The Things that I have learned

The things that I have learned

Charles Laramie

Forward

In growing up and growing older I have learned a few things. There were many occasions when I found out that certain things I learned or had come to believe along the way were not necessarily correct and I have had to reconfigure my opinions and outlooks and unlearn some of the things I learned on life, people, religion, history, education, government, relationships and a host of other things.

How could this be any other way? We are always growing, it’s impossible to remain in a perpetual state of sameness even if we would like to, even if we believe we do.

In life, we have our family and our own experiences. Our immediate family shapes many of our early views and beliefs. The more experiences we have, the more we interact with people around us and those from other cultures the more likely that our views and beliefs will change. This is growth. In some cases, those views may change so much that they alienate one from their family of origin and friends.

The period of time in which each of us grows up, and where we grow up, also has an impact on how we view the world around us. It has a strong correlation with how we come to view others, and certainly on how we view ourselves.

I came of age in the sixties and seventies having been born in nineteen fifty-eight. I grew up in Vermont where I was the sixth child of eleven siblings. The size of my family was not uncommon then and we were not the largest family in town though certainly one of them. It should be noted; we were not the Walton’s!

My father was a blue-collar worker and my mother was a stay-at-home Mom; as were most mothers during this time. My father was a beer drinker and my mother was a tea teetotaler. Due to this, my house would become raucous at times as my mother tried to explain to my father the error of his ways. She was never quite successful but they were married for almost seventy years and died only seven months apart in their nineties.

My experiences growing up in a large family in a small Vermont town in the sixties and seventies certainly played a big part in how I viewed myself, the people around me, and even those people I had never met.

My children a daughter and a son born in ninety-five and ninety-nine grew up in the same small town in Vermont. A time almost foreign to the one I grew up in and in our discussions, this is very clear to me in many ways.

The Vermont I grew up in had no diversity that I recall except for those who weren’t Catholic. Everyone I knew, saw, or interacted with was white. Off-color and racist jokes were a common thing and no one I can recall ever explained to me these were wrong; that they would give me a preconceived view of people I was to one day meet. No one was spared, not Blacks, Asians, Irish, Poles, Protestants, or women.

I know now that I grew up without having to be told yet clearly with the understanding that it was better to be a white person than any other race. The adults telling those jokes I heard never came out directly and told me not to like, dislike or hate a person who was not like me nor that I was better than them but even as a kid I knew it was implied.

I left Vermont only twice up until the time I was eighteen. An eighth-grade class field trip to Montreal and a trip to Maryland for my brothers' wedding when I was fifteen. He was stationed in Patuxent, on the Chesapeake Bay.

My brother John and I took the Vermont Transit a day ahead of my family who followed in a car. There wasn’t room for all of us so we went on ahead. We rode the bus to Washington D.C. where my brother and his friend Luke picked us up. Walking out of that bus station in D.C. was a complete culture shock. The number of people and the diversity of people the likes of what we had never seen before. John and I were happy to hear my brother say, “Hey you guys!”

Growing up I was a voracious reader. Not of the great works, though later in life I would spend a summer reading all of Hemingway’s novels and short stories. But through high school, I ready a steady diet of Louis L’Amour westerns. I also read J.R. Tolkien’s Trilogy at least three times. But it was L’Amours westerns that made me daydream of adventure and faraway places.

At seventeen I enlisted in the Navy; my father reluctantly signing the papers. Boot Camp was a culture shock as I was faced with living and interacting with all those people the adults told jokes about back home. Turns out they were just like me; wanting to get away from home and trying to adjust to military life.

Ultimately I ended up stationed on board a destroyer escort out of San Diego, Ca. I was happy about that. It’s what I had asked for. Of course, I had never actually seen the ocean before much less sailed on it, and had no idea if I would get seasick.

I remember vividly the first time I ever went to sea. I didn’t have to wait long. I caught my ship in Long Beach. It was just coming out of the yards where it had been overhauled and refitted. Two days after I reported onboard we sailed out for sea trials. I remember the sun felt so good, the smell of the sea and the easy roll of the ship. I remember passing another sailor, Salazar on the deck who was at sea for the first time as well and we both said, “I like it.”

I grew to love it and sailed across the Pacific and back twice in the next three and a half years. The places I was to see and the people I would meet would forever change the way I viewed the world and the people in it; at the time I didn’t realize just how much.

Our views and beliefs are also in a constant state of change due to our experiences and interactions with the natural world. The sea, the mountains, deserts, and the prairie all have a primitive draw that changes the way we look at or perhaps see ourselves.

We are all here for a very brief period of time. During that time we are many things. I have been a child, a son, a brother, a student, a friend, a sailor, a laborer, an alcoholic, and a recovering alcoholic. I have been broke many times, been a teacher, a father, a marathon runner, an adventurer, a traveler, and a lover. I have been brave, scared, and played the fool. I have been arrogant, obnoxious, self-rightest, and loud.

I remain many of those things. Some of them I have become better at controlling but they are still there, still part of what makes me who I am; both the good and the bad. Anyone who has lived understands that I am not unique. All of these things are part of the human condition.

In AA I was told it was my terminal uniqueness that was killing me. As long as I revealed in it I couldn’t ask for help, nobody could understand what it was like to be me. But I sick and I was very scared of what I was capable of in the condition I was in. It was that fear that kept me there long enough to become willing to listen and so I lived while so many others I knew died

It’s important for us to understand that in all there is to know in this vast world we occupy; we know very little. Realizing this keeps us teachable. To remain teachable is very important because to be done learning is to be done living.

I have compiled a list of the few things I have learned through the trials, errors, and tribulations of my life. I certainly played a part in most of them. I accept responsibility for the part I played in them and I apologize here to anyone I hurt along the way. I suspect there are many. The goal for each of us in life should be to become the best possible person we can be.

I hope that what I have learned touches a chord with readers and gives them pause to ponder and reflect on their own lives. As Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.”

On Life and Death

They really do co-exist. We cannot have one without the other. For me, death became very real at a young age and I have no doubt that is why the subject of it has occupied a great deal of my life. The first thing I recall of death was my mother standing in the middle of the living room and sobbing. John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. To this day I can see my mother clearly, standing there with her hands covering her face and sobbing.

At five years old I felt no sadness for the President, I don’t even think I really understood it. I only knew that my mother was very, very sad because a man had been shot. A catholic man.

As I recall it my next experience with death came in the summer of the following year. I was riding a bike on my street when I saw people coming out a door and onto their porch and behind them men were carrying a long box. I don’t believe I had ever seen a coffin until then, except perhaps JFK’s but I knew from the looks on the faces of the people and those carrying the box that someone had died. I did not ride on that side of the street for a long time.

I remember my mother telling me that what I had seen was the funeral for Mrs. Price. To this day the picture of those people and the house they came out of is as clear as if it were taking place at this very moment.

I didn’t know it, but these two experiences were only the precursors of what death was going to unveil to me in the next few years; pulling the curtain on my childhood.

In January of 1969 my cousin Jeff who was only eight years old was hit by a car while crossing the street to his house. He lived the next street over from us. He died a little while later at the hospital.

The weird thing was I came home from school a little late that day. Jeff and I as well as his siblings and mine all attended St. Mary’s School a couple of blocks from our homes.

I entered the kitchen and my siblings were all sitting around the table. They told me Jeff had been hit by a car, but no one seemed worried or seemed to think it was serious and that he would be alright

A little while later the phone rang, and I picked it up. A voice said, “this is your Uncle Cha is your father there?” I could tell by his voice that Jeff had died. I don’t know how I knew, it was just the way he asked for my father. I called to my father and sat down at the table. I told my sibling that Jeff had died. A few of them said no but as we listened to my father say, yea, okay, yea, alright, we all knew that the worst had happened.

My siblings and I each have different ways in which we remember or internalized the events of the next few days. I remember the heavy sick sweet scent of flowers as I stood next to my father inside Durfee’s Funeral Home only a few houses down the street from Jeff’s house.

I remember Jeff’s dad, Bernard falling into my fathers’ arms sobbing, unable to support himself, and my father holding him up. I remember him saying over and over, “He’ll never have to go through what I did.” He meant WWII in Europe where he had been in some of the worst of the fighting. This seemed to be the only way he could reconcile Jeff’s death.

I was ten years old. The casket was open, and I saw my cousin Jeff laying there. There was a GI Joe doll next to his left shoulder. He had just gotten it for Christmas. He had on his black glasses and his hair was neatly combed to the side. He looked like he was sleeping and could wake up at any moment. But I knew they were going to close that lid at the end and to me the thought of that made my insides tighten up.

I can picture that scene to this day as if I were standing there. The next day I remember leaving the funeral home for the ride to the church. My brother and I along with four neighborhood friends carried Jeff up the stairs and into the church.

I really don’t think the adults thought what the impact of carrying Jeff’s coffin, much less seeing him lying there in a box, might have on the minds of young children. I suspect the grief that the adults were experiencing didn’t allow for anything like that to really register. I do not blame them in any way. Everyone was doing what they needed to do to get through that horrible ordeal, myself included.

My oldest sister Lynne married John Colville in 1966. John’s brother Joe and my brother Paul were good friends. In 1969 they were both Seniors in High School.

Joe was often at my house with my brother but lived on the other side of town over the railroad tracks. We referred to it as the South Side. On the evening of December 30, 1969, Joe was walking on the South Side not far from his home when he was struck by a pickup truck and thrown into a snowbank.

The driver never stopped until he was in Rutland sixteen miles away. His windshield was cracked, and he told someone he thought he had hit someone in Fair Haven. By the time rescue reached Joe he had already died.

I remember the confusion again that evening as calls came in and went out and people cried, and the wake and the funeral took place. One thing I do remember clearly was walking home from the funeral with my family. Many of them were crying and I thought I should be too, but no tears came, and I wondered what was wrong with me. I remember wetting my fingers in my mouth and wiping them on my face in hopes that it appeared that I too was crying.

I was 11 years old. Today it always comes as a surprise to me when I talk with people in their twenties or thirties who have never been to a funeral. How could that be; how do people make it that far into their lives without really experiencing death. I’m also a little resentful of them or perhaps envious. I sometimes wonder what my life might have been like if all that death had not impacted my life so early.

A month later my grandmother passed away at the age of eighty-six. This was okay. People were sad but no one was grief-stricken. My grandmother had been sitting in a chair visiting with some of her children and husband when she took a deep breath, exhaled, and was gone. She passed the way all of us would like to, warm, comfortable, and with family around. Not young in a hospital or lying in a snowbank.

I remember her wake, again at Durfee’s Funeral Home, the old woman who used to fix me lunch, lying in her coffin, short grayish-white hair, and that same sweet, sick smell of flowers. I remember two of her sons going up to her and kissing her goodbye. My younger sister saw this too and many years later would mention it to me, saying, “I always thought that was so weird. I would never do that.” I remember thinking that very same thing when they were doing it.

When I was fourteen a friend of mine and I were riding our bikes on the South Side when we heard sirens from an ambulance and fire trucks. People said there was an accident just outside of town on 22a.

It only took a few minutes to get there on our bikes. Two guys, 19 and 20 had made a bet they could make it from the Park in Fair Haven to the Hampton Manor and back in three minutes. The distance was probably just under three miles. They didn’t make it. They went off the road and while airborne hit a tree. The car caught on fire and they died inside. When my friend and I got there the car was still in flames.

I remember watching from the edge of the Swamp Road while all the people milled around down where the car had struck the tree. Heading for high school the following year I already had a close relationship with death, and I was very aware that it wasn’t just old people who died but knew that death could come to anyone at any time regardless of age.

I have lived with this realization my whole life and a day has not passed without it passing through my mind. This realization has never kept me from taking risks; the exact opposite would be true.

I would probably need a lot more time with a therapist to figure out why. I have scuba-dived a hundred feet below the surface, I have jumped out of perfectly good airplanes more than once, and even after I had a chute failure on my fourth jump. I have leaped from the bridge of a ship anchored out in the harbor of Buckner Bay in Okinawa at midnight; not even able to see the ocean below me our worrying about what might hear me hit the water.

I have done a hundred other crazy things and lived even though there were times when I had no right to. Perhaps because I knew that death does not discriminate, I was challenging it to do it then, so I no longer had to worry about it.

Sometimes I think death is smiling back and saying, “Not on your time Laramie, not on your time.” In the end, it will come, of that there is no doubt.

To be fully alive you must understand that life is fragile and can be taken from you without a moment’s notice. Keeping this in the forefront of your mind and being happy and enjoying life is the key to it. It can be done, and it makes life that much sweeter.

In the brief period, you are alive in this world don’t let all the background noise get in the way of really living your own life.

Death does not care how old you are.

Modern society crushes the human spirit, nullifies our natural instincts, and turns us into automatons. It does this without malice. It’s just the system. It must channel us; once we understand this, we must stop allowing ourselves to be its victim.

Don’t get too concerned with the bizarre thoughts that pop into your head from time to time but don’t act on them either.

Life is not easy. It never was.

If life never ended that would be hell.

I expect to die, just how that is to happen I’m not sure of yet.

I am not bored with life. I am however sometimes bored with the life I am currently living.

Apply this to all aspects of your life; Keep it Simple.

The statement, “if you work hard you will get ahead,” is not always true.

Life is short even when it seems never-ending.

I don’t suspect I will mind being dead. It’s the getting there that I believe will be the tree root in the path.

Death is the price we all pay for the thrill of living; it’s a small price.

Every day we have a choice, we can change or remain the same. Do not remain the same

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To wake up every day and take part in life requires more courage than we often realize.

Death is that dark spirit within each of us that sets our soul free.

I’ve never been completely sure of anything in my life, except for the fact that one day I too will die.

A star-filled night, a beautiful sunrise, moonlight on snow, the sound of waves crashing, are what give life its meaning.

Life looks different from the top of a mountain.

On Money

Money is a thief. Many of us spend our lives chasing it. Most chase it not to get rich but to simply get by with nothing left over to show for it.

In regards to money, most people are simply the middleman. They put in their hours working for it; receive their paychecks, or direct deposit only to pass it on to their creditors, and then start all over on Monday.

Money steals our dreams, it steals our time, it steals our peace of mind, and in the end, it steals our lives. We are told to work hard, be contributing members of society and you will be rewarded. For most of the people who inhabit this planet that is a lie. Do not let the pursuit of money be your life. Live for the sheer pleasure of being alive. We cannot live and be completely free of anxiety and stress, but we can be free of the anxiety and stress that comes with the pursuit of money. Our lives will be fuller for it.

Never let money be the deciding factor on where you work or what you do for a living. A price cannot be put on your physical and mental health and well-being.

On Loneliness

The word lonely and loneliness are often misconstrued. To be alone is not to be lonely. In our society we are taught from an early age that a large part of being successful means to find the right person, to fall in love, to settle down and have children and raise a family.

This does not have to be said out loud. It does not have to be written. It is conveyed in music, movies, and television. It is conveyed by parents, “when you grow up and have children, or someday you are going to meet the right boy or girl.” We hear this repeated over and over again and it conveys to us in a very subtle way that true success lies not in finding our own happiness but in finding someone to make us happy and that we will make happy.

You should not expect someone to make you happy and you cannot make someone else happy. Each of us must be happy with who we are, or we will find that happiness is fleeting at best.

The greatest loneliness is not being alone but finding yourself with someone and still alone. Only then will know true loneliness.

You can’t teach experience

Vulnerability

You never fully understand vulnerability until you have a child.

When I was a teenager my parents knew a lot more than I thought they did.

A newborn sleeping peacefully in its crib is the essence of innocence.

You can never fully appreciate your youth until you are older and look back on it.

Travel is the greatest education.

Addiction

The definition of addiction says, “the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.” As a recovering addict, I can tell you the definition makes it sound like being out for a Sunday stroll.

Addiction Is horrible, it deprives you of family, friends, your integrity, values, and morals and most importantly of the person you were meant to be. Addiction seeks only one thing from you and that one thing is your life.

00001.

Alcohol and other drugs cannot enhance your life in any way. They can however destroy it.

When you’re a drunk you don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t know unless you get sober.

When using a bungee cord make sure it’s hooked.

The first snowfall is beautiful the last one is crushing.

To share your beliefs, to expose them in writing takes courage.

I am not always right, nor is anyone else.

My views can change…so can yours.

Sometimes we do things for a selfish reason.

To skydive you must be prepared to save your own life.

People we clash with have a personality trait we recognize in ourselves that we don’t like.

The human spirit is a gift, when properly nourished it’s where all true riches are found.

Never take anything at face value.

It’s okay to be afraid, fear is healthy.

Of Politics

Politics conjures up so many images in people’s minds. Given that the American Congress has an approval rating of around fifteen percent most of these images are of the negative variety to the majority of Americans

I know people who simply do not pay attention to politics. They feel frustrated, nothing changes, they are all crooks, they are bought and paid for, their vote doesn’t count anyway are some of the things I’ve heard.

But no matter how you feel about politics or politicians there is one certainty, politics will affect your life. There is simply no escaping it. If you were to go to a deserted island, likely, politics would eventually catch up to you in some form or other.

In politics, the answer is always at the end of the money trail.

Democracies hate dictators unless the dictator carries out the policies of that democracy.

You can ignore politics if you wish but don’t expect it to ignore you.

We can seek to remove ourselves from the politics of government but that won’t protect us from its reach.

To believe that any government has the power to keep you safe is to believe in fantasy.

Fixing the economy is easy, raise wages, lower prices, and cap profits. There is no reason for companies and corporations to be making twenty to forty billion in profits. It’s a gross manipulation and hurts ninety percent of the population. How is that right?

Whether a head cold or a stomach bug, life always looks brighter after you’re better.

War may be hell, but it continues because the profits are high.

Sometimes speaking the truth means standing alone.

It’s possible, though rare for a good teacher to overcome bad parents.

A train’s whistle in the still of the night is the sound of adventure yet to be realized.

Fear, anxiety, and anger all seem to disappear when you empty a full bladder.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done is to do nothing even when it was the right thing to do.

Often the most dangerous place to go alone is your mind.

Just because someone shakes their head in agreement doesn’t mean they agree.

Organized sports shatter more dreams than they fulfill.

To lie is easy, to lie to yourself is impossible because deep down inside you know the real truth.

To be born and live in a nation where war is not visited on one, should compel one not to judge the actions of those who have.

Staying in shape, staying active is hard. Not doing it is even harder.

The greatest threat to mankind is mankind.

Unfortunately, mankind’s greatest passion seems to be destruction.

There are so many reasons for seeking peace and none for seeking war.

Friendship sometimes requires us to listen even if we don’t agree.

A thick skin makes for a light heart.

Our lives are as unpredictable as the sea.

Most people really don’t want to know the truth and when confronted with it will still deny it.

About Running

I didn’t find running, I wasn’t looking for it, it just found me. Since then it has been the one consistent thing in my life for the last forty-one years. I believe it defines me in a way nothing else could. I can’t explain that but if you’re a runner, you know exactly what I mean.

It found me in 1978. I was stationed aboard the USS Albert David FF-1050 out of San Diego. It was a tin can, 414 feet long, 44 feet wide at its widest point.

One evening just before dark I saw Tom Sullivan dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to run three miles. I asked him if I could come and he said sure. I have no idea why I asked him. I didn’t run in high school except for sports and I was noted for how slow I was.

I remember I made it a mile and a half before I had to stop. Tom kept going. I finished the three miles walking and running. Tom was waiting for me on the side of the ship when I got back. He told me I did better than he thought I would.

Tom knew I was a smoker and liked to drink as well. I slept on the top bunk and the next morning when I swung out and landed on the deck I went right to my knees. My calve muscles felt like rock and I was hooked. From that day on I have been a runner.

I would like to be able to write that I quit smoking and drinking that very day. I wished I could write it, but the truth is it would take me thirteen years before I would do that.

In the thirteen intervening years, I used running to detox when my addiction got really bad. I did find out that instead of being slow, I was amazingly fast. I realized very quickly that running distance forced me to stride instead of running side to side which I realized I had always done. Many of my shipmates could not believe that I had once been considered slow.

It wasn’t long before I had moved beyond Tom and three-mile runs to ten-mile runs. It seemed that smoking and drinking had little effect on my ability. I was young.

After my time in service was up, I returned home and continued to run, and smoke and drink. However, that all changed when I turned thirty-three and I realized that to continue the way I was going would kill me soon and it was at this point that my life changed.

With help I gave up my addictions and threw myself into running and fitness; within two years I had run a Marathon in a time of 3 hours 12 minutes. A guy who was near me when I crossed the line told me as we cooled down, you know you have qualified for the Boston Marathon. I didn’t know that.

That was 1994 and the following year I ran Boston. What a thrill that was. I did it in under three and a half hours and I felt great from start to finish.

My running partners today tell me that it was running that saved my life and I have no doubt of that. Running gave me something to grasp when I was drowning in my addictions. Without it, I would have become another statistic. Running saved my life and has given me so much more than I would have ever expected possible.

If you must suffer an addiction in life, I hope it’s endorphins. They’re free and the supply is endless.

To be mindless you must run alone.

Sometimes your best runs come on the days you don’t want to go.

Running the Marathon requires a runner’s mind and body to override each other.

A runner knows that their mind is the greatest obstacle.

To be fluid in motion, to be mindless, to be at peace is to be running.

Running is a love that once found cannot be divorced.

If you’re runner it’s easier to run, then try and put it off.

A runner knows that to get faster he must cause himself pain. This is the difficult part.

Every person has the inalienable right to determine when they have lived long enough.

To have children, you should have to pass a test.

Mankind will bring about its own end, it’s inevitable.

Fewer resources, a rising human population, the math is simple, the destruction won’t be.

There is a case for sterilization if mankind is to survive for a longer period of time.

Each of us is capable of horrible things as well as heroic ones.

We’ve all contemplated suicide the only question is to what extent.

To face death and live is thrilling, after the fact.

The sea is a love you never get over.

On Spirituality

Like many children raised in the sixties and seventies, I grew up with religion. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic through fifth grade when due to lack of funding it closed. From then on attended public school.

It wasn’t a difficult transition as most of my neighborhood friends already attended public school and so I just went along with them. As with most of my Catholic friends I attended Mass on Sundays and holidays because I had to not because I wanted to.

When I was very young perhaps through fourth grade, I would consider myself a very devout believer however by eighth grade I only believed if I was scared or in trouble and I did everything I could to avoid Mass if at all possible.

I am not sure when I first heard the word Spirituality. I think it was probably when I attended my first AA meeting. By the time I arrived there at the age of 33 I had no belief left in any kind of God. I was broken, jaded, cynical, and suicidal.

In AA I was told to find a God of my own understanding as long as I realized I wasn’t it and there was something more powerful than me.

As I began life over again as a sober human being, I began to become aware of my surroundings and it was in nature that I found I became more in touch with my spirituality. I know that in nature I am as close to my creator as I can be, and I have no idea who or what that creator is. I do know I have never found that feeling in religion or inside a church or place of worship.

Spirituality is not the same as religion and does not require a God.

The difference in the color of a person’s skin or the shape of their features doesn’t matter until we are taught it does.

When I hold a gun in my hands, I understand what makes them dangerous.

Music, an old song has the ability to take me back to a time that I didn’t like and make me remember it with fondness.

Parents should explain to their children that not everyone should marry or have children and doing so “is not” a sign of failure or an unfulfilled life.

Often, we continue making the same mistakes because real change is hard.

Sometimes suggesting someone do something accomplishes more than asking them to do the same thing.

Though age has slowed my pace on the trail it has allowed me to more fully appreciate what I see.

Power is like a tick, if left alone and unchecked it will eventually destroy its host. The goal of Science should not be to extend human life beyond a hundred years. It should be to extend the life of the planet so that it will continue to support life.

To hate someone for the color of their skin, the shape of their features or where they were born is ludicrous. They had no more say in it than you did.

I’ve entertained thoughts of suicide regularly throughout my life. As yet I haven’t given in to its release. Perhaps knowing the option is there gives me comfort.

Living a long life is one-part genes and the rest is all luck.

Just live your life. Take as much enjoyment from it as you can. Don’t waste too much time pondering what your purpose is. In all reality there probably isn’t one.

Just because someone is cynical and jaded does not mean that they don’t take great pleasure in being alive. Mankind makes them cynical and jaded, not the things that nature has to offer.

As you get older you realize less is more when it comes to the things and people you surround yourself with.

Often our conclusions, our feelings regarding certain events are based on our life experiences, none of ours will be the same.

To seek does not always mean to find. Though in seeking we sometimes find something better than that which we sought in the first place.

About Aging

Aging is not a choice. How you age is.

I was only a few hours into boot camp when I realized it wasn’t going to be what I thought it would be.

To stay within yourself, to remain humble but follow your own truth is hard.

In life, the person I most despised was me when I was drinking.

In life, if there is one real truth, it’s that the truth is always changing.

We all have our demons. It’s beneficial to remember this when you are having a difficult time with someone.

Addiction is being dead while still breathing and lingering among the living.

The gentle roll of a ship beneath your feet, the taste of salt on your lips, the gentle whoosh of water displaced, and the smell of the sea washing over you should not be missed.

When someone tells you they can’t be trusted, you should take them at their word.

If you don’t have regrets, you have never lived. We all have regrets.

Never sacrifice your serenity and values to stay in a position because the money is good. There is no monetary value that can be placed on those two things.

Being a parent is a difficult job and should not be undertaken lightly. It does not end at eighteen. In fact, it never ends. I know this as a parent of a child and the child of parents.

In alcoholics anonymous, I was told to take the cotton out of my ears and put it in my mouth. I have come to find that you don’t need to be an alcoholic to heed that advice.

To remain a free people, we must understand that our own government intentionally creates enemies for us to control us. The greatest enemy of a free people is their own government and their own apathy.

Between two consenting adults’ sex should be treated as a sport. It’s fun and great exercise. It should not be used for emotional entrapment.

Compromise and Marriage go hand in hand. If you don’t like compromise you should perhaps forego the marriage ceremony.

Technology

Technology has robbed us of our humanity.

The more technology we have the more time and freedom we lose. The trade-off imprisons us.

I have found nothing quite as freeing as stepping out of a perfectly good airplane.

It’s always easier to go along with the status quo than to rebel against it.

We can learn to get along, to accept our differences or we can perish. I believe we will perish.

A response written in anger should be kept close to the chest and read again thirty-six hours later. If you then still feel the same deliver it.

An endorphin rush is a wonderful thing until it’s abruptly ended by your head hitting a rock.

Cell phones and social media have allowed humans to believe everything they have always wanted to believe about themselves but knew wasn’t true and it has led us back down the path to Neanderthals and it’s likely, I am insulting Neanderthals.

On Race and Racism

None of us had a choice in our birth so to hate someone for the color of their skin or ethnicity is ludicrous.

I am a father, brother, and a son. Like many I’m a dreamer. I have traveled far and met wonderful people. Regardless of culture our search is the same.

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