Anniversary Edition

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Today marks the third year of my wife and I being married, and boy has the time flown by. We’ve been together since senior year of high school, and we’re 26 years old now with 3 beautiful children. The featured photo of this post is the first picture we ever took together, and we’ve come a very long way since that night.

Our first was born in 2011, we were only 20 years old. I’ll never say that it was easy, having kids so young. One tends to find themselves pretty lacking in friends and free time, especially having a kid at 20. Most people your age are going off to college or are partying all the time and don’t understand why you can’t really go out anymore. Some day they will, if they ever have kids of their own. Cadence is six now and going into first grade. Watching him grow has been the most amazing and challenging thing I’ve ever experienced. I love you, buddy.

Tenor was born in 2014, and adjusting to a second child wasn’t as big of a change as it was with Cadence. Of course, having a second child brings on its own challenges. It’s another mouth to feed, more sleepless nights, and the financial burden of course. We’ve never had jobs that paid very well. Being with my wife has taught me a lot about materialism. I used to think that money was everything, and making money was the only way to be happy. Certainly you need some money so you have somewhere to live, but beyond the support of existence, most of the things in life that are truly important are free.

Arietta Joan was born in May 2017 and has really brought about personal change in me. Having a daughter really has put a lot of things into perspective for me. When I first held her, I knew she had me wrapped around her finger. She’s just over a month old now, and already growing so fast. She can hold her head up, smiles, coos, and laughs already, and it melts my heart. Now Heather and I are outnumbered with pairs of hands and little ones to keep track of.

Finally, I owe a tremendous amount of love and thanks to my lovely wife, Heather. I couldn’t do this without her. She’s the most caring person I’ve ever met, which counteracts how callous I am sometimes. She brings me down to earth and keeps me level headed, mostly. She tolerates a lot from me, and I hope she knows I love her dearly.

These 4 are the most important people on the planet to me, and I’d do anything for them. They’re the glue that holds me together. I love you all so very much. More than I could ever express in writing.

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Sundays

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Sunday: the alleged day of rest, but is usually spent recovering from binge drinking due to the fact that Monday shall come once again. I’m just as guilty. A few months ago, I gave up drinking, because I realized I was pouring alcohol into my emotional problems. Not a healthy relationship with the substance. And that’s on me. I don’t preach to anyone to stop drinking, I just cannot stop drinking once that first drop of liquor touches my lips. If only marijuana was legal, society would be much better, I feel. It’s not like we live in a sober society anyway, so this ‘war on drugs’ is completely arbitrary. No news there, but it’s obvious that a lot of people don’t want to be sober all the time, and they want to escape reality. Is it because alcohol keeps you dumb?

I really wish I could locate a job that I really want to go to every day. I’ve always had a soft spot for writing, but it’s quite a lofty dream to hope to make any money at that. I just got my hands on a desk for my computer, finally. Now i’m sitting much more comfortably and not having constant back pains. Before this, my computer was set up on the main television in the living room, and I was hunching over the keyboard on the floor, or – sometimes- an upturned laundry basket. Not good on the spine, especially one with preexisting problems.

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My search for a better, more meaningful life continues on and on. I spend my Sundays like most: regretting the fact of what tomorrow is. Another day meaningless day wasted being unhappy with where we are. How do people do the same career for 50 years in a row? Am I just wired differently? Or have I just not found that one thing? The idea of doing a job for that long sounds like an absolute nightmare. Even something you enjoy grows old if you do it for 50 years. When is it acceptable to take a chance and try something new?

On Getting Healthy

I’ve been trying to quit smoking and get back into exercising lately, and man is it hard as hell. It’s no wonder parents put on weight. Between, work, spending time with the kids and spouse, it’s challenging to find time to exercise. I know, if you’ve got enough motivation, you can force yourself to get up earlier, or whatever, but working third shift like me and trying to get sleep in there sometime, makes it quite challenging.

I’ve managed to keep the smoking between 0 and 3 cigarettes a day, which I’m fairly proud of. As a pack-a-day (at least) smoker, this is a big adjustment. I’m keeping the cravings at bay with a vape rig, but it’s just not the same. I feel that a lot of non-smokers just don’t get that. There’s more to the habit than just the nicotine addiction.

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On that note, I did some exercise on the rowing machine this morning before taking my eldest boy off to his last day of kindergarten. I can’t believe he’s going into first grade already… where did all the time go? He’s gotten so big already, and I’m enjoying seeing him grow. I suppose he’ll be off to college in the blink of an eye. Does that feeling ever go away?

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Also, I began the high fat, low-carb keto diet this morning and so I’ll probably be keeping a daily diary of how the cycle of that goes. Eating no carbs and sugary sweets will be tough, I can tell already. But I’m determined to lose some extra fat, so I’ll be doing keto along with exercise at the gym and yoga at home. I went through a bulking up phase about a year ago, with heavy lifting, but I think I would like to cut back down to around 190lbs. I did some rowing this morning, as I said, and I think it might be my new favorite exercise. I’ll be tracking my calories and macros daily to endure the pounds begin to come off, and I’ll probably post daily as the effects of the keto diet kick in. I’m going to be eating lots of eggs, fish, and avocado.

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Religion and Kids

“Religion teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not knowing.”
-Professor Richard Dawkins

It’s bullshit to force religion on your, or any, children. I recently had a lengthy discussion with a Jehovah’s witness, a 20 year old gentleman who seemed fairly sane and intelligent, but believes in the virgin birth, resurrection, and creationism. He also believes that Earth is approximately six thousand years old, and humans used to live to hundreds of years of age. When asked why he was a witness, he replied “My whole family does it.” Children can’t muster an intellectual defense against complex idea like religion. I spoke with the Jehovah’s witness for nearly two hours and he claims to have done research and come to the conclusion, despite the overwhelming evidence contrary to his beliefs, that he believes in miracles, the effectiveness of prayer, the whole package. Most of my questions as usual were met with the usual theist cop-out statements like “all the answers are in the bible”. Instead of being able to answer anything in a simple sentence, they avoid giving any concrete explanation. God moves in mysterious ways. Is it more likely that one man rose from the dead and was born of a virgin or that someone lied or was mistaken?

Using religion to strike fear into children, bribing with promises of heaven or blackmailing with threat of eternal punishment is not something a child needs to be haunted with. One wouldn’t look at a child and think that kid is a Republican. It sounds silly to even state in a hypothetical manner. So why is it acceptable to call a child a Catholic, Islamic or indeed, an atheist?

A child’s natural tendency is curiosity, and we should be encouraging that. They should to be taught to question everything. Everything they read, hear, and see. My wife and I are trying to instill this in our kids. If my kids grow up and want to join a faith, I’m not going to disown them. I would hope that they would have come to the conclusion to join a faith of their own free will, though, not because we forced them. This “I do it cuz that’s the way my daddy did it” mentality needs to stop. My kids will certainly have to put up with me grilling them with questions over why they chose to become religious.

The fact that the bible was written by peasants at a time when people were “even dumber than we are now” (David Cross) and translated and re-translated and edited by kings and people with agendas seems not to bother believers.

I have a real problem with “faith” because it is basically saying “I’m choosing to believe in things that go completely against established science”, and as a Get Out of Jail Free card for anything they have no logical answer for. Theists love to take advantage of gaps in knowledge in the scientific field as evidence in favor of God, claiming that since we can’t explain it now, therefore it cannot be explained, hence: God exists. These people know God exists with as much certainty as I’m sure fairies don’t. Presumably theists don’t believe in Zeus or Allah, so what’s wrong with taking it one god further?

There’s no denying that religion has some benefits. It offers a sense of community for those in need, charity, and claims to have all the answers. Which is comforting, I suppose, to people who are rightfully terrified by the infinite beauty and mystery of the universe. But that doesn’t make anything in any holy book true. And you do not need God to be a good person. People can be moral, compassionate, and charitable without the existence of a higher power. We’re capable of so much more, and don’t need God to do it.

The American Dream

“You may say I’m a dreamer”

-John Lennon, “Imagine”

Modern Life

After the birth of my daughter, I’ve been thinking about how we live our lives. I would sell my soul to be able to spend every moment with her, but I can’t. I have to go suffer at work. Most people I speak with hate work too. I understand that society has been set up to necessitate work, but why is it the norm to be miserable all the time? Is it the American dream to suffer at work until my veins are filled with sludge and my heart stops thanks to the clots from stress and lack of activity? Every job I’ve worked feels like it’s literally killing me, slowly, every time I walk through the door. Sounds more like a nightmare to me. Some of us are just wired differently, and are not meant to be in the 9-5 til you die jobs. Yet, we’re basically all forced into that life, and just accept it that this is the way it has to be. But, in 2017, does it have to be that way still? Why should I accept it?

Again, I understand that work is necessary or a lot of things wouldn’t get done at all. People love to go on and on about the importance of family but, if you’re of middle or lower class, it’s nearly impossible to find the time for meaningful time with your family. If you spend a majority of your time working a job you hate with people you don’t like, you come home stressed and cranky and time with your significant other or kids feels hollow.

Our Culture

We’re living in a country being led by people who, instead of moving ideas forward, are moving backwards. Instead of universal education and healthcare, these things are being even harder to get. Everyone receiving a base income, instead of having to wonder where the next meal will come from. On top of being under investigation, the Dear Leader Trump wants to build walls, burn bridges, and kickstart the oil industry. Am I crazy or is half the country out of their fucking minds right now?

At this point in our culture, it should be acceptable for people who have families to spend the time raising their kids properly. Maybe we wouldn’t end up with as many miserable, sociopathic people who hold contempt for everything. If someone wants to pursue a creative venture, that should be not only completely okay, but supported by the community. We need to evolve further as a culture if we’re to survive.