Respecting Reality

Perception tends to become reality. Lack of communication in human interactions speeds up that process exponentially. Most people only work on the realm of their own reality and forget to include the rest of the world when evaluating situations. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is an old proverb that seems to have been forgotten altogether.

Defining reality should not be a question for a movie to answer. I loved the movie The Matrix, but the notion of my reality being controlled by a computer is simply too far fetched. Spend enough time dealing with people and you will know that there is no machine powerful enough to handle the input from people’s skewed view of life. Including my own.

I have always liked religion because it has always created more questions for me rather than given me all the answers. I think its mostly due to free will and faith. I love both concepts and I think they are part of what defines reality for me. I have faith on a higher power while knowing that I have the free will to make choices. Destiny and butterfly effect are also very cool concepts to ponder upon when it comes to defining what our reality is.

To me reality is the collision of actions. Words collide and they cause feelings on people. You cannot see the feelings, but you can see the reactions. Reading people’s facial expressions is amazing. The genuine smile after someone tells a joke, the contortion of the face when a liar tries to bluff, The closing of an eyelid which releases sadness of a tear rolling down someone’s face.

When you are interacting with others, please try to take their reality into consideration. It might seem like the saddest or craziest reality, but if you don’t take their rules of play under consideration; communication will not be accomplished. I am amazed by how many only want to live in their little world. Opening up to others and visiting is half the fun this life has to offer.

Witness Change

When we are too close to change we rarely truly witness it. When we are around change, do we really see it, do we acknowledge it?

During my recent brain reading obsessions, a couple of books and a couple of dozen articles, I learned a theory about memory. I am no brain surgeon and even those dudes are still to some point guessing. It is believed that we don’t actually store memories like a picture does, but that every time we recall it, we then store our memory or recollection. This theory is used to explain how eye witness account can be tempered with or very inaccurate from the story being retold over and over. That memory can get pretty murky after a while and being chased by the neighborhood chihuahua can turn into being chased by a pack of wolves.

Recently I am also fascinated by how some people have “changed” and some have pretty much stayed the same after six years of being away from this area. I do consider the possibility that maybe I did not know some of them as well as I knew the ones that I see no change on. I am interested by this idea that people can change, and it seems like one of those forks on the road that you kind of have to pick one side or the other. You either believe people are capable of changing and the ones that don’t simply chose not to, or you believe people just can’t change and they are who they are.

One of the situations I am observing in one of my groups of friends has changed so much that I think its already fragmented beyond repair. Little clusters still hang out, but the group dynamics changed quite a bit due to one of the people just having a thirst for trouble. What is even more interested is that a similar situation with another group of friends was the complete opposite. The trouble maker is not a part of the group anymore and the group is as strong in bonds as it was before. I guess the one bad apple thing might have some truth to it.

Both situations can be seen from a different perspective and one group as the one that did not give up on the troublemaker and the other one that did give up on their “friend.”

When my family moved to the U.S. my Dad left all of his immediate family besides his wife and kids behind. He left a huge void there because he was involved in a lot of decision making and just keeping the overall family structure going. Some of the things that happen after we left might not have happen if he was there. Was he selfish because he wanted his kids to have more opportunities in life by moving to where his wife’s family was at? I will never know if the situations that have unfolded since then would have been the same or not without his presence.

The choice of leaving Chicago six years ago had a lot to do with personal reasons. I thought back then that a change of scenery was just what I needed. The jury is still out on that being the right decision and the “no regret” part of me tells me that it lead me to eventually move to KC and finding my wife. It is still hard to know that when my Mom did get really sick last year I was not around and not having enough vacation made it hard for me to get away. This time the reason to move was to be closer to family, sure the job offered help but I’ve hand plenty of those before.

I am not sure if people change or not. I personally think that we are all capable of self improvement, but there are core things about who we are that cannot be changed. They are part of our nature. I do want to be smarter about witnessing change on people and relationships and learning how to learn from it. I also wish that I could be in several places at once. I would love to be able to celebrate Daniel’s birthday with him today, even though I have learned through our relationship that we can be witnesses to change and part of someone’s life even though we are not physically there.

Still the question remains, do we really witness change?

Another Week

Another bunch of posts that will be turned into something coherent some other time.

Hi, my name is John and I have too many things on my mind right now.

The holidays are coming and my wife is turning… well, she can tell you if she wants, but her birthday is tomorrow. I got her some cool presents throughout the year :) I did find a very cool place to take her for dinner and she will get her first Chicago true Italian restaurant experience. (Yes I did try Italian in KC and everything was meh, and unless you have eaten at a Chicago Italian restaurant here, don’t challenge me… seriously.)

Work is crazy busy, and not just a little crazy, really insane crazy… but I do get tons of time off and will take the last week of this month off! Yey, I need the brain reboot for sure.

We will be meeting a blogger this weekend that I first started to follow because of the KC peeps… but anyway, that is for another post or her to reveal.

The weekends are filling up way too fast, there are holiday parties sprouting like chia pet seeds… and that is not even counting my family “must attend” events.

I need to find a lap pool quickly. Even though I seem to not be ballooning with all the good food now available, (Bea’s and my Mom’s home cooking paired with the proximity to a Trader Joe’s and various eateries… see my Facebook gyro face stuffing picture for detaisl) I do need to get some exercise in and a regular Gym is just not going to happen after having to fight Gold’s Gym to cancel my “month 2 month” membership… how so I attend a gym just a couple of weeks, pay for 2 months in advance and they still want 2 additional months just because it is their policy to rip you off?

I do miss KC, especially the Plaza that now has their lights on. We did find a great Indian restaurant that has great food, but not the service we used to get.

I have been downtown a couple of times already and being able to get there by train in 20 minutes is just a whole new world. How lucky is it that there is a express train right to our stop. Walking to the downtown office was not all that bad, but wind tunnels and cold weather might just make me take the shuttle when I have to go.

The cafeteria in our building is probably the reason I am maintaining my round figure instead of expanding it. They have food at good prices and I have healthy choices.

We have not enjoyed our back porch as much as we should have, in fact I had not set foot on it until one of my cousins came to visit. Pretty peaceful to sit there and stare at running water. Which also means that we have a couch and started to have people over. We will probably take some pictures soon.

So this is what you get for a Friday post, disjointed paragraphs because I guess I don’t twitter enough.

The More We Change

The more we stay the same. I am constantly trying to figure out if people can truly change or if everyone simply stays the same. I have experienced many situations where I though someone had suddenly changed, only to figure out that that is who they were all along, I just wanted to see something else.

This weekend Bea and I watched another romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth. My wife knows the ones that I can stomach and this one was pretty good. Not a full meal of a movie but an ok snack. A little on the sexist side, but also attempting to be truthful and shine the light on what woman think of man. It was no surprise that it was written from the female perspective.

I would have to agree with one of the main points of the movie. If anyone enters a relationship hoping to change or make someone fit into a mold, they are in for a rude awakening. Which brings me to this little pesky subject of change. The movie glosses over the whole subject of self improvement just pegging men as simply incapable of it.

The prior night Bea and I had an interesting conversation about cheating. One of our friends is going through the mental process of determining if they should stay in a marriage with a cheater, or give them just one more chance to change their ways. While the initial reaction is to just say “once a cheater, always a cheater” it is never that simple.

Manhood is achieved in many different ways in our society. We have many stereotypes that are followed as a means to gain respect either for self stem or admiration from your peers. Some men achieve that fixing or riding cars or motorcycles, some achieve that by having the best collection of whatever, some by being the best at a sport or game. The list goes on and on, but as men we have an innate need to excel at something, that is how we become desirable. Some people get that self stem from adding names or in some cases simply numbers to their “hit” list.

Everyone regardless of sex seeks to be recognized in some way. Acknowledgment is the reward for those that seek approval from others. Some people get that by achieving the ultimate intimacy rather than a meaningful relationship or even just a friendship. Some people even have a meaningful relationship, but still seek the thrill of getting into bed with someone because it achieves instant gratification for them in many levels. When this becomes extreme, a lot of effort is devoted to cheating, keeping the lies going, looking for new people to explore, finding that next conquest.

As oversimplified and one sided as it sounds, I have found this way pretty accurate when it comes to the cases I have encountered. I believe that in situations where there is cheating in marriages, it is most likely one person trying to fulfill what the other person is not giving them either emotionally of physically. For the one situation we discussed, and I hope it is not the norm, this person cannot get their approval from simply one human being loving them at home. So we circle back to, can this person change? Should the person just give up and just cut their loses and fold their hand?

Like everything is life, this is a complicated thing and not a slam dunk for the “move on” hopefuls. I believe that once you enter marriage you need to give it your very best til the very end. We all have flaws and while the worst one of all seems to be not being able to keep it in your pants, being a widow to a video game, a garage full of toys, a group of friends, etc, its not all that fun either… maybe less likely to get you the clap, but still not a good situation and makes for unhappy people.

A serial cheater can change only if they discover and understand the root of their problem. I personally think in this particular case, the person did not grow up in an environment where he could see a family structure as a viable or even real option. If you have never truly seen it, a family life can be the unicorn of someone’s existance. On top of that, no father figure or someone to show them how a lady should be treated. Everything else mixed with the nature of man to achieve status one way or another make the perfect cocktail for someone that does not know the value of commitment.

Nobody can change their nature, but everyone can change their behavior. Its not easy, it takes time and most of all support, but it can happen. People turn their lives around, men all over learn to put the toilet sit down. More important than that is accepting people for who they are, and entering every relationship with your eyes open. Do not think you will make someone check off your perfect attribute and expectation list of what a mate should be, specially if the dude has never seen the list.

Online Relationships

Topics to talk about are pouring down, but I don’t have the time to really get into them right now. A thanksgiving post was on the works, but then it went into sever different ramblings that need to be different posts altogether. In essence I am thankful for my new place to live, my new place to work, being close to family… you get the idea; I am thankful for tons of things. Well, on of the branches of that post that just grew tentacles is this. I am super thankful for the relationships I have built tanks to the personal confuser and my blog.

Before I get into the blog part of things I want to thank everyone that is part of my WoW guild. They provide me an arena to just turn my brain off and have fun. It is amazing that we have actually been drama free for a while, and for any online community that is a huge win.

I sat here thinking about how many people I have met thanks to my blog, and well, the list is pretty long… most amazing, some of them are now my closest friends. I have tons of relationships with people that, even though computer savvy, could care less about blogs and they probably won’t ever read this, so why talk about them. I want to make a list of the friendships I have built thanks to this little space.

Two of my oldest friends online are now the closest people to me in my life. One is my best friend Daniel and the other is my wife. I met both of them through this space and I am very thankful that we built our relationship online and when we met face to face it just got stronger. This year I met Daniel and I am extremely thankful that we had this opportunity. Even more so that we continue to be part of each other’s life even though geographically, we are so far apart.

Mike is in a category all by himself. He does not realize it sometimes, but he truly made my life in Michigan bearable. Sure, the Marks were there for me at work, and I appreciate them for that… but Mike, whom I met just because his blog’s latitude and longitude, was close to mine became the lifeline that I needed during that period of time. So I am very thankful for that, not to mention that while in Kansas City he and his wife visited us four times and they are truly a part of our lives. So for the relationship I now have with him and his wife I am very thankful.

Melissa and Travis are college friends of mine but this blog has kept us connected. We used to talk on the phone more often before the blog, but I know that they keep up this way. I am thankful that this blog has kept us friend, even though I know it is not necessary for our relationship since it has and will continue to be strong no matter what… but I am thankful for the blog nonetheless.

Now comes the hard part. I met more people in Kansas City through blogs than in any other place I lived… it almost feel weird to go to a meet up for blogs here in Chicago because I will compare. I made many life long friendships via this blog there. And today I will only mention Meesha and I am patiently waiting for his next Ikea trip so I can see him. The rest of you, you know who you are and you know how I feel. So I am very thankful for all those relationships!

Twitter was not a place I thought I would find a relationship in. I honestly thought that most of the people I met through those meetups would be just acquaintances; and then I met several real cool people that now are very close friends and specially my BFF and his wife. I am thankful that I have John to share quarky things with, that he and I stay connected in a new way with the Xbox, and I cannot wait to see him and his wife up here.

Not to suck up, but because without her my life would not be complete, I am thankful that I met my wife through her blog. That I got to marry someone that was in my eyes a rockstar in the early 2000 blogging world. That better get her butt to do some more blogging because I love reading her take on things. I am thankful that both of our blogs connected us in many ways and we were able to take those little strands and turn them into the strong rope our relationship is now.

So in conclusion, thanks to the computer for making communication a lot easier and allowing me to find my little bees.

Happy T-Day