Thursday, April 30, 2015

Finished With Forty

April 30, 2015
Day 3 6 5

Well, this is it: my last daily blog entry in my year-long pursuit to finish forty. It'll be weird not doing this each day, but I honestly don't foresee any post-bloggum depression. Instead, I'm already feeling really, really good about not having to write and edit one of these damn things each and every day for 365 days in a row!

All venting aside though, this does feel like a really big deal.

When I began this daily blog back on May 1st, 2014, on my 39th birthday, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, or what kinds of topics I'd end up discussing. In the beginning, I talked a lot about aging and perspective, as well as some other generic topics. For the rest of the time, I talked a lot about my present life and stories from my past, and that too made me think a lot about perspective. Perspective and perspective is everything became two of my most-used labels for the search descriptions online. You simply can't, I quickly learned, talk about 40 years of a person's life, let alone your own, without realizing how much perspective means.

I asked my spirit animal to help me with this on Tuesday night. I said, "I'm turning 40 on Friday, so that's on my mind a lot right now." He smiled and told me two things, each as important as the other. "Turning 40 is just one of many tiny little steps you'll take in life," he said, "but 40 years is also a lot of time to look back on." He was telling me two seemingly opposite concepts that somehow intertwined with each other, and I was really impressed. Yes, 40 years represents a big chunk of time, and that time deserves respect, but it's also just one tiny little step in the many steps I'll ever take.

So this is it, the end of my journey...from age 39 to 40 that is. I've walked through my entire life through the course of this blog. I've told stories from my childhood, my high school years, my college years, and all the years since. I've shared my thoughts and opinions on many topics too, I've laughed and cried all along the way, and I've done an awful lot of soul searching.

For 365 days in a row now, I've been on a specific journey within my much larger journey, but now, finally, I'm finished. In just a few hours, I'll turn 40 years old, and begin a brand new journey. And yet even though this past year has been so much about me, I hope you've seen how I've tried to make it about you as well, not just by bringing you into my life, but by sharing ways I feel we're all the same, and all so fiercely connected.

My little 365-day journey from age 39 to 40 is finished now, but a new journey begins tomorrow. A new journey always begins tomorrow, for all of us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So much in one year

April 29, 2015
Day 364

So much has happened this past year in my life, so besides the other topics I've tackled, here are just some of the events and stories that made up my 40th year of life on Earth.

Yes, the below is one big copy block, but I think that's how it should be.

I marched with Andy in his first gay pride parade in Manhattan, and I argued with hate-filled homophobes at the parade on Long Island. I spent five days in Colorado with a side trip to Wyoming for a pilgrimage to Laramie. Andy and I attended his high school reunion, went to a fun block party, and celebrated my Aunt Jane's birthday in the park with a family reunion. Andy's Uncle Fai went into the hospital, and we spent just about every day at the hospital hoping and praying he'd recover. I took a 10-day vacation from everything up in the mountains of Vermont. I was a guest speaker at two classes at Nassau Community College. My Aunt Nancy died after a battle with cancer. Andy's Uncle Fai died after two months in the ICU. I got called for Jury Duty, and ended up spending a week as Juror Number 2 in the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn. I spent all of November writing half of a new novel I plan to make my fifth published book in the spring of 2016. Andy and I traveled to Maryland and D.C. to visit with friends and family. I bought a new computer. I wrote and shared with you a poem about potholes, and later that week, got a flat tire from a pothole the size of Montana. We went through a terrible winter filled with lots and lots of snow and freezing cold temperatures. I won the top prize of $500 in the Super Bowl boxes game I participated in. I spent a weekend sightseeing in NY which included my first trip down to the World Trade Center since 2001. Andy and I spent a weekend in Massachusetts for his niece Lorelei's birthday. I spoke to another class at Nassau Community College. Andy and I attended the beautiful wedding of one of his colleagues. And I prepared, as best I could, to turn 40.

At the start of May last year, if you told me I'd attend the funerals of two family members, serve jury duty for the first time in my life, get a flat tire that would sideline my car for months, and had the kind of winter we just had, I'd be both surprised and immensely saddened. Yet at the same time, if you told me I'd go on some great trips to Colorado, Wyoming, Vermont, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts, as well as get a brand new computer, win $500 in the Super Bowl, do the amount of writing I did this past year, and successfully analyze the ever-living shit out of turning 40, I'd probably be very happy to hear that. 

This past year of my life has been what the 39 years before it were about too: life. As my friend Cherri reminds me, "It's the only game in town."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finishing Forty Statistics

April 28, 2015
Day 363

Here are the statistics for this blog as of today, April 28, 2015...

Total Page Views (doesn't include my page views): 11,757

Page Views by Country:

United States: 10,209
France: 378
Russia: 303
Canada: 194
Germany: 70
Poland: 67
Ukraine: 57
United Kingdom: 41
Australia: 32
Turkey: 23

Note: When you subtract the country views from the total views, you get 383, so 383 page views came from people whose country or locale was not tracked. Disturbing? Perhaps they just don't track certain countries, I'm not sure.

5 Most Popular Blog Entries:

My Buddhist Calling
11/23/14, 202 page views

Sex Outdoors, and Other Dating Adventures
3/24/15, 76 page views

Crunching My Facebook Numbers
4/21/15, 75 page views

Guest Blogger: Andy
4/23/15, 74 page views

The time my mom died...and sent me a message back
3/15/15, 65 page views

Comments posted by others: 21

Followers: 1

Least Popular Blog Entries
Note 1: I got much fewer views in the beginning. Note 2: Even so, it's amazing how all the posts on this list below happened in one week's time.

One month down, eleven more to go!
5/31/14, 4 page views


June's Many Meanings
6/1/14, 3 page views

Let someone else honk first
6/2/14, 3 page views

God, Bless America?
5/26/14, 2 page views


I think what surprises me the most as I look back on this year is how many different topics I touched on, and how many different stories from my life I ended up telling. With 365 days at my disposal, I often focused on my past and present, but only seldom focused on my future. There are A LOT of blog entries I thought were among my best writing ever which got very few views, so I hope many of you who read this collection online will consider buying it in book form too.

As I've mentioned before, 50% of all profits from the sale of this book in 2015 will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So you won't just be getting a cool book filled with all sorts of different entries; you'll also be giving to a worthwhile charity that helps people in the grip of depression, as well as those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Have a question about the blog or about any statistic here? Or even a question about statistics you don't see here that you want me to answer? Let me know, and I'll update the above before closing this entry to edits.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Choreographing life

Giuseppe Bausilio singing at the American-Swiss Ballet
company in NY. Joshua Chang on piano and Michael Portantiere
helping out with digital page turning.



April 27, 2015
Day 362

I'm not a dancer, and no one would ever...EVER...think I was, but I do still have great admiration for all kinds of dance, and the dancers who do the things they do.

Last night, I attended a choreographers' series at the American-Swiss Ballet in New York.  Twelve beautiful, young dancers expertly performed the choreographed dances of seven different choreographers, some of whom were the dancers themselves.   

I wrote about Giuseppe Bausilio, the featured performer in the mix, a few months ago in my blog post about Newsies.  He's 17 years old and a phenomenon by any measure.  If you haven't done so already, check out his bio and résumé on his website to see what I mean!  As always, it was a treat last night to watch Giuseppe dance, and at the reception afterwards, he sang and played his guitar for us all too.  I have to say, I was both impressed and quite touched when he brought up this blog as we spoke.  I'm always happy to have it recognized, and especially so coming from someone like him!

Last night was all about choreography, and choreography is to dance what a script is to an actor, and to some degree what a book is for an author.  If you grabbed one of my books and started reading from an index card you'd secretly stashed inside, with words written by someone else, even just a few, I'd know it right away.  Those are NOT my words!, I'd shout.  How dare you change my story!

Okay, so I probably wouldn't shout, but you better believe I'd know something was wrong.  The same is true for choreography.  If a dancer takes the wrong steps or even looks off in the wrong direction at the wrong moment, the choreographer will know, and he or she will not be happy.

I do this throughout my life, too.  I give myself a script, and I stick to it.  When I don't stick to it?  I chastise myself, I scold and berate myself for not following the pre-planned schedule for my day, week, or life.  I shake my head in disgust as I see the scale still reads x when I want it to read something closer to b, or when my book sales don't rise to even half of what I think they should be.  Whether scales or sales though, I'm forever adapting.

Choreography is about adapting just as much as it is about creating.  If you have a piece that your dancers just won't be able to do, or are really struggling to achieve, you're going to adapt it a bit.  Just do this, you'll tell your dancer, or remember to keep your chin up and your head back, or feel yourself as one with the music as it plays

When I choreograph my life, I hit these kinds of stumbling blocks with my own mind, body, or finances.  And we're all doing this all the time.  We're managing our time and resources, abilities and struggles every single day, and it's a dance as much as it is a life.  It's a movement through this world that's graceful one moment and a train wreck the next.  We're going to blossom and droop in many different ways throughout our lives, and the choreography we plan will have to be reinvented and re-imagined on the spot.  It's the way it is.  It's the way dance is, and the dance of life as well. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Walking Forward

Bought new sneakers and shoes last night!
April 26, 2015
Day 361

Last night, Andy and I made a trip to the mall, because I was in desperate need of new sneakers and shoes...as in, they were crumbling beneath me, and my feet were soaked every single time it rained.  I really should have gone sooner, I know, but just happy we finally went last night!

I think buying new shoes is a fitting metaphor for this journey I'm on right now, or more specifically, for the journey I'm about to be on.  When this blog ends on Thursday in advance of my 40th birthday on Friday, I'll just be starting a new adventure in my life, and instead of taking 365 daily steps leading up to 40, I'll actually be 40, without any daily blog to chronicle it in (thank God).

My new sneakers and new shoes will walk with me now starting today, and only I will know what it's like to walk in my own shoes in the days ahead.  As I walk forward toward my 40th birthday and my 41st year on this planet, I'll take new steps toward my future all the time, whatever that future may be.  With new shoes and sneakers on my feet, I'm ready to walk through all new adventures waiting for me in the year ahead.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's Time

April 25, 2015
Day 360

My time as a 30-something, like my time writing this blog, is quickly running out, or away, or ending, or I'm ending it, or something.  I've always been fascinated by time, especially at how much control we let it have over our lives, so I'd like to just think on it a bit here today.

Time is this gigantic construct we as human beings have formed into our lives to the point that we rely on it to keep us on track every second of every day, but it's also the greatest mystery still beyond our comprehension.  Take any so-called believer in God and any so-called non-believer back to the Big Bang, and you'll quickly find yourself with two people scratching their heads.  One might point to the time before time as this mysterious solitude when God was just waiting to create, and the other might point to it as this mysterious solitude when creation was about to create itself.  For many of us, neither of these explanations works, and we reach that point every adult reaches when we say, "You guys really don't know what you're talking about, do you?"

I've always loved the quote by Edwin Conklin, who said, "The probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the Unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing factory."  I know there's more to science than this, and life has proven over and over again just how capable it is of forming itself into new creatures with new abilities, but you've got to also appreciate the appreciation by Mr. Conklin too.  Whether you believe in God or not, we've certainly all come a long, long way over time.

This leads me to my main question, the question I've thought about most of my adult life: if time is a construct of a larger space time reality, in which space and time are interwoven and always have been, then why can't we see previously occurring events more clearly?  If we can see and measure space, even dark matter now, why can't we somehow see real events that have already happened?  I've had enough powerful dreams over the course of my first 40 years on this planet to recognize how flexible time is, how memory works too, yet when I'm fully conscious and aware, not asleep or in some overly reflective state, why can't I then too see the past in front of me?  Why is it so hidden?  And indeed, can the future reveal itself in the same way?  If there are more and more people out there (who we've only discovered in the age of the internet) with powers to predict or warn of future events, why can't we all somehow see time the way we see all the constructs of space...all this stuff around us?

Deep thoughts, sure, but they're deeper than I want them to be!  I want the depths to be such that I can plunge myself into them from time to time, and pull out gold nuggets of truth from the caves of my brain or even the recesses of my soul.

I'm turning 40 years old next Friday, May 1st, 2015, yet I truly don't feel that I have lived forty years yet (or even five-and-a-half days short of it).  If tasked to determine my age based on how I've felt the passing of time, I'd guess at a number closer to 30 years, maybe 32.  This number has nothing to do with how I feel in mental or physical age either, or how old I think I look.  It's only how old I feel as far as the length of time I've been a human being on Planet Earth.

I know life is easier, and indeed more fun too when we just think on all the silly things, or the funny or strange events that have happened to us, as I've done so much over this past year, but I couldn't let the end of this year of my life pass by without pausing, just for today, to honor the mystery.  I am a believer in God, but I'm also wise enough to respect and honor the science that seeks to answer so many of the same questions I have. 

Time is passing by, and it's walking next to us, and it's even walking behind us too.  I don't know what time is, but I know it's much bigger than all its little parts.  Time is not just seconds and minutes whipping around in a circle.  It's the face of the clock itself.  It's the face that sees with its own kind of eyes and peers out with its own knowing none of us with any kind of mind--scientific or spiritual--can quite figure out.  Still, we'll keep trying, wrestling with the concept, for all the time we have.

Friday, April 24, 2015

butterflies in my stomach

April 24, 2015
Day 359

Thank you to Andy for yesterday's blog entry!  Just 6 more to go now after today!

I've had these butterflies flying around inside my stomach ever since that day I ate the jar of caterpillars, so I shouldn't be surprised anymore.  Still, it is quite disconcerting whenever they start up.

I might be looking out the window as an old friend walks up to my door, or I'll be attending an event where I know I'll see someone I haven't seen in ages.  Sometimes it happens when I'm speaking to an audience, whether to a hundred people or just 10-15, although it also seems to happen when I'm watching a live event on TV too.  Without fail, the butterflies seize the moment and start flapping around like crazy.

I think the butterflies are able to rest comfortably in my stomach most of the time, but when I begin to get anxious or upset, the stomach acid starts bubbling up, and the butterflies get jittery, trying their best to not get incinerated.  That's just a theory, though; I'm really not sure.

They're going to work right now, actually, just because I'm thinking more and more about turning 40.  I can hear the echo: 40... 40... 40...  Forty years old.  Four decades.  Middle age.  Old.  Twenty years old + twenty more years on top of that. 

Still, I'm trying my best to stay calm.  There are many cool adventures just ahead of me now, and some of those are giving me the happy kind of stomach butterflies.  I'll have some fun celebrations for my 40th birthday, I'll be seeing a dear friend who I haven't seen in years, and I've even got a brief trip to Atlantic City planned on the horizon too. 

All of those are good butterflies, and they flutter about in ways that make me leap up and fly around with them!  Well, at least until we're all horrifically melted in stomach acid.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guest Blogger: Andy

April 23, 2015
Day 358

For the past year, Sean has diligently written a blog entry every day.  Many weekends I would tell him to just relax and post something the next day, that no one would notice.  Without fail though, he made sure an entry was always written and posted.  

Today, Sean has turned the reins over to me for a guest blog entry.  I’m very excited that he’s almost done with this project, and honored that he’s asked me to contribute an entry, so let’s see how I do...

As we both approach 40, I’m always amazed at the pace of technology.  Just the concept of a cell phone or a digital camera 20 years ago was abstract and expensive, but today it’s taken for granted.  This makes me curious about the technological singularity that is theorized for the mid-century.  We’ll just have to wait and see where our self-driving cars take us, I suppose.

On a random note, yesterday was Earth Day, which always makes me think about the awful environmental conditions future generations will inherit.  It seems we are developing every conceivable inch of the planet just to satisfy consumer demand for food or products, but I do hope we can reverse this trend at some point.

Today at work is “bring your kids to work day”, one of my favorite days at the office!  Everyone lets their hair down for the day, and we all get free ice cream in the afternoon!

Anyway, I guess I’ll end there.  I’d like to say congratulations to Sean for all the hard work he’s done writing this blog, day after day.  I’m looking forward to seeing it in book form where I can flip through each day, and catch up on all the entries I’ve missed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The time I visited a XXX movie theater in Philly


April 22, 2015
Day 357

My friends thought it was all very funny, but my take was quite different.  Looking back on that night, I'd call it sad and scary, but in my mid-20s brain, still very new to all things gay, it was an extremely uncomfortable but extremely eye-opening affair.

You entered through the front doors like anywhere else, only nothing about the front of this movie theater indicated there was anything too crazy going on inside.  You had to know something was going on--you wouldn't have just accidentally wandered in from the street.

It was all very dark, but not unlike what a movie theater should be, except this place was...different.  At this place, you'd never find the newest Disney feature film or even the newest Fast & Furious sequel for that matter.  Instead, all they played were triple-X gay porn movies, for the pleasure of their guests.  No, we didn't see anything unseemly, but it was obviously happening.

Still, this wasn't the craziest part.  Oh yes, there's more!

Next, we walked toward a door leading to the basement.  We moved down the stairs very slowly, hearing very little noise coming from what looked like a pitch-black cellar.  We turned a corner, and I saw approximately four dozen men all moving slowly around a large room.  Everyone was clothed, but this was apparently just the outer chamber.  All around the perimeter of the room, in these little chambers the size of changing rooms at the mall, men had paired off to do other things with each other.  No doors on these chambers though, so other men stood outside and watched.

I was shocked, I was sickened, I was pretty scared too, and I just wanted out.  How could people be so unsafe and so open to sharing anything--even just a kiss--with a guy they'd just met?  I really felt so strange being there, and hoped we'd leave soon, but then it happened.

A cute young guy locked eyes with me.  Despite the very dark lighting down there in the basement, I saw he was about my age and very attractive.  I saw he wanted me, wanted us to find a changing room of our own to disappear to.  And I thought about it.  I have to admit, I thought about it.

I moved on though, and my friends and I soon left, but in just those few seconds down there, I learned how easy it was to meet someone and do something like that on a Saturday night, even if it meant having five men watching you from the doorway. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crunching My Facebook Numbers

April 21, 2015
Day 356

It took me a long time to prepare today's blog, because I had to do a lot of counting.

First I counted how many family members I was connected to on Facebook (35), and thought how surprisingly low that number was.  Then I counted the number of people I've met through work, past and present (38), and that number made sense.  Next I counted how many people I was friends with through Billy Elliot (86), which I'd always suspected was a high number, and it really is, especially considering I've got "only" 335 Facebook friends.

After all that, I counted how many people I've known since high school or before, and was only slightly surprised to see the number was so low (12).  The number of people I've known since college or just afterward, basically from the age of 18 to 24, was even lower (7), but that makes more sense, because that was the time I was in the religious life, and many of my friends just after that time either disowned me or we just mutually lost touch.

The number of people I'm connected to on Facebook who I met through Andy is pretty low (9), but the number of people I'm connected to because of the Long Island GLBT community is high (30).

Finally, after crunching all of those numbers, I did two more searches through my friends list... 

Of my 335 Facebook friends, there are only 25 I've not yet met in person.  (That says a lot about how closed I've traditionally kept my Facebook, even though so many of my posts are public now.) 

And of my 335 Facebook friends, 59 of them I met online before I met them in person.  Some were guys I met for dates who later became friends, some were Billy Elliot fan friends I knew online before meeting in person, some were Long Island GLBT community people, and one was Andy.

Whew!  These numbers aren't exact in every case, I'd bet, because I moved fairly quickly through my list each time I made a new count, but they're pretty close.  It's a good list for me to have, and I suspect a very helpful list to look back on years from now too.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Excerpt from my third book

Book 2 pictured.
April 20, 2015
Day 355

I shared another excerpt with you once before, on September 9th, but I want to share one more today.  This is a passage from my third book, the last in the trilogy I've been working on for several years now.  Hope you enjoy!

This is from the start of Chapter 15 of Book 3, and the whole chapter follows this format, moving back and forth from a scene in Heaven to a scene in Hell to a scene on Earth.

(Apologies for all formatting issues from my copy and paste.)

Heaven…

Jesus stared down at his letters, looking for his next move.  “Is ‘hufa’ a word?”  He looked at his friends for the answer, but none came. 

Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus were playing Scrabble, and Jesus was in last place.  He placed the tiles down carefully anyway, H-U-F-A.  “Seriously?” Moses asked.  Jesus looked at him with surprise and said, “What?  I think it’s a word.”  “We’re still using just English, right?” Mohammed asked.  “It is English,” Jesus said, “It’s a type of sea turtle.”  They stared at him, certain he was bluffing, and both wondering if they should take the risk.  “Whatever,” Moses finally said, looking away and marking down the score.  “You let him get away with too many like that,” Mohammed said.  “Do you want to challenge me?” Jesus asked.  They stared at each other for a few seconds, and then Mohammed said, “No.”  Jesus smiled and reached for a few more tiles from the bag.

Moses was already leaning forward with his tiles, carefully placing the letters, “M-I-R-R-O-R” on the board.  “Do you think they’ll announce this soon then?” he asked them.  “Probably,” Mohammed said, “Especially because they’ll want to get this started now ahead of the holiday season.  It’s really the perfect time of year to encourage ecumenism.  What day is it?  Something like Mid-November on Earth?  They’ll want to act before the Rosh Hashanah.” 

Moses stopped what he was doing and looked over at him.  “Do you mean Hanukkah?”  Mohammed frowned.  “Which is the one where they eat the matzo?”  Moses looked over at Jesus a moment, and then back to Mohammed.  “That’s Passover.”  “I thought Passover was when they eat the hamantash.”  “No, no, no,” Moses said, shaking his head, “That’s Purim.”  Mohammed made a face.  “So what do they eat on Yom Kippur?”  Moses grunted and reached for replacement tiles.  “Nothing.”


Hell…

“Jarez, you’re trying my patience,” Sonoran said.  The two sat in huge chairs across from each other inside Sonoran’s private study, a large fire lighting the entire room from behind Sonoran.  Two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves flanked the impressive stone fireplace, and a chess board on a small, black-marble table waited patiently between them.   

“Why don’t you just go back to your little palace and leave me be?!  If you aren’t going to finally vow your allegiance to Lucifer, then what’s the point of you coming here at all?”  Jarez stared at his twin brother with dismay, but not yet dismissal.  He was still holding out hope, despite the absence of any good reason, and he refused to give up just yet.

“All I’m saying, brother, is you should come and spend some time with me.  You can stay in Heaven as long as you want, just so you can see firsthand the kind of good work we’re doing.  There are so many great changes coming to Earth.  Besides, you don’t even know if you’ll still be here next year, let alone next week.”

“Oh please,” Sonoran practically spat back, “I’ve heard that nightmare scenario threatened countless times.  What makes you think he’d actually go through with it?”  Jarez remained silent.  “Exactly as I thought,” Sonoran said, “Empty threats and silly daydreams.  The whole lot of you are living some kind of warped fairytale, and you’re long overdue to just wake up already.  Your move.”

Jarez let out a painful sigh, then leaned forward and stared for a long time at the chess board.  He knew there was no inherent good built into the game, no evil either, just an agreed-upon race to checkmate.  He spied his next move, along with Sonoran’s probable response, and then gently moved his rook forward.


The Planet In Between…

They sat around the large table praying in silence, each reflecting in their own way, with their own words and references, on the task at hand.  “This will be the last secret meeting we need to have,” Thomas had told them, “And before we do or say anything, let us just sit and pray quietly for a few minutes, asking God for the help we undoubtedly need to achieve this monumental task.”

After about 5 minutes passed like this, and they were all clearly ready to continue, Pope Thomas began the meeting.  “My sisters and brothers, we are all one family, all of us children of our one God.  We have long histories behind us, some of them very different from the person to our left or right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a shared future together.”  Applause met his words, and Thomas smiled to feel the enthusiasm in the room.  “As you know,” he continued, “I’ve said from the beginning that we cannot do this unless each of us is willing to give something up.  If we’re to truly honor this calling, this shared path we’re about to embark upon, we need to release our titles and attachments, at least to one another.  We need to relinquish our albs and our rings, our stations and our ministries.”   


He paused and looked around at all of them.  “What we do next will only succeed if it’s preceded first by a profound undoing of all circumstantial ego about our past work.  We cannot hope to be filled up with a new work and a new ministry until we first empty ourselves of the attachments to our upbringing.  None of this means our separate faith traditions will be lost or completely dismissed, only that a new faith, based on our new shared truths, will be the basis of our new worldwide community.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

NEXT WEEK

April 19, 2015
Day 354

Oh geez.  Today is Sunday, which means I can now officially say that my 40th birthday is next week.  As in, one week from this Friday.  As in, 12 days from today.  As in, only 277 full hours away now.

My God, where has this past year gone?  Well, truthfully, it has felt like a year for me, because of this blog.  For 354 days in a row now, I've written a daily blog entry, and for 354 days in a row now, it's made me think about the passing of time.

I'll do a year-in-review blog some time in the next 11 days, which should really help put things in perspective, for both you and me.  Taking my own quick glance backwards, it's amazing to see what happened in my life in just the past year, so that'll be both fun and difficult for me in equal measure.

A year sure does move along pretty quickly though, and when you pause to think about how few years some of us end up getting, it makes you realize how much more living we should to be doing.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

today's blahg

Maui 2012, 2:48 AM, ahead of our drive to the
top of Mount Haleakala to watch the sun rise
April 18, 2015
Day 353

I slept like a baby last night.  I tossed, I turned, I was awake half the night, and I wanted to cry.  Andy's mom and dad came over yesterday, ahead of their drive back to North Carolina this morning, which always means they get our beds and we get the old mattresses on the floor upstairs.  Usually, I can handle this fine, and it's not bad, but for whatever reason, last night my body just wasn't having it.

So I'm skipping the city today, which sucks, but I just can't get myself moving here.  Haven't woken up yet, need to make coffee, need to blog, write, and edit, and almost definitely need to go back to sleep at some point too.

Next week: watch for a special blog entry written by Andy, an excerpt from my third book, and a blog entry about strip clubs and XXX movie theaters.  Oh, and probably more God stuff too.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The feels...the feels!

Maui, 2012
April 17, 2015
Day 352

The feels is one of the newest catchphrases the people of Earth seem to have adopted.  It comes from a long line of other catchphrases, of course, like my recent favorite YOLO, recent un-favorite a'ight, as well as the desire to call everyone and their brother your bae.

Last night I had the great pleasure of speaking to a class of college students and young professionals on the campus of Nassau Community College.  I spoke about my books, my writing process, my editing process, and even some opinions on the English language as a whole.  It was a lot of fun!

At the end of class, I surprised them by handing out free copies of my first book to everyone in the class, including the teacher.  Some had asked about where they could buy my books, so it was fun to be able to put my first book in their hands right away.  Today is the two-year anniversary of the day my first book went live on Amazon too.

Tonight, I'm having dinner with a close friend who recently turned 40 herself, tomorrow I'm exploring the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum with Andy and some family members, then next week on Monday and Wednesday I have dinner plans with more dear friends.  It's a good thing I'm exercising so much!

Wow, all these feels though!  My bae Andy and I have so much to look forward to in the next few days, and I'm sure in the year ahead too.  We often keep a busy schedule, but YOLO, a'ight?!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

But wait, what comes next?

April 16, 2015
Day 351

Every day for almost a year now, I've shared stories of my past, or paused to reflect about life as I've known it to be.  This week though, for the very first time, I realized I have something absolutely huge waiting for me starting May 1st.

Starting May 1st, once I've turned the big 4-0, I will have 40 years' worth of stories and thoughts behind me, but also a blank piece of paper waiting for me to write on next.  All new life experiences to be had, places to visit, people to meet, and lessons to be learned.  On May 1st, I'll be starting an all-new time period in my life, a brand new era.

Of course there aren't too many items on my post-40 calendar just yet: I have dinner plans mid-May, will publish my third book in June or July, I've got a single theatre ticket waiting for me in August, I'll publish this book in November, and I hope to finish writing my fifth book by the end of the year for a Spring 2016 publication.  Big things, yes!  But for the most part as I look ahead, I really don't have any idea what the future will hold for me, or what new stories are waiting to be formed. 

For 351 days in a row so far, I've thought about all that has been and all that is right now, but with just two weeks left of this blog and this 40th year of my life, I'm finally starting to look ahead.  And what do I see?  I see lots of sunny days coupled with plenty of not-so-sunny days too.  I see laughter and tears, celebration and mourning, profound happiness, and yes, even profound sadness.  In other words, as I look ahead of me now, I see life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Keyed, Mugged, and Swindled

Found online, not footage of my incident.
April 15, 2015
Day 350

A few years ago, I walked through the parking lot of a train station to find someone had purposely keyed (scraped a key across) my car. 

It was no accident, I soon confirmed, once I realized the word FAGGOT had been scraped across the entire passenger side.  My car has a rainbow sticker on the back, so the perpetrator knew I was proud to be gay.  I never had the slur removed or the car repainted, because it's difficult to see from a distance anyway, but also because I want people to know some of what I've had to put up with.

Someone sold me a timeshare program once that cost me five-to-six hundred dollars.  He told me I'd won it, that all I had to do was pay the small fee to get all the great bonus gifts and vacations.  I lived, I lost it all, and I learned.  On a separate occasion, I learned a life lesson about Time-Life videos too.  I ordered one, not realizing I'd keep getting another one each month.  Needless to say, I had at least nine months' worth of those things stacked up before I canceled. 

And in high school, I was in Manhattan with two close friends one day when someone came up behind me and started trying to steal my coat.  It was daytime in a very nice neighborhood on Park Avenue, as memory recalls, and much to my dismay, I soon watched my two friends run away once they saw what was happening. 

I was left to fend off the mugger for myself.  He was a little younger than I was, shorter, and didn't seem to have any weapon, so when he punched me under the chin and in my side several times, I kept fighting him off.  In the end, I ran away--with my coat and all my belongings--and my attacker just cursed me out and went off in the other direction.  I was very rattled nonetheless, disappointed in my friends too, but grateful he didn't hurt me more.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The circles of life

April 14, 2015
Day 349

Yesterday I went for my inaugural walk around Eisenhower Park on my lunch break.  I do this from roughly April through November each year, always just a half hour or so on my lunch break, and it's always refreshing to the mind and body.

The park isn't laid out with much of a formula, but there's one section I enjoy walking through most often, because I basically go around in a circle at one point in the middle.

It's a really large circle, so it's not as if I feel like I'm seeing all the same things--quite the opposite, actually.  First I pass by the miniature golf area followed by the batting range, and then I walk around a small roundabout where people like to sit or ride their bicycles, and then I start around the much larger circle.

All around the larger circle, there are trees and squirrels, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, and even a large building housing indoor ice skating rinks.  After I complete that circle, I go back a different way toward my car, passing through more woods and several picnic areas, as well as another baseball field.

All of these circles and turns in just a short 25-30 minute walk, and I love it.  It distracts me from the concerns behind me--work, bills, diet, book writing, book editing, and everything else. 

And because yesterday was the first day I returned to the park for my walk since the autumn, I'm seeing how different it all looks right now.  The trees, still tossing off leaves in November, are now completely bare, yet pulsing with the tiniest buds of new life.  They're barely perceptible still, but they're there, and I know in just a few weeks, the park will be alive with much more green on the trees and many more people everywhere too, all of us walking along, in circles.

Monday, April 13, 2015

My YouTube Channel

The Big Bang - Deleted Scene
April 13, 2015 
Day 348

For quite a while, YouTube was a huge part of my life.  I watched it every day, I followed a bunch of big YouTube stars--people who became famous because of the site--and I made a bunch of my own videos too.

In August of 2008, I even traveled to Toronto to experience the largest YouTube Convention in the world at that time, 888 (so named because it took place on 8/8/2008).  I was such a newbie at that time, but like so many attendees, I felt like anything was possible.  We met and posed for awkward photographs with other people, including popular YouTubers Dave Days, Tyler Oakley, and Tom McLean (frezned), among many others.  It was a surreal experience for all of us, the famous people and the nobodies, and it was just as awkwardly awesome and awesomely awkward as you'd expect.

https://www.youtube.com/user/angelenroute

My take on YouTube has always been the same: anything's possible.  This is our UHF, our chance to create original content for the world to see, no matter how crazy or silly that content might be.  And my programming lineup of choice?  I created original characters, 99% of which I improvised on the spot.  I even made business cards to hand out to people, hoping more people would discover my channel and me.

Making videos is really fun, and I enjoy coming up with strange original characters too.  I'm a performer at heart, but to get past my inherent stage fright, I prefer to do these kinds of one-take videos at home, without any audience watching me.

As my daily-blog-writing adventure comes to a close soon (only 17 days left now), I'm hoping to start making new videos for my YouTube channel again.  If you've never seen my skits or vlogs, they're just a tad bit odd, I confess, but I try to bring the funny more than the strange, so check them out?

https://www.youtube.com/user/angelenroute

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The God's Honest Truth Is...

April 12, 2015
Day 347

The God's honest truth is, I hate being overweight, but I love food.  I work very hard to lose weight and maintain my weight these days, because I know without all the gym time, my body will very quickly gain and retain it all, up to and surpassing my highest weight.  Overeating is part of my problem, but so too are the kinds of foods I crave.  It's a lifelong struggle for me, and only those who go through this all the time really know how difficult it is.

The God's honest truth is, I want to be a world-famous writer.  I have zero expectations of reaching any great fame this year or next, but I'm absolutely working hard to improve my writing every single day, and I have complete faith in myself that it's possible for me to achieve this goal.  I understand how difficult it is to break into the industry, so to speak, to schmooze my way through the crowd of other writers out there, but you better believe it's my end goal.

The God's honest truth is, I take Andy for granted far too often.  I love him to death, feel madly in love with him, and am still passionately attracted to him, but I also admit--and hate to admit--that I take him for granted far too much.  He's such a beautiful guy and such a sweet, wonderful soul, and I am so lucky every day I get to be around him, let alone kiss him and share my life with him.

The God's honest truth is, I love my job, but I hate my salary, and it seems like the only way I'll get more money is if my writing career takes off.  I'd really like to have some freelance editorial work as well, because that's the kind of work I can do in my free time throughout the week and on the weekends, without it overwhelming me too much.

The God's honest truth is, I love my life, and compared to the struggles and heartaches some people have, I've got no right complaining about anything.  Yes, I'll always strive for "more" and "better", but the God's honest truth is, so much of what I have right now are the kinds of things other people are wishing they had, and in that respect, I'm reminded how blessed I already am.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Play Nice!

April 11, 2015
Day 346

We tell little children all the time, "Play nice now," when they seem to be acting up, stealing each other's toys, or otherwise causing mischief.  So why do we keep our mouths shut so much when we see adults doing this?

The answer we tell ourselves is always the same: because they're adults, and we need to let them learn for themselves.  But don't you ever stop and think to yourself, How did that guy never learn that lesson, that you just don't say those kinds of things, or act that way in public?  Who let her get this way?  Who raised him?

I could give you a few dozen examples of times I soured the mood by asking an obvious question like this directly to people with others present, but gratefully, most of those times weren't too overt or loud on my part...most of them.  But I do think we could all be teachers and mentors, and even psychotherapists, more than we are.  Yeah, I know, it's inappropriate to tell someone else how to live their lives, but if there's an opportunity for a teachable moment, I believe you should rise to the occasion in as kind and graceful a manner as you can, and be that teacher in that moment.  It could just be a funny "play nice now" to a stranger or friend, but you never know when a few words of advice spoken gently can change a person's life forever.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Unleashed


April 10, 2015
Day 345

I'll keep this one short because it's Friday, but also because I know my preaching posts don't always go over too well.  I no longer subscribe to any religion or church.  Though I still consider myself a Christian, and a Buddhist in some ways too, I'm more a fan of Jesus than a so-called Christian, and more a fan of Buddha than a so-called Buddhist. 

If Jesus had a "Lex Luthor" in his life, it was the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day.  His greatest polar opposite was not Judas, Pilate, or even Lucifer.  No, his greatest battles were always fought with those representing the church of his day, the Pharisees.  They railed against Jesus, and even had him arrested because they hated how incendiary he was.

Why do I bring all this up...again?  Why do I insist on being downright incendiary at times?  Because I've been around for almost 40 years now, and I've seen a hell of a lot.  I've seen religion and religious people from every which angle.  I've been on the inside too, living as a monk and visiting with important Catholic Church leaders in their private residences in Rome.  And yes, I've met some very good people who are serving God happily and well from within the walls of religion. 

But I've also discovered how much more the soul comes alive when given the chance to run through the world without its leash on.  I've discovered how much more there is to see and learn in this beautiful world when you aren't just traveling around in the same tired old church van.  And I've discovered most of all that this is how it's supposed to be.  So go to the planetarium and watch the shows, learn what you can, and enjoy, but don't ever forget that there's a sky full of stars out there too, and sometimes you need to just lay down in the grass and look up to find answers on your own.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Embracing My Inner Teacher

April 9, 2015  Day 344

After today, I've got just three weeks left until I hit the big 4-0.  Noticing my time on this blog was running out, I reminded Andy last night that he still hasn't given me his "guest entry" I'd asked him for at least twice before.  I know it's my 40th year, and my blog, but I just thought it'd be really sweet of me to surrender 1/365th of myself to my life partner.

I also just went through my first three months of blog entries here to get an idea of what I've told you over the course of this year.  Overall, I'm happy with it.  I definitely wrote longer posts in those first two months especially, and I saw that on Day 50 I finally realized I should write them a tad shorter.

But what surprised me the most was how much more I talked about turning 40 in those first two months after turning 39.  It was like I was obsessed.  Now though?  Not so much.  Now it's more of a big day waiting for me just ahead, followed by many more days of not caring too much.  I'm 99% certain I don't look my age yet, and 100% certain I don't feel my age yet either.  I suppose I do know I'm 39 pushing 40 now, but I'm willing to own that. 

I worked hard to reach this point in my life, when I'm the teacher more often than I'm the student, and that's good!  Bring it on!  I may never be a parent, but I like the idea of standing in front of the room directing the class, instead of sitting quietly behind one of the desks.  To that goal, I'm happy to announce that I'll once again be guest speaking at Nassau Community College next week, discussing my writing process with students seeking to improve their reading and writing skills.  I'm grateful for the opportunity once again, and grateful to take ownership of my role as a teacher.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Editing My Life

April 8, 2015
Day 343

So I'm in the process now of proofreading and editing my third book ahead of a hoped-for June publication date.  I'm on page 95 of 313 pages, so I still have a ways to go, but it's a fun process for me, especially since this is the first time I'm even reading the book!  When you write a book, you're moving forward constantly, so you can't read it as a whole until you're done.

Strangely, that's not quite true for life.  We do review our lives all the time--we even edit some of the details too, at least publicly.  We say things are fine when they aren't, we cover up lies or embarrassments, we leave out details, and even lie to ourselves from time to time.

You can't really edit your life.  You can't go back and change your story so you never met that person who hurt you so much, or make it so you meet that other person even sooner.  You can't undo your job history or fix your grades or other struggles in school.  In my case, I can't un-fail out of high school, or go back and decide against giving four years of my life to the church as a monk.  Neither can I stop myself from gaining weight as much as I did, or throw a hand across my mouth to prevent me from saying that hurtful thing to a loved one.  Try as I might, none of it can be undone.

We can't just edit our lives after the fact.  It's just impossible.  What we can do, what we should do, is edit as we go: stop ourselves from getting angry as we're getting angry, calm ourselves as we're getting upset, and think a bit more when our hearts or mouths start running away from sanity.

Self-editing the book of our lives in a hundred little ways is always possible if we keep the possibility, like our mind, open all the time.  There won't always be an eraser or delete key handy to take back an angry word, gesture, or truth, but we can always add more words to our life story: sincere apologies, expressions of regret, and all new storylines filled only with love.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Some overdue thank-yous to a few special people


April 7, 2015
Day 342

I'd be remiss if I didn't send out a special note of thanks to a few special people who have blessed my life (and Andy's) through some very simple acts of kindness.  This blog entry seems short, but I promise you it is overflowing with gratitude!

To Andy's friend Phil and my friend Tom: thank you for introducing us to XY Magazine, whose online personals section brought Andy and me together.

To Keaton, thank you for introducing me to Deviant Art.  That site has helped me grow as an artist, and find a community of people who I call my own.

And to Bob Z, thank you for introducing me to the writing of Hugh Howey.  A simple book recommendation on Facebook pointed me to the world of self-publishing, which opened my life in some pretty amazing ways. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH to each and every one of you for your small but powerful acts of kindness!

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Long Goodbyes

April 6, 2015
Day 341

As the days quickly count upward approaching Day 365, when this year-long blogging journey concludes, I don't have to think hard to see how many other goodbyes surround me.

Turning 40 this May 1st is a goodbye to my 30s, a goodbye to daily blogging, and a goodbye to what it means to be a "young person" in every which way.  Sure, my friends and family members in their 60s and above may warm my heart by telling me I'm still young, but as they do, a hundred other younger souls than I will turn their heads and snicker.

It really does feel like I've reached the end of a long chapter in my life, with a new one just ahead of me now, but this past weekend, another kind of long goodbye really grabbed Andy and me. 

His mom is slipping away more each time we see her, her language skills all but gone, replaced only by a long line of stuttered words and barely a complete sentence here and there.  Her motor skills are very bad too, and she's already fallen down at least twice that I know of in the past four days.  The strong woman she's always been is not going gently into that good night either.  She's raging against the dying of the light, and I can't say I'm surprised.  As long as I've known her, she's been a firecracker, bold and forward, commanding and resilient.  Still, it's not easy watching her fight, or watching her loved ones cope with it, but it has reached a breaking point now, and it's hard to say what dramatic changes await us now in the months and days ahead.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  
Dylan Thomas, 1951

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Go Resurrect Yourself!


April 5, 2015
Day 340

Whether or not you believe in Jesus as a spiritual figure worth following, Easter itself is a pretty cool concept. You just have to look at it all a little differently...

The goodbyes.
Before Jesus died, he told all his closest friends he was going to have to leave them. Time to move on. Time to accept fate and believe in the change he knew had to come. Some people have these kinds of conversations before entering rehab or before going to their first AA meeting. Others go through this just by starting college, or a new career, or having a baby. We all have to say goodbye to some things and even some people before taking the next step in our lives.

The death.
Death is a part of life. You've no doubt heard this trite phrase before, but it really is the Gospel truth. We can't enter secondary school until we've completely shut the door on primary school. We can't start a new job until we've finally walked away from the last one. We can't find our ideal life partner if our hearts and minds are still locked in on someone else. Death is everywhere in our lives, and it's not just a great pathway to new life, but the only pathway to new life.

The tomb.
Whether or not the world takes note of our time in the tomb, WE need to give ourselves the time in the tomb. We need to honor the place and time when a relationship ends, or even when a career or experience does. Death is only meaningful when we honor the death with a period of mourning. So mourn for that lost lover, even if the experience ended badly. Mourn for that lost job, even if you walked away. And sure, even mourn for that vacation that's now in the past. Only in the silence of the tomb can we truly understand all that was, in light of all that will be.

The empty tomb.
Resurrect yourself! Yes, the goodbyes are important, and yes, the deaths and even the tomb experiences are, too, but when all is said and done, you deserve your Easter! You deserve the bright new day when you can kick away that boulder that's been keeping you trapped, and see for yourself the new life that's waiting for you right outside the tomb! 

Easter is about one person and the one life he lived, but you can find your own answers by going through your own Easter weekends, too. Just don't skip any of the steps, because each one will help you in its own important way.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

How Holy is your Saturday?


April 4, 2015
Day 339

Easter weekend has always been very special to me, but never so much as when I was a vowed religious monk living in a monastery.  We had a very special Easter retreat every year from Thursday through Sunday, and each day had its own special meaning and collection of rituals.

Thursday was Holy Thursday, which meant the washing of the feet to remember Jesus's teaching to be servants to one another...and we also had tater tots at lunch!  Friday was Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross.  From 12 to 3, the time he was on the cross, we didn't speak a word to one another, not even during lunch, so when someone knocked over a drink or even just sneezed, you could always count on a comical glare across the table.  Sunday, of course, was Easter, the day for celebration and finally being able to say that word that rhymes with Bally Sue Hah.

Saturday though?  Saturday was the day in the middle.  It was normal, it was quiet, and it was filled with expectation for the beautiful candlelight vigil ushering in Easter later that night.  For the most part though, not much happened on Saturday.  It was actually kind of boring.

We all have these Holy Saturdays in our life, days and times that feel so "in between", so "in the meantime".  Not much is going on, and while our thoughts may stray to what's coming next, we don't always know what to do in the here and now. 

So might I suggest, if you're open to it, that you just take a few minutes today to close your eyes without laying down, and just put yourself 100% in this moment right now.  You don't have to make this religious or even spiritual if that makes you uncomfortable.  There are no labels or agendas here; just quiet yourself for at least three minutes today...do it as soon as you're done reading this if you don't think you'll make yourself do it later.

Just close your eyes and clear your mind, focusing on each breath in and each breath out, as if they're waves appearing and disappearing from the shore of your soul.  When we still our bodies and minds as much as possible, without thoughts of yesterday's troubles or tomorrow's concerns, we remind ourselves of the incredible power of right now.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Perfect To Die On This Day

Cross outside Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, NY

April 3, 2015
Day 338

I wrote this poem back when I was a monk, and though I no longer think of Jesus as God, I've always thought of this poem as one of my favorites.  I hope it resonates with you today.

Perfect To Die On This Day

The rain has stopped now
for a while,
but it looms above,
half dark, half light unseen.

The mourning doves coo
with their depressing calls,
and he sits still
watching it all--apart.

"Today's the day,"
he thinks to himself,
"the day for long I'd planned."

The weather is perfect
for a day like today,
perfect to die on this day.

"A perfect day,"
he thinks again,
"for piercing nails
and slicing swords:
swords and nails,
true irony,
made from ore I made.

No clouds, no doves,
no sun can save me
from this my perfect day:
a day so planned, so perfect,
perfect to die on this day."

Sean Patrick Brennan
March 27, 1997

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Our Last Suppers

April 2, 2015
Day 337

The last supper I had with my dad was in a diner. Though we never told him his lung cancer was terminal, it was clear he knew. He told me at that dinner about things he'd done for people in his life, grateful thanks people gave him for poems written, stories told, and lessons taught. I inherited my father's overactive tear ducts, and that night, watching my dad and I across the table from each other, you would have seen us both laughing and crying in equal measure.

The last supper I had with my sister Esther was a delicious meal Andy and I shared with her at a restaurant in Laguna Beach, California. We were seated right by the window, and as we sipped our cocktails and ate our meals, we watched together as the sun sank triumphantly into the great abyss of the Pacific Ocean. 

The last supper I had with my mom was up in Vermont. I can't remember what exactly we ate on Sunday night before leaving the next morning to head back to Long Island, but like all meals shared up in Vermont, I know our time was filled with an immense amount of laughter and love.

The last suppers I had with so many others--my grandmother, my friend Sal, and my many other friends and family members who have crossed over to the other side--were all hardly remarkable occasions, I'm sure. When we parted ways, I didn't offer a hug or a kiss that said goodbye forever. And why would I? We never expect a meal with someone will be the last we ever share. 

When my friend Bob died in 2013, I thought about the last time I'd shared a pizza with him and his partner Mac. Though I saw Bob in the hospital, too, our last meal together was not much longer before that, and I know exactly what he said that day, because it was what he said every time we parted ways. No matter how festive the occasion, or how soon we'd planned to meet again, Bob always shared the same parting words to Andy and me: "take care of each other". 

What would you say to a cherished loved one if you knew it was your last supper together?

We never know when our last suppers with people will be, or when the last time we'll eat or drink or just sit at the table with someone we love, so we have to make every moment count, and every moment matter. That's true communion, after all, connecting as much as possible with the others at the table, just in case it's the last supper you ever share.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hard too right this...

April 1, 2015
Day 336

i no you guys usually trussed me but i dont think i can due this no more. You see for some time now ive been axing some one to right my things for me n stuff. It started out normal but than it went to like extreem till i ended up spenin to much money.

its really gottin scarey cuz were once i used ta be able to Handel it but now i. Cant no more"

loking at me i no i dont look dum but thank u iappreshit dat i just need' to take a brake n figur out what ta do next. i may try havin him proofreed my stuf only evry few days i gotta c tho.

if you dont here from me or whatever intil next week it maybe cuz i wanna save money n try not to use the guy two much but i really dont no aneymore or may-b ill just

so yah see u whenevr n dont hate me to much pleas!!!!!! lifes to shorte!!

-shawn

p.s.s..s. u betta not unscribe or ima get u!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Out Like A Lamb

March 31, 2015
Day 335

After today, I've got just 30 more days until I turn 40, which also means I've got just 30 more days of writing this blog.

We get this day, March 31st, once each year, and it's always the day many of us think about the winter we've finally put behind us.

In like a lion, out like a lamb: that's the mantra for this last day of March each year, and it's the one day other than December 31st when we all take a look backward and forward together at the same time.  That's a pretty powerful truth right there!

When I look backward at just the past few months, I see how our washing machine broke, my car got sidelined for months due to a flat tire, my toaster broke, I got an annoying head cold that lasted for weeks, Andy's car got sidelined for a month once his inspection expired, Andy got his own annoying head cold that's lasting for weeks, and our coffee machine broke.  First world problems, all of them, sure, yet annoying nonetheless, especially in light of the horrible winter weather we've had besides.  But then March 31st arrives, and we all realize we're about to make a turn, at last!

April checks in tomorrow, Easter arrives this Sunday, the daffodils will start blooming in the next week or two, and all around us, spring will spring.

But before any of this, there's still today, a day to look around and marvel at where we've been, and where we're going next.  It's a day to sigh at the troubles of the past few months, but much more importantly, it's a day to look forward.  We look forward to all that will be, and we do so with a smile.  Warmer weather is just ahead of us now, and we hope for sunnier days in every possible way.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The time I went Back to the Future

(Click for full size)
March 30, 2015
Day 334

Some of my greatest life experiences have occurred in just the past few years.

In September of 2013, Andy and I made our second visit to California together.  I'd been to Los Angeles many years earlier to visit my sister Esther, and this time we spent some time with my sister Peggy and her husband Brian.  Brian's only a few years older than me, so a lot of our movie interests align well, and he happens to be a huge fan of visiting famous movie locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area.  

So while we were there, Brian took us to a few fun locations, and pointed several more out that I've since forgotten.  We drove past the apartment building where Daniel first met Mr. Miyagi, we saw the spot where Marty McFly parked the DeLorean before racing it down the street to send him safely back to 1985, and we even visited the famous 1985 house itself from the Back to the Future movies, the familiar ranch house on the quiet tree-lined street we all know so well.

As we started driving down the block toward the house, my heart began beating just a little faster, and I soon caught sight of the large power-line structures I knew were just beyond the McFly house.  We pulled up quickly, and trying our best not to disturb the current homeowners or any of the neighbors, we jumped out and posed for photographs.  It was such a surreal experience, standing there in front of what my mind always told me was a fictional place. 

Later this year, months after this little blog series is over, we'll all finally reach October 21, 2015, the day Marty and Doc Brown arrive in the future together.  I remember watching those scenes back when the movie was released in 1989 (when I was 13 years old), and thinking about what my own life would look like in 2015.  I had no idea what I'd have, but hoped I'd reach some level of happiness and success by then.

Well, 2015 is here now, and though my bank account and nonexistent fame tell me otherwise, I have to admit: life is even greater than I'd ever have guessed it could be.  Different from what we all hoped for in 1989, sure, but really, really great nonetheless.

Success and joy are measured quite differently from a 14-year-old's eyes to a 40-year-old's, but that's a good thing.  The future is never quite found anyway, it's always just ahead of us.  For many reading this, in fact, 2015 will already be a thing of the past, and by 2045, we'll probably still be complaining we haven't gotten our flying cars yet.  Perspective really is everything.