Speak up ! It’s not you it’s me….

I have Tinnitus. I’ve had it now for probably a decade to varying degrees but this spring it has been worse. It’s always bad when pollen counts rise, I don’t know why it just is. What is Tinnitus? Here is a site with all the info you could want on it.

The quick version? It is a constant ringing in the ears due to damage done to the auditory nerve which connects the inner ear to the brain. Obviously you get this from loud noise. In my teens and 20’s, back in the hazy days of the late 80’s early 90’s I went to a lot of concerts, parties my ass off, had a blast and did IRREPARABLE DAMAGE TO MY EAR.

I’m begging you to stop now. “Stop what dude?” Stop damaging your ears. Ear buds, car stereos, concerts (once covid clears). I am the future for you and let me tell you something it’s horrible when it’s bad. Now it’s not bad everyday but the days it is? I can’t think clearly, I can’t hear everything, it is depressing. Knowing your damaged sucks, knowing you can’t repair the damage is depressing, knowing you caused the damage is heart breaking, knowing you could have prevented it is soul crushing.

At times, it’s like having needles put in your ears

I know this is a “heavier” post then I usually make but I would not wish this fate on you. Is it survivable? Yes of course I am functioning well, but for the rest of my life I will have ringing in my ears and somedays it will be intense. I don’t want that for you, I don’t want you to damage yourself beyond repair and have to live with that nasty reality.

Turn the volume down, when you’re 50 (and you will be someday) you’ll reflect back on your younger life, hell you’re probably already doing that to a degree. When you do, ideally it won’t be with a ringing in your ears wondering what the hell you did and why. To end the post, I want to be clear this isn’t posted for pity, its posted as a cautionary tale, turn the volume down or you may damage your hearing and get Tinnitus.

I’d love to hear your responses but today isn’t a good day, you’ll have to speak up….

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Gandalf

The Wisdom of Tolkien … Again

Yes, it’s that time again! If you frequent this blog you know I drop quotes from Tolkien often. He is IMHO the master of fantasy prose with deep roots into mythology and the psychology of the human spirit. As a veteran of WWI to say his perspective on life was unique would be an understatement. We look at our world today and commiserate about how hard things are, divisive, negative. Imagine a moment living when Tolkien did….

Your late teens early 20’s you fight in a horrific world war; you then have a pandemic (the Spanish flu). Things are quiet for a while, the 20’s then you get to experience the Great depression, oh and to cap it off ANOTHER world war, twice as deadly as the first. Our lives are a cake walk in comparison in my view… So the wisdom?

“Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them. Good”
― 
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien is telling you here that wherever you are, whatever path you are on its been preselected for you. This is his subtle tip of the hat to fate and how as humans many of us fight it (“though you do not see them.) in vein. Our religious friends call this a “Divine Plan” pagans like me, its fate. Tolkien survived perhaps the most calamitous period of human history (as illustrated above). When you go through events like that, I suppose at some point you have to give yourself over to fate. Horrors like that, no one would actively seek.

You are doing awesome dear reader, one day at a time.

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Anxiety and Relationships – The good, the bad & the ugly

Had an opportunity to reflect recently on some of my past relationships, but before I get started an old joke from and old man (humor me please). “Some relationships are like algebra, ever look at your X and wonder Y?” Now that you pulled yourself together from that knee slapper let me explain a little bit. Relationships I have had, mostly, have been based on physical attraction first and once that begins to wear off you really find out if you like being with the person. I mean the everyday stuff like folding towels, waiting in traffic, discussing the day’s events.

Physical attraction is usually what drives most initial interactions with the opposite sex, at least it is with me. While I am happily married back “in the day” I dated my fair share. Upon reflection of some of my past relationships I often wonder how my anxiety influenced the outcomes. I’m going to give 3 relationship experiences I had and link an interesting article below for a decent read.

(names have been changed)

The Good- Mindy M: High school, Mindy was 5’10 dyed blond hair and was absolutely insane. What do I mean by that? Mindy was up for anything, and I mean anything. We partied a lot, we went to dead shows together and while we were young our sexual experiences were remarkable IMHO. Mindy made me better, but instilling in me the confidence that every young man needs to be successful. She didn’t do this by simply “being hot” or being a “party girl” she was devoted to me, we did everything together. I remember when a good friend of mine died I was extremely depressed, we were seniors. Mindy talked to me, made sure I knew someone gave a shit. She was awesome in almost every way a perfect girlfriend for a young man. She also gave me one of the corner stones in my life, how to treat women. Mindy demanded respect, she never let me get away with being arrogant as a young man, she never let me treat her poorly or as an object. We stayed together for almost 3 years, it was one of the best relationships of my life.

The Bad – Tina K: Fast forward to early 20’s, my group was into the bar hopping scene. I met Tina K at a bar, she was, and still is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met and been with. Sadly, the beauty was only skin deep. Tina was an extreme party girl shallow and judgmental. My car wasn’t nice enough, my clothes could be better “are you wearing that cheap cologne again?” really she was material girl 101. It was bad and in the time I was with her I was in constant competition with her expectations. I felt inadequate, small and never good enough. I was too young at the time to understand what was happening but I realize now this was a trigger for my anxiety. This woman was very attractive, everyone wanted to be with her and she was technically my girlfriend. I should have seen it coming, she cheated, I was devastated due to blindness. I thought it was me, I changed everything about myself. I tried to conform to an ideal set forth by someone else. I was in full anxiety mode, and I was blaming myself 100% when it wasn’t 100% me.

The Ugly – Dawn H: Around the same time as Tina K I met Dawn H. We fought constantly but the sex was great. It’s unfair I guess to list Dawn as “The Ugly” but it was in this emotionally and verbally abusive relationship that, upon reflection I realize now was the real beginning of my anxiety increase. I was no angel in this relationship so dear reader do not take this as “I was a saint the woman was to blame” I was a full participant in emotional black mail, verbal abuse, and mental detiriation. We were both wallowing in the misery of being miserable together. We lived together for a time, there was never enough money, never enough anything. I became withdrawn, I stopped talking to friends and family. It was just Dawn and I, and it was during this relationship when I started suffering anxiety symptoms in a more extreme way. I couldn’t t go to work somedays, I didn’t want to be in public and have people looking at me. I was a mess.

Notice I haven’t given to much specific detail on the relationships. These women are not present to defend themselves so I think it’s fair not to delve to deeply. Also notable is I haven’t listed my wife as “the good” that isn’t to say that it isn’t the best relationship with a woman I have had, it is. When I met my wife I was emotionally mature from the relationships of the past. I am functioning and was able to offer her a great relationship with a man who KNEW HIS ISSUES.

And that’s the point here, the good, the bad, and the ugly relationships of your life help mold you into who you are now. Maybe you are in one, take a step back think about how you feel, be honest. There really wasn’t an overarching point to this post other than to say anxiety is a journey and along the way you meet people and have relationships. They help shape who you are and they shape your anxiety. Embrace the good, work on the bad, and get out of the ugly.

Here is a decent article I read about anxiety and relationships, maybe there is something in there for you?

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Simple investment allocation principle to reduce Anxiety

This post is meant for people with anxiety, and these are the only people whom I would recommend this strategy for. As with any financial opinion you see on this blog, it is simply my opinion. Before making any financial decisions you should seek out as much information as possible to make an informed decision. All that said, as individuals with anxiety, even discussing money can be agonizing. What do you do then if you are functioning with anxiety, working and investing?

You need some way to help navigate investment allocations. What are those exactly? An allocation is exactly as it reads, how much you are allocating to a specific asset class, like cash, stocks, bonds. Rather than go in blind or with no knowledge at all you want to have at least some strategy. Again, you should be doing some research on your own to help educate you on finance but often we don’t have the energy to do this.

There is a simple method to determine allocations, and mitigate risk. Again, this is meant for people with Anxiety not seasoned comfortable investors. It is the rule of 100. The assumption in the rule is that the maximum age you are likely to live to is 100. You take your current age (let’s say you are 45) and subtract that from 100, that number 55 (or 55%) is what you should be invested into equities (which are stocks and include mutual funds that invest in company stocks). This would leave 45% of your assets into more conservative investments (bonds, CDs, Treasury’s, Cash). The older you get the less investment into higher risk investments and more into lower risk.

Enough
The Finance Industry bombards you with fear

This particular strategy is very simple and is actually pretty effective. One of the myths of the finance industry is that you have to have targeted funds managed by professionals to “guide” you through your life. Of course that’s the sales pitch, it’s an industry, be a little cynical here, they are selling you something…. With this technique you manage your risk based on anticipated age of death. Morbid? Yes, but we have to use something and once you’re dead, it doesn’t really matter.

100 is kind of a max, if you live to triple digits’ bravo and it’s reasonable to assume as technology improves life spans will as well. The “100” number can be substituted with any number you want, 80 is a good number. Now this strategy is considered conservative, fiscally I always advise people to be conservative first until knowledge is obtained, experience is obtained and more granular decisions made from the accumulation of both. That said, this blog hopes to serve those with anxiety. Money and investing is a huge source of anxiety but both are required for our long term prosperity.

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Anxiety and your heart

One of if not the most important thing in your life is your health. Now of course that sounds like a meme now, we’ve heard it so many times that many of us have become numb to it (kind of like politics 🙂 ). It’s something that you shouldn’t let invade you constantly, meaning you shouldn’t be worried nonstop about your health but you should spend time doing and thinking about what you can do to be healthier.

As this blog evolves I find more and more that it Anxiety is the theme, or rather how things directly and indirectly impact anxiety. Anxiety itself is more than an emotional response or “feeling” to something happening, there is a physical component, that over time can have a dramatic impact on our health. I found an interesting article about anxiety and how it affects high blood pressure

“When a person’s anxiety levels are elevated for long periods of time, the resulting nervous system activity could raise blood pressure and promote arterial disease, the authors of that review write. But a lot of the evidence they turned up was inconsistent or inconclusive, they point out. Some contradictory research has even found that anxiety is associated with a slightly lower risk of hypertension.”

Love your Heart !

I know its contradictory isn’t it? The article seems to slant more towards the notion that the more you worry the more you place your heart at risk via your blood pressure. I know when I get anxious I can “feel it” If you have anxiety you know exactly what I mean. Do I get chest pains, no I don’t but I can feel my body tensing I sometimes get headaches, I get angry I know my blood pressure is rising.

Then there are bouts of anxiety where I just want to lay in bed and never get out. The heart risk is particularly noteworthy for people who already struggle with weight or have preexisting conditions. If your anxiety is to the point where you “feel it” in your chest or you start to feel light headed you really should speak to a dr about it as soon as you can .

In the meantime if something like this happens to you please do this one thing. Close your eyes and take as deep and long a breath as you can in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this five times. I know it’s simply, some might say silly but that 15 seconds might make a world a difference.

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Clutter – Is this stressing you out?

One of the perks so to speak of living in a prosperous country is the abundance of everything. There is so much stuff you can accumulate. Clothes, dishes, paintings, music, furniture on and on. At some point all this stuff can become clutter. First let’s establish what clutter is. Clutter is a crowded or confused mass or collection 

The older we get the more life we have lived and the more we have accumulated. Spiritually, knowledge and yes possessions. You picked up a shell at a beach on your vacation you kept it, it’s in your house somewhere, and the vacation was 8 years ago….  I think you get my point. As individuals with anxiety for us we should from time to time take an accounting of what we own and categorize it into needs and wants.

Now at no point am I going to tell you what you should need and what you should want that’s completely up to the individual. That said, as you read this take a look around your surroundings. How many singular items can you count? Let’s assume you are at a PC, so each speaker, keyboard, and chair, monitor, on and on. Now count the wires, add it to the total. Did you count the desk or table the pc was on? The point of the exercise is, is to reveal to you just how much stuff we all really have.

This look like your desk?

Of course this entire concept is predicated on degrees. I mean if you are a single person and have 30 drinking glasses I would say that is excessive. A family of 6 is 30 excessive? Maybe not. Clutter takes up visual space and in a lot of cases emotional space as well. We have ascribed a memory or feeling to these items, like our shell we got from the beach 8 years ago. This isn’t meant to minimalize or trivialize any of that.

More important it’s meant to reveal to you that by accumulating more stuff, you create the possibility of obtaining clutter. Clutter then becomes a distraction to the anxious mind as you have more and more tangible items to concentrate on that you have assigned an intangible benefit too. Sure some mementos are irreplaceable and you can’t disassociate the emotion from them. But sometimes, more stuff is a mask to a larger issue. Sometimes more stuff is a distraction so you don’t have to let go of past memories.

There is a simple exercise you can employ should you think clutter is impacting your life negatively. Pack as if you were going to move. That’s right, pack up your stuff into boxes, the whole 9 yards do the exercise. Label the boxes, etc. Then let them sit in the rooms in which you packed them in and give it 2-4 weeks. At the end of the time period see how many things you had to pull out of the box. I’m betting you find it’s less than 50% of the stuff you own.

Is that other 50% clutter? Could be, you certainly didn’t need it for the last 2-4 weeks did you?

Interested in more posts on anxiety and Clutter? Check out my post here.

Just a Thank you today

Hey folks, not a formal post today taking a day or two off from articles/formal posts. I do want to take a moment and say thank you. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog, like my posts, your subscriptions. All that really means a lot to me, I am a small blogger and it does go a long way to keeping me motivated.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support of me and the “A Gen X Point of View” blog.

Have a great weekend and take care.

Your Pagan Friend,

Karac

Beyond the Trees

Do You Remember?

Remember the days when people would say “I disagree with what you have to say but will defend your right to say it”? Those days are gone, we are now in the throes of “I disagree with what you have to say and will cancel you for even thinking it.” Yes, we now have thought police and many of these individuals, hiding behind screen names and VPN’s are watching you.

It’s likely some are reading this post right now. They are everywhere, they are ordinary people like you and I. Emboldened by the illusion of anonymity and empowered by ebb and flows of likes and affirmation from other anonymous people. Your next door neighbor who says hi to you every day with a smile could be watching your Facebook feed, your tweets and you would never know it.

Remember, when you have an alternative point of view you find yourself with a tremendous gift. You find out clearly who your friends are and who are not. Real friends respect you, and how you feel. Fake friends do not, don’t be fooled they are everywhere. Oh the quick reminder?

Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means you are standing alone. Standing up for the right thing, freedom to think what you want when you want not only empowers you but gives others hope. It’s okay not to like someone for what they believe in, don’t be one of those people who punish others for wrong think.

The “A Gen X Point of View” blog is a safe place to express your thoughts, you are allowed to feel how you want and say what you want here. You can’t abuse other posters, you can’t create a hostile environment, you can’t spread hate here, but I’m not going to try and cancel you for thinking and feeling how you do.

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It’s not about being perfect it’s about getting better.

This post falls under the “other musings” category and is an opinion/sharing wisdom piece. I am almost 50 years old, I have worked in a professional office setting in various finance roles since the mid 90’s. I’ve seen a lot of theories on professional development, personal growth and overall goal setting to achieve outcomes. The first piece of wisdom I can impart to you is a goal set by other people that you work on are your tasks.

What does that mean? It means that often people in your life have things they want to accomplish but need your help. Work, personal it doesn’t matter really, you participate in the process, let’s say someone is remolding a kitchen. You come over on a Saturday and help haul some trash away. You completed a task to help them achieve their goal.

The trick is to not fall into the trap of being consumed by other people’s goals. This happens a lot in relationships, someone has a vision for their life and you accommodate them as best you can because you love them. If you are lucky, you share the same goal, if not you will be in a “giving” situation in that relationship and that can be draining.

When Life gives you Lemons make Lemonade!

The second piece of wisdom (hang in there, there are only 3 🙂 ) is goals are great for your personal growth and improvement but perfection is the bane of very good or great. What does that mean exactly? Setting a goal for yourself “I will finish my Masters by 28” is great but you have to accommodate life. Rigid goals that have absolutes built in often fail and it’s often the case that we blame ourselves for this and become very hard on ourselves. Anything can happen, what if at 27 someone you love gets sick and you have to take a year off school? Was your goal a failure?

The third piece of wisdom is taking the time to figure out and decide what it is you really want. This is the holy grail of self-awareness isn’t it? Maybe you are a faith based person, maybe you believe in animal rights etc… The goal here is to figure out what makes you happy, and what do you really want to do. This can take decades or it can take minutes but healthy self-reflection is a necessary process to determine where you stand in the desired outcome. We take time to get our coffee’s, go to the gym, update our I-phone operating systems why aren’t we taking MORE time to self-evaluate? Get a journal, from time to time write down the things you are doing and write down how you felt about it. From time to time go back through it, were there multiple entries with you at a beach being happy?

The point here is it’s not about perfection, you’ll never make it but you can achieve very good and that is progression. Progression = getting better and that is figurative and literal. When you achieve goals, even partially you are putting the building blocks together of success and mental contentment. You can do it, and even if you stumble or flat out fail, it’s okay you pick yourself up and keep going.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting better.

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3 Quick Facts about the 80’s

Hey folks, something a lighter today. I “came of age” in the 80’s the greatest decade in U.S. History, LOL. So for my Gen X friends out there, a tip of the hat, for all my other generational friends you’re awesome too, like TOTALY….

  1. In 1985 the average home price was under 100K: Though home ownership has become prohibitively expensive for many Americans, back in the 1980s, getting your hands on a piece of property was a relatively inexpensive proposition. According to Census data, the average cost of a new home in 1985 was just $92,800, or $229,990.61 when adjusted for inflation. In contrast, the average house bought in the U.S. in 2017 cost $398,900.
  2. P.C. became available in 1982 (even then, most people didnt have them until the 90’s): Before the 1980s, with the exception of a few models, computers were largely machines that took up entire rooms and were predominantly used by astronauts, scientists, and government officials. However, by the 1980s, the personal computer was gaining traction in homes around the world, with companies like IBM launching their own mass-market PCs. In fact, in 1982, Time magazine awarded the personal computer its “Machine of the Year” honor—two years before the Apple Macintosh hit shelves.
  3. There was no 24 hours news (Stations in the 80’s still signed off at night with the national anthem): It may seem like we’re constantly inundated by news today, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it wasn’t until June 1st, 1981, that media mogul Ted Turner launched the first-ever 24-hour news network. Dubbed Cable News Network (later shortened to CNN), the cable channel was also the country’s first channel to show exclusively news programming.

Source

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