2021 – A Year’s Reflection

2021 is going to go down as the hardest year of my adult life. I find myself mere hours away from 2022 and while my prospects for the future do look better, I cannot say I’m all that thrilled with how everything finished up. I’m not my an ideal living situation and it only seems to be deteriorating by the day. I also wish I could find a bit more contentment for my job, but life doesn’t  work on my schedule and it’s up to me to be at peace with my job or find a new one.

I’m grateful for my friends, all of whom I feel I’ve grown closer to this year. I’m appreciative of my health, which is the one thing that has been solid this year. I’m excited for the future, since I’m dedicating myself to exploring my spirituality and philosophical practices in the new year. I’m going to do everything in my power to find peace and contentment in my life and learn to better roll with the punches.

I’m also eliminating as much negativity in my life as possible. I’ll be eliminating some internet practices that incite rage and find better places to spend time online. Or better yet, I’ll find myself reading more which is a goal of mine.

I also want to do more writing this year, and not just blogging and non-fiction. I don’t have a plan right now, but behind my intent to work on finding peace in my life, writing some fiction or completing some writing projects is next on my list.

Speaking of writing, I do plan on taking a slightly different approach to my blogging. I’m always tweaking my technique and inspiration and going forward I’m asking myself if I’m writing for fun or am I writing because I feel like I’m supposed to. The truth of the matter is, I write a lot and sometimes I write things because I’ve always done it or because I feel like I should, but I’m not hosting thousands of readers here. I believe my reader ship hovers somewhere around five people and that’s across blogs. So, no more time constraints on when to write something or unnecessary pressure on what to write. It’s just gotta be for fun, so I can free up time to work on more serious projects this year.

With that being said, thank you for supporting my writing this year. Thank you for following me across three blogging platforms and sending texts or leaving comments regarding my posts. It means a lot to me and I’m very appreciative.

I sincerely hope that 2022 is a better year for all of us. Sure, there will be strikes and gutters, but I do hope we can find peace and happiness in our lives.

-Brandon

A Brush With Crazy

Last night, I attended AEW Dynamite in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was the first part of planned two day vacation that would also include a trip to the Greensboro Science Center, the Shiloh General Store, and dinner at Jeffrey Adams on 4th. It was a way to get out of the house, as well as celebrate Christmas in our own little way. But something happened after the show that derailed our vacation plans. I had a little brush with crazy.

AEW ended after the Rampage taping around 11:40 PM. We hopped in the car and made some remarkable good time. I was starving, since we had been at the arena since 5:30 PM and I had eat just a small side of fries right before we headed to the show. I planned to get some food while at the arena, but the lines were so long I was going to miss the show. So, I decided to suck it up.

Our hotel was located twenty minutes from the arena and within a quarter of a mile is a Sheetz, a 24 hour gas station that also serves food. Brandy and I went into the Sheetz and spent a few minutes ordering some food, when we decided to head back to the coolers to pick up some sodas.

I quickly made a decision for a Coke Zero, and after leaning over to pick up a couple of bottles, I noticed a man walk up really close to me, almost in my face. It was so quick, I presumed I was in his way and even thought for a moment he may have worked there. I quickly apologized and turned around. I walked a few steps to my wife when another man ran up the aisle towards me. He got a little too close too and something didn’t feel right. Our interaction went like this:

“Hey, are you guys AEW fans?”

“Yea, we are.”

“Oh, I hear AEW is kicking Raw’s ass.”

“Yeah, they seem to be doing very well.”

“Oh, so just so you know, that guy just spit on you.”

“Did he?”

“Yea, see it on your jacket?”

I turned and sure enough, there was spit on my jacket. The first guy must have spit on me when I turned around.

“He spit on you.”

“I see that. Thank you for letting me know.”

Fifteen years ago, I would have been irate, but some spit on the back of my jacket was not the end of the world. I was too busy wondering why this guy was somewhat boxing me into the corner of the coolers as well. He seemed nice enough, but this was all a very strange occurrence. I didn’t do anything to garner being spit on. The store wasn’t that busy and I hadn’t cut anyone off or asked anyone to move or anything.

I didn’t have much time to think about it, because within a moment the first guy threw a bottle of motor oil at me. Sadly, it ended up more towards my wife and it bounced off the wall/glass of the cooler and quite a bit of it got on her jacket.

At this point, I’m looking around trying to figure out who threw that (was guy #1 or guy #2) and what the fuck is going on? I literally just walked into this nice gas station, in a nice suburb right off the highway, and I’ve been spit on and had a bottle of motor oil chucked at me.

No one said anything and I quickly dragged Brandy towards the middle of the store toward the registers. Sheetz have two entrances and I didn’t know where the guy went or if the other guy was part of this too. I alerted the manager at the register. Everyone had heard the giant boom of the motor oil bottle hitting, but no one had realized it had been thrown.

She quickly called the cops and the second guy came running back in letting us know that the guy was still outside, he’s in an eighteen wheeler. So, despite guy #2 being weird, he wasn’t an accomplice.

I paid for my food and stayed inside until the cops arrived. Guy #2 flagged them down and pointed his truck out. Apparently the guy who spit on me also ran his mouth to a Sheetz employee who was taking out the trash but the guy had headphones in and had no idea what he said.

The cops took a look at the video tape and it’s 100% all on tape. I did nothing to provoke the guy, as the police office said, “He’s just off.”

I had report taken and had a police officer escort us to the hotel where we packed out bags and drove back home, thus ending our vacation early.

Luckily, no one was hurt. My jacket and new AEW beanie have spit on them. Brandy’s jacket sleeve/side is covered in motor oil and is probably ruined. Luckily, it’s a cheap Costco jacket and easily replaced. Her new boots have some motor oil on them, but it seems to be mainly the soles of the shoes which is a good thing.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience and definitely put a damper on the night. I’ve yet to decide whether to press charges or not. I’ll have to drive about two hours to press charges and then follow up for court dates and such. This man is obviously not okay and it’s even scarier the fact that he is operating an 18 wheeler.

This is actually the second situation this year I’ve been involved in with a crazy person. The first one involved a lady at the local Ollie’s who accused me of cutting in line when a second register opened and then attempted to run me over on the curb. She rolled down her window, taunted Brandy and I, and bragged that she almost hit us.

We live in a crazy, crazy world. I guess you can’t stop crazy and you can’t fix stupid.

Christmas Week

I’ve previously written about how this Christmas seems a bit different than other Christmas and I’ve made peace with the idea that this week/holiday season is not going to be what I had hoped it would be. So, instead of dwelling on that, I’m ready to move on to what I am making this holiday season.

This week is pretty packed for me. Tuesday night, I got tickets to see the new Spiderman film. Brandy and I watched both Tom Holland films yesterday, so we’re ready for the new one.

Wednesday, we’re leaving for Greensboro. I haven’t figured out itinerary yet, but between Wednesday and Thursday we’re going to see AEW Dynamite live, visit the Greensboro Science Center, shop at the Amish store in Hamptonville, and enjoy the peace a quiet of our hotel room. We’ll return on Christmas Eve, where we will pick up some pizza, Krispy Kreme donuts, and a Chickfila nugget tray to have our Christmas Eve celebration. On Christmas Day, we’re going to enjoy a low country boil.

It’s going to be far from traditional, but I think it’ll be a good time nonetheless.

The Positive Self-Destruction of Brandon

Something has snapped in me this week and its for the better. I feel like it’s been building up the past two weeks (maybe a lot longer) and it all has come to together. It’s a bit of a break through for me.

I realized that I’m sick of just about everything. I’m sick of the shows I watch, the websites I follow, the sports I watch from afar, the books I read, the fandoms I hang onto, the video games I play, the nostalgia I embrace, the music I listen to, and just about everything in-between. I’ve grown bored and tired of the same ole stuff and I’m craving things new and different.

Life has become stale and it’s my fault. I’ve stood back, held onto things that no longer serve me, and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t happy. I failed to realize that the things I surrounded myself were no longer bringing me joy, so instead of starting all over, I gave into sunk cost fallacy and decided to stick it out. If it once brought me joy, it will bring me joy again, right? Not always.

I’ve taken a step back from my life and asked myself, “Does this really make me happy?” and the answer has not always been yes. In fact, it’s usually more of a shrug most of the time.

Sadly, I’ve isolated myself so much because of my interests. I’ve stayed in a bit of an echo chamber and I haven’t discovered as many new things and because of that my life feels shallow. I hang onto the things I discovered twenty plus years ago, because I loved the joy and excitement it brought me when I first discovered it. So, now, instead of discovering new things, I keep going back to these old things and try to wring the joy back out of them. Sometimes, it works, most of the time it doesn’t.

I need to reset to zero. I need to start over and so I’ve been slowly rebooting everything. I’ve finally parted ways with lots of old things. Things such as partially written stories from twenty years ago. Stuff that is not worth while and stuff I’m not interested in revisiting. I deleted old ebooks I held onto that I would maybe read, or read again. I cleared off various web accounts and am in the process of approaching things with a fresh eyes and an open mind. I need a real fresh start, to rediscover things and that’s what I’m giving myself.

It’s time to close some doors on some things and time to dig down deep and make sure that I’m spending time on the things that I actually want to spend time on. In a weird way, I feel like I may have digressed a little bit from a few years ago. I was in a less happy place in my personal life, but I was making some headway spiritually. I was putting value behind that which truly deserved it. And that is something I’ve got to get back.

I give myself permission to never be complete.

 

 

Back to Zero

I spent the day listening to a variety of Chuck Palahniuk interviews, podcasts, and his essay, People, Places, Things. I give Chuck partial credit for all of the self-improvement I’ve made over the years, because without Fight Club I don’t know if I ever would have begun that path. Its arguably the single most important piece of art that has ever inspired me and I continue to come back to it every few years and approach it with a different lens.

Listening to Chuck speak today was enlightening. He made several points over the several hours of discussions that I listened to that made me stop and think. I believe the single most impactful is the idea that he is an observer of life. He looks at people and stories from an outside view which I believe allows him to be grounded. It also allows him to connect with folks, because he has no issues embarrassing himself or putting it all out on the line. By opening up with controversial stories, he inspires others to confide into him with their own stories. He essentially normalizes those uncomfortable memories which is great starting point to heal from.

Something else I took away from his discussions was the idea that you need to close the doors and dedicate yourself to one thing that you will work on for the rest of your life. I found this inspiring because over the years, I’ve struggled with the idea that doors have been closing on me because of my age, physical abilities, and so forth. I also think, I’m scared to close doors on certain things because I guess deep down I want to live forever and do everything I’ve ever thought of doing. But let’s be real here, I’m thirty-eight years old, those dreams of athletic glory are behind me amongst many other things.

And yet something else I took away today was his idea about creating special moments. Just little unbelievable moments that last forever. We tend to lose so much magic in the world as we get older that sometimes a little shock is welcomed in our life. He told so many wonderful stories of the little things he has done over the years to make a once in a lifetime type of memory and I love that. It’s truly inspired me to start looking for things that aren’t easily archived and documented.

And finally… another moment of inspiration I took from Chuck is the idea of going back to zero. This is something I’ve practiced (or at least, half-heartedly practiced) over the years. Chuck ceremoniously destroys all of his writings once a year. If it didn’t make it to a finished product, it’s destroyed. There are no rough drafts lying nor notes, he resets back to zero so that he can focus on the next task at hand.

I’ve embraced this sort of behavior with my blogs and journals and I do enjoy the idea of having a clean slate to work from. I’ve also recently been going through some old writings, blogs, and journals in the midst of my moving from one cloud service to another. I’ve deleted a good portion of what I’ve had saved and after today, I feel inspired to delete the rest. I think it’s time to let some old stuff go and make space for new things.

Chuck creating a moment for me.

The Holiday Spirit

What is the holiday spirit? Is it the desire to be merry, engage in gift giving, or just be in the mood for Christmas music? I don’t really know, I just know that this year it’s escaping me.

I had plans to watch a ton of Christmas movies and binge my 90’s Christmas sitcoms, but with exception of the Festivus episode of Seinfeld, I’ve done neither. Heck, I’ve only watched one movie so far this month.

I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, I am in a strange living situation that only gotten more complicated beginning in December. We have a Christmas tree up and presents, and my mom has decorated the house, but there isn’t enough seating downstairs for everyone who lives here now and that means I’ve retreated into my room more and more as of late. I don’t really have room for decorations in my room, so outside of my Mini-Stay Puft Ghostbusters ornament and a TurboMan Funko Pop, there isn’t much around that screams Christmas.

I also work alone and back when I worked at the hospital we had a massive tree, wreaths, and poinsettias everywhere. I work in just about the most sterile office building I’ve ever seen now and there is no holiday joy to be found there.

It’s obviously not everyone else’s responsibility to get me in the holiday spirit. I could easily go buy some decorations for my office, but I’m just struggling to feel it this year. My work has become almost insulting as of late, and I spent most of my day looking for a new job. Then, in what may seem like a Christmas miracle, the agency that I worked for managed to take advantage of some new rules and I got a $2,000 raise out of no where. That doesn’t include the state raise of 2.5% coming next month nor the backpay from May. So, that is some awesome, awesome news.

Sadly, not all of my news today was great. I learned this morning, that my uncle is coming to  visit for Christmas. You know, we all have that one family member who is a total piece of trash, and that is my uncle Mike. He’s the guy who has been in and out of jail since he was a teenager. He’s robbed just about every family member, cost my grandmother and grandfather their homes when they were in their 60’s, and he even went behind my family’s back and had my grandfather’s pain at the end of his life prolonged, so he could continue to collect his social security check. He’s a person, I have no tolerance for, nor any respect.

My mother feels some sort of responsibility for him since my grandparents have passed. She feels that from beyond the grave they expect her to watch over him and not exclude him. It’s crazy, because he’s lied and hurt my mom non-stop his entire adult life. Still, she refuses to shun him. He’s reached possibly the end of his life with a lung cancer diagnosis, so she’s insistent on him being here. My only hope is he’s too ill to make the trip.

It’s been a weird day.  I got some great news (more money) and some terrible news (my uncle is coming). I’m going to do my best to lean into the good news and hope that I can conjure up some holiday excitement over the next week.

 

 

Brand New VHS for 2021

For the first time since around 1999, I bought a brand new wrestling VHS tape: Slammiversary 2021. This dual tape was created by Impact Wrestling and sold out very quickly. It features matches with Kenny Omega and Thunder Rosa and overall is a very solid card.

Sadly, my VCR is in storage but I love the look of this tape and hope one day to get it signed by some of the participants.