No safe harbor: adventures in dating

This month I’ve been trying to write an article a week in continuation of my Mental Health Awareness month series. If you’ve been with the blog a while, you’ll have noticed a sprinkle of relationship talk here and there. It’s a topic long avoided as it has always been my most frustrating challenge. Over the years, I’ve become an expert in dating, which, to be frank, no one should become an expert in. Ideally, I want a meet-cute and if you think I curated environments where I was more likely to bump into a cute girl, you’d be correct. Bars, Coffee shops, and book stores. It was a simple plan or so I thought. Pro tip: work on yourself before you start dating, it’ll make life a whole lot easier. But we’re not here for cute stories this Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re here for the dark side of dating. The, “What happens when you install Bumble, Tinder, Hinge, and OKcupid all at once”, when the dating process gets taken to the extreme. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready as I delve into the emotional cost of dating when it becomes a numbers game.

The idea was simple: I wanted to be in a relationship and the more exposure I had, the more likely I was to end up in a relationship (thank you marketing classes!). So I worked on my pickup game, using lines such as “Hey baby, hand me an ice pick, cause I need to break the ice” or “Dein augen sind sie sterne “. Tinder in the beginning was fun, I had a date once in every blue moon and I got to practice having a conversation with a girl (I’m joking!). Some dates were good, others bad but all in all, not terrible. Then I had my college flame that eventually started a forest fire. I demoed well with the European demographic during my time in Germany; Berlin will always hold a special place in my heart. After college, I stopped dating for one simple reason; it’s expensive and I didn’t have money.

Fast forward to a point where I did have money and as they say “You either die the hero or live long enough to watch yourself become the villain”. I’ve been ghosted more times than I can count and where once I was adamant that you should always respond, I now understand. A thousand “Hi Mike’s” later and I can’t be bothered. Unlike the ring cast into the fires of Mordor, even if I were to uninstall tinder, it would always find it’s way back. The constant swiping is short term fun, but not healthy. Tinder is my least successful of the dating apps. First comes Okcupid, second is Bumble, third is Hinge, and Tinder is dead last. The fact that I can list my top dating apps should sound the siren and wave the red flag.


I’m resisting the urge to tell my dating life story right now as I must stay focused. And that’s to answer the simple question, are dating apps healthy? The simple answer is no. I’ll be the first to say it, but truly, fuck capitalism. We have turned what was once sacred into an economy of scale. If you don’t understand how truly messed up that is, I envy you. What once used to be “what you see is all there is” or WYSIATI is now “What you see is all there is, but if I swipe left maybe there is something else” or better known as WYSIATIBIISLMTISE (or in other words, complete gibberish!). My last date was a second date affair, where my lover already had another man lined up and waited until a couple weeks after our second date to tell me. And this coming after I had already friended her on Animal Crossing, so if that doesn’t scream “monster” I don’t know what does. It is absolutely insane. A culture of flirting around, a lack of vulnerability, and a lack of commitment.

So what can be done?

While it would be nice to leave this article without a call to action, I feel like I should share my knowledge. This last year has been a drastic improvement to my love life. Dating has been fun, dating apps have not been. That said, the most fun I’ve had is the flirting and the courting. While I must remember that a relationship is the end goal, there is something to be said about being in your 20’s and simply putting yourself out there. My main rule of thumb is that if you’re going on dates with someone, don’t date other people. That is commitment 101; from the first date to the last date, you have my full attention. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but that takes away the worry that has become so common in our dating culture; the “am I good enough or will they choose the slightly better option?” Also keep in mind, courting is different than going on dates with someone. If you’re courting, just have fun; go to workshops, get coffee, and simply enjoy yourself; if someone likes you enough, they’ll go on a date with you. My favorite moments have been my meet-cute’s. moments where I go to a zoo brew on a whim and a cute girl comes over to talk to me or drinking at a bar to have someone remember me from last time (not an alcoholic). They’re fun, precious, and should be enjoyed. To combat dating app culture, I recommend reaching out to your friends and let them know you’re single. Hold on, before you jump to conclusions, I am not saying date your friends (although, hmm… I’ve heard worse ideas). I’m saying people are generally willing to help a friend out and there’s no greater joy than playing matchmaker (I think anyways!). Friends can introduce you and if there’s chemistry, future dates! If there’s not, no harm, no foul!


And that’s it! This concludes the Mental Health Awareness month segment on this blog. Originally, I was not going to cover mental health this month. I was thinking I’d write a quick article and be done. Started in 2018, the series was meant to be a one off; a challenge for myself to articulate vulnerability and eventually talk about my Father’s alcoholism. It was one of the most engaged series I ever wrote and one of the series I could truly be proud of. It’s easy to write about travel, poetry, and the occasional book or movie but mental health is still very much taboo. As such, I’ve decided to make the series annual. Last year I did very little during the month of May, writing a single poem. This year is a return to former glory. As mentioned during previous posts, I took some time to evaluate where I wanted this blog to go and a part of that is a continuation of series. While I won’t dive into too much detail here, expect to see more on the subject next week in my “June 2020 update” post. The update posts will be monthly and act as an outline of what I want to accomplish for the coming month. Posts will typically be once every two weeks to avoid burnout. A reminder that every like, follow, and share helps this blog grow; it may not seem like a lot but it has helped this blog grow this year; 2020 is already on course to surpass the entire year of 2019. In addition, please consider supporting me financially. Every donation is truly appreciated and my patreon is pretty rockin’. As my content grows, eventually my Patreon will include more than just writing. I don’t want to dive into too much detail here, but I’ll include a link below if you’re interested in supporting me!

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And as always, feel free to comment below! My prompt for this article is: if you could give one piece of dating advice you’ve learned over the years, what would it be? Thanks for reading!

Late nights during the apocalypse

This article was originally started in March; a time before I quit my job and a couple weeks into the Pandemic. A couple months later, I’m up, so let’s get it written. It is currently 2:32am. I meditated around 7pm, had a zoom call, practiced German, and did a little bit of coding basics. From 10pm till 11pm I played Earth Defense Force, some Super Tennis, and a couple others on the Nintendo Switch. 11pm to 11:45pm I watched The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. And then, nothing. I browsed the web and got in bed around 12:30am. Listened to ASMR for a couple hours, sleeping mask on and now I have my diffuser filling the room with lavender. It’s strange.

There is seemingly nothing on my mind and yet I can’t sleep. So here I am, sitting late into the night, writing, like I used to with my journal. Monster Cat is currently playing and I’m oddly at peace. I have a lot of projects I’m currently working on and perhaps that is what is keeping me up. I bought a blue yeti mic with the hope to get back into streaming as a means to relax and help with my video editing skills. I’ll also need the mic for video calls and I’m going to start working on podcasting. I’m also thinking of starting a youtube channel but truth be told these are just thoughts. There’s a reason I’ve been practicing habit discipline and staggering habit acquisition. My whole life I have started and stopped, not really knowing where I want to go. Now that I have some direction, I want to ease into it. If I’m not having fun, then what’s the point? Right now, my primary focus is to grow the blog, which has been my pillar for the last 5 years. It’s great to simply have a place to come back to time and time again and be myself. And thank God I did not try a specialty blog.

Getting back to 2018

You’ll hear 2018 referenced a lot in the coming year. 2018 was the year I branched out into poetry, short stories, and special series. While I’m proud of all the content I’ve written throughout the years, 2018 was something special; it carried the momentum from 2016 and 2017, the year I did study abroad. 2015, when I moved from IGN to WordPress, I had a total of 37 views. To put that in perspective, January of this year had 67 views. So remember to smash that like button! Jokes aside, I’m flattered that my blog has become so successful. My favorite aspect of this year is putting in tangible work and seeing tangible results. The blog, as of a couple days ago, has hit 150 followers, ever closer to having a full blown community. I appreciate ever like, comment, and follow. When I say “getting back to 2018” I mean surpassing 2018. 2020 is the start of a new decade and it’s the year I put a bow on everything. In College I lived my life by “firsts” and I want to create new moments by sharpening the saw so to speak.

Sharpening the Saw

I’ve begun intensive learning again. As the blog starts to generate revenue, I’ve slowly begun investing in opportunities to be better. One skill overlooked, if I’m to be honest, is my writing. My writing knowledge is acquired from reading, and well, writing. That’s it. A part of me has envisioned a future where I take workshops and attend seminars and as the blog grows, that is becoming a more apparent reality. Over the last few months, I’ve made the decision that I want to be defined by my creative talents and push past the boundaries of simply dabbling in everything. Writing once every two weeks gives me the time I need. That’s not to say I won’t write more (like this week) but the idea is to have habits form. I like being on the grid and knowing myself, I can always find something to talk about.

As far as late night rambles go…

I’d say this is pretty good. If I can’t sleep I might as well write. This next month will be a busy month and I have big plans for June. I’ll be doing update posts similar to the one you saw in May for the foreseeable future. These posts help me outline what I want to cover in a month and hold me accountable to do so.


And here we are once again! At the end of an article. This year promotion is key. I’ve been thrilled with the amount of support over the last couple months. Every like, comment, and follow has helped this blog gain exposure and grow. Hitting 150 followers was a huge treat for the 5 year anniversary and thanks to everyone who has stuck around. I’d love to see this blog grow to 500 and then eventually 1,000. 500 by the end of this year would be amazing. I have a lot of articles planned for this year and I can’t wait to write them. A reminder that supporting my Patreon is a huge help. This is the first year I’ve received support and it feels great. I have big plans for my Patreon but right now those ideas are just dreams. Remember as well, just reading this article puts a smile on my face, so however you choose to support me is appreciated. Below is the Link to my Ko-fi and Patreon if you’re interested.

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And finally, feel free to comment! I need to get better with the prompts, so let’s try this on for size: how have your nights been during the Pandemic? Are you sleeping like a baby or are you staying up late? What are some techniques you use to cope with the added stress?

My 4 pillars to a meaningful life

So, I scrapped the original article. I found it to be boring and contrived and not what I wanted to write at the moment. Articles are always tricky and a lot of my process is all about flow. If an article is purely informational, that’s no fun for me to write. Originally, this article was a list where I covered my 4 pillars that I’ve used for the last 7 years to guide my behavior: Spiritual, Social/Emotional, Mental, and Physical. If they sound familiar, that’s because they are. I adopted these pillars at a time when I had no guidance, no direction and they’re based off of Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits for highly Effective People”. But listing my habits and giving advice was too boring. And during a Pandemic, I simply can’t get bored; boredom leads to cabin fever and cabin fever leads to insanity. So I stopped. I wrote about Spiritual and Mental and then I just stopped, wrote another article and said today that it’d just be better to start over. I’ve done lists before but a conversational approach? I’ve also done, but it never gets old.

My final article for this month will be next week and will be a reflection piece. I’m taking a lighter approach this year as my health has drastically improved over the years. Every demon tackled, each new challenge I face is easier than the last or at least, a situation I can handle. A lot of my health, in fact, I owe to my 4 pillars. Originally titled, “My 4 pillars to a happy life”, both titles work in this case. My Sophomore year of College, I fiddled around with the concepts in 7 habits, taking a learn and apply approach. I tried one pillar at a time and while each are great on their own, they only work when practiced together. Spiritual I meditate and find myself in nature. Feeling the grass on my feet, hearing the birds chirp, creeks bubble, and the wind rustle. Spiritual is about being present; that’s all there is to it. It’s about having hope and faith and being content, however you choose to get there. Mental is about knowledge, to which, I am obsessed. I never stop learning. I read, I write, I learn. If the saw is not sharp, then the blade will not cut. It’s about sleep, recharging the battery, and respecting you mind enough to give it a rest. It’s also about respecting your mind by watching what you eat, because let’s face it, you are what you eat. Cliche? Of course. True? Yes, very much. Mental bleeds into physical as your body must be worked. People are lazy and narcissistic and there are many excuses we can make as to why we’re not working out. There’s a reason I was so adamant in expressing the importance of making things fun in “30 days to rule them all” and that’s because we suck at motivation. People don’t like the zig zag that is personal growth, they’d much rather have progress be a straight line. I can say with certainty that I am happier when I work out consistently; even just going on a walk is great. Human beings are not potatoes and we should not be acting as such. Make it fun and the rest will fall in place. Finally, Social and Emotional. During a Pandemic, people are freaking out. I’m not. Why? Because I have this pillar. This pillar is the foundation for healthy relationships, a commitment to making an effort, to be there and show up. I have no time to waste with toxic relationships. To flip back to mental, life is about adaptability. Instead of prioritizing going to workshops, meeting new people and board game nights, I have shifted to video calls, messaging, and my favorite, video games. Chatting with friends while social distancing has been great and while I miss being able to go out, the damage to my health has been mitigated. If you’re not a gamer, I highly recommend it for the social dynamic.

And all these pillars bleed into one another, that is why you can’t pick and choose. If you get enough sleep and eat well, you’ll have more energy to work out, if you work out, sleep, and diet, you’ll be in a better mood to chat with your friends and if you chat with friends you’ll feel great. Spiritual is the glue that gives you breath and reason. So, all connected.


And there you have it, another article for the books. As we wrap up the month of May, I’ll be gearing up for June. This month is a great pause as we take a look at Mental Health. If you’re curious about my other articles, just type “Mental Health” into the search bar. If there are topics you want me to cover, let me know. And if you like my content, consider following, liking, and sharing among your friends. This year we’re already set to surpass 2019 in views and traffic to the website and it is my hope that we surpass 2018, which was my best year for the blog. Also, please consider donating through Ko-fi and subscribing to my Patreon. The Patreon comes with my own discord community server and various tiered rewards to make the subscription fun. At the moment, this is my only source of income, so please consider helping out! Even a dollar means a whole lot. Below is a link to my donation page:

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As always, thanks for reading and stay safe!

30 days to rule them all

So we’re stuck inside and even the strongest among us can’t self isolate forever. I’ve been in my house for almost 60 days. I went from going out every weekend to building a Utopian society in Animal Crossing. First 30 days were fine and were treated as a much needed vacation. The last 30 days? Not terrible. 90 days? God help us (But we’re not there, yet…). I have a stockpile of books and games, so it’ll take a long while to get through those. But those are only to keep me busy should I get bored.

So thus, begins my habit forming challenges. The other day I hit my 15th day streak on Playne, a meditation video game. I have an in-game fire that will go out if I miss a day. It is now my sole mission to keep that fire alive. The game itself is fun, I’ve learned a couple different techniques outside of what I learned when I did 9 months of “freestyle” meditation. I also now meditate within a range to help with motivation. If I’m feeling like I don’t have the time (during the middle of a Pandemic) I can do 5 minutes of quick breathing exercises. If I’m extremely stressed, I can do 30 minutes of writing words on paper (or in this case, actually typing in game!). All in all, I’m excited to hit day 30 and then beyond. I’m going to hold myself to at least a year of continuous meditation. Duolingo I’ll hit a two week streak as of today (which is now yesterday, because writing can take a while); I also just started coding through Codecademy. I’ve been coding off and on throughout my life, and I’ve always regretted not hunkering down to learn and fully understand it. I loved lego robotics when I was younger but my life since then has taken a very different path. As I gear up for a Masters in Analytics, I want that to change. I’ll need to know Python and SQL, so I figured now would be the perfect time to learn. 30 days to form the habit, then I’m curious to try the 100 days of code challenge going around. It took a while to find a site that worked for me, but I really enjoy the format of Codecademy from the couple days I’ve done of the free trial.

Full disclaimer, I rounded up; “21 days to rule them all” just doesn’t have as nice a ring to it and honestly, I like giving myself a buffer since I’ve been such a failure at forming habits in the past. So really, it’s just 21 days with 9 bonus days. Now that I’m close to the 21 day mark, I can speak a little more to observations I made at the beginning of the challenge. First couple days were tough. What I decided to do was phased habit iteration. I started with meditation as a base habit I wanted to form and then after a couple days I introduced Language learning, and now coding. In addition, I have tried to make a consistent habit of working out. In fact, let’s transition over to talking about my workout routine during the Pandemic.

There are typically two approaches to working out; structured or integrated. Structured workouts are typically a routine that involve high amounts of discipline and might involve running the same route every day and going to the gym to work out. This works great if you have extraordinary willpower. For everyone else, it is the reason you stop and start working out over and over again. Over the last couple years, I have gone with an integrated approach to working out. What this means is, exercise is integrated as part of your lifestyle and is not a separate activity. My first task was to make exercise fun. This is where most people stop. What I decided to do was to start bouldering; I got a discount through work and started making an effort to go every weekend. The second aspect was making it a goal to go outside once a week, once I started taking public transit, this became much easier (also shout out to Pokemon Go). And the third was to make sure I could work out at home but in a way that didn’t feel forced. So, I bought Ring Fit Adventure. Video Games have never disappointed and ring fit has been no different; it solved the motivation aspect of working out at home. Enough of a workout to break a sweat each time, after 15 days I can say I am more motivated to workout. It also has a resistance building mode I can do while watching TV, which is helping me find new ways to exercise casually. Eventually I can add on more to my workout routine but as long as I have a foundation to come back to, I should be good to go.


And that’s it! This Mental Health Awareness month I wanted to try a slightly different approach As I’ve already gone with the dark and gritty (but beautifully vulnerable). I have a couple more articles planned for the month but those need to go through the editing process (which goes a lot faster when I’m not trying to readjust my sleep schedule). So far the blog has been doing extremely well this year and I’m looking to make this the best year yet! Last year was slow but my goal for this year will be a post every two weeks. It’s what I’ve found to be manageable and I don’t want to get burnt out doing too much at once. As a reminder, if you like my content, please consider leaving a like, follow, and sharing the article among your friends! I also love responding to comments! So far, the response this year has been stellar and the blog is growing, which makes me very excited. If you want to support me as a creator, feel free to donate via Ko-fi or my Patreon. Every dollar helps, especially since I currently don’t have a 9 to 5 job right now!

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Also, feel free to reach out if you’re interested in doing a collaboration! Thanks again for reading and feel free to comment!