A look back at the last Decade

The planning phases are nearly done for my blog. I have posts planned and ideas for branching my writing outside of WordPress. It took a Pandemic, but I’m slowly getting there. As the world ends, I’ve had time to reflect on my current predicament and take stock, something I recommend everyone do periodically throughout their lives. As we delve into the new decade, I wanted to take a look back at how far I’ve come and what’s next.

10 years ago today

Twenty-Ten. My God. A lifetime ago. I was a Sophomore in High School and a scrawny cross country runner. I went to class, played video games, and ran; that was my life. Fall was cross country and come Spring, track and field. Socially awkward, I tried to impress everyone, and really only had a few close friends. I had a High School crush, someone I had known since the first grade, and life was relatively well. It was the year after my Freshman year and if my faded memory serves, I was happy. I’d go as far as saying it was the peak of my High School years. Then came Twenty-Eleven, my Junior year. This was the year it all began to fall apart. I brushed off my childhood crush and a week before homecoming found out she was dating another runner. Had I had the courage then, I wonder how things might have turned out differently. My whole love life in High School was a complete mess to be honest and what could’ve been never ended up being. My 4.0 GPA began to waver and I simply stopped caring whether I succeeded or failed. This was the year I applied for a couple colleges and chose Oregon State for my studies; it was also the year I tried to get my family to go to counseling. Looking back now, it’s clear that I was depressed, so as you can imagine, I was not in the best shape going into my Senior year.

Twenty-Twelve. Twenty-Twelve in all reality, was my ticket year. I had one singular goal; to graduate and prep for College. I grew out my hair to the point it covered my eyes and stumbled my way into College. Years of Alcohol abuse by my Father had left it’s mark and I had the foresight then to know I had to remove myself from the environment I was born into. My great escape, if you will.

Twenty-Twelve

This was my transition year. My Father, in all likelihood, was too drunk to notice I was even in college. Regardless, looking back, this was a fantastic year for me. I had successfully done it; I had removed myself from my haunting household. This was a year filled with chaos but I have always had the drive to be better and I used that as my compass. From pre-engineering to undeclared to pre-business, I had successfully transitioned to where I needed to be. The College of Business saved my life and while in the end I was ultimately pulled back to Hell with chains only Hellfire can break, I am still eternally grateful for Oregon State and the opportunities it provided me. I would say I could never repay the debt, but I’ve currently been paying that down over the last year and it’s now a much more manageable amount than it was. While I’ve told this story before, I think my experience throughout college is worth sharing. The more I tell it, the more I can see my growth and finds ways to improve even further. My Freshman year ended with a choice; continue College or drop out. If I continued, I would essentially be on my own, with sporadic funds from my parents. Dropping out would’ve been easy and I knew I would essentially be signing a death sentence for myself, so I chose to stay.

Twenty-Seventeen

… Five years later. Haha, you didn’t think I’d go over the entirety of my college career, again? Did you? If you’re curious, check out my Journey’s End series where I reflected upon my Journey through College as a final project for my Leadership class. The Twenty-Sixteen, Twenty-Seventeen school year was hands down the best year of my life. Everything that had been set in motion had come to pass and I not only realized that my dreams were achievable, but that I had actually accomplished them. Every goal I had set for myself, I had accomplished and I had become the man I had always wanted to be. Come June, when I walked, I hugged our Dean before throwing my cap up and grabbing life by the horns. But I had made a mistake and hindsight is always 20-20… For now, I could revel in my success and know, that despite every challenge I had faced, I had rose above and made it. Not simply tell myself I had made it, but actually made it.

Present Day

Ok, so not quite present day. In a nutshell, I graduated into a strong economy, and found work relatively quick. I’ve been with the same company, in the same role for the last 2 years now. On paper, I look great. And to be honest, I still believe I am in a good spot. I am ready for my next big adventure and I finally know how I want to get there. I want to go abroad to study Business Analytics or at the very least, go to Portland State University. After a Masters in Analytics, I want to further my studies with a PHD in Sustainability. And I am gearing up for logistics driven, supply chain management roles. Shame it took a Pandemic and weeks left to my own thoughts to realize this. But ultimately, I think this is where I will be happiest. I won’t know until I get there, but it’s the best picture I have had since graduation. And that was my Grand Mistake. I spent so much time doing what I thought I should do to be better, by the time I graduated I had no idea what I actually wanted. Necessary? Perhaps. But a part of me will always wonder.

In the Meantime….

I am applying my logistical and analytical mindset to this blog. Call it the missing link if you will, but I’m excited. I have time to write and I’m going to use it. The Pandemic has actually given me the courage to speak up when typically I have kept my head down and simply done my job. LinkedIn is becoming home to business related articles written from the heart (I’ve written one article, but the ideas are there!). No new poetry for a bit as I compile all the poems I’ve written into a book and publish hopefully during World Poetry month! And I’ve reformatted how I ask for donations based on feedback as I want to make it as easy as possible to support me as well as fun. I am cutting into my emergency fund right now, so any help is much appreciated. As always, comment below; I love hearing from everyone!


Payments!

This is still in its experimental phase! I am happy with what I have set up but if you have suggestions, please, please, please, tell me! How it’ll work is below is one link. Click on the link and you’ll be directed to my Payment page. Three options: Patreon, which is set up monthly, Ko-fi as a one time payment of increments of $3 so you can pay per post or whenever, and a simple payment button that’ll send the funds directly to my Paypal. In addition to the donation page being cleaned up, I will also be making it a point that if you like my content, please, please, please, share with your friends! I love having a community and my philosophy has typically been, “build it and they shall come”. Since I’ve finished up my planning phases for content flow and structure, I realized this is silly. Yes, great content is important, but sharing is part of human nature! So remember, give this blog a shout out anytime you think a friend might enjoy an article, it truly does help! And without further ado, below is the link to support this blog!

Support this blog!

Also, let me know what you think of the new format!

The Passion Dilemma

A title written, never finished. Perhaps, now, a fitting time to add words to a page and bring an article to life. As part of my ongoing project, I’m taking old posts never published and breathing new life into them.

This article was started October 24th, 2017 and the last timestamp shows 10:49pm And given the title, it’s fitting. A question without an answer and in fact, the question that produces more and more questions than it ever has answers.

A little while back I wrote “The Happiness Equation” as an update post to simply put thoughts to paper and try to make sense of my ever changing world. A reflection piece and one that I’ve since reflected upon.

As I translate my jumbled thoughts, a clear picture begins to emerge and while it’s still incomplete, it’s better than what I had before.

In a matter of speaking, I hit the emergency brake while I was still driving.

I let the stepping stones sink into the shallows of the river for one last glimpse of childhood and I’m glad. I’m not ready to drop my flame just yet, the real question is figuring out how brightly it burns and where.

Career wise, I’m in a good spot. I’ve moved laterally within my organization and my role is keeping my life fresh. I’m slowly learning to relax and take a breath.

My career goals have become increasingly a checklist. Every time I talk, it sounds like I’m trying to tick my box. Good or bad? Hard to say but I need to chill. My lifelong problem has been I always try to skip a few steps. I see point A and point B but tend to miss everything in between. So now it’s time to deconstruct and analyze. No more talk about College and where I was, the conversation must turn to where I am.

So, where am I? My passion is I enjoy helping others. I love the process of learning and sharing to those who might find what I have to say interesting. Outside of that, I can’t really say who I am. Writing as a hobby? Great. Photography? Enjoyable when I get out and take photos. I learn skills only to see no end, the constant acquisition of progress for the sake of progress. I stay relevant for the sake of being relevant and that is concerning. I said my career was a checklist when in reality it applies to my life as a whole.

I keep building and then breaking, to what end? Instead of thriving, I am simply struggling to survive. I can’t find my “why” even if it hit me across the face. Perhaps I’ve reached a point of insanity, trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results yet I keep trying.

I change the angle and still see the same road. I will be the first to admit I am broken and where once I repaired, now I begin to fracture. And that’s the beauty of life, riding the highest highs and lowest lows. The fact that my heart feels ready to burst at any moment and spread its warmth like confetti all over my cubicle is a good thing. It means I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone. Too fast? Too soon? Too Much? Ain’t that always the case.

My anxiety has ensnared me and I wonder as the chains break, that they weren’t holding the foundation underneath. I’ve been short of breath and my body wants to freeze, however, I’m not going to let it. My list is ever growing shorter and the page is about to flip unto a new chapter. As I learned in cross country: strength, confidence, and desire. I haven’t come this far only to fail now.

I am learning to trust once more and opening my heart (queue the eye rolls). No more paranoia and no more fear. I breathe and feel my heart beat, and if I’m alive, I can move forward. One step, one foot, slowly (if only, I’m running at this point), and with a map in hand. I now know where I’m headed and where I need to go.


Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my content. It’s been ages since I’ve finished an article and am glad I can hit the “schedule post” button for this one. A fun little ramble as I go through my life and try not to vibe “hot mess”. Next month I’ll try to have one article published regarding mental health and the topic I’ve picked is anxiety. When will that be? God only knows. Outside of that, expect more poems and short stories sprinkled throughout the year as I reach the next chapter in my life and after I’ve had some time to swallow a few more chill pills.

cheers!

– Mike

Was it worth it: A reflection piece.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a reflection piece. I’m happy with my update post (I based the design off of developer patch notes) but it’s not enough. I’ve worked hard to free myself from my shackles and be a better person and for the most part I have. Yet I am still living dual lives. I thought over time the “Old Mike” and the “New Mike” would merge yet that hasn’t been the case. It turns out however far I run, life always seems to have different plans.

I find success only to have it ripped away from me over and over again. My world has and I suppose will always be in a state of chaos. It’s by no lack of effort on my part but rather always a series of unfortunate events. The straw that broke the camels back was when I had a contract with my dream company. Most of my life has built towards this moment, reaching the finish line. I saw the good in the business world and truly believed that I had finally made it, only to be cut down by the political nature of Corporate America. And I am at a loss. I pick myself up and have nowhere to go.

And here I am, split between being honest and being correct. My world has been a firm handshake, a quick smile, and language so polished that it’ll make your ears bleed. And I’m tired of it. With over 300 contacts on LinkedIn, it might be time to hang up the towel. What I’ve built has become ash and I feel nothing. The money is nice but at the end of the day, it’s an obsession not worth having. I am tired of being used as a tool, or worse, a weapon. I learned as much as I could so that I could help others yet that same intelligence has only ever brought misery. The more I learn, the more I wish I didn’t know. Americans bathe in ignorance and it’s tough to see.

During my search, someone I trusted introduced me to Amway disguised under the pretense of “Alticor”. I went through the process and saw how some choose to make their money. An honest answer is it made me feel dirty, so I walked away. Is this the right answer, I can’t really say. The business model is sound and works for those with enough motivation, yet the reverse pyramid is still a pyramid. And at the end of the day, I must follow my heart. Corny, yes, but the truth nonetheless.

I don’t know who to trust anymore and it’s a damn shame. I love my friends and I love myself and for me that’s enough. It’s when I’ve put my faith in my professional network is when I’ve been hurt. Interesting to say the least.

This said, I am done hiding. It’s time to find just what all I am capable of. I am finally doing what I want and while I sacrifice the security of Corporate America, I don’t want to die in a cubicle. I thought I could waltz into an organization and change the world, yet I realize that change starts at the grassroots. My whole goal with writing and now photography has been to give myself a voice. It’s liberating to talk and have others listen. Now that I have, I want to focus on what I care about and not worry so much about reputation. So, cheers. Let’s build something together, it’s time I finally got my priorities straight.


A late night musing and I have to say, it felt great. I’ve been feeling anxious since graduation trying to find my place in the world but I came to realize that it has always been the route of the entrepreneur. What that will look, God only knows but in my never-ending pursuit of happiness, this is worth pursuing. Thanks for all your support throughout the years, it has meant the world to me. As I continue to grow, may you grow along with me and if I can inspire just one person from the work I do, then I’ll have done my job.

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Finding my zen

So, I’ve been fumbling around for the past month figuring out what my next post is going to be. I’ve started numerous drafts and while a lot of them are great ideas, they’re not quite ready. I want to be creative with my blog and try new topics, but I’m not willing to sacrifice quality simply to try a new idea. So this post? This will be more a reflection and a beautiful arrangement of word vomit with a focus on taking it slow and enjoying life.


I’ve been back in the US for about 3 months now and I have to say, I definitely miss being in Germany. In Germany I could sit back, relax, and make my own schedule. Germany  I could be myself and figure out specifically who that person was (and where I wanted to take that person). I was happy. Fast forward to now and as I’ve done many times throughout my college career, I’ve pivoted.

Last year was the year I learned professionalism and my satisfaction was focused on the praise I received, of putting in the hours to simply make myself a better person and seeing the payoff. I was in a sense, a robot. Give me a command and I would do the output. The irony doesn’t escape me, as the processes I worked so hard to improve were that of emotional intelligence and communication. I internalized every concept I read and tried my best to practice each piece of advice given. Years prior, I simply let emotions such as anger, fear, sorrow, and shame control my every day. Or in short, every emotion other than happiness. It’s easier to hate than love, easier to seek revenge than forgiveness. So the man you see today is not the man you saw 5 years ago because very few people actually know that man. Everyone has their own story yet at the end of the day we still are the choices we make. I played the victim card for years, focusing on what I couldn’t control rather than what I could. It was always someone else’s fault and however justifiable, it wasn’t healthy. I hated the man I saw in the mirror and it was easier to look away than to talk to him. And then a strange thing happened. One day I started talking to that man. And slowly but surely, I got to know him better. And now? I can smile at that man and have him smile back. It’s a great feeling to say the least.

Where am I now?

I’m taking a step back. It’s been pure chaos since I’ve gotten back and while I can manage, it’s definitely taken it’s toll. All the healthy living techniques in the world couldn’t save me. I came back from Germany and tried to be Atlas. I thought I could tackle the world head on, with my new found sense of purpose and I couldn’t. I crumpled under the weight of my own ambition. So now I meditate, I cook, I run, read, and do everything that I enjoy. I’m not so focused on finding a job as I once was and am simply content with being me. It’s great and while some might call it giving up (topic for another day), I call it a weight being lifted (a shrug if you will). Because at the end of the day, the person who will care about you the most is you, so shouldn’t you enjoy every moment?


So there you have it, a little taste of my life. If you have any stories you want to share, feel free to post in the comments below. Like what you read? Share with your friends! Hope you enjoyed!