thankful" for the same things each time: my mom and dad, my brothers and sisters, my home, food, etc. But that became a rehearsed "thankful", it lost its sincerity in repetition. Is this how we are now? We repeat what we are supposed to be thankful for that we forget or take for granted what the thanks is really for? Why do we wait in this country to be be thankful for things until November? I guess because in December we focus on those things we don't have and want (thanks commercialized Christmas). Maybe they cancel each other out somehow...

I am not saying that I think about what I am thankful each day, but I do "stop to smell the roses" multiple times each week and think of how fortunate I am for the life I have. I try to tune out the negativity of others while realizing that sometimes it triggers me to be negative. I guess I am thankful for that self-awareness.

There are so many things that I am thankful for this year so in the spirit of the holiday, I will list them out here.

1. Walter. This year we had the pleasure of being married. Nearly 13 years with this wonderful man and he's not sick of me yet. I am difficult sometimes and he knows when to just let it roll off his back. I am thankful for his patience with me and his ability to evolve with me in our life together.

2. The fact that we can now get married. With the fall of DOMA, it allowed us to be married and gain the rights that we should have had for ages now. I also had the privilege to officiate the wedding of my best friend and his husband. Amazing!

3. My family. Most of them anyway. I do love them all, but some just piss me off regularly and some I don't even talk to. But I somehow still love them all and do care about their lives and well being.

4. My friends. This year has been especially hard since we left many wonderful friends in Austin, who I miss terribly, and have been on the search for new friends in Chicago. We have been fortunate to find some great friends here and many good acquaintances as well. Hopefully this next year we will be able to build stronger relationships with those and acquire some new as well.

5. My job. While I am sometimes in turmoil about what I want to be when I grow up, I am lucky that I work for a company who allows you to explore your passions and try new things.

6. The city I live in. It is a new city and so much to explore and enjoy. As I walk to work and see a building I have not noticed before, or some beautiful architectural detail, I am reminded I live in a city with beauty and rich history.

7. My mind. While sometimes I think I have lost it, I am thankful that it functions and serves me in many aspects of my life. It keeps me calm and self-aware. It sometimes runs too much and interrupts my sleep, but better than it not going at all and becoming stagnant.

8. My physical movement. I am made so much more aware, especially as I age, that the ability to move and be mobile is so important. I am grateful that I still have this ability and need to focus on keeping it and improving it as I get older.

9. My life. Not the breath I have that allows me to live, but everything that surrounds me. I am fortunate to have the things I need, the money to buy things I want. A warm comfortable place to live. Wonderful people to surround me. The eyes to see the beauty around, the ears to hear the sounds of the birds and the city,  and the heart to appreciate what I see and hear. And most importantly, a companion to share it all with.

There are so many more details that I could add to this. So many more things to list, but why list them? I need to think of them regularly, throughout the year. Be thankful that I wake up each morning and thankful I can walk to work each day. Thanksgiving should be celebrated regularly, not just on the 4th Thursday of November. I need to stop and appreciate life more often. Smile more. Love more. Laugh more. And be serious less. Being thankful daily should bring these things year round as opposed to this one day each year.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Accepting Even When We Don't Get It

A coworker and I have been chatting a lot about a lot of things. She talks about her daughter a lot and is so proud of her. The other day she walked into work and had a very distressed look on her face. I greeted her with a "good morning" followed by a "how's it going?". She stopped, pondered her answer, and said "My daughter thinks she is supposed to be a boy. We had a long talk about it last night."

So a quick backstory on this, her daughter has thought this since the first grade, so this was not anything new. From the 1st to the 4th grade they would buy her clothes in the boys department, cut her hair short, and allow her to live how she felt she was. WONDERFUL PARENTING in my opinion; letting the child live the life they think they are, only guiding the child to make good decisions, but letting the child keep her individuality. She is now 12.

So when my coworker told me, I felt for this child and her mom. I scooted my chair over so we could talk. The next words that came out of her mouth with some light tears was, "I don't care, I just ache over the pain and confusion that she is going through."

We talked for a good amount of time about finding some support groups. Finding some sort of group to help her daughter see and talk with other transgendered persons. Her daughter still is not 100% that she is a boy, but strongly feels she is. I told her the best part is that she has a supportive mother and father to help her through it all. I reminded her that I don't feel the way her daughter does, so it confuses me just as it confuses her, similarly that I am gay and one who is not cannot understand completely how I feel the way I feel about my sexuality. Her daughter still likes boys, but does not rule girls out either. I joked that she might be a gay man trapped in a woman's body! We giggled and realized that might be fully true! She made me smile the next day when she said "my daughte...err, kid" to adjust her own vernacular on referring to her daughter.

This has caused me to think a lot over the past few days about how healthy it is to accept, even when you don't understand and will never comprehend. This can apply to so many things we experience in life. Not accepting people for silly things that don't matter is damaging. Parents are the worst offenders and psychologically damage us all the time. If it is the little boy in pre-school wanting to wear a dress at playtime and being shamed for it by ANY adult (teacher or parent) or in my case, being gay and tired of living the lie. It still hurts when those close to you or who you look up to are unaccepting of who you are. The reaction that you have, be it yanking the boy to the back and pulling the dress off him yelling at him how only girls wear dresses, or having such an issue that I am gay the you stop talking to me completely is a bad one. The damage still occurs.

It is really not hard to just accept someone for who they are. People complicate it more than it should be. They bring outside influences in when it should just be a natural human response of "ok, that is how you are, and this is how I am, and we are all different, and while I don't understand that aspect of you, I still think you are wonderful and love you". It is really that simple. I know it is easier said than done. So many things brainwash our minds into what to believe; religion, community, culture, media, etcetera. It is time we took our humanity back and listen to our pure hearts. Strip all the crap off. Be like children who don't know and don't care that something is socially demonized or stigmatized. Let's just start caring in the right, supportive, loving way. The human way.