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Friends Now and Ever

Best friends, the sunset, and the ocean.

I don’t think we say this enough, but I’m forever thankful I have such kind and compassionate friends in my life.

What would I do without them.

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06/16/2007

One year before the storm. There are moments in a person’s life that shift the tides and forever impacts you — altering the course of events.

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“Shield me from the darkness,

Guide me to the light,

Help me swim across the river

and fight against the tide”

———–

My Grandpa Bing was a devoted family man who held the moral high ground. When I was no more than a few feet high, he stood tall like a god amongst men. I thought he would live forever because in my eyes was invincible. He worked hard at a factory every single day and without any complaints until he retired. I remember one of the happiest days was when he passed his naturalization exam and came home with a little American flag in his hand. He passed with a C, but his joy was worth much more than that. He told me he was very nervous the night before and it kept him from sleeping.

As I got older, I became more arrogant and confrontational. Incredibly, his love for me never wavered. When I failed my classes my junior year of high school, I felt like I hit rock bottom. I felt uneasy having to tell him the bad news. When I did, he surprised me by saying, “That’s great! At least you now have something to do during summer. It’ll be good to get out of the house more.”

This absolutely floored me and remains one of the fondest memories I hold of him. When everyone was saying how much of a failure I was, he took the high ground and kept believing and gave me hope.

We all miss you Grandpa Bing. There has not been a single day where I have not thought about you. The best doctors and surgeons in town could not save you, but you kept fighting until the very end. You believed in me even as I lost all hope in my darkest hour.

Some days I miss you more than words can describe. Your words, your guidance. Sometimes I really need it. Show me the way. I can’t do it alone. I find myself crying when all I can do is think of you. It pains me to the depths of my soul. You’ve been gone for ten years, but I’ll breakdown sobbing like a complete mess in front of Grandma when we talk in private about you.

To see you alive in pain was agony. Yet to see you resting in front of us all was relief. Saying that one final good-bye broke me to pieces. Without your passing, I’d never make it in this world. I’ll never understand why God’s angels set their eyes on you and took you from our grasp. I’m pulling back to keep you on Earth, but I’m not 27 or even 17. It’s the 5 year old me fighting against two angels. The train is leaving and I’m running as fast as I can to catch you. You hold your hand out and tell me grab ahold. But it’s too fast, Grandpa and it’s getting further and further away. It’s the last train and I’m left at the platform looking onward.

My actions betrayed you and you knew all along it was me. I find it incredible you never confronted me about it. I wronged you and I never had the courage to confess. I couldn’t keep my promise, but this world was not ready for you. I wasn’t ready. I was so naive.

Leave it to my grandpa to keep teaching me valuable life lessons even after he’s gone.

Rest in peace.

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She Lights Up the Room

Miss Future HeartbreakeršŸ‘§šŸ»

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Time to Cheer Up?

The end to 2018 is nearing and with that, colder weather, and a slight bit of daily depression. I blame seasonal affect disorder, but I hear it’s somewhat common. I’m not sure what to think really. The weather affects your mood and that’s unsettling. A lot is going to happen before the year ends. I’ll have my Lasik procedure done in exactly one week. It terrifies me to think a laser will be reshaping my eye to focus better. The chances of it going wrong are very slim, but it’s not impossible. Fingers crossed. I get one Xanax before the procedure to calm my nerves — which is better than being filled with anxiety. I blame that one scene in Final Destination for fucking me up as a kid.

I think by December I’ll have clear braces to fix my teeth. It’s a win-lose if I think about it. Win in that you have straight teeth, lose in that you’ll have 6 months of mild discomfort and a lisp when speaking. Fuck. I like to talk and a lot. Staying quiet isn’t what I’m a good at the least bit.

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End of the year blues are no joke. I know I can rationalize or list out all the shit I’ve accomplished this year and have my friends tell me, “Dude! Nice. You got a lot done.” Something along those lines, I’m sure of it. But your mind tells you otherwise. I spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating life and I feel it’s only made my intrusive thoughts more frequent. Dissatisfied is best to put it. For all the time I spend reading about philosophy and writing, I wish my head had an off button. In the past, alcohol worked perfectly to sedate your troubles. Now, without it, I’m kind of at a loss. Should I pick it right back up once my 1 year pledge is over? One can’t hurt, right? But fuck me. I know one turns to six in a couple hours and I’ll have a bottle of vodka all to myself.

What the fuck. I need a chill pill from life. Maybe ignorance is truly bliss. I’m dreaming too much and it’s time to wake up.

Unrelated, but my co-worker asked me, “If the world was ending, how would you remain optimistic?”

My response, “I’ll give you a hug. If it all ends, we end it together. We won’t die alone.”

She was floored.

Later world.

 

 

 

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Just Like Me

My younger brother, David, informed everyone he’s dropping out of college.

I’m not even mad. If he’s anything like me, he’ll figure it out soon.

He’s taller than me, arguably better looking, and fixes up pretty well when he wants to. I can’t see how he wouldn’t be destined for greatest.

Later world.

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Just the Sweetest

Today was kinda shitty, but that’s okay. It’s not everyday you wake up to a parking ticket and had terrible insomnia the night before. I’m out $58 and a nights sleep — so be it. Word of advice: downing NyQuil does not help with sleeping whatsoever. I managed to get my shit together and haul my ass to work. I should be optimistic. I am basically my own boss.

I’m not sure how but my coworker instantly knew something was off about me. I guess I’m terrible about hiding it. I explained to her my day and she tells me to cheer up.

Your hair gives it away. I know you’re in a bad mood because it looks like you half-assed it.

Damn. She reads me like a book. Fun fact: I won a best hair award trophy in college. People actually voted for me and my hair. Life can be quite marvelous at times considering everyone was sober. My coworker spends the better part of the entire morning cracking jokes, being wierd and witty, quoting Austin Powers, and a whole bunch of other whimsical nonsense trying to make me feel better.

Isn’t she just the sweetest thing. We need more people like her. We’ve gotten so close, I’ve come accustomed to calling her “darling” and “my dear”. I see her as like a sister more than anything. She’s picked up on a lot of my subtle nuances. Quite amazing for someone I’m not romantically involved with.

Later world.

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Vulnerability

vulnerability: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

For all that’s going well in my life, some days I wake up with an overwhelming sense of dread and anxiousness — almost like nothing matters. Vulnerable. It’s the torment of existing in the present world. To be doing fairly well for yourself, but somehow not have that realization. I have my best friends to support me and offer their guidance, but even then, days turn to weeks. Dread. I don’t understand what is wrong with me and I’m bothered beyond just a simple grievance in life. I should be content and excited, yet there is none.

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My friends have told me repeatedly, I have it pretty good.

  • I’m director of e-commerce
  • a business card to match
  • monthly bonuses every paycheck
  • on salary, not hourly
  • full health care with dental
  • nice car
  • money saved and invested
  • actively pursuing my own goals in life

But do I? The void never seems to close and that hasn’t changed all year. For every obstacle in life, an even bigger one is just a few steps ahead. The trail turns to a dirt road and the road turns into a bridge. The bridge holds one and soon you’ll need to climb a mountain to reach the other side. It’s life. The universe will try to fuck you and it will succeed if you let it.

But life needs challenges and grief to build character. You can’t live having everything handed to you. Time is of the essence and the timer is running low. The urgency to do what I want when I want is now, not later. I want everything I ever dreamed of as a kid, yet the one battle I feel I’m at odds at is my own mind. You can fend off everyone in your path and yet you lose against yourself. I’ve fallen off the horse and I don’t want to get back on.

The issue with finishing goals is just that, the end. It’s accomplishing and fulfilling, yet it all comes to a close. You can’t help but feel a bit sad, but then again, this might be unique to my experience. You work so hard and just like that, it’s no longer a goal but one you reached. Gone is the motivation and need for accomplishment. You have to find another goal to reach. We spend all our lives chasing one thing or another, but we cannot anticipate the feelings of loss when it all we reach the climax.

Are all the things I’ve worked for just that? Material possessions? Are goals merely to give a feeling of purpose within ones’ lifetime? Am I chasing the right goals? To dream for what can be makes us human. To dread existing is fearing to be alive. Vulnerability is beautiful. This year is going great, yet why can’t I see it that way?

I only like the beginnings and not the end.

Later world.

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What You Don’t Need…

You don’t need to fly to some exotic locale for vacation.

You don’t need to eat at that new fancy restaurant in downtown to have a night out.

You don’t need to have a European car to get from point A to B.

You don’t need designer clothes to look your best.

You don’t need the latest iPhone whatever super Plus.

Life can be mundane, but that’s okay. Live yours, not someone else’s.

Aspiration over jealousy. Stay envious. Fuck social media.

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The Greatest Influence

For all the hardship and chaos one endures in life, I’m thankful there have always been a select few who have made a profound and positive impact in my journey to the unknown. My dearest Uncle George is atop that list of men in my family I respect with admiration. Sure enough, he’s the one I aspire to be like the most. He held jobs for Boeing and Northrup Grumman as an engineer designing satellites for the government. Really fucking cool shit. Six figure salary time of work too. I could only dream to do what he does in my lifetime.

When I had my doubts about wanting to attend college in 2008, he told me upfront and without hesitation, “Don’t go if you do not want to go. You have to want an education in order to do well.” Naturally, I dropped out because of what he said. I don’t regret a thing.

“Be your own man. You don’t have to do anything.”

It’s the truth and years later, his words are still a constant reminder of how to live my life the way I see fit. Yeah, I did fuck around for one entire year while everyone was beginning college. So what? All that free time allowed me to realize the true importance of an education and to not just attend because everyone around you was attending. Self-reflection is important and frankly, not enough people do that before they go onto the next chapter. The “why” is more important than the “when”. At the time, I felt like I had no other choice. At least when I went back, I went for the right reasons. My work ethic holds true to this day all because of him.

Even before he married my aunt, he was extremely supportive — even if I was, for a lack of better word — a dick. When my shitty HP computer died, he brought over a restore CD “borrowed” from his company to bring it back to life. Not a lot of people would steal corporate Windows software for personal use without really thinking they’d get away with it. We spent all Saturday diagnosing and getting my computer working again. At the time, I knew nothing about computers other than I could use it to play video games. We managed to get it up and running once again towards the end of the night. I thanked him profusely even as he left and again over the phone. Gratitude is important after all.

He doesn’t realize this, but because of that one Saturday, I felt compelled to learn more about technology and computers. Everything I could come across and think of, I studied and read as much as I could during the day.

“What’s one more thing (to do)? You already spend most of your time in front of a computer. Might as well learn something.”

For once, someone believed in me and was supportive of any choice I made. The initial spark was created and a fire was spreading further and further. I have yet to tell him just how much that day impacted me, but I promised myself I would when I have the floor. I guess you can say I felt a sense of guilt because I took up one of his Saturdays. Funny, isn’t it? He offered his help first.

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As fate may have it, my shitty computer would die again a year later — this time rendering it permanently unusable. I threw around the idea of building one from scratch and knew I could just based on what I learned on my own. I would give him the $500 or so dollars and have him order the parts for me online. Space however was an issue. He brought up a good point, “Where would you put it?” Our old apartment was terribly cramped and we had little room anywhere.

“How about I get you a Mac?”

If I recall, it was something along those lines. iMacs were and still are sleek, all-in-one computers with a large widescreen display in glossy white. Truly a work of art for anyone to own and use. About a year and something ago prior, he and my aunt gifted me an iPod for my birthday. It was my first ever Apple device and I knew instantly Macs were better, but a lot more expensive. My uncle used his UCLA discount get me an iMac for a crazy low price and even had the I.T. guy there load it up with every piece of paid software one could need — for free. I still remember the day he brought it in for me and we set it up. It is and forever will be one of the fondest memories I hold of anyone.

When the iPhone 3G launched and the “App Store” was new, he told me he would pay the yearly developer fee of $99 if I would learn to write my first app. When I wanted to study web design, he bought me my very first web dev book to get me started. I read it religiously everyday until I could code a website from scratch by hand and show him a working example. As I earned more money when I got older, I learned to invest it as he does and with relative success. Today during lunch, he was extremely supportive and encouraging about my plans on buying a condo.

“Do it.”

I know I can and I have him to thank for it all. I’m so close.

In your darkest hours and coldest nights, there is always that one shining star up above.

Later world.