I have relegated my posting activity to social media for a year or so, and I kind of miss the old blog format in nostalgic ways.
I feel like social media limits you to a picture and/or a paragraph or two and it feels like you'll get a lot of TL;DR comments if you go on too long. In reality, blogging may be the same way, but at least *I* don't feel constrained from filling a ton of white space with some free form writing. . . whether I post it or not.
I'm compelled to review the last year, because I haven't posted in so long. Plus, it's therapeutic to reflect.
I have worked a few different contracts as a network engineer and repeated one old gig, but have been contracting my own labor through the company I started with my brother for all the benefits surrounding entrepreneurship. The IRS tax code for businesses has over 40,000 pages of tax deductions. You can take them, if you document everything. It's a different mindset, and I have high hopes for the business. I hope to transition from being "self-employed" to really running a thriving company over the next months and years. For now the current business is in a slow time with challenges ahead in the near term, but nothing that can't be overcome by cutting back expenditures and generating new revenue, which is starting to happen.
I moved from Irving to Dallas. Living in Uptown is not much different except that there's a lot more going on within a few miles of the house than I can possibly keep up with. And the traffic! Since all roads lead to The Mixmaster, and I've learned which surface streets to use at which times of day when the freeways are jammed. Dallas traffic has added some stress, but it really is a matter of timing and knowledge of routes to avoid it. In all, I'm closer to things.
The reason I moved to Dallas is that I've latched on to a new friend in October. He's an Iraq veteran who has been through a couple of IED explosions and some hellish consequences through his recovery. I completed Easter Seals training for family caregivers and I try to do my best to counsel and mentor him and understand how to help someone with his condition. Three was a crowd where I was living, so we became roommates and moved. In mentoring him, I find that he is the one actually mentoring me and giving some additional meaning to my life. His perspective is so different than mine was at his age. I was not so cynical, but I was spiritually out of touch and a little out of touch with who I was. I know that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy really helps people who have been through trauma, and some who haven't. I also am reassured that massage is the best cure for stress and anxiety. The most beneficial thing I do for him, though, is just listen.
He takes a lot of my energy sometimes, but I find that I'm growing stronger in character in many ways. Sometimes he annoys me to the point that I wonder why I continue, but then he does something exceedingly nice or lets me know how much he appreciates my friendship. Plus, I continue for the same reason I started: Guys like him are heroes to me. Like my father, he was involved in an explosion in a war. Whatever I can do within reason to lessen the consequences of those kinds of sacrifices is not a burden to me. I've crossed the line to unreasonable on occasion only to quickly dial back to keep from becoming an enabler and to make sure everything I'm doing is from a place of loving kindness. This weekend, I'm writing an appeal to Veterans Affairs to get some assistance for myself as a caregiver. Since I've taken on the task, I've been a relief to his family and really had a positive effect, according to them, but I can't deny the drag on my energy, career focus, and social life is palpable. Consequences are appearing and making me face some dilemmas with regards to my priorities. Change is good if it aligns with my goals. I suppose in retrospect I had not realized that my goals were out of whack with my spirituality and my true values. My perspective keeps changing as I gain knowledge and experience. I just keep meditating and praying that he finds happiness and normalcy at the end of the long road he's on and that what I'm doing is ultimately good, wise, and rewarding to all involved.
I have been playing less hockey, because of the aforementioned efforts and I have started going to night school, which takes a lot of time and energy and extra commuting. In fact, besides a bit of chillaxing watching streaming movies or playing some Ingress, I haven't been doing much as far as recreation. Ingress forces you to get out and walking around, since that's how you collect energy in the game. I've walked 17000 steps this weekend according to the Samsung S Health app, and the weekend isn't over. I'll probably return to hockey as my primary physical activity after I graduate. I really need to get back into the gym. Wow, I've lost weight. I'm at about 195, which is about 10 pounds less than where I would normally be, if I were doing more athletic things. It may be time to start forcing myself to go to the gym, which I know has benefits I could use right now.