Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Home sweet home...Man-cave...or??

Recently I had occasion to notice something about myself, and wonder about it.  It doesn't happen very often because I know myself pretty well.  So, here is what happened.

Lulie, my good woman left for a three week visit to L.A.  Leaving me to my own devices.  Life went on...then about two and a half weeks into this I noticed that my house didn't really look the same as it did when she left.  Upon further speculation I realized that I had only used one fork during that whole time; it made me wonder what else I had done that was odd.

I had used a total of two bath towels, because if the one I used had dried sufficiently by the next time I used it, there didn't seem any need to get a fresh one.  I remember getting a new one one day because, even though it had dried...it didn't smell good and I noticed that.

At the risk of embarrassing myself further; on days when I wore my kilt I never took my shoes off, I just slept in them.  One less step getting dressed in the morning when I put my kilt back on.

The kitchen, well...that was a sight!  I had done one load of dishes that was still in the dishwasher but the sink was piled high with stuff, and the two refrigerators were full of spoiling food.

OK, I have never been what I consider to be a slob...really!!  So what happened?  and, more importantly...why hadn't I noticed?  The truth is that I didn't notice until I had some people over that needed to come in the house.  I warned them about the state of things, explaining Lulies absence.  One of them said that it had turned into a man-cave.

I thought about that, and had to disagree.  It was not a man-cave, no...Man-caves are fun.  It had turned into a "lair".  What is a lair? you ask.  Well, if you watched the old Batman shows the evil villains hung out in their lair, but the dictionary says:

Definition of LAIR

dialect British : a resting or sleeping place : bed
a : the resting or living place of a wild animal : den
b : a refuge or place for hiding

It's true, my home had become a lair and I hadn't even noticed.  So focused was I on the bare essentials of life; eating, sleeping bathing, going to the bathroom, feeding the animals, etc.  I forgot to actually live in the absence of Lulie. 
I went and picked her up today at the airport.  I apologized in advance for the state of things, and told her about my "Lair" theory.  She is so great...wow.  She didn't really blink an eye, she understands me more than I do sometimes.  This is what she said:
As an "alpha male"; (on the higher end of the testosterone scale) run of the mill domestic necessities are simply not on my radar.  I am too pre-occupied with "killing the deer".  I asked, and what she means by that is; my vision becomes narrowed and focused on the individual task at hand, tasks that are high on my priority such as eating, feeding the animals, going to work, sleeping, general man stuff, etc.  In that mode my brain does not register little things out of place, or a half cup of coffee on the counter with a film of mold over it because those things are not relevant to my priority list.  And, since I have a woman, my mind is not occupied with the acquisition of a woman...only on existing until she returns. 
So, that is what my love said, and after thinking about it...I think she nailed it.  When she came home she turned on the radio and I realized I hadn't listened to music in three weeks either.
Look, I know there will be some people reading this that say "C'mon...you are just a pig, stop making excuses."  Or, they might say that I am a chauvinist bastard just waiting for the woman to do all the work.  Ok, I get it...you are entitled to your opinions, but I respectfully disagree, and this is why.
I have had occasion to live on my own before, without a woman, and I actually keep a spartan but orderly house.  What Lulie made me understand is; it is BECAUSE  I have a woman that I resort to lair mode when she isn't here...because in my caveman brain I have been made gloriously free to just hunt, to just be myself without worrying about whats going on in the cave, because we as a couple have determined that is her domain.  The fact that she is gone for a little while doesn't change that.
Ok, ok, ok....yes.  Now that I have made this realization, the next time she leaves I will be more prepared, more aware.  I will not let mold grow in coffee cups, I will take my shoes off to sleep, I may even use more than one fork.  Being honest though, I know there are still many things I won't notice, I won't notice them because they just won't seem important to me.  As long as she understands that...I guess it's ok.
It should also be noted that during this three week period I was on a special "hunt", and was more singularly focused than I might be otherwise because I was putting my eBook together; first time, lots to learn etc.  That is NOT an excuse, merely a fact.  For those interested you can read about the book at www.alfsbook.com 
I would be interested to hear your comments about this, as long as they aren't too mean, lol.  Have any of you experienced a similar revelation?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Life Observation #2

To be strong?

 A good friend of mine told me in a comment that “I don’t have to be strong all the time.”  I have had other people tell me that in the past as well.  It got me to thinking…

I have thought about it all day actually.  I tried to analyze this statement from an objective view point.  I asked myself questions like; what would happen if I wasn’t strong all the time?  What does it mean exactly; to be strong?  Is the opposite of strong weakness, or merely a lack of strength? 

To get to the bottom of it, I have to define what it means “to be strong”.  There is the physical aspect obviously; possessing pure physical strength and the willingness to use it.  I have always been physically strong, more a result of great genetics than anything else.  But, what if I didn’t have those genetics?  What then? 

Hmmm…well, then I suppose I would still consider myself strong if I was being as physically strong as I was able to, even if I wasn’t strong in comparison to someone else.

The other aspect of being strong is strength of character, it is much more vague and harder to quantify than physical strength. I see this as being like a pillar for others, always being stable, not losing control emotionally, treating others well, not being easily swayed, being confident, being true to your own conscience, and also having the strength to admit when you are wrong.  The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

It is conceivable that a person could be strong in one of these aspects but not in the other.  I think it is also true that a human could be strong one day, or most of the time, but then have a day when they are not strong. 

Is it better to be strong, than to not be strong?  I would say yes, it is better to be strong.

What would happen if I was not strong all time?  Being a human, I have had moments when I was not strong; it is rather difficult to admit though.  There were times when I was sick and weak, or grief stricken, or like when I was in that bad accident when I was 16, or the one time I lied to my father. 

Nothing happened; I got over whatever it was and went back to being strong.  However, if I stopped trying to be strong that would be a different story…then, I really wouldn’t be me anymore; I would be someone else.

That brings us back to my friend’s original statement that I don’t have to be strong all the time.  After careful deliberation I agree partly, and disagree partly with her. 

I agree that if a moment comes when I am not strong, that it will be OK, for a minute.  But I also feel as a man, that I have an obligation to “try” to be strong all the time, in all ways.  I feel it is a duty that comes with manhood.  I must at least try, and be as strong as I can.  I may not always succeed, that’s OK.  The obligation of a man is in the honest trying, and when he fails…to try harder.

I’m speaking about being a man, not to leave women out of the conversation.  I am not a woman though; I can only answer this question from my experience as a man.  Perhaps women have the same obligation, perhaps not.  Perhaps women are strong in ways that men cannot conceive of? 

Here is what I suspect though; the obligation of a man to be strong is perfectly matched with the obligation of a woman to be all the magical, wonderful things that make her a woman. 

My final answer then:  Yes, I do have to be strong all the time.  I have an obligation to be as strong as I can in both body and character.  My obligation is to all the other humans around me, because my strength might help them. It is to my ancestors, to honor their legacy, and to those who will come after me, because if I am being as strong as I can in all ways…surely their life will be improved somehow because of it.

To be strong, and to have the opportunity…the privilege to share that strength, is one of the best parts of being a man in this life.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life Observations, #1

Life Observation #1


 I am going to post these life observations occasionally, as they happen.  Not all the time.  I expect my life observations to be a portion of the content here, but not all of it.  Also, I remind you that I encourage you to comment with any insights of your own that the blog may generate in you. 

The balance between working hard, and working smart.

I was raised in a purely blue collar family with blue collar ethics and ideals.  My example of manhood; my father, is one of the hardest working guys I have known.  For most of my life I too have enjoyed blue collar professions, not surprisingly, since that is how I was raised.

When I was a younger man, in fact up to fairly recently, it was very important to me to be the hardest working guy on any job, and I was.  I didn’t do that to be noticed or to inspire comments from others (although that did happen), nor did I do it to impress my boss.

 I worked that way as a matter of my own personal pride.  That was my way of challenging myself and continuously improving, it made me feel good at the end of the day knowing that I accomplished more physically than anyone else on the job.  The question is; was it smart of me?

In my case, it turned out OK.  I was never seriously injured trying to lift something too heavy or straining my connective tissues past the breaking point.  I never had to take time off work because I was injured.  I was very lucky…I have known others who were not.

Perhaps this topic is more on my mind now because I just turned 51.  My current job is still very physical, and I like that because it keeps me from getting fat, but I am making the shift into working smarter, not necessarily harder.  It is a tricky balance though, at least for me.

I started working smarter in my 30’s by analyzing every situation and determining if tasks were being executed in the most efficient manner, but that is only part of the “work smart” equation… I would still push my body to incredible limits, completely oblivious to the possible consequences.  Looking back I shudder to think what the effects would have been on my children and life if I had seriously injured something by being too careless, by not being smart. 

I still am doing the job of a much younger man, but its OK, because I’m in pretty good shape.  Recently though, I have refused to do certain task that I simply deemed “unwise”.  The risk of injury was not worth the wage I would receive to perform it. 

I really need all of my limbs and my back, and I want them to carry me happily into old age.   What is my health and long term happiness worth?  A lot!  A lot more than I am earning.  It is priceless, really.

The problem with this, the hard part for a guy like me, is that because of my blue collar mentality I start to feel like I am a big sissy if I refuse to do something.  In my brain it equates directly to my worth as a man.  It is not a good feeling…I am still working on dealing with that.  Yesterday it got to me, and I carried some extremely heavy objects up stairs by myself rather than have someone help me.  I did it alone on purpose. 

Was that smart?  No.  It was dumb actually.  But…It did make me feel good just to remind myself that I was capable of it, even though it was stupid. I don’t regret it, because I didn’t get hurt…but, I could have.  That is what I am trying to remind myself of.

The same thing applies to people who are in a white collar position.  I have known white collar people who work so hard that they lose their quality of life, and their family, it becomes all about “the job” rather than being about the things that really matter.  That isn’t smart either.

What it comes down to are priorities; and the constant evaluation and identification of those priorities.  Whether you are a fence builder, a truck driver, a secretary, nurse, executive or circus clown…you have to always be aware and focused on those things in life that are most important, and make decisions based on that. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the vocational whirlwind, especially in this economy, when it might not be that easy to get another job if you lost the one you have. 

But what is more important; your kids having a dad with a job…or, your kids having a dad that is alive who can take them to the park, or fishing?  

What is more important; your kids having a mom with a job…or, your kids having a mom who is emotionally healthy with enough energy to take walks and spend time to teach them about the things that matter in life, like my mom did for me?

Those are just a couple examples, but you get the idea.  I’m not suggesting everyone quit their job or tell their boss to go to hell, just that you start having the conversation in your own head about what’s most important in life, and how to work smarter…not harder.    

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'm back!

Hello everyone!

Well, It has been awhile since I blogged here.  After the completion of my journal blog I took a little break.  Truth is, I had to think about what else I wanted to say

Turns out, I have quite a bit to say about life in general.  That will probably be the focus of my blogging for awhile; General insights on the human condition, with practical solutions of course.  I am all about constant improvement in my own life, and the lives of those around me.  It is a very Odinic philosophy as well.

I will also provide updates on my whereabouts and doings.  Lately I have been feverishly trying to get the EBook done.  It is done now, all that remains are putting the systems in place that will make it available to people.  I suspect it will be within the next two weeks, maybe sooner.

It has been quite a journey for me.  Recording my journal in a blog was one thing; it brought me right back to Alt for Norge and I was re-living those experiences as I wrote it.  Surprisingly though, getting it all in an EBook was another emotional challenge.

You would think at some point it would stop affecting me like that...but it doesn't.  Remember though, the emotion is not one of sadness, not at all.  I am just so profoundly touched and moved by the whole experience, and little parts too, and now there is the love shown to me by many of the Alt for Norge fans that also touches me deeply.  It is all really quite wonderful, it makes me feel blessed on an almost continuous basis.

I have decided to charge $15 for the book when it is ready.  That is the price of one Norwegian beer in a bar.  I am hopeful that people think of it that way; as though they ran into me in a bar and offer to buy me a beer.  In exchange, I tell them my whole story.  There will be video links in the book that connect to corresponding Youtube episodes as well.

I plan on using any proceeds I get from the book toward my eventual return trip to Norway, with Lulie.  I have an idea that while I am back in Norway I could post where we will be in different cities at different times, and I will invite all our Friends to come and meet us.  I think that would be just great...getting to meet all of the people that have so impacted my life and my view of the world in these past months.

So that's it for now.  I will be blogging about a variety of subjects but they will all have a common theme; life, and making it better.  Your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Until next time.