Loss

My grandfather passed away today. I got the call at 11:40 am. 

It strikes me at an especially sensitive area because I realize now, after his passing, that I had countless opportunities to connect with him that I passed up, thinking that there would always be another chance. Just yesterday he was put onto morphine in the nursing home where he’s been for some months now. My family all visited him, but I chose not to come home from my activities, saying I would visit him the next day. He died before I could visit today.

I can’t express how much I want one last conversation with him. One last hug and one last time to tell him how much he mattered to me, and how much I loved him. Never did I expect that our last meeting would be the last time I would ever be able to speak to him.  The first stage of grief is denial, and I suppose some part of me still hasn’t accepted the fact that he’s gone. 

I write this post with the intention of reminding myself and others that people won’t be with us forever and often it takes losing someone to remind us of this. Death is just another part of life, but it seems like it will never happen to anyone we know. 

I love you grandpa, and I always will, no matter what.

My Angsty Marxist rant

As of late, the angst inside of me has been reaching the boiling point, and I fear if I don’t release some of the pressure the lid will blow off and I’ll go insane.  So I’ve decided to bring it here, the place where fortunately yet unfortunately, not many people are likely to see it.  Being negative is not something I enjoy thriving on, let me get that clear.  I find that writing is much healthier than the other ways I have previously manifested my pent-up angst, such as drugs or self-endangerment through reckless actions. So please, if you’re in a good mood, don’t let me ruin it and please stop reading this. But if you, like me, feel like tearing off all your clothes and screaming fuck the world while skateboarding down the street, by all means read on.  If you make it to the end you deserve a prize.

Where to begin… The summer after the first year in college is a strange one.  It’s been less than three weeks since school’s been out and already I crave being out of my house.  My parents, whom I love very much, seem to forget that there is more to life than working for some rich fuck sitting in his million dollar estate getting blowjobs from his mistress while his depressed and regretting spouse gets high on cocaine.  What happened to the baby boomer generation? When did work and money replace the freedom and idealism their generation is famous for?  My dad’s even come up with a motto he finds quite clever; “life is work” he casually throws into every conversation. To this I say, BULLSHIT. Life isn’t work. America is work, and America is fucked.  No wonder we’re the second most clinically depressed nation on the face of the planet. 

This is a good segue into the second thing that’s been really grinding my gears; people are so OK with being completely shitty toward one another. STOP IT. It only takes a few kind words to make a person’s entire day.  I know from first hand experience how even a smile can literally bring someone back from the edge.  In any interaction with another person, just TRY and be good toward them. You’ll feel better.

I’ve always wondered how billionaires can get a good night’s rest while less than twenty miles from their California beach homes people starve to death on a nightly basis. No doubt the sound-proofing of the walls in their multi-million dollar homes makes sure that gunshot noises from the ghetto don’t snake their way through the wrought-iron gate into their perfectly temperature controlled bedrooms.  And that’s just one example. Passivity and a lack of empathy are just as much the enemy as aggression and hatred.  

Anywho, there’s my little rant.  It didn’t accomplish as much as I thought, but without writing a whole novel I couldn’t really put the thoughts into context.  Leave your thoughts below. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

An Ongoing List of How to be a good person in 10 *easy* steps

People these days seem to be more and more ok with being shitty toward one another. That being said, I think it would be useful if we, the human race, compiled a list of guidelines to help us coexist. (Note: I am compiling this list not only for everyone else; most of it is in fact for my own benefit.)

1.) Listen to other people.  No, don’t just sit impatiently while they talk in order to put on the facade of politeness. REALLY LISTEN and analyze what the person is attempting to get across. Too often, we let our egos get in the way of our personal growth & development.

2.) Learn to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.  Maybe you’ll learn that their shoes were, in fact, a few sizes too small, and that’s why they were so cranky today.  Some people don’t have shoes to walk in, so give them a pair and count yourself lucky that you (hopefully) don’t have the same problem. Of course all this shoe-business is a metaphor, but I find it to be one of the best metaphors to live by.

3.) Seek out opportunities to make other people happy.  I don’t mean shallow flattery.  Bringing out real happiness in other people is hardwired in our brains as something that brings us pleasure.  Random acts of kindness are seriously lacking, and society needs everyday heroes just as much as gotham needs batman.

4.) Don’t be shitty to other people (pardon my French).  REGARDLESS OF WHO SOMEONE IS AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO YOU, DO NOT LET ANGER AND REVENGE CLOUD YOUR THINKING.  There is an old adage that sums it up perfectly; “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

5.) Tell the truth. This one is hard, especially for me.  No, I don’t mean to say that by day I serve as an agent of international espionage; but mundane or “white” lies eat at the core of a person’s being, and make life much more complex.  Having to remember which lies you told to who can complicate life to the “umphteenth” degree.  Even lies once small can grow into something much more menacing (as demonstrated by the once-popular kids show VeggieTales, in an episode where a lie starts as a small weed and grows large enough to destroy the entire town).  Essentially, lying can seem like the easy way out, but too often it’s more of a “out of the fire into the frying pan” situation.

6.) Find a hobby.  Whether it’s gardening, writing, skateboarding, parasailing, cooking, cleaning, skydiving, etc., having something to devote your spare time to can be a great way to be proactive and have fun at the same time. It’ll also help keep you away from the T.V. (note that watching CSI Miami doesn’t make my list of hobbies), and studies show that people who watch less TV are happier and more productive.

7.) Listen to music.  Whether you are an avid music listener or the occasional radio user, music can bring enormous benefits into your life.  Artists don’t make music just for the purpose of making a living; after all, who would buy it if it didn’t have a purpose?  Aside from the enjoyment felt when jamming out in the car to your favorite tunes, music often provides a much needed outlet for any pent up emotions one may experience.  Personally, I like to find artists who radiate the same “vibes” I’m feeling inside, and when a song resonates inside my mind with the same frequency as my thoughts, it can be an intensely cathartic experience. I think composer Frederick Delius put it aptly when he said, “Music is an outburst of the soul.”

8.) Always look for ways to improve yourself rather than finding flaws in others. This one is self-explanatory. I don’t care how much of an asshole the other guy is being, either be the bigger man (or woman) or be willing to walk away.

9.) Be willing to apologize and move on.  Swallow your pride.  Even if it isn’t your fault, apologizing *always* ends an argument. If the other party wishes to continue a fight, let them fume in their own anger and cleanse your hands of it. Look for every opportunity to make it up to the person.  Revenge is sweet but then again, so is soda, and we all know that enough of either can put a person 6 feet under in a hurry.

10.) Just try. Being a good person isn’t always easy, and often the line between being good and being not-so-good is thin and/or blurry. Simple things like refusing to participate in gossip or doing someone else’s chores without being asked are great places to start. Bringing good into the world is a domino effect and it only gets easier over time. Sewing the seeds of good in the hearts of those you encounter helps to ensure that the world will be a better place than it was when you woke up.  Wake up every morning and think to yourself: How can I make the world a better place today? Remember; it’s not always the big things that make the most difference.

Hopefully this list encourages you to go out and bring some good into the world. It was a good exercise in humility for me to write it, and I welcome any suggestions for additions.  Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day 🙂

Into the Rabbit Hole

I’ve started playing World of Warcraft again. Hopefully this doesn’t mean the end of my blogging and other activities.  It seems like I actually am more focused in life while I’m playing it though. Any other WoW players out there feel the same? Since I’ve been playing the game on and off for about 6 years now I wonder if it’s sort of turned itself into a constant in my life; something that gives me balance by helping me relieve stress and escape reality for a while. Who knows.  If you’re reading this blog and would like to adventure Azeroth with me, add my Real-ID: Ekbrandon05@gmail.com. 

10¹² Terra

This is similar (but much cooler) than what I’m doing in my room.

minimal + lovely

1012d1012-terra-terrariumsMy heart gasped when I first came across these modern terrariums by 10¹² Terra. Founded in Japan by Daisuke Tsumanuma and Kenichi Yamada, 10¹² Terra aims to create products that reflect the constant flux and changes in life. The name 10¹² Terra was inspired by the number of cells reproduced per day (10¹²).

The rectangular chrome and glass vessels suspend the plant over a small basin of water. The transparency- to be able see the entirety of the plant- is stunning. There’s a purity and rawness to see the roots, which are usually hidden under dirt, to see them extend and uninhibitedly drink in the water to stay alive. To live. It’s like seeing the heart.1012a1012b1012c

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