Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Why Page Eighty5?

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On my journey through life, I feel that I am around page eighty-five of a good book. Sure there have been some things that have happened and there have been great and defining moments but really the story is just beginning. We have taken the time to form the foundation, characters/setting/background, but I am only just beginning to see what it is that is going to define me, what my purpose may be.

Page Eighty5 is a random page, as it should be because this number could be different for everyone. This project is shaped by creativity and with creativity, it is important not to ask too many questions!

Even in Defeat, We Can Declare Victory

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Last night I witnessed what seems to be a yearly ritual. Ohio State’s football team lost to an opponent in which they had no business losing. This Ohio State team was ranked #2 in the nation, a Heisman trophy candidate quarterback, and all the aspirations of having a showdown with Alabama in the championship game or at the very least a spot in the College Football Playoffs. They were up against a Purdue team that lost their first three games and have managed to climb back since, but still should have been no match for the Buckeyes. Not so fast, as Lee Corso from College Gameday on ESPN would say. What we didn’t factor in and what I was not even aware of before the game started was the emotional side. The forces greater then the game. Who wanted the game more and why?

As the game started we were made aware of a 20 year old Purdue student named Tyler Trent. Tyler is battling terminal bone cancer and is in hospice care. They would show the signs of fans that read “Tyler Strong” and “Cancer Sucks”. Tyler was at the game. He had circled this date on his calendar and was doing everything he could do to make it to the game. In an interview in the press-box Tyler talked about how just 24 hours prior he was so sick that he wasn’t sure he was going to make it. Tyler did make it to the game and Purdue players and fans used the emotion to light a fire under them.

From the beginning this game had a different feel. The Buckeyes couldn’t get into a rhythm and kept making huge mental errors. Couple that with the fact that everything seemed to open right up for the Boilermakers and I knew we were in for a rough night. I had no clue how rough but ironically it will go down in history as a loss that I can justify in my heart and mind. Tyler’s story started wearing on me and even my deep love for the Buckeyes could not dismiss that maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to win them all.

I’ve been reminded many times that Ohio State football games are just that, games, and that I should not invest so much time and emotion into them. Many people don’t understand why I would schedule my life around a bunch of 20 year old players running around on a football field. Nights like last night are my reason. The emotion and the stories that come out of College Football touches me. I remember the two National Championships we have won during my lifetime. I remember watching in anticipation each time the College Playoff teams were announced or the Bowl Games. And every once in a while there is something greater than football.

Credit:Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This past year when we were playing at Iowa we were made aware of a new tradition where at the end of the first quarter all of the 75,000 fans and all of the players and coaches turn to the Children’s Hospital that overlooks the field and they wave. It’s a way to show them that they care, that they see them, and they are rooting them on in their fight. I am tearing up as I write this thinking about the symbol and the emotion. There are things bigger than football, many things. But we have to understand that these things are not separate from Saturdays at the football stadium. They are intertwined. To those children in the Children’s Hospital fighting it is more than just a game. To Tyler Trent it is more than just a game. It is a momentary escape from their reality. It is something to look forward to seeing.

Last night was a tough loss for Buckeye Nation. We will get over it. It will just give us another game to talk about in years to come. The game we should have won. I take solace in knowing that the game meant a little more to others and it showed. The fact that you couldn’t wipe the smile off of Tyler Trent’s face as he was wheeled to the locker room. No Buckeye fan should want to take that away from him. I certainly don’t and I say enjoy the moment Tyler, stay strong, and yes your Boilermakers beat the #2 Buckeyes! It will forever be on the books and your story will forever be in our hearts.

 

Entitlement

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Every day I witness so many people with a strong sense of entitlement. There really seems to be no demographic that is inflicted more than another. Unfortunately, it can be found almost everywhere you look. Some examples that quickly come to mind are the shoppers who are so frustrated that they have to wait two deep in a line. They are spending their hard earned money and are entitled to faster service. Diners in a restaurant who feel that they are entitled to service that is tailored just to their exact specification. These are just a few that are easy to spot of the many. If we look deeper we can see that we have a culture of entitlement that only seems to be getting worse.

We all know who to blame right? It’s this new generation of spoiled, self-centered, disrespectful, ENTITLED children and young adults. Is it really their fault? Since turning 40 years old a few months ago I have started to take a hard look at the man in the mirror and it turns out that there are a lot of things that I didn’t think were my fault that may just be. Realizing this helped me to realize that on a broader scale I don’t believe it is fair for any generation to blame the one before or, especially, the one after. Where do younger generations get their belief systems from? They are taught and brought up by the very people who want to turn around and blame them for all the ills of society. This I believe is where the broadest range of entitlement rests. It rests with those who believe that they have done their duty and now they should be able to sit back and have the easy life while those around them all behave in a way that is in alignment with how they are expected to behave.

I work in a lot of different retail spaces which affords me the opportunity to observe some of the most selfish, entitled behaviors. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store or retail stores in general that seems to bring out the worst in people. During my observations now as more of a passive presence in the store and my experience as an employee/manager in these establishments, I can tell you that I see a very distinct pattern of which individuals who tend to show evidence that they feel more entitled. It is not the younger generation. The younger generation usually exhibits a patience that most adults would/should strive to achieve. They are the ones that are giving up their spots in line. They are the ones holding the doors open and saying yes sir or yes mam and giving out a thank you or you’re welcome.

I hypothesize that this entitlement is a learned behavior. Either the behavior is influenced negatively by those around them or the stresses of constantly being beaten down by life has caused people to simply abandon their polite, empathetic tendencies in exchange for rude, entitled behavior. Unfortunately, the only solution would be for everyone to come to their senses and realize that no one owes them anything. For people to understand that the only behavior that they can control is their own. For everyone to “Be the change that they wish to see in the world.” The interesting thing is that when we start behaving in a way that acknowledges that there are other people in the world and they are just like us, we start feeling better about the other people in the world. We will start to have a bit more patience and understanding. We will hopefully stave off the learned behavior of entitlement that we are passing on to our children.

I have a feeling that this will be the theme for this week’s posts because there is so much to be said on the subject. If you have any thoughts be sure to share.

 

If We Only Had a Fuel Gauge

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Yesterday as I was driving to the grocery store I noticed not one but two people who had run out of gas and were filling their cars from a gas can on the side of the road. We have all been there. Thinking we get a little bit further without the inconvenience of stopping for gas or maybe there isn’t enough money in the budget to get gas until the next day.

The reason I was struck by the fact that I saw two people run out of gas in relatively the same area and time is that I realized how rarely I actually see this occur. I believe that most people ensure that they have enough gas in their vehicle at all times. They know that the inconvenience and possible damage to the car for running out of gas could be more costly than the minor inconvenience of taking a few minutes to stop.

Why am I even mentioning this? I believe that there is an interesting connection here between the way we treat our cars and the way that we treat our bodies. I believe that we often push ourselves to the point of empty before we look for food. Just like with our car this can have very damaging results in terms of our overall health as well as our finances.

My job requires me to drive quite a bit and I do several tasks in different areas throughout the day. I try to get these tasks done as quickly as possible which means that I frequently skip lunch. Sometimes I may get my work done more expeditiously but I think more often it evens out. My productivity tends to lessen as the day goes on without giving my body the fuel that it needs to work at its highest level.

Sometimes I will stop at a fast food restaurant and go through the drive-thru and grab something to eat on the way to my next location. I think that this is a very smart alternative to depriving myself and helps me shave even more time off of my work day. The problem with this tactic is that once I complete these very unhealthy quick fixes I want a nap. I feel very sluggish and weighed down. Not exactly the smart alternative I was searching for in the end.

I think that many times we choose to skip fueling our bodies because it is not convenient. We can get a few more tasks accomplished. This waiting not only causes our work to suffer but could lead to long-term issues. We need to intentionally plan time to refuel our bodies. There are even laws that ensure that employers give us this time. I know that I personally would find ways to be productive during that meal time. Making phone calls to attend to personal issues or some other task that I felt was super important and needed to be done during the workday.

This is going to be the habit that I work on heavily moving forward. Scheduling time to refuel my body and ensuring that I am operating at my very best for the complete duration of my day. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I will set a reminder for October 7th and see how I am doing. Care to join me?

Already do well in this area? How do you manage to keep yourself fueled throughout the day? How do you keep life from getting in the way?

I Can’t (Self) Help Myself

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For as long as I can remember I am drawn to improving myself. I know that I will never be complete and that my journey should be constant. I don’t want to stagnate and do the same things that I have always done.

Because of this I often seek out documentaries, blogs, podcasts, etc. that offer a different way of looking at things. I have been fascinated by the financial teachings of Dave Ramsay several times in my life but really have nothing to show with the hours of listening and reading. I went through a time where I found great value, relaxation, and clarity from reading Tao Te Ching and studying some of the philosophies of Taoism. Right now I am fascinated with Minimalism and have been pouring into this particular mindset.

While I am happy to add value and enlightenment to my life by learning from different perspectives I believe that I have implemented very little of the strategies that I have been ingesting. I agree with the philosophies and the behaviors but I apparently don’t believe that I can find a place for them in my life or maybe I have been approaching things in the wrong manner.

Interestingly enough the struggle that I am having in implementing these behaviors that I believe will add value to my life is also a form of “self-help”. Is that where I should start? Should I seek our resources that can help me to better implement new strategies to improve my life?

Are there any resources that you think would be helpful in my journey?

How do you implement changes in your life so that they stick?

My Struggle with the Five Stages of Grief

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Today is a new beginning. I feel much better after expressing my true feelings. I believe that it was a very important step in the process of moving forward. Christina and the boys returned yesterday after a week at the beach. I think that their absence gave me the opportunity to reflect upon what it is that I am missing in my life as well as what it is I already have in which I should be extremely grateful. It is only today that I realize that over the past 8 or 9 months I have been going through the 5 stages of grief. I believe that at some point upon my families return I finally entered into acceptance.

As I look back at the past 8 months I realize that I have been cycling through the first 4 stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, and bargaining. At first, I thought that I just went through them out of order but as I really started to dig down into it I realized that I could never quite get to acceptance and would start back at the beginning. You may think it strange that I would enter into these stages of grief over a move from one place to another but to me it symbolized the death of my way of life.

Denial

Even leading up to our move I was in extreme denial. I told myself that my life would be better once we moved. I told myself, and everyone else for that matter, that I hated Florida. I said that I couldn’t live there another minute. I focused on every frustrating aspect of life in Florida. This may be a different way of seeing denial as I was not in denial about moving, I was in denial of the effect the move would have on me. I was in denial that this place that I had called home had embedded itself anywhere inside of my heart and that I might possibly need that in my life.

Anger

This along with depression have been where I have sat for a majority of the 8 months. It would works itself in with denial often as I would get angry at anyone who still lived in Florida, anyone who was visiting Florida, anyone who talked about Florida, etc. I had anger issues that would flare up at any time. Once I would get angry for no reason this would lead to the next stage quite easily.

Depression

Man have I been depressed. Sometimes it is hard to even get out of bed in the morning. I have a certain amount of drive that has carried me through but not to the best me. Only to the me that can function at an elementary level. Oddly enough anger would sometimes give me the jumpstart that I needed during the depression. That is why I mentioned that the two most often coexisted. I would get angry and because of this become depressed. I would then become angry that I was depressed and at those that I thought were causing it. It was a vicious cycle.

Bargaining

I would often enter bargaining, I would tell myself that there were ways to avoid this. I could have made better decisions that would not have led to this drastic move. I should have had the foresight to realize that this would be the reality if we moved back to Ohio. Usually, this is where I would go right back into denial. I would tell myself that there were very good reasons for moving away from Florida and back I would go in the let’s trash everything about Florida stage. I could not quite get to the last stage.

Acceptance

I believe that the post that I shared yesterday allowed me to finally see the light. I think that getting all of this off of my chest and finally truly being honest with myself and everyone else allowed it to be ok. It allowed me to stop going into denial. It allowed me to understand that while I can still be a bit angry about my circumstances I have no right to be angry at others. I have finally accepted that this is reality and now we need to look to the future and do what we see necessary to either move on and truly embrace our new life in Ohio or we do what is necessary to make our way back to Florida. Either way, I have accepted the death of that chapter of my life.

In some way, I believe that I went through each stage in a short amount of time yesterday. Maybe that is what led me to acceptance. Maybe it is only possible to see the other stages once you reach acceptance. Maybe that is when our minds are not completely clouded. I want to thank everyone who has been patient with me along the way. I want to apologize to any that I have hurt along the way. I’m hoping to now rebuild my life and to rebuild the relationships that I put on hold due to the struggles within myself.

Those who may have been distancing themselves due to my unpredictable behavior or crappy attitude I invite you to reach back out to me. I am going to need each and every one of you to truly regain the person that I was and to continue working on being that better person. I will be reaching out myself but don’t wait for me.