Tag Archives: growing up

| Self Medicating |

A 5 year old boy pushed his bicycle and kept thinking: “I’m going to fall. It’s going to hurt. I’m going to fall. I’m going to fall.” He was comfortable with the training wheels. Honestly, wasn’t it kinda early to move away from that? He was weeks away from his 6th birthday and just wanted things to stay as he knew them. This brand new year and no training wheels seemed like a lot to take on. Where was the fun in this? This just seemed like something scary. Something an 6 year old would be able to handle.


His mom and dad were right behind him. They gently put their hands on his back and encouraged him to make the step forward. They said things like: “don’t be afraid.” Or “It’ll be ok. Just give it a try.” More than anything, they didn’t want their son to fall and hurt himself, but they knew that the initial hardships were worth the effort. Once he could ride a bike, he’d have so much fun. They could picture the squeaks of laughter as he streaked up and down the sidewalk. Yet, they saw the fear in his eyes and wanted to fast forward through the painful beginnings for him.

Eventually, the boy got through the hard parts and his parents slyly removed their hands from his side and they all celebrated together, once he realized that he could ride the bike all by himself.

I recently read a book called: “How To Be Here” by Rob Bell. I have no idea who this guy is, but in general, he’s written a book about being fully in the present. His bigger picture concept is based on the fact that the past doest write the future. The future doesn’t happen all in one go. All the stops along the way are what make for great learning and great experiences. There’s no greater gift than the present (cue the old joke about it being called that for a reason… I’ll give you the side eye and a second).

Sometimes we don’t take the risk because of something that happened in the past. We tried something and it blew up in our face and so whenever there’s a new opportunity all we can think about is what happened back then.

If I’m to be real, I’m  in a space where this is totally true. I am also in a spot where I am definitely a little jealous of where some friends are in life. I am 33 years old. When my father was my age, he had a wife, a 6 year old me, and a 3 year old my sister. He was already pushing forward in the world. I have no wife, no kids, no house, nothing. I’m living with two housemates and I don’t have a car. I’m surrounded by friends who are all married and having kids. All I can think about is where I missed there boat. I want these things, but it seems far off.

There’s something though, about trying to self medicate/protect. I would say I live a pretty safe life. I use my intuition to keep me safe and not make take many mistakes. This has served me well until recently, where I am seeing that this muffler of the road life… It’s missing something… There’s flavor being missed. No growth is happening. Failure is a part of life, however it’s something that I’m running away from. What does it say about me, that I want a perfectly content life without challenge? It sounds like I want all the spoils and none of the adventures.

For the last few months, I was dating 3 women. No, not 3 women successively, 3 women simultaneously. No, I’m not exactly brushing my shoulder off (shout out to jigga). I really wanted to try this whole dating thing after some recent events. I was constantly questioning my motives with each young lady. I have zero experience with dating, in case you were wondering (I know, I am charming. You’re correct, but it was just never anything that I was super concerned with). Throughout this time, there was one girl who I really was excited about. Through the process of elimination ( I got eliminated by one, I eliminated the other), I found myself going on dates with just one woman. Yay! Cue the rom-com music and celebration!

The last woman standing is the one I was most excited about all along (big surprise, right)? The problem is that I’m currently sabotaging that situation. We’ve been on 7 dates. I have a mental block about her. Can’t read how these dates are going, haven’t even tried as much as holding her hand ( now what do you think about that silly shoulder brushing)?

I had a conversation with a friend last night. She was legitimately questioning my motives and desires. I walked away from that conversation with the conclusion that I am definitely getting in my way because I am not sure how things are going. It’s like I’m looking for signs or guarantees that something could happen. Classic middle road actions. The problem with that is simple. While I’m fumbling around and waiting for an in, some self-assured hottie with a fresh ( Man bun? Undercut? Insert trendy hairstyle here) is going to take a risk and win her over, right in front of me.

Instead of making a move, I’m already pushing her away and steeling  myself for rejection. The problem is that it doesn’t have to end that way, if I get over myself. I swear, I’ve been in this spot before and the outcome was exactly that. It’s hard to learn things, isn’t it Justin?

Why speak on this, you ask? Well, technically, It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to… Wait. That’s not right. I like to think that if I write something down, I’ll kinda carry it out correctly. I realize that I have to stop protecting myself. I’m depriving myself of the gifts of life. Mistakes/suffering/pain are around to let you know you’re alive. You learn from these things.

I’m definitely  couple of lessons short of real living. It’s worth a try, I think.

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| Worst Behavior! |

I am an idea man.

There. I said it.

Some dudes aspire to be movers and shakers. Some dudes aspire to be point men, and they want to have a hand in all of the endeavors that they can manage. Me? I like to think. I like to think, and I like fleshing out ideas. However, I tend to think that ideas are not the sexiest thing in the world (cause I’m an expert on sexy, obviously). If you really think about it though, ideas are what keep things going! Just think, if no one ever thought about being luxuriously comfy/warm all the time, we’d never have such classics as the snuggy! Who wants to think of a world without a snuggy? Is this a fair question to be asked from someone who has never worn a snuggy?

Hi. I’m tired. Whoops, what a way to introduce myself. Actually, my name is Justin *takes bow*. I’m silly, I’m dorky, (sometimes funny) but, I am also an INFP. (What did you just call me?!) There are lots of convoluted definitions as to what this really means, so I’m just going to go with the breakdown as I understand it:

Introvert – This means that I can get away with not wanting to deal with small talk, big group settings, and helps to illustrate my occasional social awkwardness to people. I get my energy from being alone, and I operate well within the confines of one-on-one hanging out. However, this also means that I’m really good with speaking in front of people, because I can disconnect myself from an audience (this can come in handy sometimes).

iNtuitive – This means that I can judge stuff, because that’s how I gain information from it. I also base my actions/ideas on past dealings and experiences. This can keep me safe, it can also keep me unnecessarily guarded in things.

Feeling – I’m just a big sap. There’s no shame to that (right)? I’m a lover, not a fighter, and supposedly, I’m good at picking up what you’re putting down (If you feel me 😉 ).

Perceiving – I’m supposed to be really observant about things (usually, I’m just blankly staring into space, but i’ll take it). It also means that if you invite me to something, you might want to tell me to get there 15-20 minutes before you really want to start. This is the best way to get me to be on time for things. I am not a jerk, I just feel like I have ALL THE TIME for EVERYTHING, EVER (it’s a wonder I’m not more tired than I am).

I often find myself setting rather lofty (or maybe not so lofty) goals in life. At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I would take one photo a day, for the entirety of a year. I also told myself that I would be getting to the gym at least 3 times a week. Now, based on the proximity to New Year’s day, I could understand if you just wrote these things off simply as resolutions for the coming year. However, as the dork that I am, I considered these to be full-time life changes. The fact that I did not make it past 2 months on the gym thing, and 111 days on the photo project should not reinforce your aforementioned judgement on my short term life changes (thank you very much, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Mc Judgerson!). This type of thing is normal for me, really. I get all big and excited about something, and then get distracted by another big, shiny idea in short order.

Now then, onto the reasons that I love the fall. DAMMIT Justin, STAY FOCUSED.

drakeAs I sat and pondered things up to this point, I remembered that there was one thing that I set out to do this year that I was able to follow through on! Thanks to Drake, I had a mantra set for myself for 2014: WORST BEHAVIOR! This was going to be the year that I spent some time really trying to get away from doing things the way that I usually did, up to this point. It was supposed to inspire me to get out in the world and start really just jumping on opportunities and taking chances in ways that I was not used to. I wanted to shake things up, why not? What was holding me back from any of that? The interesting thing is that without even knowing, I was able to do just that (oh, such the cliché).

As corny as this might seem. I totally got started on the road of the idea of Worst Behavior, thanks to an experience that I had around a young lady that I fancied right at the end of the 2013. I said nothing to her about any interest in her, and she up and got a boyfriend (NOT me, of course)! Which was awesome for her, but made me realize that I needed to start making some opportunities for myself, and acting on them. Life throws out some great situations for us, but if we’re too busy chasing after the wrong thing, or hesitating on everything, stuff really just passes you by. I didn’t want to be on the fly-by list anymore.

Right from the beginning of the year, my idea was that I should start saying yes to a lot of things, and stop saying no to a lot of things. I remember that I was meeting up with my accountability group (yup, this post is about to get REAL Christian, Ya’ll!) and they were asking me about when I’d stop saying no to church, and try going to a small group or something. It was high time that I was getting involved again with things. I started pondering what that looked like. Up to that point, I had not regularly been attending church for at least a good year, and the church that i’d left, did not feel like a place that I was totally comfortable with. The people that were there were good folk, and a lot of them were awesome, but I just never really fit in completely (first world church problems). I went a couple of times and thought that it might be time to check out a new place.

I landed at a church called Re:generation. I had been there a couple of times, and remembered that some people that I had known (in what feels now like a past life), had attended. I thought that I would give it a good college try. I checked things out around early April, and decided to stick with things after Easter. Of course, I wasn’t just throwing myself out there yet, but I did end up meeting some cool people, and decided to jump into a home group, to check things out. Of course, I was shy, and didn’t know what to expect, but I found a group of people who were excited about life, and about pursuing Jesus together. I got hooked up with Late Night (Shout Out the the Late Night Crew!).

Also, a college friend, Erin found me after church one time, and mentioned that I should play cajon at church (Just in case you’re interested, a cajon is a wood box that is kinda like an acoustic drum). I found out that there was a monthly Jam Session at church, and decided to jump in one week and see what things were like. This turned into me having a quick convo with a gal by the name of Jane, who just happened to be the worship leader. She thought that it would be a good call for me to start playing with the worship team on some Sundays. Again, this being a “yes year”, I told her that I would jump in. It was pretty awkward at first, but after a couple of Sundays, I felt like I was able to play in front of the congregation with some confidence. It was awesome, as it opened up conversations with people at church that I don’t think I would’ve had if left to my own devices.

One of the most interesting things that I found was that I could be real with people at home group. This was completely different than I had been accustomed to in the past few years. People were struggling with real stuff and they were willing to open up about it and challenge each other on things. This was quite refreshing, and led me to want to invest more deeply with the people in the home group. My roommate Wayne has even began to see people regularly at my house as I decided to open my place up to hosting the home group. It’s kinda awesome, cause it makes me feel like an important part of the group, but also gave me access to having some conversations with people that I would not have had before… Including this really amazing woman that I met through the church… However, that’s a different and awesome story, in itself.

I randomly sat down earlier this evening and thought about how I hadn’t followed through with a bunch of things that I wanted to do this year (I am working hard to still hit my goal of getting 30 books read by the end of the year), and realized that I actually came really far with the simple idea of changing things up, and being open to new possibilities that were showing themselves around me. WORST BEHAVIOR for me, meant me getting out of my head a bit, and out of my comfort zone even more. The year isn’t even quite done, and I have a lot of exciting things on the way… It’s good to be able to recognize that, and I’m grateful for what 2014 has had for me.

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| too much |

A few weeks ago, I decided to venture out of my comfort shell and take a step towards becoming a true adult.

Some of my friends are purchasing houses, getting married, or having children. These are valid indicators of the transition into different stages of life. Usually an indication of growing up.

I have reached one of these milestones (no, I’m not having a child). I procured one of these delightful beauties.

Yessir, I have become a card carrying member of the Costco club of warehouse supermarkets. I never thought that I would reach this place in life. To me, it was a place reserved for the most mature and adult of our species. People who wield this card have the power to save! Save in ways that should be illegal in the contiguous 48 states of America. Where else am I legally allowed to purchase 5 gallons of mayo for $7.98? (there’s no better way to guzzle down a cheese sandwich, you know.) A responsible adult can get enough food to feed a small neighborhood for the most meager of wages.

Of course, there is the $5 question: “why would you even think that a costco membership is anywhere near the same level as getting married?!”

I guess it’s not that big of a deal, but I mean, that place is freakin’ ridiculous.

It doesn’t look so imposing from the outside. Just a quaint mega mall of  coma inducing capitalistic wonderland. Inside this place is a jungle of all  sorts of fanciful wares and delights. Seriously, this is one of the only places  that I can think of, where you need to be a brilliant strategist, an economics  whiz, and a cut-throat fighter at the same time. It takes a grueling discipline  to even entertain the thought of a costco run. You have to go into that place  with a full game plan. You should probably retrieve the schematics of the  specific store that you’re planning to frequent, and map out strategic points  of interest, along with various spots where you can rest incognito style. All  of this is just to hit up the various (and daunting) sample carts.

You just have to respect a place where you can purchase a brand new car, the insurance for said car, the gas for said car, and the groceries to fill that car, all in one money depleting outing. I can’t think of one thing that you can’t purchase at Costco, which I have to admit is a huge selling point for a place like that. If you want to get everything pretty much crossed off your shopping list, this would be the place to live the dream. You can get food, prepared or refrigerated, you can pick up the cleaning supplies for the house, grab some new pants for Billy’s school time, pick up some nice electronic television (to keep yourself busy while Billy is doing the school thing.)

I seriously get scared when I even approach a place like this. As soon as I hit the door, I’m already being barraged by 20 questions of investigation. (Umm, sir? are you a member of Costco? Can I see your membership card?). It’s almost as if they don’t want me to come into the store and spend some money with them. Definitely a little bit overwhelming to see big screen televisions on one aisle, and top of the line computer set ups across the aisleway. That place is seriously much too overwhelming. When I go, I feel like I’ve climbed up a beanstalk. Everything is so large and spread out. I was considering getting  segway the other day, just to travel from one place to the other within the store. I quickly abandoned that idea, as soon as I realized that there was no real reason for me to pour any more money into this place than I had to. I’m still relatively new to this whole experience. I went to a Costco store, and I ended up only using the membership card to help my friends Henry and Christie with some purchases that they needed to have tended to. I walked in, sized up my opponent, and decided that I wanted to escape alive and unscathed.

As of this writing, I have not made a real purchase from Costco, but I have managed to refer some friends to that place, to be able to witness the spectacular effect that this type of bulk shopping can have on someone. I don’t feel like I can even handle all of the awesome that is put together in one place. I need to join some kind of support group to help me with getting to know exactly how to use Costco as a power move for life. If I get familiar with the way that things are laid out/requested of me, I think I could actually do some damage to the schedule, and to the registers.

The way that I’m going to attack this, is to just get the basics down, over a few weeks. One week, I’ll kinda study the philosophy of going earlier, and/or during the weekdays, instead of the weekend.

I hear it can be quite crazy. A little too much!

I’m out…

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| the impossible happens… |


We interrupt your normal blog reading with the following news that is just breaking: Justin is now an adult!!! Repeat: Justin is now an adult! Fear and terror are  springing up all around him. Upon realizing this, he has reverted to a childlike mentality, and has locked himself in his room; listening to many songs from the 80’s.

Back to your regular reading…

When the hell did this happen?! Was the sandman secretly stealing years from me as I lay defenseless before his power? (how dare you sandman! I shake my fist at you!) I thought my Peter Pan syndrome would keep me young forever. Thanks for a head full of lies and broken dreams Disney. I’m not a fan of having to do things like a real life grown person.
When did I sign up for this? Responsibility and I have some work to do on our newly minted relationship.
So vivid are the memories of my first school dance, my first phone call to a girl, and the subsequent feeling of the awkwardness of that particular conversation. The small dramas of my youth come back to me with the fondness of a nostalgic haze. Everything was so much simpler then, so much more beautiful.

I feel like I started college yesterday. I met melody yesterday! Yesterday, literally, I realized that my best friend had gained that position over 8 years ago! Not only have I a horrible sense of time, but I’m OLD!

This past weekend, I turned 27. This is still young to many people, as 30 is the new 20. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’m spinning further and further out of control in a spiral of maturity and life altering decisions. Some of the questions of my youth (post-college) are starting to materialize. I have a nice job that I don’t hate. I am living in a place that I love (Oakland), I’m close to a large city that I’ve always wanted to be near to (San Francisco). I’m finally at a place where I’m setting myself up for the rest of my life. This life which is coming at me way too fast for my liking, but that I shall dominate like I do with everything else I come across…

I recently engaged in conversation with my friend Tara, and heard her talk about how she trudged through the last year (kickin’ and screamin’) to come to the realization that it was all necessary to set up this year and where she was going now. She has a great job, and is set to start being self sufficient. My parents disowned me financially when I was 19. I did realize that I was stuck at my college job for a while. Tara helped me to se that I was stuck in my development time… I made some moves and now I’m positioning myself in a place where I can truly network and learn some things that will help me take my life to the next level.

I have a head full of different kinds of dreams now. I’m looking to establish myself as a hard worker, someone who will be an asset to any company that will give me the time of day. I’m also looking to make sure that I don’t lose my youthful exuberance in the face of growing older and learning why the older people that I knew were always just a little bit jaded.

I’ve begun to grow up, but I don’t remember giving myself permission to start this journey. Sometimes I guess these things just happen. There’s no way that I can stop natural progression, but because I’m a rebel, I have to do my best to slow things down a bit…

I’m out…

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