Medium.com

Medium.com

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a social writing platform by the name of Medium. It’s like Twitter (and uses Twitter for authorization) for full-on stories and ideas instead of 140-character updates. There’s a lot of talented writers and good ideas out there – I think I now spend just as much, if not more, time reading stuff on Medium as I do reading in my RSS client. 

I think I’ll make it a goal for next month to write something specifically for posting on Medium. 

Honesty

Of the various personality traits that my child self possessed, the one that I regard highest when I reflect on times past was my brutal sense of honesty. In those early years, I was a boisterous and opinionated child, the kind of kid that’s impossible to get to just shut up. In tandem, those qualities frequently cast me in the role of the child who eagerly betrayed lying parents/relatives lies, thinking I was helping by correcting a faulty recollection on their part. When they’d reactively tried to shush me in the moment, it would confuse me — I didn’t comprehend why I was being silenced for presenting the truth. By the time I started attending grade school, I recognized that lying was something that people did and that they had often had reasons for doing it, but still didn’t fully comprehend what would motivate a person to willingly not tell the truth. When we started learning about US Presidents, I distinctly remember drawing a sense of inspiration and camaraderie from one Mr. Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln.

Once I started growing out of the toddler/child phase and consequences became an active part of life, I started experimenting with deception in the same manner most kids do. It was something I only kept within my immediate family. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had the notion that if I lied to someone I wasn’t related to and was found out, I’d be introduced to a harsh unknown punishment I didn’t care to ever know. As childhood transitioned into adolescence, I gradually grew comfortable with the practice of lying. The more I started to see the world for what it really is, the more I noticed that it had actually been pretty common in my life; my family members told little lies all the time, I was just not able to recognize it with my child mentality. This familiarity with small lies stayed with me until around the age of 24. It was then I started really examining my choices and behaviors, and really started coming down on myself for getting so comfortable with the process. Even though I knew that everyone lies at some point in their life, what with human nature and all, I still felt like I’d ruined some mythical clean record of honesty and compromised my integrity over small things that weren’t worth lying about.

It was at that age of 24 that I started feeling a hard disconnect from my true self and started delving into the subject of personal development in an attempt to fix that. Honesty was one of the key areas in which I felt that incongruence. As a teenager, I lied to avoid punishment or to further my own interests/desires. As a young adult, I found that I lied because I’d grown to fear the consequences of telling the truth, and it permeated even the basic social interactions; it became preferable for me to say to friends I was leaving because I was tired and go spend the rest of the night alone at home than to simply express that I was bored or had no interest in what we were doing and suggest an alternative activity.

Now, after the big year of isolation in 2012, I’ve reconnected with that child self that I’ve desperately missed for the last decade, that person who only speaks truth (or, when applicable, simply refuses to answer the question) and doesn’t give a damn about what might happen, planted firmly on the belief that honesty should not be punished. Having emerged as a strong proponent of the mythopoetic men’s movement, I strive for utmost honesty I believe it to be a quality that any true man should possess, because it is the right thing to do. After all, you have to first put something out into the world before you can rightfully begin to expect it from others.

Humble Beginnings

It’s been a good few weeks since I’ve done some writing. I’ve been neglecting both the blog and my offline journal, focusing on the goings of daily life, exercising, and planning my next steps carefully. The last update I posted on the blog was very cathartic for me; getting into a lot of the smaller details about the past couple years and everything that’s changed in that time has given me a sense of finality to a chapter of my life that I needed to bring to successfully bring a close since my younger self decided it was something worth introducing to the web. Moving past it, I feel like I’ve just woken up from a bad dream to a giant mess to clean up.

From experience and what I’ve read on the matter of productivity and goals, journaling and capturing life at its different stages provide excellent points of comparison against which to measure progress made. Here is the narrative at present.

Career

I’m 27, and on the cusp of turning 28. I’ve been in a prolonged state of isolation, almost two years, in my own journey of personal development. I’ve fought to reconcile myself with my past, reclaim my sense of identity, and redefine myself, my goals, and my expectations in life. I fight to give myself the opportunities a person of my capability deserves and to realize my full potential. I also recognize that the road ahead is long, and filled with challenges greater than those I’ve already overcome. Though I showed great promise as a child, I was not raised in conditions that agreed with academic achievement. I didn’t produce the scores and work to qualify for scholarships or even realistically apply to any university. Without any money having been saved by my family to pay for college, I joined the work force immediately after leaving high school. My plan was to take a couple years off to just have fun, and save money to buy myself a car and a computer capable of running software for graphic editing and web design, then return to school starting a local community college, and transferring into a university after a couple years.

From 18–20, I worked a series of jobs in retail and coffee shops. I bought myself a car, which was stolen only a year after I bought it. I came upon the opportunity to work a part of a startup marketing company that a group of close internet friends decided to form at the age of 21. For the first time in my life, I was able to apply all of the technological and organizational skills that I’d picked up through my hobbies and areas of interest for self-study. I spent 12–16 hours a day in front of my computer, writing emails, drafting documents, templating stationary, coordinating teams, managing projects, conducting research, processing data, and compiling business plans and campaign deliverables. The results the team produced opened the doors to some great experiences, traveling to Japan and meeting the bands I used to listen to in high school in a professional capacity.

Eventually, the marketing startup phased out of operation, and I returned back to “normal” life. I worked at a couple of restaurants before landing a job in a tech-oriented field as a support specialist for a local SEO company. At this point, I started making good enough money to buy myself another car, and build sufficient credit to finance a MacBook Pro to replace my aging computer that was unable to keep pace with my performance needs at work. Early last year, I transitioned away from that job, and after a couple of months wading through a highly competitive job market for a replacement income source, came upon my current position as a temp for Union Bank at a corporate office site.

Right now, I find myself frustrated and feeling trapped by my current situation. My job entails duties that are way below my capabilities. I’m constantly bored, and resent that I’m forced to spend my time doing what I do when I could be doing something more meaningful, and in turn, higher paying. I’m at an age where I should have a bachelors/masters degree and time invested with a company, or finishing up a doctorate degree. Since college wasn’t academically or financially viable for me and all that time lost can’t be reclaimed, my path is now forced to be one of the self-made success. I’ll admit that despite my age, I do have a strong intent to obtain the academic dress of a degree. However, the cost of education is something that I’m going to have to find a way to finance myself. Essentially, I’m going to be doing things backwards – getting the job to make the money for the degree, not getting the degree to make the money. Unconventional, but that’s just the way my life is.

Right now, I work my day job to cover the essential living costs. I’ve been in a constant state of financial constraint for almost a whole year now, causing me to further resent myself for letting myself get into this current position, but also motivating me to do something to change it. In my down time, I’m focused on buffing up my knowledge in various disciplines in a systematic order. Right now, I’m concentrating my efforts on getting acquainted with computer programming by learning Python, and soaking up everything I can in relation to finance and taxes. One thing I’ve noticed in all the loan applications I process at work is that successful people applying for high principal loans all have extensive investment portfolios – indicates to me that I need to learn how those work. I’ve also been planning to make a stronger effort to develop my writing ability, both by building a blog with read-worthy content and keeping my private offline journal consistently up to date. Once I can successfully design & build for the modern web landscape, I aim to freelance my development talents to make the income needed for school, and to upgrade my lifestyle. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to make another income stream out of building useful software for computers and mobile devices.

Health

Along with the career situation at present, the subject of health commands the majority of my efforts at present. I’ve been meaning to address my physical deficiencies for a very long time now, and I’ve grown tired of constantly carrying the guilt of failure at actually getting anything done. Over the past year, I’ve been making solid strides in making that part of me that enjoys running a regular part of my routine. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been completing my 5+ mile routes multiple times a week. Admittedly, I haven’t been dieting too well because I’m hesitant to push to a lower weight at the moment – doing that would mean having to buy new clothes, and I’m still not out the woods enough to accommodate that investment. Still, I run regularly now, and have also starting implementing arm and core workouts into my exercises.

This year, I’m going to reach those high goals I set for myself so long ago. I’m running out of 20’s, and while I’ve still got youth on my side, I want to experience the what “the other side” feels like; I’ve been a husky kid and an overweight guy pretty much all of my life, and I’ve got no excuses for letting things stay that way. I want to enjoy runs in different parts of the world. I want to be able to go rock climbing and hike long & difficult trails. To know what it feels like to sprint down a shoreline or lose myself in the middle of a crowd at a dance festival without a shirt on and feel confident.

There’s a giant laundry list of experiences and sensations that I want out of life, and being the pudgy, sedentary, overweight smoker I’ve been over the past few years has outlived its viability as an option.

Relationships

In my time away to myself, I aimed to get myself back to a state of mental/emotional self-sufficiency. Though I’ve proven to myself that I could very well live out the rest of my life in permanent solitude and in perpetual pursuit of a better self, living life isolated and alone is not how I want things to ultimately pan out – one of those just because I can doesn’t mean I will type of situations. So in addition to everything I’ve got on my plate in direct relation to myself, I also aim to start reestablishing my “tribe”. Back before I started focusing on all of this self-improvement, I was a pretty active social butterfly and networker. Now, after so much time apart to myself, staying in touch and constantly in communication with people has come to feel very strange and irregular. Yet, now that I’m once again confident in my ability to create, nurture, and maintain relationships with people, it’s a part of life that I’m very eager to once again partake in.

In Closing

I look ahead at what the year will bring, and I see wave after wave of continuous hardships and challenges. I no longer have the naive belief that I’ll reach some certain “point” at which I’ll feel happy and content. I’ve got a lot of dreams that I want to accomplish and some pretty high standards that I’ve set for myself, and I’ve got a lot of lost ground to make up for. My story hasn’t been a happy one, nor an easy one, but I accept it. More than that, I celebrate it. Had my life played out to all of the better alternative outcomes of my past experiences, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. For a long time, I focused on all the negative results of those experiences – the self doubt, the feelings of abandonment, the unwillingness to fully trust the people closest to me in life, etc. Now, I’ve reconnected with that inner fire, that unwavering confidence in my identity and capabilities. I’m ready to pick up the fight again and start doing everything I should be for myself.

May this year be filled with things that I’ve legitimately earned. I’m ready and willing to hurt, sweat, and bleed however much it takes to get things done.

Discussing the Weather

I was going through my RSS feeds, and read an article on Mashable about the current cold weather blasting through the country right now. I showed him the temperature map, and started laughing at how San Diego is sitting fine and dandy.

US Temperature Map
San Diego vs. the rest of the US

“Yeah, San Diego is hi-lar-ious. Even in “The Day After Tomorrow”, San Diego: fine. That shit just stopped, right up there – Orange County, done. San Diego is always good…unless we got T-Rexes. Then we’re in trouble.”