Truth or Facade

Wildlife 002

How important is what others think of us? How far do people go to be liked? Is fitting in important? Does being alone really mean being lonely?

I’m not a philosopher, but I have been witness to many a peculiar human act. As a species we truly seek the company of others. Sometimes we wear a proverbial mask that portrays  us similar to those around us, even if on our own we would not act the same. Sit and observe a group of teenagers at a mall if you don’t believe me.

I have seen people get haircuts, etc to blend in. Get tattoos because others did. Buy a certain brand or type of clothing. Why do we do this? I don’t need to look like, act like, or dress like someone else to love myself. Yet at times I feel I have done just that.As if I needed their approval to be okay. I AM OKAY! Just the way I am.

Not everyone wants to grow a portion of their own food. I do. Not everyone wants to spend solitary moments in nature. I do. Not everyone wants to continually learn new things. I do do.

Do I want to fit into society? Of course I do. But at what cost? I don’t want to quit being me just to be accepted by someone else. As Popeye said, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”

I am not perfect. I have flaws. But I can look in the mirror and respect the man I see. I served my country. I give an honest day’s work. My life is not a facade. I am a simple man leading a simple life.

If GOD provides me another chance at romance I’ll give it a try.But until then I’d rather be alone and happy than be in a relationship where I sacrifice my happiness for that of someone else.

Enough rambling for one night. But it feels good to finally write again.

Advertisements

Dog Days of Fall

Its November. The weather here is stuck in Summer mode. Matching or breaking previously set record highs. Almost daily thunderstorms. Yard work really is a chore, either too hot or too wet. A/C runs continually, tea won’t stay cold, mop the floor just to drag in a fresh coat of mud. Did I mention its November?

On the bright side I don’t have to manually water the garden each night. Plants that normally would be difficult in November are thriving. Weeds are also thriving, but that’s okay. Into every-life some rain must fall. Flowers on the Okra plants hint of upcoming stews. Bright green Kale glistens in the morning dew. Trimmings from an overgrown Rosemary bush are hanging inside just for the aroma, I could never use it all for cooking or garnish.

Rainy nights make for great sleep. Tomorrow it will be back to work, but this week is split by Veteran’s Day, so there will be a brief respite. I actually enjoy my job most of the time and although there is always a wrinkle in our plans we seem to find a way to work through it.

Not sure what the future holds. Today, I plan to sit on the couch with my dog and enjoy the moment. The weather will change in due time. Did I mention its November?

A Gentle Reminder

KIMG0044Recently, during a very stressful day at work, I went outside to clear my head. Amid the acres of asphalt, parked cars and people shuffling around, I saw a small rabbit. It was nibbling on grass in one of the islands. Watching the rabbit moving from island to island as if it didn’t have a care in the world, made me think about all the beauty nature shows us every day. Even here in a parking lot GOD again gave me a reminder that there is much more to life than most of us participate in.

I used to find time for canoeing, hiking, visiting parks and science centers. Lately I have let my job consume so much of my time I forget to find time for me. Even this brief instance with the rabbit left me yearning to reconnect with nature. This Labor day weekend I’m committing to find time to enjoy the great outdoors.

I want so badly to resume my sustainable lifestyle. All of my batteries need to be replaced. That is an expense I currently can’t afford. Slowly I plan to replace them one at a time. My solar panels are doing their job, but without good batteries their generated energy is useless.

My garden has more weeds than edible plants. Fixing that issue is a great place to start. It isn’t expensive. I’ll get my hands dirty. I’ll get some much needed exercise. I’ll return my yard to a condition my neighbors can enjoy looking at.

Inspired by a brief encounter with a rabbit, I realized how many things I love that I’m not doing. I need to get back to who I was and not let my job get in my way. I will stop bringing my work home with me. GOD gave me talents and a love for nature. I will combine my gifts and moving forward live for me. Trying to be all things for others might make them happy, but I find little satisfaction in doing menial tasks just because I’m good at it. I like serving others, but all choices we make include an opportunity cost. Doing “A” means not doing “B”. I am learning to say no. Not because I don’t want to help others, rather that I deserve time for myself.

I am blessed. May GOD smile upon you and your life be filled with love. My gentle reminder from GOD got me to reexamine what I was doing, and more importantly why I was doing it. Putting yourself last is realistically unhealthy, both physically and emotionally. Take time for you, or you will never find true happiness. It took me 49 years to figure this out. It’s the little things in life that matter. Make the most of what you have. Hug your children, Chase your dreams. There is only one YOU. And only YOU can control your choices. I choose to live for me, mistakes and bad judgements are bound to occur. So be it. I refuse to be a pawn in others game of life.

This is my outlet to vent. If I’m the only one who ever reads it, I’m happy with that. If others read it and find even one thing they like  I will feel good knowing that even though I created this just for me, perhaps like minded people can work together to create a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t destroy the beauty nature gives us everyday.

Good night and GOD BLESS.

Where I find PEACE

Wildlife 002

FGCU Campus waterway

Most of my life I’ve been here in SW Florida. I’ve never been too far from water. I grew up in a family of commercial fishermen. I was taught to respect our environment. Now, as a not so young man, I find that Nature nurtures. When I’ve had a bad day, or hell a bad week, I find Peace just observing GOD’s creation.

Something as simple as feeding the squirrels in my back yard can somehow ease my stress. Putting the canoe into the water just after daybreak, smelling the fresh air, feeling the light breeze,  being alone with my thoughts can temporarily transport me out of the everyday hustle and bustle. Picking a fresh tomato, cuke, or pepper from my small garden provides a satisfaction that couldn’t be matched by purchasing a bushel of each at the market.

There have been times I’ve cussed the rain, complained its too hot, bitched about mosquitoes, but I always return to Happiness when I accept that I’m just one small part of a very grand design. Without the rain, crops don’t grow. Without the sunshine, nothing on earth would survive. As for mosquitoes, they’re food for bats and other creatures.

I can’t paint one perfect picture of nature with my mere words. Many talented writers have come before me giving us wonderful works describing their experiences. Photojournalist have given us pictures of nature in almost every possible situation. For me, one minute spent in Nature, is worth a hundred seeing it through an others eyes.

Next time you’re feeling blue try visiting a local park or conservatory. I’m thankful for the protection my home provides from the elements, but those elements are what make Earth the only viable location for human life.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

Procrastination

Procrastination has been my enemy for most of my life. Rather than doing, I wait. Why can’t I just make up my mind and take action?  I know I’m not alone in this battle. I believe many others are reluctant to commit themselves without some period of indecision.

What are we waiting for? What are depriving ourselves of by waiting? Is our lack of action hurting others? Are we being selfish? Can we stop?

Some decisions do need to be carefully considered before we commit. Some things cannot be undone. Mistakes will be made. Our choices affect not only ourselves, but often include those around us. Realizing which decisions to make quickly versus those we should weigh all options can be daunting.

Indecision is simply deciding to put off our decision.

Today I decided to accept the task of free-writing for 20 minutes. Even if no one else reads my post, I chose to write.

I believe we all have something to contribute. Waiting around for that perfect moment might mean never taking action. I believe if each of us take even the smallest of actions we can create major changes. Let’s feed the hungry by showing them how to grow their own food. Let’s reduce our dependance on fossil fuels by trying alternative sources like solar. Let’s show gratitude for what we have and quit complaining about what we lack.

Today, look in the mirror and ask “What am I waiting for?” Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, today I choose to act.

Have a BLESSED day!

Baby Steps

GE DIGITAL CAMERAEllie May is the newest addition to my family. She was formerly known as Baby Girl at the pound where I got her. She dug up most of my garden her first week here. Rather than punish her I added more fencing. She was just doing what came natural. Now we are both learning how to interact with each other in ways that are mutually beneficial. Baby steps towards a lifelong friendship.

After making efforts to keep her out of the garden, I spent more time doing what she likes, mostly play-fighting and fetch. I also expanded my garden on the other side of the fence. I added two more raised beds, each with more tasty and nourishing plants. Baby steps on my way to sustainability.

Tomorrow I plan to visit my parents and work in Dad’s garden. His is much larger than mine, but last year he lost almost all of his plants to pests. Pickle-worm destroyed multiple types of squash, melons and cucumbers. The use of raised beds may reduce the damage from these pests. The pigs, coons and armadillos  are a different story. Another Baby step towards self sufficiency.

I hope someday to reach a state of complete self reliance, until then I’ll keep taking Baby steps.

Be Strong

Everyday seems to present its own set of new challenges. Today was no different. I didn’t want to get up, the rain hitting the windows reminded me that where I was going would most likely be muggy and mosquito ridden. I got up anyway. I promised my friend of many years to help him with a few projects he needed to complete rather quickly. I could have lied or made an excuse to get out of it, but this was a friend who has been there when others weren’t.

I was right about the mosquitoes and the humidity. It was hot, muddy, and generally uncomfortable. My friend didn’t push or rush me to do the chores in front of us, and after about 8 hours that felt like 20, we were done. When I got home I felt like an old worn out rag that needed a good soak in a fast moving creek. My heart told me over and over throughout the day to “Be strong, be patient. In the end, its the results that matter, not the problems during the fight”. The fight of everyday life isn’t wasted effort, we get stronger for our attempts. We aren’t always successful in our endeavors, but we learn to survive.

At the end of the day (this and every other), what really matters is what we hold dear. Family and friends can’t be replaced with things or money! 

Blessings to all!