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Fear is the mind-killer.

February 9th, 2009 No comments

I don’t know that I have ever been more anxious than I am right now.

Last Quarter, my company did layoffs the day before our company meeting.  Wednesday marks the date of the next company meeting.  SO, if the company follows suit, tomorrow could conceivably mark the next round of layoffs (should they be deemed necessary).

I’m nervous because the work I do is not automated (unlike most of the other kinds of data my department creates).  So, when Joe Bean Counter comes along, and looks at pieces of data created, I will be at the bottom of the list.  And knowing how my company works, that scares the shit out of me.

We just bought a house back in July of 2008.  I know we won’t be able to hold out very long if I can’t find work quickly.

What can I do?  update the resume?  and if it comes to pass, what next?  I understand the state of the economy, and that most companies will be looking to downsize (not hire).  So, that would put me looking for a job with many other tech folks, something i haven’t thought about in quite some time.

I just don’t like this feeling :(

I need to recall my core, ..how I think about things when the chips are down, I know better than this, that if it comes to pass, there will be a reason, and my karma will guide me to something good, maybe something better, and there will be a good reason, and the result will be perfect.  I just find it more and more difficult to remind myself when I see the the things so close to me, ..like my ability to see past the now is reduced, …or maybe I”ve just forgotten and need to remind myself strongly (Matt did attempt to kick my ass at work today, maybe that was it? the kick I needed? (sigh)  …I can hear myself TALKING to myself.. be positive, ..and it will be so, make the best of it, no matter what comes.  I just need to listen.

When we were figuring finances to buy our house, you try to make the best calculations you can, to make sure you’ll have enough money left over each month to do fun things, or to save.  However, we haven’t minded our plan, have eaten out too much (our biggest fault), and as a result of that and cutting it too close to begin with, find ourselves with no ‘fun’ money fairly regularly.  Granted, we haven’t adjusted my income at work for the new numbers (since taxes should be greatly affected), but it’s still enough to stress me out.

My track car sits on the trailer, broken.  And I don’t see any coming hope of getting it fixed (10k?), let alone track days ($500/pop with hotel/food/gas/etc).  That was one my one (large) comfort that I afforded myself, which looks lost and hopeless.  God, I listen to msyelf talk, who is this guy?  Why am I so forelorn? (sigh)  But, this is the conversation I have with myself whenever I think about all of this, ….gone are the days of speed at the racetrack, and here, I have this house..this big expenditure that needs constant tending and care.  I can’t help myself, I constantly wonder, was the house a mistake?  Was this house just too expensive for our finances?

Categories: Ben, General, Introspection Tags:

Thankful For My Friends

December 8th, 2008 No comments

My buddy Silvino and his wife Irina invited Anna and myself over this weekend to watch a top tier boxing bout. It was what I believed was supposed to be this big comeback for De La Hoya, but it didn’t turn out that way. That’s okay though. While I’ve heard the name ‘De La Hoya’ growing up, I’ve never been much into sports. Although, it was good fun watching Pacquiao break through De La Hoya’s defenses. More important to me was just the idea of being able to spend time with friends. I dont do that enough anymore. For some reason this weekend, I really got to thinking about it, ..deeply.

There used to be a time when you didn’t even need a reason to see a friend, it was just good enough, and welcome enough that when a friend dropped by, it was a good thing, a great thing, and went both ways, and while that can’t always be the case, it was mostly the way it was. But, as folks grow older (myself included of course), you get married, somewhere along the line that changes, you and start to think differently. You start to value privacy more, and start to demand and expect it more. Maybe it’s just me, maybe others don’t think this way, and it’s mostly just me that’s thinking this way. I really should explore this idea more, because if it IS just me thinking this way, than I’m blocking my own happiness at tunes (which I can fix).

But, I think I may be dreaming about much simpler times, about days when your best friend lived accross the street, and on a Saturday afternoon, after your chores were done, you were free as long as your parents said you were, to go have fun together and do whatever (within reason).

For now, in simple terms, I value (very highly) the time I DO get to spend with good friends, with Silvino, Irina, Alex, Matt, and of course my wife Anna, and I don’t say it enough.

The quotations below I really should add to my quotes page. They emphasize some of how I view friendship:

Charlotte from “Charlotte’s Web”, E.B. White
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

Categories: Ben, Friendship, Introspection Tags:

“Seeing is not always believing.”

December 4th, 2008 2 comments

The title is a Martin Luther King Jr Quote.

I wear glasses.  Not a lot of folks that know me know that.  My vision is spectacular.  So, in every case…, less one, I’m good to go.  Far away (think driving, …racing), I can see perfectly.  However, as objects or text move closer (think reading a computer screen, or a book), one of my eyes, specifically the muscle around it, is lazy (weak! literally).  Who cares?  Well, the point is, … I can see.  I ‘perceive’ well, I ‘notice’ things.  Sometimes, too well, more often than not, I’m perceptive.  I pickup on the things that others don’t.

“What the HELL are you getting at Ben?”

Well (grin), it’s not like I’m a SuperHero, and I have a small weakness (glasses), because I have some SuperSight.  I just have better than average perception when it comes to most things.  It usually leads to me overanalyzing.  Let me give you a current example:  My Race Car. (wow Ben, what a stretch)

Right now, after the wreck, it is sitting, outside, on a trailer, in a trailer storage yard, out in the weather, being beated on by the elements, with a hood 40% open.  Everytime I start to think about getting it out of the elements and into our newly finished garage, this is what happens, I think:

  1. Since I can’t currently get the car to steer straight, I need to figure out some easy way to get the car off the trailer.  The problem there is that since it got smashed in, the front right side near the front right tire is pushed sideways, so it that tire can’t come all the way to center (turned too far right).
  2. Maybe I could get a skinny spare (not standard on my car) and change it on the trailer?  Notice in the pictures that the center of the trailer is …wel, there isn’t one (with this style of trailer).  So, as soon as the car starts to role, it’s going to role right off of being ‘on’ something, and highcenter itself (bad).
  3. Others have suggested furniture style or tire dolly’s underneath one or both front tires, but as you can see in the picture, that won’t work with this style of ramp.
  4. Yet another idea I came up with (which I think is more comical than anything else), just to get it off the trailer, not fully into the garage, is to put McDonald’s style plastic trays underneath the front tires.  Then, maybe hook something up to the front of the car somewhere strong, and pull slowly while someone is in the car.  But, again, this just ‘maybe’ gets it off the trailer.
  5. So, even if we get the car off the trailer, then, with the status of that bumper, will it even fit into the garage w/o first removing the bumper? (it’s in bad shape, and I’m not sure how difficult those bolts holding the bumper on will be).
  6. If I DO manage to get the car into the garage, then what.  We dont’ have the money to fix the car (probably somewhere around 8-10k), and with the state of the economy, my NVIDIA stocks aren’t worth anything right now, so that’s not an option.
  7. Then, there’s my back.  I hurt it when I was in the accident, and my ability to track my car again is still a question mark.
  8. And with all of that, we’re still making payments on the used massive Chevy 2500HD Turbo Diesel Truck that pulls pulled the racecar to the track.
  9. And even more important than any of these things, and especially important to Anna is the Biological WoMD clock of child Construction (of which, the ticking is deafening), and of which the cost is also astronomical (as well).

So, Then I just stress out, probably get a headache, which sometimes leads to a worse headache, and has yet to lead to any action anywhere NEAR me getting near the trailer yard where the car is.  Let alone getting the car into the garage.

Then, I start to think about how working on that car, and driving that car, and seeing that car, and hearing that car, smelling that car, …all of it, all of those things, how they made me feel, how passionate I am about motorsports, and being out on the track, and right now, how I can’t do that, and how my future to be even potentially able to do that is uncertain.  With the additional $1200 we pay now in a mortgage payment per month, it just decreases the liklihood that I’ll ever do it again, even when I want to. (I was going to write ‘if’ I wanted to, but I know better, I want to).

So, …I SEE things (back to the point).  I see much more, much further down the road than I want to, it’s built into me.  While others around me may be grateful for the insight I can bring into their lives, and even at times it may do me a service to be able to see such detail, …other times, it will paralyze me.

But, I have to find a way….I have to.  So, with all of those (#1-8, …probably more), come back to #0 (not listed)…

Patience….

So, if you’re reading this, just remember, that with everything else, this is on my mind all the time.

………..all the time.

Categories: Ben, Bens M3, Introspection Tags:

Purge

May 22nd, 2008 No comments

Every once in a while, I take a closer look at the many interesting ways I manage to screw my life up and hold those experiences up to a magnifying glass, looking for some crumb of evidence that I’m doing something right, but more often find that I’m not. I just want to make my life better. There are those that look up at the stars and dream and hope. Hope is nice. It is what I hang onto when I’ve done all I can do and everything hangs by it. However, until that moment comes when all of my efforts have been exhausted I usually end-up turning my world upside down. You can’t change others(which I have found to be an ultimate truth in the universe) nor should you try! (unless they come looking for guidance, and sometimes not even then). So, you might as well start fixing things right under your nose.

Lately, I”ve been reflecting a lot about my choice and or willingness of myself to bend to the will of other people; To be the one to change, to ‘give in’ to the things that I am not willing or wasn’t willing to put up with or to be a part of in the first place. Often times during heated discussions and arguments, I’m reminded that I’m not as flexible as I used to be. So, I find myself reflecting on those moments even after much time has passed, looking at the way I acted, the choices I’ve made, and looking for a path through the issue that might have resulted in everyone ending-up happy, or in the very least, happier. Sometimes that is and was possible, and sometimes it wasn’t. The point is, I’m a thinker. I spend a lot of time thinking about people’s feelings, thinking about how the way I acted or didn’t act might have affected their lives.. and hell, my own life too! It doesn’t even matter sometimes if the other person totally screwed up and went off on me like a 5th grader, I still reflect on it, and you still feel it long after their words are gone.

I’ve carried this weight of ‘over thinking about others’ feelings’ on my shoulders for a very long time. I’m not sure why I’ve been carrying it. I think part of it is because I want people to be happy, and I want them to have what they want to have, many times before I have what I want. Its just part of who I am. So, do I bend? Do I give up what I want so they can have what they want? Sometimes… okay, probably more than I should. Well, at least I used to. So, something must have changed at some point.

I know I wasn’t always this way, I wasn’t always as inflexible as I have become. There was a time when I was younger that I used to bend all the time, and what I found was that generally other people would walk all over me, and i would rarely get what I wanted. Even after I took a great college level writing class, and my ability to persuade people increased dramatically, I still found that many folks didn’t want to be persuaded (i.e. words were not enough, even good words and sound reasoning). Some people just want to have their way.

Looking back now, I can see that I made it a mission in my life to stand up to people like that in my own way. It was an active choice, to ‘not’ be a reed in the wind to people like this, to ‘not’ be swayed by people who would not sway, that is unless they decided to become more flexbile in their own views for the issue at hand. It didn’t always mean that straight out Mortal Kombat was necessary, but often times just reflecting back at them their own rigidness would be enough to spark the beginning of change. Sometimes, it would lead to disaster.

So, For myself, I would ponder “Is worth it to stand up for a friend when nobody else would, even if it meant some of the other folks you thought were friends would ostracize you, or standby silently, only to not call or message you as often if it all, or even ridicule you publicly for your actions, separating themselves from you.

It is. However, it doesn’t make the suffering any less painful.

This thinking reminds me of my old friend Bob Delaney. He had a girlfriend at the time whose name I now do not recall (blame: topamax/age). She claimed to be able to tell a lot about a person by simply touching them. The very first time I met her, she simply asked to and held my hands, and one of the things she told me was, “Ben, you have a good heart, a very good heart…but bare in mind, due to your compassion and feeling for others, you will endure a difficult and painful life. ”

So, Is this what she was talking about? When I stick up for folks I call friends, and everyone else hangs their heads low, and shuns me for doing it, …is this was she was talking about?

This idea is one that has kept me up at night. When I help those I care about by sticking up for them, and I see friends sit by, …acting indifferent to the suffering of others around them, what am I to do about that?. …However, ya know? it’s not really indifference. They see it…. They see the suffering! They complain about the suffering! Yet, when the time comes for action, to rise up and do something to fix the problem, they sit idley by and hang their heads low, hoping that nobody else will notice their inaction, and that someone else will fix the problem and take the crap that comes with being the one to rock the boat, and not only that, they will attempt to silence the one trying to fix the problem in hopes of claiming the right of the ‘peace-keeper’ and somehow becoming a hero.

These people act like friends, but in every reality, they are something else.

I have good friends, and for those I am very thankful.

I’m left asking myself, what needs to change in me:
-If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
(be more aware of this, e.g. trust your instincts)
-Establish friendships with individuals
(not groups)
-Try to keep to your age group for friendship.
(younger folks are immature just like you were)
-Don’t trust unconditionally, and give full trust more slowly.
(I tend to trust too much too soon)

Other than that, I fully intend to keep on standing up for my friends. It’s just part of who I am, for better or for worse.

Categories: Ben, General, Introspection Tags: