She listened to me
Because I screamed
But she didn’t hear a thing I said
All the thoughts inside her head
Came out rapid fire
Just before the pauses
Each word lost causes
Destined to be repeated

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What I Learned At College

I feel like I’ve been discussing a lot of heavier topics lately so let me lighten the mood with my takeaway on the 2019 College Admissions Bribery Scandal.

I’m not really surprised to learn that people have tried to use their wealth to influence things to their favor. At this point I somewhat expect people to do that because people have been doing it forever.

The main thing I’m thinking about is how horrible these people are at parenting.

Obviously graduating from an Ivy League school carries more weight than from a community college so you could argue that trying to get your child into a prestigious school by any means necessary shows they are thinking about their child’s best interest. But with the amount of money they’ve spent they could have hired tutors and trainers throughout their childs developmental years. Did they not consider that? If they had taken a more active role in their upbringing perhaps these kids could have gotten into these schools on merit alone. And even if they didn’t get into the school they wanted to attend they probably would be better, more productive members of society.

Let’s say that perhaps some of these parents did take an active role and their child wasn’t very athletic or good at academics. I was a smart child you did poorly at school so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. If you tried doing the right thing their entire lives only to try to scam their way into college then you’ve ruined every lesson taught along the way.

So now we’ll have a reinforced image of spoiled rich kids getting what they want because mommy and daddy will pay for it – good job parenting. Way to make all the parents and students who spent all the time and energy trying to achieve things on merit feel like it doesn’t matter anyway. Thanks for taking away spots for students who actually want to learn, get degrees, do things with their lives besides be another “celebrity” who will keep the circle of depravity going.

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Reflective Rant

I feel there is no greater burden to bare
Than to know oneself and to be self-aware

I just wrote that poem, just now. The opening line of this article was rhyming so I turned it into a poem. Anyway.

I have been very reflective lately and taking careful stock of myself. I find that as I get older it become more necessary to me to grow as a person and realize what I contribute to the world as a human being living in it. I can’t say I was always a great person or even a good person at times. There are things I regret doing and saying but also some that I understand better through the filter of experience and knowledge. I spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing.

It’s exhausting.

I mean if you’re really paying attention to everything you do and why you do it, well you spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing. That can be mentally draining because that’s not all you’re doing – you still have to lead the rest of your life while you’re doing that. So it would be much easier to I’ve your life not being self-aware or worrying about what you’re contributing to the world.

Even just in writing this I’m expending a certain amount of energy while being introspective of myself and passing that along to whomever feels compelled to read it and perhaps it lights a spark within them to be more self-aware. And then there’s someone in the next train car over talking loudly on a cell phone annoying everyone around them and not caring at all who is expending no energy and will most likely be happy because they have no understanding of what they are contributing.

So it led me to the line “Ignorance is bliss” which was first written by Thomas Gray and in context meant it was better to be ignorant of your own fate but out of context has been made to mean a multitude of things including how I’m going to use it now.

It is easy to be happy when you don’t care about anything or anyone around you. You can be a horrible person and still sleep soundly at night. You don’t worry about things as much or at least not anything of any substantial value. In some ways it doesn’t sound half bad but the reality, at least for me, is that people like that anger and annoy me to no end. That in turn causes me to be self-aware of my own anger and need to do something about it. Then I think of how judgmental I’m being and feel the need to do something about it. And then I get angry that I feel like I need to do something about my anger and being judgmental and the cycle continues dissipating slightly with ever go around until it subsides to a point where I’m somewhat in a good mood.

It’s exhausting

I do feel I am a better person for going through the mental exercises but sometimes I want to be the asshole who gets into a fight with their best friend in a restaurant and flips over the table and belittles the waiter while storming out but then still calls the friend the next to see what’s up. I mean I really don’t but I think you understand my point.

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For thousands of people this view was the start of a new life. It easily gets taken for granted but every so often I like to imagine what that must have been like. Empathy is a powerful thing if you allow yourself to embrace it.

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The Adults Are Talking

This morning I was talking to someone while waiting for the train when a third person arrived on the platform and struck up a conversation with the same person I had been speaking to. I know the two of them are friends and not wanting to particularly be involved in the conversation I slightly backed away and removed myself. I tend to do this frequently as I despise being trapped discussions I have no interest in but today I had an odd thought as I stood there.

“The adults are talking.”

I realized what I had done was the same thing a child would do. The adults are talking so I’m going to go somewhere else and be invisible for a little while. I then realized that I rarely every feel like the adult in the room and that includes when I’m in a room with children.

Now to clarify that last point, whenever I’m with children I try not to talk down to them or overly simplify a conversation. I believe that is a disservice to them and their growth. I tend to have more of a kinship with children and try to be more actively engaged with them. Perhaps I’m lowering myself while elevating them and creating a balance. I don’t have children of my own so I infrequently need to be a disciplinarian which I think helps to be able to create such a balance. Things might be different if I was the one needing to lay down the rules and structure.

But when it comes to being in a room with other adults I’m a bit more passive. I have no need to dominate the environment and tend to yield the floor to those who do. Sometimes this is done subconsciously and it’s not until time has passed that I realized that I’ve done it. It may be that I was brought up to respect my elders and I don’t really view myself as an adult. I’m a firm believer of the adage “grow older but not up” so I’m not sure if that’s ever going to change.

There’s also the fact that some people have dominate personalities and others more submissive. With that I feel like a flip back and forth depending on how comfortable I am in the current situation. The more comfortable I am the more confident I am and therefore the more apt to take over a situation.

So the real question in acknowledging this would be “is it a problem in my life?” I don’t have an answer. On one hand I’m sure it hasn’t helped my professional career but on the other I’m sure it’s kept me out of conversation I didn’t want to be a part of. Knowing this and being self-aware of it will allow me recognize when I’m doing it and utilizing that to my advantage.

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I post a lot of photos of sunrises here and usually all from the same vantage point. I try to take the same photo on different days. I find it interesting to see the change of colors and clouds and position from day to day. From an artistic perspective they are fascinating to me.

Sunrises aren’t miracles. They happen every day and we know why so by that very definition they’re not miracles. They also aren’t singular. The same sunrise happens a million different ways depending on who is viewing it and where they are viewing it. In a way that does makes them unique to the individual seeing it. I like the thought of that – that the sunrise I am seeing no one else in the world is seeing it.

Has the dawn ever seen your eyes – Greg Lake

I do think they can provide a feeling of hope. A sunrise signals the beginning of a new day and therefore the potential of a new beginning. Today will be different than yesterday. Today will be better than yesterday. It’s amazing that a burning orb of gasses in the sky can make us feel that way. And we don’t even have to see it ourselves – looking at a photo of a sunrise can incite that same feeling.

I recommend watching a sunrise, and I mean really watching it, whenever possible. See the way the colors change, the way the temperature rises slightly, how everything becomes more visible and the effect it has on you. I find them to be a very positive part of any day. I mean you never heard someone say “That sunrise is making me so angry” have you?

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Down and Out

So I mentioned the whole internalization thing in the last post. Well when I become frustrated and annoyed it increases ten-fold. Once that happens there is really no way that I am going to get anything accomplished. I will dwell deeper and deeper into my own mind hashing and re-hashing things over and over and over.

Unfortunately that has been an issue over the past two months. Stories come in the news cycle that set me off, an abundance of incompetence will frustrate me or I’ll be baffled by individuals that have no regards for doing the right thing and are more focused on their own self-absorption. For a while I was really hitting a dark place mentally and couldn’t find a way to bring myself back out. It was like the concept “waves of depression” and being trapped in the tide. Every time you think you’re back at the shore the undertow rips you back out and it’s like starting from scratch.

I feel like I’m better than I was a month ago but that doesn’t mean better. It’s all relative. It all continues to be trapped inside my own head and the cycle never seems to break. The fact that I can’t seem to resolve it become a source of frustration that feeds it. And knowing that is another source of frustration that feeds it.

I often feel that just isolating myself from other people will vastly improve my demeanor although I know it is not a realistic solution. I don’t think being a hermit in the woods is a sustainable lifestyle for me but perhaps temporarily it could be a means to an end.

I don’t really have an ending for this because it’s not really over. I needed to get it down or more importantly out because keeping it internalized is just not healthy.

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