How I Finally Learned To Stop Wasting Time

I walked into 2020 with such high expectations. It was the beginning of a new decade. I had streamlined my life, eliminated a lot of people, especially ones who did nothing but make me miserable day in and day out. I had laid out plans to start my franchise on MLB The Show and was preparing a new workout regimen. I was on good terms with everyone in my life. It was truly the beginning of a new era.

Within six weeks, things started falling apart to the ultimate dimension.

I let people back into my life that didn’t need to be there. I had issues ordering the 2020 version of MLB The Show. I decided it was a better expenditure of time to watch ridiculous YouTube videos than to begin my new workout regimen. Instead of going to bed earlier and getting more sleep, I rarely made it to bed before midnight.

In other words, nothing changed and, in fact, things got worse. I’m a God damned, blithering idiot who doesn’t have the willpower to accomplish anything, no matter how simple. I’ve been furious with myself for a couple of weeks, thinking it all over.

Then, things started to fall into place and I’m ready to stop wasting my life.

First, the biggest albatross in my life blocked me on Facebook. This was a huge tipping point, as I wasted hours upon hours every day messaging with her and, in the words of Judas Priest, “living bad dreams.” I was wasting my time chasing shadows.

Once she was gone, I finished up the run I was on playing Red Dead Redemption II every day for hours. Like most people, when I get into a game it’s hard to put down. I would try to limit myself to a couple of hours a day but that quickly would expand to four or five hours. Time that should have been spent working out and playing franchise games on MLB The Show. I also spent hours watching The Dukes Of Hazzard.

I put the game and the DVDs away, which removed three of the biggest wastes of time I was dealing with. This literally eliminated 15 hours worth of nonsense a day, time I had been completely wasting. That gave me a clear picture of what I was working with.

Now, finally, I’m ready to put 2020 back on track and start using my time wisely rather than wasting it, knowing I’ll never get it back. I’m ready to start focusing on my life now. Home improvement, personal and physical improvement, focusing on my writing, on MLB The Show, on my exercise program, cooking and grilling and smoking cigars. These are all tangible assets that I can see, not ghosts that don’t really exist.

Admittedly, the whole COVID-19 thing was going to put a damper on 2020 anyway, but it wasn’t going to affect me to the level it does a lot of people. The worst thing about it from my standpoint is the lack of baseball this season. But I planned on watching old games on MLB.TV and playing MLB The Show to get my baseball fix. Other than that, COVID-19 wasn’t going to play a big role. It’s not like I don’t social distance all the time anyway. It’s been a long time since someone has been inside of my house.

So, now that I’ve wasted the past three months and have absolutely nothing to show for it, I’m finally to the point that I’m ready to move forward. This is the second time in my life that I’ve literally felt something snap inside of me and my life changed completely, the previous time was in 2013 and it did not turn out well in the end at all.

I expect this time to be different. In fact, I expect this time to be the polar opposite.

Once I have worked myself into a good daily schedule, I’m ready to start taking stock of my future, specifically where I’m going to spend it. If there’s one thing I know for certain, I’m not spending the rest of my life in West Virginia, unless I drop dead in the next few months (knock on wood). My heart is in Illinois but my brain is screaming Arizona. Either one would be a massive improvement over West Virginia.

There’s nothing for me here. There never has been. But I’ve always had a bad habit of fooling myself and then falling for it. No more. I’m tired of sticking my head in the sand and not seeing reality for what it is. West Virginia is a dead-end hell hole, and maybe if I were a worthless, cockeyed, drug-addicted alcoholic with tendencies toward domestic violence and a lack of money and teeth, then I might be all set for West Virginia. But I’m not. I don’t fit here. I never have. And that’s why I have to get out of here.

In 2013, I was laying down the foundation to leave here for Chicago. I ended up getting talked into staying here by something I had scraped off the bottom of a trash can. I lived to regret that decision. I’ll not make a similar mistake again.

But in the meantime, it’s time to get this house in tip-top shape for sale and start getting myself back into the mental and physical shape I had hoped for back in December when I was looking forward to the dawning of a new decade.

On Sunday I plan to start my workout program and 2020 season of my Chicago White Sox franchise on MLB The Show, as well as enjoying a cigar and cooking a nice breakfast and a good dinner. Then I’ll move forward, day by day, until I reach the point where I’m at the point I want to be on every level, mentally, physically and emotionally.

It’s all in front of me now. All I have to do is reach out and take it, stop wasting my time and make the most of every day. Yesterday is in the rear-view mirror, eating my dust. All it takes is a little willpower and focus and I’ll reach all of my goals.

The most important thing is that I have to realize that God has everything in hand and that trying to force things that just aren’t right isn’t going to get me anywhere near where I need to be, it’s like pushing a car that’s out of gas the wrong way down a one way street, and I don’t want my life to be a parallel to that kind of ridiculousness.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I had hoped my blog would be baseball-focused this year but obviously nothing else has worked out the way I planned, so hopefully once the 2020 season starts, I can get my blog focused again as well.

God bless.

How “Getting The Last Word” Has Kept Me A Virtual Prisoner All My Life

The Last Word

Today I became aware of a crippling character flaw that has been part of me all of my life. My incessant need to have the last word in any kind of disagreement or disconnection with someone, I have to have the last word. Whether I’m right, whether I’m wrong or whether there are only shades of gray, I considered it a loss if I didn’t get the last word.

And the fact is, I rarely get the last word and for the past 15 years, I never do.

I have noticed this most recently when eliminating people from my life. If I manage to get the last word, I can easily let go of whatever negativity lead me to have to remove said people from my life in the first place. Whatever the disagreement was over is irrelevant; if I got the last word in, I won. If I didn’t, I’ve noticed that I’ll do a slow burn over it for years. I can never let go of the feelings that accompany someone getting the best of me.

This is an absolutely horrible way for me to conduct myself, especially when it’s dealing with a circumstance that isn’t at all important. Over the past two and a half years I’ve let things get to me that have kept me from being able to sleep normally or think straight because I didn’t get the last word. Women who have fucked with me in one way or another and I never got the chance to tell them to take a long walk off a short pier. Family members or people who pretended to be friends that I should have been able to tell exactly what I thought of them, but circumstance dictated that I would never have that chance.

At first I thought how unfair that was, that I would be burdened with that (lack of) outcome for the rest of my life. And believe me, I carried it with me. I wore it on my sleeve.

Those who have taken advantage of me or done me wrong in one way or another walk away and don’t give me a second thought, while I sit behind and stew over it. Not any more.

It’s not doing me any good to hold onto anger or frustration, and by holding onto it, I’m not causing anyone else any issues. No one cares. As Mark Twain said, “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured,” especially when the party getting the anger poured on them doesn’t care.

I’ve carried a lot of anger with me over the course of my life. And it’s always seemed like it was totally justifiable. But part of the problem with doing that is that I’m constantly shaking my fists at the past rather than concentrating on the present or the future.

It’s an exercise in futility to be so wrapped up in the past that life passes you by. I know, because I’ve lived it most of my adult life. There comes a time to let it all go.

That time, for me, is now.

I can’t spend the rest of my life being angry about things that happened to me two years ago or a week ago. It’s a waste of my time and it’s keeping me from being able to live my best life. And regardless of anything that happened, that all falls right on me. I can’t blame anyone else for my inability to let go of the rage that burns inside of me.

So now is the time to begin focusing on me and letting the past remain in the past, where it belongs. I’ve been smart enough to eliminate a lot of negativity from my life but held onto the residual anger that accompanied that negativity, and that didn’t accomplish anything. The whole point of getting rid of negative people is to eliminate that anger.

I have made some really dumb decisions in my life and I regret all of them, but carrying around that regret doesn’t change the decision or make the end result of the decision any different. It is what it is and no amount of bitching or complaining is going to change it.

Carrying around hatred for people who aren’t worth my time is a big part of this. That hatred leads to negativity and that’s the crux of the entire situation. Eliminate the negative people and eliminate the hatred I carry for them. That ends the cycle.

So, I’m going to try to start catching myself when I’m about to do something that I know has some kind of negative connotation to it (i.e. posting a song or a meme because the lyrics fit a situation that is left long in the past). There’s no place for that. I’m bigger than that and I’m too old to continue acting like I did when I was 19, or 33, or 40. That time has passed. And in less than a month I’ll be 43 years old. It’s time to let the nonsense go.

While I am known for my sense of humor, I know myself better for my bitter attitude and inability to let things go. And I’ve had it with that. Today was the last straw.

From now on, I’m present and future-focused. Day by day. Making the most of each day I’m given rather than wasting today, lamenting the failures of yesterday. That doesn’t help me and doesn’t hurt anyone I may be holding a grudge against. It’s a waste of time.

The first six weeks of 2020 were the best I’ve had in 15 years or more. I want to feel that again. Yes, the COVID-19 situation has clearly changed the dynamics of 2020 since mid-February, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the most of every day in quarantine and make the best of my life until things get back to some semblance of normalcy.

No more anger over unimportant nonsense that has no connection to the present and future. Focus only on today, tomorrow and those people that have earned a place in my life. Those that are gone are gone for good. The will never be allowed to return to any position in my life again. Good bye, and good riddance. Here’s to the future.

A future (and present) of positivity and accomplishment.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Red Dead Redemption II: How Life Imitated Art… And The Closure And Happiness I Got From It

Red-Dead-2-3

For the past month or so I have been playing Red Dead Redemption II on the PlayStation 4. I originally bought this game when it was released (October 2018) but neglected to actually play it until April 2020. Apparently, MLB and MLB-related offseason activities were keeping me from being able to spend the time necessary to enjoy the game.

(That’s probably not accurate since I’ve played the entirety of the Batman Arkham series in the past 5 years beginning when the baseball season ended)

Today I reached the sixth chapter of the game. Today I also had a friendship I had hoped would develop into more end after knowing her for over a year and literally nothing going anywhere. So how are these two happenings related?

I woke up this morning to a message in my Facebook mailbox basically telling me to take a long walk off a short pier from the girl I had been pursuing. While this isn’t the first time, or the fifth time, it is the final time. How does that relate to Red Dead, though?

Today, my character (Arthur Morgan) received a goodbye letter from the woman he had pursued in the game prior to the story beginning and had dealt with on a few occasions during the game, drawing out their history and issues.

Mary's letter

I’m not going to include the full text of the letter here simply because the relevance isn’t in the details, its just the fact that I got to enjoy two curb-kickings in one day.

On the plus side, watching Arthur put the letter away and go back to work without giving it a second thought was a great motivator to me. Not that I was as crushed as I had been the other nine times I’ve endured this, but I was down enough that it ruined my day.

This was the wake-up call I’ve been needing for a long time. I have been trying to fool myself into thinking I was “relationship material” for too long; over 15 years, in fact. And the fact is, I never was, and I never am going to be. Deep inside I’ve known that for my whole adult life, but I guess it took a video game split to make it hit home in real life.

So, I’ll get this out of my system today and tomorrow is a new day, and a new era. It should have been already because 2020 was supposed to be the new start, and for six weeks it was. Then I hit a little detour. Tomorrow will put things back on track, like they should be. Today I lick my wounds, and tomorrow I go out into life a little smarter than I had been.

All thanks to Arthur Morgan getting dumped by his should-have-been girlfriend, Mary.

Life is truly beautiful…