It’s Freedom Day, 14 Months In.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!)

My monthly personal share. This month I learned…

New psychiatrists ask a LOT of questions. New to me, not new to the profession. He’s a nice guy, though. Hopefully I’ll stick with seeing him. Or he’ll want me to? However that works.

There’s a few other minor tidbits to share. I find myself constantly burned out on depression. The only thing more disappointing than my career aspirations is the lack of funds in my wallet. (LOL!) I’ve even been staving off writer’s block and I never thought that was possible. Finally, summer vacations are nice for the teachers and kids but school starting is priceless when I’m home all alone with just the cats.

Nemo (Left) and Snoopy (Right) just snuggled up on the couch.

I’m looking for positives here.

“Pain. All I know is pain.”
Pain Bot- Teen Titans Go!

I wake up in pain every morning. I go to bed in pain every night. Somewhere in the middle, there are a lot of ups and downs. Usually pain, too.

Anybody who tries to convince me I stupidly chose this? Is probably crazier than people accuse me of being. Oh, I hear plenty of “It’s all in your head,” and “You’re making it all up,” from doctors and nurses who I thought were supposed to be helping me. Well, if I’m nuts, then it’s from the pain on top of why ever else I might be crazy. I know what I go through every day.

Each morning I get to wake up in pain is still another morning I get to wake up. I’m grateful for that. There’s a roof over my head and a warm cat by my feet. I celebrate any time I find a quarter in the laundry or a dime on the ground. (It adds up.) There’s a bumper crop of abundance in each day if you know where to look.

I’d be happy if corporate America shriveled up and blew away tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

Yeah, I know. I’m anti-capitalist. I’m what the crazier half calls crazy. I’m a lunatic, a socialist, and a dreamer. I’m just “woke” enough to believe there’s maybe life outside of chasing the almighty dollar. Not that I trust my government any more than I trust corporations. They’re all corrupt and greedy as Hell. Prove me wrong.

Okay, admittedly I’m pretty bitter. I’ve tried like mad to get over it, pretend it isn’t a thing, even spiritually bypass the fact that I’m unemployed. I’m still pretty pissed off over a year later. It’s just like any relationship ending suddenly, really.

I still can’t give specifics because ya never know when one of the shifty lil shitz might be reading my blog in an effort to hang me with my own words. I’ll just say that if I ever hear “It’s what’s best for the company” ever again? Well, friends and family will be visiting me in the nut farm for a while.

F$@&%x*

You hear about “quiet firing” and “quiet quitting” these days more and more. I think there’s some truth to it. People are getting fed up with being mistreated and undervalued in the workplace. And, strangely enough, large corporations are usually the workplace in question. I never want to find myself tied up in that position again. Any employer lacking in compassion should be… Well, uh, trying to think of something at least Rated R to say right now. Yeah.

I still stand by the notion it’s better to suffer the lack of free spending cash and a lavish lifestyle than to go to a job where my values don’t match my employer’s. I think it’s better to breathe fresh air than show up to a stuffy office building every day and hate it. I firmly believe I’m better off writing blog articles about my unemployment and the inconveniences it has caused than blindly trudging through life every day just waiting to kick the bucket.

My psychological journey has been in the forefront of my day-to-day life these days.

It ain’t pretty. I’ve been in a pretty dark place. I haven’t tried to delete myself or anything, but I ain’t happy. Not kidding, I really feel like a failure most days. I don’t know where I’m headed, but I sure know where I’ve been.

I had quite a day a couple of days ago. There was a big shift from my sort of quiet, stagnant state to an overwhelming amount of domestic productivity and creative energy. It’s a little freaky, but I like it. Then, the next day I crashed- hard. Suddenly I was back to being exhausted, sore, and somewhat unmotivated.

Even my beloved hobby, TableTop RolePlaying Games, has had it’s shares of ups and downs as of late. We spend a lot of time in the TTRPG community discussing racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and other negative things. Sure, it would be more fun discussing books, settings, dice, Game Master advice, Player advice or really anything game related, but a few rotten dipshits have wrecked that for all of us. Someday down the road I hope people will embrace what they love and joy instead of criticism and hate.

Life is full of ups and downs. Learning experiences come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and forms. Sometimes we don’t know what it all means until ages down the road. I’d throw my hands up and say. “It’s all part of God’s plan,” but we all know that’s not how I do things.

Speaking of my favorite hobby.

TTRPGs have been a big part of my life for 40+ years. Yeah, I take my gaming pretty seriously. I’ve been a collector, player, DM/GM/Judge/whatever, designer, writer, and critic for most of those years. I still have a lot to learn. The hobby has only really been around for a little over 50 years in a way we would recognize it.

Modern Dungeons & Dragons (Fifth Edition or 5E) has failed some of us. This has led to the creation of the Old School Renaissance movement. (Or Revival, Rescue, Revision. Just insert your favorite “R” word after Old School.) Some of us in the #ttrpg community really enjoy running older versions of D&D or even other games developed in the 1980s and 90s.

The problem arose when a lot of us older, white, male gamers gained a reputation for bigotry and other negative behaviors. It may have always been there, but this modern crowd of gamers is far more sensitive (in a good way) than those in the past. It’s not going to fly now.

If new players are discouraged from joining in at the game table, turned away from conventions, or shouted down on social media? Those are players that might never come back. New players are the lifeblood of any game system. For the Love of God, please consider inclusivity and diversity in all things hobby related. We (humanity) have got to get past the hate and the negative rhetoric or we’re never going to evolve as a species.

This takes a toll on my mental health. I get that we old, white, (presumably cishet) males have been screwing up the US for centuries. It’s finally coming back around to haunt us in our own socio-cultural interactions. I’m pretty saddened that people behave so poorly toward one another.

The TTRPG/boardgame industry is just one tiny example. It’s not even that many of us OGs have these hateful feelings or are bigoted in some way. It’s the perception that we’re bad news. That stereotype is going to kill the OSR despite our best efforts. And trying to break that negative stereotype through love and positivity can be exhausting mentally as well as emotionally. Then we go out into the rest of the (“real”) world and see it even more prevalent out there.

This seems like a good stopping point for now.

Please remember to be kind to one another. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you, always. Take care.

3:00 AM Rantings of a Mad Man

Back in my day, the ancient past known as the 1980’s and 1990’s, if you wanted to meet one of the superstars of roleplaying games you had to write them a letter or go to a convention. Conventions were few and far between back in those days, at least ones that drew in the BIG names. Or you could send fan mail. Later there were Internet forums and email, but originally we had to do it the hard way.

Seemed like a good idea. Might take it down later.

WTaFH am I doing here? No really? What am I doing here?

Do I even belong here? In this space? With all these HUGE names in gaming?

I just don’t know any more. Some of y’all make more in a day than I will this year off selling RPG items no less. Should I even be here on #TTRPG social media hanging out? Seriously, I’m losing my damn marbles here.

I mean, yeah I’ve come up with some (*what I think are) fairly interesting articles..

Fell asleep on my keyboard right about here. 6:47AM

Thud!

It just stymies me how I am still somehow, in some small way, considered a part of any community on the Internet. I mean, I follow some pretty big names on Twitter. To my knowledge none of them followed me back, but I could maybe be wrong about that.

Okay, after a little research, a couple of what I consider to be HUGE names actually did follow me back. Much love for you. Y’all know who you are. Thank you!

Old timey story incoming.

Back in my day, the ancient past known as the 1980’s and 1990’s, if you wanted to meet one of the superstars of roleplaying games you had to write them a letter or go to a convention. Conventions were few and far between back in those days, at least ones that drew in the BIG names. Or you could send fan mail. Later there were Internet forums and email, but originally we had to do it the hard way.

Back then, some of the BIG names in gaming were giants because there weren’t that many of them. Artists, too btw. You were lucky if you could find Gary Gygax himself, Jim Ward, Lester Smith, Ed Greenwood, Tom Moldvay, Zeb Cook or Keith Parkinson in person. But if you did, it was awesome!

Even more fortunate was if you got to sit down at the table with one of the legends. I never had the pleasure, but I knew a few guys that actually sat at the table with Gary Gygax at Gen Con back in the really olden days. Can you imagine? Playing D&D with the creator himself. Wow…

Nowadays, our heroes are slightly more accessible.

Maybe it’s because of the Open Game License? There are far more creators out there in the world to run into than ever before. That’s one possibility.

The other, bigger monstrosity is social media. Facebook/Instagram (Meta,) Reddit, Pinterest, and Twitter among others have helped us keep in touch with friends and families all over the bloody place. Seriously, I have like, a thousand friends on different platforms and I have no clue who they are. (Feel free to say Hi any time.) YouTube is somewhere between social and a regular medium.

Then we’ve got just as many creators selling themselves on crowdfunding such as Kickstarter. One of the best ways to promote anything is on social media. YouTube videos help. Sometimes blogs like this one help spread the word, too. (*Okay, maybe not mine, but there are some. I know there are.)

Ever since this crazy new electronic age began, I’ve actually bumped into a few of my idols out there online.

I think our “greatest” technological innovation has been great for helping us connect. It’s also been horrible psychologically for some of us. One of my recent forays into #ttrpgTwitter led me to an account with almost 15,000 followers.

Holy buckets! Publishing credits with some major names in the industry. That’s saying something. I realize it’s easier these days to break in as an RPG writer, designer, editor, etc. But still, to actually receive a paycheck from Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, or even Goodman Games would be dream come true for many of us.

So, I’m out there in the Twitterverse with some of these truly amazing folx and I’m wondering. How do I fit in? What am I know for? (uh… nothing yet, really.)

I learned that I share a birthday with Matt Mercer. That’s kinda cool. I’m older, but still…

If anyone needs me, I’m going to be curled up in a ball under my desk with a pot of coffee, a bowl of homemade Chex mix, and this here laptop. You might hear me rolling dice or see me when I sneak out to go to the bathroom. I’ll figure the rest out as I go.

At least I came out from under the desk.

Thanks for being here. See you in the funny pages on Twitter. I appreciate you!

OSR Imposter Syndrome Part 2.

Well,. I’m going to go grab the Chex mix out of the kitchen and put on another pot of coffee. Hopefully some video game therapy will help me figure things out. I’ve been back and forth with this for over two weeks now.

My first thoughts were, “OMG What am I doing here?”

Photo by Eva Bronzini on Pexels.com

Seriously, it makes me want to crawl into a hole for about a week and subsist off of coffee, Chex mix, and video games. I’ll come out long enough to shave my noggin, maybe bathe, pet the cats, and forage for not-Chex mix. (Vegetables or something.) Otherwise my family can come try to poke me with a stick to see if I growl at them.

Aw crud. This is the first full week of school. No crawling in a hole for me. Kids need rides to and from school. My wife needs clean clothes, clean dishes, and meals cooked. Guess I have to live with other humans, not in my cozy hole. Boo.

Why the fuss? Well, go on DriveThruRPG and search up Dungeon Crawl Classics. 1.397 entries! Yes, many of those are from Goodman Games, around 451 of them give or take. But still… That’s a lot of entries.

Can I even compete in this market?

Seriously? Is it even possible? With the announcement of One D&D, and the massive bloat that is third party 5E publishing, I won’t touch that market until at least 2025 if/when they announce a new open license agreement. There’s no sense putting out a whole 5E module just to have to rewrite it. IFF it actually sells.

I figure I’ll take my chances with DCC. at least it’s only 1,397 competing products. Maybe I can make enough credit to get more OSR stuff. I want to try monkeying around with some of the OSE stuff from Necrotic Gnome. I’ve heard good things for years about them.

Which is tougher: Fear of failure or fear of success?

Suppose I put a module out with my meager mapping and art skills. My goal is to make sure it’s carefully written, edited, and creature stats in order. I want to make sure all of the OGL licensing is in proper order. Oh, and I want the adventure to be fun, too.

As I’ve said before, my fear and loathing of criticism runs extremely high. At least with a game product I have the option of ignoring all of the negative comments and updating fixes based on the constructive ones. Still, I find the whole process terrifying.

What to charge? Pay What You Wish? Do those ever make money? $1.99? 2.99? $6.99? More? What’s fair? I wish I truly knew.

What’s the best that can happen?

Thanks for being you!

Well,. I’m going to go grab the Chex mix out of the kitchen and put on another pot of coffee. Hopefully some video game therapy will help me figure things out. I’ve been back and forth with this for over two weeks now.

I appreciate you stopping by. Hopefully things will seem brighter in the morning.

My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.

Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.

Personal Spiritual Share: Existence.

Sometimes the struggle comes before the prosperity. Whenever you’re going through crap, there’s always a lesson on the other side.

It’s been a rough couple of days.

Expectation of injured.

One thing people don’t tend to understand as well about depression is that it doesn’t show on the outside. The same goes for chronic physical pain. Just because there’s no fence post sticking through my neck, doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain every day both emotionally and physically.

I’ve said before that if pain is fear leaving the body, I can walk up to Godzilla and kick him in the nuts. I ain’t scared of nothin. (*Editor’s note: Yes, that’s horrible grammar.) But the point is: I’ve had my freakin fill of pain and fear both. I’m done.

There’s ALWAYS a lesson!

Quick story for ya. The other day I went to my kids’ ballgames and dropped them off to their respective teams. Grandview Little League is notorious for having very little available parking on Saturdays during game days. I circled around a few times and couldn’t find a space. So, out of sheer frustration, I took the car home and walked back to the baseball field. It only takes about 15-20 minutes. I used to do that kind of thing all the time where I grew up.

So, I get back to the ballpark and walk past my usual parking space only to find it wide open. I busted out laughing because you just can’t make this stuff up. The Universe taught me a lesson that day. Sometimes the struggle comes before the prosperity. Whenever you’re going through crap, there’s always a lesson on the other side.

Taking it one or two steps further.

Walk with me for a moment figuratively. IFF we’re spiritual beings having a physical experience, then the human body is basically a lens through which experiences are focused-in-on and perceived. These fleshy suits we wear in 3D reality are like a magnifying glass for experiences and feelings in the physical. (Editor’s Note: If you really want to blow your mind, multiply everything by millions upon billions of beings across the universe and alternate reality timelines. It’s staggering!)

As a collective consciousness, Earth is a big classroom with the Universe/God/Source as our teacher. Everything we all experience together is then a spiritual lesson for us all. Every moment of joy, triumph, or passion teaches us something. Likewise, so does lack, pain, and suffering.

I think we all know what we would prefer to experience while we’re here on Earth. The hard part is experiencing all of the things we don’t prefer in order to learn what we do prefer. For example, we have all at some time experienced lack (of some sort,) so we know what an abundance looks like. We’ve all been sad, so we know what joy looks like.

It’s hard to be grateful for the negative stuff.

Yet I am, because without it, I wouldn’t know what the awesomeness on the other side will look like. As an aside, because I do know what much better times look like, I know the sad times won’t last forever. Until then, I’m grateful for what I have.

Thank you all for being here. Have a fabulous weekend.

March 19th. Freedom Day Again.

I’m working on myself today. Tiny steps. It’s not easy. Looks easy on paper, but…

Personal Share: Circling the drain.

As you may have already guessed, I’m going to get a bit vulnerable in this particular article. Not gonna lie, it’s been a rough couple of months for me. As a trusted friend pointed out, I seem to be “swirling the drain.” She’s right without knowing how dark it really has gotten. This is harder than I thought it was going to be and is probably going to turn into a whole series.

A well known Law of Attraction guru whom I have never met in person once said, “Once you overcome the fear of dying, what’s left?”

*Disclaimer: Do not taunt bears or go skydiving with lit dynamite. Also, juggling chainsaws is right out. Do not try dangerous stuff at home based on what some internet goob said. That is not what we’re talking about.*

He was poking for the obvious answer of there’s literally nothing to be afraid of. Start a new job and get fired in the first 10 minutes? Why not? Talk mad smack about the government on social media? What’s going to happen? Who cares? Become a millionaire overnight? F*ck yeah! Why be afraid?

Not trying to sell anyone’s program, just thinking out loud.

There is a very valid point about not being afraid to fail or succeed. When there’s nowhere else to go- look up. As people, one has the capability of lifting oneself up. The opposite stands true as well. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.

It’s better to suffer the slings and arrows of grievous misfortune than to be afraid of trying in the first place. Truly it is one of the easiest damn things ever to say. I get it. I’ve been at this for a while now with self help, LoA, and the whole spiritual awakening show. Saying is easy. Doing, on the other hand…

There’s always a choice.

This is way tougher than I thought it was going to be and I’ll definitely be continuing this conversation in future articles.

We choose our actions in any given moment. Every sentence, heck- every word is a choice. We get to set our intentions with every choice big or small. Whether it’s make a cup of coffee or move to Alaska, everything boils down to a choice. Then the real, heavy, stubborn world kicks in and reminds us that all of our actions have consequences and our decisions have far reaching ramifications sometimes. (Which is why no chainsaw juggling or moving to Alaska for me.)

Here’s where I’m struggling:

I’d like to choose that victim role every day but… My choices roundabout got me here. I can choose better. I can choose smarter. I know this now. Maybe I’ve always known and I’m just now remembering, but that’s another story.

I choose to sit on the couch wallowing in misery and self pity. I’m choosing to be effectively crippled by self doubt and anxiety. I’ve chosen to let depression basically kick my ass all over the place.

Fear and anxiety (which is like, more fear) have basically been holding me back for a few months now. Today I’m choosing to start taking those very small steps toward recovery. My physical condition might still slow me down for now, but I’m going to get my mental, emotional and spiritual health in order.

Tiny steps. “Lean into the suck.”

The same wonderful friend that leveled with me about swirling the drain once said to “Lean into the suck.” I have always loved that phrase because it describes walking home in January Iowa weather perfectly. I literally used to walk or bike everywhere all year round.

It’s true of life, too. Sometimes things get bumpy. Those consequences and ramifications come back around like an exploding boomerang. The solution is to just keep on plowing through it all. It’s tough going, but no one is expecting everything to be done overnight.

I’m taking some pretty small steps. I’m choosing to improve my situation as opposed to choosing to binge on another Netflix series. Today I finish one more project on my to-do list than I did yesterday. One small step forward every day. One small victory building toward the next and so on.

I may not get it all figured out by the 19th of April, but I’m choosing to keep going. I’m determined to move toward abundance and away from lack. I’m determined not to become a permanent resident of my couch. I’m resolute that anxiety and depression do not own me. I intend to take more chances and try new things.

Thanks for being here on this journey with me. More to come on this topic. Take care. Have a lovely weekend.

We’re Still Here

Really depressed right now.

Super glad and grateful we’re all in one piece.

Hey, looks like I was wrong. Russia hasn’t touched off the big one yet. The Ukraine could be doing better, but the rest of the world remains relatively safe. Even though we’re never promised another day, it’s nice to have one.

The world still goes on. Again, I’m so happy and grateful for the peace and prosperity that flows into our lives easily, endlessly, and copiously every day. We have our share of rough times, but somehow we still prevail.

Now for a more personal share.

I’m tired, family. I’m tired and I just want to go home. Sometimes I don’t think this planet is for me, nor was it ever. I’ve had a lot of those rough times as of late, and survived only to wonder how many more are out there. I’m not the self-deleting kind, so no worries there. I just wonder why se are set upon the Earth to experience suffering, loss, hate, and all manner of other misfortunes.

I am wrestling with my depression a lot these days. Job prospects are looking pretty sad. Things are kinda tense here at home following a personal matter. It just wears me down. It’s all wearing me down.

I keep asking why, but the Universe never seems to really answer. I mean, is a straight answer that hard to come by? Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to us?

I appreciate you being here. Thank you for stopping by. Have a good week.

Personal Share at 3:33AM

After my last “real world” job experience, I’m not too keen on criticism. Seriously, I’m still having nightmares about that shit. I wasn’t kidding about the PTSD. Trust me, I’m still in therapy

I’ve been having trouble sleeping the last couple of weeks.

Yup.

Depression is real. I fight it. I fight it every freakin day. Some days are better than others. I choose joy. I choose positive thoughts. Shit still happens.

I’m grateful for being here in one piece, chatting with you. Yes, it could be a thousand times worse and I seriously feel for anyone who is struggling right now with depression or possibly a war in their back yard.

Lately, it’s been a little tough. I’m not pulling in the big bucks like I was. Okay, specifically, I’m not pulling any bucks. It’s kind of a downer if I’m being pragmatic. We’re not starving in the streets, but I’m starting to feel like a sixth wheel in my house. It gets to me because there’s so much more I want to do.

I get that I’m not everyone’s cup-o-tea.

“Look I so old to young eyes?” –Yoda

If rejection letters and flush emails were currency, I’d be a millionaire. I’m a writer, so getting shot down for things is kinda par for the course. Not a huge deal. And I’ve been blessed with not-a-ton of criticism.

After my last “real world” job experience, I’m not too keen on criticism. Seriously, I’m still having nightmares about that shit. I wasn’t kidding about the PTSD. Trust me, I’m still in therapy. Probably for a long time to come.

My wife and I playfully debate about changing my profile pics. She keeps trying to convince me to shave the beard. I contend that looking a couple of years younger is not gonna help and I love my beard.

It’s what I have to work with. Trust me when I say I have my share of issues working against me. Now if I could just convince the government…

I don’t expect everyone to love me. I’m not that arrogant. If I’m not your cup of tea, can I at least be your soda? Cup of coffee? Coaster? Anything?

February was the month of getting shot down in flames.

Criticism is not my friend.

Ever see that old Nintendo game, Duck Hunt? You can just call me “Daffy” because it’s like I’m out there flying around just waiting to get picked off. That dog’s still laughing at me, too.

The other day I receive another one of those should-have-known-better flush letters. I don’t know why I put myself through some of these things. I see opportunities that I think are fabulous that are “open to everyone, but…” The most bothersome part of that debacle is it wasn’t even a paid gig. It was a scholarship for cryin out loud!

Again, grateful there was no criticism there with the feedback. I would have caught that one in the feels for sure. I’m happy for whomever got it, but it was pretty obvious that I had no hope in Hell on that one. Onto the next one, I guess.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m on my own for the most part.

I’ve taken down my “Looking for Work” banners, etc on social media for the time being. I’m also pulling my resume down off of some websites because I’m tired of people just looking for names to add to their list or worse- selling it to telemarketing scum. I’m also a little annoyed that I’m getting spam calls from people who obviously pulled my number off the resume. If I didn’t give it to you, you shouldn’t have it!

I feel like seven plus months of looking for a job is enough for now. If I was going to get hired for real money, it would have happened by now. Countless applications = one kinda lame interview. Depressing.

I’m not sure I’m back to starting my own game company or looking for a suitable bridge to practice my high dive from. (Kidding about the bridge, for now, I guess, maybe.) At this point Wile E Coyote and I have a lot in common when it comes to wacky schemes. If anyone has any offers or deep thoughts they’d like to share, I’m all ears. jeffcraigmile@gmail.com

Thanks for hearing me out. I appreciate you.

Freedom Day! February 2020 v2.0 Edition

It’s going to get better. One of the toughest lessons in Law of Attraction is learning when the Universe is testing us. Also, learning from past experiences that keep repeating themselves is important. The Universe likes to ask, “Are you sure? Are you really ready for this awesomesauce thing you’ve been manifesting?”

I only wish I was kidding.

No surprises, really.

Remember the year 2020? Have any of us forgotten it yet? So far, this year is starting to remind me of 2020 in all of its shitastic glory.

I’ve reviewed, revised and rewritten this site. That’s as close to a breakthrough as I’ve truly had this year. I feel like we’re connecting more, reaching you, a more receptive audience, and growing together.

Then there’s the rest. The Icky Cough-Coughs came to visit in the middle of January and ate up two weeks of our lives here at the Craigmile house. It was not fun times. All of us came through it okay, which is a huge plus. Just when ya thought you were done with quarantine, though. (Eyeroll.)

The beginning of the year also brought us Governor Kim Reynolds meddling about in Iowa Workforce Development. Iowa has a massive shortage of “skilled” jobs, but nothing requiring a college degree. Nothing like a Bachelor’s degree in two majors just to have IWD tell me they’ll be happy to retrain my fibromyalgia-having ass to become an arc welder or a dental hygienist. (That shit ain’t happening.) But I still persevered through all the added hoops necessary to keep my unemployment check coming.

Then this week, I got shot down for a job I really had my sights set on. That hit right in the old depression, worse than anything in months. While I was recovering from that and a pain flare, I got a love letter in the mail from IWD. My unemployment money is due to peter out this week. We knew this day would come, but it doesn’t take the sting out of it.

Plus a lot of little things keep popping up like the kids’ grades. Minor household disasters are one of the latest things on the shit list. (Okay, a chunk of our garage literally fell off the other day.) Just for fun, I accidentally chipped a tooth the other day, too. One of these days my student loans are going to come due.

Let’s not forget it’s also an election year. Russia and the US are doing their damnedest to not go to war with one another or however that works. Let’s not forget the trucking, uh disaster, in Canada. The mass news media has more garbage and propaganda than ever to spew. I wasn’t even going to touch on this, but it does come up around here occasionally. Every once in a while my wife also goes rant mode over something a school board does any given place in the US. This whole book banning/burning thing makes me ill.

Chillin. Waitin for things to improve.

It’s going to get better. One of the toughest lessons in Law of Attraction is learning when the Universe is testing us. Also, learning from past experiences that keep repeating themselves is important. The Universe likes to ask, “Are you sure? Are you really ready for this awesomesauce thing you’ve been manifesting?”

My answer is always, “Give me a couple million dollars and let’s find out, okay?”

Hasn’t happened yet, but any day now. Right? (Nervous chuckle.) Until it does, or something equally wonderful, I have gratitude for the blessings in my life. I am grateful for new friends, especially on #TTRPGTwitter. I’m also grateful for my Earthly teachers new and old. I’m grateful for the wealth and prosperity that flows into our lives easily, endlessly and copiously every day. It’s the whole notion of living in the dream fulfilled.

The dream shifts and evolves.

Maybe this is why my vision board is not posted anywhere but in my head and on the internet. My big dream is to be a successful RPG writer/game designer. I intend for my kids to be well taken care-of. I want my wife to be happy. I’m pretty satisfied as long as all of that is in motion.

Would I love to be rich? Sure. Am I focused on being happy regardless? Yeah. Most days. Growing beyond contentment into joy is the pinnacle of high vibrations. As we all know from LoA, high vibration pulls us closer to manifesting our highest and best intentions.

I appreciate all of you. Thank you for sharing this space. More to come.

Knew This Was a Coming.

Honestly, God/Universe/Source bless whoever did end up with the position. They deserve it. It’s a great job. I’m glad they can provide abundance for their family and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way. That’s great. Seriously, I’m happy for whoever it is.

I foolishly applied for a job that I didn’t have a hope in Hell of getting, and yet…

It’s been a day.

I applied anyway. Somewhere along the way I even got my hopes up. Well, so much for that. Got my flush letter today.

Admittedly, there were like, two HUNDRED other applicants. I sure as shit don’t stand out in a crowd that big. I mean, really it’s all those things they tell you not to say in the Law of Attraction scene.

Then again, if LoA was >really< working as intended- would I really be in this situation? I’m not sure. Then again, in the long list of things we’re not supposed to think about LoA, questioning whether or not it works is at the top of the list.

Supposedly, it works, I’m just not doing it right. Right? I’m not high vibe enough. I’m not eating the “right” foods. I’m not meditating enough. I’m not exercising enough. There’s one clown out there who literally said that fat people can’t attract what they want because we’re overweight. Can you believe that shit? So, yup, I’m not thinking the right thoughts, I guess.

Before anyone goes there- Race is not an issue here!

Yup. I went there. I’m probably going to suffer the slings and arrows of being called a “____ist,” or “____phobe.”

Have you seen me? Yeah. I’m an “old, ‘cishet’ white guy.” Hell, if there’s a scapegoat for almost everyone’s problems these days, it’s us. I don’t feel one bit privileged. I’m not owed anything by anyone. God doesn’t even promise me another minute on this planet. I’m truly thankful for the opportunities I have been given regardless of where they came from.

I get how other groups of people have been discriminated against for centuries due to race, gender, sexual preference, and so on; mostly by old ‘cishet’ white guys. (Still getting used to saying ‘cishet.’)

The sad part is, some of these Illuminated f@*%s are still running the planet. If I was one of them, trust me, I wouldn’t be here. Turns out I’m not down with evil- true, unimaginable, disgusting, despicable evil.

Family- I stop for squirrels in the street. Do you really think I’m big on screwing over my fellow human beings for any reason? Karma comes home to roost faster and faster in this day and age. Trust me, being kind to everyone is the least I can do.

“Get an education,” they said. “Get a degree,” they said.

Education is totally helpful, I tell ya.

Do you know where that shit got me? I live in a state where Iowa Workforce Development flat-out told us they don’t want anyone with more than a high school education right now. They want skilled laborers that can be trained to be dental hygienists and arc welders. I hear there’s also a massive shortage of truck drivers and nurses these days. I wonder why?

$60K in college loans. My fondest dream is that I someday live long enough to default on the bastards. Screw my credit rating. All college has truly done for me is get me a receipt and a pile of debt that I will literally be paying on until I die. Why did I do that to myself? Oh. Yeah. To “get a ‘better’ job.”

Lemme tell ya. All that higher education didn’t mean shit when I was stocking the tampon aisle at 3:00 in the morning. Nor did it do me any good when I was waxing floors. It’s all super worthless twenty years later now that my back and neck are completely shot and I’m in pain all day every day.

I know. Old white guy problems, right? Maybe education wasn’t the way to go. Neither is busting my ass 10-12 hours/night for people who don’t appreciate me for less than a fair wage. I can’t blame anyone who quits a job where they’re not appreciated, valued or treated well.

Let’s be real. I’m mad at me.

I’m very uncomfortable with who I am right now. I feel very inadequate, mediocre, worthless. It’s how I feel.

I fell for it. I got my hopes all up. I thought maybe I could land a remote job that paid well in an industry I am more than familiar with. My dream job is still out there waiting.

Honestly, God/Universe/Source bless whoever did end up with the position. They deserve it. It’s a great job. I’m glad they can provide abundance for their family and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way. That’s great. Seriously, I’m happy for whoever it is.

Here’s why I’m actually running the gamut of emotions tonight. I’m not getting any younger. My health is sketchy and people are anywhere from annoyed to terrified of FMLA. My mental health is sketchy to the point where I’m considered “disabled.” I have a 20+ year old minor blotch on my criminal record that was no biggie prior to 9/11. I have a 20+ year old college degree with a double major that seemingly no one will touch.

I have four kids and a wife who is busting her ass out there every day trying to teach a bunch of kids who don’t want to learn or even be in school. I live in a state where mental healthcare is among the lowest ranked in the country and declining. We’re also the worst in Covid cases on any given day. (Ha! Take that Guam! Our numbers make you guys look great!) Any day now my unemployment runs out.

My reputation in a certain former industry is tarnished to the point of unrecoverable. I have no job references. Literally no one knows me well enough to vouch for me outside of my immediate family. Depression. I can’t win. Sorry, I need to vent right now.

I’m super far behind on all projects and I may be taking a day off to spew anger at Fortnite for a day or two. I’ll be lucky if I don’t eat myself into a bloody coma. I’m just feeling down, antisocial, inadequate, and angry at myself. I’m going to soak in it for a while.

This is all according to plan, I guess?

I’m grateful for my wife. She hasn’t thrown me out yet. The kids are taken care of right now. That’s positive at least.

In the LoA circles, I’m never supposed to say, “I’m too old. I’m too stupid. I’m too fat. I’m too ____(whatever negative.)” And yet, here we are today. Maybe I am too old? Too unappealing to potential employers. I’m about to become too damn antisocial. Seriously, why would I want to be around people if I’m constantly being reminded of my inadequacies?

LoA can bite me. LoA gurus can bite me.
Dear Universe, please explain.

A true biblical scholar could tell you specifics better than I can. Somewhere it says “Creation is finished.” This translates to the notion that everything is there waiting for us to claim it. What ‘they’ don’t tell us is the way to do it properly. Wouldn’t it be a great world to live in if we didn’t have to struggle every f@#king day? Why can’t God just grant us that? No one can truly answer that in a 3D plane. We think we know, but we really don’t.

If the Universe is truly benevolent as I believe it is, this is all a learning experience and better times are on the horizon. If you made it this far, the gist is I’m trying to build myself back up. I’m tired from getting knocked on my ass by life. It doesn’t make me feel any better knowing I’m not alone.

If you’re struggling right now, I feel for you. Keep going. It’s bound to get better eventually.

This felt depressed. Might delete it later. Not sure yet if it will publish.

Take care. Stay safe. Stay hydrated. Thanks for being here. I am grateful for you.

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