Self-Improvement

The End is…Near?

The End is…Near?

A good friend recently emailed me and absolutely went off.

He was curt and churlish in the beginning and then he blasted away. He bemoaned the fact that he didn’t like the new policies issuing out of D.C., the disasters that have taken so many lives and have left so many desperate, and the wars and general state of life worldwide.

It was a hopeless email to respond to. I honestly wasn’t sure if he was mad at me, or he was having a bad day.

I responded as gingerly as I could to such an email.

Turned out, he just needed someone to vent to. I appreciate that, but it got me to thinking hard about things.

I found that I’m not as worked up as my friend about The Issues, so I had to ask myself:

Am I so unplugged these days, that either I just don’t know what’s going on or am I still filled with apathy that I just don’t care?

Honest question. Honest reflection. Here’s my honest answer to myself: Yes and No.

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After using some serious finger math, I calculated I’ve spent a little under 25 years working for government, at various levels and at different times in my life. I have worked for the IRS (don’t damn me, I was young), US Marines, and Law Enforcement.

You can imagine that I had to be plugged in. There wasn’t a headline that didn’t come across the wire that I didn’t know about.

Then…I decided to retire early.

There’s a few reasons why I did that I’ll discuss in future blog posts, but the bottom line is that I wanted to start a writing career and jump into web development. In other words, there were things I’ve dreamed of doing and didn’t want to wait till it was too late.

But, my point is this, after I retired I unplugged. I had to. It was a matter of sanity.

You see, there was so much death that I dealt with that it came time that I couldn’t bare to see another suicide. I couldn’t bare to pull another smashed up body out of a car crash and give CPR—that is if there was much left. I couldn’t bare sleepless nights.

Some say I have PTSD, maybe, I’ve scored pretty high on every test I’ve taken. I’m better now, much better. Some ask me if they have PTSD. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Maybe I’ll write more in the future about that subject; again, I have much to say about that too.

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So, yes, I’m unplugged these days.

After spending years of being tethered to a pager, then a smart phone, and having a work email system that pushed continuous updates on said smart phone that always got in the way of family gatherings; the very first thing I did was turn off every news channel, push notification, and even tossed the cell phone into a corner and forgot about it—oh, with the ringer off, of course!

I still do today. That’s why if you call me, it will almost always go to voicemail. So, please, leave me a voicemail; I’ll call ya back.

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It’s frustrating for those who know me because I’m just not news savvy anymore; suppose it comes across as though I’m clueless.

It’s not that I don’t care—clueless? Maybe.

But, I choose to have more peace in my life now.

Being bombarded constantly with a steady stream of media-select-heinous-event-news that is usually filtered with a certain agenda, well, I don’t want that kind of poison running through my veins anymore.

Every generation has had its apocalyptic event.

No one is getting out of this alive, and sometimes very bad things happen to very good people. Sorry, it’s the way it is.

Not too long ago, there was a generation that thought the world was going to end…December 7, 1941…then…

Can you imagine what it would’ve been like if you were an innocent child in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945?

Every generation has faced its apocalyptic event.

What about the 60’s? The whole decade was jacked up and bled into the 70’s.

80’s? Oh jeez, national debt to big hair bands…some thought for sure the end was near.

The 90’s lulled us to sleep only to be so freaked out on December 31, 1999 that no one slept. Remember that? I worked that night, as a cop. We brought in extra staff just to deal with the end of the world. At 12:01 a.m., our computers still worked and the apocalypse sorta just missed us.

Not long after that, 9/11 and we went to war; fighting terrorists…which we still do today. Hell, we’ve got ground troops in Niger right this moment…who knew?

Then there was Ebola. Remember how we were all going to die from Ebola? We had super secret antidotes for it locked away in a super secret cave at the sheriff’s office. Wait! Maybe the super secret serum was for that nasty flu virus that was supposed to kill half the county and certainly decimate most of the U.S.

All the apocalyptic events sorta meld into each other and I have a hard time sorting it out. Actually, I’m sorry if I’ve left out or forgot some horrible event from your generation.

Now? It’s this, it’s that, it’s the other thing. It’s all drama.

BTW…I choose not to be inundated by things that can send me into a fit of despair. It taxes the energy supply, and quite honestly, my energy supply is limited. I try to gear that little energy to more productive things.

I ask myself, am I part of the solution?

Not if I’m arguing, spitting, and getting excited about stuff.

When’s the last time you changed anyone’s opinion by arguing and yelling with someone in person, via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or…

Hm!

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In the midst of a dark world that seems to be getting darker and the days seem to be getting grayer, I find that doing what I can to help where I can and with as much as I’ve been blessed with, either strength or financial, I do.

And…I stay grateful.

Grateful for the mornings that seem to speak of new beginnings.

Grateful for the little things around me, and for those that I can help when I can.

Grateful for the marvelous love and friends in my life.

Focusing on the things that are important and the things I can change; like my own attitude, my own approach to the issues at hand, and my own steps that ultimately I’m accountable for and no one else.

Whether it’s midnight, or right before the dawn, I don’t really know which it is.

Honestly, if we can just keep placing one step in front of the other, stop complaining and bitching and arguing, and start doing what we can to bring some love and peace right where we’re at—with our neighbors, the person in the grocery aisle, or letting the motorist merge ahead of us on the freeway—we might see the sun sooner than we think.

~ Love

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Self-Improvement
Quite the Challenge

Quite the Challenge

A challenge can be different things to different people all based upon the tone and circumstance.

“I challenge you to a game of …” Clearly an invitation to a possible butt-whooping.

It could mean something in law where an attorney objects and challenges a procedure or a juror selection in court.

It could mean that the immune system was exposed to some sort of pathogenic…thingy—of which I have no clue what that means.

Then there’s the vertical or horizontal challenge whereby I’m too short or too round. That’s where I throw down the card of protest and blame that whole gravitational law thingy. But, the term is only a euphemism at that point.

Then there’s the challenge of a task or a situation that’s difficult, a test of sorts, straining, taxing, demanding, stretching, problematic, and I’ve just run out of synonyms.

Bottom line is, life changes are challenging.

Oh, and these Life Challenges?

Sure, we can make the decision to leap and bring on those challenges for ourselves.

Yet, at times, these challenges are forced upon us suddenly and without warning.

Other times, they’re not always clear at first.

They come on as a slow boil. Things begin to move deep within us that point you and I in a different direction. It may take weeks, months, even years, but there comes a point when you feel yourself dying daily, yearning for something that might appear to be just out of reach, and that feeling that if you don’t reach out and grab the destiny before you, you’ll wither and die where you’re at.

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Recently, I have been faced with the challenge of writing about pages and personal bios for other resources on the internet. All aimed at informing people who and what I am in a concise manner.

One thing I have always struggled with over the course of this short and ephemeral life is who am I? I know, I probably shouldn’t admit it.

A recent challenge tossed on my plate was, why blog? This isn’t a new challenge; I’ve been asked this before.

But this challenge was different and much deeper. It was more than why I blog, but what’s my voice? What’s my message? Then another why, and then another why, until finally I hit the bottom and found out that that’s where I am.

Okay…so…what’s your message, and why? More specifically, who are you deep inside?

Same question came from different sources in a short period of time. It got me to thinking.

I’ve always believed that He who knows why, will always have dominion over he who knows how.

I can teach an animal to do tricks upon command, but why? Why do them at all? Just because someone else gives you a treat?

Then I have to ask, Why am I stuck in someone else’s cage?!

Anyways, I digress…

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Sifting through the layers.

This is by far the most difficult task in which you and I have to, must, and need to do when it comes to figuring out who we truly are.

We have layers upon layers heaped upon us from the time we come out of the womb.

We’re told what to believe, how to practice that belief, who to vote for, and in what political camp we should reside.

We’re told what we should study in school, and what school to attend; where we should live; what job someone else thinks we should have, or do, based upon what someone, or some test, says we should.

We go to work and we’re blasted all day long with what we should do, or how to do it. Never mind we probably work for a boss that is afraid of his or her own shadow and has no stomach for our input on how to better the program.

We come home and hopefully your home is a place of refuge, as it should be. But…

What if home isn’t a place of refuge? You walk through the door at the end of a long day and it’s nothing more than another battle zone, and in order to survive you have to revert to apathy just to get through another evening without creating too many explosions along the way.

Then, get up in the morning and never realize how beautiful the sunrise is because we’re so exhausted from our lives being trapped in layers.

Layers of someone else’s expectations; thick and heavy and suffocating. That makes it hard to do the work of finding out who we really are.

It’s difficult to peel those layers off to find what we truly believe in. How we truly want to be. What path we truly want to place our feet upon.

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I’m still working it out.

I haven’t perfected this reinvention thing and am still in the throngs of change.

But, isn’t that the beauty of it all? The process?

It’s the birthing of something new that is exciting and lovely and scary all at the same time!

So I don’t want to be a hypocrite, a parrot, or another voice heaping another layer on you that you don’t need.

I hate being a hypocrite. It’s no fun. The masks are sweaty and gross and not something I want to wear any longer.

The challenge I leave you with is something I myself have done, and still do. It’s a challenge that I whole heartedly believe in.

Change is inevitable. You can NOT avoid change.

To strip the layers off and to finally stand on a foundation that no one else can rip out from under you is refreshing. It’s empowering. It’s motivating…to see through any challenge you face.

So, your challenge is this…

Who are you really? What is your why? What is your message?

– Love

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Self-Improvement