I Feel Just Like a Political Refugee

Danny

Have you ever casually read through a Facebook political argument thread?  If you have you might recognize it as minutes of your life that you’ll never be able to claim back.  People arguing with zero intentions of having their minds changed with their only intention of internet yelling louder than their adversary.

And of course we know that no one ever wins an internet political argument until the mud slinging begins.  It’s like watching children argue in the sandbox.

The political environment in the United States is fairly simple.  If you support Donald Trump you’re an ignorant, back-woods racist.  And if you are a supporter of the left then you are a closed minded, child-killing, socialist.  Politics in the U.S. is quite polarizing and at the same time maddening.  And I hate it.

I don’t identify with the left because they seem to be a party who only accepts you IF you believe exactly as they believe and then tow the party line regardless.  And I don’t identify with the right these days for many of the same reasons.  I feel as though I am a political refugee without a home.

On the surface the sides seem to be dug in.  The left refuses to budge.  The right refuses to budge.  And those in the middle are stuck, left to choose between two polar opposites.  And choosing is like being asked which you prefer, to drink a cup of vomit or eat a bugger sandwich.  I wish there was an option in the middle.  A candidate who was a bit socially conscious, yet fiscally responsible.

I absolutely, positively hate politics.

Danny

Is Sugar Really That Dangerous?

DannyI was reading an article the other day about sugar on Huffpost (you can read the article here) and I had an epiphany.  There are a lot of facts about sugar that are alarming, especially considering that food manufacturers put it in a lot of our foods.

The simple truth is that sugar might be the most deadly substance on the planet.  And even if that statement is a bit overstated, it isn’t far off.

And because of this I have decided to spend the next week or 2 weaning myself off of all sugar.  I’m not saying I’ll never eat sugar again.  I’m saying that I need to be cognizant of the dangers of sugar and then use that awareness to make better food choices.

Danny

We Believe Different Things and That’s Okay

DannyI’m sure at this point you’ve seen the interview videos held on college campuses around the United States.  I’ve watched several of them today as I took advantage of a rainy day.  In these videos a guy or lady walks around college campuses asking students about their political views and then asks them to give specifics to back their belief system.  Rarely can the students provide substance to defend their beliefs.

One particular video grabbed my attention for 2 primary reasons.  First, because of the number of college students who seem to be espousing socialist views.  Secondly, because many who were interviewed believe that free speech only applies to those expressing views that aligned with their own.  And differing views should be considered “hate” speech.

I don’t agree with many people who are extremists, but I do believe they have the right to express their views.  And sometimes it is painful to let someone speak, especially if their views are racial, anti-religion, pro-life/pro-abortion, etc.  Opposing views should not automatically be classified as “hate” speech and it alarmed me to listen to student after student express this world-view.

And quite a few agreed with amending the Constitution to limit citizens’ right to free speech!

But when asked WHY the Constitution should be amended they were not able to provide a single valid reason why.  Eventually they fell back on their belief that “hate speech” should be restricted.

I don’t believe this is a view I’ll be adopting any time soon.

Danny

Not All People Are A** Holes…

DannyThere are these moments when people do things around me that appear on the surface to reinforce the perception that most people are self-centered, self-focused, selfish and all the other “self” prefixed words.  My usual reaction is to point out that society is going down the toilet or that people are such a** holes these days.

I do believe that social media has changed us.  It has changed how people interact with the world around them.  The most interesting change, in my opinion, is the selfie.  Stop for a moment and imagine how you might have viewed someone 15 years ago who used their camera to take pictures of themselves.  We would have thought “how vain do you have to be?”, but in today’s world the selfie is completely acceptable.

On the surface society would appear to be spinning in the toilet bowl.  People do appear to be more self-focused.  People do appear to be less interested in helping others.

But all of these perceptions are superficial.  When I stop and think about humanity in general, I believe that most people are good.  I believe most people have good intentions.  I also believe most people care about others and are considerate.

It’s easy to be influenced by social media and the inundation of news to believe that the entire world sucks.  And I’ll admit I have fallen victim (at times) to this false narrative.

The truth is there are a lot of good people who are trying their best to make it through a hard life and a tough world.

Danny

Social Media in the New Year

Making Time For Me

Every January 1st I go through my Facebook friends. I “unfriend” anyone who isn’t in my real life, I haven’t engaged in real conversation with or hasn’t added something positive to my life.

Family is trickier and for those people, I unfollow. Life is too short to get bogged down on all the negative.

Facebook doesn’t seem to irritate me for this very reason. I’m not afraid to eliminate. I’m honestly only friends with like 10 people from high school and I went to 2 different ones. Only 4 people from my 7 years of college and a handful of old coworkers. Why?? Because, that’s not real life. It’s the past and even though memories are awesome, I’m living in the present ❤

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What Is the Difference Between Judging and Being Judgmental?

Danny

What is the difference between judging and being judgmental?

There is a major difference between judging and being judgmental and I think it is important for more people to begin using their skill of judging.

Each day of our lives we are put in a position to which we must judge.  Webster’s Dictionary defines judging as: to form an opinion or conclude about or assess.  We meet new people and we must judge whether or not the person is safe; are they going to harm me?  We must judge people if for no other reason than to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

I have heard many people exclaim “judging is bad!”.  I completely disagree.  It is my belief that judging is necessary and is a skill which needs to be honed and developed.  If more people used their skill of judging they might find themselves involved in fewer bad situations.

“Don’t judge” is terrible advice and is a phrase that is so overused today that people begin to open themselves up to whatever or whomever happens down the trail.  The more appropriate phrase should be “Don’t be judgmental”.  Being judgmental infers a level of judging people from a moral standpoint or standing in a place of superiority while making said moral or critical disparagement.

It is being judgmental that we must avoid, not judging.  I like to think of judging as a way of comparing others to what we expect of good humans to keep ourselves safe and surrounded by those we can trust and those who will help us better ourselves.

Being judgmental is standing on one’s high horse while looking down on others while displaying overly-critical points-of-view or opinions.

For instance, I meet new people every day in my line of work.  On occasion I’ll meet a person and my sensors go off.  For some reason the person just doesn’t seem trustworthy.  I immediately think to myself to keep this person at arm’s length until I get a better feel for why my “don’t trust” alarms are ringing.   I am comparing them to my experiences in life and how I’ve learned people should act, respond and speak.  In this way judging is a form of discernment; a way for me to filter others and protect myself in the short-term until I get a better sense of the situation or person.

On the other hand, I meet the same person and they light up a cigarette.  As I’m standing there I just cannot believe this person would smoke and my internal conversation goes something like this…

“Don’t they know how bad smoking is for their body?  How intelligent could this person be to continue to smoke knowing they are killing themselves?  I’ll bet they are selfish too.  I wonder what his wife thinks about his smoking and his selfishness?  He probably smokes in his car with his kids.  Good grief what a terrible person this guy must be.”

We have all committed the act of being judgmental and all have had this kind of internal conversation about someone at some point.  Being judgmental is dangerous.  We put ourselves on the pedestal as the jury and look down on someone else while forming an overly-critical opinion.

As we live our lives I suggest we all hone the skill of discernment (judging) and reduce our inclination of being judgmental.

We must protect ourselves and keep our circles tight and secure.  But we shouldn’t allow our beliefs to create a mentality of superiority.  That’s how I see it.  Hope you have a great Thursday!

Danny

The Beach Life Is the Life For Me

Danny

The beach life is the life for me…

A while back I wrote a post in which I stated I was leaning more toward becoming a mountain person versus a beach person.  I was wrong.

The long-standing issue has been my battle with heat and its impact on my MS symptoms.  In the last few months my symptoms have been nearly nonexistent (knock on wood) which reinvigorated my love for the shore.  Naples reminded me how much I love the ocean.

Evelina and I are headed to the beach house in Cherry Grove, S.C. weekend after next for a couple of relaxing days and I am excited like a kid at Christmas.  There is a small town north of the house called Southport that has a quaint fishing village feel with plenty of boutiques, restaurants and a ferry.  There’s also a town near the village where my dad grew up called Oak Island and I have so many great memories from my childhood.

Image result for southport ncWhen I was a kid we owned a Volkswagen Van and my family would visit Myrtle Beach for vacation.  We would always pitch tents at a campground which is the ultimate awesome adventure for a 10-year-old.  On our last day we would pack up and head to Oak Island for the day.  My dad would tell stories about the island most of which I pass on to Evelina every time we visit.  I love the place.

I am so happy to be able to enjoy the heat and the shore again.  At any rate, I hope everyone has a great Tuesday.  I am spending some time with work friends today and then headed back to Charlotte for the 4th celebration.

Danny

A Quick Update For Those Who Are Interested

Danny

A Quick Update For Those Who Are Interested…

I visited another doctor last week to get a second opinion on my Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis and to get a stronger course of treatment.  This doc is a top digestive physician in the U.S. and he prescribed a medication that I began last night which should get all of my symptoms under control.  It should also allow me to return to a relatively normal eating regimen.

Over the last few weeks I have attempted to add new foods to my diet, but each time I do I develop stomach spasms or digestive issues which causes tremendous pain.  Because of this I have been sticking to mashed potatoes, turkey or chicken, green beans, Nugo bars, water, eggs and grits.  I have 1 cup of 1/2 caf coffee in the morning.  The doctor believes the new medication should allow me to begin eating normally again which is something I am excited about experiencing.

There is one huge downside to all of this and it is a development that hit me out of left field.  I had 5 polyps removed during my procedure back in April and all 5 were pre-cancerous which has my doctor on alert.  According to him there is an outside chance that they have to remove the part of my colon that has the inflammation.  This would solve the UC and cancer problems, but I would live without a large part of my colon.  I’m not overly excited about the possibility although he assures me I would live a normal life.

The idea that I could be facing a cancer battle isn’t appealing to say the least.  Any time a doctor uses the big “C” word they have my full attention, especially as it relates to the colon.  At any rate, Evelina and I are withholding any reaction until we have more info from my next procedure which will allow the doctor to get a better idea of what is going on.

Until then I’ll keep taking this one pill each morning and hope for the best!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday…

Danny

The Best Thing You Can Do Is To Unplug From Technology

Danny

The Best Thing You Can Do Is To Unplug From Technology…

Back in January I made a simple decision for my own sanity-I unplugged from Facebook and Twitter.  I had become worn out from the feeling that I was bombarded with news and updates of negativity.  I had grown tired of getting roped in to conversations about politics that led to arguments which resulted in adding to my stress level.  Because of the inundation of negativity I stopped using social media completely.

I didn’t have a plan, but figured I would eventually use Facebook like I use salt; a little dab here, another pinch there.  What I found after a while was that I didn’t miss it at all and my quality of life increased.

Next on my list was unplugging from news.  I had grown tired of wrestling with the dilemma of trust.  I didn’t know which news sources were reporting “news” accurately (I surmised none of them) therefore I decided to eliminate them all.

I went cold turkey on eliminating social media and news for over 8 weeks and then added in infrequent use since the end of March.

I don’t add many pictures to Facebook.  I don’t comment a lot.  I don’t follow people.  I unfollowed almost every page to clean up my feed so that I only get posts from people I care about.

So what are my impressions and thoughts after nearly 4 months of minimal social media and even less news?  My quality of life has skyrocketed!  I no longer feel overwhelmed.  I no longer view the world as negatively as I had before.  I am paying more attention to the real world around me.  I spend less time looking at my device when I’m out in public.

In short, I feel happier and less stressed.

My belief is that so much information creates a false impression.  The inundation of information makes people believe that crime and doom are waiting on every corner.  The negative news reporting makes us feel as though there is no good in the world.  News sources report death, destruction, corruption and crime so powerfully that it creates in us a false perception when the truth is that crime per capita in the U.S. is at a 40-year low according to the FBI data crimes department.

Now that I am paying attention to the real world I am noticing that there are a lot of good people in the world.  Sure you see some inconsiderate individuals also, but for the most part people are decent.  For the most part people are normal.

I highly recommend you unplug completely for a while and allow your mind to reset.  I believe you will find your stress level will go down and your mental quality of life will increase.

Try it.  You might find that you actually enjoy the real world.

Danny