Life is Short

As the dust settles around this experience we call life there are incidents that affect us in unimaginable ways. Speaking from the perspective of someone who isn’t even thirty yet I find it extremely discomforting to realize the amount of death that has surrounded myself in the past year. My complete lack of social media presence until recently has only seemed to compound my emotions.

Firstly, my step father passed away from a massive heart attack. This was unexpected to say the least and the warning signs just weren’t there. He hadn’t even reach the age of 50. His children were deeply affected and my brothers were no exception. What I found very hard to grasp was that I wasn’t told about it until almost 3 months later which only compounded the feelings I still have about the situation.

Secondly, I had a friend get hit by a car on his way home from work. He was 32. Shocked and saddened to hear the news I kicked myself pretty hard that this happened a week before I rejoined social media. We had a phone conversation about a year prior were he wasn’t in the best of places and I talked though some of the issues he was experiencing. Things ended on a good note and I made it clear that he could always reach out and I’d be there to help.

I’ve never been a stranger to talk about depression and suicide. I frankly have experienced quite a bit for someone of my age and if I can get someone to rethink their current state of mind things usually seem to work out for the best.

Lastly, I come to one of the most difficult deaths I’ve ever experienced. His passing has deeply affected myself in some pretty dramatic and awful ways.

My friend from high school and roommate of almost 2 years committed suicide in May 2016. He was 29. I find it difficult to comprehend as I only found out about what happened by fluke. I had tried to reach out to him back in September 2016 when I rejoined social media but I hadn’t gotten a reply. Last week I was curious and figuring something was up I decided to do a quick internet search, which is when I found it. A heartfelt obituary.

He and I had similar pasts. We both struggled with depression, suicide and substance but we both overcame it. He finished his programming degree, was working as a programmer and had become clean.  We both had multiyear struggles to get to a point of happiness and we had talked deeply about it throughout the years.

When we had our talks they weren’t the typical sunshine and roses ones you hear society talk about. They were the ugly, emotional and disturbing talks about depression and suicide. We had delved deep into the inner workings of why we were depressed and why we felt suicide or substance was the answer. We talked about how it felt when going past the point of no return in an emotional suicidal stupor but we always came to the same conclusion after these multi hour talks. It seemed right at moment but neither of us actually wanted to die. We just wanted an outlet.

We lost contact around 2014 due to changing life circumstances. I had grown tired of our hometown and wanted out but he had grown to love it. What actually happened in that time that changed his life forever will always leave questions unanswered.

 

If I had reached out could things of been different?

Had he really reached rock bottom or was it a cry for help?

Did he know that I was always going to be a friend that he could ask for help without judgement?

 

I had always imagined that with the life I’ve lived that I would be the one to go in such a tragic and devastating way. There is nothing I can do about the past but despite that it still leaves an emotional scar that cannot be healed. Death has a massive impact on the living and if it’s by suicide that reach is exponentially larger.

 

Let your feelings, loyalties and actions be pure today because life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed.

 

Until next time,

JSTRD

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Citations

We as a species have great correlations

It’s what built our great nations

Looking for patterns

When everything was scattered

We took our knowledge in context

Racing as though we were in a great contest

But we left out one detail

That was going to curtail

Our inner understandings of how society works

A big mistake for our cultural clerk

For we never thought about causation

As we had too much of a fixation

On our glamorous creation

That we didn’t notice the horrible mutation

Maybe we should of given better citations..

The Page

Sifting through the thoughts on the page

A glamorous, spectacular serenade

Freedom, expression, the thoughts are just

It exposes, enlightens, our inner handcuffs

Come to a conclusion if you dare

The fruitful tree is bound to bear

Another rabbit hole, lest be forgot

It only stirs and thickens the plot

For this is our only sword

To slice down the demons that infect the hoard

We are true and rightly so

For we reap, what we sow

So never forget what your mind uncovers

It’s like two miraculous star crossed lovers

Use your knowledge as a gauge

To break free out of your cage

But most of all in this day and age

Never forget what you put on the page

Why I Write

This isn’t an easy question to answer nor should it be. Writing, especially when expressing one’s opinion, is inherently something very personal that opens the door to criticism both thrilling and disappointing.

While it’s a journey I enjoy very much I struggle with the perception of others and how they would see my inner expression. As I explained in my previous post about opinions not defining you it’s still not an easy task to separate your expression of those opinions vs the opinions themselves.

Expression is something I excel at but when it’s on a personal level I tend to avoid it. While this has made for some interesting situations in life it is one I am fully trying to break through my writing. Even still I find it difficult and even counter intuitive to mix emotions with hard hitting discussions. Emotions are quite often the culprit in the strange reactions I see in my peers so removing it from at least one side of the debate seems to lessen their invoked response. After all there’s little point in trying to get a point across when the other side isn’t even processing the information.

I write to express myself, to capture opinions in others I may not have noticed and I also write simply for therapy.

Being able to sit back and let your expression go through the words you paint across the blank slate is a feeling I care deeply about. Peering at the blank page and understanding that it could be anything that your heart desires. It could be a piece of poetry, a discussion on recent events, a life experience or just the mindless ramblings of the day. The possibilities are endless and it’s what true inner expression is made of.

Watching profound opinions rise out of topics where you thought you covered everything is also another sight to behold. It’s in moments like these that you begin to grasp the concept that everyone will form opinions and express them in different ways. When these begin to happen though responses to your writing you learn about the respondent but more importantly you learn about how your words can dazzle or disgust the masses. For better or worse it has the strength to grow you as a human being

Perhaps the most important of all is writing for therapy despite it always being in the background. This was never the true intention I had when I started this blog but it has always played a critical role. Even now as I write this I’m sitting in my college with the sound of the HVAC unit humming, the student population wandering by chattering about topics that won’t matter in the days and weeks to come, with the faint sound of a ping pong game in the background. It is strangely peaceful, relaxing and a perfect setting from which to slowly type away at the keys of my laptop. While this is the first time I’ve chosen to write in such a setting I feel as though I’ll come back to this place.

Writing for therapy concerning myself also includes how I choose to promote my blog. Only a select few in real life have ever been told about this place and it gives me a sense of security. When there are no social or personal hindrances in writing it allows you to fully engage in what your expressions may become.

 

Writing can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a driver for social change or destruction, it can be a getaway from what bothers you or it can be a place to simply express gratitude. However you view writing there is one thing that it always is; it’s a form of personal expression that has the power to do whatever your heart desires.

Until next time,

JSTRD

A Better World: Social Welfare

Today I began thinking about ways that the system is flawed and the most glaring topic that came to mind was the “Welfare” system. Not to say that I disagree with it as a whole but it’s implementation is deeply disturbing. Some of the issues I have seen are as follows;

1) There are numerous situations where those stay collecting a government cheque for years without any desire to find a job. The “Why work when you can get free money” mentality

2) Some are collecting welfare due to the fact that there stuck in limbo between that and disability. Not disabled enough currently to get disability but not well enough to work.

3) The lack of applicable programs that can force those to go out and retrain to get off the system. Programs like this currently exist in some regards but most just complete them as per there participation agreements with no desire to actually work. There is no consequences either for not obtaining employment

There are more issues that currently exist but these are the most glaring. They are complicated social issues but with a few implementations they could be fixed. Government intervention and reform is needed to better shape our society and those who are at the bottom of the social ladder.

The implementations that could miraculous change the system are as follows;

-Have term limits for the welfare system to avoid the “career” collector. Something in the effect of two years in any three year period.

-Have a multi-tiered/bridging system. This would work in effect by creating essentially four categories of ranging from welfare to permanent disability as follows.

-The first step would be basic welfare for single individuals or single non-custodial parents. The focus in this system would be to retrain the person in a high demand field of there choosing from a list of candidates. The flexibility of this would be in the essence of the person getting essentially “free” schooling (up to a maximum of $5000) and being forced off the system within three months of completion. Pay now to save money later mentality from a governmental point of view.

-The next tier would be single parents with custodial rights to small children. More discretionary benefits would be provided in terms of child care benefits. The flexibility of this would force parents on welfare to obtain at least part time employment within one year of application. This tier is meant to be a supplement as opposed to paying living costs entirely and would not be subject to term limits provided the receiver retained at least part time employment. The supplement would slow decease as the child got older and reached school age

-Welfare-Disability hybrid would be next. Think of this as a sort of “proving” ground before a disability application could be processed. More benefits in terms of medical/dental would be provided in the hopes of making the receiver work able without the headache of being stuck in limbo forever. There would be a one year limit for this and then moved to another tier or removed from the system entirely (for fraudulent claims).

-Last but not least disability. Not much would be changed to the actual system except that it would be considered permanent disability (not temporary) and the only way to actually apply would be from the Welfare-Disability hybrid. This would cut down on the numerous cases of those stuck in limbo or collecting disability for issues that aren’t considered permanent

In my opinion changes such as the ones listed would create a brand new society. These are some of the flaws in the system I see currently and welcome any suggestions/comments!

“You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members”Ghandi

Change Comes From Within

In this day and age we tend to loose sight on a macro level of how we change the people and things around us. This has always been worrisome to myself. It’s only in the last few years I’ve become part of the solution and not the problem. Through my pursuits of a career my mind has been opened to all the issues that need addressing.

This place right here is where I plan to unload the things I’ve learned, the things I’m concerned about and progress that needs to happen in order for us to strive as a species.

I’m engineering a new world and you’re invited to join in on the ride.

The first major project I would like to direct your attention to is something I did last year with several associates. It’s a research paper focusing on the environment and how it’s being shaped by our melting ice caps. Enjoy the research!