Aging, Career, Compassion, Humor, Kidults, Neurological Disorders, Philosophy, Problems to Solve, Relationships, Thinking, Time, Wisdom, Writing

Kid-ults: adults who need to grow up

The term “kidult” comes to mind, which is a hybrid of the words “kid” and “adult” and all the connotations involved. The kidult is your proverbial human (usually a male) who moves through life without care. Not the laid back, I’ve gathered enough of my material belongings around me so I can live well and take care of my loved ones. No. A kidult is a person who has reached maturity several years ago, but prefers to live as though they’ve still got a bedroom in their parent’s place, dinner on the table everyday (when they want it), and a select group of friends who think it’s cool to live this way for a lifetime.

I have a few relatives who lack so-called motivation and have probably earned the title of “kidult”. I also have friends who lack drive to do more than what they are currently doing.  Maybe this qualifies them as being kidults.

Sure, I may come off as sounding arrogant or that I’m sitting on some high horse, waving my finger in the air, nose pointed to the heavens, and declaring that I’m the antithesis of the kidult. But, allow me to elaborate: I firmly believe that kidults are the smartest people on the face of planet Earth!

They have made living easy (the kind of life that doesn’t require hard labor or mental effort) a form of martial art. This takes skill, intellect, and dare I say it, talent.

And this is why it bugs me! So much personal potential (power to impact the world and people) wasted. Thrown down the television tube or some other time-sucker, i.e., movies, video games, weed, or other powerful distractions.

And for some of you who wonder, what’s wrong with just living and doing things as long as you don’t hurt other people? Well, if everyone just ate their food and worked just enough for their self-survival then we’d all be in big trouble as a human race. Here’s why: Nobody, absolutely zero people who have this attitude are self-sufficient. There’s always somebody backing them up. There’s a safety net of other people ready to jump in and catch this person who lacks any drive in life to advance.

How do we get a kidult to grow up? How does one wake up a person from a slumber in which they are dreaming a pleasurable dream?

Pull the safety net away, I suppose. But, isn’t that mean, even rude. Kidults, ugh! Come on, friend, get a job. Go back to school. I know you can do it. If you can recite all the lines from The Matrix Movie by memory, you can certainly become a barista at Starbucks.

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Existence, Humor, Philosophy, Problems to Solve, Prose, Thinking, Writing

Is this burn out?

I awoke to the hollow clang of an empty gas tank.

Too much. Can’t focus. 

This feeling of just-let-me-sleep-more always catches me off guard. I don’t expect it when it hits me. I suppose it’s nice that I can write it down here. Not a complaint, but a mere exhalation of life onto a page.

I like how I can find metaphors from everything around me to describe my experiences. I’m climbing a hill, or crawling through a dark underground hole–and you know what I’m talking about. I’m burned-out and slogging along through the mud trying to finish the simple daily tasks beset in front of me, that only yesterday seemed trivial.

Funny thing is, I know tomorrow or even 5 minutes from now, I’ll have the fire again. I don’t know where it comes from: inspiration. An intake of air that propels you forward through the day, the minutes and seconds of experience.

So I patiently wait for it, inspiring oxygen (the non-metaphorical kind), and doing what needs to be done through habit. The emotion and drive behind it, a simple twitch of muscle.

I’m an academic….maybe it’s mental fatigue. If I dig through my ear canals, I may find soot and ash. I drove this car fast and hard. Time to park this vehicle I drive in my head on a parking lot in a fancy exotic place. My bed sounds nice.

But really, I suppose it’s not burn-out. I’m stable on solid ground. I just want to do something different. So many of the same tasks ahead of me. Done that, been there. Tedium. I’ve lost the thrill.

Yet, I know, I’ve heard some wisdom on this:

“Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.” C.S. Lewis wrote.

 

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Faith, Humor, Memory, Thinking, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing

Baptism by ink?

I have a confession to make, and it’s one I’ve not told many people. I love fountain pens, and there have been consequences.

I’ve got nimble hands, which is useful in my line of work (as a neuroscientist). I first learned I had a gift for fine motor ability when I was 3 years old and figured out how to tie shoe-laces just by watching my mom do it. I was able to do it in one try.

Now, here’s where it goes all wrong. I got prideful. I forgot I had this gift, and when you have a talent and misuse it with things it’s not meant for, the result is humiliation or worse. In my case, it was worse.

I had become very good at twirling pens between my forefinger and middle-finger, sort of like a cheerleader’s baton, except with a small writing instrument. I’ve done it well, and back in high school, I was a master.

At that time, I also discovered fountain pens. Oh, what a cool little toy. You pull a fountain pen out of your pocket to take notes in English class and you’re a brand new person. You are different–when I reflect on this now, however, it was kind of an odd-ball thing to have–but I’m older and more mature (yes, I am!) so I have the freedom to smile at these memories.

A Lamy 2000, best pen ever...discovered

I was sitting in English class and was listening to a lecture, but not really paying attention, twirling a pen around. Spinning and spinning, like a smoker absentmindedly tapping ashes into an ashtray. You see, I was practicing. Always practicing for some big show. Of course, I guess some shows aren’t meant to be shown.

Someone turned, maybe to pass a love note to their neighbor and glanced at me, then laughs. But it wasn’t a laugh. She was choking like it was a burst of laughter, only repressed.

I realized I was twirling a fountain pen. And it was uncapped! I felt something wet on my face, my neck…. My hand came away with blue smudges when I tried to feel what it was.

My English teacher unmercifully asked in front of thirty-or-so of my peers if I needed to step outside and use the bathroom. Well, being in the back (I liked sitting in the back of the class) I had to walk through the aisles, past several occupied desks, and across the front of the room by the blackboard to the exit. I could hear the laughter, giggles and whatever muffled jokes were being told right outside in the hallway.

I thought it was game over when I arrived at the bathroom. I would just take my time, and slip back into the room unnoticed. Nope. I was punished a second time.

The volume of laughter, ridicule and hilarious comments increased when I came back into the classroom. Apparently, I had scrubbed myself so hard my skin had become red and splotchy; in exactly the same locations as the worst of the splattered fountain pen ink.

I had learned a big lesson that day.

Fountain pens are fun, but must be handled with care and respect. Cap ’em when not used for writing!

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Coffee, Diet, Food, Humor, Vegan

Bright, Sunny, Egg-less

I’m a whole-foods vegan. Temporarily. Just going to try this for 28 days with my wife and see how it goes. Well, only for 3 days now and I’ve got to say that I’m feeling the internal difference. I’m on the verge of my seat whenever my colleagues at work bring in their bacon cheese burgers for lunch (with french fries). There was an ache in my chest the other day; took me a moment to realize it was the pain of not having any ketchup in my diet. Ugh, I love ketchup.

Then, I found myself day dreaming while at my computer doing some work that I was walking to the hospital cafeteria. Row upon row of sloppy joes, taco Tuesday specials, and cold-cut submarines served by gentle elderly servers flashed before me. And I got these sudden headaches; I just wanted to lie down.

Are these symptoms of withdrawal?

This, I could learn to enjoy!

As part of this diet, we are choosing to avoid foods that came from anything that could have moved in its past life. I tried to make the argument that eggs shouldn’t be a part of the diet (it doesn’t move), but then I realized my empirical way of making-sense doesn’t always work against my wife. She’s a smart lady. Eggs, she says, are moving because they are inside the body of an animal that moves, hence, the eggs move by default.

A losing battle, for sure. Well, on the bright sunny egg-less side, we have been having….what shall we say? Healthy movements more than twice a day.

Oh, and I can still drink coffee, so all is good!

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Humor, Philosophy, Uncategorized, Writing

The Mistake Machine

I’m a mistake machine. And to prove it, I made a mistake about 30 minutes ago by posting multiple versions of a draft I had wanted to save for later (editing is best done on a full stomach and lotsa o’ coffee).

When I say I make mistakes, I mean the tiny boo-boo ones that kids might make, like forgetting to close the garage door on the way to work, or forgetting to open the garage door before reversing through it.

Or the time when I delivered chinese take-out to the wrong address, then getting lost in the neighborhood for the next hour trying to find my way back to the main road.

I make lots of mistakes. Most of them stem from my impulsivity, that tendency to act before I think too much. I think a lot, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to the simple things, I fail.

Coffee

Fail, such a powerful word in the English language. We fail to meet the needs and expectations. Missing the mark, as it were. I’m a failure because I’m a mistake machine. A machine that doesn’t run properly, meeting its potential and the expectation of others.

I’m a failure because I make mistakes, even the small ones. The big mistakes are just icing on the failure cake. See, I can’t even post the relevant image to go with this blog post. Coffee? Where did that come from….

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Existence, Food, Humor, Problems to Solve, Relationships, Wisdom, Writing

Dude, that’s boring!

It’s that time of day again. Lunch break. I’ll just feed the blank page some litter before I head out.

I eat hospital food, nearly everyday; honestly though, it ain’t so bad. Only problem is that it doesn’t change.

The same! 

Oh, how ridiculous we are, humans! Yes, I’ll pose the question of why this is so; this tendency to avoid boredom and tedium we have. It is our desire for

–wait, no! It is more an unbridled, burning need for adventure. We need adventure so badly. If we can’t get it by traveling into outer space, climbing to the top of a mountain, then by any means necessary, we’ll get it–through our taste, smell, sight, and sound.

Adventure: this is the undiscovered country, or the story that has yet to begin and has no ending. We seek it and don’t even know what it is. It is an unnamed journey for things unseen. Why do we crave such intangibles in our lives, an infinite motivation that drives us to break routines. Adventure compels us to leave safety and security.

Maybe, I’m a bit melodramatic. But, we do love stories, fact or fiction, or somewhere in between. We’ll gobble it up and spit it out in favor of the next one. Actors and actresses appear on a screen, and live out a fallacious life, and we praise them as heros, worshipping with our limited attention.

The inner drive…. for something new. I’m about to head to the hospital cafeteria. Same old, same old. Time to find me some adventure in a bottle, Tabasco!

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Coffee, Existence, Faith, Humor, Philosophy, Politics, Writing

Please, define the word “definition”

I’m an empirical scientist (as I like to remind myself on the slow days piled high with desk work). If I don’t understand something, then I search for answers. We, as scientists, are trained to find answers for questions that no one really thought to ask before. Actually, we ask stupid questions like 95% of the time, maybe more. And here’s one….

What’s the definition of the word “motivated”?

Dictionary says “the feeling or thought of being motivated.”

That’s the answer…are we kidding me! The defined word is my word with the same word! The definition is a word with 99.9% of the same letters used in original. Tell me, how is this good? This is totally useless. Please provide the pretend-I’m-stupid-tell-me-what-that-really-means definition and let me go on my way.

I need solid definitions in my job: to know the truth or meaning in (or under and over) an experimental result. Give me all the definitions and concepts on a silver plate. I’ll eat it because it gives me a picture of what’s normal and broken.

Politicians are experts with definition-ing-ing….

It gives them power. That is my thinking now after talking with people and listening to what they have to say. Not too long ago, I had the TV running. The focus was on the candidates’ views on religious faith and how it played a role in their political careers and aspirations.

As I watched, I wanted to hear someone say something solid, tangible, something I could sink my teeth into.  Of all the candidates that I watched, every answer was a one-liner.  Words of wisdom backed up by nothing, except the next unrelated question. Listen to this:

“It was my faith that gave me the courage to get me through it.”

“It was her faith that gave her the strength to do what she thought was right.”

The power of undefined faith

Apart from poor grammer, nobody defined what their faith was!  I have respect for people who have faith.  I have respect for people who have passionate beliefs.  But, only if the faith is in something worthy, worthwhile, something good.  I never once during the whole discussion heard the candidates define their faith.  Did they have faith in the coffee? The chair? This blog? Really, I have no clue.

Adolf Hitler had faith.  And his faith was so strong that millions had faith in Him.

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