My Purpose in Life?

20160810_182204-2At times I will write a post and not finish it and leave it alone until a later date.  This post I wrote almost a year ago, but because of changes in my life it seemed no longer relevant.  Lives can change dramatically in a short period of time and along with the changes so too can our thinking, our believes and attitudes.

A year ago, I had a minor surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder.  At that time, it seemed harmless and nothing significant would come from it.  I was wrong and this past year’s events I never imagined would take place.

The following words I wrote almost a year ago, when my life was healthier and I was looking forward to a future filled with adventure and fun –

Many times I have asked myself ‘What is my purpose in life?’

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If you have been reading about me for quite a while, you know about my early struggles in life with major depression to the point of attempted suicide.  It took over a decade to overcome this depression that wanted to kill me.  My purpose at that time was to overcome it and that I did.

I continue with struggles today, but certainly not to the extent when I was a much younger man – but I am far from perfect and not the man I want to be – I still struggle – I am a work in progress.

Again today I ask the question ‘What is my purpose in life?’

A little more than a year ago, Gary and I were in Mexico exploring a possible location to live.  While there an event took place that upon our return home, I documented.

These are the words I documented –

How can I be responsible for supporting and helping someone when I have my own struggles?  Several weeks ago in Mexico, Gary and I were with expats.  I watched Gary as he told a story – and I see his mannerisms, his facial expressions and the words he used to tell the story – I saw his mom.  It reminded me that maybe he will be like his mom, telling the same old stories, having the same struggles every day.  He may exhibit the same emotions his mom goes through – anger, frustration, nice, rude, impatient, not understanding.  It has been difficult for me spending time with his mom due to my lack of patience.  I have learned some patience as a result of being around her and that is a good thing.  I have more to learn, I want to be there for Gary, I want to be caring, compassionate and understanding.  These are areas I fall short in, but feel I can I gain more of these traits.  Maybe this is my purpose in life to learn these traits: understanding, listening and being there for Gary.  I believe my life is about struggling and learning and being the best person I can be. 

image2Gary’s mom has dementia and she struggles daily and sometimes I see her personality in Gary.

Back to today, both Gary and my life has changed a great deal this past year.  I no longer think about what my purpose is in life.  I do believe part of Gary’s purpose may be to help me during my difficult time.  And who knows, maybe someday when I am better it will be my turn to help Gary during his difficult time.

‘The Switch’

Google ‘Switch’ and you get the following definition –

a device for making and breaking the connection in an electric circuit.

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Wikipedia has the following –

Switches are most efficient (i.e., painful and durable) if made of a strong but flexible type of wood, such as hazel (also used for a very severe birch) or hickory; as the use of their names for disciplinary implements

Oh yes, I remember those days – those switches

How do these definitions relate to today?  In absolutely no way!

‘The Switch’ was made early this morning – it had to be done – he was unprepared for today – something must be wrong.

That he is me and ‘The Switch’ relates to my posts, as I was unprepared; something must be wrong.

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I originally planned to published a video post of me today.  To publish that post today, my intentions were to record yesterday, but that never happened.  There was a hospital visit yesterday followed by an errand that needed to take place prior to my surgery.  So, the day slipped by and I in my usual pain became irritable, tried and worn out.  Honestly, I had just enough energy to respond to comments yesterday before I went to bed for the night – this occurred about 6:00 PM.

‘The Switch’ took place this morning and this post originally planned for Saturday is published today.  A video post of me will now be scheduled for Saturday.

Changes were made to this post, but here some of the original words –

My plan is to post every day, because this is a personal goal of mine and I see no reason I will be unable to continue it.  So, my posts for next week will be scheduled and ready to publish my usual time of 8:45 AM CST.  As I did while on my cruise back in December, I plan to disable comments, because honestly, I will not be able to respond to them next week immediately after surgery.  I am being optimistic in my recovery and my hope is I will be able to start responding to comments by next Saturday.  With that said, I will make adjustments along the way if necessary.

Some of you have asked me about whether Gary will be updating you on my status for next week.  The answer is no, he will not.  Gary is a wonderful man as you know, but he is somewhat technology challenged.  It would not be safe for him to be in my WP account, as it might accidently be deleted – sorry Gary.

As soon as I am able, I will be back online to let you know I am fine – that is my promise to you.

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I am confident I will get through this surgery and initial recovery next week without issues.  I will make extra efforts to do so and I have Gary with me as my motivator.

And for the weeks to follow my recovery will be assisted by you, because each one of you motivates me.

As usual, I appreciate each of you and I am fortunate to have you as friends.

Thanks you!

creating questions

Sunday, my fellow blogger and friend Blue Sky published a post titled Does God Ever Give Up On Us?

I read her post and I responded with the following comment –

A beautiful post dear, one in which every word had my attention. I appreciate you sharing this today, as the struggles in my life today are creating questions in my mind about faith, god and all that is related. I appreciate you and your friendship and your honesty. Thank you again for sharing this today.

With Blue Sky’s words on my mind, I took a walk alone to reflect on my current life and my current struggle.

As a result, this video was created.

Please take time to read the post Does God Ever Give Up On Us? created and published by Blue Sky, I hope it touches you as it did me.

Good

merriam-webster.com has the following definition –

good

adjective |\ˈgu̇d\

Simple Definition of good

:  of high quality

:  of somewhat high but not excellent quality

:  correct or proper

People ask me how I am doing and I usually respond with “Good”.  In the mornings, I usually tell Gary “Good morning” and he responds “Good morning, how are you?”  I respond “Good”.

Sometimes in comments on my blog, I will respond with “All is good”

image1I am not always ‘Good’, in fact lately I have been quite the opposite.

I can and am a mean person at times – I admit it – I can be and am a very mean person at times.

I have previously written about this side of me before.  You can read more about this in my posts ‘The Evil Person Inside‘, ‘Mean Lately‘ and ‘I can do better‘.

Lately I am not ‘good’, it is the opposite!

You may remember in my video log ‘The Next Surgery‘, I spoke about my bladder issues becoming worse, and the lower right side pain I was experiencing.  Quotes from that video “I am okay with it all.”, “It is what it is.”, “I will deal with it the best I can, and that is all I can do.”, “I have not been the happiness person lately, I have had a lot of pain lately, and that is part of the deal.”

In my video log ‘Have a Happy Day‘, I explain where my unhappiness comes from and why I am in a bad mood, therefore I become mean.  The bladder is burning continually and increases with urination, which is quite often.  The lower back area continues to hurt and I am tired.

Just because I have aches and pains and cancer does not indicate I am doing nothing.  Today, tomorrow and the next, I continue to take care of a home, lawn and a pool.  A couple of weeks ago I was in the front yard and taking care of my weekly lawn care; trimming, mowing, sweeping and one of the neighbors I had not spoken with for a while approached me.  He asked how I was doing.  I responded “I am good!”  Really I was not good, I was tired and not feeling good at all, but I was not going to tell him that.  Why?

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I honestly feel many people don’t want to hear how others truly feel.  I think out of courtesy to others we ask; especially those that are dealing with a physical illness.  If I were to respond to the question differently and say “I feel very bad today, my body hurts and my bladder is burning and I am very tired.”, what would the response be?  I do not really know.  I doubt I would receive the same response as I do when responding with ‘I am good!”

Am I being sarcastic?  Well maybe I am – I will continue to tell people I am good.  Except here on my blog, and you truly know the way I feel.

And I appreciate those that read and respond to how I truly feel.

School of Hard Knocks

I stole the title of this post from a comment left on one of my other posts.

I believe kat from the blog ‘Time No Matter’ will understand.  Thanks kat, I truly appreciate every comment you write to me.

The other day in the afternoon I was sitting in the backyard writing a post and performing some research about a specific topic.  During this time, I read kat’s comment on my post ‘Learning the Hard Way‘.  This is a portion of her comment –

My father always told my mother, Kathy will just have to learn about life from the school of hard knocks!!! I was the most argumentative, stubborn, smart mouth kid around…LOL My mom always said, Don’t worry she will get hers when she starts having kids just like her, there’s always one just like them…LOL they were both right….I am still going to the school of hard knocks, learning from life…I still have a smart mouth…hummmm can’t believe that…LOL and I did have a son, just like myself…hard to raise and it still is at times….even though hes 29….but like me, he is love of a kid and would give up his right arm for the right person

That comment struck me hard!  She wrote something in that comment that I totally relate to.

Last year, in my post ‘Happy Birthday Son #1‘, I wrote the following –

Today is my oldest son’s birthday!

He is now approaching his middle 30s and I am honored to say he is my son.  Since he was a baby, I would always say “He is just like me, he has my personality”. Many times I have regretted saying that because I do not wish upon him or anyone else to be like me!  He is his own man; working, having children of his own and has become a very responsible person. But he does have some of my genes; the genes that cause struggles and challenges.

In today’s post, I write the following –

My son #1, turned 34 last month, you can read the post I wrote here: ‘# 34, my ‘kid’!‘.

I never want to write bad things about anyone, especially my sons.  This blog is about my life; but my sons are part of that life.  Son #1 has and still is experiencing tough times in his life.  We spoke on his birthday for the first time in 6 months.  This time period not speaking was not because I had not tried to contact him.  I try not to make it about me, but I do become angry and hurt when my calls are not returned.  I try to put myself in his shoes because I know he is going through some struggles in his life right now.  Struggles that are very similar to mine when I was his age.

As I continue to write this blog, I research, learn and discover me.  This part of me that causes struggles within me – maybe my son is going through this also.

And what about those calls that are never returned?  Well maybe, just maybe he is busy in the school of hard knocks.

it touched me

Before I went to bed last night, I watched an hour special program about the recent tragic events here in the United States.

I woke this morning and performed my usual activities; coffee, exercise, mediation, smoothie, reading a couple of posts from fellow bloggers.

A post I read touched me deeply.  My very good friend Osyth from Half Baked In Paradise published a post ‘In my mind I am free’.  Please read this post – I hope it touches you as it touched me.

After I read that post, I felt the need to record a video.

Have a happy day everyone.

Last night

Last night was one of the worst nights I have had.  I literally was up every hour to go to the bathroom.  I looked at the clock each time and once an hour I went to pee.  During the times I was not in the bathroom, my bladder was burning and my lower right back side was pounding with pain.  During the times I was in the bathroom, I was peeing and was in pain during the process.  I cried quite a bit last night, not because of the pain, but because I do not want this type of quality of life.  Why now?

Things are looking good for Gary and I.  The home is in the process of being sold and we are planning our not so distant travel adventure.  I ask again, why now?

During my restless, painful and emotional night, I kept telling myself.  PHAIN – Patience, Happiness And In the moment Now.

I do not want anyone feeling sorry for me because I am feeling what I am feeling at this moment.

Words of encouragement are always helpful – but not needed – but I do favor them.

Yesterday, I spoke with my mom on the phone about the status of me and my future.  She knows I am awaiting surgery and as always she offers words of encouragement as she has always done.  She said you will get through this and I have all my brothers praying for you.  A tear came from my eye and I said “Thank You”.  I told her, I am okay with the cancer and said “It is what it is.”  I also told her that this was not my greatest challenge in my life.  I told her I have already been through the greatest challenge in my life.  “You remember mom, you were there with me during the dark years of depression, the suicide attempts, the physiatrist hospital, the tears, the self-doubt, the self-hating, the self-hurting, the having no reason to live – all those many, many years.”  “That IS my biggest challenge in my life.  And if I can make it through years and years of self-destruction and re-construction to be here today – I can and will get through what life wants to throw in my way.”

You see I know there are others that suffer more than I; both physically and mentally.  I just have a little cancer on my bladder, that is it.  Do I suffer as a result of it?  Yes, I do.

I take responsibility of my cancer for I know I have and had bad habits in my life.  But, I have no regrets.  I cannot have regrets, only experiences and things I learned along the way in my life that brought me here today.

I will get through this, I will make more changes in my life to improve myself and improve my life.

I am down, sad, upset, but motivated.  I may be broken, but I am not defeated.

Me (2)

Learning the Hard Way

From my post ‘2nd Grade & 2nd Grade‘, I wrote the following –

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Per ‘The Free Dictionary’ website I am not retarded, per the ‘Dictionary.com’ website I am retarded.  I never considered myself retarded, only stupid.

I did receive some other interesting results from my Google search of the word ‘retarded’.  I found ‘Intellectual disability’ a below average intelligence and set of life skills present before age 18.  The information presented to me is the following:

About –

Intellectual function can be measured with an IQ test to detect below-average intelligence.

The main symptom is difficulty thinking and understanding. Life skills that can be impacted include certain conceptual, social, and practical skills.

Special education and behavioral therapy can help a person live to his or her fullest.

Symptoms –

The main symptom is difficulty thinking and understanding. Life skills that can be impacted include certain conceptual, social, and practical skills.

People may experience –

Behavioral: impulsivity or hyperactivity

Also common: difficulty thinking and understanding or restlessness

As a young child I thought maybe I was retarded or maybe my parents thought I was.  Growing up into my adult years I thought I was stupid, as a middle aged adult I thought I had ADD and OCD, but now I know I have an intellectual disability.

In today’s post, I write the following –

Obviously I diagnosed myself – I have never been diagnosed by a medical professional.

In my post ‘suicide – it sounds peaceful, it sounds calm’, I wrote the following –

Can I go get on some medication?  Yes, I could and that would probably help – but then I feel like I lose the fight.  I feel like that I am just existing and not becoming; becoming better; becoming stronger – but just existing and accepting.  To me that’s not, that’s not good enough.  I have to fight I have to struggle, I have to keep moving forward; I have to keep going with the flow and working on myself and becoming a better person.

In today’s post, I conclude with the following –

I have to learn the hard way – for me this is a good thing because I believe for me to grow and become a better person and to live a better life I need to struggle and learn the hard way.

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If I do not, I just become lazy and accepting of myself as I am and I just do not believe that is what I am here for.  I believe I need to struggle to learn – this is how I become a better person.

I will end this post with this definition from Wikipedia.org –

Learning the hard way refers to the educational results developed in the process of living life, the perspective gained as a result of trial and error—more often used in reference to the mistakes, mis-steps and misunderstandings which lead to better judgment.

Can I change my personality?

Is it possible to change our own personality?

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In my post ‘– and this is what therapy has taught me.‘, I wrote the following –

Psychiatric therapy would take place to change my thinking from negative self-defeating to positive self-loving.  There were many years of individual and group therapy sessions, medications, and the talking about me.  What makes me want to self-abuse myself?  What makes me want to kill myself?  What makes me want to tell myself I am unwanted, unloved, a mistake, a worthless person who is defected?  What makes me quick to lose my temper and want to control others?  What makes me want to be a perfectionist?  What makes me want to have a low self-esteem to the point life is not worth living?  Why, was I sexually violated as a child?  Why was I born to live a difficult life?

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In my post ‘Struggling is part of the process‘, I ended with the following –

Struggling is part of the process.  I by no means am an expert at anything to do with life – but I continue to learn about it and I continue to learn about me.

I continue to struggle because I continue to pick up new skills because this is the learning process and this is my life.

In today’s post, I write the following –

It took over 13 years of therapy to change my thinking and improve my behavior.  Through talking with others and seeing things within me that I was unaware of, I learned many things about myself and my thinking.  This learning helped me to change my behaviors and in turn change me.  Did this changing of me change my personality?

Does the learning from struggles and the picking up of new skills that change me, change my personality?

Is it possible to change our own personality?

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psychologytoday.com article ‘Can You Change Your Personality‘, begins with the following –

Personality defines us and how we interact with the world.  Though there are different theories about what personality really is and how our basic personality traits are first formed, the general consensus is that personality is shaped by early life experiences and tend to stay stable over time.

The article is very good and if you are interested in reading, click the above link; it concludes with the following –

Recognizing that personality can be changed can lead to more effective treatment for people with personality problems as well as helping to overcome resistance to change.   All too frequently, patients insist that they are incapable of change when actually they are either unwilling or afraid to try.

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I have always been willing to change my thinking, my behavior and me and I have never been afraid to try.  I know my personality can be changed because I have changed it from a major depressed person to a happier person.  I still have changes to make, so the effort continues because I can, I will and I am not afraid to try.

Struggling is part of the process

In many posts I have written, I used the word struggle.  I write many times about my struggles in life, those parts of me that want to defeat me, make me unhappy and prevent me from being a good person.

I have written posts about my OCD, my ADD, my depression, my attempted suicides, and my sexual violation as a child.  I have written posts about me being a control freak, having chaos in my mind, trouble concentrating and focusing and having little patience.  I have written posts about body aches and pains, addictions, ear worms and being different.

All these symptoms, these diagnoses, these feelings, these physical and mental attributes; they are me and they are my struggles.

lifehacker.com has an article ‘The More You Struggle with New Information the More Likely You Are to Learn It’ and begins with the following –

Trying to learn new skills or new information can be really frustrating, but as Time Magazine points out, the more you struggle with taking on new information the more likely you are to retain and recall that information later.

Nobody likes to fail when learning a new task, but it’s an essential part of the learning process that’s often left out when we’re offered up information in a neatly packaged, structured way. While much of the research into the learning process is concentrated on children, it’s a lesson adults can learn from as well.

I view my struggles as a process of learning.  I learn new tasks that I put into skills and gain additional information and I will eventually retain and recall at a later time.  This process of changing my thinking helps change my behaviors and results in a better me with fewer struggles.  I will admit, I am a very slow learner and I fail many times when learning these new skills and tasks, but I do learn and as a result I grow.  As some of you are aware of, it took me over 13 years of therapy to overcome a major depression; yes, I am a slow learner.

lifehacker.com article continues with the following –

It’s a healthy reminder that struggling through a difficult problem—whether it’s learning Photoshop, getting used to a new webapp, or picking up a new skill—is a necessary part of the learning process. It also works out in the long run because you’re better able to recall the information you learned.

Struggling is part of the process.  I by no means am an expert at anything to do with life – but I continue to learn about it and I continue to learn about me.

I continue to struggle because I continue to pick up new skills because this is my learning process and because it’s my life.