Stuck in a Rut called Life.

Life is a fickle subject, so many ups and downs and no matter who you are, we all experience this wonderful ride we call life. People say our existence can be positive, negative, or even somewhere in-between. But people also say we have no control over fate, or destiny which in return boils down to life, and I’d say

“that’s a paradox.”

We as humans are completely in control, which is what sets aside from the animals, because you and only you choose your path, you choose whether you succeed or fail, time and time again in all aspects of life. Existence is the experience of living and if you understand that, then you’re on your way to passion and purpose within your life.
Now from the beginning of our life to about the age of eighteen, give or take is where we all tend to be close to one another, not as in friendships, but as believers, as dreamers, and people who constantly contemplates the future, while looking to the stars. Better yet we were visionary’s and we were able to see the invisible in which is the possibilities to life. Yet the world tells us that our dreams and desires towards what seems to be impossible, are unrealistic as a child, so we try doing something practical such as working a job from nine to five, five days a week, for the next 40 years in order to live in life, versus living life.
Well life for little ole Joesph McDowell was just that. You see that poor kid couldn’t get a break, life would pick him up to only spit him out, time and time again. And he sure was the sweetest of all kids, he’d say

“Yes Ma’am”, “Please” and “Thank you”

and about any other form of manners you could think of. Someone or something sure was looking out for him, because his life was far from a smooth ride we all hope for. Now poor little Joesph had been rejected and forgotten by his parents, he had lived in a foster home for but a moment, travelled from state to state, going from one school to the other, and from family to family. Yet he stayed sweet, he never lashed out and he never broke the rules, he could only love. This poor kid had been abused, kidnapped and put in harm’s way time and time again, but it didn’t matter what life threw at him, he kept moving, he kept dreaming, and he kept reaching for the stars looking for his purpose. But Joesph got to a point where life was about to become even more real, for the path to adulthood was just around the corner. Now keep in mind statistically most kids who endure mass amounts of turmoil tend to get lost in life, they let the negative consume their life and they lose their life. But not for Joesph, he may not be reaching as high for the stars at this point, but he decided to roll with the punches and survive this thing we call life, just for a little while.
Now as we become adults, life gets ready to throw a new set of challenges our way. We need a place to live, which takes money in order to survive, which in return means we need to work, for that takes time, a lot of time, which then makes us exhausted, to do it over and over again for some forty years of life to only hope to retire if you were intelligent and successful enough. And some people are more prepared then others, but then we have some who slip through the cracks, trying to be that dreamer that we all once were, in which society told us won’t get you anywhere in life. But some made it at a young age, while others horribly failed to only go back to surviving. But then some hid, maybe they became poor or maybe rich. But only time can tell when they will show the world how they’re going to live life.
Joesph is now an adult, with a rather smart head on his shoulders, enough to let him survive anyhow. His work ethic is strong, he’s punctual, respectful, loyal, honest and everything an employer could look for. He did what was needed in order to pay his bills and have a little fun, but he was never well off enough to get ahead, but rather he maintained a steady balance of highs and lows. But in his years, he never could seem to stay at a single job, not because he was a bad employee, but rather the same little dreamer he was as a child, he wanted bigger and better, except money took the place of his dreams and aspirations. At this point he was about climbing the ladder for a company, making that good money to live a life with no bounds, but little did he know he was doing part of it right, he was reaching for the stars, the impossible. But he dreamt about the wrong goals, he dreamt to be successful in money, not passion, purpose and life. Or you could say the realistic goals society tells us to have versus the unpractical dreams we think we can achieve.
So, the years went on for Joesph, he had loved, he had lost, he worked ever so hard but to only stay in the same place with lost time. He didn’t have a bad life, but it was below his potential. He enjoyed his time in the military as a Navy Seabee, in which he was a part of the greater good and which he sacrificed his life to get a chance at a better life then what he had. This gave him a third chance to life, but little did Joesph know that he would being going to war, to fight for the freedoms and liberties we have as Americans, to do what most won’t anymore, to once again sacrifice. So time passed by again as he stood still, even though the military had given him a chance to a better life, it had taken a part of his life as well, after the war, after all the death, and poverty he had seen, through all the rigorous training he had endured, and mental anguish of breaking one’s self down in order to build them back up. Even though what he did could and can be respected, that wasn’t enough to stop the shit storm or turmoil he was about to endure.
Joesph had become lost after war, he just wasn’t the same, his life as dreamer had stopped at this point and the negativity which surrounded his life had consumed him. He was still able to provide and survive, but he became a drone working thirteen hour days, to go home and sleep for only a couple hours, while also fighting the demons within his head, which would give him depression, anxiety, anger and not to mention the pain his body endured daily, then to do it all over again and again, day in and a day out. His life was digging deeper and deeper into a rut, that some would say he would never get out of. His life had very little meaning at this point and he was alone. Poor Joesph got stuck in this rut for seven years after war, but a total of fourteen years from the point of childhood. These experiences in his life just would not give him a break.
As Joesph entered his thirties he had a revelation, he decided he was going to take a risk in life once again, so he went to a trade school to learn something new. It was great, it challenged him, and gave him enjoyment for a moment, but the reality was it was just another job, but the risk that was taken to leap for something unsafe was the start to something he would never see coming, change. The work was good, it was easy, it paid well and it was relaxing. Joesph probably could have retired as a Driver, until one night driving home from work, Joesph had been followed by a car, then chased down a back road with curves and bends all around, the slightest turn would be devastating. As Joesph was so close to being home, speeding well above the speed limit and twisting and turning just trying to get away from this car playing dangerous games, he makes a choice to turn down a road, and as a safe driver he puts his turn signal on, hoping once he made this turn he could just get back on his journey to go home and get some sleep after a long night and the other car would just pass on by, but that wasn’t the case. All a sudden time was as if it had stopped, right in front of his eyes, Joesph could see the car coming right for him, with nothing to do but to let time continue as it would “SMACK” the other car drove right into his driver side, hitting the front fender, tire and door. Now Joesph wasn’t a little man, he stood six feet five inches and weighed about two-hundred and forty pounds, yet he was driving a little compact car during this incident, his knees rested in front of the dash, his head right below the roof, it was as if he were a sardine in a tuna can. But adrenaline does wondrous things, in which it allowed him to get out of the car that now lay broken in front of him and the other car sitting there, as if it were taunting him to take revenge on the careless drivers who had affected his life and all that he has worked for. But he didn’t, he decided in his deep voice to take the info that was needed in order to use the law to his benefit. But this would only be another piece to his puzzle as he would sit there in pain, wondering what life had in store for him next.
It wasn’t but shortly after winning his lawsuit towards the auto incident, that he would finish the time it took to heal, but he wasn’t going to, it had only increased the issues he already had from being a disabled veteran, who was already fighting for his benefits from wars effects. So, what was Joesph to do? then he remembered his tution free schooling for time in service and this would be his last option to survive peacefully before having to go back to the mundane job of surviving and hurting in the work force, or find a way to live life. And there he would find that passion he had forgotten about long ago and his eyes would be opened through knowledge, the knowledge of who are you. He would once again reach for the stars, but with an actual direction this time, the direction to his purpose in life.
But he still had one more battle before completing his puzzle to life, he had to learn to accept himself and he had been fighting himself for a long time now, so long that he grew tired of it all. But one thing that was good from all of this pain inside was it became his fuel to his passion, for without it he may never have found himself. But as Joesphs time went on, the negativity in life increased tenfold, the people in this world had begun to lose their minds, kids and young adults no longer had morals and manners, hell even self-respect. Work ethic forget that, let alone the technology that is rotting their brains, they have become dependent on convenience versus knowledge and hard work. We aren’t even going to get into the trends and styles, that’s just gone to shit. People want something for free, or they complain to get their way or to gain equality yet it creates segregation between the people. We have TV stars as the President of the United States, and the list goes on and on. But this negativity had completely consumed Joesph, he had lost positivity in his life, until he said

“No more, I don’t want anything to do with the negativity in myself or life for that matter”

and he chose to let positivity in his life and ignore all that is bad which is consuming through negativity in this world. He chose to live a life of positivity, in order to follow passion to the purpose of his life, he chose to take control and reach for the stars, he decided to see the invisible, the impossible, because visionaries see the invisible and grasp on to the impossible in order to create a reality of passion and purpose.
You see life is about the experience of living, it is the goal in which to live life, and not to just exist. We are to live with life and not against it, and visionaries see this, know this and live this, they live this one life we have, for it passes in the blink of an eye. The experience in which we endure through life are but your puzzle pieces to the big picture that is your life, your passion and your purpose. Some never figure this out, some search all their life for it, and some find it, but those who found it have understanding, they have knowledge, they have life experience, which is what opened their eyes to see the meaning to life, and how to achieve it. But knowing is only half the battle, for it takes planning, it takes goals, hard work and dedication, perseverance and patience, commitment and faith. But don’t wait for tomorrow for there is no guarantee, look for yourself today, because time is precious and we don’t get a second chance at this. Just remember that success isn’t defined by position or money, but the value of your self-worth.

“Be you today not tomorrow.”

“Are you worth it? If so reach for the stars and leave your mark”

Advertisements

Thousand Yard Stare

“I’d like to order a twenty-ounce Black and White Mocha please.” He said to the Barista.
“Would you like whip cream on that?” she said with enthusiasm, as most baristas always do.
“Yes, please” he said with delight, as if the young lady’s enthusiasm had rubbed off on him in that moment.
“and what’s the name for the order?”
“Joesph”
Joesph grabbed his mocha, and heads directly to the back of the coffee shop, in the corner, by his favorite window. It was perfect, two chairs placed on each side of a round table, one of which had the best view, he could see the whole coffee shop, while being able to stare out the wall size windows that sat in front of the table. Not too loud, nor was there much foot traffic near his perfect table.
Joesph sat down on the far side of the table, nestled in the corner, away from all the noise; then he would put in his ear buds in his ears, and turn on what he would call, get his mind right music. Then he’d take a sip of his Mocha, and glance around the coffee shop, looking at all the diversity that would come through. Parents with their children, rushing to get some coffee, before they would get back to their hectic life, the businessman rushing through for his morning fix of caffeine, the numerous amount of people running late, while miraculously still having time to stop for their morning coffee, all of them, in and out, no time to stop, just go, go, go, as Joesph would just stare at the world moving around him, lost within the music inside his head. This was his routine every Friday, same time, same spot, same everything.
Joesph continued to stare of into the world, as if he were just a fly on the wall, oblivious to the noise around him, almost like he pushed the mute button on the TV remote. But as he stared off into the distance, something he hadn’t seen the Fridays before, came into the shop; it looked like a fog slowly flowing through the entrance, except this fog was dark, black as night for a matter of fact. It absorbed everything it came in contact with, consuming its existence, the people, the furniture, the light itself. But Joesph didn’t react, nor did anyone else, yet he stared at the darkness directly, where as everyone else acted as if the darkness was non-existent. Yet all Joesph could do was stare, as it crept closer and closer, crawling on the ground as if the darkness was reaching for him, until everything went black, and silence would sing its song, as his music faded away from his ears.

Tom_Lea_-_2000_Yard_Stare

He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t hear, he couldn’t even see, all that existed, was darkness, and silence. But he wasn’t scared, for something familiar seemed to comfort him, almost as if this darkness was a form of solitude, a place to gain clarity.

untitled

Then a tap on his shoulder brought everything back, the light, the people, his music, and his perfect spot, the place he would get his mind right. Joesph looked up at the barista.
“How’s your coffee?” she said as he snapped back to reality.

Deaths Curse

Four months into deployment overseas and the war began to take over, as the missiles flew across the sky, falling in various places on base, the sirens screaming the sound of danger approaching, telling us to get to bunkers. This was just a glimpse of my life as SW2 McDowell, that’s what the patch on my chest says anyways. Heck I still can’t get over being called by my last name for eight years. My days consisted of being driver, and sometimes a gunner in the harsh environment of Afghanistan, moving from one base to another. Sometimes down rigorous roads, up steep hill sides through the mountains of Afghanistan, and through small villages made from clay and straw, with no clear signs of electricity; all the while doing this during the darkness of night and sometimes during the scorching daylight.

thediplomat-12340397434_e186b8001a_k-386x257
Most weeks involved explosions near the various bases and fobs (forward operating base) we were at, in this time I had seen death, heard death, smelled death, and feared death, wondering if I would ever go home or even make it home. As war starts to consume you, you try to find a way out, well my way out was going to be my M4 rifle; it could have been so easy, sitting there in my room, alone, with no one to interrupt me, a M4 by my side, with eight clips, thirty rounds in each one, of 5.56 rounds; granted I would only need one to take the pain away, to end it all, you could say “taking the easy way out.” At this point in my life, I had no god by my side, no family besides my brothers and sisters of the armed forces, I had no support but myself to make a choice, life or death.
“Now that’s the kicker isn’t it, with us losing 22-veterans a day to suicide” we all see it, we just choose not to believe it, until it becomes our issue.
It’s not that we don’t have support, or someone to call, it’s that the time we have alone, can be our most vulnerable point, it’s as if once left alone, we get locked in a box, with all the tools needed to give up, it becomes a mental battle, do we choose life or death, do we keeping driving on, or do we kill the engine?
As the night falls, the wind blows the smell of dirt, gunpowder, and death all around, and the sirens scream “take cover”, you stop to think, will this ever end? and if so when? Every day is the same here, somedays are different, but for the most part there is a way of life here, and nothing can stop it. It’s as if you’re in the land of death, where the reapers rome, watching and waiting for their next victim of war. At night while you sleep, the darkness embraces you in a blanket of fear, while during the day darkness confronts you around every corner, always keeping you on your toes, never knowing when your time could be.

misty mort 3
In a world unknown, we have the greatest strength a man or woman could ever find physically, but mentally we weaken as every day passes. Death becomes a part of you, whether you see it, hear it, smell it or think it, it’s there. Living with death everywhere, you begin to change, not much, but just enough for it to lay dormant in you until it finds its moment to attack you from the inside out. You don’t know it yet, but in time this darkness will reveal itself to you little by little, until you become someone who you can’t recognize in the mirror, it’s as if there is two of you, one side good and one side bad. This darkness begins to manifest itself as you, within yourself, where you can see yourself doing things you would never do, but you are helpless to stop it.
People, doctors, family and more never understand a veterans disabilities in a way the veteran can from their experiences of war; unless you experience it, you don’t know, some things are physical, such as amputees, or pains and aches, but the mental side of things is what you don’t understand from my perspective, whether it’s my dreams, or lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, anger and so much more, it all stems off our memories, you can’t erase my mind, or my thoughts, my experiences and memories, and this is the problem because whether it’s a year after this trauma or ten years, when you hear a boom, it takes you back; when you see a flash, it takes you back; there are so many triggers out there, that bring back memories, and every day is different; if it’s an off day for you, it can through you into an episode, sometimes small, sometimes big, sometimes it progresses throughout the day, week or even month. It all stems off memories, which makes this battle forever lasting.
What do you imagine when you think of death? Well what I imagined was what I’d already seen, which is friends and family dying from old age, disease, cancer and such, or the norm you could say, but the most horrific death I’ve seen firsthand was when I was at war.
Three days in and I saw the aftermath of a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device,) while in a IED (improvised explosive device) training class, it was as if it were yesterday, standing there seeing two locals outside the wire walking to this spot in front of us about a hundred yards out, not quite knowing what they were doing until they stopped. Then one of them laid a flannel shirt down on the ground, the two men pick up the torso of the man who bombed the base in the VBIED; there were no arms, no legs, and no head on this torso, they picked up this body, laid it in a shirt, wrapped it up, then through it over their back like it was Santa with a bag of presents, then walked away as if nothing happened. If that doesn’t tell you this isn’t a game, I don’t know what does, because this image that’s burnt into my brain, will forever trap apart of myself here in the dessert.
The second time was at night, I was heading to the chow hall like I did every night, except I pushed it off this night, due to getting caught up in a conversation with my roommate, thankfully, because originally, I had planned on leaving thirty mins early, and the walk alone took ten minutes. But on my way to go eat, I heard this sound which I can only describe as a weapon of some sort having a miss fire, then a boom with the sound of something hitting metal. At this point I was nearly there. The missile that fell from the sky had hit the roof of the chow hall, the roof deflected most of it, but what had made it through, killed a 22-year-old EOD kid in the army, face down in his dinner, and a piece of scrap metal hit one of our senior chiefs in his neck, causing him to be life flighted to Germany. Everyone else either took cover, or ran for cover, until it was safe to help, go seek medical attention and get back to our way of things during war.
This one affected me because if I would have left when I wanted to, I might not be here today, and that’s not me procrastinating, that’s the truth, I would have been somewhere in that galley eating, at the mercy of flying metal with the force of death behind it. Not to mention there were plenty of close calls, from the IED explosions either on the road we were driving, bomb scares, and explosions right outside of where we were located, as well as driving through mind fields due to a careless driver, and one of our vehicles being hit by an anti-personnel mine which blew off the front of a tactical vehicle, injuring four of our people. Hell, our battalion even has its very own Forrest Gump, which will forever live with him. I still remember that day, Doc up on the wall, patrolling the perimeter, then wouldn’t you know it, we started receiving fire. Well guess what, Doc got shot in his ass. It wasn’t funny at the moment, but when everything was all said and done, we sure had one hell of a laugh. But this was just some of many incidences, it was the way of life at war.
Then lastly the death in our minds, from the nightmares of everything we have seen and experienced firsthand, the fear of dying and never coming home, how we could possible die in this country surrounded by death. Which all of this eventually manifest into death personally on the home front. An example would be, let’s say, driving. I always have these thoughts of dying in a car crash, sometimes by my own dewing, but other times by other drivers, then what I would do in my final moments of life, who would I call first, would I walk my bloody mangled body home to say my final words to my loving wife, my beautiful daughter, and my smart boy, what would I say? You see the thing is death lurks around the corner waiting for our moment; sometimes I feel as though I have a glimpse or an idea of how it will happen, but when? How bad? We fear what we can’t control, the mind being one of those things. Death is a very vivid picture in a veteran’s mind, whether it be the past, present or future. Many of us have seen death first hand, our lives revolved around the ultimate sacrifice for your country; not that we want to die, but that we would gladly lay our lives down for the people and country we love, so they may live a life of freedom.
“Isn’t that what we do for love? We sacrifice.”

8006673-e1406288809591-840x420

Life is like a math equation, it can be hard untill you figure it out. 

First off in math there is all sorts of equations just like life where there are many problems good and bad. So I’m not saying I have every awnser to a problem/equation, but I believe I have solved one of the main problems/equations to life which consist of a simple life.

I don’t know about you but a simple life is a dream these days, besides the fact that how many generations have worked their fingers to the bones to just get a taste of the simple life before their dieing days. And maybe simple means many things to different people, but simple to me means, little to no bills, the freedom to do what I please when I please with my friends and family, and just living the one life I have on this planet to the fullest.

Now like I said this doesn’t apply to everyone’s situation, for instance if you love a big city, and expensive things, you might not want my advice because it doesn’t apply to you. But if you love the outdoors like hiking, fishing, hunting and camping, which is like the biggest attraction to Oregon, then this might be for you. But again don’t misconstrue my words, outdoors can be a pretty broad spectrum of things, like the beach, well this isn’t for beach lovers, mainly because the beach is expensive.

Now that we have narrowed down a general location to my kind of simple life we can start getting to the simplicity of life if done right. Let’s start with bills, let’s face it we all hate bills there is no denying that, but this can be the easiest part of the equation/problem with some variables ofcourse like your choices you have already made in your life, like a new car for instance you can’t really stop paying your $200 to $500 car payment now can you. But break it down, look at all your bills, what bills are needs and what bills are wants, you know what I’m talking about, do you really need a $200 phone bill when you could go prepaid, since no one really talks on their phones anymore these days, especially when you can pay $10 a month for a home phone, you might say it’s not convenient or its lame but it saves you $190 a month. I’m not going to give and example of every bill it’s common sense, but think about it next time you look at your bills, you could save a lot of money. One last thing on bills and this applies to the bills that are needs, these can be adjusted aswell if not to $0 a month or even get you paid versus you paying for a utility bill. But you need to have a house of your own which is the only catch, but when that day comes and it will, think about what I’m saying. Buy a property with a Well, no more water bill, get Solar Panels, no more electric bill or you could even get paid by PGE for producing more then enough electricity to your property, take your own trash to the dump, or burn it, you can even throw your scraps in he compost bin, burn wood instead of gas, make a garden and go hunting and fishing, that alone if your any good can eliminate most of your food bill if not all of it and lastly but most unlikely to happen, get a property with a warms springs, to heat your water, now if only we could collect rain water we would be set. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

One big thing is a house, it’s scary I no but don’t be greedy, do you really need 8 bedrooms, probably not, but go simple. Buy a lot of land, and get a manufactured home, they are just as nice as a built house. Hey or you could build your house, but if you are smart about it, you could have at least a acre lot, 4 bedroom house with money in the bank for less the  $100000 versus $300000, but it’s your choice, not mine.

Well let’s see we’ve covered bills, and location, let’s move on to work, which can be the hardest one of all depending on what you want in life. Well this equation/problem is all over the board, some people enjoy what they do, and if you are the lucky one who has his dream job then I guess we are done here, but if you hate your job, your boss, and your just outright unhappy, then fix it. Did you know that not only in this era but in oregon is the best time to be who you are and make money doing it.Yes I’m talking about being an entrepreneur, it can be hard, but I’m sure there is some thing you have to offer this world whether it’s arts and crafts or singing, maybe even being a guide to the hunter, the sky is the limit and you can work in the luxury of your own home, look at all he stay at home mom and dads, all it takes is time and little money, so quit buying that coffee and save your money to follow your dream. Not to mention there are so many options for help to start your dream if you just make the effort to find them. You might not be rich at the end of the day, but if your bills are tooken care of, and you free to do what you want, then whats the harm.

Well at this point I’d say we are about done except for three things, credit to help get you the things you desire like to house for instance, be smart check your credit, don’t use more then 30 percent of your credit card limit, so you can build that credit, and please make you payments on time, credit can destroy you unless you don’t need to buy anything. Saving your money so you can pay off that house before your 80, which kind of defeats the purpose of his whole blog if your bills are $2000 plus a month till your 60 if your lucky, plus your gonna need something to live off after a certain age, a nest egg basically. Learn the stock markets, turn your money into and investment. And lastly the ones that served our country even disabled people, you have benifits that can achieve these goals a lot faster then the average joe.

Well I hope this helps some of you if not all of you, and if you liked my blog, let me know. Best of luck in your life no matter what path you follow.