Embrace The Trainwreck

musings

I often find life to be a confusing ball of shit.

Meaning, I have one idea of how it all should be, and then reality takes a dump on my ideas.

It’s the universe. There are no rules or regularity. We have no control, only perceptions of control. While we can steer the sails on our ship, we also face storms and waves, and giant killer squids. Mostly we survive, sometimes we almost drown. We usually come out as stronger swimmers for the next round.

If anything, at my very wise age of 28 (insert sarcasm symbol), it is that I can either fret about every awkward thing I have done (this list is painfully long) or I can move on and sail to the next day. (I really like the idea of being on a ship, because sailing, and oceans, and mermaids that can be whatever fucking color, because mermaids…)

My life hasn’t been cushioned, instead I usually fall on my ass, dust myself off, and find the next patch of ice I can slip on. I have had to work for 95% of what I have on my own, but I also know that that last 5% has been vital to my survival. I cry a lot, because existential crisis’s are real. but I also laugh until tears run down my face because “A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted” ~Charlie Chaplin.

I am messy and insecure. I am overly confident and painfully awkward. But whatever. I can either self help myself into a coma or I can just take everything as it comes. My only real competition is myself and my success is measured on moving forward.

When I TRULY think about all I wanted to achieve by my late 20s, I realize I have done more than I truly thought I would get to. I have things together. The puzzle is a little lop sided, I slammed a few pieces in where they didn’t fit. There are still pieces missing, but it works. There is actually a coherent image of something resembling a normal existence.

I have learned that life is not an immediate success, some people get it right away, but that is so very rare. Instead, and probably for the best, we have to prove ourselves and fight forward, and make things happen. To not is to accept defeat, which is something I simply won’t accept.

All I am saying in this, is that maybe we all should be happier with ourselves and where we are. We should embrace our lives as just are, and accept the chaos as what is. I am the first to jump into learning and growing, but I am also okay with not killing myself with too many projects. I have learned to create boundaries and limits where needed. These are all vital for survival.

Overall, just love yourself and your journey and your mistakes. It’s okay, you are just learning, even at 20 and 40 and 90, you are learning.

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Good Habits are Great – But Only if They Serve You

musings

Our society, whether because it’s grabbing for meaning, or because things feel out of control, is full of rules right now. There are rules on a better life, from diet to discipline, to minimalism, and tech purges. There are rules on raising other humans like avoiding NO and sugar and gluten. There are rules on TV and screen time, and how much you need to play, pee, eat, sing, and everything else you can imagine. Maybe it’s a reflection of our regimented tech days, or maybe we hate being out of control.

I hate being out of control. So I make up rules. Absurd rules that make no sense, like in what order I need to wash clothes, or make the beds, or vacuum the house. None of these are based on any needs or service to me. If I wash darks first there is still hot water for lights because the darks need only warm water. If I vacuum the upstairs first, it’s not like the carpet gnomes will report me. None of these mental “rules” make sense, they just exist because somewhere I got it in my head that I needed to do things in a specific way.

I bet you, if you analyzed your life, you have all kinds of rules you follow without even knowing. Maybe you wash your face and THEN brush your teeth, when in fact it would be better to brush your teeth to then remove any residue with face washing. Perhaps you always have a cookie with lunch, when in fact you don’t need the cookie or you could have the cookie whenever you want, maybe for breakfast even! Live wild, it’s invigorating.

To add to the mental notes you have all kinds of people telling you what to do to improve your life. They tell you how to eat, what makeup to wear, how to scoop cat litter, what car you should get, how to make yourself healthier, how yo exercise, how to destress, how to make more money….you get the idea. Everyone has a solution to something, and everyone thinks they’re right.

News Flash, they’re probably wrong.

They may be wrong because SCIENCE. They may be wrong because their goal is to just sell you something without you having any real need. They may be wrong because their methods really only work well for baby boomers, or people in their 30s. They may also just be full of shit. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FULL OF SHIT THAT WANT TO MAKE MONEY OFF OF YOU OR MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP OR SIMPLY THINK THEY’RE AMAZING WHEN REALLY THEY’RE NOT BUT THEY….you get the idea.

The truth is that at any time at least 70 different things want you to follow that trail, that ad, that video, that “alternative fact”. They want you to follow that lead into the land where you share a credit card number or buy into, at least emotionally, some doctrine.

Sometimes these things REALLY work, like Marie Kondo’s methods have helped thousands, if not millions. Kondo’s ideas have greatly improved my home and I love the tips, but I modified them to suit our household needs. I won’t follow her like she’s a god, but I will take what serves me and my family.

On the other hand I tried bullet journaling and freehand journaling and stencil journaling. I got so frustrated and pissed off with having another thing to do “on my list” that I gave it up. Nothing about it served me and my creative needs. However, my best friend finds it extremely soothing and cathartic, and she will most likely continue to journal until the day she dies.

For another example, a friend of mine bought her cat a wheel (like a cat hamster wheel-but for cars) and she was so excited to have this for her cat. Her cat HATED it, would not touch it, and the friend was out $300 for this internet contraption that some cats loved. It has been passed onto a second friend who is trying to convince their cat that the wheel is fun. (Here is a good tip: cats are assholes, and they won’t like anything you buy that’s expensive unless it’s YOUR bed, YOUR couch, and definitely the scratching post you bought for them. Give them cat nip, a box, and a wadded up receipt and you will have a happy cat, I promise.)

The point is, that when you are trying to “self-help” take time to explore what might actually bring you joy and what is a waste of time. Even if your best friend thrives, don’t expect the method to work the same for you.

Don’t Act Your Age

colorado, Colorado Events, outdoors, Travel

It’s easy to fall into the expectations of a culture. It’s easy to yield to social, familial, and religious pressure. It’s easy to “be” for others, but is harder to put your foot down and be yourself.

Out culture has a lot of unwritten rules. By 18 you graduate high school. By 22 it’s college. By 25 maybe a post-graduate program. Depending on your track, there are more hoops and expectations. Somewhere in there, before 30, you might find a spouse, buy a house, and resemble something like an adult.

These age brackets adjust slightly, depending on the culture and the time. Babies often come by 40 instead of 30 now. Career success is somewhere around 40 maybe 50, depending. Marriage is okay by 30, best by 40. It’s all constructed on norms and expectations, built around the cultural ecosystem we live in. Yet all of it is just expectation, not a reality based on what one NEEDS to accomplish. Some of us have more responsibility younger. Some of us never were truly kids. Some of us will never fully grow up. It just is.

With all of these expectations being fabricated, then I think it’s damn time that people do what makes sense for them. If my generation has positively accomplished anything, it’s that we are breaking the norm. (Whether out of necessity or choice is another question all together). We have abandoned the suburbs for lofts, and lifelong mortgages for vacations. Some of it is having a lack of money to participate in the US of A economy like our ancestors did, some of us just don’t want the shackles that uprooted so many in the recession.

While I advocate for education and knowledge, I also know that college is not the only way to be educated. I am married to one of the smartest people I know who could never get comfortable in a college setting, even though they tried. He doesn’t flout his skills and knowledge, he just exists, happy to work and make improvements, happy to have a family to come home to. It’s not ideal, but his earnings with a few community college classes almost matches that of someone with a M.A. The degree has never made me superior, it only lit the path to my own growth.

No doubt, the system has failed this generation, and my dear Gen-X friends that also feel swallowed in debt and poor paying jobs. I feel if the system has failed us, why should be jump deeply into the system? Why be the pinnacle of 30 with a house and 2.5 kids and car payments and so much debt there is hardly money for groceries? Where is the joy in that?

No doubt, I want the “good life” like everyone waved in front of my face. I want a house, I want a dog, and a yard, and to take a family vacation every year. Yet, we run into the wall of we don’t earn enough for a house where we live. We don’t earn enough to live fully here, as a “30-something” should. Yet we do earn enough to pay our bills and have some fun once in a while. We earn enough to enjoy trips abroad every few years, and take road trips in between. We earn enough to get by and laugh a little. We earn enough that I only grind my teeth a couple of night between pay days, instead of them all.

So while I “WANT” this and that, I refuse to be a part of “keeping up with the Jones’s” or buying into familial expectation of what my house and life is supposed to be. I think everyone should examine this too. If something in our culture serves you and your dreams, go for it.

I went for college and a mountain of debt, but my growth was much needed and treasured, I would not change that. If buying a home brings you comfort and joy that’s great! But make sure that the value you have placed in it comes before other desires. If having children is something that you long for, then have children when it makes sense. If having children is not that important, then REALLY evaluate if that’s a road you should go down.

As Elizabeth Gilbert put in Eat, Pray, Love “Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it’s what you want before you commit.” I value most things on similar terms, “is this REALLY what I want?” “Should I REALLY commit to this”. I also leave if something is not serving me or my longer-term goals. Some days it is hard, it’s definitely scary, but it’s important that you only act the age you are in your heart.

Happy Travels!

Another Year Older

musings

Oh hey, today is my birthday. Officially, based on the Gregorian calendar I have taken 28 trips around the sun on a little blue planet known as earth.

You would think with all my travel writing I would think more about this feat. Yet, like most humanoids I’m often distracted by TV and new X-files merch.

So today, let’s reflect on some of the awe of our existence. We humanoids inhabit a spectacular planet full of wonders and beauty. A planet that took billions of years of perfect settings to create and sustain life as we know it. And me, right now, I have enjoyed 28 journeys around a major source of our life, the sun.

It’s humbling just to think of the scale of this little globe in comparison to our solar system, let alone our universe. The conclusion: we’re fucking tiny. TINY.

As a kid it hit home the most while I would stand out in the woods at my childhood home. Rural as it was I could see the stars for what felt like forever. While holding a flashlight to feed animals or walk about I would hold up the flashlight and see that it just went on and on, no end. Of course there was an end because of light strength and atmosphere and science. BUT holding the flashlight felt infinite and I felt humbled and small. A grain of sand in the endlessly huge ocean.

So, as I reflect on the general insignificance of my personal existence, I encourage myself and others to think about what does matter in the world. It matters that we are kind and loving to each other. It matters that all people have basic needs met. It matters that we don’t destroy this planet so that future beings have a life of dignity. It matters that we are informed and educated so that we make positive decisions in the world. It matters that we treat all people with respect, no matter their station. It matters that we raise aware and giving children. It matters that we strive toward equality and equity. These things matter along with many others.

On my birthday I ask that we reflect. Reflect on making life better for others. Reflect on being more patient. Reflect on the bountiful things we have versus others and how to tighten that gap. Reflect on supporting those that advocate for all rights. Reflect on what you can do, no matter how small, to help others.

Even a grain is sand matters, and many grains make the beach and the floor and provide shelter and growth for infinite other beings.

Happy Travels!

Trust Those That Love You

family, musings

My title is self-explanatory. Trust. Those that love you, they love you for a reason.

Their love has power. Truth.

Love has power.

Because when someone says you are such a good…. writer, artist, singer…. phlebotomist…. you probably are. In essence they are seeing the magic you have in you, the talent and the work to make something happen. They see it. They are telling you that you should see it too.

This isn’t to say that just because you do one thing right and receive praise that you can’t keep trying. It’s to say, someone sees where this can take you, keep going.

The thing is that far too much of my life has been spent doubting what people tell me. How people encourage me. My insecurities meant that I always felt like a fraud or that others must have been just trying to be nice. I believed this so deeply, especially in college, I figured my good grades weren’t earned and my bad grades were so much more honest. Yet some light deep in me knew that hell yes I did deserve a good grade. Hell yes I did the best I could. So I’ve taken this light and I’ve let it shine, brighter and more fully year after year.

Sometimes I know that I could have, should have, would have done better. But I also know that the not so good stuff helps to eventually create the good. My failures move me into better. My mistakes shine light on the dust in the corners.

My team of friends and family… they help me get to the next stage. They see my potential. They’ll hold my hand while I get there. And I see theirs.

So, dear reader, trust what people praise you for. Trust in their love and support. Trust that they know a thing or two. And listen when they give advise. Life is hard enough, why choose to think everyone hates you or is lying to you?

These people that love you, they share their adoration because they see what you have to offer the world. They support you because you have something to offer. So believe them. Is it such a bad thing to have cheerleaders?

Besides, even if they lie a little, just to keep your feelings safe, maybe just maybe that little lie can light a fire to greatness. Maybe have of success is just believing and trying and trying again?

Just some thoughts…..

Must Love Mexico…

mexico, musings

We, as Americans, have a distorted view of our Southern neighbor. Mind you it’s not just one Southern neighbor but a chain of diverse and exquisite countries. Culturally we lump them into a pile.

I read this quote from the late Anthony Bourdain that really struck me:

“Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes [and] look after our children…

Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people — as we sure employ a lot of them . . .

We love Mexican drugs. Maybe not you personally, but “we,” as a nation, certainly consume titanic amounts of them — and go to extraordinary lengths and expense to acquire them. We love Mexican music, Mexican beaches, Mexican architecture, interior design, Mexican films…

So why don’t we love Mexico?”

To Bourdain’s point on one hand we openly embrace tacos, tequila, and tortilla. We love wearing sombreros and mustaches on Cinco de Mayo. We love sugar skulls around Halloween. We love speaking Spanglish to movies and friends. We use wonky “Mexican” accents to mock and make humor. We don’t mind vacationing on their beaches and visiting their monuments.

Yet, when it comes to the people, we care less.

When it comes to the insensitive nature of our cherry picked love affair, we care less about the people and more about our personal advantages.

The fact that we are tearing families apart at the border is a prime example of this. Yet it breathes to deeper racist roots. It breathes of a deep history in this country of people being torn apart. Maybe the face was a slave master. Maybe the face was an oppressive native reeducation.

Today, the face is the newly implemented “no tolerance” policies for families seeking asylum, backed by Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump. Another outreach of a culture that prays on the vulnerable to make a point, to spin a political fire storm. It’s an act to discourage people from coming, an act that has likely not reached the hundreds of people fleeing for their lives across borders, thousands of miles north from the home they know.

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For decades undocumented immigrants from Mexico, and other Latin American countries, have been coming to this country. Once here they are often treated with distrust, hatred, and spitefulness. Yet, they are the ones that are picking our food, raising our children, building our homes, and they are active members of our society.

Around 50% of undocumented immigrants pay taxes, their children are educated with “our” children, their children go onto college and build lucrative careers. In fact, there is ample evidence to show that immigrants maybe participate more in our economy than those that are native born or with native born parents.

Still, we have no problem kicking the most vulnerable when they are already down.

Documented immigrants, refugees (asylum seekers) included (like the ones being separated at the border) are also part of the fray.

We rarely differentiate in our attitude. The other question is, should it matter how these children and others got here if they are desperate? Should they be treated this poorly by border officials? Are they not all people?

Ignorance, hatred, and racism asks questions on “WHERE is someone from?” “Are you here legally?” “Why don’t you speak English?”. Often all brown people from another land are looked on as lesser, as a burden, as someone taking. Even though ample evidence shares a different story.

This attitude stretches far beyond how we see those in the Americas.


When we visit the southern land(s) we often stay on fenced resorts, only venturing into the unknown for shopping or monuments. We rarely delve beyond a veiled surface to understand whose land we walk on. I am also guilty of this.

When we visit Mexico we don’t bother much to speak Spanish, and we demand that others speak English. When they visit us, or move here, we use slurs and condemn. We expect, once again, for English to be used.

We don’t mind using the land, the inexpensive vacations, the tasty food. We don’t mind the cheap labor and the exploitative nature of Colonialism. It’s for the benefit of Americans, so it must be okay. Right?

Yet the problems that cause people to flee, and beg for sanctuary, are related to our own bad choices. We directly perpetuate the drug cartels power in Latin countries due to our consumption of illicit substances. Even our heroin problem can be traced to cartels losing out on cannabis profits and flooding the markets with cheap heroin.

Yet, even though we are active participants, and problem makers in the system, we close the door and pretend the desperate masses are just not there. We have done it for years, and as far back as 2013 we were housing children that were running from cartels independently. Yet, this new wave is meant to punish the most vulnerable, and exploit the voiceless for vile policies, all pawns in a political power struggle.

When we have a leader that speaks about these peoples with such distaste, it’s easy to see that this feeling has deeper roots than “just a few haters”. In fact, the leader of the United States actively campaigned on this hatred, and building a wall, and he fucking won over it. So is it honestly a surprise that he has no problem vilifying and traumatizing desperate families?


I end with this question: if you dealt with the horrors that many of those fleeing North do, would you stay put? Would you allow your child to be killed by a cartel? Would you stand by while your wife was threatened? Would you want your children to possibly end up in these cartels?

I guarantee most of you would run if given the chance, because the small glimmer of hope in a distant land, is far better than no hope at all.

mustLoveMexico