Thursday, January 29, 2015

Back Home

For the past two weeks I've been living with my ailing father back at the ol' family homestead in suburban Roseville, MN. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer around Christmas and started chemotherapy two weeks ago. I lost my mother to ovarian cancer back in 2001.

Aside from a very short-lived foray into babysitting when I was about 13, this is the first time I've ever acted as caregiver to another human. I've barely even ever taken care of a pet, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job.

Moving back into the house I grew up in feels familiar in so many ways, but under these circumstances it's certainly not a comforting type of familiarity -- more like bumping into an ex-girlfriend while making that god-forsaken once a year shopping trip to the mall.

Regarding my old neighborhood, this experience has reinforced my feelings about living in the suburbs. I try to go out for a walk and there are few options of interest. When I am out walking oftentimes the sidewalk simply comes to an end in the middle of a block. Bicycles are so rare that I've mostly kept mine in the garage because sometimes it just doesn't pay to go too hard against the grain. I do not belong here anymore.

These things just make the whole situation more challenging for me as there feels to be no place of comfort. I've watched more TV in the past 2 weeks than in the prior 2 years and have been unsuccessful at avoiding junk food. I'm falling back into habits from high school.

But of course the flip side of this is probably akin to what many of you parents understand -- it feels wonderful to be of service to a loved one, even when it's not fun. For the first time in my life I'm a vital cog in the life of another, a provider of critical support.

This will be a time of growth for me as I experience new challenges and broaden my understanding of the human condition, a condition I'm slowly learning to see more clearly.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yoga Instructors and Law Enforcement Officers

What is real?
How do we define reality?
And if it's so simple to look at a situation and see that thing x caused thing y to happen, then why is our political climate so unclear?

It's because each of us creates our own reality. Reality is a human construct that can only be viewed through human eyes, each of which carries with it a lifetime of experiences which shape how everything is interpreted by each of us.

As a result, we can have two well-educated people look at the same challenge and come up with entirely different ways to address it. In the arts the ability to view the world differently is considered a tremendous skill or even genius. In politics the same skill is often divisive.

The great thing is that we each get to choose our own path in life. Even at those times where we think we don't have any choices, we really do still have an infinite amount of choice. It's just that our perception of how appropriate some of those choices are affects our reality and hence our decision making.

Still with me?

So when choosing a career, for instance, we can choose to surround ourselves with love or surround ourselves with hate. Yoga instructors have chosen to surround themselves with positivity, peace, good health, empathy and love. Law enforcement officers have chosen to surround themselves with negativity (and it shouldn't have to be said that obviously we require this role in our society).


I had never thought of it in this exact way before, but last week I realized that I'd rather go through life as a yoga instructor (i.e. surrounding myself with positivity) than as a law enforcement officer.

I'm choosing to do what I can in life to surround myself with peace, good health, empathy and love. What do you choose?

Monday, January 12, 2015

U-G-L-Y

Alibi?
Ummm...it wasn't me?


The other day I ended up on some website where you upload a photo of your face and it analyzes it for symmetry. It does this because people deemed most beautiful to the human eye tend to have a certain symmetry to their face.

Here's my results...


I am a 6.73 out of 10. Here's why:

  • Your face has poor horizontal symmetry
  • Your ears are too long for your nose
  • Your innerocular distance is too big for your eyes
  • Your nose is too wide for your face width
  • The ratio of your face length to face width is nearly ideal
  • Your mouth is too wide for your nose
It could have at least started with the one positive comment, right? In order to butter me up a bit before bringing down the hammer?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

When Slowing Down & Paying Attention Are Someone Else's Problem

Citizen!

Have you become sick and tired of being aware of other people around you?
When you're behind the wheel of 2-tons of man-crushing steel, do you not want to be bothered with checking so-called "blind spots"?
Do you believe yourself to be the center of the universe?

It's time to take back your personal liberties!

Early Warning System for Cars and Cyclists

For when slowing down and paying attention are someone else's problem




via Adventure Journal

Today in History - Orion

I bet Stone Age Man looked up at what we call the constellation Orion and saw a likeness of himself, too.

Only that wasn't a sword.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Children & Education & World Travel

I was thrilled to read a post from the good folks at Bumfuzzle that finally explains their philosophy on educating their children. What thrilled me was that it's the same philosophy that I dug out of somewhere inside myself in the past year.

Note: Bumfuzzle is a blog written by a married American couple who have two young children, maybe 3 & 5 years old. They slowly travel the world via boats and vintage RVs and it appears as if their children are having an amazing experience. How fantastic for children to grow up being exposed to such cultural variety (both good and bad) as a way to shape their minds into those of thoughtful, caring global citizens. After all, the whole world is our neighbor now, and it's best we all learn to get along.



About a year ago after I quit my corporate career and was re-examining my values & life goals, I realized that a key reason why I've never wanted children was because I didn't want to be tied down to one school system for 18 years like most American families. But I realized it could be different. I realized raising children might not be so bad if I simply took them adventuring all over the world with me and their mother (this is obviously all strictly hypothetical, you understand).

I believe I'm not so much against having children of my own as much as I'm against settling down.

Their education would be more informal and more well-rounded and would be influenced by the great cultures of the world. They wouldn't be taught something just so they can pass the test and make the school look good. They'd learn languages at a young age when it's easier for their brains.

Anyways. I'm sure there would be many challenges to such a lifestyle, but that'd be part of the adventure and part of the learning process.

Just so you understand: I still don't want kids. But if I did meet a wonderful woman who absolutely wanted children, this is the way I'd want to do it.

And now I'm just happy to be able to follow along as somebody else tests it out for me.