“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
William G.T. Shedd

Everything in life seems to be a gamble.

For example, who you decide to spend your life with, you are risking a lot. The risk is not so huge if you decide this person is not the one you want to be with early on. You break up, and go your separate ways. But as more investment takes place, the risk becomes exponentially greater. I know the feeling of falling in love, and the daydreaming of building a beautiful life with that person.  And the feeling if that person was not a part of your life, how devastating it would be.

For instance let’s say you get married, buy a house, and produce children. After such huge things, you will be entangled with that person for the rest of your life, whether you want it to or not. Breaking up entails a complicated divorce, and a lifetime of connection because of offspring. Of course, no one creates a family, a life with someone with the notion that things are not going to work. They are taking the gamble that things are going to be good. But if it is a family you want, you have to take the plunge eventually. And when you do take that plunge, you just hope for the best.

Finding love though is important. Because the consequences of not taking the risks are just as big. My friend Kyle, is a very lonely man. Like me, he has no children and has never been married. He will often tell me he wished he had someone to love, to snuggle. We are social creatures, we are not designed to be alone. In fact, scientist say that being alone, night after night, without someone to talk to or have physical contact with, is just terrible on our health. Being lonely is as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes daily.

My big gamble right now is school. Years ago, school used to be not such a gamble, when you could pay for college with a summer job. But now, when you are looking at a bill of thirty thousand dollars when you are through, the gamble is huge. You are assuming there is going to be a job when you are done, and that the occupation will be enjoyable and give you purpose. The problem with that view, is that there is no guarantee the occupation you went for is going to give satisfaction until you start working it. It sometimes takes a couple years before you know if you really appreciate the job you have. Another thing is you have no idea if you can even get the job you went to school for. There are a lot of people with degrees, working for minimum wage. (Trust me, I was one of them.)

I have taken the school gamble, a couple times before, I have thrown in all my chips, and come out empty handed. Most schools do not feel responsible in helping you find a job when you are done. You do have some gracious teachers who will give you nice recommendations, and you can use them as references, but that is about it. I have yet to meet a school who offers any kind of refund if you cannot get a job in your field, or you feel they did not represent what the job entailed. Schools have turned into businesses, like healthcare, where the bottom dollar is most important.

It is a pity, since education is so important. I feel educated people better society, and if anyone wants to educate themselves, we should make it as easy as possible for that person, without making the gamble so outrageous.

But what about the risk of not getting an advanced education? Again, the consequences of that seems even worse. Unless you are one of those rare business geniuses who just knows what to do. Getting an advanced degree, beyond high school, shapes a new and better way of thinking. It can provide you with a career that gives you respect amongst the community, and the financial means to provide for yourself and the people you love. It creates ways for you to network, so you can get ahead in the world, because let’s face it, ninety percent of subjective American success is all who you know.

What I am trying to say is simple, taking risk is important because the pay-out far outweighs not doing anything. If you gamble everything, and you feel you lost it all, you really did not. Perceptive failure, if you let it, is the best teacher of all. The things you learn, the experiences you have. It’s all about learning to pick yourself back up, and letting go of the negative feelings. It’s about knowing you are doing the best you can, and understanding no one can see the future. It’s about acknowledging the courage you had to even play the game of life in the first place, because let’s face it, it takes valor to go after what you want.   I feel I lost the career game, but I am still going back to school in hopes of getting the jobs of my dreams, because as long as I am still drawing breath, it’s not over.


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Love yourself



“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”

I am going on 38 years old, and my place looks like it belongs to a poor college student. My bed is a queen sized mattress that lies on the floor, my furniture is a collection of crap I found or purchased very cheaply at garage sales. I don’t own anything of real value, just things that get me through the day. I am writing right now on a table I found by the dumpster. It is a good table, I brought up to my apartment and cleaned it. Looks almost brand new after a good shine. The sun will shine through my blackout curtains, rays of light can cast rays easily because the curtain rods are discounted and bent on the top. I figure I have moved so much, keeping really nice things is not an intelligent way to go, and quit frankly, too much stuff stresses me out. I have no children, I have never been married, I guess I am sort of an enigma. I don’t even understand myself, I have a brain that goes a million miles a minute, always telling me I have things I need to do. Anyone I date I probably drive nuts, because I’m pretty sure I have a weird type of ADHD, and I will go days without calling or texting at times, not because I’m thick, I just get lost in my own projects.

The point of all of this, is that I have learned to turn the hate I had for myself into tolerance, and eventually some of my tolerance into love. I do believe we have some control over our lives, but in reality, I don’t think we have a ton. My self-esteem determines a lot of what I feel I deserve, and what I don’t.

But it’s not like we designed our self-esteem. Self worth is a very complex process, that starts development while we are still in the womb. Both environmental and genetic factors play a significant role. There are many ways to change the way you view yourself, but that all takes time and effort (which is worth it.) So, in the present moment, how about we just love ourselves for who we are, because in the end, all you have is yourself. We are all in a long-term relationship with ourselves, and you can’t break up. (Believe me I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work.) If you find it hard to love yourself, at least be kind to yourself. If you find it hard to be kind to yourself, then just laugh at yourself. Anything is better then being cruel, and dwelling on the past.

Again, I am a 38 year old man who lives like a poor college kid, (not by choice). I have plenty to be down about. But, in the long run, what is the point of being vicious to my own psych? Nothing of value really gets done with hate, it gets done with patience and kindness.

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