Sh-Boom

Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)
If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom)
If you would tell me I’m the only one that you love
Life could be a dream, sweetheart

Sh-Boom, The Crew Cuts (1954)

Over the past few years, there has been an ever-growing chatter as to whether our existence is real or just a simulation in some super powerful computer.  Reading these metaphysical discussions can end up causing an existential crisis of faith type moments in some people.  But that is only partly what this post is about.

Continue reading “Sh-Boom”

The Reluctant Leader

What makes a person a leader?  This is something that I’ve struggled with for many years.  The easiest definition I could find was the following:

Leader – Google Search

Seems simple enough, but what truly makes a person a leader?  Is it their knowledge?  Their charisma?  Their talent?  There doesn’t appear to be a single all-encompassing answer to that question.  Some leaders have a little from column A and a little from column B; others are purely column A or column B.  And still the rare mavericks have something from another page altogether. Continue reading “The Reluctant Leader”

Disconnected

In my previous life, I was well-connected.  From morning til night, I found myself in front of a computer for nearly every instant that I was not working or sleeping.  Actually, even sleep did not always dissuade me as I’d often pull my laptop next to my bed in case someone would message me in the middle of the night.  (I did have friends in Australia, Europe and on the West coast after all!)  I would get up in the morning and the first thing I did was sign in.  I would get home from work – sign in.  I had even set up my apartment so that while seated at my computer, I could watch TV.  My life consisted of being online. I had become an extension of the internet.

It was during these years (the majority of my 20’s really) that I “disconnected” from the real world and connected electronically.  All of my friends were chat buddies.  I would spend countless hours in chat rooms, or just messaging my friends.  I’d communally watch TV with people, chatting about the show during commercials.  (How many “OMG can you believe that?!” conversations about Lost did we have Nat?)

hatch

LOCKE: Why don’t you want to go down there, Jack?

I’ve found myself, over the past couple of years, going in the opposite direction.  By becoming more “disconnected” from the online world, I am becoming more connected in the real world.  I still have my online presence, but it is severely limited.  Even my net-surfing is almost nonexistent.  There are 5-6 sites that I check once per day for various reasons (Facebook, email, local newspaper, wrestling news, t-shirts).  I’ve realized on a few instances that I hadn’t even been in to check my email in over 24 hours, which would have been unheard of a few years ago.  As another example, I started writing this post 2 days ago during my lunch hour at the office.  I just needed to sign it from home, reread and add a couple of pictures.  I didn’t touch the computer last night and had to force myself to finish this post tonight.

I’m wondering if this is something that is occurring due to my own life journey, or if it’s something we’re seeing more with my generation?  For those of you in your mid/late 30’s, do you see yourself having a smaller online presence?  Maybe it’s part of the fact that we’re growing up.  We’re in the age of having children, families, real world priorities.  Even in a world with constant contact via smart phones, I’m finding myself online less and less.  I’m even too cheap to pay for a data plan, so only use WIFI on my phone.  I just don’t see the necessity or value of having an internet connection at all times.

On our previous trips to Disney World, the one thing that my darling wife and I have loved nearly more than anything else was our disconnected rule.  From the time we arrived at the resort until we were on route back home, we did not go online (in actuality, we would turn off our cell phones all but for 5-10 minutes a day in case there were any urgent messages from family, which there never were).  We did not watch the news (or TV really, apart from Disney programming).  We did not look at newspapers.  We would completely disconnect from the rest of the world and live in the present moment – enjoying the magic and splendor that is Disney World.Cinderella's Castle - Magic Kingdom

On our last visit this past summer, things changed.  Disney has now moved to an online-driven account to book your reservations for restaurants and Fast Pass bookings for rides.  Their app would provide real-time wait times for the various attractions around the parks.  WIFI is available in all resort hotels and in the four Disney parks.  We caved.  We both brought our phones with us the entire time we were there.  While we did agree that we would not really “go online” other than the My Disney Experience app, both of us did.  While the trip was still amazingly fun, I did have a sense of sadness over the fact that we weren’t able to fully disconnect the way we usually do.

Next week, I’ll be heading to a silent retreat for most of the week.  No computers, no cell phones, no radios, no iPods, no books.  I am very much looking forward for this chance to disconnect once more.  Disconnect from the world in order to connect with myself; in order to connect with the universe.  I can’t wait for the experience. While some people are uncomfortable with this type of activity, I’m very much okay with it.  I like the introspection.  As a call-back to the quote above, this Jack isn’t afraid to go down there.

So what do you think, dear readers?  Do you think you could do it?  Could you cut off any and all communication and connection for a few days and just be with yourself?

Warren Zevon quote - I'll sleep when I'm dead.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

For the past 15-20 years, I have been an occasional insomniac.  It happens at least twice a year, but never lasting more than 3-4 days consecutively.  I’ll just lay there; awake, unable to get to sleep.  Typically my brain will go into overdrive and won’t shut down long enough to let me fall asleep.  Other times, I just have this feeling of discomfort in my own body and I can’t lie there any longer.  While I haven’t really had a full blown occurrence of this in some time, earlier this week I lay awake in bed for a while, struggling to fall asleep. Continue reading “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”

Second Life Day

March 3, 2008 marked a new chapter in the book of my life.  Eight years ago today, was my Second Life Day. I was rushed to the hospital in a near-comatose state in a story that I’ve repeated ad nauseum. I don’t want to retread on the same story, but can’t help but be contemplative today. How my life has changed in the past eight years, largely thanks to that life-altering event, is remarkable. The changes and evolution that I’ve made both on a personal and spiritual level are impressive. Or at least they are to me, which is frankly all that matters. Continue reading “Second Life Day”

Magic

Do you believe in magic?

That’s how the song goes.  (Am I referring to the classic by The Lovin’ Spoonful?  Or the jingle for the restaurant with the golden arches?)  With the recent passing of Alan Rickman (Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies for those unaware), I’ve found myself thinking about magic in all of its many forms, so that will be the basis for my post today.  Apologies for the rambling and stream-of-consciousness that is to ensue. Continue reading “Magic”