Reading this piece that took me a couple hours to write, is ten minutes well spent for you
|This is something I wrote a couple weeks ago, but I figure I would stick it up here.|
Writing is something that I have always held talent in, but at the same time, due to my irresponsible ways (to put it most kindly), I have never actually done it or anything else, consistently. All throughout school, I cared nothing for academics. I did not do my homework, as I usually did not pay much attention to lessons either. I had no respect for my teachers, or their life mission to pass knowledge. I did not even have respect for knowledge itself, which I now realize is of the utmost importance. You hear people tell you, your whole life, “Knowledge is power” – “Stay in school” – “Say no to drugs” – “Do your work” – “Do not shove that object into your nostril”. We have heard these things, you and I, from day one, along with countless other sayings, maxims, codes to live by, advice, and/or suggestions, but I chose not to listen. I cannot speak for you, but most likely, you made a similar choice. I did not listen, because I did not understand. I did not know how accurate any and all of these tips actually were. I did not take them seriously, as I did not even take life very seriously. I did not know how little it meant, if the person passing this advice adheres to it themselves, for they still speak the truth. I would notice someone was not perfect, and choose to view them as a hypocrite, and deem anything they tell me, advice or otherwise, as worthless tripe. Any teacher that told me I was not applying myself, and I was wasting my potential, was undeniably right. (Mr. Woodward called me a goldbricker in 8th grade. I received a certificate recognizing the fact I was a goldbricker. At the time it meant nothing to me, to be labeled that, after all that is who I was and am, right? Wrong! How could you consciously sit by and know you have potential to do more, yet not do it? Now it bothers me that I was such a slack artist.) Conversely though, having a major problem with obeying or respecting authority, I chose to do more of what they did not want me to do, and to do less of what they wanted me to do, rather than just do what I should do.
I now know, they may not have been a hypocrite, as they may just have been struggling with whatever vice, habit, or human flaw, they were tackling at that time. Just because they were not living the life they tried to instill into us, does not make that task, any less important, possible, or noble. To the contrary, I feel that if they were not where they wanted to be in life, be it in any area, yet they still took the time to make it their objective to pass knowledge to us, these people are most admirable. I regret upsetting any and every teacher or administrator that I terrorized, took for granted, disrespected, ignored, belittled, or just plain drove crazy. I wish, along the same lines, that I would have just simply listened to them, and took anything and everything I could from what they had to give. There is something to be learned from everyone, however teachers, even more so. They are dedicated to teaching, they want people to learn, they are trained in the best methods of knowledge distribution, and they have made it their life craft to do this. Who better to learn from? The problem is, who better to torture? That is the way I viewed teachers from late elementary school on. I liked mischief. I liked causing trouble. I liked playing pranks, but who doesn’t. More than that, I enjoyed mind games with teachers. I enjoyed wielding the power to manipulate them from a young age, and I believe that could be a selfish and misguided attribute, many of today’s youth possess. If learning is not important to you, neither then, will be those who strive to have you learn.
Everything is so blatantly simple, but we spend most of our lives deluding ourselves and running from the painful truth of life, that we do not allow ourselves, our just due. Yes life can be painful, of course, but it can be very pleasant too, and should be. I can spew dozens of sayings that speak this piece, as you could do on virtually any subject, but I wont. I will share one though, why not? Who knows if anyone will ever read any of this, let alone this far into it. “Without dark there can be no light.” Because with out something to contrast something, it holds no relevance of its own. It is intangible to our mind. This is, in my opinion, a very accurate philosophy, and interestingly enough, a widely accepted fact and an ancient worldly belief. Taoism, the Ying and the Yang, this concept has been known since long before any of us were ever born, but it, along with most of life’s important principals, is rarely understood. You have to have evil for there to be good, just as there must be hot for cold to be appreciated. In order for smooth to exist, there also have to be those surfaces that are rough and textured. Otherwise, if there were no course surfaces, everything would be smooth. If everything were smooth, it would not be termed smooth, for it is just a constant. There exists nothing to let us realize it is smooth, because there is no rough. I do not want to blab on and on about this, I only want to make sure it is fully understood. If it were always light outside, and the sun never set, and light came from all angles, there would be no night, no shadows, hence no dark. If there were no darkness ever, there would not be light, for it (light) would then be a constant. Without variables and contrast, nothing would be understood, let alone enjoyed. You either like hot or you like cold, you either are a night owl or a morning bird, you like rough and rugged or smooth. I find most everybody will gravitate to one extreme or the other as habit. You will either like winter or you will like summer. Then you have those who enjoy neither of those seasons, because of the extremes, and they prefer a milder fall or spring. They are a more moderate breed, but I find the best are those who enjoy all seasons for different reasons. They like smoothness in some things, and roughness in others. They appreciate all contrasts. I believe there is at very least, a little of that, in everyone. I believe most of us are pushed away from that and shoved into boxes, where we like this or that but never both.
Now I have been rambling away from my point for many sentences, so I will attempt to bring her back home. You have to accept life’s hardships as reality, and try to build off of them, in order to understand, appreciate, and create life’s pleasantries. I think people tend to gloss over failures as well as unpleasant happenings, as a natural defense mechanism, to feel better about themselves or their life. This is very harmful, for you have a deluded sensation of self worth, and you will not progress past whatever is truly holding you back. Most anyone should read a book called “Failing forward” by John C. Maxwell. I will remain honest, I have not yet read this book, not two words of it, but I most certainly intend to. I do however understand the concept of the book and apply it, as well as hold a towering amount of respect for Dr. Maxwell, as I have read several of his other books. He is an amazing expert on life and leadership. Here is a direct quote from Amazon.com, regarding John: The author of 24 books on maximizing personal and leadership potential, John C. Maxwell believes "the difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure." Take a moment to read that again, if necessary. If you wish to be anything but mediocre and below, you will strengthen your ability to use failures as a tool to achieve success. This is just a plain and simple truth. It is of course, far from easy, in a lot of cases to fail forward, but it becomes more and more simple, the more you understand the importance of failure, rather than viewing it as an undesirable byproduct of “trying”. If you get too bogged down in that negative mindset, you may be inclined to “try” less, and to have the things you do “try” mean less to you. I have already failed. I decided to turn a new leaf, so to speak, in countless areas of my life. I set many goals of things, activities, substances, vices, and habits to completely overturn, and I set the time for that as my 23rd birthday. That was Aug. 10th, and this is now the 14th. Only 4 days have passed, but in those 4 days, I Have accomplished very little, as the writing part of my goals, is concerned. I am fortunate to have decided today to snap that. This is the first time I have written anything since the 10th, and it is not even along the lines of what I planned to write, but it is however something I am glad I am writing, as I believe it holds significant substance. Also it is gearing me toward being able to write more. It feels good too, to express yourself, in anyway possible.
My original plan was to write every day, and that I have already failed to do, but rather than giving up on a botched plan, I will make the best of it and attempt to resurrect it, and in doing so, I am using much of my other successes as motivation, to realize it is possible. I had plans on what to write, and purposes for writing it. Those are all out the window, as I am just writing freely now, and have been this entire time, if that is not already evident from the abrupt subject changes and directionless banter. I want to set some goals out here real quick, so I will not forget anything I am trying to do, as to keep me focused and on course. I also want to discuss something more important than these goals, which is the means necessary to achieve them. Order: I want to be organized as a person, instead of what I have been my whole life. I have been a slackful (as you know already), disorganized, chaotic, impulsive, goldbricker. That ends here and now. I have never had a clean room or vehicle, and to the contrary, I have always had a messy room and vehicle. I will clean my room and car tomorrow, and will maintain its cleanliness for the remainder of my time on earth. It has never been important to me to be organized, as it has never been important for me to plan. I have always embraced chaos and going with the flow. It is time to also embrace polar opposite principals. I do not want to lose my spontaneity or chaotic self, just blend them with their counterparts to achieve the Tao of organization. In order to achieve this, as a part of this next year, I am going to attempt a shift into the opposite of chaos.
I feel if I can harness order, only then can I blend the two. I may be wrong, but I feel this the most likely approach towards success for me in this area. I will now schedule what time I eat, sleep, shower, work, write, etc… I want to make a tight schedule and stick to it, as much as humanly possible. (You would be amazed at what is actually “humanly” possible.) This is not something I plan to be a lifelong attribute, but it is a part of my “one good year”
Obviously, since you are reading this, you know I write, and will write more and more in the future. I feel it not only important to convey my ideas, but to document them, so I do not forget them later. That is why I planned three projects this year.
“On the route again” A look at the trials and tribulations associated with being a newspaper carrier on a daily basis. Things that happen along my paper route each night, and so on and so forth. It will most likely have little to no impact on anyone, and most would not find it interesting enough to read routinely, but at the same time, I do not want to forget certain things that happen.
“A day in the life of an O’Dell” This was something I wanted to do as a blog type thing. A web log/daily journal that sums up anything and everything I did in a day and things I learned/realized/experienced. I also can share views and opinions pertaining to certain topics, on a more regular basis.
“One Good Year” This is my most important project, writing wise, that I am taking on this year, as it is the lifeblood of all that you see here. It is a concept on a book I plan to write, about this year and all the measures I took to reach the accomplishments I will reach. That way I never forget what it took to get me where I am going, and also to help inspire others. I believe any person can be anything, truly, barring some sort of physical or mental deficiency. It only takes one person to wake us up and inspire us to take the right path. For many it is a parent or teacher or pastor, that bestows them with direction. I never seemed to allow anyone to mentor me or inspire me to do what is important. It is such a burden sometimes, being hard headed. I blocked everyone out, the people who do not care, along with those who did, and that was a tremendous mistake. The point is I am not the only one who has done that, nor am I the only one who realized it and regretted it. I do not mind though, if I am one to help someone else realize how to over come it. I enjoy empowering others, and always have. I think though, a lot of people write books about their experiences, and genuinely want to use those experiences and successes to help others awaken their own potential. The urge to help people is a very abundant feeling in human beings, believe it or not. However those books are written after success. I am writing mine, or at least all of the rough notes to compile mine, as I experience them. I think it will better capture the importance of seemingly unimportant things, as well as, provide day-to-day proof that the process is possible. It will allow anyone and everyone to see the affairs I tussle with each day, and the steps I take to conquer them. A great thing for me is, I believe it will also keep me focused on my targets and the process to attain them. It is hard for most people to understand the “process” because it is so ethereal, and that may bring countless naysayers out of the woodwork, but I will not allow that to deter me. I know with great change, comes even greater opposition, so I believe I will have no problem in reaching my next birthday, very pleased with my “process”.
Along with writing, reading is something that also had been somewhat of a daunting task for me, my whole life. Reading and writing have always been closely linked to school, something I did not like. I had been diagnosed with ADHD at a young age, and struggled with that. I view it as an asset now, rather than a limitation. I will not elaborate on this now, but will at a later time. Reading is something that is of crazy importance. At the beginning of my writing today, I mentioned how important I now feel knowledge is. There is no better source of knowledge than written word. People of the past hundreds or thousands of years, who dedicated themselves to the pursuit of knowledge in different fields, as well as the art and discipline of passing that knowledge along to us, have made available, countless texts, worthy of perusing. It has been incredibly difficult to read for me, but I find the more I read regularly the easier it becomes, which is probably true of anything. There are so many books I plan to read, and yet so little time, as they say. Right now I am in the middle of a great book called “Working without, working within” It is somewhat of a spiritual guide to sports and fitness. It basically is a blend of western and eastern philosophies with the subject of fitness. Which leads me to my next area of improvement I am focusing on this year.
Along with the forced addition of
order and writing to my life, I will continue to increase my exercise, and develop a strict regiment. I never knew how important it was to be healthy. I took for granted my wonderful mind and body, as many of us do. Even after my car accident on 6/19/03, I did not realize the importance of taking care of ourselves. I broke my femur in three spots and had a titanium rod inserted, running along from my knee to my hip. I broke my right hip, and was basically unable to do anything for months. I broke my right humorous, and had a steel plate with many screws inserted. I hated the constant pain and discomfort that has enveloped me ever since. It made me realize how good I had it before the accident, and I know I will always be plagued by this injury in one way or another, but I see others who have it much worse. I am blessed to be a powerful person physically and mentally, and I am blessed to be healthy, free from disease, so I have realized finally I better stop letting health slip away. I am fortunate enough to not have heart problems, or cancer, or disfigurements, or disabilities, or diabetes, or any major debilitating traits. I can get over the ugly scar running up my arm, as I can get over the pain I feel with every step on my right leg. Every time I make an overhand throw with my right arm, or get struck there, pain shoots through my entire right side. It can be worse though, and pain can be so easily overcome. Not ignored, but embraced. Pain is not as bad as I used to think it was. Everyone feels pain, and everyone needs to find ways to deal with it. I have become so used to the pains in my body associated with the accident, that they really do not bother me much any more, and I definitely will not allow them to limit me. Since getting a paper route at the beginning of this year, I have had daily exercise for the first time ever. Even in sports such as baseball or soccer as a kid, I did not “exercise” daily. Taekwondo may have been the closest thing, and even that was not every single day, and it was a decade ago. It feels good to strengthen your body. When I stumbled onto a deal for some amazing running shoes on Ebay, I cut my delivery time in half. Running my route every night instead of strolling through it, is one of the most rewarding steps I have taken so far, in the realm of exercise. Since then, some friends and I, have began riding our bikes virtually everyday too, as if we were kids again. I think the exercise associated with that, is less important to us, than the sheer nostalgia connected with it. It is good to feel like a kid again, we just hop on our bikes and take off, with no set destination or planned activity. Beyond these cardio workouts, I have began doing sit-ups and push ups a lot, and look forward to including those in a set workout regiment, I will outline, in my pursuit of “order”. Also, we are in the hay day of garage sales right now (Every summer), and I am searching for a reasonably priced set of weights, as well as a bike. The bike I ride now is not mine, and as you can assume being a paperboy provides a very meager income, so garage sales seem like a great choice. I plan to get involved in several sports I either miss from days of old, or have been interested in for some time. I like games, competition, and sports; there is no getting around that. I have long been out of shape, limiting my ability and enjoyment in sports though. That will happen no longer.
Above and beyond exercise, there are other factors that are important to me, to remain healthy, as well as become far healthier. Diet and Nutrition is a huge part. I stopped smoking cigarettes at the beginning of this year, and stopped smoking weed just a few days ago on my birthday. I will never smoke cigs again, and I wish some of my friends and family would allow themselves to come to the same important conclusion. Marijuana, I will not smoke again, at minimum for one year. It is important to prove to others and myself, it is quite possible to quit. Also I will reap the financial savings. The main reason is it will be good to have some smoke free lungs. I believe in a lot of pros to weed, so I will not tell anyone to quit, but I will make only one point relating to that. Obviously “smoke” is not something we should willingly inject into our lungs on a regular basis, if it is your goal to maintain your health. Smoke=bad - - oxygen=good. It is really that simple. I cannot guarantee I will not smoke weed again one day in the distant future, as I can for cigs, but that is because there is absolutely no benefit to smoking cigarettes. Nothing. Another huge step I have taken, I stopped drinking pop at the beginning of this year too. I shifted to all juice and some water. I stopped drinking twister (a Tropicana juice blend) and things of that type as well, due to the fact they are 10%-15% juice, and likely to be equally as harmful to our bodies as coca-cola or Pepsi. I drank 100% juice for months. They have many complex sugars in them as well though, and as of the last couple weeks, have began to drink nothing at all, other than water. Good old fashioned, refreshingly cold, H20. It has nothing harmful in it, and it serves to flush our bodies clean of toxicities. It provides no nutrition though, not that those other beverages did too much, including juice. So I also take a daily vitamin now, something I never used to do, even though I can remember my mom trying to get me to from an early age. I remember being a very young kid and stashing those horrible Flintstone vitamins in plants and vents around the house. I hated their taste, as well as, found little importance in taking them. Like everything else, I realize now how foolish and ignorant I truly was and am. Above and beyond drinking nothing, other than water, I have cut any foods out of my diet that I see as unfit to consume to be healthy. Cheese, sweets, a lot of dairy etc… Foods you know are not good. I have eliminated all fast food too. I am not on a diet or anything, but I did take significant steps in ensuring that my current diet is a healthy one. The main food I eat is a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with mustard. I eat this and plan to eat this, every day for quite sometime. I still eat other meals and such, but my mainstay is the turkey sammys. I realize now, due to its abscence, how much great flavor and texture a slice of cheese adds to a sandwich though. I make sure I take my pill everyday now a days, as well, when I take my vitamin. It is synthroid, for hypothyroidism, so it is most likely of significant importance to the success of this mission for health. I had never been disciplined enough to take it daily, as prescribed, even though the doctor told me it is the type of medicine that is important to take with regularity with no lapses to take proper effect.