Stay Forever Young

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The road of life

I have set my mind on living every day from now on with as much verbosity and energy as possible. Make every day count because I will not get that time back.

I’ll only be 24 for about another month and a half. Next stop, living as a mid twenty something. Life is going to feel radically different because life isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The train is moving fast and events are flashing by my eyes. The world isn’t waiting around for me. It’s go time.

Here are some things that I am doing to stay young and active:

  • Go swimming nearly every day this summer
  • Try something new everyday
  • Think positive thoughts
  • Exercise
  • Laugh
  • Enjoy my favorite activities
  • Hang with loved ones and friends
  • Watch old favorites on Netflix (That 70s Show)

The road of life is a long and rocky one. You’re not going to always have a good day. Traveling along this road is full of adventures (and misadventures). Even when a storm is ensuing, it’s best to keep your head up and battle through.

Discover Challenge: For Posterity

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Discover: Through An Empty Door

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The door to eternal happiness is a fickle one. It seems to move all over the place like the target games at the fair. One minute you believe you have the answer, the next you are wondering if the path you chose was the right one along with thoughts of “if I could just go back and change things”. There seems to be no right path in life. There is no real answer. Life is what you make of it. You either win or lose based on your choices. It’s life and death and what you do in between is what really matters, is the difference between you being remembered or simply forgotten like a leaf in the breeze. The door holds a lot of mystery.  A lot of white light. A lot of possibilities.

I am going through a door but there is no definitive light at the end; there is a foggy mist of mystery. The light flickers and flashes but it doesn’t call out for me. I’m running into this mist with a sword and shield, ready to face whatever pitfall comes my way. The ground is shaky but solid – I have an idea of where I am heading but there is always doubt in my mind. Points are being laid out as I go. My internal GPS is directing me toward a far off location. Based off my immediate families lives, the destination could be living a normal life with a good paying job but no chance for advancement or the life of a perpetual loner who is set in his ways and has basically nothing else to look forward to but the most trivial, unimportant things – his life, for the most part, has never produced the sort of wings that allow one to soar over the mountains and explore all there is to know. He is trapped in a world of fear, unable to venture outside of his comfort zone. This comfort zone is crippling. It holds you back from living the most ideal life. You stand on the sidelines watching everyone else rise to unprecedented heights while you’re the one filling the water bottles wondering what might happen if you just take a chance.

I suppose it’s up to me to figure out what I want to do. It’s up to me to figure out where I want to be in the next ten years, which is definitely not still sitting on this same couch brooding about what I could have done but in a place of my own thinking about what I’m happy to have accomplished. My journey through life is not complete yet. There’s still a number of plans I’m hoping fall into place once the means to achieve them become possible. I’m not planning on getting married for a long while, not until all of the pieces fall into place. I’m not even in the situation right now to marry anyone. It would be premature and kind of silly. Save the best ’til last and don’t waste the moment.

Discover Challenge: DoorVoyage

Discover: Analog Memories

I am in no way an expert at the social media game. To me, it is really too much at times.

Social media has consumed my life since I was about 16 years old. I didn’t always like social media because of the privacy and anonymity of life suddenly being frowned upon. Not joining the online party meant that you missed out on some really cool things so it was really important to get in on the know and not miss out. The Internet went from a place for academia and solitary fun to a sprawling landscape of attractions, i.e. became much more crazier and a place to be seen. The anniversary of the “Social Media boom” that happened around 2008 when all of these websites became essential components of the Internet is coming up. It was the web’s coming of age. It was my coming of age.

The world continues to shift from analog to digital, because everything is so much better that way. Pretty soon, analog will be a word that future kids will raise their eyebrows at. Analog clocks on walls have become increasingly rare with all of the digital devices around. Why look up at a clock now and figure out what the hands mean when you can look down at your phone or smartwatch and get the time (and weather) in an instant.

Polaroid cameras – I still remember them. Gran had one. They’re still around certain places and not at all embarrassing to still use because you’re considered a hipster then. The original “Instagram” Instamatic. The iconic square border and timely shot slowly coming into focus. The nostalgia is so apparent. That’s what digital photography doesn’t offer. The physical feeling in your hand. The shaking to get the picture to develop faster. Going from a dusty brown to crystal clear life. The Polaroid camera was invented by Edwin Land in 1943. It was the first instant camera. A bit clunky and cumbersome then but better than waiting a week for one picture to develop in a dark room.

The Polaroid company knew they had to venture into other realms and so new types of cameras came along, some without the classic instant picture film, some embracing social media and allowing you to directly upload your pictures to the Internet. Keeping tracks of our daily events is so much easier and organized now, but I do still love the classic photo album with the adhesive pages that make a distinct crackling sound.

The song “Hey Ya” by Outkast has a catchy section of “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” which became a short dance fad of 2003 and 2004.

The last time I used an analog camera, meaning one that had an actual roll of film in it, was about 5 years ago while on a vacation to Michigan City, Indiana. It was one of those one time use throw away cameras. That was the last time I went to one hour photo and had pictures developed and placed in a white envelope with the original film strip. Since then, it has become more and more easier to preserve my life with just a smartphone because everything I ever need is contained on there. One click shares these photos and videos with the appropriate social media outlets. Instagram is like the Polaroid picture of modern times. The window used for media even resembles a Polaroid instant picture. With the addition of likes and comments, your pictures have more meaning than when they were just lying around in a box or forgotten album.

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Humans are natural born timekeepers. We love to keep track of events and remember things for future generations. It’s a natural part of our DNA. We are storytellers through and through. Our lives are meant to remembered by others so that they have meaning and value. The more open minded we are about sharing our life with others, down to every little detail and thing we experience, the more connected and less isolated we feel.What’s the point of keeping it all to yourself if no one will witness it when you eventually take a ride out of here?

AnalogNatural, Open 

A Brush With Fame

Gordie Howe

“You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a 100% effort that you gave—win or lose.” – Gordie Howe

So Mr. Hockey has died at the age of 88. He broke many records in the NHL and was only outdone by The Great One years later. With a career that lasted into his 50s, including 26 years in the NHL, and a physical style of grit and determination, he is definitely one of the greatest players of all time. Even Gretzky thinks Howe is better than himself.

My personal story of this hockey legend will always involve one particular moment: an early, early version of the Ice Bucket Challenge involving a stick.

The details are a bit murky and I may over-exaggerate things a bit, but this is a short anecdote of my first experience with really anyone well-known.

The place: Optimist Ice Arena. The year: maybe 1995.

It was at an old-timers game for players as old as 70. Me, my mom, and uncle were sitting near the glass because it was either free admission or tickets were super cheap (five dollars likewise). This game featured some of the greats from the NHL of past though I had no conscience feeling of what was going on or who was there. I was about 3 or 4 here and looked down at the bench most of the time, not interested in the action on the ice. I’m not even sure it was a competitive game but just something for the players to reunite and laugh it up a bit.

The score of the game I cannot even theorize. Who was on what side is quite irrelevant.

The hockey old-timers were racing down the ice when one of them suddenly stopped near the glass where we were sitting. I was prompted to look up at the player and felt a sense of chill as he stared back at me. Something was up. Something was going to happen. A few seconds passed before he scooped up some ice shavings on the end of his blade, lifted the fiberglass stick, and shook it over the board. A shower of cold ice fell down on my head. Like being in a freezing shower but worse. I instantly cried and buried my hands in my arms. The player just stared at me and then said “Sorry, kid” before skating on. Little did I know that I had just met Detroit Red Wings great Gordie Howe.

I remember leaving the arena with my relatives and they chatting away about the moment. I’ve have a number of encounters with famous athletes, including getting NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson’s autograph and picture back in 2004 before he even won any of his championships. But this one with Mr. Hockey is really special because he seemed to connect with me personally during that short minute or two. I wonder if he ever had memories of that afterward or later on in life. It would be neat to have had a part of me stuck in a notable person’s mind. Maybe he mentioned this in his personal book – “I shook some ice on a fair haired, blue-eyed kid during a pick me up game with some of my old hockey friends and foes. He cried and whined and I just thought it was a bit funny. Not for him.”

So is an origin story of my brush with greatness.

Origin Stories, Ice Mountain

Luck of the Irish

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When you’ve got money, much more is possible. This has always been true. There is simply no way around it. Money may be the root of all evil but it plays an important part in the status quo.

Winning the lottery would be so awesome. Imagine “all the things I could do if I had a little money, it’s the rich man’s world”.

In August, I am going to the casino for the first time for my big quarter of a century celebration. Firekeeper’s. This has always been a dream of mine. I dream of the coins pouring out of the machine like they do in the films but, surprise – the machines now use slips of paper because apparently the coins are too easy to counterfeit or steal and slips are a more convenient 21st century method.

Casinos have always been a shady business. Security has been ramped up more than ever but there are always people out there who try to outsmart the system. I’m not saying I’m planning on anything criminal when I walk into the casino, but I’ll be looking up at the ceiling because I know there are people up there watching down on us – the eye in the sky.

Here are some things I would buy or do if I ever won the massive jackpot or a lot of money from various gambling institutions:

  1. An elegant mansion
  2. A new video game console (Xbox One or PS4)
  3. Front row seats to one of my favorite bands or individual artists
  4. A jet ski
  5. The best pair of shoes

Discover Challenge: Adventure

 

The Train to Janesville

It was another trip to the cheesehead state of Wisconsin to see the extended part of my family. This includes my oldest sister, her boyfriend, and kid.

All aboard. I rode a train for the first time ever. Me and my small family.

The ride on the luxurious modern Amtrak was wonderful. There was actual free Wi-Fi (a surprise) and outlets for electronics. The seats were comfy and there was a pull out tray on the back of the seat in front of me to place my laptop. I livestreamed most of the trip to my YouTube channel, not really knowing what to say or do, just kind of goofing off and showing my “audience” views from outside the wide train window.

The ride out of the train station in Jackson was breathtaking. It’s such a small town that we are out of there in minutes. There are things I don’t usually see from the normal perspective, such as railyards and lots of open farmland.

Racing through the countryside of Battle Creek then was a quiet meditating moment. To me and others, it looked as if we were traveling backwards at breakneck speed, but that was because we were in the seats facing away from the train’s engine. A couple seats behind me were facing the conductor’s room. A couple times, the ticketmaster (I think that’s what he’s called) came by to check tickets.

Eventually we arrived in Chicago at Union Station. Now it was a long wait in the train station. I went around snapping pictures with my little aqua green camera. A lot of homeless people came up to us asking for money. One was selling bus guides for a dollar, but of course this was a little ruse. I gave away my only dollar (I have a credit card) to a desperate man but another one was begging for nine bucks – maybe to go home, maybe to get some booze, maybe to get some hash.

Amish people converge in this area of Chicago. By taking the train and avoiding riding in cars, they at least preserve some of their stubbornness towards modern technology.

These are some pictures of the train ride and Union station in Chicago, the home of escalators I am always nervous to get on.

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Just another look into my deep mindful pensive, reflecting on the last two days

Chance Encounter

Discover Challenge: Obstacles

blackwhite4“Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.”
Muhammad Ali

Running a creative business is often a means to an end. When you are making little to no money on this, the thought occurs of “what is the point to this?”. But then the other half says, “No, I’ve got to keep going on what I have started because there is so much more to do and so many more people to meet”. I feel like I am wanting to skimp off and do other fun stuff because of what precious time I have left in my 20s. I won’t be young forever. Time is ticking. The pressure to be successful is always there. I am always reminded of someone’s great success story and it is always a slap in the face for me. Oh, this person has written X number of books and has done X number of interviews and made this much money. What have you done?

Oh, I’ve only just scratched the surface.

I’ve recently rediscovered the friendzone turned dating site MeetMe (even if they state otherwise, it is definitely for hooking up with locals now). It has sure changed since the last time I logged on to there. There are no more games and it is exclusively a place now to meet people you are interested in or just want to talk to. The site has been optimized for mobile usage, with a simple layout and four simple tabs called Meet, Chat, Feed, and Me – all very useful. I updated my profile on there and cringe at some of the pictures I took when I was 18 on the site, in an effort to attract attention from the female population (and some guys as well). This is one of those sites that gives an aura of nostalgia and longingness for the past for me. I wish to go back to the way things were, back to my naive high school days when I didn’t even have thoughts about college, but know that is just like wishing water would turn into fire.

In the creative world, my obstacle is overcoming the laziness of not wanting to create something. I sometimes have to push myself to overcome this, have to remember the overall importance of this whole thing. Get those horses going again, get back in the race. You have to get serious again. Stop being complacent. You know you are good. Keep up the confidence. It’s the negative thoughts that get in the way. Banish the negativity. Embrace the positive.

For this week’s challenge, tell us about a time when you had to deal with an obstacle in your creative process, whether it was a bad case of writer’s block, some rigid rules you had to work around, or some other limitation — financial, technical, mental — that set you back. Did you manage to transcend the obstacle, or was it too much to deal with at the time? More important: what did you learn about yourself and your creativity in the process?

Weekly Discover Challenge: Obstacles