On Knowledge & Impotence

I am enjoying the company of old friends during a trip in Oklahoma. I know; it’s weird. While enjoying a bowl of delicious pho, one of my friends told the table the full account of her recent child bearing process. Suffice to say it was eye opening and not at all the nice, pleasant experience one would hope for. Now, I won’t go into the full story because it is not mine to tell and I respect my friends’ privacy. Let’s just say that it was a complicated birth with trauma. Hearing her story led to a conversation between myself and another friend (we’ll go with S for this one) about birth experiences, the effects of modern medicine, birthing practices, etc. This is not a post about whether I, as a man, should speak on the subject of birth or who has authority to have that conversation, but more on the reason(s) behind the reactions my friend and I had to hearing the story.

I was ignorant to the full nature of my friend’s pregnancy and birthing of her child. The friend I debated with was not, however that only partially influenced her response. Whenever I am faced with information, knowledge, or obstacles, my immediate response is analysis, planning, and execution. I truly believe that information and knowledge is important to figuring things out and responding accordingly. S’s immediate reaction is to defend her friends and loved ones before facing the new obstacles. Neither one is better. We simply react differently.

In this case, we were both unable to do our standard practice since the events had passed, so we transferred those reactions into the conversation. The impotence of action on our part was not quite enough to deter our attempts at responding and fixing the non-existent problem we were facing. It is what we humans do in order to cope with trauma, even if it is not our own. Yet, ultimately we both knew our anxiety was for nothing as we could do nothing and the moment passed.

How could this energy, anxiety, and concern be channeled into something more fruitful? Would we have been better off not having known the actual experience our friend went through considering our inability to help? How significant is knowledge without even the remote chance of action?

Not really sure if there are any answers to these questions but would love to hear your thoughts and own queries in the comments below.

Advertisements

On Drifting/Moving On

I am currently buying an airplane ticket to go see old college friends next month. The following week after visiting these particular group, I will go to an annual gathering of geeks, nerds, and enthusiasts of varying ilk at my Alma Mater. I am looking forward to both excursions; however, it is difficult not to notice the changing nature of the relationships in both groups and locations, specifically my relationship and connection to them.

It is a cliché to say how people grow and change and evolve, but the overuse of the concept is because of its accuracy. I still talk to the friends that I hold dear and made in college, but it is not with the same frequency or involvement. They, just like myself, are dealing with developing lives and events like jobs, promotions, romantic relationships, and the inevitable stresses that go along with being a “productive member of society.”

We no longer have the simple frivolity of our original friendship nor the ability to drop everything at a moment’s notice to have a conversation on the intellectual and spiritual intricacies of Community over beers on someone’s porch. Good times, Honeycutt. Obviously, I know this had to happen. Relationships change. Some grow. Some wither. And some completely die off. It is the nature of things to change.

change is good

Still part of me worries about the future of certain friendships. We are all relatively young and not yet on set career paths and already we have trouble engaging with each other as much as we used to. What is going to happen down the line when we start having legitimate careers, families, and actual responsibilities? Is it selfish of me to be concerned about this? Would it be better for me not to care about future eventualities at all?

I want the best for my friends and hope that they achieve what they want and need. I also kind of hope they have similar worries to the ones I am having. If they are not, does that mean something? I genuinely have no clue what to think on the matter. So, random reader, what do you think? Should you try to hang on to certain relationships? Or just let nature take its course and see what happens?

On Community II

So I have actually written a post on the idea of community before, but I wanted to use a more specific example to illustrate its necessity and power. Unsurprisingly, this example also relates to and uses the NaNoWriMo community.

Currently on Day 5 of NaNoWriMo and somehow managing to keep up on word count. Let’s see how long that lasts. Coffee seems to help.

It really is.

It really is.

Anyhow, I was writing on Day 2 (Sunday) of NaNoWriMo and I hit a slump. As I usually do when this happens, I decided to listen to some music, but didn’t know what to go with. Since I knew that there were several other NaNo participants working on the forums and keeping in touch through Twitter, I sent out a massive signal requesting “writing music” suggestions.

I expected a couple of responses within a day, instead I was inundated with suggestions for the next 48 hours. Seriously, complete, random strangers were telling me their preferred music for writing, why they liked it, where to go and find some good tunes all because I added a hashtag to a tweet.

Not saying that now these people and I are friends or that we will ever be more than strangers, but for a brief moment we were connected and aid and advice was altruistically given without conceit. It still might be corny, but there is something oddly beautiful about the existence of these moments and the communities that are built around them.

Also, it’s not too late to try your hand at NaNoWriMo. If you ever felt like writing a book, sign up and start. There are a bunch of us along for the ride.

All Hallow’s Read

In case the odd profile picture was not enough of a giveaway, I am trying to promote All Hallow’s Read. What is it? Well, I’ll let this explain it http://www.allhallowsread.com/. Pretty cool, right?

Anyhow, I really want to participate this year, so this is what I am going to do: the first 4 people to respond to this post with a comment will get a book. I’ll try to give you one that you will actually enjoy based on a mixture of my knowledge of you, your comment/hints, profile. and pure dumb luck and guesses.

I only request that you actually read the book, take a picture to ensure the book arrived, and tell me how good or bad my selection was. Also, if you want to give someone else a book this month, or any time, that would be cool too.

As well, if you are a total stranger…I’ll figure something out to ensure you get a book. Of course, this could all be for naught and no one will respond to this, but the worst that can happen is I get to gift a couple of books to people. If you do happen to be an utter stranger (preferably not a bot), maybe leave a hint of interests or hobbies in your comment. (Not a book title).
Happy Halloween and an All Hallow’s Read. Read more books!

On Relationships

“Relationships are just you being there for someone when they need you. That is all relationships are.” 

I heard this quote in a movie I recently watched. Can’t quite recall which film, but this particular line stood out to me. It’s of significant interest because it essentially relates the definition of all relationships, not just romantic couplings.

I find relationships, particularly friendships, fascinating. I am sure there is some evolutionary reason for our desire to seek communities, but the reasons as to why we gravitate toward certain people or why they choose to return friendship are as varied as the people on the planet.  

These connections may be lost over time and others can take their place over the years. In my own life, there are a few relationships that I am trying to keep. I am not sure if such a thing will be possible, but I know I want to try. Perhaps that is a bit selfish of me, but I believe that my friends elevate me on some level, and I hope I do the same for them.

Not really much of a point to this post other than a random musing on the nature of relationships. I pray that I am there for those who need me and a welcome friend to any who desire it. What are your thoughts on relationships? Do you agree with the initial quote?

St. Patrick’s Day

For the last few years, I have enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day mainly because of the company and not quite the day. I know that there is an actual history and meaning to the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, but like most holidays appropriated by America it is now, essentially, another excuse to get insanely drunk without too much of a social stigma (looking at you Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras).

I never cared about that, though, because if I wanted to drink to a stupid amount, I would without reservation. Thankfully, I  have outgrown that phase, for now. What I looked forward to was spending a free night with friends. Somehow during my time in college, recent graduate, St. Patrick’s Day fell on a day that I had a vacation or a weekend.

There as much drinking involved, but there was also the sublime pleasure of having the nearby area of the town pretty much to ourselves. Instead of dealing with a plethora of undergrads, we freely roamed from venue to venue and enjoyed the local music, art scenes, and brew joints to our heart’s content. We also made sure to have at least one Depth Charge and do one embarrassing dance for the memories.

And that is what I cherish most of all, the memories that will stay with me long after I may part ways with friends. I’ll remember the stories we created that will inspire and entertain me and those lucky enough I eventually share them with for years to come. There are some pretty good ones that I look forward to reminiscing on over a cold, or room temperature I am not picky, Guinness. Till then, to all Sláinte!

I’d Rather Have A Beer

I have never understood the phrase “runner’s high”. I have heard it from friends and family, all running enthusiasts of differing levels, but I suspect that there is a certain level of bullshit associated along with it.  According to them, a sense of pure euphoria and zen like mental experience occurs at a certain time during the act of running that rivals the effects of drugs and alcohol, both legal and illegal. Frankly, I just believe these individuals  have no clue as to what they are talking about because, having had the pleasure of experiencing a small sample of certain substances, very few things are comparable to the effects of drugs and alcohol and running is not on that list. I can only imagine that these unfortunate individuals have been drinking the worst possible beers and limiting their drug intake to Tylenol, but that is neither here nor there.

I personally have never felt anything remotely resembling a runner’s high. Granted I am not the most avid runner, but even in my younger days when I was far more dutiful in the activity I never derived pleasure from the run. To me running is, and always has been, a necessary evil. It is really one of the best and easiest exercises that a person can participate in. Virtually anyone can do it regardless of race, gender, body mass, or income. It is also a great way to regulate metabolism and have an overall healthy exercise. Even so, I hate running. The only time that I have felt that mythical euphoria during cardiovascular exercise has been from punching the crap out of a heavy bag or sparring with someone, though to be honest I would usually be on the receiving end during those sessions. Hmm…might have a few anger issues I should look into.

Still, even with my seemingly infinite disdain for the activity, this year I have tried my best to begin to run. So far, I have managed to run every weekend (both days) since January 11th. It is not much at all, but it is a start, especially considering that I have not run a mile for several years. For some idiotic reason, I decided to sign up for a 5K. Now, that probably seems like an easy, insignificant task to many of you, but for me I might as well have been running a full marathon. Anyhow, I signed up and did it this morning. I won’t say I ran the 5K, but I did finish it, so that is some sort of small victory for me, though admittedly a weak one. I am not going to write what my time was because, suffice to say, it was not great. So did I finally experience that runner’s high? Hell no.

Seriously, not once did euphoria hit throughout the whole ordeal. I did feel accomplishment, however, as I crossed the finish line. Going from not running at all to doing a 5k in about a month is not an accomplishment completely devoid of notoriety. As well, like the rest of my goals for this year, I will get better. That much I learned today. Keep going and get better. If nothing else, that was worth the entry fee. Oh and here is some proof of today’s activity.

5k1

Just realized that all this proves is that I was at a 5k, but not that I actually participated in it. Well, fuck…