Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Attempted Return, With New Thoughts and Dreams

It's been a very long time, hasn't it? Though I've always been an inconsistent author, I apologize regardless, for the turbulence of life has kept me away. . . though I really want to get back to writing here. I've long missed the feeling of feeding my thoughts into the keyboard, though I am now rusty and probably have to write some bad articles to prime the system again.

To get reacquainted I'll detail what's been going on in my life, starting off at our departure point of discussing the Year of Hydra, then relay my writing plans, and, most significantly, tell how I've changed as a person, for a lot has been going on behind the scenes.

For the most part, I confess that the Year of Hydra has been very, very shaky, and I'm not doing as sincere a job as I should in my self-improvement goals. Ever since I've started my voluntary homeless experiment life has been an intense emotional struggle. The scars from last year still haven't quite healed, and of my own fault.

If you recall, last year ended up unintentionally being the Year of Charlie Brown, as so many events unfolded as they would in a Peanuts comic strip running gag, such as Charlie Brown continuously trying to get a kite up in the air (and something unique happening each time to bring it down, whether it be the Kite-Eating Tree or spontaneous combustion). Just about every time something good happened for my long-term goals, something else would promptly come around the corner to usurp the progress, such as when I had to take on nearly two grand more debt to fix my car for the purpose of living in it for the purpose of paying off those debts. The turbulence was so consistent that I've developed a sort of mystical OCD, fearing that these Charlie Brown shenanigans will continue shaking my progress.

I am somewhat disappointed to have to change my homeless goals. My original intention was to stay homeless and pay off the majority of my debt by next month this year, and to get an apartment Hell or high water since sleeping in the car during summer is horrible. However, I'm still so far off from my financial goals that I've decided to actually do this experiment for several years more, to not only pay off my debts but to also save up a significant sum, for I resent so much these hardships from being poor that I might as well cure being poor altogether. Poverty benefits no one, and it's tough to continuously stomach the fact that another car trouble could slam me with more debt, whereas in a more stable situation I could simply reach for my wallet, tap savings, and still be in good condition.

I'm also disappointed to still be a dishwasher by career. When I entered into the restaurant industry I never fathomed it would be this hard or take this long to get out of the dish pit, but the unfortunate reality is that employers have perverse reasons to keep you there if you happen to do well. In my most bitter and envious moments I think of how people who've entered the industry at the same time as I are now becoming sous chefs while I'm still at step one.

Most of all -- and stick with me; we'll get more optimistic just a little below -- I'm disappointed at how I've allowed all this stressful turmoil to mold. I came to Texas far more ambitious and with a stronger mind, and the constant lashings of hardship has knocked me down to being idle, mentally slothful, envious, reclusive, and so on. I did not bare life's tides very well, and if my vices are left unchecked, this life course could very well literally be a ruined one. One of my greatest fears is leading a destroyed life like my mother's, and it disturbs me to see parallels between my mentality and habits, and hers.

However -- and now, indeed, these are the optimistic parts -- I should still forgive myself to a great extent, for really the hardships might be necessary, or at least partly unavoidable. When I moved to Texas I was very inexperienced with the ways of "real life." For instance, my lack of social intelligence led me to over-trust a chef who encouraged me to move here, who then surprised me by helping me very little on a job hunt and resigning from his job and moving without telling me. While in retrospect I can see what signs he gave off to indicate he was a flake, I couldn't see them back then for my lack of knowledge, and the take home lesson is to better refine my perception for understanding how people reveal themselves, so that I know better how to treat and judge them accordingly. (In this instance, I can see that flakes usually have certain personality characteristics, such as having no emotional commitment in their words, using dodgy language, failing to follow-up, and so on.) These life lessons are everywhere: I've learned better how to manage emotions and concentration, how to exercise social intelligence, stay more committed to goals, and so on.

Citing the Butterfly Effect, there is the possibility I may not have been able to learn these lessons without having gotten roughed up in the arena as I have. If I were protected from these hardships, it's hard to say how I would come about the wisdom in any alternative way, let alone be motivated to seek it out in the first place. To have gotten roughed up now may be the best of all things, for little knowledge can beat first-hand experience, and with my combined thinking and first-hand experience, I might be closer to establishing a formula for life-long sustained progress that few people my age might be able to come across. (Especially if those people are still inclosed in the fake realities of college buildings.)

Though, don't mistake me for gloating about my knowledge. Wisdom is not the same thing as being wise; I've got a long ways yet of practicing this knowledge and developing integrity. As such, I cite this knowledge only as my taking pleasure that I might be "figuring out life" through understanding why I've failed before, and failed hard. That means I don't need to suffer the problems I've been through before ever again -- so long as I am wise about it -- by having deeply contemplated what went on during those situations, especially that which was my own fault. (I intend to share some of this knowledge with you, sometime.)

Much of this turbulence has also shaken another change in me, where I've decided to overhaul my whole life's plans as a result, for the failures have also revealed that my previous course wasn't so appetizing as I thought.

Originally, as you probably know, I intended to rise up in the restaurant industry, eventually getting to the point of owning my own restaurant. My desire to learn so much about the culinary arts is still strong -- I want a polymathic knowledge of gardening, pickling, butchery, hunting, fishing. . . -- but I've begun to conclude that perhaps the restaurant industry isn't the place for that kind of learning, particularly because I've stayed stuck as a dishwasher for so long. It might only be my personal experiences, but the industry seems filled with dishonest people, so I'd rather end my kinship with them sooner or later.

Plus, I've realized I'd probably wouldn't like the restraints owning a brick-and-mortar business would impose on me, such as an hourly schedule and staying married to a specific geographical location. The only recurring dreams I have when I sleep are of the nature park I used to frequent in Michigan. That nature park was the one place I've probably spend the majority of all of my hours in Michigan, excluding school and home, and it's left such an impact on me that I regularly dream of it, all these years in Texas later. I'll grant that I love my nature park haunts in Texas more. . . but Flushing Township still left a deep mark.

Those dreams have revealed to me that, at heart, I'm a nature nut. I love those infinitely long walks in natural beauty. Whenever the park closed at night I would resort to going around the neighborhood, staring at the mesmerizing night sky, especially good since I lived in an area with little light pollution.

I've realized then that I'd probably be my most content in life as a semi-wilderness man, living out in the country with geographically independent employment (such as online writing) so that I'd be free to wake and sleep as I please, do what I wish with my hours, and spend as much time outside as I wish, especially at night without light pollution. Where do the culinary arts come in? Why, in gardening, pickling, countertop butchery, fishing, charcuterie, cheese-making, and probably more. A hefty portion of my independent time would go to cultivating food, hunting food, and preparing food, no doubt.

Other intellectual obsessions factor in too. I may have not mentioned it to you before, but for several months now I've been fascinated with the concept "polymath." A polymath is a person who is able to master many disparate fields of knowledge or endeavors. The key word here is mastery. It's enticing since to become one would mean nearly unlimited paths of enjoyment opened up in life, without ever diluting oneself, for we've got a bad stereotype that anyone who dabbles in too many endeavors may sacrifice his overall skill and become a "jack of all trades and master of none." Being a polymath does not entail sacrificing mastery in the slightest.

As such, my aim in that countryside house would, indeed, be to establish a polymathic master of those many culinary endeavors, amongst other things as well, such as reaching the peak of physical fitness, doing the entirety of my own auto maintenance, carpentry, and so on. I'm growing an obsession with being an absolutely independent man, in this sense. (However, don't think me wanting to become a hermit! People factor in too, though I primarily think of women.)

The overall picture may still be fuzzy, as there are still the uncertainties of where I'd lived, how I'd get enough money, where that money would be made, and so on, but visualizing myself standing on the front porch I built, looking at the night sky, is a good image to motivate myself by.

I'll get those culinary abilities however I can, but from restaurants themselves they may not come.

And despite the fuzziness, I do have a general project that is to be completed in order to get me to those ends, to that front porch.

The first order of business, of course, is to be homeless for as long as it takes to reach my savings goals, including the total elimination of debt. In the duration, I must exert myself to dispose of my emotional hangups and self-detrimental vices, and to cultivate ambition in being a serious autodidact and entrepreneur (balanced with my hourly job in the meanwhile). Once I've gotten rid of my debt and am partway toward my savings goals, I shall have multiple road trips around Texas and Colorado. I have yet to see the full array of natural beauty Texas has to offer, so I will tour its countryside, and because I both like colder climates and have heard much of Colorado's beauty, there's that state to investigate too.

The aim of such road trips is, really, home base scouting. If my strivings are successful enough I might own property in multiple climates (such as Texas for its heat, Hawaii for the tropics, Colorado for the snow) so that I can switch to-and-fro when I want to. I will want to camp and tour as much as I can to determine the ideal location. Then I'll either purchase a home or contract to have one built. Then I'll move, live, and enjoy myself.

Perhaps I ought to stop right there since it may be too early to daydream out-loud like that. I've still got to go a distance in developing my character first and foremost, and that developmental phase is going to yield the most towards filling out the blank details of my desires and the means, plus whatever changes may occur.

For now, I've simply got to get my act together by getting over my regrets, appreciating the immense learning value of my hardships, and turning wisdom into being wise. My current life's path may be a terrible one, but it is not a determinant one, and I know full-well that spectacular self-transformation can happen within a week, with effort. (Due to the “Jekyll/Hyde Threshold”, a idea to discuss later.)

I'll try my best to get back to writing here by brainstorming some sort of regular writing habit, as writing is apart of the polymath plan. It's one of my best skills, and I ought to cultivate it, not only for life-long enjoyment, but also because it may prove useful in hastening my exit from the homeless life.

Though, perhaps I'll have to be a little more lax on this whole "theme" thing on my blog. Over the years I've fretted a lot about committing to a strict theme on each blog, which has led to lots of internal debates as to whether such-and-such article idea is appropriate, or even the creation of multiple blogs at once. Let's dispose of the worry by deeming this my personal blog from now on. Certainly most of my self-improvement obsession will dominate most things, but at least idea generation should be less restricted.

Additionally, while I've still got to brainstorm some proper writing commitments, I want to settle upon a more random publishing schedule, so that I have more time to edit my post and think about them. As the old saying goes, "there is no good writing; only rewriting."


Let us end off being reintroduced on these points. See you soon.

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