Anxiety – Fighting back with hobbies

I am a gamer. As a proud card carrying member of Generation X I can tell you that in 1982 I got an Atari 2600. I actually got a “sears” version, back then Atari sold directly to Sears (who was still a major, if not the biggest retailer in the country) my FAVORITE uncle got it for me, LOL. I’ve been hooked ever since. Back then you had to hook it up to the TV, graphics were horrible by todays standard but god was it fun.

I’ve gone through many iterations of games and generations of gaming consoles in the last 40 years. I’ve been gaming probably longer than many of you have been alive LOL. I’ve recently started playing some of my older games again. This is my hobby of course, I work full time, I have a family I have a normal life. Hobbies allow you to disengage from reality, more over it allows you to escape from things you don’t necessarily enjoy doing.

As an example do you hate your job? Are you having a stressful situation with your family? Hobbies are a refuge, and allow you something you enjoy that’s exclusive to you. Sure you can share your hobby with other people but having something that is YOURS is very important for your mental health. It’s almost like a safe space, it’s a place you go that you exist as you like. At least that’s how it is in video games, and I truly appreciate that aspect of it.

Is it foolish to play video games?

Your hobby can be anything, cars, golf, pets, writing, video games. In the end though it’s a great way to have something that is just for you, that you can be selfish about and not share if you don’t want to. Its indulgent and people in your life may find it threatening to their relationship with you that you have something personal that doesn’t include them. It’s important to make time for everyone in your life and to make sure they don’t feel ignored.

However, it’s just as important to make sure that you make time for your hobbies. This will make you a better overall person and far more relaxed and happy. Remember to not over indulge and to be clear with the people in your life what your hobby is and what you are doing. As an example, I game wed evenings 8-10 and Friday night 9PM – to whenever I go to bed. My wife and kids know I do this, and it doesn’t create an issue for us. I game with my son from time to time actually, LOL.

The point is, find something you like for you. Be selfish, but don’t let it consume you. Anxiety sucks but we can fight back. Creating spaces in your life that give you time to do things that you enjoy is a great way to combat persistent anxiety. Remember this is your little thing, your corner of the world, your personal space. It can be anything you want, it’s a hobby something you are interested in and want to pursue and that gives you a sense of accomplishment and happiness.

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How to improve as a man – Consider the source

There are many people in the “men’s” space now. You have several female you tubers/tick tockers who give advice. Many men, on and on. Here is the thing, you have to consider the source. It’s going to be a quick post today because the point isn’t going to take a lot of articulation. Let me put it to you very succinctly, if someone doesn’t have a penis, how are they going to be able to advise you on how to manage yours? It would be like me giving a pregnant woman advice on how to handle body issues. Sure I can cite my experiences but I am not a woman the extent of my experience and ability to relate only goes so far.

taking advice from a woman on how to behave as a man isn’t a good idea. There is one major caveat to this, if you want to make THAT particular woman happy then yes adhere to her behavior parameters. Otherwise be yourself, and you will attract people (men and women) who want to hang with you. Additionally, be very careful which men you take advice from. As an example if you see me giving 20 years olds dating advice you should probably not take it very seriously. I am 52 and married.

You get the point. Look for people in similar situations that are like minded. The You Tuber with 6 mil subs isn’t going to relate to you directly. Maybe at one time he did but now? It’s unlikely. The masculinity gurus out there are good, to a degree. I mean the messages are not all that bad but for the most part if you live in a small town in Alabama and want to be a successful man, it’s probably more prudent to look for other successful men from small towns in Alabama.

Always consider the source of the information you are consuming and attempting to incorporate. The single best way to get better as a man is to look inward and make self-improvements. Hygiene, physical appearance, income, these are a few things that inspire positive emotions within you and flow outward that then attract positive outcomes. As the wise Jordan Peterson said “If you can’t even clean up your own room, who the hell are you to give advice to the world?” 

It’s a metaphor, the “room” is really any subject. Always consider the source.

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Oscar Wilde

3 reasons why the younger you are the brighter you work future looks. 

In this post we are going back to the workplace to give some of our younger reader’s encouragement. The last major work force shift was via globalization. Many of you are too young to remember a time when globalization WASN’T prevalent. When everything wasn’t made in china, as an example. I’m not here to say globalization is good or bad, but it’s an example of how work can change dramatically.

The latest shift was hastened by the pandemic that is the “great resignation” which coincided with a huge increase in people working from home. This shift is evolving but similar to globalization this will have a dramatic impact for the next 20-30 years. Globalization didn’t happen overnight, it took decades and now it is here. The “great resignation” impact is being felt now but it’s really just beginning. This is why the younger you are the brighter your work future looks.

Why? Three major reasons.

  1. Remote work – in 2015 remote work was a novelty now it is main stream. It’s not going away and its upside is hard to quantify but I will try. Less time traveling to work, more opportunity to work at convenient times for you. More options for work. You see Remote work is a game changer in so many ways. Younger workers are going to be able to adapt quickly and in some cases hold more than one job making much more money.
  2. Boomers & Gen Xer’s – We are getting older. Many boomers have already left the work force. I will be gone in 15 years myself. There are more of us working in traditional industries then the younger generations (some Gen Z kids are still in high school). The more of us that leave the more positions that open up. The work isn’t going away, it still needs to be done and companies need someone to do it. This ties in to the point below as well but as Gen Xers age out of jobs you’re going to have more chances at middle and upper management roles, that’s where the real money resides.
  3. Birth rates – People are having less children and they are having them older. This really started with my generation xers. Many of us had our kids in our 30’s and our family size dropped from prior generations. This trend is continuing, along with lower marriage rates as well. The bottom line is there will be less people in the workforce coming in 20-30 years from now. So the 20-40 year olds working now? Things look good for you here, newer, younger cheaper versions might not be so plentiful in say 2050.
Working from home?

I know conceptually some of this might be a stretch but it’s not out of the realm at all. I think most of these suppositions are actually highly probable. It could be that we experience another huge labor force shift on a shorter time span then normal (they usually happen every 35-100 years). Technology is moving quickly so it might be global companies have an even broader pool of candidates should they continue to evolve remote work.

Either way I think it bodes well for younger workers. I think in 2050 the people turning 40 will have very good employment opportunities and income levels should be very robust. This of course doesn’t account for anomalies like pandemics, war, environmental disasters. Let’s not kid ourselves things could go badly, but if things remain the same as they are now I think working in the next 20-30 years will be easier. You will have better options, more availability and a greater pool of employment opportunities.

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The Value of time – As Time Passes

In my travels around the internet I often stumble across interesting pieces. Poems, quotes, obscure news stories… One of the concepts we talk about on this blog is the value of time. I believe that time is the most valuable commodity on the planet. It doesn’t care what your age is, your gender, your sexuality, your political affiliation, or where you live.

I found a great poem below. I cant remember where I found it but I did get the Author and the year it was written. Time goes by so fast, moments that I wish would never pass are now memories. The older I get the more I realize how much I have done, and how much I have missed. This poem is great, I hope you enjoy it too.

As Time Passes

Jenni-Fiere M. Bivens 2006

As the seconds pass,
We look back
At what our lives have held.

As the minutes pass,
We see what fell through the cracks.
Parts of our lives we withheld.

As the hours pass,
We think of what we learned,
What we have taught,
What we have forgot.

As the days pass,
We wish a lot could be returned.
We wish we would have never fought
You hope they forget me not.

As years pass,
You stand alone.
They have all grown,
Married and gone
Or on their own.

As your life passes,
You stand proud,
Looking how well they raise their own.
You did well.
Live on…


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Surviving 2020 & covid

Anxiety decades later

So a quick post today. As most of you know I have anxiety, like many of you, and millions of people all over the world. Now unlike many of you I am in my 50’s and I have been living with Anxiety in some form for decades. So what is it like to have anxiety issues in your 50’s and dealing with them for years?

Let me say that age enables you to have experience and experience breeds wisdom. It makes dealing with Anxiety easier so that’s the good news here. The older you get, the longer you live with this issue the better equipped you become in dealing with it. Now things can still get bad don’t get me wrong, but the feelings of isolation and shame decrease as you begin to realize more and more that many people have this problem, it’s not just you.

That’s the good news, the bad news is you have more time to reflect on, which for me has always been the problem. I suffer from intrusive thoughts. I can be sitting in the car and suddenly I remember something that happened in 1983 that was a negative situation. The problem with intrusive thoughts is you assume the emotional reactions you had at the time and then start applying them to your current situation.

Pick whatever name you want, Anxiety at any age sucks

The older you get the more situations you have that you can reflect on. Now everyone does this to a degree but for me anyway it can be debilitating. I can’t get out of the thought or the feeling, it will replay itself over and over until I can expel it. Like a song you can get out of your head. It flavors everything I am doing and affects all of those around me. Now this is contradictory to the first part of the post isn’t it?

“Karac you said the older you get the less shame and isolation you feel” yes that’s true, but the frequency increases and that’s the problem. Literally daily I have an issue like this, and the factors that contribute to its intensity can be anything from lack of sleep, stress at work or family issues. So the older you get the easier it gets to deal with the issue, but the issue becomes more frequent.

At least that’s what is happening to me. I could take more medication but I basically just push through. Don’t get me wrong I have more good days then bad but when you have anxiety, you are most likely going to be dealing with it for decades. So all my Gen Z and Millennial friends out there, your mental health is a life long journey. The first critical step is recognizing your specific issue and understanding what your triggers are and why they are happening.

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Dressing to feel good !

How to be a better man: 3 things to do to start 2023

Hello readers! Once again we have another post in my “Better man” series. This series is targeted toward heterosexual men. This advice can be employed by anyone really but when I write in this vein I write about what I know. I can’t speak to the needs of other sexualities or identities because I don’t live that. So that disclaimer out of the way being a better man is subjective of course. The goal in with these posts is to give men perspective on things they could do to improve.

If you don’t feel you need to improve of course this isn’t applicable. So a new year, let’s get 3 things together that you can do now that are going to feed you positive outcomes through 2023

Relationship Clarity: It’s time to figure out who your ride or die people are. I’m not talking about immediate family like mom, dad, siblings, I’m talking about friends. I don’t care what gender they are, or if they are drinking pals, fuck buddies, work friends it doesn’t matter. You need to figure out who the main players are in your life outside of your immediate family and start investing the most precious commodity in the world into them, your time. Figure out the relationship, what do you want out of it? Is it healthy? Do they feel the same way about you?

Commit to Sleep: Now this could go off on a fitness tangent but I’m not going to do that. I think you should be working out of course but setting fitness goals at the beginning of the year is a trap. However, committing to sleep will enhance literally everything in your life. You have to get the right amount of sleep. You should be targeting 7 hours a night, if you can get more great but 7 hours should be your goal. You need to commit to this so if that means Sun-thurs, lights out at 11PM, do it. I can’t begin to tell you all the benefits of good sleep and the positive outcomes it will bring, but trust me on this one.

Plan and adventure: Yes, in 2023 you should go on an adventure. What I mean by this is, creating an outcome that makes you go to an unfamiliar situation but safe one. Maybe on July 4th you get on a plane and go to Idaho. Maybe you don’t like to swim? Plan a cruise. Do something to challenge yourself outside of your current comfort environment. Change the venue, do something odd. Maybe wear a suit to Mc Donald’s and eat a meal there? I don’t care what it is but do something out of the ordinary for you, it might open up a door for you that you never would have seen had you not done so.

There are tons more things you can do this year to work on self-improvement. I will bring more to you as the year progresses. Remember, as a heterosexual man you have to become self-sufficient and strong. There are very few resources for you, in the social order you are no longer top of the food chain. Work on yourself, and spend less time thinking about other people and worrying about their outcomes. A strong, healthy, vibrant you = the people around you flourish.

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Enough

Anxiety: One quick way to get out of others grief.

Grief is horrible. It is usually derived from a cataclysmic event in someone’s life that is often unexpected. This can happen to anyone; someone you love or know could have a random serious medical condition tomorrow. Life is that fragile, I do not wish something like that on anyone. Now most of us reading this blog have some form of anxiety. Manageable for most of us but grief can spiral us out of control. Not just our grief but others as well.

I absorb other peoples emotional state, but like all good men I internalize it (joking…. Somewhat). The issue becomes when you absorb others emotional state or energy around a grief event this can spiral you towards revisiting your own grief events through your life. They don’t even have to be current, what you are doing is, is trying to empathize with the other person through a corollary of your own experiences.

If you are far along in your anxiety journey and can navigate that, bravo you’re doing awesome. Many of us can’t and it cripples us emotionally because we revisit some of the most painful episodes of our life. How do you deal with it, or as I quip in the title, how do you get out of others grief? It isn’t easy and requires a great deal of effort on your part because your instinct is to relate. How do you do it? You look them in the eye first. “What if they aren’t looking at me?” then you take both of their hands in yours (if appropriate), they will look at you then and say:

“I know you are hurting; I wish I could make this better for you. I will be right back”

You then go to another room if inside. If at a restaurant you go the bathroom. In a car? Instead of saying “I will be right back” you said “I need a quick minute” and say nothing.

Words can be Good, Bad, and Ugly

This may seem callus, cold and harmful its actually just the opposite. What you are doing is you are breaking the grief energy by not allowing yourself to be a conduit. Everyone has to grieve but the longer you do, the harder it becomes to escape its negative consequences. When you come back you can discuss the issue, offer sympathy, listen everything you normally would.

By breaking the flow immediately you give yourself and the person grieving pause. That pause is an opportunity to have other energy flow in. Breaking the continuous flow of grief is paramount to keeping anxiety in check. Do this regularly with those in grief, again come back to them provide them with support but when the energy starts to filter to you, break its flow with a polite removal of yourself.

This is a subtle social skill that if mastered will benefit you tremendously as you develop it. It may seem selfish, or self-absorbed and I can see why some might say that. The truth is breaking grief moments help expedite the opportunities for other moments to filter in. A story comes on the news, a song plays on the radio, a child needs attention. It’s not perfect but as individuals with anxiety grief can literally be a killer. Address it with as much grace as you can muster but always be aware of it.

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Quick post on “Tough Love”

What is “Tough Love”?

I found one definition online that nearly summed up all other examples I found. “promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions”.

Love as a word has been overused and has lost a lot of its weight. Simply put, to love something, in the past was to give over an unconditional devotion to it. It was never a term that was meant to be used lightly. In today’s vernacular we love everything “I love the color green” as an example. Language changes and words, over time have their meanings changed based on the current social construct.

To “Tough Love” there really isn’t such a thing, if you love someone you will do whatever you have to do to make sure they are okay. There isn’t anything tough about it, it’s an absolute that if you can do it, you will do it, because you love that person. That is the traditional application of the word love anyway.

Is it truly heartfelt?

The next time you or someone you know has to make a hard decision, like removing an alcoholic from a home, throwing away a hoarder’s hoard, or disconnecting a porn addict from the internet it’s just love. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t bother and to suggest it is “tough” should only be in the context of the situation that occurs once you facilitated this act of love.

Don’t be fooled or brow beaten into this false narrative that forcing hard decisions on those you love is somehow a negative. It’s actually just the opposite, the person who loves you the most will force you to change if you are self-destructing. Honor them when you can, and never ascribe it to “tough love” it is just love, period.

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Oscar Wilde

Wisdom from a 50 year old – Me

No this is not one of my “ancient wisdom” pieces all though I am sure there is someone out there who will quip something about my age….. The wisdom?

A person with experience should not be a victim of a person with an opinion

This isn’t specific to any one thing, meaning you may have a lot of experience dating. You may be an experienced gamer, you may have experienced abuse of some kind…. Whatever the condition is experience is paramount. Everyone has opinions, it doesn’t mean those opinions are wrong either.

Ideally in life when you can, if you can, seek out people with experience first, cultivate opinions second. Also, do not discount yourself when considering people with experience. You are after all an expert in yourself, or becoming one. You’re instincts are likely based on your experiences and that is the path to true wisdom.

Don’t let people with an opinion speak into your life and victimize you with attempts at shame or guilt. I post this because we are on the cusp of the holidays and for many of us that means interactions with extended family and friends who are all “experts” in something. These experts, and their opinions can sometimes have a dramatic negative impact on you and in your life.

You are here, you are present, you are coping, and you are surviving. You are putting together minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of life and you are moving forward. Opinions come and go, anyone can step into your life for a minute and give a dossier on what they see. Ignore them, seek people with experience, including the expert on you, you.

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Dressing to feel good !

How to be a better man: You own the behaviors you allow

So this is another post in my “better man series” these posts are meant for heterosexual men who are looking for wisdom. They may or may not be applicable to you, these are not meant to be offensive anyway. So that out of the way, behaviors are a window into the future. If you see someone who is chronically late, the chances are 3 years from now they will be chronically late… You get the point.

So for men this is paramount to your happiness if you chose to be in a committed relationship with a woman. This is true for females too, don’t get me wrong here it works both ways. I can’t speak to how females perceive this issue beyond my experience living with them. For men though, here is the point: If you commit to a woman, you commit to her as is. You see there is the old notion that women try to “change men” maybe it’s true maybe it isn’t.

The good news is its 2022 and the game has changed dramatically. Equality? You got it. Women pursue men, women propose, women pay, women do lots of things that were traditionally slotted in the “male role” so as things balance out, you shouldn’t adopt a “I can change this later” attitude. Now there may be habits your chosen one has that annoy you but you can live with. I will give you an example. I have been married for nearly 25 years, my wife sometimes talks to me as she is brushing her teeth. I hate that, but I put up with it because she has been doing it forever.

If you tell the truth, you don’t need to take a pill.

I chose her, and when I did I took all the good and the bad. So for you my young male friend you are now going to have to have a very serious internal discussion with yourself. If you chose to get serious with a woman and be in a committed relationship you have to be honest with yourself about her habits and if any of them bother you. This can be silly small things (like mine) or they can be serious issues (she talks over you sometimes).

Whatever it is YOU have to be clear about it in your own mind and be completely blunt with yourself. Can you live with this? Will it get better? Here is the thing, if you do provide yourself with this clarity and you still chose to go forward into a committed relationship you have placed her in a position where she can’t win. Even if you talk to her about “annoying habit A” you are still choosing her, and that tells her that it is safe for her to invest in you emotionally.

Don’t do it to her, and don’t do it to yourself unless you are 100% certain those habits are deal breakers. It’s one of the small things many men do when entering a committed relationship, they tell themselves “I will put up with this because this other thing is great”. 2 years later, you are full of resentment and she wants an engagement ring. You’ve now created a situation where you will be in misery if you go forward or you will have a huge blow out when you DON’T get her the ring.

All because you weren’t able to be honest with yourself, and clear with her about behaviors that bother you. Its 2022, women deserve the truth, they are not princesses anymore to be rescued and protected and you are no white knight. Want a long term successful relationship? Identify behaviors that bother you and either chose to own them, or chose someone else.

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