I bet they're back East asking, "Now why don't he write?"
Fifty blog points for naming that movie.
Despite sadness at the loss of the family-style blog world, I still don't write very often. Count me guilty of not doing my part to save it. That said, I thought I'd write an old fashioned update post.
Last month I lost my job. Sparing any public info, I was accused of something I would never do, and let go. Horribly bad timing with the wedding so close, but my only hope is that my record will stand on its own and I'll be back to work soon.
Three weeks from today we'll be back in Ohio prepping for the wedding that weekend. True to my penny-saving nature, our total wedding budget should be around $5000 total spent. With an amazing setting, a beautiful dress, awesome food, even awesomer beer, and so much more, this would have easily been a $20,000 wedding if I hadn't wrangled so much cheap and free stuff out of so many sources. In addition to that, we have some amazing friends around us who have donated so much (time & money) that have made us feel very loved. Those two things combined have made the fact that we are paying for most of the wedding ourselves, much more comfortable.
Did I mention I'm getting married? I am so very excited!!! :)
I got my second book back from the Editor and will be working on getting the electronic updates done this week. If that goes well, I should have it in print within a month. I'm pretty excited about this one.
I could probably keep writing and make this a really long post......... Bachelor Party, Wedding shower, an insurance claim, the abandoned camp, climbing the highest mountain I've ever climbed, our new amazing friends, stickers, counseling, Latter Day Dudes, a full house, and more. If any of those peak your interest, leave a comment and I'll write about it. I'm committing to blogging two times a week until I get a job. No excuses, right?!
Millennials and college
One of the articles on the Today show this morning was about the youngest current generation of adults: Millennials. I am proudly in the middle of Generation X, and my future bride is just as proud to be squarely in the middle of the Millennials.
Here are some of the facts that define the generation according to the show this morning...
And while most Millennials won't argue those points and aren't angered by them at all, this last fact makes them furious...
- Ninety million strong, making it the largest generation alive
- 75% are on Social Media, hands down the largest generation represented on FB
- 25% do not have a declared religion, the most of any generation
- One in five have posted a video of themselves online
- The best way to distinguish one in the wild is you can't see their eyes because they walk everywhere with their heads down looking at their phones
I've talked to Alli extensively about this last point, and have heard it be the topic of more conversations with her peers than anything else. Every child born from the BabyBoomers until today have been taught and retaught and urged and re urged towards the idea that a college degree gives you a better future than not having one. And on at least some level that is true for every generation, every generation except Millennials that is.
Generation X saw the decline of factories and mills as the fallback jobs they once were for those who weren't smart enough or interested enough to be a so-called professional. But there were still brick & mortar jobs to be had, the same for our parents, the Boomers. But unlike those times, this current generation is falling victim to the same technology they love so much, and the same job that once employed five to ten people now only requires one person and a computer.
The issue I take with this is not that technology is stripping away manpower jobs, but the fact that these poor kids were and still are being force fed the college magic beans. "Go to college and you'll be guaranteed a job!" I understand adults need to be responsible for their own issues and crying, "Life's not fair!" will only get you limited sympathy, but I'm not feeling sorry for this generation as adults, I'm feeling sorry for how they were treated as impressionable teenagers. Under the direction and suggestion of adults I trusted, I did a lot of things as a fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old I would never do with the knowledge I have now; heck, we can all probably say the same thing. What frustrates me is no one is saying sorry to this group of kids-now-adults who are paying back horrendous school loans without the good jobs they were promised.
To make it worse, this group is paying back these school loans working for low wages, often at multiple jobs, and almost never in the field their degrees are in. In fact, I heard a number once that only one out of every three Millennials will ever work directly in line with their field of study. All of this while living under the constant comments they are a lazy generation who desires only instant gratification.
There is a lot more I could rant about in regards to this but it would make the post way too long. I guess my main issue is the college thing which has been a frustration of mine since I myself was nineteen years old and saw so many young adults in the unemployment lines even though they had college degrees. All these years later, that annoyance is renewed as I see Alli's sixty thousand dollar school debt hover over her head, and no jobs for her anywhere in sight. (Certainly not for lack of looking.)
If the next generation is indeed the future of our country, all we can hope is that they don't hold a grudge for all the lies.
- This generation will be crushingly disappointed when they graduate from college and find out they aren't as special as they were led to believe.
OFF about sums it up
I have another post in my brain, but I wanted to respond to the last post. To put it simply, my feelings were spot on as they related to my job which in turn was feeding a lot of the anxiety I was dealing with. Without going into too much detail, I'm looking for another job and doing so with a good amount of financial fear with the wedding coming up so soon.
As I transferred the white load of laundry I'd forgotten about last night from the washing machine to the dryer, questioning under my breath how I could forget something so simple, I started to wonder why my emotions and actions have been so off lately. My dissatisfaction with my new bank, my sense of displacement in my new home, my weird habits, my sense of dread over finances, my random homesickness, and more... all of it leaving me feeling like something was a bit off.
Being married to the ex at such a young age, and sharing our graduation of maturity, and then having it stripped away without a reasonable explanation, all then followed by the quick progression of leaving the Log House, failing on the AT, and then losing my Dad, were in hindsight, the kind of things people lose their minds over. I sometimes wonder if at times I've been on the edge of a nervous breakdown... or worse. What used to be my normal rhythms, the unseen and unrecognized progressions of life, had a severe break in their cycle in 2010 and '11 and '12. I see that now. But in dealing with them in the moment, that was a hard realization to understand let alone even know was happening.
As a very young twenty-something, life events --even intense ones-- are easier to handle because young adults don't really know what adulthood is supposed to look like, so they just take it in stride and muscle through. (Most of them.) And if you have someone by your side, those challenges are even easier to deal with because there is a dual survival mentality: you can handle big issues easier with someone to share them with. And even how you handle those things become a mutual decision which by its nature becomes less about covering each other's backs and more about facing the problems head on, linked arm-in-arm; a common thought process overriding two separate minds.
But as you get older I tend to believe you become more guarded and cautious. I thought about this recently in regards to buying a house. Even with her sixty thousand dollar plus school debt, Alli and I make more than enough money to buy a house; almost double what the ex and I made when we bought our first house with me stocking drywall and her waitressing which were hardly jobs a rational couple would hang their financial-future hat on. But my age makes me throw up the danger flag that buying a house is stupid right now. Not a single similarity to my decision-making process as a twenty one year old.
And then there's the pondering whether I'm limiting Alli in her own progression of maturity. Am I, at fourteen years her elder, blocking her from experiencing those things because of my cautious, rational thinking behaviors? Is that fair to her? Alli makes me happier then I've ever been in my life, but being with her brings about all these fears and concerns that I should help her --and us-- make smart decisions. My guess is that comes from knowing I don't have all my twenties and thirties to fix my mistakes like I did the first time. Right or wrong, that's where I'm at.
So back to feeling off... All of this maturity in the face of starting something most people do in their twenties is probably at the center of my emotional well being. I had a partner that was a partner at the normal time and we grew together at the normal pace things usually grow, and now that I'm doing that all over but this time with a partnership from different age ranges, comes with certain introspection's.
To mistake this feeling for only deriving from my upcoming marriage would be shortsighted. My life is different now in a way I never would have imagined or foreseen. I only have one parent now, I live in a different state than the previous thirty five years, the house I thought I'd have forever is no longer mine, I'm uncertain if I can continue pretending my career ambition is to be a banker, my closest friends in the world are nine hours away, everything that was safe and secure and without question is no longer any of those things. It all has me feeling off, disconnected, on the edge of being lost. I know some people who would say that where I was at, was at best, a sense of complacency. And I think they would be correct. But even though that seems sad, my life was comfortable and known, with no questioning. Again, right or wrong, I think a lot people settle into that right around the age I'm at in my life.
I need to add one more thing, this is not a case of cold feet. I am ready and eager to be married to Alli. I just don't see a clear plan for my life that was there a few years ago when all was safe, and I think that scares me. That last part is probably the core of all this. I think I'm just scared. Whatever all this means, I'm feeling off.
Really? Did that just happen?
If you're looking for a happy, touchy-feely, good times post, you'd do yourself a favor and find a different blog to check out. Still interested?
Part of my job requires me to be a Notary Public. For some reason I had not been able to get my North Carolina Notary since moving down here, but last month my boss asked me to follow through on that. The process is a little more complicated here than in Ohio, including a day-long class at a local community college. Today was the day I took the class.
Before I start complaining, let me say it has to be difficult to facilitate a class as boring as Notary Public. The legalize language alone is mind-numbing to read and study so I can only imagine how hard it would be to make it exciting and interactive. That said, I went into the class today not expecting to be wowed or super pumped up by anything. Instead, I expected a dry study session but something worthwhile that would help me understand the differences between OH and NC laws.
The lady who was running the day was exactly what I expected: older, soft-spoken, straight to the point, etc. What I didn't expect was how she would do the actual, "teaching". The first half hour she told us about herself, was very specific how we filled out our forms, and shared with us the fact that North Carolina was the first state to enable Notary Publics which dated back to 1777. She hung onto this last fact with a strange amount of pride. I guess that was my first clue. But then the shit really hit the fan.
For the next five hours she read the book at us. That's right... she read it. No inflection to her voice, no added emphasis, no personal stories, nothing. She read. And that's all she did. She read out of a book like she was reading to herself. To add insult to injury, she ended the lesson by going over every single question on the final fifty question test.
The thing that probably bothered me the most is that being a Notary isn't viewed as that big a deal to the general public, but it really is. Everything we do in our life that involves BIG decisions... cars, houses, marriage, divorce, wills, trust planning, business ownership, everything, requires a Notary. Nine of the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 gained fake licenses, etc., by using Notaries who didn't take their roles seriously. This is real stuff that should be taken seriously... and taught seriously. And all I got today was an old lady reading a book and then force feeding us the answers to the test just so that she could paid and move us out.
And this stupid hypocritical pride in NC Notary history probably burns me up even more. I can't tell you how many times the guideline book and then this lady today told us how much more important this state views the Notary Public role, and that they devote more training to it than almost any other state. Truth is, it's all a front. I had a lady read to me for five hours, was given all the answers to the test in the last ten minutes so I would score a good grade, and then had my wallet raped. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this whole process costs a total of $140 and that's even before I have to buy my endorsement stamp/embosser.
I want to scream.
If there can be any kind of good that came out of today, I did get to have lunch with my friend Evan. We always seem to have off-schedules, but he goes to school at the same college so it was perfect timing. And after the nightmarish day, I'm now a Notary for the state of NC. So I accomplished my goal and got to see my friend. Alls well that ends well, right?
A couple dreams
Dreams have been discussed before in this little corner of the interwebs, so I thought I'd throw out a couple I had last week that were quite dramatic and felt super real after I woke up. I'll also give my best attempt at an analysis of each.
The first dream was about my friend Mike. Mike is married to my sister-from-another-mother, Ginny, and has been my best friend for many years. He is going to be the Best Man in my wedding in three months, and the one guy I can be more honest with and who I never doubt will be the most honest with me. Now that our relationship has been defined, here is the dream:
Mike became the President of the United States. His plain tongue and common sense approach to difficult situations gained him the favor of the free world, and he was voted into office. He made sweeping changes in our country's government but all were accepted because of their basic presentation and the cry for reality over politics. A concern came up over whether he would still be able to be in my wedding. During the dream I got to visit him in the White House, he came to my house in NC, we had a few beers and smoked our pipes, and generally got to still be the Sam & Mike that is so perfect and comfortable. The answer of him being in the wedding kept coming up and I'm not sure was ever resolved, which never brought about anger but rather, sadness.
I have to wonder if this dream had to do with me moving to NC and moving on with the next chapter in my life. To share complete disclosure at the risk of hurting some feelings, there were only a few people who ever had a chance at changing my mind about moving here, and the friendship bonds with those same people are the only people I ever felt deserved enough hesitation to consider their feelings; Mike was at the top of that list. Living nine hours away and only talking to each other about one time a month on the phone has caused the expected distance between us. I know very little of his daily life and he the same with me. It's not for lack of caring or a divide in our friendship, but only the natural progression of time and distance. We are ever-changing and growing but for the first time in twenty years, we're doing it without each other to share it with. Him becoming something grand and possibly not having the time for me -no matter what- are probably what brought about the dream.
I was in a park somewhere playing with my seven year old niece, Esther-Faith. (For those that don't know, E-F has spina-bifida and lacks the normal mobility of a child. She gets around either in a wheelchair or with braces and arm crutches.) We were playing with a Frisbee, laughing, petting puppies, and generally enjoying a summer afternoon. At one point she started running in just her leg braces and no crutches. The laughter turned to tears as she was running fast and then tripped, slamming her face and body into the ground. Terror filled my chest as I ran to her side and scooped her up in my arms, my own tears pouring down my face. I raced her to my truck, hugging her so very tight. I frantically tried calling her Dad, my brother-in-law Tim, but to no avail. I buckled her into my pickup truck's broad seat that obviously had no child restraints, and drove as fast and safe as I could to where he was, terrified of the fact she was hurt.
My sister and her family had just left from a week long visit to our area of the planet. I love my nephews but have never really connected with Esther-Faith; probably coming from a combination of my sister's desire to keep her special-needs child safe and the fact that the boys want to do more stuff I like to do. The idea of caring for her is undoubtedly daunting and I wonder if the dream came from a place of being scared I would let her down and possibly be hurt.
I welcome your thoughts and perspective...
Memories and updates and such
Today - one year ago today - I left for the Appalachian Trail. Seems hard to believe that was a whole year ago. And seems even harder to fully recollect the intensity of what my life went through the next two months between the AT, the mind-stretching, breaking my foot, my Dad dying, getting engaged, and then moving to North Carolina. I still shake my head sometimes at the intensity of those few months and how it all turned out.
The wedding is at the forefront of all thoughts these days. The dress has been purchased, food planned, bridesmaid dresses decided, website up, and discussions of honeymoon destinations. It's a whirlwind sometimes but oh such a happy time.
My Mom and my sister and her family are coming down this week from Ohio to visit. That will be the third visit by people from Ohio in four weeks. While it's been fun to have visitors, every dang time we get a visit from Ohio folk, we get ugly weather. I swear they're bringing this garbage down with them.
I've been wrestling with a lot of stuff at work. I've written three or four posts on the topic but have refrained from putting them on ELEVEN for various reasons. For the first time in my career I'm not hitting my goals, I'm not confident in the company I work for, and I have this uneasy feeling every morning I walk into my bank. I'm way too stubborn to give up, which may end up being my downfall, but I'm still fighting hard to make this specific job work. Don't mistake this for my usual struggle I sometimes have with being a Banker, but a much more specific struggle.
Adrienne asked for a health/weight update...... Well, I feel like I've hit a plateau. I have hovered around sixty pounds total lost for three months now. I (we) have made healthy, organic eating a lifestyle, and the exercise we do is pretty standard, so it's not surprising to have hit a flat spot. Realizing that I'm still twenty pounds from where I want to be by the wedding, Alli and I are amping up our exercise time and routines so that we make the next hundred days as effective as we can. I'm still pretty happy that I'm as healthy as I am compared to three years ago, but I'm ready to make it even more impressive.
I'm off to get ready for work.