Month: January 2017

Habits Not Goals

Gentlemen of no leisure,

As I sit here reflecting on 2016 and looking forward to my intentions in the new year, many thoughts pop in and out. We have all ran the gamut of health issues, work obstacles, and personal struggles (often if not always self inflicted) that are one of the many running ties that connect us. Our paths have crossed for a multitude of reasons, but in our current standing, DMR is not only a sounding board with no judgement, but a source of pride. In everything I have dealt with, or listened to, our Stoic Xanadu has provided a platform for discussion. My gratitude for this, and both of your insight, cannot be easily measured. It can, however, be felt and seen in the way we live our lives. To that extent with the first month of 2017 nearly at completion, here is where I stand on tackling the new year.

What should I stop doing?

Using (insert excuse here) as a crutch to not move forward and evolve. Be it fear, marijuana, health I constantly find reasons to avoid the things I need to do most. There have been good reasons for me to use these excuses. Ulcerative Colitis is at its worst so I cant go out and meet new people. My stomach feels off so its fine to just smoke and stay in tonight. While these may not seem like a big deal at a glance, over time they have pushed me into semi hermit-hood and has castrated many opportunities to grow. Whether meeting peers, finding a mentor, a girlfriend, a business partner, just saying “why not” and going can lead to amazing experiences and connections. With the health issue and reliance on weed, I know that I have missed out on these types of experiences. Last year went by in a blur. This month is basically over. Now is all we have and I need to be living fully vested in that moment. The life I want to create for myself will not be found through Postmates and Netflix, TRUST ME, I have the data to make that hypothesis a theory.

What should I continue doing?

Keeping a positive outlook and attitude throughout all situations. One of the biggest skills that I have refined from our work is keeping a positive outlook on life. The great irony in our group is that we all look at each other as goals we would like to have. Dan you have a wonderful family, and are a true entrepreneur. Rory you are rising fast in an amazing company, and are moving towards adding a lil Gallagher into the mix. I have the freedom to do whatever I want, the world is my oyster.

But in reality Dan may need to split the business, Rory is entering an unknown world with unknown outcomes, and I have the stomach to travel to Whole Foods and back. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but it is usually greener wherever you water it. I love that we each can view the exterior socially acceptable lives, as well as the nitty gritty real shit..WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. #VeryRare.

Knowing these truths, combined with the maelstrom of reality that is 2016-2017, I have been able (all be it with small swings up and down) to keep a smile on my face, and keep carving my way in the world.

What should I start doing?

Habits not goals. One of the many nuggets mined from our conversations, this one recently stuck out. I am constantly judging myself on where I stand, why have I not done something, and how far away from my goals I am. When you view things through this lens, it becomes a massive undertaking to even get out of bed and try. But DMR is about defaulting to action. Scared to get back into the blog because you haven’t done it in so long you think your time for success has passed; log in. Don’t like where your workout habits have been, but are too tired from the day to think; put on the sneakers and go. Tired of being lonely, but the thought of a Friday night in sounds like the easy way out, take a shower and put on your most obnoxious Ed Hardy shirt from a decade ago. WE GOING CLUBBING BABY.

My focus in the new year is to establish good habits. They will all tie into my goals, but the focus is on consistently sticking to habits that will create success. First habit hit with only a day left to go, but monthly posts in this bad boy are just the start.

-Matt

 

Bottled Up

So to kick off my first post of the year, I wanted to share this with you guys. There is a group called The Narrators that I have been following for about a year or so. By their own definition, The Narrators are an organization dedicated to promoting the art of true storytelling and providing community access to storytelling events. My friend put me on to them, and was pushing me to do a story. I decided to get out of my comfort zone maybe 8 months or so ago, and do one. The theme for the month was bottled up, and for whatever reason, it reminded me of my bottled up emotions from not being able to cry at my Grandfathers funeral. Below is the piece I wrote from that experience.

I stand there, surrounded by loved ones draped in obsidian garments. The crisp New York air cut through everyone but me. Shivers, tears, and unequivocal sadness abounded. But I felt nothing. As prayers were said and religious texts quoted, I saw the agony engulfing my mother and grandmother into deeper depths of sorrow. I stood there nothing more than a manikin enveloped in flesh. I couldn’t fucking cry. I wanted to cry, and I was pushing myself to.

I tried channeling my most loathed childhood recollections: breaking my arm slipping in the mud in front of my entire gym class, my failed fully vetted business plan to my parents as to why I deserved a boa constrictor as a pet, friends rounding bases with their girlfriends / as I / rounded the corner to the cash register buy more Pokémon cards / all were failed efforts.

Not a single tear made its way to my rosen chubby cheeks. I stared into the ground hoping no one could see the fraud I was. Loving grandson, apple of his eye…these thoughts were hard to fathom if his passing moved me no closer to the misery I could tangibly feel from my family.

This was baffling to me. I felt I was a sensitive and open person, NO I knew I was. With the wealth of knowledge, perception, and emotional wisdom acquired by a 15-year-old boy in a small Northern California town, surely I had the answers.

But there I stood emotionless. I knew it was not a lack of love or compassion. I truly loved my Grandfather. My middle name was in honor of his first. There were too many stories of his adventures, and our experiences for his passing to affect me this way. My eyes closed with fervor, desperately grasping at straws of memories to evoke heartbreak.

I jumped back to the reminiscence of Grandpa Chip and I’s most beloved pastime. It was a day like any other in the legendary town of Sun City West Arizona.

Truly the West Coast Boca Raton for elderly Jews / what it lacked in humidity / it made up for in dry heat.

With a dwindling AC unit and an adolescent boredom unmatched in its time, there was only one course of action.

“Lets go to the pool Matt”, he uttered under his pot-roast and potato latke laden breath. We were having left overs from last night and my Grandmother lovingly walks up, states “Matthew when are you going to lose some weight” and then proceeds to drop a veritable clash of titans between meat and starch somehow contained to a porcelain plate.

By the way just so everyone is aware, as my Grandma started to slowly lose her mind she would ask me only 3 things: A Holy Trinity of Jewish Guilt if you will

  1. How are you doing in School?
  1. When are you going to find a girlfriend?
  1. When are you going to lose some weight?

Nothing can break the anxiety of body issues quite like the guilt of a Jewish Grandmother. “Lets go Grandpa Chip” I exclaim, and we were off at the pace of retirement home speed limits, as the orthopedic shoe hit the gas pedal.

We had traversed the desert and made our way to the oasis in the senior center. Entering the locker room there was a dust and dampness only found in hospitals or retirement homes. I used to hate it, but now found comfort in the musk.

Chip loved to swim. I never asked why. Maybe it was to ease his joints, but I thought it was just something we always did together. We changed into our swim trunks, made our way to the edge of the grainy concrete, and dipped our toes in…

My eyes broadened and I came crashing back to brown and green ryegrass below my black dress shoes. The bereavement still abounded, so I shut them once again to dive into even deeper chasms of my minds eye.

My consciousness is blurry, but the feeling is somehow tangible. Sitting on my Grandpa’s lap he is thumbing through a book as I place fingerprints on his military medallions. He was a cartographer in World War 2. The honor and admiration I felt for him at the time was comparable only to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I don’t know what his exploits were in the military, but he was a hero. I knew that…

My eyes open slowly as I am once again jettisoned back to reality. This has to be the one that will get the tear ducts pumping. If not now when??

When came and went as the service concludes, and we made our pilgrimage back to the car. The camel colored dirt powders our shoes, passing by graves gilded with kaleidoscopic flower bouquets to draw attention away from the bitter despair adorned by everyone but me.

In the car my uncle is fidgeting with the radio, complaining about the signal, and opining on past days of glory for the New York Mets. My mother and aunt seem to come to terms with the situation as each minute passes. My grandmother is shattered, the love of her life is gone, and now with daughters on each coast the deluge of utter loneliness begins to drown her.

I sit staring out the window analyzing the details of the suburbs. Cracked concrete waiting to be walked on in scorching sun adorned with Italian ice in hand. Brownstone apartments brush shoulders with Victorian homes like passerby’s inching their way through a subway stop. Cobblestone footpaths leading to porches that scream Americana, but denote the delusion they represent. There are so many things to ponder on. None more than why I couldn’t cry at my Grandfathers funeral. 

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