Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Gen Y: Must Love Dogs, AND TRAVEL.

this shit sucks. but i love it.

this shit sucks. i clearly love it.

Travel – for business and pleasure – is kind of an unavoidable luxury these days. Part of the fabric of our culture, and certainly a favorite pastime for many a man with an online dating profile. It’s just not cool to admit you don’t like traveling. So…yeah! Of course I love it!

For me, it means a few months of pre-travel panic. Everything must be perfect – legs shaved, eyebrows plucked, pores extracted, hair highlighted and cut, teeth whitened, pounds lost. It’s anxiety. And when you’re away from home, it’s living in the moment, feeling the heartbeat of life and not having enough “familiar” around you to ignore what you’ve been repressing. Travel is a jolt, a way to shock yourself into looking at things as they really are. Scary.

But not liking travel doesn’t mean you don’t see the beauty in it.

My favorite part is getting home. Unpacking. cleaning. Ah, sweet routine. I thought I lost you!

But your eyes are new too. You can’t look at things quite the same way again.

A trip last year to Monaco to visit a dear friend actually turned out to be my saving grace. After a year at a job that I wasn’t sure I was a good fit for, it was an opportunity for me to realize – I can still function in groups! I haven’t lost the ability to laugh so hard it feels like a 9-year-old David Beckham kicked a soccer ball directly into my abdomen! While my daily routine at home was different from what it felt like it should have been, it didn’t mean I had lost who I was. I needed space – apparently a distance as wide as that between Los Angeles and Monte Carlo – to see it.

I do feel grateful I got to go on the cruise last week, but it’s a mindful struggle to remind myself I didn’t fail. It’s a struggle that apparently requires outside assistance: “Dad –  are you sure it wasn’t a failure? I mean, I didn’t have the right amount of fun! It didn’t meet my expectations!”

We are told we have to like to travel, that everyone wants to travel. That we should be grateful. Well, Jeneration Why, travel IS a revelation, but it’s also a crapshoot.  Maybe we don’t always have to go so far from home to cultivate a new perspective. Or to “fit in.”

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Updates from SS Coachella cruise

We’re here. In the middle of the ocean. We dock in Jamaica tomorrow, where I will partake in some snorkeling. Considering that the ocean is one of the things on my least-favorite-things’ list, looking forward to it!

We got upgraded to a room with an ocean balcony. I sat on it. It was hot, so I went back inside. 

The only time I have had seasick-ness (not in the “sick” sense, but in the “oh, we’re moving” sense), was last night, lying in bed.

The Internet is costing me .45 cents per minute. Hence the brevity. 

Cruises are fun. Can’t decide whether they are kitchsy (don’t have time/money for spell-check) or heaven on earth. Both prolly. I think the Apple dude in the “Celebrity iLounge” is a little worried that I’ve been in here over an hour. Most people are rocking the Internet for five min max. 

I look forward to posting more in-depth thoughts as soon as I have a chance! 

Why? Some thoughts on Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook and vulnerability.

I’m struggling with what I want to write today. Why? Because what I want to say may be unpopular. Because someone might walk away thinking I’m insensitive. Because I don’t want this post to polarize or offend. Each of us has our own unique reaction to what happened yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut. This is mine.

I woke up today, and like many, wanted to see what updates were available on the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. The first NY Times’ article I read was a portrait of the life of the deceased suspect Adam Lanza. The headline? “A Gunman Who Left Few Footprints in Life.”

Reading through his story broke my heart. The reporter, who seemingly couldn’t locate a single friend of Adam’s to interview, instead interviewed neighbors and former classmates. The article mentions that Adam might have suffered from Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism, in which the individual has trouble communicating and interacting socially. In the photo accompanying the article, Adam’s mouth is awkwardly open. And his eyes, wide and confused. And haunting. Most people would probably say vacant, but I want so much to believe there was some kind of life behind them.

As human beings, we have an innate, deep need to connect with people. Loneliness can be debilitating. Heartbreaking. Adam may have been a loner, but it sounds like he was also desperately lonely.

It makes me think of that book Bowling Alone – about the decline of the American “community” over the past generation or so. Having lived in LA for 12 years, I know I have struggled to find a sense of community. Modern Western society seems hardwired to promote the “individual”: Not only can we survive mostly on things we buy online, limiting social contact, for whatever reason it feels harder than ever for us to simply admit – I’m vulnerable. (If you haven’t and you’re interested, I would check out Brene Brown’s Ted talk on vulnerability.) Centuries ago, when society was more agrarian, lives centered around town halls and squares where people bartered and sold their wares and foodstuffs. If you wanted to eat, if you wanted a book, if you wanted anything, you had to leave home. It was a given that your life depended on the successful interactions you had with others.

I don’t want it to sound like I think I have answers. Mental illness. Gun control. Violent video games. I don’t know. I just know that in addition to the many young lives that were tragically taken yesterday, there was a 20-year-old boy who seems like he, too, might have been some kind of victim, so desperate to connect with others that he felt like he had to take drastic measures for anyone to see him in the first place.

Dating: We find what we expect to find. That includes what we expect in ourselves.

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actual title “pleasant Buddhist monk”

“You’re a borderline compulsive liar.”

The words I heard last night whilst texting with the person I have been thinking of for months. The first words I thought of when I woke up this morning.

Somewhat out of the blue, the guy I dated over the summer – the one I thought I was in love with, texted me last night, willing to engage in more than the pleasantries we had awkwardly exchanged over the past few months. Somehow (doesn’t this always happen?), we got on the subject of singlehood. And loneliness. I mentioned that married couples could be lonely and bored too.

His response: “You’re married now, eh?”

“Yes! 15 days!” I responded, and I followed-up with a pic of my unadorned left hand indicating I was, in fact, not married.

What I got from his subsequent texts: this, among other similar behavior, makes me somewhat of a liar. It’s not intentional lying – and I’m not trying to hurt anyone, but I am exhausting. He has to decipher everything I say, figuring out if it’s a trick or a joke. Ultimately, he said I operate with “too much sarcasm/opposite/dry humor.”

I was floored. The texts were so jarring I felt like I was talking with a completely different human being. An all-out angry one. This was not the charming, kind person I had met in May. This was not the guy who brought me flowers and a Bluetooth, because he was concerned about me driving without one. What IN THE HECK happened?

I have an index card with an affirmation/inspirational quote on my wall. In my faded handwriting, it reads: “We find what we expect to find, and we receive what we ask for.”

There really is no ultimate answer as to “why” he and I expected what we expected from the other, but we did have expectations, and because of them, we conjured up two completely different people from the ones we actually are. Perhaps because of his past and nature, he expected that I would let him down. That I would act erratically. He reacted accordingly, viewing my texts through those filtered glasses. I did the same – putting on my he-is-charming glasses, assuming I did something wrong when he said things contrary to his always-charming nature. And I assumed or even expected that I wasn’t enough.

I don’t believe I am a compulsive liar, and I’m not sure there is anything I can say or do that will change his mind. I don’t think he is a bad person – he’s an individual, like the rest of us, doing the best with what he has. But I am too, and what I do with the knowledge of how I expect I am (wrong, good, bad, doing my best) and how I treat myself from here on out, is up to me.

Andrew James Taggart, Practical Philosopher, Ph.D.

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