Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2002 Random Journal Entry

A random journal entry I wrote back in 2002

There was a beautiful luscious tropical area that spanned the way from Lome to Cotonou. The sides of the road were replete with coconut palms lining the sides of the road but once we hit the city all bets were off.

We are in transit to Nigeria. We arrived in Cotonou Benin at about 9:30 pm. I am totally disgusted with the appearance of both Lome (Togo’s capital) and Cotonou (Benin’s capital). They are tantamount to garbage heaps. The roads are heavily used dirt roads. They are stained with ash, oil and dirt. People are everywhere. Cement side walks are rough, cracked and paint is peeling from every wall of every house and city building. Tacky, cheap paper signs are posted everywhere. The air invades your space as its’ humidity confines you and creates an extreme discomfort between your skin and clothes and on the palms of your hands. 

Your face drips with sweat. Car and motorbike exhaust saturate the air. Your makeup drips off your face and stains your clothing. Everything you touch is sticky and tends to adhere to your skin. The traffic is in one of the most extreme states of chaos as motorbikes veer into your lane coming from the opposite direction and then head across the road in any which-way to make it to the other lane of traffic. There are no traffic lanes for cars; cars and motorized bikes will pass you on the shoulder as if it is a lane. People are walking everywhere and it always seems as though you could just accidentally run over them with your car.  The population is booming with children everywhere and almost 1 out of every 3 women has a child wrapped up and mounted on her back.

On Your Deathbed

“A life making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.”  -- George Bernard Shaw

On your deathbed you will spend a lot of your time wishing that you had worried more in life. You’ll think, “Why didn’t I spend more of my time worrying about what other people thought of  me?” and “I should have spent more of my time beating myself up because I was never very popular in high school.”

You’ll even say to yourself, “I should have taken fewer risks and let other people push me around more.”

You’ll wish that you had buried yourself in a cave.

You’ll reflect on your life and say “I should have spent more of my moments listening to preachers or bullies or anyone else tell me “You’re just not good enough to get into heaven or the popular crowd without their patronizing forms of approval.”

You’ll think, “I should have spent more of my time feeling guilty and ashamed of myself for being me.”

You only have one life to live and all the traces of your inconsequential existence will be forever gone anyway; So, why didn’t you spend more of your time fretting about the fact that you’re imperfect—like everyone else? 

At the end of your life, you’ll wish that you had never lived.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Why is Marriage on the Decline?

In recent times I heard a lot of hypothesizing as to why marriage is on the decline.  I have heard several prominent individuals express their thoughts as to why this is happening.  Sometimes an individual in popular culture—on the news or even on YouTube—responds to a commentator and expresses their own reasons why this is happening.

Often, I will hear in the response to a commentator’s opinion “So and So DOES NOT speak for me.” Next, they proceed to speak about the situation expressing their own point of view.  Might I suggest that this individual doesn’t speak for everyone (or anyone) else either? Every time I hear someone say something akin to “This person should stop speaking for me or on my behalf” I also want to chime in—Good point, but NEITHER DO YOU. THAT person has just as much right to express their opinion as you do. Also, since there is no single absolute way to determine the reason (or reasons) why marriage is on the decline, WE ARE ALL FREE TO SPECULATE.

We all express our opinions on the internet and we should realize that we are not the official representative for any particular group or idea (whether women, men, feminist, antifeminist, black, white—these are just examples).  I say these things as a disclaimer before I proceed to discuss my own opinions in this post.

Marriage is NOT on the decline because people don’t have/make enough money. Sure, a wedding costs money. I’m not denying this. My wedding cost $4000-$5000—an expensive ceremony, indeed.  I will freely admit that this was absolutely unnecessary. In our case, we were both ecstatic to invest this much on a day that symbolized our life-time commitment to each other.  This being said, I would have also been fine with a simple court-house wedding.  Court house weddings cost less than $100.  When you consider how cheap a courthouse wedding is and then you consider that in most cases a marriage is between two individuals who are working and can now SHARE THEIR EXPENSES, marriage seems like the most financially prudent way to go. Unless an individual is already living with their parents, a roommate, or luckily receiving welfare from the government or donations from other people, living on your own and NOT having anyone to share expenses with is what is actually financially debilitating. In a marriage relationship both parties work hard towards securing a better future for themselves, as if they were a solid unit.

It could be argued that this doesn’t take into account the possibility that two very different personalities could be involved in this (marriage) union. One person could be a spender and the other person could be a saver. Or, both individuals could be spenders.  The spender could create deep, lasting financial havoc in this relationship resulting in debt, a falling credit score, and worsened financial prospects for both parties.

While some of the above scenarios are possible, my opinion is that there are plenty of financially responsible individuals in society who could find love and a marriage relationship together. Why isn’t this happening though? There must be several things interfering with this age-old pursuit of marriage (or, even long-term cohabitation with a single person).

I take a very pragmatic stance on marriage. I think marriage is a good thing primarily because of its influence on reducing poverty in society.

        My list of reasons why Marriage is declining:

  1. More and more people in society simply do not want to get married.  The reason why people are not interested in marriage is due to selfishness. People prefer to just focus on themselves than have to deal with the interests of another person. If people do want to get married they are looking for the “perfect” person instead of being willing to sacrifice a little and be with someone who may not be as financially fit or as attractive as they would prefer.

  1. The internet has made it so that 3-dimensional people are unnecessary. You have so many options on the internet now. You can use these people as your source of pleasure, entertainment…the list goes on. These internet people end up replacing 3-dimensional human beings that you could form a bonded relationship with. Time that is spent on one activity is time taken away from another activity—in this case, pursuing a physical, 3-D (non-pixelated) partner.

  1. Initiating an in-person, 3-dimensional relationship is difficult and time consuming. To get one, this means you have to leave your phone or your computer screen for at minimum 30 minutes a day to initiate physical contact with the other sex (or same sex, depending on your biology).

To Be Continued as I have more time. There are plenty of links, statistics etc that I have found that prove that it is more financially beneficial to be married than to be single or be a single parent.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Addiction Thoughts...just a quickie

Another way to succeed in life is to manage your time wisely and cut out any addictions from your life. Addictions are bad for many reasons but we often forget why addictions (of any kind) are bad in the first place. 

Addictions are bad because they eat away at the time available to live. There are many far more productive things that could be accomplished with the little available time that you do have (like getting a college degree or starting a business). Also, many addictions cause havoc in the brain. If they don’t actually cause deterioration of gray matter they most certainly hijack centers in the brain as you become used to the dopamine rush. The brain/reward system responds by producing less dopamine. Since dopamine is the pleasure or thrill chemical and now you have less of it due to your addiction, you end up getting less pleasure in activities you previously enjoyed.

In many cases what starts out as a feel-good drug/high turns out to be a recipe for long-term depression, anxiety and lack of motivation. Now you have even less motivation to do things that you previously enjoyed simply because initially, these activities will probably produce less dopamine in your brain than the addiction that you are currently subdued by.

At this point you will have to entirely reprogram your brain and start a new cycle. This process is indeed very hard.

The end

Great website on this topic! Thanks Les for sharing this with me.