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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Looking Like An Idiot - And Motorcycles...

I do not believe in living a life of regrets, because I would rather learn from experience instead of being told what to do.  The truth is, however, every day I step outside into nice weather and have the clean air fill my lungs, I feel the urge to hit myself in the head with something hard for selling my motorcycle.  My uncle was nearly killed on his Harley by a drunk driver over fifty years ago, and has lifelong injuries because of that night, but ever since I was a kid, these two-wheeled machines have fascinated me.  When I was nineteen, I restored my first motorcycle, and bought the one in the picture above when I was twenty-three.  Even though it was in brand new condition, hours and hours of my time went into working on that bike.  I built a custom exhaust from scratch, designed a very intricate illumination system for it, and I also learned the joys of carving into a curve at a steep enough angle that your foot pegs drag the asphalt and leave a lovely trail of sparks following you at night.  Those years were spent enjoying a dangerous freedom you cannot readily put into words.  There is one thing you are generally not told about riding a motorcycle until you experience it for yourself though, and that is where I will begin this blog - we riders call it "target fixation".

When I hear someone talk about "commitment" or being "committed" to some form of noun, I often wonder what their definition of those terms actually is.  Truth be told, I have seen far too many people in my life (including myself, on occasion) say they are going to do something, get all excited about their decision and then all but abandon the idea for no apparent reason other than a momentarily heightened emotion wearing off .  

Let me get one thing straight here because I am not about to go off on a tangent about people who give their goals or decisions to do things an honest try before coming to the realization of such choices not being a good idea for them.  I tried vlogging for about two weeks and realized it was not for me, I also took a shot at learning to play drums, and I even built a full-fledged race car for road racing in my garage with a few of my buddies one summer:
That's me in the fire suit and helmet, getting belted in.
Yet, with every single one of those things, I did give them a solid try and eventually decided doing so was not the best path for me to take for whatever logical reason came to be.  

The problem I have is the other side of the actual issue at hand of which I have also been a guilty party - saying you are going to do something and then making a half-assed, half-hearted attempt about giving any sort of motivating push to yourself as a way to accomplish exactly what you claimed you were going to do.  Hey, I have done exactly what I just described in the past, but with that, I realized there must be a time of maturity when we wake up, pay attention and realize 
"I am too mature to act like such a child."

What I am talking about is our definition of "commitment" and the direction we must take in order to stay committed to the things we speak so highly of.  I am pretty sure all of us have not followed through with something at some point in our lives, but with age and experience in the world we either become mature enough to stick with our commitments, or childish enough to stay in the past, making empty promises or talking about big things that we cannot back up.  

Why is this important and what does age have to do with anything?

Simple.  A developing mind is easily intrigued by many things and takes the exploratory actions we need to figure out exactly who we should be in life and in what capacity.  Time has everything to do with this action, because if not, all of these child-prodigy musicians constantly shown in the media would stick with their music skills for life, but truthfully, most of them divest into other interests and find other things they are skilled with doing as they enter into adulthood - which is fantastic and what we are supposed to do, because being good at something does not always mean it should be your career path.  The big problem lies within some of our minds who refuse to grow out of the phrases:
"I am trying to figure it out."
or
"One day, 'XYZ' will happen."
However, so many of us "say" we are doing great things, "say" we are going places, "say" we are making moves in our lives, but when it comes down to relevancy, we are sitting around with a lack of ambition, sometimes riding the wave of life on someone else's paycheck, and doing nothing but talking about the greatness that lies before us...and then we get closer to thirty years old, and before you know it...half of your life is gone.  Um, whoops?

Forgive me if I am wrong with any of this, but all I am saying is that making empty promises or saying you are going to make progress in your life, or help others in any capacity without proving yourself as well as your commitments prevents anyone from taking you seriously.  The thing is, if we are ever going to get anywhere in life, we have to take a hard plunge into whatever foray we commit to.  My good friend, Will, wrote some lyrics a few years ago that fit into this idea very well:
"If I fail, well then I failed - but at least I gave you something."
Exactly.  There are few things which make my skin crawl quite as profusely as seeing someone around my age who makes claims about what they want or are "trying" to do but cannot back up with tangible actions.  Chase something in every way you can if you say you are committed, because as far as I can tell, "committed" is actually defined as:
"Feeling dedication and loyalty to a cause, activity, or job; wholeheartedly dedicated." source
If you are unwilling to put forth those attributes to your cause, please keep your mouth shut so you prevent getting people's hopes up.

What does any of this have to do with motorcycles?  Let me explain.
When you first begin the process of learning to ride a motorcycle on the street (which is entirely different from riding in the dirt - trust me) there are certain situations you learn about control through nothing but real-world experience; one of those is "target fixation".  While riding a motorcycle, your mind must think about every move you are going to make in the future and anticipate your next action down to the millisecond because every bit of physics on earth is trying to get that bike to lay down on its side rather than stay up on two wheels.  When you approach a curve, at speed, you must look into said curve in order to anticipate where you will be within the next few seconds, the position your body must be in to make that turn, your natural intuition of how far you must lean over to make that happen, so forth and so-on.  But, if there is something else within that approaching curve which catches your attention (approaching car, tree, road sign, etc) your mind will fixate upon that object and you will no longer make the necessary actions to get around the curve, but head straight into the object you are staring at.  
Every time.  
It happens to every rider in the beginning.  My friend ran his brand new Harley-Davidson into a tree the same day he bought it, brand new, because of target-fixation.  True story.

My point is, our commitments have much in common with the idea of target-fixation on a motorcycle.  We can either commit to something and focus to be sure we honor those commitments while making an effort to get to where we said we were going, or get distracted and uncommitted to our original plan - fixating on something else instead and ending up somewhere we do not need to be.  
Much like running into a tree on a motorcycle.

The point is, at this age?
At this level of maturity?
Stick with your commitments or shut up.
If you say you are going to do something, give it all you have and learn from the experience - if it does not work, you still gave it all you had.
At some point, we all need to grow up and realize life is not fiction, and intentions get us nowhere.
Actions make progress, but every action has a window of time.
Commit. 

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

 -Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Personal Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
Blog Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/jdrewsilvers


Friday, September 27, 2013

Earlier today, at work, I started thinking about my hair journey over the past year.  What I mean by "hair journey" is that it has been just about a year since I have cut it.  Being a twenty-something male with longer than average hair has taught me a few things and opened my eyes to a few more.  

This conversation with my friend happened earlier today.  
Read it:
If you are wondering just how long my hair is at the moment, this is all you get:
Yes, those are my bangs.  Again, I hate "selfies" so much that I will not even compromise for this blog.

With that, here are the top ten things I have come to realize as an adult male with long hair.

1.  As far as business is concerned, you must be a bit more on-point and force your intelligence on anyone within that realm of your life, especially older generations.  They have a tendency to not take you quite as seriously if you are a man with long hair.  The caveat to confronting this potential block is how well you can sneak in the fact that you are growing your hair for Locks of Love (which is why I am doing it).  I have not had a single person fault me in the least bit for my hair being the way it is after they understand the charity behind it; and most want to know more about the organization.

2.  You get better natural highlights and low lights from the sun when your hair is longer.  Though you cannot tell from the picture above, my hair is pretty dynamic concerning color and changes from nearly a light brown in the winter to a lightly bleached blonde in the summer months.  The longer my hair has become, the more defined the colors.  The weird thing about my hair color is how I come from a family of either jet-black or dark brown hair on both sides of my family, but am somehow, very much blonde.  Maybe that also has something to do with every member of my family having shoddy vision, yet I somehow came out 20/15?  Genetics are weird.

3.  Women flirt with me much more often.  I cannot say that my hair is the biggest contributing factor to this, because at the same time I started growing my hair out, I was also pretty overweight and have lost about eighty pounds total since then - which means I am back to normal.  That is not arrogance on my part, but is purely something I have noticed.

4.  Men also flirt with me much more often.  Now, I am not gay, but I will be honest and say that the flirting does not bother me - but I also do not return it.  From what I understand, most gay men are well aware if another man is straight or not right off the bat, so I know it's harmless.  The last time I experienced this until recently was many years ago when I was a college student, working full-time as a server in a restaurant, and had this look going on:
I mean, come on...Can you blame anyone for wanting to flirt with me back then?  Kidding.  But I had a plateau of no men flirting with me for a few years after I stopped dressing like a rockstar and was no longer thirty-pounds underweight.

5.  Long hair is hot.  I mean, really hot.  Any woman (or man) who has hair longer than mine has my applause for putting up with such a thing during the summer months, especially in the south.  If you do anything sweaty, it just feels gross - unless you put it up. Which brings us to...

6.  Ponytails suck.  Hard.  Really hard.  My hair is long enough to be in a pony tail, but there was about a month's time when I was in the weird place of being able to put it into a hair-tie, but anytime I leaned my head forward, half of the hair would pull out of said hair-tie.  Since then, I can now pull it back and rock the ponytail, but I will not do it in public, because I look really freaking stupid.  Sidenote:  I bought hair-ties at the drug store and it felt really weird...

7.  You have to be much more particular about the shampoo you use when your hair is long.  When your hair is below two inches long, you can wash it with anything that does not do weird things to your scalp and be just fine, but if it is long?  No way.  I tried baby shampoo last week with the thought it would make my hair soft and fluffy, nope!  My hair was the biggest tangled mess you have ever seen and trying to comb it out made me feel as if I was being scalped, which brings us to...

8.  Long hair affords you the knowledge of every single time a hair falls out of your head.  Why?  Because they are freaking long and end up in your mouth, your eyeball, down your collar, in your car, on your pillow, everywhere.  You see, when you have short hair, it has a tendency to just blow away or fall into oblivion, but after you clear about five inches of length, every hair that falls out either wants you to swallow it or tries to tie itself around something.  (For the record, I also do not have a baldness gene, and my hair does not fall out all that often, but I am aware when it does so now).

9.  It picks up smells.  Just like clothing, long hair absorbs the surrounding aromas.  If someone is smoking next to you, it sticks in your hair.  So does campfire smoke, food odors, car exhaust, sawdust, and even pollen residue.  I know it is recommended to not wash your hair everyday because of essential, natural oils and such, but there is no way to avoid a cleaning if you are around anything unpleasantly aromatic.

10.  Hair takes longer than I imagined to grow to a certain length.  As I said before, I am now nearly at the year mark of growing mine out and the longer it gets, the seemingly slower it tends to grow.  I am at a little over ten inches now and Locks of Love requires that much length to take as a donation, but I will not walk around bald by choice.  I need at least two more inches before donating it, but with each little annoyance, my logic tends to wane a little bit more...

I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe laughed a little.
I need a haircut...
Grace and Peace,
-Drew

 -Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Personal Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
Blog Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/jdrewsilvers


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

3055 And Purpose...

Click the "Play" button and begin reading at a normal pace.
I wrote this in a certain way and if you're on a smart phone, I would suggest reading this blog on a tablet or computer so you can have the music in the background.

Sometimes we do not take the time to understand purpose - that which we have within our own lives and that of those who surround us.  I lived in a fairly out of touch place for far too many years of my life where I was liable for believing what other people told me instead of figuring out the world on my own.  During all of this I would not venture to say I was enabled by anyone, but had lost sight of the perfect view given to me without asking, and in that became a follower of others as opposed to a leader of my own life.

 I see people much like the person I was before in enough regularity to be able to solemnly say in my head "I get it, and something is wrong, but I cannot help you."  During the same instances, I also see those who spend far too much time telling lies to themselves about their so-called progress in life and the direction in which they are heading themselves.  Just as I say I never allowed myself to be enabled, there are those who do allow it to happen.  Telling yourself a lie about your priorities and whatever moves you are making becomes more and more believable in your own mind with enough repetition.  These are unfortunate circumstances in our motivation and personal worth because we do not take enough time, nor care quite enough to step outside of our mindset and evaluate the only person we can control in our own lives - ourselves. 

I lived the lie for years and told myself things that were not true about the direction I was heading and also my own expectations.  There were moments when I was convinced going anywhere farther in life was not possible for me and happiness was nothing I was worthy of deserving.  Nothing I had done up to that moment constituted greatness and those smaller instances I held as significant became further from my reach with each passing day.  Taking the potential given to me in order to do something great was a push I had lost, yet I was convinced I still had in my possession.  

Until I woke up.
Until I made a change.

We cannot change for anyone and we cannot make anyone change for us.  Life is not long enough for us to slack in motivation or only be motivated by the draw of someone else.  Years upon years I was told that doing for myself was selfish - that pushing people to change for the better was my purpose.
Who am I to force my opinion on someone else?  
Who am I to change my own opinion for someone else?
Instead of changing ourselves for the sake of other people or entities in our lives, we have to regroup and get into the mindset of changing for ourselves and nobody else.  If we change for someone else, whether for chemical, relational, or cognitive reasons, the ensuing failure is eminent or the lie we live is solidified as permanent.

I have no desire to be stuck anymore.

If we are exactly who we need to be and have no reason to change, we can only push to grow bigger and force ourselves to waste no time in achieving personal greatness.  Those we care about and those who care about us will never leave our side or pass judgment; for any reason. Reaching for the passions and goals we honestly love means there is never a moment of saying we do not have time or energy to push for them.

Commitment.  Should.  Always.  Win.

Those who matter to us will find their way to us.
Anyone we need in our lives, we can also find - without expectation, rules, or pretenses.
The people who matter to each other will always find each other.    

Just because you think for yourself does not mean you are selfish.
You can only grow within your own skin.
Grow.
Be yourself.
Share your true self with others.
Be fulfilled - always.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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

-The song used in this blog was introduced to me by my best friend.  Thank you for your inspiration every day.




Monday, September 23, 2013

It's So Simple To Be Afraid...

Hey, guys, Target put their seasonal wine and beer at the end of three adjacent aisles of Halloween candy...Great idea...

I have noticed a trend within my time on this earth, actually, no, I embodied the trend for most of my life and just began paying attention to it about two years ago.  What I am referring to is questions and the way we go about asking them, as well as how those who are questioned tend to react.  Straightforward, right?  
Not so much as you may think...

Have you ever noticed how the most difficult thing to do when writing something formal or semi-formal is putting down the first few words?  I struggle with this every time I write a blog, and now since I am compiling these blogs into a book, I fight the issue when beginning every new chapter.  We tend to pay the most attention to the introductory words of the text we pen down because everything else trailing after that depends upon it.  When considering myself, I do the same when hearing a new song because if the first few bars contain anything related to "gold teeth, rims, bitches, or money" I have heard enough already and do not care to continue in most cases.  What does this have to do with questioning?  Hang on, I am getting there.

We have all been in a position of needing to say something to someone else that we really did not want to.  Anyone who has ever run a business before knows this has a tendency to happen much more often than in our personal lives.  Actually, I take that back because if you surround yourself with dramatic people who continually act like pre-pubescent minors, this could also happen in your daily life, but stick with me.  As has happened to me far too many times, I have taken the plunge into difficult situations by going about them entirely wrong and just throwing my side out there without listening to the other party at the same time.  Have you ever wondered why arguments generally get nowhere?  Much of it has to do with two or more people trying to talk over each other - that never works, and I lived there for a long time, but what can we do about that?

Thinking back to when we were in elementary school, there were three types of kids in class:
-The kid who never asked questions.
-The kid who only asked questions when she/he needed to.
-The kid who asked so many questions you wanted to beat him to death with your Trapper Keeper.
(I'm showing my age now. Rise up, 90's kids...)
Even though we all grew up as a kid with one of those attributes that most of us carried into adulthood, our teachers always told us to never be afraid to ask a question if we needed to do so.  I heard this from preschool and all the way into college, but the thing is, as I said before, most of us have retained the same trait we identified with as children until this very day as far as questions are concerned.

My point is, regardless of which kid we were in school, so many of us are so quick to jump into an important situation with the idea that we will be the only one holding a voice.  
How often has that one worked out for you, Sparky?
Through all of the latter, we end up running within a mess of a circle where nobody knows what is going on and no progress or resolution has been reached.  What I have figured out, however, is that approaching someone with a well-rounded and non-invasive question to get the ball rolling, generally gets us to a good starting point.
But:
-The kid who never asked questions will be afraid to.
-The kid who asked questions when appropriate often over-thinks the situation.
-The kid you wanted to beat to death screwed up the situation long before reaching that point.

Breaking out of whatever of the three question-oriented mindsets we evolved into is the key in honing our approach skills.  A well-rounded question can begin any conversation, whether good, bad, or full of uncertainty in a much more effective way than jumping right into the relationship circle of death.  Yet, so many of us are afraid to do even that and charge in without intending to listen anyway.

Sure, there are the unreasonable, mentally-inept pillocks out there who respond to nothing with any sense of understanding, but I have found them to be a distinct minority.  Most people like to be asked an appropriate question because then they are engaged and contributing to whatever issue or event you are making an attempt at discussing.  One-sided approaches never work, but finding an expressive compromise between two people or bodies of people can make the process much less complicated, as well as much less likely to have someone talking over another person.

Actions are threatening,
Ignoring an issue is damaging.
Thought-provoking questions are just as described. 

But thinking about the kid who asked questions just to hear his own voice still gets under my skin...

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Personal Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
Blog Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/jdrewsilvers

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


Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Name Is Drew, And I Don't Watch TV Anymore...

My 32" HDTV is now the external monitor for my laptop.  That's all it does.

Hello, my name is Drew, I am twenty-seven years old, and I do not watch television anymore - well, for the most part I do not, anyway.  This was not always the case for me, however.

When I was a kid, my family had enough money to live a good life, but we were not wealthy by any means, so an expense such as cable TV was not really an option.  The only time I was able to watch Nickelodeon or anything else consisted of being at friend's houses, which was not something I did all that often because my best friend growing up liked coming to my house much better.  Not having anything beyond a few local channels never bothered me because my friend and I spent every summer day and most afternoons during the school year from middle school until our sophomore year of high school outside.  We built all sorts of things from a greenhouse, to rabbit traps, to a fifteen-foot tall trebuchet which could throw a tennis ball about two acres with enough weights in the pendulum.  Needless to say, not having a bunch of channels to scan on my TV never bothered me because I was too busy creating things.  

By age fifteen, I was working on my first car
which had been sitting in a barn for over a decade and occupied every hour of free daylight I had until I received my license, exactly one day after my sixteenth birthday.  I say "free daylight" because my first real job came at the age of fifteen and meant I was also working three to four days each week after school, so I could earn money to put into my car.  My nights were spent in my room, alone, playing my new Stratocaster guitar, which is something I picked up at the age of fifteen.  By age sixteen, I was playing music in front of church congregations in various capacities, at a church camp every year, and I stuck with that pattern until I was twenty years old or so, going out of the country to do it at one point.  Many weekends were spent volunteering, but usually working because I never had the option of not working. Television never really fit into my life in a big capacity, nor did video games because I kept myself fairly busy as a teenager.

After I graduated from high school, my parents finally began a satellite subscription and I started watching TV after work or as a way to fall asleep, but I could not tell you any show I had an investment in besides "Laguna Beach" which I watched at my friend's house every Monday night (my best friends were girls at the time).  

When I moved out of my parents' house, the first thing I did was sign onto DirecTV for a two-year commitment and became sort of a lazy television addict.  I also drank back then and alcohol makes me about as energetic as a koala, so thus was my silly logic when I would get home from work.  I was also in college then, while working a full-time job that entire time, so the easiest thing for me to do was plop down after class or work and watch something brainless for a few hours.  Awesome.  My waistline reflected this stupid cycle I had allowed myself to fall into, and coupled with other life events I eventually decided to make a change about a year ago.

When I became more focused on my health, entirely sober, and leading an immensely more active lifestyle, I realized watching TV was what I did right before I went to bed and fell asleep to.  Nothing more.  The Walking Dead was boring, Teen Wolf always sucked, I never in my life cared to watch the news, and I did not have any movie channels, so I was paying eighty dollars each month for a talking night light.  I signed up for Hulu Plus on my computer and ditched DirecTV entirely.  Not a single day has gone by when I have said "Man, I really wish I had TV right now."

Actually, I decided to write this blog about not having television anymore because I am cancelling my eight-dollar monthly Hulu Plus subscription tomorrow on the grounds of having not watched a single show on it in over a month.  I have one TV in my house right now and it is an old CRT (tube) model in my garage hooked to a digital converter antenna so I can watch it during tornado warnings and such.  Other than that, I never turn it on.  

People have asked what the heck I do at my age without TV or video games. 
Pretty much anything else I want to do after work everyday.  I am a writer, of course, and while I do not claim to be a great writer by any means, this is where I escape.  I subscribe to a few channels on YouTube that I spend about half an hour total watching everyday.  At this point I am better at playing guitar than I was during my "prime" of ages eighteen to twenty.  I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can, usually with some sort of soundtrack playing through my earbuds, whether just walking around, running, working on a project, or anything that involves moving around, really.  I cannot even talk on the phone while sitting still anymore.  

Had you told me I would be living without television three years ago, I would not have believed you, but for me, personally, I am so happy I do not have it anymore.  Do not get me wrong though, because I am in no way against watching shows on TV.  If you really like that, go right ahead.  I will watch pretty much any TV show if I am at a friend's house, because I do enjoy it when I am with someone else in the same way that I will only really watch a movie under the same pretense.  

What about sports?
Honestly, I understand sports, and I can get into them, but as far as following teams or knowing stats, that is not me.  Sports are something I like watching with other people or seeing in-person at a stadium or arena, not something I do alone.  I do follow the leaderboard for The Masters every year from my iPhone, but that is the limit of my solo involvement in sports.  Other guys have told me watching sports is part of "being a dude" but those same men who say these things generally take their car to the dealership when a tail light bulb burns out, so I think I am missing the logic of their statement - if we are playing the stereotype game.  

So, why do I not watch TV?
I have found other things to do which make me happier and healthier.  If TV is not a vice for you, keep watching and playing video games, by all means.  For me, cutting television out of my daily life helped me get sober, become nearly eighty pounds lighter, and brought me back to having a personal devotion to my passions of writing and music.  

Simple.
Ditching television helped me get back to the better, more focused me.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Personal Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
Blog Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/jdrewsilvers

I'm listening to this song right now:  (Don't hate)



Thursday, September 19, 2013


I told myself not to write about this - not because I didn't want to, but because I could write a novel in and of itself based on the topic.  Also, you know the subject matter is something big based not upon the fact of me using a contraction in a blog, but having such contained in the first sentence of said blog.

The last time I wrote anything about love was many years ago, before my first career, before forming a relatable identity, and much before I would consider myself to be a full-fledged adult.  Truthfully, I do have very strong ideas about love and they did not begin to develop until one of my professors made a statement about it many years ago which has stuck with me ever since.

Sure, my professor was obviously a religious person based upon the college I went to, but his definition was very straightforward and very secular.
 "Love is not a feeling, nor a choice.  Love is a decision."
Hold on just a minute, because that is in no way what we have been taught through novels, movies, television, or music - and the media is always right... Just as those viral posts on Facebook are based upon complete facts and truth.  Yeah, a bit like that.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes thoughts or actions begin to lose their personal  purpose over time?  What I mean by personal purpose is our own need or infatuation with anything we cling to. An example of this is when you hear a catchy pop song for the first time - while you know it is not the most awesome song ever written, the infatuation is there until you hear it continually in every form of media after becoming popular (Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know comes to mind).  The allure quickly fades because hearing that song over and over makes us tire of hearing it.  Love (or at least the culturally-skewed example most of us know) fits right into that category with Gotye and The Macarena.

I think we have somewhat ruined the concept of love by so freely expressing the word while losing the core of what it actually means.  The F-word is used in much the same way as you can say it in essentially any part of speech and it works for different reasons or definitions. Meaning, when we say we "love the smell of fall" none of us have a direct, cognitive relationship to the essence of fall; we enjoy its presence.  This is the same word I defined as a decision, but put forward in a different context.

Feeding off the same idea of enjoying the presence of someone else, we should be able to recognize the difference between someone we enjoy being around and someone we love.  This whole concept is tricky because we make it very complicated. The way in which we "love" an action, object, or presence is not the same way we love other people for the real basis of who they are.  When I say "love is a decision" what do I mean?

People tend to "fall in love" and I absolutely despise that phrase.  Anything you fall into, you can back out of somehow - think it over. Ask anyone who has been in a psychological struggle and they will tell you that any happening can be overcome or compromised to acceptance if the human will to survive and make a real change prevails.  "Falling" for someone opens the door for vulnerability and all but closes the door for security, while making for a false sense of it. I say this because I know too many people who tell someone they love them for outside purposes when they have no reason to say such a thing.  Guess what?  Saying you love someone with an ulterior motive or as a way to get something you want is ruining one of the most pure relation factors we can have as people - not to mention the effect doing so has on the innocent party.

"But love is a feeling, I get butterflies and happy."  Chocolate, the beach, and even NASCAR have the same effect on people, but you cannot compare the connection of human contact to that of objects or locations, right?  Emotions and feelings are their own entities, and so is love.  Love can have feelings and emotions within it, sure, but the basis of love is love itself. Confused yet?

We have all but lost sight of love and the commitment it entails to keep the true meaning of the word intact.  Saying you love someone involves real and complete commitment; a promise to never turn your back on someone and put your own needs aside for them, no matter what.  This is a decision we make because we want those we truly love to succeed in whatever capacity they need to while willingly sacrificing ourselves for their cause.  Maybe defining a characteristic such as this so mechanically sounds impersonal, but be assured real and honest love is the most personal and most incredible of human experiences.

Is love easy? No.
Is love fast? No.
Is love romantic?  There is nothing more so.
Love is based upon every bit of who someone is and the way in which they connect to you in every way - permanently.  Not just physically, aesthetically, emotionally, or relational - in EVERY way.

There are few people in this world I will go right out and say "I love you" to, but if I do, know that it is not taken lightly on my end.  If you say the same to me, I also expect the same level of realism and not passive abuse of the definition.  Over the years, I have learned to recognize the difference and in that, keep my circle very small.

Remember:
 -If you fall in love, you can fall right back out.
-If you really love someone, you are in it for life.

Hate is a strong word, but the misuse of "love" can be much more detrimental.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

You Never Know Who Is Watching. Blog #100...

The blog you are reading is number one-hundred.  Over a period of less than six months, I have written one-hundred pieces of content consisting of various levels of quality, but nothing I would not be proud of any day of the week.  With this being a somewhat significant number for me, I have been debating what to do with this one and I still have no direct idea of what to write, so I will just go with it and see what happens.



I run.  Actually, from what some people have been asserting to, I should say I "still" run, because, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I run often and do not tell anyone.  This past Sunday I went for a run and ended up somewhere I did not expect to be, at least as far as distance is concerned.  Up here in the Atlanta suburbs, we have a "Greenway" of paved path and boardwalk which begins at the most distant northern suburb and travels nearly to Atlanta itself, all on top of a government sewer line which runs adjacent to a large creek (what else can you do with a sewer line?).  Going back to the story, on Sunday morning, as with many of my Sunday mornings, I decided to get on the Greenway and run south for a few miles, though I usually run north.  A few miles became a few more miles and I found myself about seven miles from my car, at a park, tired, sweaty, and thinking about how awful that journey back north was going to be.  

Generally, when I go for a run, I know where I am going, get to my stopping point and just turn around to head back, but this time I took a moment to sit down, pop my ear buds out and enjoy the sun for a bit outside of a pavilion (because sitting in the sun is the best thing for you to do while sweating).  Then he sat down beside me - George.  I was sitting there with my sunglasses on, looking at my phone, and George introduced himself to me.  He is seventy-three years old and rides a bicycle on the Greenway every Sunday morning, just as I run, but in the opposite direction to me.  Last Sunday, he went the opposite of his usual direction, just as I did, and we just so happened to meet at the same bench.  He and I talked for a bit and he told me about his wife passing away, and how Sundays had been their most important time together, so he had to take on a new hobby a few years ago to fill the lonely gap.  He quit smoking after she passed away and took up cycling because "It feels better than drinking."  After that, the conversation picked up on my end.

I told George about my sobriety commitment and he told me about his.  We talked about faith a little bit and I gave him a some background about my rocky past with the church, Seminary experience, and how running is now something that keeps me in check with God while allowing me to feel normal and fulfilled - being apart from the church.  Then he asked me about the notebooks in my backpack.
"Are you in school now, a writer, drawer - what?"
I told him about my blog and the basis of it being how my generation does not seem to understand the methods of effectively coping with the reality of the world.  How those within my age demographic for some reason feel entitled and as if the world owes them something and how so many of us have no idea what real commitment or real struggle actually is.
He then said something which will stick with me forever:
"Drew, I don't know you from anyone - you were just some young guy I sat next to because I was out of breath and needed to sit down somewhere.  I almost didn't because at my age, I was intimidated.  I saw a young guy sitting on a park bench with tattoos, long hair, stubble on his face, and muscular arms.  I just knew you weren't someone I wanted to be around, but you proved me wrong.  You, sir, are so intelligent, pleasant, and well-rounded that I feel horrible for thinking that way without speaking to you first."

Imagine that for a moment.  Imagine just what it feels like to have someone you had just met say something so sincere, yet entirely off-the-cuff to you.  I had no idea how to respond other than to thank him for his words.  Still, on Monday night, as I write this, my thoughts are still stuck in that moment, just a little.  George apparently hates computers, so he will never read this.  He also lives alone and only sees his family when they come from out of state for Christmas every other year.  I have no idea where he lives, and he never told me his last name.  I wanted to give him one of my cards, but that is something I do not carry when I run.  His response to my apology?
"I'm better off without your card.  Just wave if you see me on my bike sometime and I'll wave back.  You're doing big things and they'll get even bigger for you.  If I don't see you again, just remember that I told you so when you're on top of the world, Drew."

With that, he shook my hand and rode away.
Part of me wants to head south on my Sunday morning runs more often so that I can maybe wave at George or have another talk with him, but then I remembered we both take different directions on the Greenway - it was just that one day when we both happened to change directions and met in the middle.

I said all of this to you not as a way to boost myself or look like a saint.  This blog was simply meant to show you that being yourself every second of the day can have an impact in situations you may only have the chance to experience once.

You never know who is paying attention to you...

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

False Impressions Make You A Shallow Individual...

 I didn't post this to brag, but out of appreciation and
as an example of an honest, supportive friendship.

A false sense of assurance is something we have all experienced because, though we often make the choice to not believe it, having complete trust in anyone requires extensive work and commitment.
Where does this come from and when did trust become so hard to come by?
Concerning most actions and reactions in life, we are continually trapped in a downward spiral and this practice is no exception to the trend.

When we were children, we were taught to always be honest with people, never allow lies to surface for any reason, and allow others to have trust in us.  With time and age, we have all but lost this important character trait and realized by our teenage years that seemingly the only way to progress in life is to stretch the truth a bit here and there or at least distance ourselves from it.  
Why would I be so ignorant to believe having a trusting character was the standard?
It is not.

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that putting trust into or having confidence in anyone takes more time than a few months, or even a few years.  Connections are important to any human bond, but we must be guarded enough to realize the majority of people in the world (often including ourselves) cannot be trusted. 

When we hear of solid excuses for dishonesty, the basic understanding automatically falls to one of two situations (with general consideration):
-Holding the business logic of "What they don't know won't hurt them.".  Within this standard, you tell  your potential human profit-makers anything necessary to close a deal or create a bond.  This often means creating a false impression of one's personality, interests, or skills.  Have you ever seen an embellished resume or someone who claims professional attributes they do not possess in real-time?  My point exactly - but it was a building process developed over centuries of dishonesty which has become a more accepted practice as time goes on.
-Holding the idea that we can lie as a way of sparing other's feelings or to hide something we are doing, will do, have done in the past, or hold an opinion of regarding a subject.  This means the notion of "sparing feelings" or emotions for the sake of personal benefit or as a method of "protecting" someone else is just unnecessary.  Allowing someone to believe a false idea does not help them because by doing this, we allow our trust to be entirely breached.  I would rather someone tell me the truth about everything than leave out details which lead me to believe a false idea.  There is no reason to tell people every detail of you life unless you just want to, but have enough respect for yourself and them that they do not take the false idea as truth.  
"If that's how he/she interprets what I said, it wasn't a lie."
Yes, it was.  By thinking such a thing, we have acknowledged the lie.
Congratulations.

Far too many of us spend far too much time attempting to cover our tracks on a daily basis and I cannot wrap my brain around why we have developed into such a process being the rule and honesty being the exception.  Every day, the majority of our population makes solid attempts to act like anyone other than who they really are or put other people in terrible situations for the sake of their own perceived happiness, but why?

Should we all be positive all the time?  
No.  
Those people who seem to act in such a way are often the more prominent of being less trustworthy and honest.  That probably sounds crazy, but hear me out.  Humans were given just as much processing ability for one emotion as any other and sometimes we need to express frustrations, anger and resentment in the same way we express happiness, joy, and positivity - this is called being mentally healthy.  By only allowing ourselves to use one set of emotions, we have to ask what happened to the others.  Emotions do not leave, but they can be suppressed and give a false identity to the person expressing them.  My thoughts on this can be flipped the other way as well by using the example of someone who seems to always be bitter and angry without expressing more positive thoughts.

Life and our own emotions, honesty, and relationships live in a balance and I will not complicate any of that buy throwing any religious or universal acceptance theory into the mix, because that makes the whole process complicated for no reason. 

Keeping it simple:
-We need honesty towards each other.
-We need a balance of our personalities.
-We need to be our own person.
-We need to invest in others while keeping our guard up.
-We must realize perfection is not possible.

Life would be much more simple if we would just keep honesty as a priority and keep from making exceptions.

Life would be much more enjoyable if we did not go into any situation with an expectation but identified our potential paths while leaving the toxic people and situations far behind us.

I have seen too many people become hurt by the false impressions expressed to them by the people they thought could be trusted the most and it both sickens and infuriates me.
To those who cannot seem to show themselves in honesty, hurting others in the process, I say this:

Stop.
Making.
Life.
Complicated.

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew

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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You're Making Excuses. Yes - You...

I took the notes for this blog while listening to this album.
Everything happens for a reason...  Wait, no.  I do not believe in that statement but I can rattle off a long list of people I know personally who readily cling to the idea.  Recently, after having an extremely long but completely engaged conversation with a few people at my friend's birthday party, this topic arose.  Being one of four people sitting on some deck chairs and each of the others not expecting to hear such a response from me, I was given the opportunity to explain myself a little bit better and decided to share it here as well.

Considering my upbringing and the actions I have trodden in my past, many people assume being a proponent of everything happening for a specific reason would be a shoe-in for me, yet, no.  The reason I do not agree with the statement at hand has to do with me personally feeling that saying such a thing is more of a cop-out for comfort or a vehicle to make an excuse for an action or consequence.  Thinking a bit more forwardly about this proposed mantra of life, and those who really do found beliefs in it makes me sound as if I am bitter or have some type of personal quarrel I am suppressing, but that is not the case in the least bit.  I simply take a similar, but at the same time, different approach to the idea.  

We are people, we live in the same space as all other people, and we are tested.  I am not making a reference to religion here, but my opinion can actually be applied to many religious beliefs if you would like to go after it in such a way - feel free.  The way I see individual progress is based upon the way in which we all handle various tests and how we react to them in our daily lives.  We are molded within our personalities by the actions and reactions surrounding us, as well as those of ourselves.  
Simple, right?  
Saying "everything happens for a reason" is easy when you are on top of your respective goals, but the reality and less accepting side of the idea is often ignored once the high of the moment wears away.  Taking the approach to the other side, failure can also use this thought process as an excuse to make us feel better when unexpected happenings take place.   When we think this way, the following result is usually a lack of trying because whatever we think controls our destiny did not want us to succeed.

One of the most dramatically mind-boggling ideas I have heard regularly throughout my existence is how people interpret the phrase: "You can do anything if you put your mind to it.".  While this statement is true overall, we have no guarantees of independent success to back any of it up.  
What do I mean by this?
Somewhere along the lines, the idea that we can do or be anything we want was skewed into:  "You can do anything if you put your mind to it, make a living at it, and live an easy, carefree life."  But the former is just not true because everything does not happen for a reason.  Everything happens because of the way we respond to life and the directions we allow ourselves to travel in.  

If you are happy, be well aware that your entire world could fall away from you in a split second so stay entirely motivated in everything you do to minimize the chances of such happening.

If you have a passion, devote every second you can to bettering it and never expect anything from those passions other than personal fulfillment as well as keeping your own happiness in check.  Never expect to make a living doing what you love, because few ever get the chance - if you are miserable because you cannot just do what you want all the time, re-evaluate your definition of "passion" and stop being an enabled brat.  

If your life seems to be taking sour turns or has fallen apart, make an investment in yourself and take the time to learn from the past, while educating yourself about what your next steps will be in the future.  Take a risk if you need to, but keep a clear mind and make your goals in life realistic building blocks to greater achievements.  

Everything does not happen for a reason.
Everything happens so you can reason with it.

Grace and Peace,
-Drew

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