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Habits, Disconnecting & Loving Yourself

With just hours before the year is over, I like to remind myself that tomorrow will set the stage for the year to come. Make goals and New Years resolutions to better yourself and work on self-improvement. Whether it’s sticking with a workout plan everyday, running more, or trying to make new habits while quitting old ones, the first step is always to try. Coincidentally, it’s also the hardest. Effort is needed for anything. Give yourself as much time as you need to change your ways. Not all commitments stick. Often there are bad days, days you skip, and days you have the entire weight of the world on your shoulders.

It doesn’t deter me and shouldn’t anyone for that matter. You have 365 days to work on your goals. Setbacks are to be expected. They say you need three months to break a habit. That’s just 1/4th of the year to a new better you. With enough effort and determination, I firmly believe anything is possible. Three steps forward and two steps back is still a step in the right direction — forward. Don’t think otherwise.

Let go of the past and look forward for tomorrow. We often become fixated on past failures and restrict our ability to have new successes. I’ve personally had to deal with this the last few years with some limited success. It’s hard to move forward and it’s hard to let go. Self-forgiveness is a part of self-improvement and shouldn’t be overlooked. Forgive others, but more importantly, learn to love yourself for your mistakes. Some days I’m stuck in the past for all the shit I’ve done and the people I’ve hurt. And while the memories fade and the sting associated hurts less, the feelings linger. That’s normal and you can’t expect to disappear all of a sudden.

No matter how next year goes, take a step back and see where you are. I think modern society is so addicted to their phones and computers we fail to stop to smell the roses. We’re too caught up in the virtual world that actual reality takes a backseat. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, reconnect with an old friend face-to-face, give yourself alone time, turn your fucking iWhatevers off, and ask yourself how you feel. Have time to self-reflect. To be human is to feel emotions and build relationships.

I think what’s great is listening to people’s thoughts and opinions. It’s refreshing to have a different perspective to ponder. You often think one way for so long you fail to see alternative views. For that reason, I always welcome a friendly disagreement. Tunnel vision is just that — narrow mindedness devoid of dissenting opinions. It’s in a way, a mental trap and I rather not have that. Hear both sides, including the ones that troubles your thoughts.

Of all the goals I met this year, I failed on a few big ones. I didn’t move out, I didn’t completely break-free from drugs and other substances, I didn’t always shut the fuck up, and I didn’t always have good habits to better my mental health. Fuck depression and fuck Xanax. For all that I didn’t accomplish, I don’t let it bring me down. There’s only so much you can plan for in the world of unknowns. Some days hit you like a truck and become blind sighted. Bad days, weeks, or months let you appreciate the good days you have. It’s terrifying, heartbreaking, and just the way life goes.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Look Back at 2018

A Rough Start

Earlier this year I had a job I absolutely hated. Despised even. Not so much the workload or requirements, but the people I was surrounded with. I disliked every last one of them for their lame comments, constant misogyny towards women, and lack of focus on getting anywhere in life. Luckily, I got laid off. I was relieved and thankfully, something better came up.

Looking Up

Getting laid off wasn’t so bad. I went to three interviews in the area and got two offers. Heck, I even negotiated a higher starting salary at the place where I’m at now. I got to start fresh and flex my skills at a newly opened company where I was my own boss. My current job has allowed me to finish multiple goals this year and I’m thankful my life is going as well as it is. Everyone here seems genuine, sincere and someone I can call a friend. I think everybody is mildly impressed I’ve gotten them the number of sales we had in such a short amount of time. My general manager and I have long winded talks about our industry, investment opportunities, tech, and real estate — topics I’m passionate and interested in. My business card isn’t anything to brag about but it sure looks nice having your name under “director of e-commerce”.

Share in the Moment

I was delighted I got the opportunity to see my best friend walk across stage at the same school I did 3 years earlier. It was an incredible moment not just for him but everyone who came to support him. We laughed, we cheered, and he cried. It makes me smile knowing he finally did it and we witnessed the closing of this chapter of his life.

I was pleasantly shocked to hear his opinion of me he wrote to someone I was interested in. In all my years of being friends with him, I never thought he thought so highly of me or even listened. It amazes me the level of detail he has in describing me. Stay awesome, brother.

I wouldn’t count on him or anyone to send me any money. I would never ask even if I really needed it to get by. He was not on his feet yet and I quickly jumped to the rescue to save the day. What’s one plane ticket to me, honestly? Generosity is warranted, yet rarely seen.

Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In

Normally, I have a few reservations about visiting Santa Barbara to go to a party. I can assume I won’t meet anyone I know there and the environment tends to revert me back to my old self. I had twisted my ankle just a day earlier which made walking unbearably painful. I guess you can say that was the best part. Had I not twisted my ankle I would have never sat down next to her and made small talk. Wouldn’t you know it, she lived around my area, went to the same community college, had the same major, liked writing, and also running. Simply too good to be true.

Naturally, I messaged her on Facebook and through forces unknown a la Garza, I had three dates with her. I remember the first time we met after the initial encounter in IV. As she walked out her door, I thought to myself, she was the most beautiful woman I had laid eyes on all year. I was absolutely smitten beyond words and looked in awe. “This woman is going out with me.”

Dating was fun and exciting. We went to nice restaurants where reservations were absolutely necessary and got to share a few candid stories and experiences together. There were far too many coincidences, which only made her more alluring. She was every bit interesting, sweet and kind, with a few welcome surprises — like downing an entire beer in front of me. That’s hot.

Unlike past dates, I felt completely captivated by everything she said. My ears listened intently hoping never to forget a word. Everyone and anyone can be beautiful, but intelligence is a thousand times more attractive. It’s not every day I meet some who’s like that. Even more so, to feel compelled to have flowers delivered to her door — and twice.

It makes me smile looking back on that time. Those couple months felt like an eternity and was the most fun I had in a long time. I have these fond memories to keep and that just feels great. I’m not out of surprises just yet.

Won’t You Pardon Me

I tend to believe all people are inherently good inside. It’s an optimistic outlook I carry and for good reason. As fate would have it, we hired a new sales manager at work. The same day, my car inexplicably broke down just as we made into the parking lot. She was nice enough to call AAA using her membership card as mine was missing from my wallet.

As I had no car to get to work, she even offered to drive me since she lived just minutes away from me the next city over. I chalk that up to luck more than anything. She was too kind and helped make a terrible day that much more bearable for me.

20/20

I never thought this would happen but I got laser eye surgery done. It feels like I’m rediscovering the world everyday just looking in awe and wonder. It’s incredible to see the world anew and from a different perspective. Was it worth it? Hell yeah.

Soul Searching

Much of my year was spent self-reflecting. My memories of that place I called home for two years are beginning to fade. Not that I want it to, but it’s for the better. I asked myself constantly “Who am I?” and “Where do I want to be?” I needed to know for some reason. I’ve been carrying feelings of guilt for what transpired, who I hurt, and who I became in the past. It’s hard to help yourself when you can’t let go. People change only under the most unusual circumstances and you can’t expect miracles. I realized my soul has always been with me and it was never left behind at that beach town of days past. Fuck everyone who didn’t know any better or who turned me into the monster everyone feared.

“Fuck who you know, where you from, my nigga?”

I let myself down those couple years and I’ll take all the blame for that. Lies cascade into one fantasy after another. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Fuck the old me. I partied, I was feared, and respected by those I could care less about. What do I have to show for it? It’s Daniel versus Danny since I left and a source of turmoil. Just revisiting the area made me realize it how awful the environment lends itself. I did a number of things I’m not proud of and won’t share specifics just yet. Call me a heartbreaker, an asshole, and dick. But in the end, I left with a drinking problem, a drug habit, and deep resenting anger towards the world.

Let go now and not later. Before you know it, you’ll never make a turn around and habits become permanently part of your character. Be a fucking human being and don’t hold back due to fear of the past or fear of rejection. The worst is and always will be what you don’t say that you regret the most. I love chasing, but not everyone is running. You came, you gone, and yet time and time again, your image is in my mind — perhaps like a ghost who comes with every season.

Sobriety

I can admit with great certainty, I had a drinking problem. Don’t get me wrong. One or two is perfectly fine, but I’m far from fine. It’s an escape and I can admit I was fighting a losing battle with bottle after bottle. Many people pressured me to drink throughout this year, not realizing the gravity of my situation. Honestly, how the fuck would they? Not many people are as open as I am about their vices, and I don’t expect the same from the next person over. I spent what amounts to thousands on alcohol and it wrecked me into a total mess. I needed to do this not to brag, but for myself. Goals are important and I always intend on following through with self improvement. I did it. I went one year without drinking a drop of alcohol and you know what? It feels like my biggest accomplishment yet to date.

Rx Necessary

Towards the end if the year, I felt off — a persistent state of melancholy. Work life / social life was skewed, as was my brain chemistry. Rather than keep quiet, I did something about it among the over 16 million Americans with clinical depression. Taking medication for your mental health is even the worst part. Not doing something about it is.

I’ve tried self-help books or blogs, read constantly about ways of managing my thoughts, and ran constantly. Ask me how I’m doing.

It was a great year full of ups and downs. I’m thankful for all the people who supported me throughout it all. They gave me hope and the strength to continue forward. Without their words of encouragement and advice, I couldn’t have gotten this far. We are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. Knowing I’m surrounded by friends and family who have my back makes it all a little less difficult. That’s all I really need or am looking for at the most basic sense. All my relationships mean the world to me and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The path less traveled doesn’t have to be alone — and alone I am not.

I can’t see what the future holds for me, but I’m certain it’ll remain bright and full of more successes. The skies may darken and the clouds may loom, but in the end, there will always be people who I can depend on. For that, I won’t ever stop trying. I’ll go to the ends of the Earth for each one of them and that’s something I can promise.

Goals are just hopes and dreams wanting to be fulfilled. It gives a sense of direction in the openendedness of life and a destination when there is none. It’s no so much about where you go, but who you go with.

Signing off. With love, Danny.

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Searching 12/29/2018

I saw from a far a long lost soul,

Wandering in the abyss and the stories told,

She came with a flower and the memories old,

Searching searching for another until and more,


Wishing wells of the greatest depths,

I throw in coin for a symbol we’ve met,

I wish I wish and I wish I may,

For another one to come along some day,


Take her by the hand and lock on til dawn,

Fearing to let go until the morning is gone,

Feel her body as the clouds turn gold,

Hugging ever longer until the sky turns rose,


A smile comes with the thoughts of her,

To yearn for her and wash ashore,

He drifts into the oceans of the currents crash,

Hopeless and merciless in the storms path,


 

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Roses

“Your fingers feel the thorns before you reach the petals.”

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Reminding Yourself

With 2019 just mere days away, I’m trying my best to make goals and plan out the year according. It’s practically impossible seeing as how opened ended next year can be, but that’s what makes it exciting. Speaking of excitement, I finally get my car back from the shop after being involved in an accident.

The downside is the lady is not cooperating anymore and in all likelihood, this will have to be handled in small claims court. I’m only minorly annoyed there are people who can be so dismissive and not take responsibility for their actions. I’ve given her a month to make this right, but now I’m just irritated. The upside is I get to dress in a full suit and tie in a few months at my court hearing and my boss is nice enough to let me miss half a day to get this settled. Sweet.

Little things tend to make what otherwise was a stellar year less great. I think it’s only natural we fixate on the negatives and have it bring you down. It’s hard not to, but a friendly reminder might help. The year can’t all be bad afterall. I saw this post on Facebook to write a note everytime something good happens and throw it into a jar so you can read what an amazing year you you had. This idea is pretty fucking cool and I’m totally going to do it with a few alterations done my way.

Sometimes I do need a reminder to let things go and focus on the bigger picture. Most issues or annoyances can be fixed without much effort. There’s always those weeks where shit really seems to hit the ceiling without an end in sight, but that’s just that — a series of unfortunate events.

Realistically, you can never be certain what the future holds even if you plan to every little detail. Parts of life are out of your control and you’re bound to have a few bad days and bad apples. Some people you meet might make you lose your mind or worst, people in your family let you down. You might fall short, miss out on reaching a goal, or simply fail at something you gave your all. It doesn’t deter me the least bit and shouldn’t anyone else for the matter. All that’s good would be dull and uninteresting. A few sad moments are necessary and this is coming from someone who’s pretty optimistic.

I think if I approach next year with the same mindset I have now, everything tends to work out more or less. Might not be perfect, but who really wants that? I’m just being realistic.

There are things that happen everyday that genuinely concern me. Our nation is under the control of a man who has no idea how to be President, the stock market is down, the recession is coming, and there’s an ever growing problem with women being victims of sexual assult. Shit bugs me just reading about it and you can’t help but wonder how it managed to get this bad. It’s the world we live in. Imperfect and on the verge of civil discourse.

I believe 2019 will be a great one — the best one yet. Hopefully, I can see all the people I want to see and share in the moment with them. People tend to say the year is ending, but it doesn’t. Nothing ends. Just because the date changes doesn’t mean you have to treat any day differently. Lives move in only one direction — forward. With that, I’m ready to continue journeying, some days lost, some days adrift, some days stormy, but usually with a bright blue sky out at sea.

Later world.

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What is perfection?

No one is perfect and anyone who’s looking for it will surely be disappointed. Everyone is different and flawed in their own way. Sometimes it’s a quirk they have, an annoying behavior that rubs you the wrong way, or something lacking that’s only obvious to you. Someone can be 99% of what you’re looking for, but the 1% shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

salvadordali1-2x

Me personally, I think it’s best to not fixate on someone’s flaws too deeply. You yourself is far from perfection, and holding them to such a high standard is a recipe for disaster — or just plain egotism. People change all the time and it’s the nature of living — we’re in constant motion and with that, comes changes — some not all desired. Minor annoyances are only that — minor. Seeing them as a whole means more than the individual pieces. Fixation on the small only tends to make them bigger than it seems. Who cares really? It’s really just you in that regard.

You see people as you want to see them — perception is everything and you’re the audience. I tend to only focus on the positives in people — which I believe is the best way to build relationships. If they don’t have any catastrophic dealbreakers, then it’s best to not use it against them. All my friends and family have it where it counts — they’re good natured, caring, and dependable when I need them. That’s all I’m looking for and that’s just fine.

Perfection doesn’t exist and is overrated at best. Later world.

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Something Something Xmas

Christmas is finally here. I see all my friends the previous days leading up to the 25th scrambling to buy everyone presents and fighting the crowds of people at the mall for gifts. It’s interesting to see how much everyone puts emphasis on presents and other material things. It’s the nature of our culture — materialism. There’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and whatever holiday sale the store tries to lure you in with, but it’s all just things. I wish there wasn’t so much emphasis on objects, when having all your friends and family in one place is the real reason to celebrate.

Not everyone’s Christmas are the ones you hear or see in television commercials and advertising. Around here, a white Christmas is next to impossible unless you’re nearby the mountains. I find the holidays to never be like what you see the movies or ads — it’s far from the reality. Often, it’s stressful, time consuming, and tiring for everyone. For just a few days, it’s a real effort and a large cumulation of events leading up to it all. Getting a gift brings a lot of joy and excitement. However, it shouldn’t be the main purpose.

Yesterday, I got to have dim sum with my family and see my beloved Grandma. She’s probably more excited than anyone else to see the entire family together. I love that about her actually. If you live to be as old as her, that’s all that brings her happiness.

The same day, I went over to Garza’s and had lunch with him and his family. The food was great and the setting was festive. It’s rare to have us all together and I don’t take these rare moments lightly. The gangs all here and that’s just great.

Today was Christmas — finally. I spent the entire day with my sister’s boyfriend’s family like we do every year. They treat me just like family and are always glad to see me around. It’s really something else. To be surrounded with famliar faces and share in the festivities. Children are running around, the adults are cracking jokes, and I enjoy just taking it all in. It’s beautiful to see and it’s beautiful to experience.

There’s this one baby my sis absolutely adores and she’s an absolute cutie. Kids find getting gifts with such excitement and the look they have always gets to me. Pure unadulterated joy.

At the end of the year, I get to spend time with three families — all with their own special way of celebrating Christmas and the holidays. It’s unique. I love all of them for just who they are in their special way. I haven’t stopped smiling all day the past few days. This means a lot to me, more so than anything else life has to offer. I’m thankful, grateful, and glad to feel loved. Christmas is wonderful and I’m without words.

I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. This is priceless.

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December 24, 2013

“Somethings can’t be fixed. Even with the best of intentions, your goals can fall short. Help isn’t always wanted and illusions can overtake reality.”

I wrote this exactly 5 years ago and somehow — today, I’m quite moved by it.
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Finding Meaning

What is my purpose here?

I’ve spent a great deal of time pondering this at night, looking up at the moon, and before going to bed. This was my goal after taking every philosophy class back in community college, yet, I’m no closer to answering this. In the end, I’ve come to realize I’ve set myself up in some kind of paradox. There is likely no meaning to everything and to keep searching would just be futile.

The vastness of the universe is absolutely incredible. Stars in the sky are merely large gas giants with incredible mass and energy. Some of the stars you see aren’t even around anymore — merely remnants of light still making it’s way to Earth. It’s crazy to think about, much less fully grasp. What you see isn’t even physically there. The moon I’m so fond of controls the tides and reflects off light from the sun. You can say I love space and the cosmos — I am. I love it all and I wish others felt the same.

The stars make me feel small and unimportant. With several billion on this planet, I’m just another ant at the mercy of the world that encompasses everything. It doesn’t terrify me to think, but gives a lot of relief. I’m another fish in the sea. Our ego makes it think we have some greater purpose here, but it can be the case.

If we don’t have a purpose, the best course of action would just be to live long fruitful lives, full of happiness, love, and personal fulfillment. It’s my perspective on what it means to be alive and I’d be hard to find someone give a better response. It should be everyone’s worldview in my opinion. I see all religions as incompatible with one another and all it’s many followers don’t believe it with any less energy or enthusiasm.

What I’m certain is I have this life right now. Knowing that, I work on myself every year with the intent of being the best person I can be. Goals are made every year and I work towards completing every one of them before the next year comes. The worst anyone can do is to live and be stagnant.

You tend to see this a lot — especially now. People fixate on the less important aspects of life like, money, fame, etc. Who cares how much you have? Everyone chases money and wealth, but it you no one to share it with, then it’s a desolate and lonely life. If I condense life into one word, it would have to be “relationships”. It’s central to living and being felt loved and happy.

Most of my family has lived to be 70+. My great-grandma lived to be 98 and outlived two of her husbands. It’s a remarkable feat and I hope if I’m as fortunate, that my life is one of fulfillment, love, and joy. Getting old can be terrifying, but I’m looking forward to it. There’s much to do, much to accomplish, and someone out there who shares the same soul as me. For that, I don’t fear anything in life.

Later world.

 

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And Beyond

As a whole, this year has been great. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it for all the ups and few downs it brought me. I think what separates this year from the previous ones was much I focused on self-improvement and self-care. The last few years, it all took a backseat in my mind and wasn’t quite as serious. Giving up alcohol had it’s own set of challenges and critisims from friends and co-workers, but the one year mark is in sight. I’m relieved and delighted I’ve made it this far.

I’ve come to realize, my best friends are my ride or die, and although every one of them has their own set of challenges to face, they truly are one of a kind. I’m happy we’ve been together as a group for so long and somehow always find the time to catch up. It’s rare, but not impossible. I love blunt honesty, but sometimes, with the best intentions, my friends are more likely to tell me what I want to hear than the reality of things. This isn’t a ding on them in any way. We’re all brothers with the same thoughts, so it’s inevitable when a serious talk comes up.

It’s all the more reason to be mindful of yourself. Some problems I’ve faced, I had to take a step back and go through it with my own admission. In a sense, it’s the only proper way to address any problem or issue someone faces. You have to realize it first before someone steps in to say it. I think it’s only natural you might take offense to any critisims thrown your way — friends or not.

I think one of the best feelings is overcoming your inner demons with some helpful advice from your friends or family. Not everyone can be so willing to lay it on them and confide privately without a few obstacles and hesitations. My rule is and always has been, if they’re truly my friends, I should be able to tell them anything without fear of rejection or harsh judgement. It holds true especially this year and for that, I’m always thankful they’re around when I need them.

There’s just a couple weeks left and I’m really forward to closing out the year and having a fresh start. Lives only move in one direction — forward and I hope everything that happened this year is a lession learned or a new perspective worth exploring. I’m far from feeling complete or content, but I’m getting there. If the sun rises and sets every day and the moon is still in the night sky, then tomorrow will come.

I’ve come up with a list of what I want to complete for 2019 and hope this keeps me busy. The worst I think anyone can do is just go about the year being stagnant. There’s always the potential for more and something new worth pursuing, so I rather firmly reach out and grab all that life has to offer. My outlook never changes and optimistim will still be central to my perspective on life.

Something I’ve come to realize is just how much I take for granted the little things I do. Not having a car the past couple weeks has grounded me at home. Being able to just go to my favorite coffee shop and sit down to stare out onto the street sounds unremarkable, but relieves a lot of stress. It drains out all my thoughts and gets work off my mind for the few hours I spend there. Thankfully, I just have to wait it out for a few more days before I’m mobile again.

I’m hopeful next year I get better at not saying anything. No one this year said anything remotely offensive to me, but I feel not every comment I made so far was a comment needed. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes you just need to let someone run their mouth and smile back. Let people vent and say whatever they need to say and leave it at that. Anything more would just be wasted time and effort.

My year wasn’t perfect by any means. For all the downs it had, I tend to mostly gravitate and remember all the positives it brought. I met new people, dated a few, got to know them really well, heard them talk about their own experiences and what makes them tick. It’s one of the best parts in my opinion about life. I got to reconnect with old friends that I haven’t seen in ages and with all the years that went by, felt like it was only yesterday I last saw them.

There’s much to do still and a lot to look forward to. I’m ready for 2019 and I sure am excited. Later world.