Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that Christmas has been a difficult time for me for the last 12 years. For those who don’t know, my ex-wife chose Christmas Day as the time to tell me she wanted a divorce. For too long, I couldn’t deal with what should be a joyous season. I avoided my favorite Christmas movies, family get togethers, friends, decorations, and anything else that reminded me of losing my family. I would drink myself into a blackout stupor on Christmas Eve and stay holed up completely alone throughout Christmas Day.
I’m writing this post for anyone out there who struggles with this time of year. You are not alone, even if it feels like you are. You are not defeated, even if it seems like everything is against you. Healing is possible. As long as you still draw breath, you can lift yourself up from the lowest depths of despair.
Healing begins with forgiveness. You absolutely must forgive the people who hurt you, not because they deserve it but because you do. Forgiveness removes the weight from yourself. It frees you from the poison of bitterness and allows you to move forward.
Today, I’m in a much better place with the holidays. I have watched all of my favorite movies over the last couple of years. I don’t become consumed by the sense of impending doom. I’m slowly beginning to enjoy the spirit of the holidays again. If I can heal from that wound, anyone can find the strength to heal from theirs.
If you need a helping hand through this time of year, comment on this post, and I promise I will respond. I might only be able to offer a few kind words, but I will make certain you know that you are not alone.
It’s becoming more and more difficult for me to get on social media these days. The constant flow of hate from Republicans and Democrats is overwhelming.
I can’t understand why anyone would want to spend so much time scouring Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed for something to be angry about. And vice versa. Conservatives are equally guilty of looking for the slightest little injustice to feed their daily outrage.
We are steadily marching towards civil war. Both sides have so dehumanized the other that it’s no wonder we have a fairly regular stream of mass shootings. All of the hateful memes and snarky posts and bellyaching commentaries about every single perceived injustice move us closer and closer to all out bloodshed.
I’m powerless to stop it. I’m one small voice in the wilderness, insignificant compared to the perpetual surge of hate that flows from social media each minute. All I know is that more hate will not defeat hate. Deeper darkness will not brighten the world. Only love and light can.
I know this blog entry will only reach a small amount of people. Those who engage with it will be far too few to make any difference in the coming storm, but those of you who do read it, I implore you to prepare what is coming. We as human beings cannot lose the good we have, the lofty ideals that we aspire to. Democracy, free markets, self-determination, free speech, free thought, the scientific method, personal accountability, empathy, competition, and cooperation, these concepts are what make us great, not the hate and vitriol of social media.
That’s all for now.
Today is my youngest son’s 13th birthday. I have a hard time believing that much time has passed, but it’s true. He’s a wickedly smart kid, who has completely taught himself more about computers than I can fathom. Once upon a time, I built one from scratch to put that in perspective.
He also marches to his own beat, unapologetically so, and could not care less what you or anyone else thinks about him. He’s observant and perceptive, has a poet’s soul, and possesses a scathing wit. He reminds me of a better version of myself, and I hope he finds his way in this world more easily than I have.
Happy birthday, son. Your dad loves you more than all the sand on all the beaches on all the world.
That’s all for now.
In my previous post, I mentioned Nick Hanauer and his belief in a wealth tax. I also pointed out what I see as the shortfalls of redistributing wealth via the government. However, it’s not productive to do that without offering an alternative solution, so as promised, here is my idea for how the super wealthy could impact the lives of average Americans.
On a completely voluntary basis, people with a net worth over one billion dollars could establish foundations that help individuals launch small businesses. Right now, there are millions of working people around the country who have the knowledge and skills to run a small business in their area of expertise, but they lack the capital to purchase the equipment, form the proper entity, and take the plunge into self-employment. They also might lack the knowledge to navigate all of the legal and bureaucratic obstacles.
However, if wealthy individuals like Nick Hanauer provided grants and also business coaches to assist with getting small businesses off the ground, more individuals could have opportunities to be self-sufficient. Because the money is not being filtered through the bloated bureaucracy of government, more of that wealth goes directly to the people Hanauer wants to help.
The major advantage of following this path is that people will have the opportunities to build businesses and wealth for themselves. Instead of government handouts, people will be offered a hand up to self-reliance. Instead of being tethered to larger businesses that may or may not pay decent wages, people from every social stratum could have more equal opportunities based on the effort they are willing to put into growing their businesses.
Obviously, this is merely a thumbnail sketch of the idea, but I believe that it is an idea worth pursuing by those who have the means to make it a reality.
That’s all for now.
No qualifiers, no hyperbole, no BS. I’m happy.
I can’t explain exactly why. My life is far from perfect, and by many objective standards, my career has been a failure. I don’t have many creature comforts, and I basically live day to day financially. However, when I wake up each day, I’m grateful for the food in my fridge, the roof over my head, the opportunities in front of me, and the people who are close.
Many of my clients have plenty of money, but I wouldn’t classify any of them as happy people. Some are too petty to find joy in anything. Some are too selfish to appreciate the warmth that comes from sharing with those less fortunate. Some are just miserable individuals. I wouldn’t trade lives with any of them.
I know that a major contributor to my happiness is the gratitude I feel for the positives I do enjoy. If you are not happy and want to change your life, that’s the first and most important step you can make. Find the good aspects of your daily life and take a moment to feel real, sincere gratitude for those items or moments or people. That simple act transforms your perception. Instead of dwelling on all the things you don’t have, which is an infinite loop of dissatisfaction, you will begin to appreciate the little stuff that enriches you.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Happiness is choice. So is misery. You are in control of which way you perceive the world.
That’s all for now.
I took the boys back to Jacksonville last week. That trip is so bittersweet. The drive down is always fun as we laugh and joke through each state. I’ve become intimately familiar with every rest area on the path and have a handful of travel centers I like to use. The boys have become quite familiar with the scenery as well. This particular trip down Collin actually drove a little, his first time doing so on the interstate.
The drive back is much more subdued. The car is too silent, and typically I just want to get home. It always takes me a couple of days to shake off the blues.
For the first time in a long time, I took a week off to enjoy the last couple of days with them, make the drive down and back, and rest up afterwards. Now I’m getting back into my flow, so I’ll try to knock out a few new posts this week.
That’s all for now.
I believe in the invisible hand. I believe that when market forces are allowed to function without excessive interference (like onerous regulations or protectionist tariffs) individuals will find an equilibrium for prices and wages.
One factor I’ve never quite understood, and maybe someone out there could explain it to me, is why we fixate on hourly wages for jobs in profit driven businesses. To me, an hourly wage is counterproductive for both the employer and the employee. It offers no incentive for an employee to work harder or be more productive in that position. As long as you show up and do the minimum required, you will earn the set hourly rate.
To me, it makes more sense to establish wage structures that are linked to productivity. If the business as a whole does well, both the employer and the employee earn more money. In the past, before computers were so prevalent, I can understand why this would have been impossible, but today, someone who is skilled at programming and math could easily tailor software for virtually every business that could calculate fair profit sharing wages.
This is an idea that both liberals and conservatives could find common ground on and improve the lives of just about everyone. I’ve worked in a broad range of businesses, and I could see this being applied everywhere I’ve ever worked. I once knew the owner of a repair shop who did this for his mechanics, and he said that his business absolutely exploded after he made the switch. Suddenly, those Friday afternoon jobs that normally were left until Monday morning weren’t quite as difficult to complete because the mechanic wanted the pay on this check.
If I were a person of influence, this would be my cause: to unite employers and employees in productivity-based wages instead of a set hourly rate.
That’s all for now.