Motivation Rising

This week went by way too fast. I feel like such a Gemini in times like these because I have two competing feelings right now. I feel like I have done so much in a short amount of time here in NYC, but at the same time I feel like I have not done nearly enough. It all seems so duplicitous without the negative indication.

I have had to remind myself several times that this is my time off and that I cannot worry about work or anything else that may ultimately stress me out. However, I know that I have come down here to get several things done, as well as, accomplish some goals that I have set. I can say that I have completed most of those goals, but now I am beginning to see that my time in NYC is coming to an end (at least until next month).

Between the music, family, and a few others, I feel like I have a new motivation to get where I need to go while still doing the same things. I have also come to the realization that I have sacrificed many things this year on this path to self redemption (which I am still on, by the way). Things that I thought made me happy or perhaps I felt made me happier, when in reality…somethings I did in my life were just a way to masquerade the fact that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I think we all realize, at some point, that either we are or we are not living up to a potential that was set for us a long time ago. The question is, what do we do with that information once it become apparent to us?

So, in basic terms, I am not happy with myself. I can be doing so much better than I am now. This goes back to what I was saying earlier in the year about self worth. I am worth way more than what I am getting now. The problem is I have allowed this to happen to me. Don’t get me wrong, shit happens sometimes and we all have to take our lumps. However, we do not have to become complacent in doing so. Believe it or not, I have had many of conversation with people who have come to the same conclusion that I have: Syracuse has a way of just keeping you.

There is not secret that I feel more alive when I am down here to visit. The vibe is different. The way of life is completely conducive to the way I think, I feel, I dress…the way I want to live! What I find equally funny is how I have been told that I am so mean to people because I never really thought I was. Well, I realize that may I am a bit mean to people and that will not change, however, being in this city has made realize that I am so used to brash people that I tend to be that way without really noticing. So I guess you can take the boy out of the Bronx, but you cannot take the Bronx out of the boy.

I will spend my last full day in New York City tying up some loose ends before I head back tomorrow to a place that I am almost certain has snow in it. I have acquired a few more things to think about in terms of my future that I do need to work on.

Independently Single

When I started on the venture of living alone, I was not sure exactly what to expect. It was with a heavy heart and a almost naive sense that I thought that being single again and living alone would be hard. But, I realize as I head to my ninth year living in Syracuse that it is all mental.

The thing is I had lived alone before and it wasn’t all that hard. But, I was like 25 and I really didn’t know any better. I was living in a basement apartment in the soundview section of The Bronx and thought that it was the greatest point in my life. I had a job and I lived alone. I could come and go as I please and had no one to answer to. The funny thing is I barely remember what I did for food everyday before I started dating.  I think I had take out many many nights. Quite simply, I didn’t care. I had like two bills: rent (which was all inclusive) and cable. That was it!

Fast forward a decade and things are so much different. Juggling finances can make anyone crazy with the mortgage, car note, cable/internet, insurance, credit cards and anyone else that I happen to owe money to. I had so much fear that I would not be able to deal with just life in general. I remember sitting in my office, alone, on the verge of tears thinking “how am I going to get out of this?” I thought life cannot be all this hard. Of course it wasn’t. When people say that we all need to take things one day at a time, that is so very true. That is why I feel like this year is going by slower than years past. I have had more time to think and contemplate life.

The funny thing is that being a single man is actually not all that hard. Once I figured myself out and all the things I like and do not like about myself, everything fell into place. It allowed me to set the goals that have gotten me to this point. What I am grateful for is all the things my dad taught me when I was in high school. He was also a single man living in a house and trying to get by. While it may not have seemed that I was not paying attention to him and all the things he did or cooked, I was taking everything in while have that nonchalant teenage attitude.

My dad was the one that taught me how to live life independently. He told me that I should never assume that I would be with any one woman for the rest of my life. How could I argue with that at the time? He was divorcing my mother who was his second wife. So there were lessons on how to clean clothes and cook for myself. He is a Navy man so everything had it’s place and unfortunately I never picked up his neatness.

It was my stepmother (whom my dad was dating by the time I graduated high school) that supplied me with the “women’s touch”on things. Again, it may have seemed that I may not have been paying attention but I was.   Nuances like ironing a certain way and shopping for clothes that made sense was something I got from her. Sure this was a long time ago, but when I was in my twenties, I thought I knew everything I could know about life and myself.

While I discovered, after the break up of my first love, that my dad had been right about women and life in general, it isn’t until now that I am able to really fully understand everything. I am fully self sufficient. I do not need a woman to do anything for me. I always felt bad for guys in college who couldn’t do their own laundry. I always wondered how crippling it must be if they were to lose whatever appeal they had that allowed girls to wash their clothes for them.

I can cook anything I set my mind to…which my dad told me that once I start cooking for women that I will never truly be alone (he is so right about that). I laugh because he always had an issue with the way I clean and I will tell you that I hated to do it. Now, I have two roommates and it is all I do. The funny thing is, I do not mind this. I want things in my house cleaned the way I want it to be cleaned. I was just cleaning the stove today before I made some chuletas (pork chops…don’t judge) and I smiled thinking that at one time you could not pay me enough to do this.

Now, as I set my sights to the complete my final goal of getting out of Syracuse, I find that being a single man is not hard at all. I just need to enjoy my independence.

Hurry up and Wait

Last night was an interesting night for me. A tree fell in my neighbor’s yard and I ended up with no power for the rest of night. So I ended up going to the dollar store and stocking up on candles and candle holders. I also bought brand new batteries for the flashlights. After that I did the only thing I can do to pass the time…read.
I ended up finishing a book I should have finished a long time ago, Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho. I read more that a hundred pages and I was glad to finally put that book to rest. When I was done, I just sat in my room amongst the candles to realize what a romantic sight I was beholding. A room full of candles (some were scented) and me on a bed with a book. Not sure many men would be caught dead alone with that type of scene. Anyway, I realized that all of us are bound by time and yet all we do is try to rush things in our lives.
It is true about what was written in The AlchemistWhen you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It took me a while to figure how true this is. The two things that I discovered in this book was not only the idea that we have a personal legend to fulfill but that we also need to wait in order to achieve it. Sure the book is about following our dreams and in many ways I have admitted to mine, but the inner meaning to this book is that everything takes time. The main character in this book does all he can to put his goals in motion but, he also spends a great deal of time waiting…for that right moment.
As a kid in Catholic school, I remember priests saying that when you pray to God that he will always have one of three answers: Yes, No, and Wait. We spend so much of our time trying to rush things. We want instant gratification these days because we live in a time of fast food and the internet. Everything is so within our grasps that not many people truly know what it is to wait for something. Interestingly enough, the less we wait for something, the less we tend to appreciate it.
This is probably the reason why people hate the job searching process, which is nothing but wait. We put all our energies in a document that has all of our skills and experiences and we put it out there for the world to view. Then we wait to see if anyone has taken notice of us. If they have, then we have to wait for the interviews and the decision…all of which makes us wait.Yet, if all goes the way we want and we achieve that end result then the waiting would seem like a blessing.
Time is the one thing that none of us can fight. We all have to face the hands of time. We can try to rush it but what happens when things are rushed? Bad decisions are made, a mess is created and we now spend more time cleaning up messes than we would spent by simply taking our time to get the desired end result. Most of us try to make the perfect decision without making a mistake and that is worse than rushing. Because trying to be perfect may mean taking time to create the perfect outcome may result in living a life in a house of cards.
Yes, I am being vague because time is vague but yet I can come up with a perfect example. Think about baseball and how a pitcher tries to make the perfect pitch with the bases loaded. Instead of pitching without fear of consequence, more often that perfect pitch ends up as the perfect home-run.
My point is that all the goals that I have set for myself are finally being completed and it took so long to get to this point. While the universe may conspire in our favor to help us achieve our desires it take as long as it has to for it to come true. The universe itself took billions of years to achieve the beauty that it is now I am sure we can wait as long as we have to attain our beauty.

Roommates At Last!

I had the idea of getting a roommate to help me with the bills last year. What I do not understand is why it took me so long to finally get one. Clearly, I am not complaining, but I am amazed how everything happens when it needs to happen. I wont get into the whole fate argument, but I do believe things happen for a reason.

As of yesterday, I have my first official roommate. Yes, I had a buddy live with me earlier in the year, but I always knew that was going to be temporary. Here I have a legit person who signed a lease AND paid the security deposit as well the rent for the month. I feel this is a major win for me here. I have goals that I have set out for myself and I am trying to scratch them off the list one by one.

It gets better. It turns out that by next month I will have a second roommate! This is another big win for me. I set out to rent two rooms all along, I just had trouble renting one. My current roommate’s friend just so happen to be looking for another place as well. So it looks like I was able to catch 2 fish with one bait. I am very pleased with this stage of my life. I feel that I now can accomplish the other goals that I have set for myself.

I am really starting to think positively about how things are going in my life. I consider my struggles to be like the pain I feel when I started running. It was so hard to keep at it, but I had to pace myself at a rate that I knew I can maintain a certain amount of consistency. Once I really got into it and used to it…I started losing the weight. This is a great metaphor for my life right now. I need to be consistent and steady and my goals will eventually be met.

Being discouraged is only counter productive because as I mentioned before, my life does not suck. I just have a rough patch based on my own circumstances. As I get accomplish each goal and get out of my rut, I get stronger and more confident. Life is so much easier when you know what you want.

Right now, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, That book…

There comes a point in every person’s life in which they have to either shit or get off the pot. This is a saying that I first heard from my father. I can relate it to the fact that we need to get off the fence and make a decision. For me, I can talk all day about starting something and never doing it or starting something and never finishing it. I think this blog has been a great way for me to advance my writing and I have worked so very hard on editing and make all my posts be as close to perfect as possible. This year, I even went in another direction with my poetry. But, the time as come for me to get this book started.

The reasons that have stopped me have been completely irrelevant because they are all excuses. I could come up with anything that would stop me and it would just be an excuse. So, I will simply say that the main reason has been fear. I think there is a fear that I will not be able to finish it, a fear that it wont be good enough, a fear that even if it is a great book, will I be able to write another one? Again, these are all excuses that I create because success and change can be scary things.

Several people have helped me realize that I need to just do it. They know who they are and when it is all completed I will make sure that I dedicate this first book to those who few people who really believe in my ability. I am not talking about the normal conversation in where I say I am going to write a book and they tell me they want a copy. I am talking about helping me to understand the idea of character development and outlining a book.

So, instead of recreating the wheel, I have decided to expand a short story and build a novel around it. It has taken me a few weeks to get the point that I am right now. I have reshaped the way I want this story to go and have outlined the first six chapters. More importantly, I have started chapter 1 and I think I may be almost done with it. Now, I am a firm believer in constant edits so what I have now will not be what I have a few weeks from now.

For those who may have been reading this blog for awhile may recognize this story. It is called the Angel of Death and I wrote it one night about 2 years ago. I posted the short story last year on this blog and it is very raw. There are typos in it that I now recognize. I have taken that basic shell and expanded it. I feel very confident that I can get a a really good story out of all of this.

There have been other books that I had ideas about. One involving Afro-Latinos and the other my book of poems. I think I can still do what I need to do in regards to my other ideas, but I need to have a real book under my belt. I need to prove to myself that I can do this.

The premise is simple: A woman struggles with the search of the meaning to her nightmares of an Angel of Death that takes the lives of real people. Is she a medium that has been ignoring her gift or is it something more? This novel will delve into the life of a woman who’s past may reveal that we all truly pay for the sins of our parents…

So this is what has been really keeping me busy outside of work and the job search…

Do We Know What We Want?

I was asked this weekend If I knew what I wanted and of course I said that I do. I want to be happy. I know that this is a very vague answer but it is so very simplistic in nature. Not that I consider myself old in any way, but I think that with my age and level of maturity I can really say what it is that I am searching for. I also believe that my fellow brethren who are about my age know exactly what I mean when I am vague enough to say I just want happiness.

Happiness to me is an all encompassing thing that I want to achieve in which my life is as close to bliss as possible. I realize that there are smaller goals that I need to achieve in order to work my way up to this. However, to truly achieve happiness we must first admit that we are unhappy. I think that most people in general hide the fact that they are unhappy and will deal with life because it is what it is. Of course, life is hard and there is no mistake about that.

The other thing is to understand and realize that our lives are not as bad as it could possibly be. Sure, I have my issues. I struggle everyday to survive with bills and the trying to maintain a healthy life as a single man. Not to mention the job search is not all that great. However, I have a roof over my head, I know that I can eat everyday and I have luxuries like a phone and a car. There are people in this world that cannot say that, which is why I try in my heart not to complain too much.

What it really comes down to is that we are not taught how to be happy. We are taught to be ruthless in a job market. We are taught subjects in school that we may or may not use later in life and we are definitely taught that we need to earn that money. Here is the thing: Money cannot buy love nor happiness, but it can destroy both (I am tweeting that as I write this).

Think about this and I may have said this before. We expect 18-22 year olds to decide on a major and what to do for the rest of their lives. What sucks about this is that most us do not find our true selves until our 30s. How are we supposed to manage that? What happens is that anyone us in our mid 20’s can end up in a job we went to school for and end up hating it after the first year. Why? Because as soon as we graduate we are told that we need to go right into the workforce to get that money to support our habits of buying things that we ultimately do not need to survive.

This is also effects relationships as well. How many people do you know have married their college for high school sweethearts? I know of one couple who are now married and they were in love since college. That is very rare these days. People will then tell me…”well our parents have been together for so long…why cant we?” Well, genius, it is different generation and different time. Using my father as an example here, he graduated high school and went into the navy which allowed him to travel the world and see things that I never have because I went to college. What that means is that he had 4 more years of actual life experience then I would ever have.

Take that into consideration when thinking about parents who have been together for so long. When we got out of college we had to figure a way to survive at 22-23, our parents were doing it at 18-19 (and sometimes younger). Those are critical years we are talking here. Now, what makes things worse is that when I graduated in the 90s a bachelor’s degree was good enough. That isn’t the case now, a Master’s degree is what we will all need to make the serious money. So imagine now being a college student having to stay 2-3 more years in school for something you may or may not like later in life and having to learn to survive at 24-25.

I bring all this up because I am 36 years old and I think I finally found myself. I think I am at a point in which not only can I make myself happy but I know what it will take to make another person happy. I have come to accept my own faults and deal with my place in this world. I am perfectly imperfect and I am ok with that. I spent my 20’s thinking that all I needed was a woman to make my life complete only to find out that only I can fix me. Once you get to that place, fear is just an emotion you can control just like the rest.

Updates and Such

I know that I have been slacking on this blog. I have been drawn to poetry and my goal to finish what I start. However, during this time, life has been happening. I have not been able to really focus on one subject or another to formulate a good blog. So I think it would be best to summarize the things that have been happening in my life.

April is always a tough month at work. I consider it to be culmination of all the efforts from the semester happening at once. My life outside of work has been ok. I am on survival mode right now. I have been searching for a roommate for sometime now and the search has been disappointing to say the least. I equate that search to my faith in people. I realized that over the years I have trusted people and allow them in my life so that I can have people to talk to. As I have slowly come to shed those people, I have to realize that I am closer to solitude. The good new is that it looks like I have one guy moving in this week. I am crossing my fingers because I have already had one person flake on me in the last day.

Which brings me to the job search. What do I say without saying too much? This one position that I really wanted never panned out. I felt I had done everything I could to put myself in a good position to get this job. In the end, it was not enough. I took it hard because I am a determined individual who is looking to complete my goals. Of course just when I thought all my options were spent. I found another potential opportunity. I will take the lessons from my first failure and apply it to this. I am one to believe that we have to fail first in order to succeed.

I also have to smile because when I talked about my opinion on women, I had some people talk to me about whether I was right or wrong about this subject. What really makes what I wrote hit home for me is seeing first hand how manipulative some women can be. Witnessing the pieces of a puzzle come together. I shake my head at her. This is the type of women my father has always warned me about. I can now consider her the benchmark of ulterior motives. I can thank her for trusting people that much less, but I want to thank her for providing me fuel for poetry. Poem 21 is dedicated to you.

Speaking of poetry, my dad told me that he read the poem I wrote to honor him. I have no idea why I am so caught off guard about this. I know he reads my blog as a matter of fact he has a correction that he demanded I make! One I figure out where those corrections are to be made I will write a retraction (You know how parents are). Which brings me to my question. Are my poems really that good? I only ask this of myself because there are poems that I don’t think that are that good. There are some I feel I could have done better. I work hard on all of them and they are always as long as they have to be. I do have my favorites. I never would have thought I would write a poem in Spanish.

I am about a month away from my trip to the Dominican Republic. This will be a much needed break for me. I have had a lot of ups and downs so far this year in every aspect of my life. I will give me a chance to look at this beautiful island while celebrating the start of my cousin’s marriage. This will be my time to reflect on what I need to do in the second half of this year to get back to NYC.

How Am I?

It has been a while since I have been able to give constant updates on how I am doing. I find the days going by very fast and the work load to be very heavy. My mind does not race as much as it used to. My body seems to be going in the direction I want it to be. All and all, things are not as bad as they once were.

I will say that I have done something that I have not done since March. I actually hung out with the boys this past weekend. While this may not seem like such a big deal, it is to me. I realized that I have been avoiding hanging out them for one reason or another. I was not really worried about questions or having to explain, men do not do that. I was just concerned with my overall appearance. Looking back at it, I had a very long summer in terms of my stress and emotional state.

There are things that I am still stressing and avoiding. Clearly my dreams are telling me this. I have debt that I do not want and it is weighing me down. To be honest, I am not sure how I am going to get out of it. I have some ideas but I am not sure what I am going to do next. I am sure I will work things out, but it is just another problem to me. I slowly cutting cost after cost so that I can have more money to play with but it is not easy. I have thought about a second job but the hours of this job just wont allow time for that.

The funny thing is, I am not all that stressed about this stuff. I will always have to pay bills, so I just need to do a better job at that. My real stress is just trying to get my life together. I feel that I need to do things in phases. My work life dominates the majority of my time and even then I feel I need to always be better at that. Which does not leave much time for my personal life. The time I spend doing that is just trying to be healthy. However, I have been inherently lazy and it bothers me.

The things is I know what I want. I have had several people ask me if I truly know what I want to do. I can say that I really do. I want to be happy. While that is a very vague answer, it works for me. But, let me list what my one goal. I want to go back to NYC. This is important to me. I want to be where my family is. I want to see my nephew, Justin, as he continues to grow up. I want to see old friends that I have not see in what seems to be forever. I would also like to go to baseball games when I want. I just want to live my life. That will make me happy, at least for the time being.

I haven’t mentioned this until now but, I did tell my supervisor that this will be my last school year working at Syracuse University. I need to move from this place and continue on my path to be a well rounded student affairs professional. I have already been looking for a job and I even applied for a few. My living situation has already been taken care of. I will live with my Aunt, who needs someone in her life to be there for her. I hoping that everything after that will just fall into place.

I have been told on several occasions that it seems like I have my shit together and I can tell you that I am not so sure about that. I think that I have wants and goals in which I am trying to achieve, but I know that I am not getting any younger. However, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and I want to continue down this path…

New Direction

After 101 consecutive posts, I took some time off from blogging. At first, I had no choice in the matter. My Internet was down for a large part of Saturday that lead into Sunday. While I could have blogged from my phone, but I decided not to. I took some time away from writing to refocus on what was me and where I want all this to go.

I want to focus on quality and quantity. I think that I have done my best to get post out no matter where I am. I have always made my personal deadline (sometimes barely) and I have tried to talk about a variety of topics. The only thing that has bothered me is that I feel that perhaps I am losing the quality of my writing but just post so much. However, once I started down the path of posting every day, I did not want to stop because I wanted to prove to myself that I can commit to something and stick to it. After over 100 posts consecutively, I think I have done that.

So what does this mean? Well, I will not be posting everyday anymore. Which means I will take weekends off as I see fit. I will concentrate all my efforts on Monday through Friday. I will only post on the weekends if something is burning me up, which is completely possible. I am giving myself personal freedom to do more creative things with myself.

There are many personal things that I am going through right now that I do not wish to share at this moment. However, I will do that in the near future and when I do that will change how the Blog will be. Which, is ok, actually. So, I am still very excited about my writing and I am planning so many things.

I will try different formats. I notice that fellow bloggers my have themes to certain days like “Wordless Wednesday” or “Random Thoughts Thursday“. I am trying to be as dynamic with this blog myself. However, they have more followers than I do, so much of the themes can work with participation.

One things that really worked for me last week was planning out posts. I had come up with 3 subjects last weekend and spread them out over 3 days. This has made me re-think about blogging on this site. I have always been a day to day blogger. I write for the moment. In the case of last week, I had 3 things I could write about and planned them accordingly. This made it feel as if I could really be more than just a blogger.

Which brings me to my goal. I have a goal to write a book. I know that in order to do that, one needs tremendous about of discipline. What I plan in a book is far reaching and collaborative. I think that I can make a difference in the lives of underrepresented groups.