2017-2018 goal: I want to swim in the Caribbean Sea.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Doing anything outside of your comfort zone is a matter of trust. That’s what I’m learning. Swimming is pure, in a way, because it’s not about gear or equipment. The only thing you have to put your trust in is physics — hydrodynamics. Literally all you have is your body, air, and the water.
I love learning. I love that feeling of downloading and installing new software into my bioware, my operating system. New knowledge. New skill. New levels of competence and efficiency. It’s miraculous.
I tend to excel at whatever I put my mind to. Maybe that’s because I immerse myself, no pun intended. I gear up, watch instructional videos, do research online, ask questions, attempt to sate my insatiable curiosity. It’s a trait I appreciate even if it’s an addictive personality trait, as some would say.
I wish I could do a video somehow for my channel. It might help a lot of people to see a middle aged black dude learn how to swim because even though there are plenty of black people who do swim, statistically speaking, it’s not enough. Tragically so.
Swimming while black: the legacy of segregated public pools lives on
There’s Nothing Funny About 70 Percent of Black Americans Not Knowing How to Swim
Why don’t black Americans swim?http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-11172054
But check this out:
31st Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet
I don’t like to see people leaning so heavily on — how do I say this? Past trauma, whether historic, cultural, or personal. Being stuck in victimhood is life-stealing. All of that history is true, egregious and had/has consequences but, to me, it’s a matter of emphasis. Place emphasis on what you can do and what you can control and what constructive actions you can take. Remember the past, teach the past, learn lessons from the past and always, always, always move forward.
What did I do last year? I had ideas. I had plans. It didn’t go as I expected.
This isn’t about current events, politics, or the national and global zeitgeist. 2016 was a tire fire in many ways.
I did cross some things off my list. I took a handgun class. Have to follow up on that for more. I went hammock camping a few times. I went on some pretty cool bike rides. Did some good hikes. Went canoeing for the first time. I finally traveled abroad and got my first stamp on the new passport.
I lost family members. My cousin, Debbie. My second cousin, Cousin Bill. Rest in peace, family.
I had knee surgery, which is also a good reminder that time is passing. Subsequently, I didn’t do any Winter sports and my season pass went entirely to waste. Sometimes I think I may sell my snowboard gear and sometimes I think I’ll just buy some fancy boarding knee braces. I didn’t go backpacking at all. I only went camping a few times when I intended to be out a lot. I didn’t lose weight. Well, I did and then … the ciiiiircle of liiiiiife.
I’m a visual person so imagery really helps to put things in perspective.
Get it? Anyone? No. I’ll unpack it next time.
Here it is in a nutshell.
Always have something to look forward to.
If you’re all you’ve got that means always create something to look forward to. Once a day, once a week, once a month, Wednesday, whenever. Plant seeds. Outsmart your habits, your tendencies.
The truth is that there are times when you’ll sing and no one will listen. You’ll write and no one will read. You’ll create and no one will look. You’ll tell your story, pour out your soul, and no one will be moved. Do it anyway. For you. Because you are.
Always. Not constantly but always. Keep moving, learning, growing, living. When your batteries run dry, take time to rest and recharge. Take care of your source. And keep moving.
There are things in life that will come easy and there are things that will only come with herculean effort. Everyone is different. There are things in life that you’ll burn for. And there are things in life that you’ll burn for that you’ll never have. No amount of wishful thinking, positive thinking, meditation, visualization, prayer, research, strategy, planning, work, effort — and you’ll never get it. You’re never going to get it. Never.
Acknowledge that there’s probably something even better for you. Something worth the effort. An alternative path. It might be more difficult, more convoluted.
Try anyway. Fight anyway. Pave the way. Clear a trail.
First, let’s get a few things out of the way. I am not a nice guy. For a few reasons.
- In recent years, I haven’t heard the word “nice” used to describe a person as a compliment — not a man, at least. “Nice” is the word that precedes a phrase starting with the conjunction “but”. It has a connotation of “Yeh, no.”
- If you had any idea what goes on in my head….
- My motives are never fully pure or altruistic. It’s always complicated. I’m a human being and a dude.
So I’m not the most enlightened person in the world, is what I’m saying. I’m not a guy who claims to be a male feminist or a social justice ally. Those labels mean a lot of things to a lot of people and they can and do duke it out over who’s doing it right to their heart’s content.
Also, I start a lot more blog entries than I finish so I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t care about all the other madness going on in the world. I usually don’t post about something until I’ve given it a lot of thought and, frankly, I can’t keep up.
In the past few weeks in the news I’ve seen some stuff, boy, and it bothers the hell out of me. It just keeps building up so I need to vent. (It was the mutilation one that did me in.) There was a lot of talk a while back about a “war on women”: maternity issues, equal pay, contraception, abortion, and other lofty social issues. Strong language, for sure. A striking rhetorical device.
I’m not talking about rhetorical devices, though. I’m talking about a physically (and emotionally and psychologically) hostile culture. Well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that. The line between desire/hatred and between respect/resentment is thin and razor sharp.
Let’s get to it. Here are some articles in the news recently. I tried to keep it to 2016 but some are older. Brace yourself. Trigger warnings. Horrific inhumanity ahead. In no particular order or grouping, and crossing all boundaries of countries, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities:
TODAY IS MEATLESS MONDAY
It didn’t go how I expected. I made this video last week. I still have two of those big ol’ mushrooms left. But that’s about all the preparation I did for today.
So I mostly ate nothing. Morning homemade latte. Let’s call it a fast. I did eat some romaine lettuce. I can eat that stuff like potato chips except when it’s started to spoil. Hate that taste/smell — slightly rotten food.
Then … I got hungry.
Inside: What’s my why?; What am I looking for in a woman?? That’s a random, if not timely, question.
That’s a good question. Why do I train? Why do I do this? Why do I do anything? Justin asked the group what our “why” is. Not just “what are your goals” but what are your goals for? What purpose do they serve?
- I want to be healthy and fit enough to work and play for decades. I want to die young as old as possible. I want to have the energy and endurance to explore. Explore with people and share new things – new places, new faces. I want to live.
- I want to set an example for my loved ones. I want to walk the walk. I want to show results so that they’re inspired to get their own results.
- I need to be strong as hell for my loved ones. As time passes fewer of us are able-bodied.
- I want to transform and live up to my own expectations and standards so that I can be sharp and in focus and not out of phase and blurry, translucent or even invisible.
- I want to have the confidence and energy to have a balanced, healthy social life complete with plenty of constructive me-time between the adventures. I want anyone I interact with to be better for it.
- I want to have the confidence and energy to attract positive people.
- I want to have the energy and fire to pursue all of my creative outlets.
While I’m at it, Goodkind asked what I’m looking for in a woman. Even though I have a spiel in my head I didn’t explain it well. He recommended that I write it down. Give voice to it. So let’s do it. Against my better judgement I’m going to share it. Then after I post it I’ll get cold feet and remove it. Then I’ll be ashamed of myself for fearing judgement when life’s too short to go around stifling yourself because of what other people think.
A lot of this – not all, obviously, ’cause that would be weird – is also describing the kind of people I want in my circle, my tribe, in general.
Colin Kaepernick’s refusing to stand for the national anthem. Is that upsetting? Is it offensive to you?
It amazes me that his quiet protest, which only came to light recently so that he had to explain himself, is imploding heads.
It’s such a shallow form of patriotism that can’t accommodate dissent. It’s a patina of patriotism. It’s the oxidation on the Statue of Liberty.
Here’s the crazy part. It seems like the people who are most offended have nothing to say about all of these proud, haughty displays of the Confederate battle flag.
I mean, talk about symbolism. Literally flying the flag of a breakaway nation — secessionists — fighting against the United States in order to preserve an economy based on enslavement. The losing side of a civil war. And having the nerve to bash someone else’s patriotism?