the PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS

Thank you for taking the time to come here and read this. Please be sure to stop for a moment and watch this video clip above. After coming home from Thanksgiving Dinner at a dear family’s house, it just made sense to sit back and watch a movie. It has been a while since I have seen the PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS, and there could not be a better day of the year than today to watch it! It is always a great movie to see when you need some help stepping outside of the box. That’s the first step in “The Pyramid of Change,” highlighted in The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict by the Arbinger Institute:

We get so wrapped up in our own conflicts and problems. It just becomes so easy to start to feel sorry for ourselves. Then we start playing the victim game. If we are the victims, there must be someone to blame. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, we waste away our precious energy in creating war with others. We all want peace. During those moments, we forget all about our goals. The pain, hurt, anger, and hatred becomes far more important than anything else. Stupid, huh? Getting out of the box is the first step towards getting out of what motivational speaker Zig Ziglar calls “stinkin’ thinkin.”

I have been there, as have we all. I remember in 2004 being stuck in an apartment that I could no longer afford. I had just got kicked out of my undergraduate program after 9 calendar years and 150 semester hours. I was so close to graduation. My dear sister and brother-in-law took me into their new house, gave me a place to stay for cheap, helped me get back on my feet, taught me how to be an adult, and even helped me get to know my nephew much better.

2009. That was just a crappy year. I was foolish and smart at the same time. I left my job of ten years with Home Depot. It was never meant to be. A job to pay my way through school became a career. There was no way I could have lived working crappy hours, a wage that was below my worth, and for a manager who did not even care about me. A special loved one believed in me when I could not find that faith. Even though I was without work for six months and ended up working two more crappy retail jobs in the meantime, I was able to move towards where I am now. I am still paying off the debt incurred during this time, but I am working my way out of it. I really am so happy I have learned about Dave Ramsey!

One of the best things to happen to me within the past year is meeting this really splendid guy at Church. He reminds me of when I worked at Home Depot. People used to think I was nuts, because I would be a little goofy due to my happiness. In the end I disliked my job. However, there were still a ton of great aspects that I loved about the job. This includes so many wonderful co-workers and customers that I got to work with. I was just genuinely happy at that stage in my life. Even though someone can be really happy, dark things from one’s past can still bring him / her down at times. I used to let myself get ugly.

I really like the PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS. I remember reading some quote by some expert who severely criticized anyone for reading or watching something for more than one time. We all have different opinions, stories, and paths that we have taken. For me, it is a blessing to read or watch something many times. When watching The Lion King, I now love the scene where Simba’s deceased father, Mufasa, comes back to him. I turned my back on my parents for leaving me behind. It is not fair for a young man to lose his mother at 15 and his father at 29. Instead of holding a grudge against them, I invite their spirit back into my life and allow myself to again feel the love they gave to me while they were alive.

Tonight, while watching that scene at the end of the PURSUIT of HAPPYNESS, I almost began to get choked up a little. Two years ago I started my relatively new career. Everything in my life has changed. I again feel like that friend from Church. Sometimes people think I am nuts. I cannot help it that I have found happiness and cannot contain it! I am so happy that I no longer have to live with so many of those demons from my past! I apologize if I have ever come across as if I was bragging about my job. So far this year, I have already made double the yearly pay that I ever made at Home Depot.

I get to work business hours. Did you read that correctly? After working well over a decade of screwed up shifts, sometimes working to almost midnight and coming back for the early morning shift, I can now work at a normal time. After starting off working at least a 45 minute drive from home, I now live a mile away from my current location! I have been blessed with incredible training and wonderful supervisors. That and having wonderful, helping co-workers have helped me get to where I am at now. I get to help my customers each day. Today was probably one of the best days that I have worked there.

We are very well compensated for working on holidays. When I first started working there, they had just switched to making everyone work holidays. Just recently, we were allowed to volunteer to work, provided that enough people would be there. I chose to come in for extra pay and to let someone else stay home the whole day. I was very well compensated for working the holiday. I was able to really add to my sales for the bonus period. The best thing is what I did for this one customer.

The other day she was billed about $750 for our top-of-the-line email plan for one year. I called her to make sure everything was alright with the billing and the rest of her account. I had noticed a few things were up for expiration, and I had offered to renew them at a discounted rate. She was too busy to talk that day. After a few emails back and forth, I had received an email from her requesting my call. First, I got the renewal taken care of. Then, she pointed out how she wanted to keep her email plan going longer than just one year. This is where the magic had come!

She was paying for five mailboxes, yet she was only using three. She was also paying for an add-on service that she did not even need. As I could not downgrade this plan, my one lead suggested I simply have her purchase a new plan, move her mailboxes into the new plan, have her cancel the old plan, and refund what we charged her the other day. This greatly benefited her, as our newer plans were not only less expensive but were furthermore also for sale at a very steep discount! After all, it is such a blessing that I did not help her the other day!

This long-term customer was able to then enjoy the rest of her Thanksgiving Day. Yes, I even interrupted her cooking for her to log into her account to cancel the old plan. She ended up paying about $10 less than what we charged her the other day. She also ended up with the renewals for which she already planned to pay. Most importantly, her email is now paid in full for three years, not one. I had saved her about $1,400 over the next three years.

Yes, I am tooting my own horn. I do not do this to brag or say that I am better than you. I am just so happy that I get to help so many business owners get the best service with the products they buy from my company. Especially if you have known me for a long time, you have already known that there is something special about me. I do not say this to boast; I am merely repeating the compliments that so many people regularly give me.

I am so grateful for all that I have and for the person I have become. There is no way I could have ever gotten this far in life without so many wonderful people lifting me up when I have been down. There are just too many people to list. I pride myself on being unoriginal. What I do is try to take a little from each great person that I meet and make those talents / traits my own. If I have made you happy, it is probably because you have already made me happy first.

Thank you to (in order of mention) Robert, Diana, Laura, Mike, Laura, and Thor. Most importantly, thank you to Therese and James for making me the son they had always wanted.

Love,

James Arthur Paderta

October 5, 2012

In 1931 Dad was born. It’s crazy to think it was 81 years ago today. Even though it has been six years since he passed away, it has been a very long time coming for me to not only forgive him for the pains he caused me (what parents haven’t?) and to give him credit for all the good he did for me.

When people wrong us, it is so hard to look past that and give them credit for the good they do. To protect our feelings and make us feel better, it is just easier to make the other person out to be the bad guy. Then it would just be so unfair to us to give that person the credit he / she deserves. A few months ago I had a change of heart. A certain great sensation came over me. It took the passing of a good friend’s father to help me feel love instead of pain.

I almost no longer feel the pain from Mom and Dad leaving me behind. Up until just recently, I would blame them up and down for every time something wrong happened to me. It is their fault that they smoked their whole lives. It is their fault they did not quit after having cancer and a having heart attack (respectively). It is their fault that they passed away. It is their fault that they are no longer with me. It is their fault that they are not there when I really need them.

Death is inevitable. If it did not happen in 1992 and 2006 for Mom and eventually Dad, it would have happened some time or another. Their time had come and gone. It is very possible that Wendy, Laura, and I had a grand plan to go through this suffering with the loss of Dad in 2006. The whole point might be to test us and see how we will take things. I cannot speak for my sisters. I know that it took me almost six years to have a change of heart with how I took things.

Now that I have stopped focusing on how losing Mom and Dad has negatively impacted my life, I can focus on how I was blessed for the years that I had them. I always gave Mom credit for all the good things she did for me; it was just so much easier. However, I almost never gave Dad much credit. Let’s start turning things around.

Dad worked a crappy job. He was a garbage man for the City of Chicago. Go ahead; make fun of him. What a bum. He quit school in the 10th grade. He was “smarter” than the teachers. However, the guy worked outside five days a week. In Chicago, that could be anything from hot, humid days, to getting soaked in the pouring rain, to freezing his butt off in a blizzard. He almost never skipped work. In fact, neither do I. He instilled a great work ethic in me without even saying a word. I really appreciate the hard work he did for our family!

Dad was not mister personality when it came to having warm, loving relationships. In fact, I have also picked up facets of this personality trait of his. It has negatively impacted many relationships where fights ensued when I did not know how to properly communicate my loving thoughts during tense moments. However, Dad was very direct and to the point when necessary. Although there needs to be a healthy balance of being direct when necessary while being warm and loving, Mom gave me the latter of the two.

For 13 years I went to private Catholic schooling. Instead of shipping Laura and me to public school, Mom and Dad ensured that we could get a quality education in a healthy environment. I’m sure things haven’t changed much since, but back then the public schools were not so good. The threat if I did not do well in school was that they would send me to the public school.

Think about all the money that went towards Laura’s and my schooling. That is money that could have gone towards house repairs, a new car, vacations, or other material goods for Mom and Dad. They never went on any vacations alone without Laura and me. Even though I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I am extremely grateful for the benefits of going to a parochial school. Now that I have started up again with my Christian beliefs, I can think back and count my blessings of being immersed in a Christian setting while attending school.

On Friday, December 12, 1992, I passed my Eagle Scout Board of Review. I had finally made it! Not long after, Tuesday, December 15, 1992 rolled around. That was possibly the most pivotal day in my life. Mom had passed away. Now that I am older, I can look back with positivity and see how it was a blessing that Mom hung on to see her only son attain the rank of Eagle Scout, even if it were for three days!

Let’s fast forward to Sunday, March 7, 1993. Above you can see Laura, Dad, and me during my Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I remember that day being so happy. Dad kept crying. I remember telling Laura so many times that I wished Dad would stop crying. Again, now that I am older and wiser, I can clearly understand that those were tears of joy for me. My Dad was proud of his son. I had accomplished something at the age of 15 that he probably could have never done when he was younger.

Even when I was younger I understood that not every lesson is a direct and clear one. Sometimes we learn what not to do. Sometimes people suffer so that we do not have to. Dad smoked cigarettes. I hated the smell, the cost, and the damage it did to all our lives. I know to never touch them. Dad worked crappy jobs. Even though I have had some jobs that I did not enjoy, I learned from him to not work yourself crazy for bread crumbs. I now work for one of the most important companies across the Internet doing a job that I love with the type of pay I would have not imagined!

When it came down to showing love, Dad was not so talented in doing so in a direct, easy to recognize way. He even did some things to hurt me. However, when it came down to it, Dad was very talented in loving me indirectly. I had many blessings when I was under his care. I just wished I was able to recognize this years ago.

I never was homeless or otherwise evicted. The heat was always on in the winter. We always had food. I always had the clothes I needed. I got to go on fun trips. I was given a good education. I had the toys I wanted. I got to be involved in the activities I chose. I got to use his car a lot. I got to go on many camping trips with the Boy Scouts; he even went with me on some!

The guy was not there in many ways that I would have liked. However, he was there where it counted in so many other ways. He was a provider. Although it’s not best to stop with just that. When you take down the resentment for not getting everything I wanted from him, I am able to look back and see the many things that I did get from him.

Mostly due to resentment from not always getting what I wanted from him, it was natural to dislike a lot of the things he liked. Dad was all into the big band music. Due to Mom’s Polish heritage, Dad loved Polish polka music! Even though he didn’t know a word of Polish, he still tried to sing along. His choice in TV shows and movies was usually the classics. I was young. I wanted to listen to pop / rock music and watch all the newer TV shows and movies.

It’s natural to come full circle and follow in the footsteps of your parents. I now love older stuff. I really have a huge nostalgic streak in me. I love older stuff, such as architecture, film, and music. I embrace it alongside all the contemporary works. You really have to give value to things from the past. You can learn from what worked and what did not. Plus, you can usually predict the future by looking at the past.

Yes, it sucks not having Dad here with me. I do know that I was loved by him. If there is an afterlife, I cannot wait to see him again! I know he will be so proud of all my accomplishments I have attained and those that are still yet to come!

Dad, happy birthday! I love you and miss you very much!

Love,

I’m a happy person. You can be happy, too.

The point of this post is to be of help to others and not to be a criticism. In fact, I love helping others. It is a trait that has been prominent in almost my entire life. In a funny way, I am the one who benefits when I give. Of course, my giving is not done for selfish measures.

It is very possible that the reason for my happiness is my generosity. Even when at work that’s all I do is help people. I welcome new customers and prevent mistakes for them down the road. For existing customers I go through their account, get rid of things they don’t need, and give them the maximum credit possible for the unused items. Then of course, we can use those credits towards adding the missing pieces of the puzzle to their online presence at the minimum or no cost to them.

I truly believe that I was drawn to my employer. It is known for creating a fun environment and treating its people well. If you take care of the employees, they take care of your customers. If they take care of the customers, they will continue to do business with you and refer others to you. It’s a win-win situation for all parties. I am so happy to be part of such a chain of success and happiness!

Especially within the past few months, I have been really successful with my job. I have accepted that even though I am doing way better than I could have imagined a year ago, I know I have only scratched the surface of my true capabilities. I have seen the steady progression over time. It just makes sense to envision that line of growing success to keep going up and up. The only thing that could stop me is my own mind and potential disbelief in myself.

So many people tell me that I radiate with positivity and great energy. Sometimes that energy can be overbearing for some people. I just cannot control myself! I have a very strong desire to be happy and share that happiness with the world. It just makes sense to want to be around happy people. Sometimes people in my life are just unhappy. I can try all I want to fill them with the same joy that I experience. However, happiness is a choice.

I have long known that you cannot just be happy. You have to want to be happy. You have to believe that you can be happy. You have to have that confidence that you will be happy! One can point out some ways to you on how to be happy. You can control one person: you!

It really does not bother me when people think I am nuts for being so happy so often. It really comes down to it that so much of our society is full of unhappiness that we have grown to be accustomed to it. If we see anything outside of the norm, we begin to question it. We fear what feels different. We begin to dislike what we fear. Eventually that dislike can turn into hatred. Deep down inside we all yearn for that happiness. The only thing that could stop you or anyone else is your own mind and potential disbelief in yourself.

What are you waiting for? I have grown impatient am and done waiting. There are those who are acted upon and those who act. I chose to act. I wish the same for you!

Love,

Being True and Honest with One Another

Within the past month or so it seems as if there has been some unrest in my life. I never know what I am going to get when interacting with others. With some people I get consistent support; no matter what’s going on, they are willing to be selfless and giving. So many others have been spotty. I really do not know if it is me or the other people. Of course nothing is stopping me from asking them directly.

I admit that I am imperfect; like everyone else I am prone to making mistakes. I also receive advice from others and then still keep doing the same stupid things. Please do not take anything personally if I do not follow your advice. When it comes down to it, during rough times all I really need from others is support and people that will listen to me.

It sounds like I lost track with what was on my mind. I really do strive to do good to others. Especially in recent times, I have learned to really embrace the loving side of me. I am so grateful to the many wonderful people in my life. Even to those who have hurt me, I still love you all. No, I am not trying to live in some kind of fairy tale land where there are no crappy things.

It all comes down to choice. I would much rather forgive those that hurt me and give them another chance to do what is right. You can think whatever you want and think I am just inviting others to walk all over me. Let’s flip things around.

Just say you did something stupid and hurt someone. I am sure you would feel better deep down inside if the person forgave you. I blamed my parents for so long for the way my life has been. Both Mom and Dad have been gone for so long. I am a big boy; I can take care of myself. What’s the point of holding things against them when they are longer with us? Just let it be.

To bring things back around, I would like to apologize to anyone I have ever wronged. All I want is to do good and bring happiness to anyone I touch.

Best regards,

Metallica – The Outlaw Torn: A story of Therese Paderta

Metallica released this song on their Load album in 1996. Usually I almost always focus on the music in the songs and how the melody / rhythm of the vocals matches up. I may even know the words to the songs but not fully understand them if I really do not pay attention to them. Not long after the album came out, I had read the story behind the lyrics. James Hetfield said it is about “losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.”

Therese Mary Paderta left this world very early in the morning on December 15, 1992. I remember laying on the couch, watching men carrying her body out. Not long after family members and friends were woken in the middle of the night by either by Laura or Dad. Soon after those people were there for us, keeping us company in that old house on Cullom Avenue. Later that day it rained. I remember going with Laura and Dad to the funeral home and cemetery to plan things out and to pick her grave. After the two-night wake, funeral, and proceeding luncheon, life went on as a motherless child; I was just 15 years old.

When you lose someone, you have many directions in which you can take your life. Within months of her passing I had discovered The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. I had made many new choices in my life in the years thereafter; in the past I would usually follow the crowd instead of creating my own identity. I chose to be strong. One example of this strength is how people asked how I kept strong after her passing. I used to explain things in a more complicated way. Recently I came across a more concise version: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” People out there have tougher lives than I have.

After awhile you can only be so strong. Life is about balances. You can only have so much of one thing until the yin yang balances it all out. No matter how how hard we try to push our lives in one direction, there is something always pulling us back to bring in some sort of balance. Butt-Head said something along the lines that if nothing sucked, then nothing would be cool. We do need to come crashing down from time to time to learn to appreciate the good in our life.

. . . losing someone to death and longing to find a replacement that never comes.

I feel like I have been waiting around, searching for that comfort that Mom gave me. Sometimes I look for it in others. Sometimes I really feel like I am waiting for her to come back, living in denial. Most of the time I life my life without dwelling on this too much. Other times I become obsessive on the subject.

Sometimes I feel like I am living my life in fear. If the person who meant the most to me left me, there is no guarantee that anyone else in my life will ever stay for me long-term. One of two things happens. Sometimes people run away when I need them most. If that does not happen, I manage to cause enough chaos in the relationship to drive them away from me, fulfilling my own prophecy.

Mom held me together. Mom held our family together. Mom held our family together to our extended family. It seems since she has been gone my whole life has come undone. I have been searching for either that person that will get me back together, or at least find the strength and wisdom from inside to do it myself. No matter how hard I work to improve my life, there is always something knocking me off my pedestal.

Of course, I cannot just hate the bad things in my life. Wikipedia defines yin yang as “complementary opposites, unseen (hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.” Larry Winget says about change, “People never make changes when they are comfortable.” You have to have those crappy moments to realize you can make better choices when you are otherwise not doing so.

I had to fail out of school to realize that being a school teacher was not the best thing for me. The years thereafter sucked royally, but I would have never been blessed the way I am now if I kept on that same path. At this moment I will do everything I can to keep the job I have right now. The pay is great, each day comes packed with fun moments, and I have a very high sense of job satisfaction.

In my past there was a falling out with one friend in particular. Since then there is a better sense of respect and openness. Although things are not perfect, I have a greater sense appreciation for this person. Of course the falling out was not necessary for things to improve. However, changes were made due to that feeling of discomfort.

All too often it seems that I am going through these cycles of ups and downs. Why can’t I just learn the right way the first time around? It just makes more sense to stay close to a certain few people and maintain & enrich those relationships. Yes, it may close off opportunities of meeting and getting close to new, great people. However, having long-lasting relationships is more valuable to me than meeting and losing so many good people.

Why couldn’t Mom be there with me anymore? She would be 77 today; that’s not that old by today’s standards. 19 years, 3 months, 16 days is both a very long time and a short time; it has been that long since she left me. At the same time it it is hard to believe it has been so long. However, I barely have many memories of Mom.

One of my defense mechanisms is blocking my memories. Not only is it hard to remember memories of her during the 15 years, 10 months, 19 days that we both lived on this Earth, this mechanism is now being used in other relationships in my life. It is becoming harder and hard to remember things. I know I need to learn how to slow down my life; more will be posted about my recent progress later. What I have been doing is blocking out memories, both good and bad, of those between people with whom I have had hard times. The problem being is it is hard to remember things that those people say to me; many things they say to me are somewhere locked inside my mind.

Time was never on my side
So on I wait my whole lifetime

Every time I hear that line in The Outlaw Torn I beat myself up. I get so emotional every time I think about how I do almost everything last minute. Then I am running around trying to get that half-court shot in so I can I beat the buzzer. When the buzzer goes off before I can release the shot, it just brings up all the memories where procrastination has meant fewer chances for success in my past. It has even been causing me pain with things happening in my life right now.

Time is not on anyone’s side. However, you can be on time’s side. I need to force myself to create structure so I can accomplish all the important things and bring happiness to my life.

Best regards,

It’s about time I start writing again!

I used to write A LOT! Way back in the day I used to contribute some of my thoughts over at the Termpro.com Off-Topic forum. Then I used to post stuff over at my MySpace blog (NSFW language). I actually logged into that waste of space website to make sure I still had a profile! It seems as if I have neglected myself in so many areas of my life.

Writing is something that is very dear to me. I never cared much for it. Then in junior year in high school I won a writing contest. I only entered it because my English teacher picked me out of my class. Especially after losing my parents early in my life, writing became a sort of therapy. So much can be accomplished with a keyboard and virtual paper! Writing as a therapy does not have to be done directly; I also feel great just getting my thoughts down permanently, even if I am in a great mood!

Living the single life and being in a relationship both have their positives and negatives. The best thing you can do is to keep all the positives from the single life and sprinkle on some companionship, love, and new memories from the one you love. However, so many of us fall into the trap of forgetting our own identity in order to focus on that new love. I am so guilty of that. If anything, that can be blamed as one of the worst things I have done in this relationship.

You lose your identity once you stop doing the things you love to do. There is no way your love will want to do all the exact same things that you enjoy. Life is all about balance. Should you stop doing the things you love, then you stop filling up your love tank. No matter how much your family and friends love you, it won’t mean anything if you don’t love yourself. Just like when you have to pay bills, you get your online payments done before you start going shopping. Go shopping first before paying your mortgage / rent and you will find yourself looking for a new place to stay!

If you stop doing the things you enjoy doing, then you are no longer happy. All the love in the world will not replace all the things you have given up. Those things are ingrained in you. Writing, hiking, photography, drumming, long drives, visiting museums, reading, and so many other things are missing out of my life. I still try to fool myself into thinking that I am so happy with my life.

I have been with GoDaddy.com for a year and a half. They pay me about twice as much as my best paying job prior. As of December I now have a safe, reliable vehicle, my 2010 Toyota Yaris. My best friend has been living near me for the past three years. I am now getting back into Church, meeting wonderful people there, and getting myself in a morally straight direction. I don’t mean to whine and say that my life sucks, even after being blessed with these gifts. There are just somethings that cannot be replaced.

Since January 1, 2008 Laura has been the number-one person in my life. Unfortunately I began neglecting so many of those above-listed joys in my life in lieu of spending a great deal of time with her. Most likely things would have been better if I spent less time with her and doing more things that made me happy. That way time with her would be more valuable and my own love tank would be kept full by doing the things I love. Keeping me happy keeps me being the person with whom she fell in love.

In recent times I have made drastic changes in my life. Again, I have a job for which I am extremely grateful. Some parts of it suck. Otherwise, I have a set Monday – Friday, business-hours job that I enjoy so much! It provides incredible benefits. I have been seeing a counselor, for the first time in years I started going to the doctor, I am taking speech therapy, and I even just went to the hospital for the first time in 25 years! My car takes me all the places I want to go without any worries of breakdowns. After picking up the car I got to see my sister for the first time in three-and-a-half years and enjoyed a beautiful cross-country drive home. Too bad I did not get to see my other sister during that drive due to time constraints. I live about a mile from work. It sounds like things are getting better for me!

Regardless if I am doing this for myself, Laura, Kristen, my friends, or my family, I need to most importantly get my life back on track for myself. At the end of the day, the only person who is responsible for my happiness is me.

One thing that has been on my mind a lot is Mom and Dad. Without a doubt the next post will be about them. One huge topic I have been focusing on in Church and in my readings, probably the most important one, is repentance and forgiveness. Also, last year I read an incredible book about breaking destructive habits passed down in your family. Like I said above, I am responsible for myself. That means I am also responsible for my actions. Just because I learned bad habits does not mean I have the right to use what I have learned to negatively impact those I love.

While wrapping up The 5 Love Languages, I war reading how with children we have to discover what their love language(s) is / are and meed their individual needs. I used to resent Dad for not being the loving father that I wanted; he just was not speaking my love language. I wanted someone warmer who would spend more time with me. Instead he was a hard worker, a provider. Very rarely did he miss work. He worked outside in Chicago as a garbage man. Yes, he was outside regardless if it was 95° or in the middle of a blizzard. We always had a home and food. We had a private education from Kindergarten through high school.

When things do not go well it is so easy to get upset and blame Mom and Dad. They are not around to defend themselves, so it’s so easy to point fingers at them! Seriously, what are they going to do? After reading that book, I cannot deny that I was very much loved; maybe it was not exactly the way I wanted. However, smoking until your children at a young age are left without parents is not one way to show love.

Because of Mom passing when I was 15 and Dad when I was 29, I have been very resentful towards them. So many times I blame them for the bad things happening in my life. If only I had parents to turn to when I did not know what to do. . . If only I had parents to turn to so I could find out what life was like when they were younger. . . If only I had parents to be reminded what they were like. . . It has been 19 years since I have seen Mom. So many of my memories of her are erased as a defense mechanism.

Because of these losses I am a very vulnerable person; I am so easily hurt. When it comes to so many things in life I have become so strong. At the age of 15 I had to become an adult; handling things in an adult-like manner is nothing new to me. However, I can be so easily hurt by those who are important to me. It is hard for these people to understand why I so easily become hurt and express that emotion through anger. Anger is my biggest destructive pattern that needs to be softened.

It all comes down to forgiving Mom and Dad for their wrongdoings. They did their best. They did so many good things for me. They are long-gone, and holding a grudge does absolutely no good! Since it is on my mind, let me steal a quote from Laura’s facebook page: “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Why do I carry around all this weight? I need to just let it go. Let that ever-so-happy Jimmy break free and live!

Now is a good time to put this nice little journal of mine on hold. It has been well over a year since my last post. I promise to write a lot more often. Sorry to leave this open with some incompletely-documented thoughts. However, I work in six hours! Time to get some rest.

Best regards,

Hello, world! Here is my first official blog post!

Yesterday was my 34th birthday. I really went into things kind of being down; I really was not expecting much of anything. Then I got a birthday wish on facebook a day early. Then all hell broke loose. All total about 75 people flooded my wall on my facebook page. All I can say is THANK YOU!

Work went really well. I followed through with a rather large sale that I had set up the day before. With the very last call of the day I had made enough sales to make my bonus; this is something I have been struggling with recently. My total sales for the day was the second best so far. What an incredible day!

On my way home I picked up a few DVDs. I have been wanting Blues Brothers for quite some time. Yeah, it’s rated-R, but it’s just one of those classics I have been dying to share with Kristen. Plus it’s from my hometown of Chicago! Additionally, I came across The Breakfast Club. Maybe she might not be able to fully grasp the depth of that flick. Hopefully it will make a lasting memory when she watches it!

Laura got home not long after me. She got dolled up and we went out to dinner! I have been feeling a bit off recently. By no means am I sick; I just don’t feel right. Even though I have been craving Fuddruckers for some time, my body said I needed a chicken sandwich. After a bit of searching online, we decided upon Chili’s. Laura ended up having their ribs. Of course we had an nice date there alone. It was great to have some solid one-on-one conversations.

Afterward, just after my sister Laura called, we decided we would go bowling. AMF Tempe Villiage Lanes was the setting for some fun times. Other than her breaking a nail (we need to get her her own bowling ball), we both really enjoyed each other’s company.

As we often do when driving back to eastern Mesa, we took Southern Avenue all the way home. After a long, relaxing drive, we came home and crashed.

The end!

Love,

Jimmy