Thursday, July 31, 2008

On my mind

I've had a lot of stuff on my mind lately...a whole lot of stuff. Where to start?

Not the least of the things on my mind was my heart. I had an echocardiogram today and it showed that my heart was very strong and healthy. Good news. I started having some chest pains while in Chicago on a vacation and when I returned, they did too. I saw a doctor on Monday and did an EKG and an x-ray, with mixed results. The EKG was ordered just to put the doc's mind at ease. After the EKG, he saw "several abnormalities" and it was sent to a cardiologist for review, while I saw anxiously in the doctor's office knowing something was up and not knowing what. The pat on my knee from the doctor and the promise to take care of me didn't set me at ease at all. If anything, it made me more nervous, what was wrong with me? Well, the cardiologist came back and said that everything was fine, but the doctor wanted an ECG to make sure. So, I did that today. I'm all good. Except, I still hurt sometimes. Dang heart.

To add to that, I found out that I'll be paying $400 to know that my heart is good. Wonderful. I also had to get my car safety/emissions tested and had to buy a new tire ($100) as a result. Then it cost me $150 to renew the registration. Yikes. When it rains, it pours. That's $650 out the door, just like that. Fortunately I can make payments on the ECG deal, although they did try to get me to pay it all today. I'm really glad I've learned over the last few years how to assert myself. A headlock and noogie are effective communication techniques to get medical collectors off your back. Just so you know...for future reference.

(Sigh) - it's just been one of those weeks. I'm reminded of one of my absolute favorite songs of all time, "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel. The reason this is one of my favorite songs is because of one line.

"In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminders of every blow that laid him down or cut him til he cried out in his anger and his shame, 'I am leaving, I am leaving'...but the fighter still remains."

Sometimes I feel, like that boxer, ready to say "I am leaving, I am leaving" and walk away.

I'm still here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Changes and ankle socks

I was cleaning my room yesterday and I came across a piece of paper I hadn't seen in a long time. It was an Injury Report form dated 07/23/2007 detailing an injury I incurred while working at a children's shelter in Salt Lake City. I had been playing soccer with one of the children when a (well placed) kick sent the ball flying directly at a sensitive area lower than my stomach.

This type of injury doesn't normally require a form to be filled out. The pain will usually subside within a few agonizing minutes. This time, it didn't. I had my supervisor fill out the form to ensure I could receive workman's compensation should I require medical attention for my injury. Fortunately, by the next day the pain was gone and the only thing I had to remind me of the injury was this form.

What got me thinking was the date on the form. July 23, 2007. Nearly a year ago. Pretty darn close. I started thinking about where I was, what I was doing and who I was a year ago and then comparing it to where I am today, what I am doing and who I am now.

Life's a little different when you start growing up. In elementary school you are measured by what grade you are in. One year you're in the 5th grade and the next you're in the 6th grade. That is a quantifiable difference. You can measure progress and development fairly simply that way.

In grade school, students have the goal of finishing school. That goal is easily tracked by grades. When you are in 6th grade, you have six years of schooling completed and need to make it to 12 to finish high school. You know exactly how far you've come and how much further you have to go. Progress is tracked and is measured.

As an adult, things are different. It's not as easy to measure progress towards goals.

Does development and growth slow down when you get older? Does learning slow down? What have I done in the last year to grow and develop as a person?

I haven't done a lot of changing since last year. I'm essentially the same person this year as I was last. I like the same things, wear the same clothes, listen to the same music, eat the same foods, have the same habits, play the same games, enjoy the same sports...I'm no different now than I was at this time last year. That's a problem.

Don't get me wrong, I like myself...a lot. I think I'm a great guy and I think most people that know me think the same. Maybe it's my inflated ego that leads me to think this, but so be it. Having said that, there are still some things about myself that I would like to change. There is growth and development I would like to experience. But the question is, what have I done to experience that growth and development?

I guess not all things are the same. Within the last two weeks I've discovered the joy that are ankle socks. In the past, I've looked down on ankle socks and thought they weren't "cool". After a fair amount of persuasion and the realization that I can't wear calf socks with non-athletic shorts without looking pretty stupid, I decided to give the ankle socks a try. I bought a six pack of socks, figuring that'd be enough to give me the full ankle sock experience.

Wow. Just wow. I am a convert. Ankle socks have all the comfort and then some of the calf length socks I'm accustomed to. I've worn them just about every day since I bought them. I no longer have only one pack, I now have several packs of them. They're easier to wash, fold and store because they have less material than the longer socks. They're fashionable for summer time wear, but you can wear them in cooler weather also. They work well for playing sports and exercising. In short, they are the ultimate sock and I wish I'd found them sooner.

I may not have made huge changes this last year, but I have discovered ankle socks, and that's a start.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peace of Mind

I've been thinking. I have been blogging my P90X experience and have kind of enjoyed it. I decided that there's more I'd like to say, but it doesn't really fit in with my P90X stuff and I don't want to just throw it all in together. So, I decided to start a new blog. I'll call it Musings. It may or may not be updated as often as the P90X one, but it will contain things of a more personal nature. Don't think that it will be a voyeuristic experience for you...I am not going to reveal anything that I wouldn't normally, this is just a unique way to reach more people and more effective than calling someone to say, "hey guess what I was thinking". I'm kinda excited for this. It will be a new experience for me.

So, with that it comes.

I like music. No, I love music. I wish I could play it; I'm trying to learn how. I love songs that tell stories or have morals. I don't like this new-fangled corporate rock. It all seems so canned, so lifeless. It didn't use to be this way. Singers used to be songwriters and they would write about things that mattered to them. They would write about the things in their heart. Sometimes the messages were political and sometimes they were tributes to people or experiences. Sometimes they were stories...I like those ones.

Some of these people are Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Eric Clapton...just to name a few.

I'm not saying there is no good music today, it's just very different than the music of yesteryear. One of my all time favorite songs is "Peace of Mind" by Boston. That song speaks to me, something that is lost on much of today's music.

"Now if you're feelin' kinda low 'bout the dues you've been paying
Future's coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin'
Can't decide on which way to go

I understand about indecision
But I don't care if I get behind
People livin' in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind.

Now you're climbin' to the top of the company ladder
Hope it doesn't take too long
Can't you see there'll come a day when it won't matter
Come a day when you'll be gone"

I was driving today and I saw a big truck in front of me waiting to turn right at a red light. All of a sudden, he punched the gas, squeeled his tires and took off in front of oncoming traffic. This is something I've sure we've all seen (and maybe even done). It's one of my biggest pet peeves with driving. When I saw this cat pull out, the first thing I thought of was this song. I wondered why he was in such a hurry and why it seems everyone is in a hurry. Is where he's going so important that he can't wait 30 seconds to show some consideration to the people around him? Is everywhere everyone is going so important that we can't show some regard for the people around us?

Why does it seem that everyone is in competition with each other? Hurrying around, can't let the other guy in because it would delay us. Are we so narcissistic to think that we're so much more important than everyone else? What ever happened to common courtesy? If this was the biggest problem, it wouldn't be a big deal, but I think it's indicative of a much larger social problem. When we start thinking that we're better than others or more important and can inconvenience someone because it suits us or because it serves our interest, we are on dangerous ground. Where will it stop?

Just something I thought about when I saw a white truck pull out in front of traffic.

If you think this is all about driving, you've missed the point.