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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guess What? The World Is A Terrible Place...

I hope you all have the understanding of my European friend here...

Today I want to go a bit deeper into purpose, once again, but also address some of the negativity I receive for my outlook.  Apparently some who read this blog are taking my ideas in a direction that is entirely wrong and not at all in the spirit of what I try to convey.  My goal is to tell people about the concepts and life directions I believe in, while keeping a firm hold of what is real and what is perpetuated within our own minds.  The young Swiss lady who emailed me above?  She understands.

Constantly, we hear ideas along the lines of:  
"The world is a beautiful place, and everything is beautiful." 
No.  Just, no.  Let me work the reality of that statement back to planet earth for just a moment, if you will allow me to do so.  
"The earth has many beautiful objects and events residing within it, but the earth as a whole is a horrible, frightening, and unforgiving place."  
There, I fixed it - you are very welcome.  I really do not feel as if I am helping my case, but stick with me for at least another paragraph.

I still get emails from people who do not understand the message I am attempting to tell the world, which also seem to be increasing in frequency.  People send me messages saying how I must be a "right-winger" (I'm not), how I am a "religion pusher" (have you even read my blog?), or even a "disconnected hippie" (that one is just laughable), as well as a whole slew of other descriptors serving to make my late-night email reading much more entertaining.  Do I send them back nasty thoughts?  No way, but I do respond without being defensive because I am honestly thankful for anyone who reads my blogs and they are welcome to adopt any opinions they wish about me.  
Just like the above Tweet Hoodie Allen sent out when he released his newest EP a few weeks ago, I am thankful and humble for everyone who reads, but not at all disconnected from reality.  This is not something I do for money because I have another job I focus on for that.  This is something I believe in and love - not something I do to make a living. 

Stepping back into the whole idea of being disconnected, I will tell you the reality of my situation; the way I see the whole idea coming to surface.  There are those people we either know or have seen who make remarks, post comments online, or will not shut up about how wonderful of a place the world is.  Within certain, defined situations, yes, the world can be a very wonderful place - such as the moment when pieces to your puzzle of life seem to be fitting together for you.  However, with every high in life there is also a low point and with every triumph either precedes or proceeds a struggle.  Why?  We were guaranteed nothing in life; not even life itself.  From the moment we were brought into the earth, that gift could have been instantly removed from us before taking our first breath (and unfortunately sometimes is).   While speaking of instances such as this, why then do so many of us lump the more triumphant events in life together so readily with the world being a wonderful place?

The world is dangerous by design, because if none of us needed to push ourselves through life or look out for each other, we would all be extremely bored and wandering around naked (no, really, think about that).  Had the world been such a wonderful place by design, I would not own firearms for the sake of personal protection, divorce would not exist, people would not have chemical dependencies, nobody would die - ever. 

We cannot achieve a perfect world because perfection does not currently exist.  The best thing we can all do for ourselves is attempt to make good on our own actions and not play into the destructive life-games for ourselves.   
The end. 

There are VERY few people in the world I will call "beautiful", so if I do, it counts.
The world is frightening, but handle yourself appropriately by not adding to the destructiveness.

  Trust me, I am the last person you should refer to as "disconnected".

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A real friend is one who makes you a shameless "Chick Mix".

All of us - every single person born on this earth has a certain something about them nobody else has ever, nor will ever possess.  One attribute which rings as an ever present and ever constant truth is that we all have our own personalities; we all embrace a unique presence identified only to us as individuals.  Unless we make the choice to abandon that completely...

I really do believe that someone, at some point in time, no matter how briefly, has wanted to be just like someone else.  Having the argument of "I have always been my own person." is fine in our more mature, adult lives for many, but I really do believe everyone has had that want at some point in time.  Finding those desperate to fit into whatever environment they lusted after was an extremely easy task from the day I started preschool and did not begin to taper from its widespread presence until my years in college (but even then, it was not eliminated entirely).  Spending our youth trying to map out our direction based upon the decisions, personalities, and actions of others is a fairly normal behavior and can be filed away as a learning experience, but there is a problem with all of this - what about my generation in the current day?  What about the generation before me?  Did we all outgrow this?

Whoops?

Should anyone be surprised when I say the amount of people I knew in high school who ditched their friends and altered their personalities for someone they were dating was pretty significant?  Doubtful.  I saw this happen regularly and am fairly sure this practice continues to this day and will still be happening long after us Millennials are extinct.  Boy meets girl, they spend every open second together while neglecting their friends.  After a period of time, they split up, and both return to their old friends.  The system works (at least when you are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen) and the reason is because you are all stuck in the same place through the entire process.  When teenagers dissolve their romances, the same friends they had before are still around because they are all within in the same building, taking the same classes for most of the day, walking the same hallways, and sometimes living in the same neighborhoods.  Making nice with the offending party who broke the ties usually happens because, well, otherwise you are going to be walking through a big fog of awkward for the duration of your school years.

When I was in college, the same thing happened, but on a less-frequent scale, mostly because I spent practically no time with any of my classmates away from campus, which was probably a good thing.  Jumping forward a few years into my adult life, this cesspool of immaturity sprang right back up and I was brought to my wit's end about it on more than one occasion.  Not only Millennials, but Generation-X seemed to be falling back down into the mindset of living as teenagers, socially.  Maybe this is nothing new and has happened with every generation before us?  I have no idea, but we are acting like a bunch of complete idiots, regardless of your viewpoint. 

When I worked in my last field of employment, it was based around relationships and if those business relationships were not actual, they were intended to be believable.  Unfortunately, I also started applying this to my outside life by being involved with groups of people as an investment in friendship when I would have been better off keeping those people as passive acquaintances.  What I mean by all of this is no matter how close in age I was to these new "friends", they had all reverted to (or never grown out of) the relational mentalities of about a decade before, while I was growing into maturity, knowing full-well who the hell I was.  Do you want examples?

Go!

A person disappearing from a group and acting entirely different because they had "met someone" happened continually with my new group of friends, just as it did in high school - but there was a much different variable involved.  You see, as we grow and get past our years of formal education, most of us have figured out who we are and have begun living our lives accordingly, which is great, until we meet someone.  Much too often for me to take comfort in, Millennials alter themselves to better fit the mold of someone they are interested in, which changes who they have grown to be in the eyes of the other party within that relationship.  
This is stupid.
At some point, after much time and emotion becomes invested between these people, someone will have their actual personality come to the surface while catching the other completely off guard.  The break-up or divorce comes shortly after and those friends they had before - those with meshing personalities?  They are often no longer around at that point. 

The difference between acting like an immature high school student when considering your personality and the way some people alter it for the sake of someone else is that your high school friends are in the same vicinity day-in-day-out.  When you are an independent adult, however, you have no intended life restrictions and no inkling of a guarantee of re-connection with your former group because of this.  Why would you?  High school students usually live a pretty standard, fairly similar life to each other, but adults can make their own decisions and take individual directions in whatever way they please.  I have made a choice to write off essentially the entire group of friends I mentioned earlier, and many others beyond that group for the same reason.  The drama was not worth the relationship.

The question I must ask and would love to know the answer to is "Why?".  
I really want to know the reasons behind why I know a few people have had cold feet before their wedding day and heard even more stories about others in the same instance.
I want to know why independent adults always tend to assume they can alter their entire personalities to fit the lifestyle of someone else and expect everything to work out ideally.
I also want to know why adults assume long-standing friendships can be put on hold for romance and then be available to pick up the pieces compassionately at the push of a button.

Ideally, yes, a true friend will be there for someone who makes a bad decision or takes a consequential personality alteration, as I have been at times for some people - but playing the game becomes old quickly and the cord must be cut at some point.  Knowing the breakdown is personal and individual, but never comes as a complete surprise for anyone with half a conscience.

This all comes back to games and why I find dating to be so much of a waste for me.  I have no desire to have someone try to fit the mold of who they want me to think they are, and I have no desire for them to try to make me believe they have similar interest to me when they do not.  
Why would I want to spend months or possibly years attempting to figure out what game someone is playing with me or in what way they are attempting to impress me?  Years ago I gave up on trying to impress women, which is probably a big part of why I am still single.  A woman I was dating at one time said "My best friend is mad because I haven't seen him in two weeks."  That is something I was not at all in support of and told her to go see him because I refuse to be the reason someone else changes who they are.  Forget jealously - that guy existed before me.  Nobody's life is going to be altered that way on account of me.

Life-change is so huge, but we take the idea so lightly in the name of romance.  
Changing my life is not based around relationships, because successful relationships fit inside of a person's already healthy personal life.   Creating drama in a life-facet when everything else is going well for the sake of another person is childish and a direct path to complete, relational failure.  

Within the past year, I have changed my own life and completely altered it out of necessity.  I gave up alcohol and removed the enablers who followed it.  So far, that has very nearly been the best decision I have made - and in one week, I will have spent a year away from it entirely.
See?  Sometimes the change is good for the right reasons.

Making a change for someone else to approve of you is a bad decision.
Making anyone believe you are something other than yourself is a bad decision.
Pushing aside anyone who has done nothing but support you is probably the dumbest decision you can make.

Just this one time, I will tell you to be like me in this one way:
Surround yourself only with those who care about you as much as you care about them.

Do not compromise your personality or lifestyle for anyone.
I am not afraid to, and will verbally call you out as a fake.     

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew



-Add me.  Follow me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

The lyrics in the title of this blog came from this song:

Friday, August 23, 2013

This Is For My Instagram Models...



Here we are, back to talking about the selective ways in which we educate ourselves.  Are you ready?  No matter, because I am going to jump right in regardless.

When we watch movies or television shows based around either non-fiction or plausible fiction stories the theme of "street smarts" pops up fairly often as part of the plot, either directly or indirectly.  You see, before we were all connected to anything and everything through technology, most people did not go to college, nor graduate high school if I am being real.  People living a few generations ago were required to think for themselves and learn whatever it was they were interested in from the ground up, either as a means of making a living or developing their hobbies.  These people carved their own ways for the most part and when they pushed as far as their individual intelligence, apprenticeships, and self-education would take them, more formal education was sought out.

Just like anything else, there were exceptions and some instances of those graduating from their local, small town schools going to large universities, but not often.  Yet, amazingly, some of those who made the decision to trudge along on their own accord were some of the most innovative and most willing to take on a struggle as a means to figure out their own purpose in life.  Today, we are told to go to four-year schools and only to use community colleges as a stepping stone to get to that place.  You have no idea what you want to do with your life?  No clue?  Go to college anyway because you can just pay large sums of money for tuition and pointless classes until you figure that out.  
What?  
Oh, and tech school...  Tech school was always presented to me as a last-resort option.  Meaning, if you could not make the mark in a four-year school, you could always fall back on a tech school.  These are not ideas that I believe personally, but are the ideas that were indirectly shown to me as I was growing up.  My parents would be happy with any feasible direction I happened to take in life, so I never heard this from them, but I did from almost every other adult I met.  
And I ended up going to college.

Formal education is a great thing, and if you have set a goal in your mind you cannot attain without that degree, go right ahead and chase after while I back your decision to do so.  The problem is that most of my generation has been taught the only way to success is brought about with a reputable degree.  How is this so when some of the most wealthy, successful, innovative, and creative people in the world are college dropouts?  Simply put, we are not challenged enough to figure out who we are and what goals to set for ourselves during the most impressionable years of our lives.  

This is why I admire some European countries so much for their career training.  Most high schools in America do one thing:  prepare students for college or university.  Students who go to public schools are required to attend whatever school is within their district, with few exceptions.  This can make the education system suffer for lack of certain accountability aspects and I am a product of this because when I was sixteen years old, I paid off my geometry teacher to pass me (really, I did) because that was the one subject I struggled with; many of my friends did the same exact thing in other classes.  
Why?  
Because there are just as many passionate teachers out there as uninterested teachers.  The teacher I paid off told our class that she was only teaching to pay for her master's degree, essentially stating she did not care about what she was doing.  Some European countries make their public schools compete for their enrollment.  
What?
There exists a land where many, smaller, government-funded schools are scattered around, each specializing in a vocation or varying facets of prerequisite education.  Students must apply to the school of their choice and if accepted, will be learning primarily the subjects they are most interested in.  These schools can be a significant distance from their home, but if the student makes the choice of attending, getting to their classes on time lies upon them.  This process makes the schools and their educators compete for more students, therefore focusing on a more quality education. 

I used a word in the last paragraph: "vocation" which is often ignored in America because having a vocation is only good for poor, stupid, or lazy people;  at least that is what I was clandestinely taught growing up since real, successful people had "careers".  
As a result of this awesome system, we end up with students going to college who would be better-suited to explore their own ventures and build their own successful future - but they were taught not to.
We have inventive and insightful minds full of brilliance and they were told to be accountants.
I know people who obtained a four-year degree which ended up restricting them to desk work because they were told that was the best way to live their life.
  Still, there are others who have much to offer the world but lack enough time to make a real devotion to their goals.

So, what am I trying to say?
If your chosen career path requires college, by all means, go for it!
If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, take a year or two to think that over.
Everyone needs a stable job or career as well as a hobby.  
If your hobby becomes your job, great, but if not, explore other opportunities and love your hobby no less because of that.
Not having a degree makes you no less of a person.
---
Not having a devoted drive, makes you a worthless person.
Not pushing yourself to achieve your goals makes you a lazy person.
Settling for a lifestyle you hate is a waste of life.
Settling for an irresponsible lifestyle is a waste of time.
Talking about big things is not the same as doing big things.
Stay humble.
Stay yourself.


Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

The lyrics in the title of this blog came from this song:




Monday, August 19, 2013

Facebook Lies Are Haunting Us...

If you know me in person, a response like that shouldn't surprise you.

A few months ago, I went into some details about people who are artificially or unrealistically happy, but after some consideration, I think there are a few little bits to accompany that blog (you can read it here if you want to).

I believe what I missed when writing about perceived and actual happiness or positive actions before was their link to the legacy we are all going to leave behind at some point in time.  Living in the world of Facebook and Twitter, too many of us (not just Millennials, but every living generation) have a weird obsession with making our lives look more interesting or "pure" than they actually are.

Sticking with the idea of purity I mentioned, allow me to explain what I meant by that.  I have a memory that never stops and I remember essentially everything from the moment I read or experience it, without question.  Some say having an abnormally strong memory is a gift, and it is, but sometimes having such an attribute makes you think and ponder a bit too much.  Case in point: the purists on Facebook stick in my head.  These are the people who bask in the higher point of life and throw all sorts of happy, excited, vomit-worthy positivity (some religious, some not) all over their feed as well as continually "share" pictures with a forward-driven message, all the while touting how awesome their life is or bragging about their good deeds.  The catch is, when things begin to go south in their life, or (usually smaller) instances do not work out exactly as planned, out comes the dirty laundry and hateful comments.  Well, thus is the internet.  You can be whatever you want to be.  It is not as if someone can back track your history on Facebook or remember everything you...wait...  Still, others post little blurbs of enlightenment without the occasional snap and end up looking a little too perfect.  I am one who is all for being encouraged and pushing others in the right direction, but if all anyone sees are happy thoughts, butterflies, and mushy ideas that would make a monk feel uncomfortable, you look a bit insane.  The human psyche registers far too many emotions for someone to function in such a way with a full mental capacity.  Some things work well for businesses and organizations, but do not translate quite as well to individuals; such as the latter.

If you would like to read an interesting article on a study done about these questionable ideas, click here  because it is a good read and British.  British people are fun... 

You see, for quite a while, I was fairly anti-social media, but after starting this blog, those subscribing and reading wanted to know more about me and that goes hand-in-hand with doing anything similar in public view, as I have written about before.  The trick in all of this is honesty and not contradicting yourself or looking like a socially-depraved or disconnected lunatic at the same time - know your boundaries.  I think some of us have lost the idea that having social media accounts is always a choice, not a life requirement.  There are a few friends on my list who rarely post anything and I like that; and some who post once a day, which I also like; at the same time I have a slew of the same people I mentioned in the previous paragraph as well.  Going back to a few months ago, I had nearly one-thousand "friends" on here and knocked that down to one-hundred-seventy-five over the span of an evening; because there are some people who are so much cooler in-person without the online veil clouding my vision and others who...well, no comment.

"Well what the heck does this have to do with a legacy like you mentioned in the intro?"  
Everyone who has ever lived has been given the opportunity to leave a legacy behind them.  Whether good or bad, the legacy remains permanent.  Within the current period of time, we are given the choice of having a digital life as well as a living and breathing life.  One is mandatory and one is optional.  Our digital life should be designed as a supplement to the way we live and compose ourselves everyday, and not as an outlet to be a completely different person all together.  Anything posted on the internet, regardless of your "privacy" settings exists on multiple servers in multiple places on earth and I guarantee you is not private.  I would hate to somehow pass on, leaving behind friends and family who see me as one person, and another set of friends or acquaintances who see me as someone else entirely.  
I fought that demon and killed it quite a while ago in my own life after being overly invested as two different people to the real world and a third person online.    
Now all you get is who I am, regardless of what you read or what I talk about face-to-face.  The reason is because life is far too short to have anybody believe you are better than you are or bigger than you are.  Simply being ourselves is no longer normal,  but it probably should be.

Leave behind one legacy.
The rest is not worth it.
Be a person instead of a character.
Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Tweet me.  Stalk me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Coddled And Crying. Life Is Not Fair...

They catch a fair amount of crap, but they stand around quite a bit, don't they?
When I was a kid, my parents held me responsible for whatever stupid decision I happened to make in my life.  Luckily, for them, neither my sister nor myself gave them much grief growing up, which probably has much to do with the environment they brought us up in.  Within the instances of me making stupid decisions, I was always held accountable for them and expected to make right my wrongs while not expecting supplementary accolades for holding the morals of basic human decency.  Throughout school, if I received a bad grade, I was expected to bring it back up because it was always my own fault;  but currently, even good teachers are attacked by parents for not giving their child a break, or a free ride within their "education".  This is only one example for so many of my peers being ill-prepared in life.

The blog you are reading was spawned from an article my friend sent me which is based upon "curing" your "quarter-life crisis" (you can read it here).  She sent me the link, not because she supports the idea, but because of how ridiculous the concept is for us Millennials.  This article is based around seven ideas that will help those "struggling" through their transitional period from post-college to the real-world, and as I read them I was thinking to myself: "Wait, people my age really don't know all of this?  I thought it was common sense." and after thinking it all over for a bit, I realized just how lost so many of us are;  I realized the same life expectations were not laid out for everyone as they were for me.  Far too many of us are unprepared for a struggle.  A struggle?  What is that?

When I was in high school, I always heard: "Go to college, get a good job, make tons of money.  It will happen."  In the stronger economy of pre-9/11, this sort of imagery did not seem so out of touch, but none of us seem to have been taught that the economy can almost instantly fall to pieces and those magical expectations of wealth and stability will become much more difficult to achieve.  Guess what?  Somewhere toward the end of my high school life, that very, unexpected instance happened and many of us were unprepared.  

When I was a young teenager at the tail end of the nineteen-nineties, the economy was booming, the dot.com bubble had not yet burst, and people were doing essentially anything they wanted and making money at it.  Even folk art galleries were making money hand-over fist.  Local bands played shows where people all but threw money at them, anyone could get a job without going to college and work their way up to a corporate level of employment if they put in the effort, and we all expected everything to stay that way;  but it did not, and we may not see the same opportunities surface again for a very long time.  

Millennials went into their post-education lives with the same thoughts in our head of:  "You can do anything you want and anything you want can be your career." While that is true for some of those who are very driven and extremely blessed or connected, the majority experience huge hurdles in order to arrive at such a stable place.   The corner office jobs straight out of high school and college are just not there anymore unless you come from a connected family, or happen to be in the right place at the right time.  This is not to say that we are are stupid, but what it does say is that people are retiring much later and holding their management or executive seats out of economic fear as well as other factors.  Most of us were not prepared for this reality and the market is now saturated with every facet of intelligent Millennials who are competing with each other, but not strong enough to keep with the fight.

Think about this - think about your family or those you know.  Everything which happens in life is a product of situation, but really think about how many people from Generation-X you hear about who are on psychological medication, constantly in therapy, getting divorced, having mental breakdowns, or killing themselves.  I took this picture in a church my family's company does contract work for:
Now, I do not go to church anymore (read my reasoning here if you'd like) so seeing an entire wing of a church dedicated to divorce recovery makes me just a little bit uneasy.  Think about the things I listed above, and while sometimes the medication and therapy is necessary for people with serious issues to function properly, we have to all agree that the magnitude and constantly-rising demographic of those in need of such things is pretty scary.  Considering my observations about those in the generation before us, I often wonder just how much longer it will be before we are all so out of touch with reality that everyone will require such life rehabilitation? 

My generation, as a majority was not taught to expect the unexpected speed bumps in life because most of us were told that we could do anything.  Having that mindset as a daily motivation is just fine, but at the same time we cannot lose focus of keeping ourselves in check to what is real now as opposed to what is imaginary.  There are so many Millennials crashing right now that the only choice or motivation they have is to burn and let burn.  There are too many of us who do not have backup plans in life because we were somewhat "guaranteed" success in whatever we made the choice to pursue.  Few of us were taught that we do not all have the opportunity for a lucky break in life - yet we cannot allow such ideas to curb our passions.  

The same friend I mentioned earlier and I were talking just yesterday about how so may of the people we know want to sit back and let things happen because whatever deity or force they believe in will take care of them ultimately.  I studied Theology for many years and do not buy into that for a second.  If we expect or want change or feel the need to chase after anything in life, we have to go after it with everything we have.  The product or material we create must be first and foremost at the front of our list while keeping a firm grip on the fact that we are very likely to fail;  knowing this makes us no less passionate or driven and if played properly, can be an outstanding motivator.  

A former acquaintance of mine is an "artist" who is a few years older than me.  He dropped out of college to do his variety of art full-time and mooched money from his parents for a while until they cut the cord.  He then took a part-time job with no room for growth so that, according to him, he could have flexibility and enough free time to devote to his art.  The sad part of this story is his motivation.  His idea of being completely committed means he spends time doing his craft, occasionally puts a few projects on display to sell and one day expects to be successful because he "can't fathom doing anything else".  This fellow is sitting there, waiting for his big opportunity because someone told him how great he is.  
His art is not that great.
He has a few enablers who tell him it is, but the public is not paying attention to him and his efforts to get his craft on further availability are dismal at best.  Now, he is thirty years old with no real work experience, just waiting for his ship to come in.
He has convinced himself that he is on top of the world.

I would like to say this is an isolated incident, but it is not as I can name many more people who think the same way because nobody ever told them that life sometimes does not give you everything you want.  Life is what you make of it and sometimes life has other plans.
I was supposedly well-set in my last career and had a nice paycheck and advancement opportunities ahead of me until one day, out the blue, the company I worked for dissolved my position and kicked me out.  I was devastated for a while until my friend brought me back up and said it was only the beginning of a new chapter for me, and I believed her.
I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with, I loved the sense of accomplishment, and I was very passionate about every bit of what I was doing, but after everything fell apart, I picked myself back up and started looking for something else worth my time.  Moving on from the industry I loved and had not ever pictured myself working away from was difficult, but was also one of the best decisions I have made so far in life.

Passions?  I have them.  You are reading one of them.  Speaking to a worldwide audience through the things I write is a very big deal to me and something I am completely committed to. But guess what?  My world has fallen apart before, and I kept writing.  
I work a full-time job and devote just as much time to that as my writing.
Why?
Because I love it.
Do I ever expect this to be a career for me?
Heck no.  If it comes to that, great, if not, I will still write.
This makes me no less passionate.

The thing is, we can do anything we want to do, but that does not mean we will have the opportunity to do only what we are initially passionate about.  We need to thicken our skin a little and realize that sometimes life does not work out the way we intend, but we are the only people who can cause motivation and change in those instances.

Cry and pout all you want because you were not handed your ideal life.
Only you can cause the change.
Only you can explore what further makes you happy.
Stay motivated, stay in reality, and stop acting like a child.

 Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life solidarity and focus.  
We are losing the battle.
All of us.
Don't worry - we figured out how to make "light" vodka that tastes like candy.
I had no intention of writing about this today and actually have about three solid pages of hand-written notes from this weekend I planned to use.  Later.  This is right on the tip of my tongue and I will do it in one-take-one-edit;  let the chips fall.  

Continually, I find myself getting nervous about some of the steps we are taking in life for the sake of originality.  Realistically, I believe we are running out of ideas or allowing ourselves to get sucked into the world of being mediocre while our potential seems to be waning or getting stuck. What do I mean?  I see nothing different happening in our generation outside of technology.  Hey, we are the connected generation, we invented new mediums and facets of technology, which is great, but not what I am talking about at all.

Many people assume I live on the internet, but I do not, nor am I all that interested in technology, so what are people like me to do?  I constantly talk about going back to what I consider the more independent moments in time from a few generations ago because it seems to me that people tried a little bit harder then.  What?  Invention is the best method of creativity and originality.  In order to set ourselves apart from those who existed before us, we have to separate ourselves from being like those we admire in a few ways.

Counterfeit beings we are, so, so many of us.  Instead of reaching out to do things independently or cutting our own path, many of us are following the more generic direction through life when we have much more potential.  A few weeks ago, on my Facebook, I put up a status when I was watching some YouTube videos:  "If you think you are doing something different or original, check YouTube first."  My statement holds true because sometimes you may be following a trend and not even know it.  Did you know that fairly often when a record label is going to release a new single, they pay independent artists with large followings on YouTube to cover that song as a method to create even more buzz?  Some bands make a very comfortable living doing that.  Scary.

We are becoming too much like things that already exist or settling for lifestyles which hold no meaning.  Sure, this has been happening somewhat since the beginning of time: "grew up a farmer's kid, will be a farmer", "grew up a banker's kid, will be a banker" so forth an so-on.
My question is this:  Where are the current Elvis Presleys?  Where are the current Preston Tuckers?  Where is our Richard Branson?

Where is anyone outside of technological influence with Millennials, and when did that become okay?

Not only are we missing people who bring about multiple branches and methods of influence into one creative and logical purpose, but we also are not paying attention to those who are actually trying to do so as a whole.  Instead of focusing on what our generation can offer the world from a skilled standpoint, we spend time playing video games, arguing on the internet, copying sounds of other music artists to call them our own, taking other's ideas from Pinterest to call our own, and worshiping "reality" television shows, all the while missing some of our greatest potential to create something entirely ours that has never been done.

Instead of listening to some of the most brilliant and inspiring people of our generation, we tend to shove them aside for the Kardashians and rappers talking about money and cars.
Creative does not mean talented, nor does it mean anyone is influenced accordingly, but there are a few out there who dare to cut their own road and could lead us all to greatness and a sense of pride, but we are too busy following trends on the E! network and playing Candy Crush to pay attention anymore.
We are losing our individuality.
Or are we just lost as a whole?

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This Is My Confessional...


I have no idea how to go about this.  Starting anything when it comes to writing is always a struggle for me - that whole "transition" crap gets in the way.  Anyways, here we go.

This whole "blog" thing started when I was still a somewhat delusional teenager and teachers often said I should look into a writing career, but I hated sitting still long enough to care about writing.  However, over a few years and a Myspace account I started in 2005 (it's still out there, good luck finding it), the more expressive attributes of this potential hobby came into the picture.  Back then I would write when I was angry or trying to clandestinely make a point to someone else, while keeping my personal life at a distance.

Facebook rolled around for me in 2007 and I continued to write similar ideas as "Notes", which increased in frequency and clarity until last year when a few friends convinced me to put my thoughts into a blog.  This year, 2013, I launched drewcoustic.com with the intentions of making a life blog: telling little snippets about my day, car projects, and guitar-related topics, but soon after, my base of subject matter began to change and with that, so did the amount of people reading on a daily basis. When my concentration shifted to the social and literal issues my generation is dealing with and the seemingly downward spiral we are not only heading in, but teaching our own children, people began paying more attention to me;  specifically Google.

Within a short period of time, while writing on a regular schedule, I was brought into a partnership to help my blog grow and keep everything on track, which brought on an actual adviser I can talk to on a daily basis.  My readers and subscribers were growing unrealistically fast at this point, and the door that was opened through my partnership made things take off even farther.  About two months ago, I caught the attention of a writer for Elite Daily through my Twitter account and on a Saturday morning, he re-tweeted something I had said, which was also "favorited" by another writer/editor.  That morning, I watched the hits on my blog go through the roof, not only in the number of viewers, but subscribers as well.  I will not list his name on here, but in case you happen to read this, I really cannot thank you enough for doing something so simple that made such a huge impact.

Speaking of names, I have caught some crap here and there for posting stories relating to people I know, but I plan them out very carefully and I will NEVER use a person's name in my blog without their consent.   The people who are mentioned in those few, random instances of my text have never sent me anything negative, nor has anyone connected to them;  I only catch hell from people who have nothing to do with the story.  Weird?  Yes, people on the internet are very, very weird.

Hey, speaking of personal things, let me clear the air about that one too.  Sometimes I post about events I have gone through during my own life in fairly strong detail, and express certain occasions in my life I have never spoken about before, but this is done by design.  I set boundaries with this blog that I will not compromise:  
1).  I mention no names of anyone I tell stories about.
2).  I keep drama out of the picture.
3).  No dirty laundry ends up on here, because that is trashy.
4).  Any current or potential romance I am involved with stays off my blog. Period.
(I did use a previous relationship as an example in a blog, but not in a disrespectful way.)

Putting those four things aside, I quickly realized that for some reason, people enjoy relating to me.  When I post more personal topics and issues that have come to be in my own life, people show up in droves and want to talk about it. Sometimes they are people I actually know and can talk to one-on-one and sometimes they are in other cities, states, or continents.  I really do not feel as if I am anything all that special or different, but just a simple person who writes about my own ideas or what I happen to have gone through at some point in time.  But people relate, people listen, and people send me emails, constantly - I love that.

Hey, speaking of emails, that is one thing my adviser told me to do, but I have refused to.  I was told that I would get more traffic if I took my email address off the valediction at the end of all of my blog posts.  The reason being:  If a reader cannot find an email link easily, they will leave a comment - comments show up in Google searches - more comments means more traffic.  I will not remove my email address because if someone wants to talk to me without the world seeing it, they should have that ability.  I get emails all the time and I answer every single one.  These come from everywhere and sometimes the language barrier gets in the way, but I try to understand them and always write back.

Hey (I'll stop), on top of the insane amount of domestic readers and subscribers, I also have regular readers in ten different countries now and a few subscribers in each of those.  Crazy, right?  Never would I ever dream of something such as that happening, but it is such a blessing.

What I am going to tell you now is not known by many people, but I owe the information to those who have made it possible for me to do so.  Starting the first week of September, the publishing process begins for me.
Publishing what?
Well, as of about a week ago, I am being backed in compiling my generational-related blogs into one, solid, non-fiction book.  Yes, you read that properly;  book.
The book will be released as both an eBook and a paperback, depending on how my deadline holds out with the publisher/backer.  Currently, I am starting my compiling and editing in September and should have everything ready to send off by the first week in December of this year.  
This is huge for me and something I never would have seen as an opportunity even a month ago.  Something happened though and for some reason I cannot explain, you all have been regularly reading my blogs, sending me emails, and all sorts of encouragement on a daily basis.  For this I cannot thank you enough.
Because of you and anyone else who has ever read even one of my blogs, I am writing a book at the age of twenty-seven years old. 
Thank you.

This means I will be tackling a full-time job, staying on my schedule of three new blogs per week, and writing/putting the book together all at the same time.  My life may be crazy for a little while, but I would not have it any other way.
So once again: Thank You.
Every single reader has caused huge changes in my life.

Always dream big, but never slack in your efforts.
Real commitment and support can truly change your life.
Mine has undoubtedly been changed.
I owe that to you.

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Small Moments Make Large Impressions...


No significance.  Just a picture of my dog.

Recently, I became somewhat active on Instagram (I still don't enjoy it) and if you are unfamiliar, basically it is a photo album smartphone app you can continually update and anyone "following" you can look at or comment on your pictures.  A few days ago, someone I was following had done a good deed by picking up a guy on the side of the highway because his car had run out of gas.  While at the gas station, he took a picture of the man as he was filling up a small, red can, put said picture on Instagram, and then wrote out the story of picking him up in the description.  The photo's description was filled with all sorts of bits about how great of a person he was for helping a stranger and how everyone needs to "pay it forward".  I immediately removed him from my Instagram and felt sick to my stomach.  Bragging about the nice things you do for people negates the entire gesture for me.  Someone's self-assurance must be pretty low or their ego inflated much too large if they attempt pulling off something so selfish.  

The topics I write about and direction I make a move to set people in through my blogs are as much for me as they are for anyone who reads them.  Something I believe we can all work on though is our level of appreciation for the smaller instances of life which often go overlooked.  What do I mean?

Most of my blogs spawn out of Friday or Saturday nights when I sit at a restaurant's bar near my house, pen in hand, and a spiral notebook, alone.  Actually, no, I am not alone because most of the servers and managers there have come to know me by now.  Over time, I have given all of them my card, and when I get a mental block, I draw these little pictures on my receipts. I have given nearly all of the servers one of my doodles over the past month or so and I never thought about where they went until last week.  They all have these little black, vinyl folders where they write down their orders and hold their cash.  A few days ago, One of the servers I have befriended and often get into some back and forth banter with showed me what she kept in the back of her folder shortly after I walked in.
 She had taped in my business card and the little doodle of a guinea pig I gave her.

I thrive on little moments like that within the instances most people do not think much about.  The fact of me drawing her a picture had nothing to do with why seeing it in her folder made me happy - but it had everything to do with the appreciation of her doing so, no matter what it happened to be. 

The world we live in moves very quickly, and we often miss important moments in life because we are taught to seek out the "bigger is better" mantra of living, by design.  Feeling good for doing something nice or meaningful is one of the great aspects of life that cannot be duplicated by any other action, but we have to keep the humble nature of purpose in check when doing so.  Getting praised by someone and feeling great as a result is just fine;  praising yourself publicly for being thoughtful is selfish and ignorant.  The problem on the same side of the spectrum is going into any situation of doing something properly with the expectation of praise or accolade from the receiving party.  The way I see all of this is that you should do something nice because you want to and for no other reason or expectation.

Go to any search engine and you will find all sorts of fun information about how to win people over, how to talk to the opposite sex, the same sex, and how to communicate in social environments.  The standard of etiquette all across the board is absolutely insane because you can find instructions based upon Victorian teachings and quickly migrate to nightclub pickup lines for casual encounters.  
What?  I want to pull my hair out, I really do sometimes.
Every last bit of these "helpful" guides could all go away if we would just do one thing; one little thing.
Appreciate other people.  The end.
I lived my life on the side of intimidation for many years until I figured this out all on my own.  The trick is not going into any social situation with an expectation of anything other than your own confidence.  Getting invested in something that does not yet exist makes interacting with other people much more difficult.  

Example:
If you see someone you think is beautiful, do not give yourself time to plan out anything, just step right up and tell them because you want to give a compliment and not because you are looking for a date.  Let that part of it happen all by itself and if it does not?  You have nothing invested other than your honesty.  Move on.

The above situation works for anything social.  I am not saying to be open about everything in your life, because, good lord, that would be ugly, but be yourself and keep your own mind from getting the best of you.  Step up to life, grab it by the face and never think anything you do is insignificant because if any of those actions make you happy while helping someone else, brightening their day, or making them smile, your purpose has been reached.  And if your effort gets no reaction?  Move on contently and confidently.

I always say "I try to be a nice person."  because I am happy to be making an effort, but not arrogant enough to stake claim on it being a defined trait of mine.  Think that over. 

We are taught to seek out praise for some reason and I have no idea why.
Sometimes we should all just step back and ask what we have done to help someone.
No positive action is insignificant.
Every social action does not have a reaction, but this should not matter to us.
Set yourself apart and push to do that much better in everything you attempt in life.

Stay confident.
Never take anything for granted.
Not.
One.
Thing.

Always tell women they are beautiful.  More on that: here.
Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me. Stalk me. Tweet me. I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers


  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Who Needs To Be Honest, Anyways?

International security clearance stickers are like a badge of honor for musicians.

Honesty.  Starting this one off will be weird regardless of how or what I do, so I will just jump right in and tell you a story.  Good?  Alright.

A big hobby of mine is playing stringed instruments, as some of my readers already know.  There was a point in time when I wanted to follow the dream of playing music as a job but decided to just keep it as a hobby (there is a bigger story behind that, but stick with me).  When your friends know you have a guitar collection and play music in some respect on a daily basis, they tend to invite you to gigs of their friends, friends of their friends, family, and the like, pretty regularly.  Quite some time ago, after I had stopped playing publicly, I was asked by a friend to see someone she knew play a show at a small bar on the outskirts of Atlanta and since I had nothing else happening that night, I agreed to go.  With a few hours to kill, I looked up her friend's band on Google and listened to a few tracks they had posted online to see what I was in for (shout out to Myspace! No? Ok).  

The guy playing the gig was a friend of her's through association and we met a up with a few of their mutual friends once we arrived.  This was one of those situations where the place was pretty well full of people, but most were interested in their drinks, friends, or food while the music was more of a background ambiance (musicians call them "wallpaper gigs").  We all sat there, talked, and listened to the band's full set as the group I was with slowly trickled down to just my friend and myself.  When their set was over, my friend introduced me to the front man, who then sat down while she migrated to the restroom and the rest of the band went to the bar.  He and I threw a little small talk back and forth which eventually turned into him saying: "So, I hear you play guitar?" followed by some more back and forth conversation about music gear and eventually leading to him saying: "We should totally hang out some time and jam." and that is when things became unnecessarily ugly.  My response to his offer was a simple and respectful "I appreciate the gesture, really, but no thank you."  With a confused look across his face he responded with: "You don't have to be nervous about playing with us.  It'll be fun."
Take into consideration that at this point in time I had regularly played in front of fairly large crowds from the age of sixteen to twenty-one, including an eight-day stint in Jamaica specifically to do that.  The guy I was talking to knew nothing about me other than the fact that I owned at least one guitar and played it.  Still being pleasant, I said:  "It isn't that I would be nervous;  your style just isn't my flavor."  which was met with "What do you mean?".  The conversation took the brutish turn when I responded with: "I have nothing against you or your band, I just don't like your style of music, personally."
You would have assumed I strangled a kitten in front of him.  The expression fell off his face and into an awful pout (keep in mind, this guy was about twenty-four years old at the time).  He immediately stood up and joined his band mates at the bar, without saying another word to me; yet they all continued to look in my direction at random intervals.  Awesome.

My friend eventually came back, we said goodbye to the band, none of them acknowledged me, and we left.  After getting into the car, she asked what had happened and I told her.  She continued to tell me that he was upset and had told her I was extremely rude to him and insulted his band.  Did I?  Not in my eyes.  Before you say I was rude, hear me out for a minute, please.

The reason I say I was not rude to the guy in question is because I was simply being honest with him about the suggestion he made that I was not open to.  I do not have an ego, and none of this has anything to do with me thinking I am a better musician than them because I only do music for fun now, and no other reason;  I had no intention of offending him in the least bit.  His suggestion that we get together for a jam session was most likely an empty gesture, because the same thing happens to me constantly.  I meet someone who plays an instrument, the conversation stalls momentarily, and the other party asks to meet up.  We exchange cards, numbers, and two months later, I find the card in my wallet before throwing it away.  Neither person had the intention of following through because we had no immediate, creative draw to each other, and in the dozen or so times I have been asked to jam after a forced conversation, I have never been called to do so; nor made the call myself.  Empty gesture.   

The moment this guy brought up playing together, I knew there was no substance behind it, so instead of going through the musician's routine of back and forth, I decided to skip the fake small-talk expectation of exchanging information and went for honesty instead.  What a concept.  

Initially, I tried to show my disinterest a little more indirectly, but apparently confused him instead and had to resort to a more literal approach.  The guys in this band could be the nicest people on earth and I respect that;  I would just rather show my honest opinion, because when you are in the public eye in some capacity, not everyone is going to like you or what you do (ask a musician who is also a writer and custom furniture builder).  None of what I said was brash on my behalf, nor was it even criticism;  personally, I did not like their music - simple, but apparently some people do.  Had I wanted to be mean, I could have easily said "I listened to your EP earlier today and it appears to me that your sound engineer needs hearing implants." followed by asking how a person can possibly sing through their sinus cavity instead of their larynx.  Had any of that come out of my mouth, I would have owned up to being rude, but I am a better person than that.

A few weeks later, my friend told me her musician buddy was telling the story of our conversation to everyone in their shared circle.  Apparently, the fact that I do not like his band really bothered him and she began thinking about the situation for herself.  According to her, the band had been playing the local scene for about two years, but she was not aware of any time they had been told they were not liked.  The people who followed them to their gigs were close friends with some family members occasionally thrown in the mix and most of the other people in the venue had either food, drinks, or conversation on their mind; not music.  From the outside perspective, it appears to me that they had never dealt with what I had respectfully and honestly said to them, so they had no idea how to deal with such a thing.  Whoops?

Where am I going with this?  What was the point?
I see this all the time, and not just with music, but anything we put an effort into on our own; people in my generation who have no idea how to be accepting of someone not being interested in what they are doing.  Some of this stems from the fact that they allow their head to become a little too big when encouraged by those who are in their circle. Unfortunately, sometimes the encouraging parties are either too stubborn to see any room for improvement or have made a choice not to say anything critical as a way to spare feelings. 

Moms are great, my mom is a big fan of mine and in her eyes, there are few things I do not excel at in life because she is my mom and that is what she does;  but I also know she is naturally extremely biased because of who she is to me.  Encouragement is great, but sometimes we have to look outside the realm of those we are close to for creative opinion related to the things we do on the path to our goals.  Does that mean you should listen to everyone who has something negative to say?  Absolutely not, but be sure to keep yourself grounded in life and be able to hold a sense of humbled thoughts and humility about whatever venture you are chasing down in life.  As someone who is constantly writing, I get nasty emails on a regular basis from people who disagree with me.  If these messages have actual substance to them, I keep their opinions in consideration and often times respond to them as a method of asking what they would do differently instead of getting upset and shutting down like so many other people I see.  

When I write things that say "Keep yourself grounded."  or "Keep one foot in reality." the underlying idea of this blog you are reading right now is what all of that means.  As an entire generation, we have to get out of the mindset that everyone shares the same opinion as our mom, or those of our close friends. 
We need to keep ourselves humble enough to remember that everyone has a personal taste and opinion, but grounded enough to realize the differences between those we should be paying attention to and those we should not.

Life is not all mushy, squishy, happy-constant-positivity.
If it were, there would be no struggle.
If it were, there would be no need for education.
If it were, there would be no responsibility. 
It never will be.
We have to make the best of what we have and take the bad parts with the good.

Stay Grounded.  Stay Humble.  Stay Passionate. Never stop Growing.
Know the difference between honesty and negative criticism.

Always tell women how beautiful they are.

Grace and Peace,
   -Drew

-Add me.  Tweet me.  Stalk me. I really don't mind.-

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chivalry? He's Dead, Boys. Pack It Up.

 That conversation was all sarcasm, and funny to me.
Chivalry may not be dead, but it is actually in a slow, seeping process of torture on the cusp of it's last days.  Those are strong words to be reading right now, but I find this idea as both the truth and an entirely relevant theme. Our generation has evolved from the romantic and thoughtful practices of a few decades ago and become mostly “creepy”. What I mean by this is that practically everyone in the present is being brought up in life with a hunger for, but insensitivity to romance; which is a necessary vehicle if you ever intend to love someone outside of your family. We really tend to dwell on the physical side of our desires over a real, well-minded connection which would actually make sense and spawn longevity.  One of the big problems in our insensitivity to romance is what I call the “Creeper Theory”. 

During a more innocent time, men wrote songs, poems, letters, carved a woman's name into a tree, or used their talents as a way of expressing interest in her.  Sit back and think about this for a minute, if you will.  If someone you had never met before had been noticing you for a while and somehow passed off interest towards your way by writing you a song or a simple little note, what would you think? In your mind, you would be imagining and dreaming it is some really hot, ideal guy, right? Now, say you received a thoughtful notion of interest from a more realistically-featured party? Going even farther, what if the person was average-looking, but had a killer personality which would potentially mesh well with yours, yet you would never know unless you took time to connect with him? If anyone but your physically-ideal, fictional admirer sent such a heartfelt message your way, you would most likely tell your friends that you have a stalker. Well, maybe not that far, but most would say that some random “creeper” was “creeping” on you. (You can reverse this whole idea to the opposite gender or someone apart from yourself as well; it still works.)

  I know that we live in a more dangerous time than the previous generations, but maybe we should not immediately sell others short and buy into what has been drilled into our brains due to terrible television shows and even more terrible music (insert anything else, really). I am not saying if someone expresses interest in you in a way other than a drunken slur of “Hay, yur hawt!!” you should meet them in a dark alley somewhere for real conversation; but maybe you should give them a chance of some sort if they made an effort and be just a bit more open-minded.  

Considering what I have seen in my life experience, the chivalrous or thoughtful tend to also be the same who are judged more harshly and unfairly ostracized for being themselves, while those less trustworthy are more likely to be accepted.  
Wait, what?
  We live in a very strange time and while it may seem like I am pushing or blaming this issue on women, I am not at all because men are taught this indirectly and I hate every part of that, so I am blaming dudes.

I had a friend tell me a few years ago "If you want a woman to like you, act like disinterested jerk."  Yes, because that is exactly what I am looking to do:  start off talking to anyone in a way that does not show who I really am.  Apparently this is a pretty common mindset and practice for men because I have heard the same thing many times since then, but I cannot be that person.  Watching other men act that way both makes me want to throw up as well as feel the need to beat some sense of decency into them. 

The games and stupidity have created too many rules in the social aspect of meeting people these days.  There are rules for how quickly you call/text someone after getting their number, rules for when you make things "official", rules for when you show interest, and even rules for when you start acting like the person you really are instead of acting like someone you are not.  Just as with many other parts of my life that require thinking, I try not to become a product of any rules, but would rather be my own person and push for my own goals and experiences in life while allowing everything else to happen around me.
A few months ago, my cousin, who is nearly sixty years old and divorced, said to me:  

"I feel really sorry for you.  Meeting someone for people your age seems like a bigger pain in the ass than it was when I was younger."  

Yes, it really is.
We can only blame ourselves.

If you want to know more about my thoughts on how men should really treat women, take a look at a blog I wrote last week by clicking here.

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

-Add me. Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really do not mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers