Me First: Why I Like Being Incompatible With Everyone Else

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Over the years I have been called selfish, obstinate, sometimes even hateful and weird.  Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what I don’t do; I don’t “fit in” with most people.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.  I am true to myself, and I am true to what I love.  Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, and I don’t have to live with anyone else.  So, the idea of altering anything about myself to try to “fit in” with someone else is not only phony, it’s disgraceful.  But a lot of people seem to do it.

Relationships have been dreadful for me,  for this very reason.  I have never had anything in common with anyone I’ve been in a relationship with.  The closest would probably be my girlfriend in high school, and what we had in common could be counted on one hand.  I mean, we liked to watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and we were both big Garfield marks, and we liked a few similar movies, but other than that, nothing.

My most recent “real” relationship, though.  Whew.  I was in a relationship for a few years with someone that, I can say with all honesty, had nothing in common with me other than the fact that we both ate food and breathed in oxygen.  You couldn’t have found two more mismatched people if you sat me down beside a cannibal from New Guinea.  This woman was many years older than me, which meant we were dealing with a generation gap, but it was in the wrong direction.  She wanted to be “hip,” so she told me once that “anything (movies, music, TV shows, etc.) older than two years old is garbage.”  I, meanwhile, hate most everything current and crave classic music, movies and shows.  So, the upshot of this is we spent every evening watching two different TV’s, or doing everything we did apart from each other.  Most times, not even in the same room at the same time.  It was beyond ridiculous, and stupid.  It was a complete waste of time for both of us.

In situations like those, you can choose to stay with this person who brings nothing positive into your life, and its basically like having a hanger-on because a lot of times they keep you from doing things you enjoy in life just because they don’t like it.  This has been a consistent problem for me.  And a lot of it is based on the fact that I am selfish and obstinate.  I am not changing for anyone.  Isn’t the fact that you would need to change who you are to fit someone else being completely dishonest to yourself?  Why do that?

Here are some examples of me being “obstinate” and “selfish:”

1.  I am a Chicago White Sox fan living in North Central West Virginia.  I am an island unto myself in that respect.  This area is Pittsburgh Pirates country, since I live around 90 miles from “The ‘Burgh.”  So, naturally, anyone I meet who is a sports fan will ask me “why are you a White Sox fan” and “why are you not a Pirates fan?”  Well, because that’s who I am.  I started following the White Sox in 1991.  I’ve invested nearly 27 years of my life into my team, not to mention thousands of dollars.  I’m not about to throw it all away just because there are no other White Sox fans in my area.  That’s not being true to me.

2.  I like classic movies and TV shows, and I haven’t watched anything really “current” since the mid-1990s.  Also, I never watched “Friends” or “ER” or “Seinfeld” or any of the shows that everyone else seems to have spent their lives watching.  I also don’t watch anything currently on TV, other than White Sox games on MLB.TV.  People look at me with disbelief and disdain when I mention “no, I don’t watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ or ‘I don’t watch ‘The Walking Dead.'”  This is amusing when I meet people who begin conversations with “oh, my God, did you see…” to which I can shut them down right there and say “no, I didn’t.”  Ask me who won the White Sox game.  That, I know.

3.  I’m my own man and don’t need anyone to “complete” me.  I can enjoy my own company, ad infinitum.  I’ve really never experienced this concept of being “lonely” because I have so many things that I enjoy doing, and that are things I do alone.  I don’t need anyone’s “help,” because nine times out of 10, it’s more of a hindrance than anything else.  I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of people wanting to help in certain situations, but most of the time I prefer to do things myself and do them in my way.

4.  I’m happiest when I am in solitude.  When I can think.  When people aren’t yelling at me or trying to make me do things I don’t want to do, or screwing up my schedule and ruining my day.  I rarely ever ask anyone for anything.  I wish that were the other way around sometimes.  And I’m not talking about friends asking friends for an occasional favor, I’m talking about a constant stream of noise and directives and demands.

Looking at it from an outside perspective, I think I would be hard to live with.  Of course, I have never been in love before so that could make a lot of difference in how I would feel about the situation.  If I loved someone, maybe I could make some adjustments.  But just from looking at me and where I stand now, I just like things the way they are, and I don’t need any interference.  And because I like things this way, I see no reason that I would need to change them, whatsoever.  As Sammy Davis, Jr. sang, “I gotta be me.”

Ultimately, I have no issue growing old alone and enjoying my own company.  In the event that I would ever meet someone who has more in common with me than those I have dealt with previously (and that wouldn’t take much), I might have an interest in looking in that direction.  I also have no trouble with social dating, a night out, dinner and a movie, with a girl who I may have absolutely nothing in common with because when the night is over, she can leave and my life continues, nothing has to change.

In closing, I just want to say that there are more important things in life than whether or not you are compatible with other people.  Be true to yourself first.  If you never have anything in common with anyone, that means that you are more unique than the people you are dealing with.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s a world out there, just because you are an army of one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.  I’ve had dinner alone, watched movies alone (in the theater and at home) and that’s just part of my every day life.  You should live it.  Enjoy it.  Because you will always have yourself to share it with.

Peace.

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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: My Top Ten Favorite Covers Of All Time

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With the countdown on to the release of the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which will be released in February, I have decided to do a countdown of my Top Ten favorite SI Swimsuit Issue covers.  Which should warm up a cold January evening.

10.  HAILEY CLAUSON, 2016
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This was one of three available covers in 2016, the other two featuring Ashley Graham and Ronda Rousey, respectively.

9.  KATE UPTON, 2013
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8.  ELLE MACPHERSON, 1988
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7.  IRINA SHAYK, 2011
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6.  KATE UPTON, 2017
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There were three Kate Upton covers in 2017

5.  KATHY IRELAND, 1992
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4.  BAR REFAELI, 2009
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3.  TYRA BANKS, 1997
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2.  KATE UPTON, 2012
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Kate Upton’s first year as cover model.

1.  HANNAH DAVIS, 2015
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Now known as Mrs. Derek Jeter.

The Hannah Davis (Jeter) cover sticks in my mind because, when I got back to the Jeep with it after getting it out of my post office box, I was so flummoxed I couldn’t figure out how to start the Jeep.  Without question, my all-time favorite cover.  No contest.

We now await the 2018 cover, but it will be hard-pressed to compete with this one.

Peace.

My Top Five Favorite… EVERYTHING…

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Submitted for your approval, I present my top five favorite…  EVERYTHING.  This will be several different lists of my top five favorite things.  Shaking things up a bit.  These will be in no particular order, and in fact, the actual top five will be in no particular order, either.  Just five of my favorite things from each of the selected categories.  Enjoy.

FAVORITE MOVIES
Major League
The Big Lebowski
Back To The Future
First Blood
Raiders Of The Lost Ark

FAVORITE BOOKS
The Art Of The Deal
KISS And Make Up
Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook
The Catcher In The Rye
Moneyball

FAVORITE COLORS
Black
Blue
Silver
White
Gray

FAVORITE ACTORS
Brad Pitt
Joseph Cotten
Gene Wilder
Harrison Ford
John Wayne

FAVORITE ACTRESSES
Sharon Stone
Uma Thurman
Julie Newmar
Kim Novak
Grace Kelly

FAVORITE SUPERHEROES
Batman
Superman
Captain America
Spider-Man
Wonder Woman

FAVORITE VILLAINS
The Joker
The Red Skull
Lex Luthor
The Penguin
Mandarin

FAVORITE FRUIT
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Grape
Watermelon

FAVORITE VEGETABLE
Corn
Potatoes
Green Peppers
Tomatoes
Hot Peppers

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVORS
Rocky Road
Chocolate
Neapolitan
French Vanilla
Coffee

FAVORITE MOVIE CHARACTERS
Ricky Vaughn (Major League)
Sam McCord (North To Alaska)
Marty McFly (Back To The Future)
Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct…  Hey, that’s what got me through puberty)
John Rambo (First Blood)

FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS
Jack Tripper (Three’s Company)
Perry Mason
Tod Stiles (Route 66)
Paladin (Have Gun – Will Travel)
Captain Kirk (Star Trek)

FAVORITE TV SHOWS
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek
Three’s Company
Route 66
Perry Mason

FAVORITE CANDY
Snickers
Whatchamacallit
Rolo
M&M’s
Hershey With Almonds

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
Denny’s
LongHorn Steakhouse
Chili’s
McDonald’s
Ryan’s

FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS
Megadeth
AC/DC
The Beatles
Hank Williams, Sr.
Judas Priest

FAVORITE WEBSITES
Facebook
Twitter
iFunny
Wikipedia
YouTube

FAVORITE SONGS
“Angry Again” by Megadeth
“Jambalaya” by Hank Williams Sr.
“Highway To Hell” by AC/DC
“Return To Sender” by Elvis Presley
“Tight Fittin’ Jeans” by Conway Twitty

FAVORITE VIDEO GAMES
Batman Arkham Series for PS3 and PS4
MLB The Show
Hitman Series for PS2 and PS3
Tetris for the NES
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III:  The Manhattan Project for the NES

FAVORITE BOARD GAMES
Monopoly
Life
Chess
Scrabble
Yahtzee (which doesn’t technically have a “board” but it makes the list anyway)

FAVORITE SPORTS
Major League Baseball
Minor League Baseball
NCAA Baseball

FAVORITE BASEBALL PLAYERS (ALL-TIME)
Frank Thomas
Bo Jackson
Jose Abreu
Lenny Dykstra
Scott Podsednik

FAVORITE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE
2010
1995
1987
2000
1998

FAVORITE SUBJECTS FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND/OR COLLEGE
History (high school)
Journalism (high school)
Criminal Law (college)
Business Law (college)
American Civics (high school)

FAVORITE CITIES
Chicago
Pittsburgh
Phoenix
Las Vegas
Los Angeles

FAVORITE BEVERAGES
Coca-Cola
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey
Folgers Black Silk coffee
Ocean Spray Cran-Grape Juice

FAVORITE CEREAL
Fruity Pebbles
Cap’n Crunch
Oreo O’s
Cocoa Pebbles
Apple Jacks

FAVORITE CARTOONS
Looney Tunes
South Park
Beavis and Butt-Head
Transformers (the original 1980s cartoon)
Scooby Doo

So, to quote Julie Andrews, these are a few of my favorite things.

Peace.

I Have So Much To Be Thankful For

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Being thankful is a powerful emotion.  And an underutilized one, as well.

Like most people, I tend to only take stock of my life and realize what I’m thankful for after something significant has happened.  And that is the wrong strategy to take in life.

In my own case, I seem to only realize that I have a lot to be thankful for when I feel like my life is being destroyed.  Maybe that’s the eternal optimist inside of me realizing that things aren’t always as bad as they seem.  Or maybe its the Lord bringing it out in me.

In late 2012 and into early 2013 I was able to start looking at all the aspects of my life that were positives.  I had the support of great friends and I felt like I had a great future ahead of me.  I was planning a move to Illinois and had already taken some steps to get that move into motion.  I had a phone interview for a very good job and had already bought my airline tickets to fly out a couple of weeks later for an in-person meeting.  I figured while I was out there, I could start looking for living quarters and start putting down roots.  I was so excited for a new beginning because I was in complete control.

Or so I thought.  Instead of taking that opportunity and running with it, I made a mistake of ultimate dimension.  That mistake cost me my move and cost me a lot of my friends.  It cost me my dignity and my self-respect.  And a lot of wasted time and money.

But fate was able to extricate me from that mistake, in the most unpleasant and painful way possible, but it was worth it in the end to be able to be able to escape such misery.

And now, I can stop, and take a look around me and realize that I am, in fact, the luckiest man on the face of the earth.  And now, I have the chance to make the most of my life.

First, I am thankful for my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I had an amazing experience with the Holy Spirit in 2013, and I wish I had held onto that a lot more than I did in the years that followed, but when you’re involved with people who are evil, it makes it difficult regardless of how strong your faith is.  I can say, now without question, my faith is unbreakable.  I will carry it with me for the rest of my earthly life.

Second, I am thankful for my family and my friends.  I don’t deserve the friends that I have.  They are the greatest anyone could ever hope for.  I have turned my back on them, denied them, ignored them and eliminated them from my life, though against my own will, I still allowed it to happen.  And while I was disconnected from them, I leaned on my family.  My mom and dad are both elderly but they are always there for me when I need them.  As for my friends, nearly all of them have returned to me and for that I will be forever grateful.  They will never again suffer the indignities they suffered before.

Third, I am thankful for my freedom.  It’s amazing how people can change you, and not in good ways.  For instance, if you are in a relationship or marriage, your significant other should want you to be the best person you can be and remain true to yourself.  I am thankful that I am free to be me.  I can do what I want, when I want, where I want and how I want without any interference from anyone.  I’m not in a situation where I am expected to make anyone else happy, and I am especially happy to be away from people who only wanted what they could get out of me.  Being single is a truly blessed feeling.

Fourth, I am thankful for all that I have.  My material possessions.  Money in the bank.  A nice home.  A dependable vehicle.  They may not matter in the grand scheme of things, but I am very happy to have them.  They are things that make me happy and that I enjoy.

Finally, I am happy just to be alive.  For 25 years I told everyone I would never see 40.  I don’t know why I felt that way, it was just an overwhelming feeling I had.  Kind of like a premonition.  In many ways, it may have held me back, because I never wanted to really commit to anything because I didn’t figure I would be around to see anything through.  I realize now that was the wrong attitude to take and hopefully I realize now that I have another 40 or 50 years to accomplish everything I have ever wanted to accomplish.

This March I’ll be taking in Spring Training baseball in Arizona for the first time, in person.  That’s a dream I have had for years that until now, had no chance of being realized.  And if my month-long experience is a good one, I am planning to make a full-time move to the desert southwest.  There I can make a real fresh start, from the ground up.  And that opportunity comes along very rarely in life, and I will take advantage of it.

I have so much to be thankful for.  And I am most thankful for the second chance I have been given to do things the right way.  I am not shackled by my mistakes any longer, I am not tied to empty words or stupid promises.  I am free and I have everything I could want in my life.  And to anyone who feels like they are at rock bottom and they have nothing to be thankful for, just think about this.  Instead of focusing on the things that are making you miserable, step back and think about all the blessings you have in your life.  I know that can be a significant challenge, but if you can do it, believe me, its worth doing it.

Life is not bad, life is good.  But you have to eliminate the negativity, whether it be people or possessions or addictions or whatever is causing you strife.  Sometimes those things are removed independently of any action, and I was lucky in that respect.  I was saved from my miseries without really having to fight them.  But if you do have to fight them, fight with all that you have.  Don’t back down.  Don’t go back into the same patterns and deal with the same people.  Life is worth living and it is worth protecting.  At all costs.

In closing, let me say that if you just ask God to help you, you can absolutely depend on the fact that He will.  It may not happen overnight.  But I can say, without hesitation, that God has delivered me from every bad situation I have ever found myself in, and if you just trust in His plan and realize that everything will work out in the end, the road you are traveling will be a lot less difficult.  Be thankful for what you have and give all that you can to make sure you utilize the power of being thankful every day, not just when you are at rock bottom.  Be thankful for your blessings every day of your life.

Peace.

A Manifesto On Marriage

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This blog entry is going to offend some people, especially those who are in a happy marriage.  I want to preface this piece by saying that these opinions are mine, and mine alone.  I have carried these beliefs with me since I was at least 15 years old, regardless of what life may have been putting in front of me and what mistakes I made, or was able to avoid, for that matter, over the ensuing 25 years.

There are a couple of quotes that helped to craft my views of marriage.  The first was in the film North To Alaska, when John Wayne’s character, Sam McCord, said “a wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn’t hit up here yet.  Let’s keep it a free country.”  The second was compliments of legendary British comedian Benny Hill, who sang “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”

I do need to point out that I have never been married, so this is not going to be a hit piece about an unhappy marriage.  This is simply going to be my thoughts on the institution of marriage, and why, deep down, I would have never even consider marrying.

There have been three times that I have had marriage pushed at me, and all three times were ludicrous, in their own way.  And together, they brought me to this point in my life.

My first experience with marriage began when I was 17 years old.  Yes, 17.  I was having marriage pushed at me by a 15 year old I was dating at the time.  Fortunately, I was kicked to the curb at 19 and was able to avoid that situation before it would have been feasible.  But it was a bad omen.

The second time I had to deal with this was in 2005, and this is where not getting married was cast in stone for me, though I didn’t realize that until just recently.  The woman in this case lived nearly four hours away, and we were not dating or in any kind of relationship whatsoever.  She wanted a husband, period.  Didn’t matter who, didn’t matter where.  When I told her I did not love her and did not want to marry her, she simply said “you’ll learn to love me.”  Luckily for me, some idiot did finally marry her and I can only imagine the hell he must be living.

My final experience started well enough, I had just had sex with a woman nine years older than me (she was 37, I was 28) and as we lay there she said “I’m just going to tell you now, I’m never getting married again.”  This, of course, allured my interest, as we knew nothing about each other and had met only three hours earlier.  So, if she was not interested in marriage, to the extent that I was not as well, we definitely had solid footing beneath us in terms of our futures.  However, that was short-lived and within six months I was having ads from jewelry stores shoved in my face on a daily basis.

Now I don’t want to just outline my own experiences as to why I think marriage is dreadful, I want to look at some actual facts and figures that support my theory.

First, let’s remember that half of all marriages end in divorce.  That is mathematical fact.  Let’s also remember that a majority of women marry men of a higher economic status.  That means that in a community property state, women are coming out of the marriage a lot better off than they went into it and men are coming out a lot worse off.  And in an unhappy marriage, remember this:  If you leave, you pay.  If she leaves, you pay.  This was especially significant to me, as all four of my “marriage experiences” were of a lower economic status than I, which left me to wonder if their interest in me was real, or if it was purely mercenary.

Second, people change over time.  There’s a reason the early, happy days of anything are known as the “honeymoon” period.  In today’s world, the honeymoon period can be over before the marriage even begins.  The days of people rushing into marriage, while still happening, are not as prevalent as they were in previous generations.  We know more about each other for longer periods of time than we did in the past.  And that can be a blessing.  It allows us to not make the mistakes that may have been made in days gone by.

Third, and probably most important, takes me back to my younger days.  I believed (and still do) in the concept of “social dating.”  Rather than dating someone exclusively and letting numerous other opportunities pass by, date someone new every time you go out.  I did this and it was the happiest year of my life.  I got to spend time with a lot of different women, I had a lot of great experiences and lived a lifetime in one year.

However, I found this is frowned upon by society in general.  My sister, who lives beside of me, called me one Sunday afternoon after seeing four different cars with four different women in my driveway over a 36-hour period.  She told me how horrible this was and that I should go out with one girl and see if I “fell in love” with her and if not, then move onto the next one, and so on.

This sounded absolutely absurd to me.  I likened it to test driving a car.  You don’t go out and buy a car and drive it for a couple of weeks and then decide if you like it.  You test drive it, as well as other cars that catch your interest, and then decide which one is best for you.  To me, the idea of dating someone exclusively to see if you like them or not is like walking in a circle and wondering why you haven’t left the room.

Yes, this idea flies in the face of conventional thinking.  But I always made my intentions known from the beginning.  We were going on a date, or we were having an evening at my place.  Everything was open and aboveboard, and the only thing that was ruled out was a relationship, especially after one date, regardless of how well everything went.  I was told at the time, however, that women would try to “stake a claim” on me, and that did, in fact, happen, in spite of my directives.

Sex played a role in this, of course, but it went far beyond that.  As long as there is a mutual physical attraction, sex can happen regardless of the circumstances.  You don’t have to have anything in common, or even have a good time with them outside of the bedroom, to have a good time sexually.  But spending time together on a platonic level put me in a position to want to meet more and more women.  The sex was a given; I wanted to also enjoy myself sitting and watching a movie with someone and then know that, when the date was over, they were walking out the door and leaving.

The concept of socially dating is completely at odds with the concept of marriage, but in my opinion, so is the concept of being happy.  Unless you believe in soulmates, and you happen to somehow meet yours, and you are truly, 100% totally in love with them, and you can stand being around them between 12 and 24 hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life or you can stand the idea of half of everything you own walking out the door with them when the marriage fails, then I don’t see anything to be gained from getting married, at least from the male point of view.

From personal experience, I have yet to meet anyone that I could spend so much time with that I would not have to get away from them at some point.  The man cave came into existence for this very reason.  The very definition of a man cave is “a male retreat or sanctuary,” which is specifically for getting away from the man’s wife.  When you need to get away from your wife, and have a special room to do so, that tells you that you may need to look into getting away from her permanently.  Women can be insufferable, so why invite one into your life on a permanent basis which is legally binding and may cost you dearly when she leaves or you ask her to leave?

I prefer solitude, I like my own company much, much more than the company of anyone else.  Now, don’t misunderstand, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy anyone’s company, because I do enjoy the company of friends from time to time and that can be either platonically or sexually.  But at the end of the day, if it came down to being alone or being with anyone else, anyone of my choosing even if they were completely out of my league, I would choose to be alone.

Though if Rihanna asked if she could move in, I may make an exception in that case…

I jest, of course.  Though an extended stay would certainly not be out of the question.

I see marriage very similarly to a prison.  You lose your freedom.  You lose your possessions.  You lose your ability to think for yourself.  You lose your ability to make the most basic of decisions because you have someone else standing over you whose one goal in life, is to mold you into the person they want you to be, not to accept you for the person you are.  I find that whole idea to be nothing short of horrifying.

Looking back, had I ever gotten married, I don’t think I would be alive today.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine married life.  I would have basically given up everything, and to make matters worse, I would have been marrying someone I was not in love with and who didn’t love me for me, the upshot of which was I would have had to change.  And I have no desire to do so, now or in the future.  Any of those three options would have been horrible, and I am so fortunate that the concept of marriage hasn’t been breached in my life since 2009.  I intend to keep it that way for as long as I walk this Earth.

Through the grace of God, luck and intelligence on my behalf, my record is clean and “divorce” will never be a word that will have to run through my life’s story.  And neither will “marriage.”  I have no problem with relationships, even long-term relationships.  But once you sign your life over to someone, once you put in writing that you are now someone’s “property” until you die or they decide to toss you over for a better offer, you have put yourself into a position that there is no positive outcome with, and several negatives outcomes that far outweigh any happiness you would find.

In closing, let me say that, if you are married and happy, God bless you.  Ignorance is bliss.  If you are married and unhappy, then you have fallen into the trap and I hope you have a good prenuptial agreement, and even then, they are not necessarily binding, so when the end comes, be ready to lose your shirt and a lot more.  If you are not married and considering it, please read and re-read this post.  Take into account everything I have said, everything that could happen going forward.  You think before you step in front of a moving car, because we know what the result of that will be.  Well, “walking down the aisle” has an end result as well, and we know the chances that it will end badly are equal to the chances it will end well.  And if you’re like me, and you haven’t been married and are not going to in the future, then congratulations, you’re on the right track in life.  Keep going, and enjoy yourself.  There’s a world out there, don’t tie yourself down and miss it.  Don’t look back on your life with regrets about choices that you didn’t have to make in the first place.  Make the most of your life and of yourself.  Live it up.

Peace.

“Hello, Me, Meet The Real Me…” – Seeing Myself For The First Time

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Self-evaluation can be a strange and uncomfortable practice.  Since we don’t see ourselves the way others see us, we naturally assume that we are right and everyone else is wrong in their evaluation of us.  I know I have been.  I have been stubborn, arrogant and hateful, but I never wanted to admit it, because I have always pictured myself as the man I see in the mirror, a man who put self-respect and honor above all else.

After some very therapeutic conversations with some close friends who are not afraid to step outside the lines to help me, it pains me to realize the man I saw in the mirror is not who I am or even who I hoped I was.  In fact, I’m almost the polar opposite of him.

While I may have saw myself differently, I certainly never adhered to the “golden rule,” treating others as you would have them treat you.  Jesus is very specific about this in the book of Matthew, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  But when your vision is skewed and you feel superior to other people who may be in your life, you are not apt to follow that advice, as in my thinking was “I’m better than you, therefore you will take what I give you, but I expect you to respect me as I am better than you are.”

I am talking about this on a very human level, down to the bone.  Not what clothes we wear or how we act or the things we do, right or wrong, I’m talking about man to man, woman to woman, woman to man and man to woman.  All equal.  I never looked at myself from that perspective, and when I did today, I didn’t like what was looking back.

“The real me.”

While talking this over today with my closest friend and confidant, she said, regarding how I had treated people, “no one wants to feel like they aren’t loved enough to be lived with.”  That was exactly what I was doing.  I was, outside of my own thought process, being a jerk without actually wanting to be or trying to be a jerk.  In fact, I was being worse than that.  I was allowing my overblown view of myself to take control of what I was thinking, feeling and doing, and running over people in the process.

In fact, it may be a simple case of cognitive dissonance, which is seeing or feeling two sides of an issue or, in my case, being involved in it, to the point of it causing mental issues.  I thought I was a great guy but I knew, on the basis of what was being told to me by people I was affecting, that I was, in fact, not a great guy.  The great guy was inside of my head, and the not-great guy was inside of my head, and they were coexisting in there.

Problem is, the not-great guy was the one getting most of the traction and it was affecting me as a person and those around me, as well.  But when I looked in the mirror, the me that was looking back was not the same one that was dealing with those around me.

This may sound almost like a textbook case of schizophrenia, but its not.  Its not that I am unable to understand what is real and what is not.  Its more that I may have simply closed my eyes to what I knew was real and would rather have thought of myself as the man looking back at me in the mirror, rather than the man everyone else saw.  No one, except maybe the most anti-social among us, want to see ourselves as the “bad guy.”

I have made myself absolutely miserable on a few occasions just to not be the bad guy.  I was in a horribly unhappy relationship that mercifully ended in 2009 and should have ended three years before except that I didn’t want to be the bad guy.  The guy who stared back at me in the mirror was just too nice to be a jerk and end things, so he suffered for years when he could have found actual happiness elsewhere.  That helped absolutely no one.  One thing you cannot get back, once you have wasted it, are the years of your life.

There are people I have mistreated to no end and in my mind, I was being a benefactor, when in actuality I was being more of a socialist dictator.  Not just with my money but with my time and attention.  But I didn’t see it that way, even when it was explained to me.  I thought I was being benevolent and that anyone who was blessed with my presence for five minutes a day should be thankful that they got that much of me.

Now, that I am kind of outside the box in every situation of my life, I am able to see the big picture, and the picture it paints is pretty grim.  I never set out to be a jerk, I never sat and thought “I’m just going to be an asshole, for fun.”  And I never saw myself in that light, no matter how mean or hateful or selfish I was being.  I could always justify it in my mind that I was a great guy, that guy in the mirror who was looking back at me.

Ultimately, it cost me a lot.  But, it also gave me a second lease on life.  I was at a point where I sincerely didn’t care anymore, and while I hid it from everyone around me, I was quite open about it to myself.  I was almost waiting around to die, because my life was at a point that I felt like I had bottomed out and there was nothing left but that life.

And now, that I am at the bottom and seeing me for who I really was, I can begin to climb back up and try to be the man in the mirror and make him the man everyone else sees.  I can do things the right way instead of the right-for-me way.  To those who remain in my life and those who will come into my life as the days, weeks, months and years go on, you will get the better part of me.  The man I was is not the man I want to be anymore.

I feel as though I need rebuilt from the ground up.  Physically, yes, but more spiritually.  And once I take my Arizona sabbatical, I hope my life is ready to come full circle.  There is a lot of good to be done in the world, and I can be a big part of it, once I look past myself and realize that there is more to this world than the man looking back at me in the mirror.  And I am 100% ready to make that move right now.  Without delay.

After so many years of just being a jerk, its time to bury that part of me forever.

My support system has changed drastically in the past six weeks, and I am confident that they will see me through this, through a total transformation that will make the world better for all of us.  I don’t deserve the friends that I have, they are all better people than I could ever hope to be, but that will be the bar by which I will measure myself, to be equal to those who have stood by me.

In closing, I want to say thank you to God, my family, my friends and to the soundtrack of my transformation, Megadeth, because without the sounds that I wake up to every morning and go to bed every night, I think I would feel lost.  And between the conversations I have had today and the Megadeth track “Sweating Bullets,” referenced in the GIF listed above, I think that is what finally knocked my head into gear and made me realize my footing was not nearly as solid as it needed to be, so I needed to dig deeper.

Thank you to everyone who reads this, and if you’re fighting your own battles, know that we are stronger fighting with a support group that believes in us.  I learned that the hard way, because without the support of those that care about me, I would never have even admitted to my problems, and admitting there is a problem is the first step to correcting it.  And I will begin correcting my problems immediately, with my supporting staff.

Peace.

My Thoughts On The Concept Of “Soulmates”

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soul mate  ˈsōl ˌmāt/

noun a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner

This is the concept that there is one person…  one…  out of 7.6 billion people on earth that is your “soulmate.”  That one person is ideally suited to you.

Those 7.6 billion people are scattered all over the world.

What if your soulmate lives 3,000 miles away?  Or 10,000 miles away on a different continent?  What are the chances that the one person who is “ideally suited” to you lives within, say, a 30-mile radius?  Those are worse odds than winning the lottery.

I have had this disagreement with multiple people, multiple times over multiple years and every time I have it, it pushes me further away from ever being able to believe something so childish and stupid.

Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying I don’t believe in true love and that you can actually completely and totally love someone you do not share blood with.  While I personally haven’t experienced that feeling, I do think its possible to be completely in love with another person.  But that does not make them your soulmate.

A soulmate, by definition, is someone you have to have a lot in common with.  So you not only have to love this person, but you have to have similar interests and more than likely a similar background.  I have friends that I have a lot in common with, over a broad spectrum, but that does not mean they are my soulmate(s).

I have been in two long-term relationships (each lasting over two years) and both of them broached the idea of being “soulmates” to me.  The first was the closest to an actual soulmate I have ever had.  And I would go so far as to say that was my only experience with, or the closest I have ever come to “true love,” which is sad considering that ended when I was 19 years old.  I’m 40 now.

The second was probably the furthest from a soulmate that I could imagine, I had enemies that I had more in common with than I did that one.  We hated each other but stayed together for several years, for reasons I can’t even begin to describe.  There was a palpable dislike between us, in addition to having absolutely nothing in common besides a strong dislike for each other.  The day she mentioned “soulmates” to me I laughed in her face.  Without an ounce of regret.

Getting back to the first one, the closest I have had, we were able to revisit things 14 years after we split up.  It was then that I realized that, while she was the closest thing I had to a “soulmate” and to the experience of “true love,” that wasn’t what it was, because there were no feelings of “love” when we reconnected.  Lust, yes.  But not love.  We had incredible sex in the mid-1990s and again when we reconnected, but that does not make for a soulmate or a true love, that just makes for a good sex partner.  Nothing more.

Sometimes people will say “you just haven’t met ‘the one’ yet,” which is fine if you believe in that kind of thing, but suppose “the one” moved away 30 years ago, or died, or married someone else?  Is there some kind of guarantee that you will actually meet your soulmate or is it just the luck of the draw that you can find that “one” person?

All of us are unique individuals, with various likes, dislikes, interests, feelings, thoughts, morals and personalities.  We are not made to fit together like puzzle pieces.  I’m not saying that it’s not possible to find someone that you have a lot in common with (though I am also saying it’s extremely unlikely to find anyone that similar) and from my experience I’m lucky to get a 50% match, let alone anything on a “soulmate” level.

The older I get and the more experience with people I get, the more I believe I am 100% correct in my feelings on this.  At my age, the pool of potential “soulmates” has shrunk considerably from where it was when I was, say, 18.  And I absolutely know my soulmate was not in my past, which means if such a thing existed, she would have to be somewhere in my future.  Now, in the event that I move, as I am planning to do, does that mean she is already in the area I’ll be moving to or will I meet her here before I leave?

Also, let’s look at this:  If someone wants you to change who you are, could they possibly be a “soulmate?”  The very idea that you would have to change yourself to fit into someone else’s idea of what they want you to be should automatically disqualify them from being a soulmate.  That goes completely against the concept.  Both of my former relationship partners wanted me to change, some a little and some to the extreme, and the fact of the matter is I’m not changing for anyone, and if I find someone who accepts me as I am, then I may be willing to be more open-minded.  That hasn’t ever happened.

I know people will say that there are couples who were married 50, 60 even 70 years and died minutes apart because they couldn’t live without each other.  That’s fine, but that doesn’t prove “soulmate” to me.  My parents have been married for 41 years, they can’t function away from each other and the only time they aren’t within speaking distance is when one of them goes to the bathroom, and they do everything together, but they have nothing in common.  Not the TV shows they watch, the music they enjoy, the movies they enjoy, the food they like or their hobbies.  They are not soulmates.  By any stretch.

Which brings us to the point of people who think they are with their soulmate, but they just either (a) don’t want to be alone or (b) they think they are in love.  But if they were to sit down and list their partners traits, in terms of things they like about them and things they do not like about them, they might be surprised at the end results.

I need to say that I’m not trying to deter anyone from trying to find someone to spend their life with, but do it with a little common sense.  There is no one out there that’s a “perfect match” for you.  But if you can find someone that you have a lot in common with as well as a strong connection and attraction to, by all means, go for it.  But don’t assume that because you both like pizza and you both have socks on at the same time that you are soulmates.  Use some basic human intelligence and just enjoy yourself.

In closing, I just want to say that I will go to my grave believing that soulmates do not exist, that true love may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not everyone gets, and lust is a lot more prevalent than either soulmates or true love, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, because if we all waited around for our soulmate to find us, the human race would have ended centuries ago.  Be smart about it.

Peace.