LIFE DEALT ME A BAD HAND OR DIDN’T IT: HOW PEOPLE USE EXCUSES AS TO WHY THEY’RE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE

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“I had this to do and that to do.”


All throughout life you hear people make statements regarding them getting the short end of the stick when trying to succeed in life. They’ll tell you all the reasons why things in life didn’t go their way. They had a rough childhood and didn’t have the support. Or even they might tell you how they had children at a young age and couldn’t pursue. They’ll tell you how much of your life was so much easier than their own. But they are telling you this in the moment. I have always wondered in the past tense, while living in real space and time, do people really have it hard as they say they do. Meaning, do people have the short end of the stick. Or do people make decisions in the moments, that define their entire existence on this Earth. Because there is a lot of that as well.

For example, someone will tell you at the age of 35 years old, that they can’t pursue because  they have a family to look after. They have 3 or 4 kids, and they have to be a parent. Then they’ll slip up and tell you the age of these kids. “Well, my oldest is 5 years old.” Then it hits you that they had an entire decade of life that they didn’t have children as a responsibility. Now, the person must come up with yet another excuse as to why. “Well, before I had kids I had to take care for my parent/s.” But when you start to press them on this, they begin to fall apart once again. And that’s when you realize you must end the conversation because this conversation is heading down the road of typical. The typical talking piece on not wanting to be held accountable for your actions. They want to hop and skip over every aspect of life that they have lived.

People make excuses because they have a hard time coming to terms with the idea that they have wasted so much time on doing nothing. They have laid back and enjoyed and indulged in the moment even to a point sometimes of overindulging. But instead of just saying I overindulged, they say all the things that never happened. So what it does is that the conversation becomes a waste of time itself. This person has a character flaw, and they’re trying to figure out ways around the truth which is accountability. I am able to be accountable because that’s how my mother raised my sisters and myself. And you want to tell people so bad to take responsibility for the fact that you are in this space and situation because of you. Yes, everyone has a story, but you can’t just use the story when you were also engaging in so many activities that contradicts your struggle at hand.

In the end, you will always have people who find it hard to admit they are where they are to an extent because of themselves. Yes, there are the case of people that have been given a bad hand. But there is always someone in your spot that made it out. Your story is not a unique situation to be in, in life. But putting in the time to get a better space mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially is what people don’t want to do. They don’t want to put in that time because they don’t want to deal with the idea of putting in their all and failing. Yet they’re putting their all into to nothing so far in life and it has gotten them nowhere. Why not try to put something in to see if formulates into something great?


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LOSE OF INNOCENCE: HOW ADULTHOOD ROBS YOU OF YOU

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“You lose and lose and lose; then maybe you win.”


When you’re young, everyone tells you about how adulthood will pan out, Yet it does not quite amount to the struggle when you do become and adult. You’re told you have to work to become the person you want to be. But when you’re actually working to be that person, then you see it first hand. And you start to ask questions you never thought you would find yourself asking. Questions like, “Are humans really built to work like this everyday?” “I want a one dollar McChicken from McDonald’s; you mean to tell me I need a full-time job for a one dollar sandwich?” And with all the questions you ask, hopefully you’re able to come out on top. Yet so many don’t come out on top.

So inevitably, what is lost from your climb to success. In my opinion, when all you’re doing is working, then a bit of innocence is lost. You lose some humanity, as well as you becoming a little less empathetic person. You go from caring about the loved ones around you to what’s in it for me. And that’s when even more of you is lost. But why are we like this? Well, it’s because of how man constructed society.  Humans evolved to live on this planet, but not to necessarily work all the time. But we also needed to construct the world to keep everything in order also. So part of that keeping order was building economies. And as a driver in these economies, jobs and a marketplace of buyers and sellers.

So now, society is situated around attaining a living. Yet we are not happy creatures; more stressed than anything. But we continue on because there is this held belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We wake up every morning giving thanks for another day on Earth. But how content are we really? Maybe this is the reason we cling on to other aspects of society, like religion or having social lives. Or even maintaining monogamous relationships. It gives a real human existence outside the hustle of our work lives. Because a vast majority of our lives is predicated on what we do for a living. So it’s tough when we don’t have anything going on outside of work.

In the end, the older we get, the more we lose ourselves. And when I say ourselves, I don’t mean our self-respect. I mean this small amount of humanity that we lose. I think this is why we sometimes place ourselves around charities. We give back because it gives us what we lose through so much struggle in life.


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BY 30: WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU BY THIS AGE?

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“Are the expectations for us realistic or not?”

It’s funny the expectations people have for you once you reach a certain age. The age 18 years old, 21 years, and now 30. By the time you reach 30 years of age parents, friends, significant others, and society expects more from you. This is the age where you’re suppose to have your life together. I guess this is why I started in my 20’s pushing toward what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Most guys go out on Fridays, I’m in a computer lab trying to focus on writing/filmmaking. But why the strain, 30 is really not that old. As a matter of fact, it’s really young.

This is why 30 is such an important part of your life. You’re 12 years out of high school, hopefully far removed from your parent’s house, and bills start to role in. You’ve been out of college for the greater portion of the past decade. And if you are in a relationship, no more late night caps of sex. Especially if you’re a guy with a woman, she’s thinking marriage. It’s when you really start wanting children if you don’t already have any. It’s also a time to reflect over your life so far. Every milestone of my own life I have been happy up to this point. 18 years old, graduating high school; 22/23 years old graduating college, now I am 29 years old looking to 30.

I am in the process of working to be self employed and I may say, it is an uphill battle. What if I fail? What if I am not as good as I thought I was? Was the past decade for me a waste? Maybe I should have just partied it up like every other guy my age and figured out life later. Who knows what will happen for me because 30 years of age is not even 12 months away. But on the other hand, I’m not the only one who feels the pressure of 30. Yet, there is something about me that sits me apart from so many my age. I don’t feel pressured to do certain things a lot of millennials my age are thinking about: children, marriage, buying a house, and making car payments.

Now, what makes 30 so difficult for my age group that is different than my older sister is that my age group will need multiple crafts/skills. It’s not good enough to work one job anymore. I talk to people I grew up with who are working professionals and struggle to survive. Let me reiterate that, “working professionals” struggling to survive! In school growing up, you’re always taught that in a professional position you should be good. But actually, they struggle just as much as non-professionals.

Why the change with this new generation. It just seems like technology is shrinking everything. But in reality technology has created more opportunities to make money. You just have to dig it up out of the ground like gold because the days of working a 9-5 for 40 hours per week and benefits are over. So, is 30 still looked at like 30 a decade or so ago. The answer is yes! 30 is still 30, and you are expected to be at a certain place mentally and financially.

So I go back to myself. Maybe the book I am about to finish writing helps build me some type of audience, maybe it does very well, or maybe it falls flat. Maybe my next short film will help me land more work in my respective field or maybe I will be forced to keep grinding. Whatever the case may be, I am in preparation for what I want. Shouldn’t that mean something. We’ll see in a year because change is important. If you are in the same mind-frame and same financial position, you probably have not done much to change your situation. These are the adjustments all adults have to make. In the end, I don’t know what next year, next month, next week, or even the next day will bring. But as long as things are better each day than the day before I am making progress. And that at this point in life is good enough for me. Because life is about the journey, not necessarily where you’re at this moment.

INTERVIEW BLUES (SHORT STORY)

Hair freshly cut, clean shaven face, bright white smile, with the fresh scent of cologne. My dress shirt buttoned to the top and tucked into my dress pants; my tie hanging low to my waist. One by one, I place my arms into my suit coat. Looking into the mirror fully dressed, I think to myself, here goes nothing. Walking from the bathroom, making my way to the kitchen, the refrigerator in my sights. Opening the door, I pull out a bottled water and an apple. A manila folder is lying on the countertop with my résumé inside. Grabbing the manila, with my bottled water and apple clutched in hand, I made my way toward my apartment door. Stopping at the door, I realized I forgot something. Looking to the countertop, I saw my aluminum loop with house and car keys connected. Shaking my head, I went back for my keys, “Wow, I’m already off to a bad start.”

Leaving the apartment building was just nerving as when I was back inside. A dog walking nearly ran me over with his pack of howling canines. One of them even attempted to urinate on my brand new Oxfords. The walker seemed more irritated than concerned with one of his dogs trying to pee on my shoes. “Sheesh, haven’t he ever heard of the term, curb your dog.” Anyways, approaching my car, I noticed something on the driver’s side door. The paint was scraped, can you freaking believe it? My nice clean paint job had a blemish on the door. “Great, just what I needed, yet another problem taking me off course to add to an already uncomfortable start. Getting into the car, I started the ignition, but the car wouldn’t kick over. Observing the dashboard, I saw there that the tank was on,“E.” “Really, first a scratch on my vehicle, now this.”

Exiting the car, cut my loses and walked until I reached the bus stop not far from where i lived. Luckily, I had enough change in my pocket to take the city bus. Waiting at the bus stop, I couldn’t help but stare at my watch the whole time. Eventually the bus came and of course it was nearly packed to capacity. Entering the bus, I paid my fare as the doors closed and the bus drives away. Standing up, holding onto the handle connected to a pole on the bus, I noticed a baby. The cutest little baby attached to the chest of its mother. The infant was chewing on a teething ring and waving it about in his hands. The ring flew from his hands on the floor. I crouched down, picking up the ring, yet I didn’t see what was to come. It was like a scene in an action movie, you know, the slow motion scene. The scene where the guy is running as explosions are taking place around him.

Well for me, the explosion was the feel of vomit barrelling down on my forehead and onto my suit. And of course, the mother quickly apologizes for what her child had done. Now her apology meant nothing to me, but what was I to do. I could have screamed at her, but people would have thought I was some sort of psychopath for yelling at a mother and her infant child. I couldn’t press the buzzer for the next stop because I was so far from work. So here I stand, looking out the window with my shoulder dripping in vomit. My face and suit reeking from the smell of milk and baby food.

Eventually, the bus approached my stop as I made my way toward the door. Getting off, I took a deep breathe in then out. Leaving the city bus was cramped and congested; a feeling that I could only compare to as standing in a packed closet with the lights off. That was still the least of my concern, as I dabbed my shoulder with my pocket handkerchief. Standing outside the highrise with the manila folder in hand, I entered the building. Before I could even get close to the counter security was on top of me. Asking, “Where are you going?” “Who are you here to see?” Telling him who I was and why I was here, he didn’t even make eye contact. “Sign in.” After signing my name I walked toward the elevators thinking, “Wow, that was rude.” I know your job is to secure the premises, but come on, have a little personality. Then again, who cares, I should be more worried about landing this job, than the guy at the security desk.

Getting off the elevator I saw the receptionist staring as I walked over. Her smile was so welcoming, you would have thought she had been waiting for me the entire morning. After telling her who I was, she directed me toward a seating area. Something struck me as odd about the scene. Panning the layout, there were young men and women like myself. They were all seated in black suits; the men in oxfords and the women with their heeled bottoms. Something interested stood out about these potential candidates. None of them were looking over their resumes and all of them were on their cell phones. Well, what did I do; I grabbed a business journal lying atop a coffee table. I know, I know, it seems pretty pathetic, but it gives the impression I’m interested in the job. So there I sat, diligently reading over this journal and at the same time hoping I would catch the attention of upper management.

I can see it now, the CEO or President of the company would walk by and say, “Who is that young man reading the paper.” “Now that’s someone who wants to be here.” “Everyone else is on their phones, but not that guy, he’s engaged.” “Let’s bring him on board.” But, that only happens in the movies. As a matter of fact, one by one each of us in the room went in for our interview. When it was my turn, the woman entered and called on me. Standing up, I followed her, the whole time straightening my tie and suit jacket. Once at the office where my interview would take place I paused momentarily. “Shit, I forgot my resume,” thinking it, but not saying it. Can you imagine if I said that out loud on the day of my interview. Before I could turn to go back for it, I was escorted into the office.

The woman closed the door and here I was, in a room with the interviewer. Of course, we did the usual, shook hands, introduced ourselves and sat down. Soon after sitting, the door opened and two more people entered. They introduced themselves, then sat down next to the interviewer. “Hmmm, this is new, I thought to myself.” Then, one at a time, they started asking me questions. At that moment, it sunk in as to what was going on. I was going to be interviewed by three people. God only knows who these people are in the company. My mouth went dry and hands grew moist. Placing them between my legs I can only describe what happened next as a movie montage. My lips were moving, but I don’t remember anything coming out. I only can recall each person asking questions and me responding with something, what, hell I can’t remember.

Once the interview was complete, sound to my ears reemerged. “Have a nice day.” I wanted to say, “Excuse me,” but why make myself seem unattentive. I just smiled and said thank you. We shook hands, and I left the office. Walking past the receptionist, she smiled and continued tying on the computer. Huh, and to think her smile was something special for me. What was I thinking, she’s a receptionist, that’s what their job is to do. Entering the elevator I waved to her. Once the doors closed, I thrusted my back against the wall, yanking at my tie until it loosened. “Whew, what the hell was that?”

That was something new I had never experienced. One person is tough enough, let alone three people. It was like being back in school. Having a kid challenge me to a fist fight after school, then showing up with a couple of his friends. As I left the elevator and exited the building premises thoughts started to swirl through my mind. “I wonder why they never asked about my resume?” “How come they didn’t bring up the fact that my suit had baby vomit on it?” “Why didn’t they comment me on my clean outfit I was wearing?” Right, all irrelevant questions. Who gives a shit; and yes who gives a shit is the right answer. My only concern now was getting home from such a drawn out morning.

As the city bus arrived, luckily there were fewer people. entering , I sat down in the first open seat available and looked once again out the window. Only this time I was reflecting. Reflecting on my life up to this point. All the things you say you’re going to do in your adulthood never quite pan out that way. You plan then set out to accomplish what you plan, then roadblocks derail you along the way. I thought by now, I would be living in a suburban home, married with children; you know, living the good life. I guess not, I mean, what does life have to offer me?

I’m not lazy, I work hard and yet nothing has been working. Maybe this is something that I need to go through in life to bring me closer to what I should doing for the rest of my life. I only wish I knew what that special thing was; then I could stop going on these interviews. Rejection is starting to wear on me and my confidence is descending.

Eventually the city bus came to my original starting point and I was just a short walk away from home. With my hands in my pockets, I approached my apartment complex. Opening the door I walked the hall toward my apartment. There was a letter attached to the door. In red block lettering it read, “3 DAY NOTICE.” “Really, a three day notice.” “Just what I needed.” Going into my apartment, I closed the door thinking, “Damn I need a new job.”

GENDER FLIP

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“What if I were a woman?”

Have you ever thought what your life would be like if you were the opposite gender? I have found myself going, “How would my life be different had I have been born a woman?” “Would I have the the same cognitive processes I do now?” “How would my physical attributes look in this feminine body?” “Would I be just as safe walking the streets as I am now?” “What would be expected of me from society?” So many questions to myself go through my mind. But I have another way of approaching the situation. If I could go back to that conceptualized moment of birth, I would take notes with me from today’s society. Meaning I would write an advice letter from a man’s perspective then send it back in time to my female self in how to deal with man.

My advice to female self starts in elementary school. I would first start off by telling me that life didn’t make us fair. Sorry kid, boys’ muscular structure is different than women. So chances are you won’t be the fastest kid in school. You will dominate among women, but as far as being the fastest in general that’s all biology. But I will tell you that you will be a better communicator. Man has been endowed biologically greater than a woman in which that is physical, but you are greater in which that is emotional. Find your skill that makes you unique from the rest, using that greater in which to shine.

Your next stage in life will come middle school. This is the beginning of your adolescent life. You will start to develop so much mentally through this stage as well as physically. But you will know this because you’re in your female body. But if you’re reading this message to you, you should know that it’s also boy’s adolescent stage as well. We are going through puberty, and our affinity for you will start. Now, our voices don’t only crack and we are not only growing hair everywhere, but we don’t fully know why we like you as well. At age 12 years of age it is very unclear, but we’ll understand coming through middle school into high school.

Now, as you pass from middle into high, you’ll realize a key attribute as a teenager. It is that virginity for you is different for us. Sex is way more emotional for you than us. We will go to farther lengths for sex, and at times you won’t understand why we are willing to risk it all. You’ll even notice we are willing to spend money, play sports, dress a certain way, and talk a certain way for your attention. Now, everyone has some sort of price, once the level at which you’re willing and able to pay exceeds your price, get out. There is a catch to I want this much, but I’ll give you more; what’s the catch. Which brings me to another thing about us as guys, we don’t operate off of something for nothing. But also keep in mind, that once people understand you have a price and a price only, you could find yourself doing things you never thought you would, so beware.

Which brings me to the advice I’ll give you about being an adult. That is men have come to realize that we don’t necessarily need much going for us once we have trinkets. Meaning, man me talking to female me must know that once we have acquired tangibles, we know it impresses you. So we realize at times it’s all we need. Now, this is when you must use your gift of communication. Always remember, to a degree, you’re better at communicating because you utilize more words for expressing what you want. Men are looking for the most simplistic measure, you are more complex. Make people seek out the complexity within.

In the end, I am writing this letter you as 29 year old man me, to now adult you as a woman. There is so much more to learn and understand in life about even man men now. And hopefully, just hopefully you’ll pick up another letter from an older more wiser man. A letter which will tell you the next stage of life which is middle age and ultimately elderly years of what we are as men.