Sunday, September 27, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I'm beginning to notice a few friends introducing positive changes to their lives. This makes me happy. I'm not going to get into the catalyst for my decisions, at least not any more so than I already have, but it seems like everyone has a breaking point. For some, their problem is alcohol, some drugs, some family, some friends. It's not always about addiction. But since these friends have begun writing about their struggles, I decided to write my thoughts for the week.
A good friend of mine read me a quote from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that had an impact on me, and I'm hoping my friends can glean something from it as well:
"For what it's worth: it's never too late... to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. "
This is such a simple philosophy, but it seems to slip through the cracks from time to time. There is no reason to settle for less than the best in life. Not happy with your job? Find one that you love. Unhappy in your relationship? There are other fish in the sea. Does something have control over you that makes you unhappy? Fight it off. Eliminate from your life anything that means to do you harm. Are your friendships one way - are you the only one contributing positively? Take some of the load off. Some might say "get new friends", but choose wisely.
I think I was afraid of losing friends because I wasn't drinking anymore. Sure, I had fun hanging out with those people and partying all day or night, but when it was all over, I was broke and felt empty inside, or so miserably hungover I could barely function. But once I made the decision, some of those "drinking buddies" were still there, offering their support and have been really cool about keeping me on track. those are the real friends. The others? Not sure, haven't really talked to them. It's when you make positive changes in your life that you learn some of life's most important lessons.
So to all of you embarking on your own personal journey - I wish you all the best of luck, and offer you my unconditional support.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I had my last drink exactly one month ago today.
It's amazing to me how much better I feel. I always felt like "living" was going out and getting crazy with my friends, staying out all night and feeling like crap the next morning. For the first few days it felt kind of weird making such a huge adjustment in my life, but now I'm starting to notice things I never noticed before.
We still go out to dinner, it just costs about half as much. Admittedly, Jen and I are on opposite schedules, so we still see each other about as much, although Sunday funday has taken on a completely different meaning, but I won't get into that here. :) I estimate that I'm saving $1000 a month, maybe even more. We've been able to take care of some things that we kept putting off for a long time. Neither one of us had even done any CLOTHES shopping since...wow, I can't even remember. We took care of that a couple of weeks ago. We're saving money for new living room furniture, we're going to paint our condo, and all of our bills are paid on time with money left for savings. It's definitely a nice change from how it was before.
"Living" has taken on an entirely different meaning for me, and it's really nice.
Today is 09/09/09. From today's Yahoo news, "As the final numeral, the number nine holds special rank. It is associated with forgiveness, compassion and success on the positive side as well as arrogance and self-righteousness on the negative, according to numerologists."
Today I reflect on my new goals in life - forgiveness (of others as well as myself), compassion for others, no matter their situation, and success - not only in this journey, but in life as a whole; and to purge from myself any arrogance and self-righteousness. It should be noted for the record that this blog is not, and has never been meant to sound or appear self-righteous at all. It is merely a place for my thoughts and reflections.
As always, thanks for reading.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Ordinarily, I would go off on a tirade about how I'm pissed off and one "going-on" or another, but for today's purposes, but I'm going to try to be a little more objective today.
Recently, people got all up in arms about President Obama reaching out to the country's youth. Some called it pandering, some said it was in poor taste, and others had FAR more vile things to say about the leader of the free world for how he was spending his time and taxpayer dollars.
Today, President Obama spoke at Wakefield High School, right here in Arlington, VA and simulcast a live feed to millions of students K-12 all over the country. He touched on several vital issues facing the youth of this country, primarily the importance of staying in school and furthering their education. He told some inspirational stories about kids from al lover the country that overcame socio-economic obstacles to go onto higher education and get great jobs. He stressed the importance of setting and acheiving goals,a nd volunteering and giving back to one's own community. He did not just give students a lecture that they've heard hundreds of times before, he gave details, examples, encouragement and advice.
It's been said many times that hindsight is 20-20, and after reading the transcript of the speech, I couldn't agree with this statement more. Perhaps if I could have had the opportunity to hear something like this when I was a kid, my life may have turned out different. This is not to say that I'm not happy with my current station in life, I couldn't be happier. Okay, a big lottery win would put a pretty big smile on my face, but I digress. I'm healthy again, I have a wonderful wife and family, a great job that I love, my bills are paid and money is in the bank, and I've been given a second chance in life to do the right things. But through all of it, I often wonder "What if? What if I had given one ounce of shit in school? What if I had gone to class every day? What if I had done something so simple as graduate high school? Well, I didn't. No high school diploma, no college, no Ph.D. I don't sit behind a desk and have power lunches. I don't trade stocks on Wall Street, and I don't diagnose or treat diseases. I sling drinks to college kids. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.
But I also don't clean bathrooms, sell stolen shit out of the back of a car, or beg for money on the street. I accepted that I had made mistakes, and I chose a path that would not only pay the bills, but I actually enjoyed. The President's speech to the youth of the nation today was about recognizing and taking personal responsibility. So you came from a poor family. SO WHAT. Work hard and break the cycle. So you come from a rich family. BIG DEAL. Do them proud and make something of yourself. To those that have already missed their wondow - QUIT WHINING. There options out there. Go to night school or get your GED. Find a job you love, or go out and make a difference in your community. As President Obama said, "You can't let your failures define you, you have to let them teach you".
Everything that was said to the children today is not just good advice for your education, he gave some great life advice, and I'm glad that students all over the country had the opportunity -- no, the priviledge to hear such great advice from a leader who overcomes challenges greater than our imagination every day.