The week didn’t begin well. I knew that I had to get as many hours in as possible since I was leaving Thursday night to got back to rural Michigan and see my family for the 4th. That meant waking up extra early so I could be in the lab by 6 and start doing the monotonous task that is pipetting. On top of it all it didn’t look like the data I had been collecting was all that good (a bit too variable to be of much use). All in all it didn’t look like it was going to be that good of a week.
But then, just like out of a movie it began to turn around. I found out I was approved for the rockin’ apartment I looked at last week which means I no longer have to worry about finding a place to live for the next two years. It’s huge, fairly cheap, halfway between the two campuses I have to go to, has a full size kitchen, gorgeous wood floors, and is close to two modes of transportation. Chadwick 1, housing devil 0. (pictures will come eventually)
Then I go back to work removing and crushing up brains, extracting RNA, and checking transcript levels in a new mouse my lab developed. Turns out the next few samples I ran tightened up my error bars and became much more convincing which made my current advisor and grad student mentor very happy with my progress. If you’re not keeping track of the score it’s now Chadwick 2, pseudoscience 0.
Then I took a night off and spent it with the “wife/girlfriend/whatever she is now” at my place. I made a simple dinner while we caught up on what’s been going on with our lives while having a few drinks. It was just very nice knowing that I can still have a decent relationship with my wife after we eventually get a divorce. It won’t be easy, but knowing us I’m sure we can pull it off. Chadwick 3, disastrous relationships 0.
To top it all off my dad comes to pick me up Thursday after work (the busses and trains were all booked out of the city and it was a last minute decision to go home) and on the way back we had some amazing father/son time that was long overdue and I think really helped us understand one another on a level most parents and children get to. I essentially got my father’s Christianity deconversion story and then shared how I felt about religions and… well, it was just a very good and thoughtful talk that I feel made me closer to my father than I ever have been in my life.
And I didn’t think it could get any better, but I was wrong. However, I’ll save that for the next post.
For at least the past six years I have always ended my self-pity with the line, “it could be worse, I could be on fire.” It’s kind of a joke, but it does really keep me grounded; no matter how bad my problems seem there are plenty of ways my life could be much worse. The vast reach of the internet has made that line even more applicable. Now, every chance I can I downplay the relative bad stuff that has happened in my life because, well, it is only RELATIVELY bad. No one died, no one was crippled, no one was permanently hurt.
It doesn’t make how I feel about a personal situation hurt any less, but it does put it into the larger world perspective which, in my mind, is a good and grounding feeling. For instance, I recently contacted a sweet girl I went to high school with about a fairly unimportant conversation I had and she mentioned that I was one of the few people to take the time to contact her about anything beyond the general “hey, how’s it goin???” bullshit since her father had died. Her father succumbed to cancer late in our senior year roughly seven years ago and she still feels it everyday. Even with everything that has happened to me in my life I have never felt anything like the hurt that she has felt. I know that feeling such sorrow is part of being human, but knowing how much it has hurt her I hope to never feel it and that is why I put all of my sad life happenings into perspective with, “it could be worse, I could be on fire.”
Her story also struck a chord due to my current situation. I am writing this post sitting in a house with my mother and father quietly sleeping in their second-floor bedroom knowing full well I will see them in the morning, and I take that for granted. I shouldn’t, but I do. Most of us don’t appreciate the little things that a surprising number of people lack: the ability to breath properly, walking, not having to worry about a family member, etc.
Yes, I’m getting divorced and I’m almost broke. However, my wife and I still have a great relationship, I have savings I can use to help the financial troubles, I and my family are still healthy and prosperous, and I’m beginning grad school this August. As bad as things may look from a single perspective, when you take a look from all perspectives many times your life looks much better than you could possibly imagine.
Just remember: it could be worse, you could be on fire.
When it comes to the idea of a supreme being I am an apathetic agnostic. Our motto of “We don’t know and we don’t care” seems to sum up exactly how I feel about gods, religions, and all that other stuff. I don’t hate those things, but I don’t care for them either. That was not always the case though. I used to be religious.
It was a long time ago but I still think about it to this day because I feel it’s important to understand how experiences completely shape who we are. My experiences were mainly shaped by the very conservative and religious mid-Michigan town I grew up in. Luckily, I was born to a family that had a religious past, but wasn’t overly religious in its own right making my upbringing atypical among my peers. The pressure to conform was too great however, and by my middle school years I found what I thought was god. Time has since shown me that was not god, but was instead my own inner dialogue but with an artificial authority. By the time I was a sophomore in high school I was thoroughly convinced that my concept of god was critically flawed and began looking for more answers. They did not come and considering the fact that a good 90% of my friends were overtly religious and the other 10% seemed to be religious to a lesser degree it was no wonder I felt out of place and simply chose to live a lie to make my life easier until another opportunity presented itself.
College was that opportunity and I flourished in the environment it provided. There were a token few who were religious, but for the most part it didn’t seem to play a huge role in the lives of my new friends and was a complete 180 from what I knew in my hometown. By this point in my life I knew for a fact that religion wasn’t for me, but I was still unsure about the question of a god’s existence. In fact, I’m still unsure, hence my agnosticism. In practice I live my life as an atheist but hold out on the explicit denial of an atheist or antitheist and I’m happy with my position because it meshes with the rest of my worldview based on naturalistic materialism (the pretentious way of saying science).
So now I’m happy with my lack of a belief system based on a non-natualistic philosophy. I don’t know if there is a god(s) and based on what people have told me of their various gods I don’t care to know or worship any of them.
I like to think of myself as a fairly sharp individual who picks up on verbal and non-verbal cues. Apparently, I’m wrong.
Yesterday, I was at the wedding of two of my college friends and me and a bunch of buddies were swapping stories, reliving old times, and just generally having a good time. The best part was focusing on a single person and telling the funniest, most embarrassing, and most memorable shit we could remember to everyone in earshot (like my best friend who described his first rimjob experience: “it was like seeing a color you’ve never seen before,” by far the funniest of the night).
Unbeknownst to me, I was most well known among the people at the table as a heart breaker. Every single one of them had a story of me inadvertently breaking a girls heart. Even worse was that most of the people were talking about different women, so in total there were at least five women that I hurt and had little to no idea. I knew some of them had crushes on me that I thought was kind of cute at the time, but I didn’t think I lead any of them on. For instance, I gave one girl a kiss on her birthday. I knew she had a little crush on me and I thought it’d make her night if I gave her a nice kiss (don’t remember exactly, but I think it was tongueless), and I was right; she perked right up and had a great night. That was a bad idea. She soon developed a much larger crush on me to which I was not privy and thought I shared feelings for her due to her birthday kiss. One friend in particular had to console her though several crying sessions of which I was the unknowing cause. It still baffles me to this day how I couldn’t have known how much she liked me.
That was actually the least painful of the stories I heard and I won’t go into any of the others since I played a slightly more active role in them and you’ll probably think slightly less of me for them since I may have played a more active role in what transpired (in my defense, it WAS college). What hurt me most though was my personal view that I was good at reading people was being directly contradicted by these stories that my bastard friends had the gall to remember and retell. However, upon close examination of my past I have noticed that I’ve always been a little retarded in the “how girls feel about me” category while I can read people very well in just about every other regard. This is a problem I’ve had since middle school and something I’m going to have to change since I will soon be back on the market.
Don’t you hate it when friends make you think about self improvement? Fucking bastards.
Being back in my hometown brings back memories. They’re split roughly fifty-fifty, but I try to focus on the good memories. Looking back I have noticed a number of milestones that a lot of people don’t typically consider milestones but I do. Of course you have your first kiss, first job, prom, graduation, and all that other bullshit associated with that time of your life, but I’m more interested with things like the first time you evaded the cops or the first time you got into a fight. Or, for us guys out there, the first time you acquired a porn mag (is it the same for you women out there?).
The parallels between a twelve year-old looking to buy his first porn mag and an adult looking to score some weed are uncanny. You find the shadiest person you know personally and broach the subject up in a very round about fashion and hope the other person catches on. The person you happen to know doesn’t sell the stuff himself, but he invariably knows someone who does and puts you in contact with him. You talk to the shady dude’s even shadier friend, details are hashed out, prices negotiated, and then the goods are delivered in an undercover fashion. It’s all very exciting.
I kinda feel bad for kids these days in this instance. They don’t have to go through back channels to see their first naked lady posing because they can just google “boobs” and be left with enough porn to last them several lifetimes. More than anything getting my first porn mag wasn’t so much about the magazine itself and what it meant to my life at the time, but the process of obtaining it. Does this just mean kids need to start buying weed at the age of twelve? You tell me.
It’s important to get outside of that comfort zone and take a fucking chance sometimes. That is what this is all about. I knew plenty of kids who didn’t take any chances and they were boring as hell. Don’t be one of those people! Go out and buy a porn mag!