This morning, I woke up, feeling refreshed. I rolled over, rubbed my eyes and decided that I would go downstairs and make a little coffee. While I used to be quite the hipster, roasting my own beans and making coffee a borderline orgasmic experience…I now resign myself to making terrible coffee from very old dark roast Folgers.
Not only is this coffee quite terrible, it is incredibly old. However, over the past year…I have learned to make some sacrifices…one of which is my coffee. Since breaking up with my ex last June and moving into this house last July – I never really unpacked and settled down. I just knew that this was temporary. At that time, I didn’t even know what this was. All I knew was that a few years ago, I took my life savings and moved here to Southern California chasing love…and now I was single and back in debt.
Debt aside, I was single and truly in a process of rediscovery. Being epileptic, I had been taking medication since I was first diagnosed at the age of 14. After moving from Costa Mesa down to Laguna Beach with my girlfriend at the time, I ended up getting a new neurologist. This new doctor suggested that I change medications due to the fact that it would likely have caused potential liver damage and eventual bone loss. I didn’t like the idea of either and decided to change medications. This was a little nerve wracking, as I had taken this medication for more than 20 years…but I decided to trust my neurologist. Besides, doctor knows best, right? That’s what I’d always thought and had been told.
I began taking the “new” medicine in April 2012. I was advised that it might take a while to get accustomed to the new medicine as far as experiencing any potential side effects, which were considerably less than those of the “old” medicine I had been taking for the entirety of my adult life. I was told that it might take up to 30 days for me to experience any of these potential side affects as my body gets accustomed to the medication changes. Moreover, I was told that I might experience some seizures as I learn what dosages of the medication are effective for me. Super.
For those of you that don’t know what a seizure is like…you can watch a video here.
During the first couple of months, I had a few seizures – but luckily I was in a safe place and was surrounded by people that loved me. My ex and her family were there and helped me come out of it. Since then, I have had several more seizures while adjusting to the medication, but this is all part of the learning experience associated with the change. Now…more than a year after the initial medication change, I still find myself reflecting on the experiences due to this change. I am still learning. Always learning…
The most significant thing that I learned was that getting off the old medication was the best thing I could have done for myself. After a month or so…I realized that I was thinking clearly. I felt like I had more energy. My thought processes were lucid. It is incredibly difficult to describe…but those of you out there who have taken drugs for any various medical condition or simply taken drugs for recreational purposes can relate to the experience that I am talking about. Reality after a drug induced haze can be quite spectacular. For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I was experiencing reality. It was incredible.
The change was remarkable. I was really astounded by how much better I felt. Soon after this medication change, my girlfriend and I split up. This wasn’t anything drastic as result of the medication change, but was something that had been building for months. Perhaps the new found clarity resulting from the medication change helped facilitate the breakup…but there really isn’t any sense in speculating about the cause of events that have already occurred. Besides, the old saying goes something like this…If you keep one foot in the past and one in the future, you’re just pissing on the present.
With that said, I would like to not piss on the present, but rather just spend a little time in the present reflecting on the past and wondering about the future. Wait – isn’t this contradictory to the above statement? Perhaps. I don’t necessarily think so, but perhaps. I’m sure there’s some idiot out there that would argue with me all day long. Moreover, there’s also some idiot out there that questions why I write in the manner that I do. Fine, let’s just say I’m pissing on the present.
Either way, let’s get back to the present…I’ve since refilled my mug with mediocre Folgers Black Silk. The most hilarious part about getting coffee is this story I’ll share with you here. Typically, I am the first one up. Often times, when I get up, the television in my roommate’s bedroom is on. I don’t know if she’s actually awake and watching television or if it’s on because she fell asleep with the television on and it’s still playing while she sleeps. It doesn’t really matter and I suppose I don’t really care. I find this curious but I am accustomed to it by now.
As I walked downstairs to make the coffee, the ~50 inch flat screen in the living room was on. There was no one present in the living room. While this is a common occurrence in this household, I still shake my head at the absurdity of it all. The best part about it was that as I glanced up at what was on the magic box while making my coffee, it looked like a movie was starting. The movie was “Cool as Ice,” starring Vanilla Ice. Check out the trailer here. This is beyond classic.
I have provided the links in addition to the little pics above. I have done so as a redundancy, because in the past somehow, I have put these little pics in my blog post as embedded videos, but seeing as I am a relatively new and inexperienced blogger I can’t quite figure out how I had done it in the past and am not really inclined to spend the time this morning figuring it out. But I digress…this entire blog post stemmed from thoughts that generated while making coffee and watching the beginning of “Cool as Ice” playing to an empty room. The television is a dominant part of this household. Moreover, the television dominates our society.
Years ago, I lived in North Carolina and Colorado among other places. These two places stick out in my mind as I spent the most amount of time in these states at once before my wanderlust got the best of me and I moved on. In each of these places, I went through a process of living, learning and growing. Even at that time, I was living deliberately – even though I was unaware of what I was doing. I made conscious decisions on who I lived with.
Many of the places I lived with did not have a television. A few of the places didn’t even have a microwave. These were deliberate actions from the people I was living with. They were choosing to go without some of the modern conveniences that modern society offers us. Other places that I lived had a television, but we took deliberate action to ensure that it was not the focal point of our living area. For example, in two different places in Asheville, we placed the television on a rolling cart and covered it up with a small tapestry, rolled it into a corner and put plants on it when we weren’t actively using it. Most of the time, it was used for movies. We chose not to have cable.
However, many other places where I have lived over the years, the television was the focal point of the common living area. Often times, these houses had multiple televisions. I am in one of these houses right now. There are three televisions in this house that I am aware of. It is possible that there may even be four or five. I’m not sure. I take extra measures to ensure that I am exposed to as little of it as possible. The end result of this chosen behavior is often times me hiding in my bedroom reading and writing or simply spending time outside. This is my preferred type of recreation. The only times I engaged in lots of television watching was when I felt as though I needed an escape.
In life, we all deal with periods where we feel we need an escape. Life can be stressful. We engage in certain behaviors to deal with the stress. Some of us drink alcohol. Some of us eat food. Some of us do drugs. Some of us watch television. Some of us play video games. Some of us exercise. We all have individual ways of dealing with the stresses of life. How do you deal with stress?
At times in my life, I have engaged in ALL of the identified behaviors in life. More often than not, I would engage in one of these behaviors more than the other. Sometimes, I would allow one of these types of behavior to control me. I claimed that I had an “addictive personality.” Yes…that was the problem. I always found something to blame for the result of my actions. Most of the time, I was looking for an excuse when life wasn’t going according to the way that I thought was appropriate. When I stopped looking to blame others and simply began living a life where personal responsibility and accountability dominated my thought processes – I changed.
So frequently in life, we seek change. We always look to someone or something else for the change we seek. We rarely look within ourselves in order to create the change we wish to see. Moreover, we have been conditioned to believe that there is a quick fix for the problems and challenges in life. Buy this product. Go to that doctor. Take that pill. Have that surgery. We spend far too much time looking for an easy solution. We are putting band aids on wounds that require stitches.
True change is difficult. True change requires dedication. True change requires questioning the status quo. True change requires stepping outside of your comfort zone. True change requires identifying your fears and addressing them. True change is not a requirement, nor is it necessary. If you want to continue being a slave, there is no need to change your behavior. If you are content with your life and feel as though you don’t need to change, then I applaud you. Perhaps you can share your wisdom with those of us who seek what you supposedly have. True change is not for everyone.
Are you ready to experience true change?