Do It For The Perspective: Money Isn’t the Only Valuable

I’m back! As in, vacation me which is my natural state of happy existence. Even my cousin could tell the change in tone from when I started this blog in July, and as of late. But there is something about getting out there, seeing new things, and talking to new people that breaks down this mundane and lethargic shell. The shell that says it is not that important to enjoy every minute of life, the shell that convinces us money is more important than living life to the fullest.

[By the way I’m going to mix in pictures of Barrow throughout this post for no apparent reason other than it makes me happy.]

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Being a relatively responsible person, I was a bit stressed about money before this trip. And it helped that I spent about $70 fewer dollars on gas on the way down. But really at the end of the day, I know I am not going to go into crippling debt. So why would I let a few hundred dollars make or break a vacation?

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So of course my advice to you all is go do it. Whatever it may be for you. Catch up with college friends, family members; this week will hopefully be full of that (as long as you don’t get snowed in). The more often I change my scenery, the easier it is for me to understand that it is far more important to live than exist. But it is a good thing I planned this trip far off, because when I am out of real-me-mode, it does seem a lot easier and cheaper to just stay home. If I had waited until last week to make a decision on this trip, I probably wouldn’t have taken it. Kind of like my New York City trip, where I was on the edge until the night before: “It is going to be such a hassle!”

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Yea, you know what, it is a hassle. And everything in the world is a cost benefit balance. The benefits of enjoying myself and growing as a person far outweigh the monetary, time, and energy costs of taking these trips. I don’t see the family that is down here super often, so having the chance to connect over the last few days (and the next) has been amazing. What if I had forgone this trip, and not spent time with my relatives, reconnecting, and getting to know each other more? Well maybe it wouldn’t have been so noticeable on the outside, but really it would be another crack in the pillar of happiness. Instead, I threw down some mortar, and popped another block on top of that pillar.

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Perspective is valuable.

In a material society it is hard to place value on things that you can’t hold in your hand, or buy for $300. But maybe we should stop thinking of our lives as separated: the family self, the friend self, the work self. Maybe it is time to think of skills and knowledge as something that will make us whole. Life experiences should grow you as a person, not separate you into different people. It could help to think less of, “How will this increase my earning potential?” or “Is this the most I could gain during my only 6 hours off this week?”

I used to only read non-fiction political books. I wanted to go into politics (what was wrong with me?!) so I didn’t want to waste my time reading non-fiction. This is especially ironic since I am now writing fiction books; turns out all that fiction wasn’t a waste of time! But even if I didn’t want to write, it would not have been a waste of my time. That is because A, it was enjoyable, and enjoying your time is not a waste, and B, perspective!

How can you think you know what is up with the world if you have only viewed it from one angle? How can you think you know yourself if you have only viewed you from one angle. I’m finding I like vacation me best. I’m more positive and I have more fun. It is a struggle to keep that attitude while not on vacation, but at least I have a marker, a goal. When do you like yourself the most? That is the real you. You do you.

Perspective makes you less judgmental.

Yesterday I stopped by an outdoor bar on the Gulf of Mexico. I ordered a Yuengling which just so happened to help strike up a conversation with the grey goateed man with a Harley hat named Eric sitting next to me. He was from Philadelphia, where one of the breweries is based, and my bartender was asking me if I noticed a difference between southern and northern Yuengling because of the different brewing locations (I didn’t).

So anyway we get to talking and he is telling me about all the redneck guys in the area. Sure, there was some poking fun at them, but the crux of the story was that they were some of the nicest guys he has met. One big burly man walked up to Eric while Eric was with his friends. “Is that Eric?” The friends tensed up, was trouble brewing? “JOE!!” Yells Eric and jumps to his feet to give Joe a big bear hug, because that is how they greet each other whenever they cross paths.

At a local bar Eric once walked in, and some ZZ Top looking fellas said (or maybe it was their beer that said it), “Who’s this f**ing guy?” Eric just laughed, “How you doing boys”, and bought them each a round of beer ($2.50 for a PBR, not bad). The rest of the night, they were like old friends. Now THAT is how to diffuse a situation. Eric had perspective, and was not going to be brought down. Turns out he was a Sociology major, just like me.

Perspective makes you less stressed out.

It could be so much worse. I could have been left alone from 15 up raising a younger sibling while Dad just dropped off groceries once a week. Maybe that is why he can’t read so well. I could be called weekly by a parent’s neighbors to come round them up. Maybe that is where his stress comes from. Those are real people I met: awesome people who are productive, nice, and don’t complain.

I’m not immune, I still complain. But the more perspective you get, the more pathetic you feel for complaining that you had to wait 30 minutes to get picked up from CCD (you like the plug Mom and Dad?). Oh right, and I have a Mom and Dad who care enough to encourage me with what I want to do (even though it doesn’t make me money yet), and read my work. Thanks 🙂

I could break down on the drive home halfway back. But you know what? I wouldn’t be alone. Yea, physically I would. But it would not rest solely on my shoulders to get me out of there, and that is priceless. How can I be stressed out when I think of the worst that could happen, and it really isn’t that bad.

I’m happy, I’m grateful, I’m energetic, and I want you all to be too! I love positive people. Be positive. It is not always a competition, you can encourage others without feeling less about yourself. Do what you love, when possible don’t stress. Set goals, big and small. But most important, don’t just exist, live.

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What if Life is Just our Souls Playing a Video Game?

boatHuman beings lack perspective, literally, as in, we only view the world from our eyes. I’m not trying to be all high and mighty; we can look at pictures and videos from other perspectives, but we are still doing that with just our eyes and other senses, mostly based out of our heads. Then we process that with our brains which are pretty much basing the new material off of old stuff we processed and inventoried before. It works for us on earth, but it does make me wonder why there is such a willingness to say we know what happens after earth. There is only so much information we have to go off of, so to say there is nothing, or to say there is something quite specific confuses me… I’ve always been a skeptic, which I think is a healthy way to not be hoodwinked.

So the idea I’m about to present also lacks perspective I realize, but it takes that lack of perspective into account. Have you ever played video games for a long time, and then perhaps you got busted in Grand Theft Auto so you snap out of it, look around and are like, “Woah I’ve been playing video games for like 5 hours”? What if earth is just our souls playing a video game?

Maybe its a coming of age type thing for our souls to spend a lifetime on earth, and see what we can get out of it. Or maybe there is no limit to how many earth lives you can live, and you got to keep going around until you finally get it right. The other souls will laugh, “Ha, it took you 230 lifetimes to move beyond earth! I did it in 46”.

And as soon as we die we look around and are like, “Damn, how did I forget I was playing a video game that whole time?” And then all the souls sit around and have a beer (or whatever body-less souls drink for a good time, because I don’t want to imagine an eternity without a good beverage) and talk about what they learned on earth.

“Can you believe I beat that old lady and stole her wallet, just to buy some vodka?” What a silly thing for a soul to do, but the person was coming from a very particular perspective of being a poor drunk who’s past stimuli didn’t teach him that he shouldn’t beat old ladies and take their money. (For the record I am anti-old-lady-beating, don’t use your infinite soul as an excuse!)

Could that be it? That we are put into a simulator and forget about what happened before life, and have no idea what will happen after? Coming into this world was pretty dream like: you just wake up all of the sudden—can’t even really pinpoint when and where—and you’re here, without any perspective on where you came from, and just have to be like, “Okay, lets see what happens”. But in a dream you completely forget that you were ever awake. It feels so different, dreams and reality, yet from the perspective of a dream, it seems like that is all there is. It’s a dream within a dream! Maybe Inception was onto something.

The perspective is much more omniscient from the soul. Imagine entire ideas and feelings transferred in a fraction of a second, with no room for confusion. And I feel quite limited, like I can see so little from inside my skull, and have to express all my brain-stuffs in words—which is so primitive. I have to look in one direction, and can only look at one place at each time. How limited 5 senses are! There should be infinite stimuli that we process in a vacuum (think of all the wavelengths we just recently, or have yet to discover), not just a few, that get mixed up with so much emotion in there! But we are after all still humans, and have got to learn these things.

What if I totally just cut down the amount of human lives you have to live before you move on, awaken from this coming of age test, and join the universe as one once more? Now you don’t have to die on the battlefield of WWIII in your next life, because you can use this life to finish up your earthly, coming of soul age lessons! Okay, now I’m getting cocky… I don’t want to set myself back ten lifetimes.