Patience takes patience…

I believe that time is my most valuable asset. With the proper allocation of time, any goal can be reached. The tragic flaw of humanity is that our time on Earth is attached to a clock. So how do we optimize our time to achieve that which we hope to reach? To me, that tool is patience.

Patience is a skill that requires one to respect the time of themselves and others. I view patience as having two forms: micro and macro. Micro is the daily respect paid to the world around us. It’s not getting frustrated at the clerk taking entirely too long to bag groceries or not being grumpy when Netflix has to buffer. Macro is the respect we owe ourselves for reaching long term plans. It’s understanding that one exercise will not make you lose weight or that taking an entry level job won’t immediately hit your career goals.

DSC00058 Micro or Macro aside, the fundamentals of respecting time stay constant. If we acknowledge the fact that time is a limited resource then we can agree that it should be cherished. No matter what goals you have, time will play a crucial part. By practicing patience, and being honest with the amount of time required to reach that goal, one can achieve a more positive state of mind. 

If you are asking to or find yourself in a situation where you are taking the time of another, patience is doubled in importance. It is a gift. Someone is sharing their most valuable asset with you in the form of an action or conversation. That demands respect, that demands patience. At its roots patience is the golden rule. How do you like people to respect your time?

Be patient with where you are going. Take a step back and grab some perspective. Think of all your accomplishments and relationships. Every Single one was a series of actions strung together by time. Let that blueprint be a roadmap for the future. Be conscious of your time, respect it, and be cognitive with how you handle the time of others. To get to Carnegie Hall you need to practice, practice, practice. To win at life you need patience, patience, patience.

364 1/4’s Eve

New years come as decades go by, while life and time continue to fly. To some, new year brings cheerful rejoice, and to others it brings tearful regret. The American way, though, is to drink till you forget. After twelve twenty five is done we soon get one one. Worried what to buy, what to gift, and for who is quickly replaced with what should we do? Do we party so much we call a lift on the phone? Or, do we keep it real light and instead just stay at home?

New Years, like all traditions, stays true to the heart. The number one question is where do we start? Is it shots shots shots everybody, or a movie night capped with a cozy hot toddy? Sadly, I feel that traditions are quite doomed to fail. Built up in our heads but with no wind in their sail. Many still cling to days gone and past, instead we are left with events that have passed. Don’t feel sad, glad or bad. This is just life, this is what’s to be had.

Three sixty four and a quarter is a long time to wait, to address what’s been served on your big life sized plate. To change the world you must start with yourself.  Don’t leave your ambitions stuck on some shelf. It’s good to look inward but also still outward, keep your momentum and just keep moving forward. The past works quite fine as a plan for the future but beware of nostalgia and becoming indentured; to self-expectations that you will not be meeting or mixed up memories that always are fleeting

You go do you boo and go get what’s due to you. Your mistakes and successes are now all but past tense, so go get aggressive and play some damn offense. New year new you and all the clichés, your time in this year is well over stayed. Don’t wait till you’ve been told, or been given a scold, it’s true what they say fortune favors the bold.

Prost

While not a cold snap, it is obvious that summer is over. The repugnant humidity and stifling heat of August has been blown away by, perhaps, the first “Autum” rainfall. Nature is going through its final waking cycle before winter spreads its cold hands across the world. Maybe you feel it in your bones. As atmospheric pressure changes your knees feel a little stiffer. The days are shorter, for sure, and the mornings become a little bit harder to begin. Yepp, still a while away from the “holiday season” but the grocery stores say otherwise. My beer is cold, but no longer used to cool me off. Ah bliss…welcome to fest season.

My citrus and hop forward IPAs are being benched while malty goodness gets up to bat. Not quite cold enough for a Stout or Porter just yet. My Marzen, or Bavarian Lager, take center stage. Their dark/gold amber auroras are a feast for my eyes before my taste buds ever get a chance. One sip in and all I can think is, “this is what beer should be”. While certainly not light, something tells me I can drink it all day long. A little sweet, yet full bodied, it is a welcomed familiar taste that feels like home. 

Not that one needs an excuse to eat giant pretzels ever, fest season requires it. Freshly baked, warm, soft pretzels with a pinch of grain salt. Pick your poison, mustard or cheese, both compliment the beer in symbiosis. While pretzels are a delicious compliment to your “fresh as ever” brew I think we all know the bratwurst rules king. Perfectly cooked but never burnt. The lining pops in your mouth with that first bite telling you that yes…we have arrived.

Rumor has it that in heaven there is no beer and that’s why we drink it here. I subscribe to the theory that beer is the cultivation of mankind’s best traits. Agriculture, art, technology, and style collide to make something quite beautiful. So go grab a pint or make it mug, head on down to your local owned pub. Get it topped off and raise it high for a toast, here is to you so let’s cheers and scream PROST! 

Buying Stuff and Doing Things

According to numerous articles, that I cannot reference simply out of laziness, my generation (millennials) are disrupting many a status quo. Allow me to take a big assumption, that anyone reading this is somewhat familiar with the millennial discussion, and dive straight into my thought. They say, millennials are less interested in buying “things” and more interested in experiences. For example, a millennial would rather go on a trip than buy an expensive TV. I find myself living this trope, but what I struggle with is whether this lifestyle commoditizes life experiences.

The clear irony is that this logic holds up for buying “stuff”. Humans buy clothes, home decor, or cars to define themselves as individuals and support their ego. These is no judgement from me, I do this too. However, as people buy more “stuff” the less individualistic it becomes. Once everyone buys the limited edition Nikes, they simply become…Nikes.  What once made us unique is now making us the same.

International travel, luxurious resorts, and attending exotic festivals were once regarded as “rare occasions”. My observation is that participation in these activities is on the rise. I will note to leave my privilege and socioeconomic status checked at the door.  My un-researched assumptions are that technology, reduction in travel cost, and simple economics are the reason for this. People have high demand for “experiences” so the market is building its supply, thus making them more accessible. I state and ponder all this to ask; “does this lessen the experience?”.

The ego monsters we become, which is indeed the “human experience”, would probably say yes. If everyone can and does something than it loses its luster. I call bullshit though. An experience is exactly that, an experience. It is a sensation, an emotion; it is by definition a personal reaction. If I want to visit a National Park to camp and hike, good for me. If you want to stay in a cabin, soak in the nature, and eat in a restaurant, well bully for you! Who is to say there is a right way to experience something? At the end of the day, we are both paying our respects to our great parks and sharing their wonder with the world.

This shift in priorities has its drawbacks. There are stories of disease outbreaks at festivals and overcrowding at National Parks. I think, and hope, these are growing pains. It appears we are no longer content sitting in perfectly manicured houses tuning in to “must see tv”. We will adapt ourselves as we move to change the world. I hope my children are able to see double the amount I am. My only call to action is this: if you are living for experiences, make sure you are truly experiencing them. Go see that waterfall, take the picture, than set down you camera and just breathe in the moment while you can.

Pleasantly Surprised

Have you ever seen a highly anticipated movie that let you down? Friends and critics alike build up this movie for months until finally you see it and all you can think is “meh”. Have you ever walked into a movie with “no expectations” and walked out impressed? I have been zeroing in on a great source of sorrow in my life. That source of sorrow: the relationship between fantasy and reality.

I think we are all guilty of building things up in our head’s; it is part of the human experience. The moment I plan a trip I can immediately visualize the awesome pictures I will take and salivate at the idea of sharing them. Many times though, I reach my destination and fail to capture what I had imagined in my head. This brings me sorrow…but why? Psychologically speaking, from my armchair perspective, the delta between expectations and reality is an emotional reaction. Happiness or sadness is met depending whether expectations are exceeded or missed.

What would happen if we actively managed our expectations all throughout life? This is no easy feat, one that requires large amounts of mental fortitude and self-awareness. Think about it though, if future outcomes/events were viewed through the lens or realism we could avoid a lot of disappointment. When I temper my anticipation, I find life to be more satisfying, entertaining, and stress free. With no preconceived notions in my head, I have the ability to create my own results along the way.

I tell people often, well those who care to ask, that I consider myself a “realistic optimist”. When I visualize a future outcome in my life, I always approach it from a sense of reality. I hope for the best outcome, but I frame it based on my lens of reality. With this philosophy firmly in practice, I can actively balance my emotions. It is not always fun, but when the worst happens it helps me avoid pits of despair.

While I do not like to think about it, a truth in my life is that one day my loved ones (and myself) will pass away. By accepting this reality, and when the truth becomes fact, I can spend less time mourning and more time remembering the positive.  Life is enjoyable because it has an expiration date. Our time is limited and I want to make the most of it. My opinion is that time spent with negative emotions is life wasted. In a strange way, my thoughts on morality are similar to my thoughts on going to the movies. I would rather be pleasantly surprised than always disappointed.

Rule #32: Enjoy the Little Things

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Humans experience pain at a similar magnitude as they do pleasure. Marriage, the union of two individuals is such a powerful and happy event that it often leaves people in tears. Death, the loss of someone or something we have a deep connection with leaves us again in tears. Life as we know it wants to rest in equilibrium and our dualities are locked in eternal battle

The equalization of emotions is easy to comprehend on a macro scale. But, what about the minute? What about the mundane everyday jolts of emotion we encounter? In exercise, I took these questions to thought. As I recalled the day’s events, I kept coming up on the negatives. There was that jerk who didn’t use a turn signal almost causing an accident. Next, I was pushed into a light post because the group walking towards me on the sidewalk would not scoot over. Or, any number of little errors at my job that caused my blood pressure to spike.

This is not an equilibrium at all. If I were golfing, I would have a wicked slice. Where was my wrist control to even out my club aim? Where was my joy? Where were the little things?

It is easy to forget the positive because humans are ego monsters. When something good happens, we think “yepp this is how life should be”. Hah, we are so silly. We can work for nine months to pay for a tropical vacation only to sit on the beach and think “this is how everyday life should be”. Yet, we immediately forget about the nine months of work required to make that happen.

At the end of my day, I forgot the three green lights in a row I hit driving home. The first beautiful cup of hot coffee had slipped my mind. Feeling my dog curl up under my feet as I worked apparently was a smile I do not remember. Life is filled with mini joyous moments, stop being a dummy and enjoy the little things.

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Birthday’s Resolution

I never cared much for New Year’s resolutions. Yet I am obsessed with change. My logic goes like this: we should be constantly evolving for the better, if you are waiting for a single day to execute said “change” you might be less successful. If I feel I need to work harder, be healthier; learn more…I simply do it. Well I attempt to…I fail a lot. Periodically I like to check in on myself and take stock of things to measure where I am.

Exactly six months after Christmas is my birthday. For reference sake, it’s my halfway through the year. For conversation’s sake, that day is today. As long as I can remember, I never cared for my birthday, which is ironic. On your birthday it is all eyes on you and I am overflowing with ego. Because of this “spotlight”, my insecurities are brought front and center in my mind. I am insecure that people don’t like me, I’m not successful, I should be doing more with my life, and many more. The biggest irony is that the love I am given on my birthday proves these insecurities wrong. Nevertheless, it’s my irrational demon to wrestle and that’s ok.

Every year I feel the b-day blues bubble up so I opt for the shadows. Some people turn their day into a spectacle and I silently judge, probably out of jealousy. What I am most ashamed of is how I treat others who are trying to do right by me. They pour love onto me and in return, I project my insecurities through sarcasm and disrespect. If I took a minute to place my ego on a shelf I could accept this love at face value, but I am flawed. IMG_20190102_191516

If I took my halfway year (birthday) as a chance to self-reflect, instead of an opportunity to wallow in self-loathing, I might actually have a good time. I have my health, my family, and my adventures. For me, it does not get better than that. In the name of logic: if I am living life how I want than I am a success. So why do I get so down on myself?

Balance is the key to a happy life. You need the lows to balance out the highs. Therefore, I think it’s ok that I hold my insecurities close and use them to focus on the future. What’s wrong, and unhealthy, is when I judge others and push those who love me away. Those actions make me weak…for I am flawed. Above it all though I appreciate weakness, it can be a roadmap for the future. Ok, next January I resolve to be better.

What a Relief, Right?

A constant joy in life is realizing what little impact most events have on me. Actions occur to me daily and I think, “Surely these consequences will affect my life”. As time moves away from these actions the more clearly, I can see their true impact. When I reflect, I notice the impact is often very small and usually forgettable. It is fun though, to be honest, to think that I am important. To think that the world cares and considers me as fate plays out. Or, to believe every action and consequence that I experience will alter the trajectory of my life because “I” am important.

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My current employer is in a state of great growth and change. Often, it feels like a shift is occurring that changes the fabric of who we are as a company. It is scary, things were comfortable and familiar and now they are different. For a long time I was Chicken Little, fearful that the sky was falling. The more change I saw, though, the more comfortable it became. More importantly though, I saw how crucial the change was.

Successful businesses, like successful people, are constantly reinventing themselves. What a shock it is for Americans to learn that what worked in high school does not carry over to “real-life”. For business, it is no different. Employees, technology, and the market are always evolving. What worked last year may not work this year. And let’s not forget that change brings about opportunity. For opportunity is the seed that sprouts success.

Internally I am in constant debate whether or not human’s incessant egocentrism is a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, it might be the origin of our worst anxieties. However, on the reverse it might be the reason our species has advanced so far. Regardless, a solid lesson to learn is that most actions’ consequences will not affect your life. What a relief, right?

Work should not capitalize your life but it is important. At the end of the day “work” is how we provide for our families. Because of this, it is logical that “work” causes anxiety. I think that’s ok, it’s your livelihood we are talking about. At “work”, there are things you can control and things you can’t. You know the difference. I stopped focusing on that which I cannot change and instead began watching for situations that change can bring about opportunity. If the opportunity never comes, well, that’s ok too…it probably won’t matter anyways.

A History of Success

Time is a fickle relative pain in the ass. Sometimes we seem to have too much of it while at others we never seem to have enough. The sick joke of humanity is that we are acutely self aware of the fact that our time on this planet is limited. This is the exact opposite of “ignorance is bliss”. Biology and society alike place stressors on us daily that seem to guide our every decision. We are nostalgic of the past, struggle in the present, and dream of the future.

I prefer to plan my future rather than dream of it, but, that is not what is on my mind today. No, today I am struggling with something we all do. We let our day-to-day lives exist in a vacuum. We foolishly believe every action has dire consequences for our future while our past has no bearing on today. This cognitive pitfall is nothing short of egocentrism. Even the best of us can struggle to remember that, indeed, the world does not revolve around us.

So what do we do? What does one do when pressure of today seems all consuming? Your thoughts spiral out of control and you feel like a failure, you can’t succeed, or you made an unfixable mistake. Well, the sheer fact that you have made it another day on earth means you did something right yesterday. Humans (me specifically) are terrible at remembering our past success. We quickly dismiss prior triumphs to instead focus on the negatives of today.

When I am distraught or lost I try to let my history shed light on the path ahead. I have faced and overcome hardships in the past so it is foolish to think I can not overcome them tomorrow. It is important to note that the difficulties of life are relative to your own experience. While kids in the U.S. might struggle to pass calculus there are kids world wide fighting to live another day. I am not here to preach perspective but quite the opposite. How you face hardship is relative to the life you have lived.

Let your prior success act as an indicator of future performance. As I said earlier, given that you are here today means you did something correct yesterday. Cherish those memories of victory and know it can happen again. Whatever formula worked than can certainly work again. Learn from the past to focus on today to reach your destination tomorrow.

Bay Side Observations

It is a little passed 8am and the sun has been up for well over an hour. The clouds cast just enough shade that I can visibly see the steam radiate from my freshly poured coffee. A mild breeze rolls from the bay, over the my balcony, and makes its way towards the sea. Even though it’s late November all I need to stay warm is a hoodie in the ever mild weather of San Diego. Not a bad place to be right now.
 
The rental house I’m in is a stone’s throw away from dozens of other structures. What’s difficult to distinguish is whether my neighbors are fellow visitors or the rare-to-find locals. Each building is packed so closely to the next there is only space for a small sidewalk to separate the walls of every dwelling. Our location, Mission Beach, is a popular part of town. Roughly one city block separates us from the Pacific and Mission Bay. The sort of place where everyone wants to be here but no one is “here”.
 
For as many livable units as there are it feels surprisingly empty. Fully furnished patios and balconies lie dormant waiting for the next inhabitants to host an event. Sand shovels and water pals sit idol, no one has played with these toys since August. The biggest shame is the wasted views. Every morning the sun rises in the bay and sets on the ocean while being observed by few. While hundreds would love to live here many simply can not.
 
Perhaps the wage needed to live in Mission Beach is too high. Perhaps the property owners are real estate firms more interested in cash flow than community betterment. Perhaps the house has been owned by a private owner so long they moved to Phoenix and use it only a few times a year. It’s all ok, this is the way the market works. I think most would prefer the quite idleness of neglect to the sprawling condos of despair.
 
My time here is almost up. Back inland and away from the sea. The sun will still be shining and the weather will still be perfect. In fact my neighborhood should be brimming with folks out and about. They say life is for the living and that’s exactly what I intend to keep doing.