Life Stories

The problem with writing a life story is that it’s difficult to avoid telling someone else’s story and frankly, the life story should be about one person – with a few supporting characters and perhaps an adversary – but not much more than that. I’m considering how to tell my life story in an ongoing video format without making it boring or bringing others into it. I want to do this for my daughter, for any children she may someday have, and maybe even for later descendants if humanity lasts that long – or if we destroy ourselves, which seems very likely, perhaps my story will be interesting to ETs that find it someday or to highly evolved cats that eventually become the intelligent life-form on this planet. I don’t want to tell my story because it is important or even interesting – but simply to tell it. It seems a shame that it should disappear with me. The truth is that no one except me knows my story – and I suspect that is true of every human being on the planet. We have the technology to share our lives and perhaps to discover some sort of meaning in them – perhaps it is something we should do. As I mentioned at the outset, the problem is leaving other people out of it. There is no reason to specifically identify romantic partners, enemies, friends, relatives, or co-workers. It is not fair to do so, in my opinion. Every life has something to teach – I am not sure yet what the lessons of mine will be. And of course, what will probably happen is that at some point, after all the work is done and the story is completed, it will be lost – just as the spark of life itself is lost. That is the other thing I must consider because it would be a shame to spend significant time of my actual life sharing my past and thus losing my present for it and then having it lost in the future which ends up being a sad sad thing, if you take my meaning.

Do what you need to do instead of what you ‘should’ do

With interest, I’ve watched the reactions of different people as I propose a series of plans that are not what I ‘should’ do. Everyone has a should of their own and they feel free to impose it on my worldview. For the most part, people have the same reactions they had when I decided to move to Hawai’i or when I decided to walk around the perimeter of Oahu or make my way by foot and thumb across Canada or move to Alaska or travel the world or start a blog or any of another gazillion ‘impossible’ things I have done. The reactions tend to be one of the following:

1) That’s Awesome. You should…(shares something they want to do or think would be of benefit). These are the people I care most about. They trust me. They know me. They encourage me.

2) Hmmm…I don’t see how you will you (fill in the blank – get the money, make this work, do this at all, etc) You should…(and they tell me that I should do something which they are doing or were told they should do). These are very often people who I think care about me, but they don’t understand me, they don’t ‘get’ me, and they never will.

3) And then there are the others – they are the haters who simply try to smash your ideas or dreams and discourage you. These people might pretend to be your friends or loved ones, but they only love themselves. At best these people are selfish pricks, at worst they are life saboteurs. People who are unhappy with their own lives and will stop at nothing to make sure that everyone else remains as unhappy as they do. Do yourself a favor, just take them out of your life.

4) One last group bears mentioning…the group who use your idea to springboard into talking about themselves. Just turn and walk away, they aren’t worth talking to or bothering with – they will not even notice you are gone (once they find another person – any person – to tell about themselves). These are the people who plant big uncomfortable kisses on you despite the fact you have told them you don’t like to be kissed. The guilt trippers who will do anything to show you how wonderful they are except shut up and leave you alone. These are the energy vampires. If you can’t stick a stake through their hearts, just do your best to avoid them.

Type 1 can be present at any stage.
Type 2 tend to be around during the naysaying – they are the type who offer help when they don’t think you need it but are often absent when you actually do because suddenly life prevents them from doing what they say…this type will offer you all the help in the world but when you actually ask them for work/results/action – they just can’t do it. I first became of this type when I published my first magazine – I had tons of backers and help offered for as long as I did all the work and paid for everything – when I needed help, everyone was busy – and six months later my magazine failed and I had a nervous breakdown. It’s best to just accept that the promises of this type are hot air and if they come through – sweet Jesus, it’s a fucking miracle.
Type 3 Haters just gotta hate, but they want you to think they do it because they care (about someone besides themselves)
Type 4 Energy suckers are worse than haters. If you can’t stick a stake through their hearts, just do your best to avoid them.

So, all of that to say – don’t do what they think you should unless it is what you think you should do and you believe it is what you truly need to do.

Life, Death, and Student Loans

The title of this post sounds good in the order I put it, but I’m going to reverse that order as I write this. Since I graduated in 2008, my student loans have been a huge burden. Despite having paid off $10k, I’ve had to defer the loans and they have grown from around $35k to close to $50k. Since coming to the USA in 2013 the burdens of rent, auto insurance, auto repairs, health insurance, groceries, utilities, and every other bill that you are forced to pay when you try to have a life here have forced me to defer my loans again and again. I’ve built a couple of profitable businesses in this little town that have enabled us to live here – and my hope was that I would be able to sell them and pay off my loans – but the sad truth seems to be that people who live here don’t have the money or the ability to buy or more importantly to take over these businesses – it’s not that they are unable to do the work, it’s that they are (by and large) on social security or disability or retirement pensions that will penalize them if they earn money. It’s one of the reasons it is so hard to find good help here – people don’t want to screw up their current entitlements. So, as much as I hate to say it – it looks like my student loans will continue to grow and I will continue to defer them – indefinitely unless something changes.

And that brings me to death. I’m not sure, but I think debt remains even after you die. If I were to die, my family would inherit my debt – which is complete bullshit. I have a life insurance policy that would cover everything – but I certainly hope that in the event of my death they will take the money and give the middle finger to the debt collectors – it is not their debt and if I die, the debt dies with me – at least that’s how I think it should be. The debt owners should have a life insurance policy on me if they want to collect when and if I die. But, I don’t intend to die anytime soon. However, living in this town of retirement and disability and working as I do with liquidating the estates of the dead or soon to be dead – I am more acutely aware of my own mortality than I’ve ever been – and I’ve always been acutely aware of it. All of this American bullshit we worry about doesn’t matter – the chase after money, the chase after paying bills, the insurance, the stockmarket, the tech gadgets, blah blah blah. We are going to die someday and that is all there is to it. That awareness is what has led me to live the life that I’ve led – we have today but yesterday is gone and tomorrow never has a guarantee. We must live.

And that brings me to life. I want to enjoy the life I live and I want to give my daughter every opportunity to enjoy the life she lives. I want my wife to enjoy the life she lives. These past four years, we have been working towards several goals 1) American citizenship for my wife (which we have achieved) 2) Paying off my student loans (which I discussed above but am ready to give up on) and 3) Building careers and business which will support us and allow us to live the rest of our lives the way we want to live – this is a tricky one because my wife’s family still lives in North Africa – so the life we want needs to include a way to see them at least periodically. The life we want to live must also include warm ocean and sunny beaches – which is something the Oregon Coast simply does not offer. There are people in the USA who I love and care about, but if I do not see them for years at a time, I can deal with that. The same is not true for my wife and her family in Europe and North Africa – this has been a huge burden for her. And that brings me to it – we are ready to live. Because we are ready to live, we are ready to move along to a very different life in a very different place. We are putting it all together now as Sophia finishes kindergarten and Hanane finishes up teaching for the school year. Stay tuned for much much more…