Second Novel

I’ve begun writing my second novel. The going has been slow. The subject matter hits close to home, and it has been difficult to recollect my past. I do my best to write 1,000 words a day, but it feels as if I’m forcing it at times. The creative process can be arduous, but I just can’t seem to get into a “flow” state.

I’m going to switch up my routine, start exercising more, and hopefully find the right amount of caffeine to jump-start my mind without feeling jittery. Writing a novel (80,000 words) is no small task-no wonder creative types drink heavily. Just kidding…but really, I can certainly see why.

Without wine or pot, writing just doesn’t seem to have the same flair as before. It feels like a grind-perhaps because it is. I’m going to type out at least 80,000 words over the coming months and see what I end up with. As of right now, the story needs fleshing out and it is off to a slow start. I’m really hoping that it picks up speed as the process continues.

Better to work hard than to hope. Even though my work doesn’t feel adequate, I know that I am my own worst critic. For the time being, I’m just going to keep cranking out 1,000 words a day as best as I possibly can. The rest will take care of itself. Sculpting a masterpiece is never easy, and it will take trial and error (and possibly a third or fourth attempt at a novel) but, I’m convinced that with enough practice and determination, I’ll produce a publishable work. I’m not going to give up until that happens…at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

No Longer “Typical” Sundays

I no longer watch football. I no longer drink. I no longer drink and watch football. Why? For a variety of reasons, but, mainly the time. The whole day used to just disappear…and maybe that’s why people indulge in the traditional American Sunday-it’s a distraction. They aren’t sure what to do with themselves when there’s “nothing to do.” (no job, no school etc.) So, they kick a few back, watch concussion after concussion in the name of states, cities, schools, colors, mascots, and tradition. I guess?

So, what do I do instead? No football? Insanity right?…I play with my son, spend quality time with my wife, read, write, nap, and exercise. It’s far more productive and far more enjoyable. “Sunday scaries” no longer exist because I don’t feel like I’m going from a wasteful day, back to a productive routine. While rest and recuperation are important, I’m not sure how drinking and watching a sport that has been proven to destroy brains can be beneficial. I just don’t find it appealing anymore.

I find it almost depressing that I was once one of those people. How many Sundays have I wasted? How much alcohol have I consumed in the process? There’s nothing wrong with a few beers now and then. And there’s nothing wrong with watching a game for enjoyment occasionally, but, wasting an entire day, and destroying your health in the process can’t help you become a better person.

“We.” We won. We lost. We need a new coach. Who is we? You play no role in the organization other than funding them with your viewership and buying their sponsors’ products. You’re a pawn in a massive, media-driven conglomeration. “We” should mean the American sheeple. Chug light beers, smoke cigarettes, eat fast food, stay unhealthy, and uneducated and feed the machine. It may seem harsh, but all in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.

My Small World

I’m watching my wife cook dinner. My son is on the counter. Music is playing softly in the background. I’m not at the gym, I’m not at a bar, and I’m not on a date. I’m with my family. My son is soon to be 18 months old, and for some reason it is just now hitting me that this will be the normal evening scene for the next twenty years or so. I don’t mind it though-it’s peaceful.

How did I get here? It seems like only yesterday I was in California. I am now back in my small town and raising a family. Time flies. So much of my time is spent at home with my son that the days begin to blur and my life feels like a dream. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

My visits to D.C. remind me that I am not a city person. The ambiguity is too much. Too much commotion. Too much traffic. Too many people. It’s not for me. I enjoy a rural setting surrounded by nature. While the relative solitude can be numbing at times, it usually means that I am taking it for granted.

Boredom only sets in when I am not reading, writing, or exercising enough. There is always something to do. If I find myself procrastinating too much, I start to go stir crazy. I get FOMO about the outside world. “I must be missing everything. The world must be passing me by. There’s nothing going on here.” Etc.

But, this is my life now. I love my small world. While it may seem small in scope and scale, it is the biggest undertaking that I will ever undergo. My wife’s company and my son’s love are all I need. Living in relative obscurity is a blessing in disguise…I can be whomever I would like to be. Right now, I want to be a good husband and father. I think I’ll do just that for the time-being.

“Alumni”

I visited my college’s alumni lacrosse game today. After graduating five years ago, I had been before, but this year felt different. The connections felt weaker, the vibes felt monotonous, and the event seemed trivial. What once seemed like the epicenter of my existence, now felt silly. Have I outgrown the scene?

It only makes sense. I have a wife and a young son. My family has replaced my old community…as it should. I wore an aging sweatshirt and watched the lifeblood of the program play a game against the aging alumni. Why? Why should I care after these years? I’m not sure, but I do.

I suppose I have tried to capture a life and an existence that was and is so fleeting. The nostalgia had a stranglehold on my ego. The glory days now seem like an old home movie that is blurry and out of focus. Old friends. Old teammates. Old memories. The scene is old. Actually, the scene is the same. I am old.

How did the immortal sensations of youth come to pass? When and how did I seem to suddenly turn thirty? Where did the years go? What have I been holding onto? It must have been a sense of belonging, a sense of community, or more so an identity that I wanted to maintain. It now seems so ridiculous. How could I have turned a bubble into my world?

Despite the somewhat depressing nature of it all, I was reminded that life is so much bigger, and there are so many more important things going on. Where I once hung my hat, there is no hook, and many other hats have gone missing. I will never be able to replicate that time or that space or those moments. They seem like just yesterday, but I suppose all strong memories do.

It is time to make new memories and experience new moments with my family. I am so lucky and so grateful to have a healthy and happy wife and child. They outshine all of the experiences and opportunities that I have been given in this lifetime. They should be my ultimate focus, yet I routinely find myself drifting back in time to what could have been.

Holding onto the past prevents us from not only experiencing the present, but also from building a healthy and happy future. Time slips by because we are trapped in a bygone era. The memories fade, the experience starts to blur, and the connections drift further and further apart. The best option is to continually live into the moment, cherish the present and be excited for the future. Without St. Mary’s, without lacrosse, and without my old friends, who am I? I can become whoever I choose to be, but I guess only time will tell.

So Routine…

I sleep. I dream. I wake. I say prayers. I make the bed. I pee. I drink water. I eat food. I brush my teeth. I drink coffee. I eat snacks. I meditate. I play with my son. I write. I watch nature documentaries. I eat lunch. I make love to my wife. I read. I eat dinner. I drink tea. I brush my teeth. I crawl into bed. Repeat.

The days seem to blend together. They have become so routine that I can almost feel what will happen before I get out of bed. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe I need to shake things up? Maybe this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing? I don’t know. I don’t mind the routine nature. I mind the fact that the days are beginning to feel like weeks, yet the weeks fly by and so do the months. Wouldn’t they anyway if I wasn’t in a routine?

Despite my efforts to transcend space and time, I am left up to my neck in reality. It hits hard and there is no escape. It can be very difficult to cope. This may seem absurd, but aren’t we trapped here to a certain degree? Or did we choose this life as an infinite soul in order to learn the lessons needed to progress spiritually? I hope the latter is the case at least.

So much of it seems outside of our control. How long can I possibly repeat this routine without going mad? Why should I go mad when I basically have a great setup? Don’t most people live routine lives without feeling trapped, bored, or going mad? I guess it’s all relative. Everyone lives a different life and for different reasons.

I suppose I’m still searching for my life’s work and for my true purpose. I also suppose that it’s a never ending quest. I guess the destination truly is the journey. Who am I? What am I? Where am I? What am I doing? Why am I here? It’s those ineffable questions that I keep coming back to and will always come back to. There are no answers.

I suppose the best thing to do would be to stay present, strive to be the best possible version of myself, be kind to others, and pass on my limited knowledge as best as I can. The rest seems so trivial. I am here. I am a sentient being. I can make decisions for better or for worse. I guess doing your best is the only option. So do it. And do it routinely.

Superstitions or Universal Language

Do you ever see “12:34” or “11:11” on the clock and think they possess meaning? Finding meaning with certain numbers is called numerology. A person may think they are on the right track or “on time” if they repeatedly see certain numbers. I personally am not sure if seeing numbers holds any true meaning, but I do prefer to see certain sequences. It makes it seem like I am synchronized, even though time as we measure it is essentially a human construct.

Do you ever see certain birds, insects, or animals and think they are a message from Mother Nature. There are a multitude of sites that will give you the “universal meaning” behind these sightings. For example, a praying mantis may mean patience, stillness, or slowing down. While I enjoy seeing these creatures, I can’t discern whether they are universal signals, or mere coincidences. I run into the same conundrum as I do with numerology. While I would like them to have concrete meaning, I am just not sure.

Both of these concepts are difficult to diffuse. They require awareness, timing, and synchronicity. It is difficult to plan these encounters. While you could technically sit and wait for the numerology, you may still become distracted at the last second and miss the sequence. The creature encounters require two “sentient” beings to encounter each other by chance. Both of these concepts may be just that-pure chance. I like to think that the universe is speaking to me directly, telling me whether or not I am on course, but, I’ll never really know.