All I really want in life.

When it all boils down to it. There are very few things I truly desire in life. Now before I go on, I must clarify. This is not to be a list of the items that fallow the statements “It would be wonderful to have that” or “It would be nice to live there”. Although those that list can be important when it comes to motivation, it is still a very secular view of how I tend to perceive success. Financial wealth is a luxury and a bi-product of hard work and dedication. I admire many of the people who were able to climb this ladder to the top because they were inspired to work hard in life. This is not what I value. Wealth in my eyes goes beyond the material standing. Wealth is not strictly what you gain, but also what you gave. When I say I have very few things I desire in life. This is the approach I have. I wish to leave my mark on this world. I wish to make a difference for the better. Allow me to elaborate.

Now I feel that the statement I made above “Wealth is not strictly what you gain, but also what you gave.” this has been said before. I cannot recall who but I dare not take credit. This statement however highlights what I believe it means to be truly successful in life. To succeed with how many lives you have touched. Another (perhaps butchered quote) comes to mind. It requires a bit of an anecdote, so bear with me.

There is a man who is sitting on a log with two children on his lap while a few others stand beside him. This man who we know nothing about is laughing and smiling as he seems to entertain the children all huddled around him. As you observe this pleasant sight, someone says “Now there’s a man who is truly wealthy”.

     I could have swore I read this somewhere but it is 2am and I wish to proceed with my thought rather than properly cite my sources. This small and insignificant seeming man makes an impact on those around him. This man is happy regardless of what happens or what has happened, he is happy to be a father figure to these young children. I feel a good father figure has some of the most incredible wealth imaginable. Bill Gate’s wealth (which I believe was above 52 billion, last I heard) cannot compare to the love and sacrifice a given by good parents. The greatest gift parents can give to their child is life. There is nothing more profound and meaningful than that. I don’t think I will ever deserve what my parents have given me. They have brought me into this world to experience everything. They raised me from birth to the point I left home. They gave everything and now ask for next to nothing. What am I supposed to do with that?

Life is an incredible gift. In a way, to give what you have been given can also be very powerful. That is why I wish to become a father. I have little faith that I will be perfect. The lord knows my parents weren’t perfect, but it was because of them I am here. I’m here to take on everything life has to offer because of them. The shit storms and the beauty. Now that I am a little older and I have experienced a fair amount, I think I’m starting to realize how amazing life can be. I have had some (mild) scarring experiences in my life and I have also met a someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. The fact that life has it’s drastically different contrasts does not taint life. It enhances life. Not to say have been through horrible times, nor am I saying have I escaped them, but things never look quite as good until after you’ve gone through some rough times. Somewhat like a loved one getting in an accident. With one phone call you’ve got your priorities figured out.

We are each only here for a very short time. We’re just one worm of existence in the 4th dimension. Or a point in the 5th. There is very little we can do to effect what happens on our planet, and even less in the universe. Wealth (for me) is not in what you wish to gain through the time you have, but rather, the time you can give. I want to be a dad.

For all those dad’s out there who inspire me: Destin Sandlin, Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, Al van der Beek, of course my father, and probably many others I am forgetting. Look out, I’m going to try and join the club.


Christmas break (part 2)

   There was a couple pretty major things that happened on and after Christmas. My sister Emily is now engaged to a gentleman she met here in Marquette and had grown close to. That came as a surprise to most everyone in my family. The proposal was a little awkward (a trend that I am beginning to see is not so uncommon) with a misunderstanding of gifts under the tree. My father had grabbed the small parcel thinking it was a small gift from my mother. She promptly opened it at the same time as another gift was being opened by someone else. This caused a bit of suspense when she gasped and we had to wait for the unobservant people in our crowd to quit talking. It all turned out well though. Drew soon saw his moment and promptly dropped to one nee and proposed. It both warmed my heart and left me slightly unnerved. (not exactly sure why) Especially when my Katrina gave me a look that suggested desire. ….. All in due time, my dear. …. This event left me startled but fairly pleased. Drew is a nice fellow who seems to have a serious interest in taking care of my sister. This is more than I could have asked for, all things considered. Nobody’s perfect, but I have grown more fond of the fellow. Especially since the other major thing that happened over Christmas break.
   It was the day after Christmas. My family had just had Christmas with my Grandparents and they had left to go home. It was only some family members and friends remaining. I was upstairs with my sister Skyping my friend. (Well my sister was actually. They seem to have taken a liking to each other. I was waiting eagerly for Katrina’s return from her trip away earlier that day. Suddenly my sister’s phone rings. I see that it’s Katrina so I answer it. “Hi babe!” I say in a chipper tone. “Peter!” She says to me repeatedly in a breathless terrified voice, “I’ve been in an accident!”. My heart dropped so far and so fast I couldn’t think straight. “What? .. Where are you? Are you hurt? Where are you?” I began speaking fast as I held back the building panic in my chest. “Past Minard Mill” she said sounding as though it was difficult speaking. I was halfway downstairs by now and soon lost reception there. Without thinking I grabbed my phone. Told my mother and those present that Katrina had gotten in an accident then headed for the door. My father jumped to his feet and said he was coming, Drew did the same. The three of us slip on some winter garments and race out the door. I’m dialing up Katrina as I hop in my truck. I hand the phone to my dad and he talks to her as I drive. He’s speaking in a calm and soft tone. My thoughts are racing. I kept thinking of how she sounded when I spoke to her. I didn’t know if she was standing outside the wreck on the phone or pinned in a crumpled car dying. The word terror does not fully express my feelings at that time. “Slow down, we’ll get there” My father says in a calm tone. I realize my mistake and begin to regain my senses while trying to calm myself. We didn’t know where she was at but I knew it had to be close because she was headed back to my house. Suddenly we round a bend and see a car pulled over and two figures standing on the opposite side of the road. There’s a faint glow like headlights coming from down in the ditch. A feeling of slight relief rushes over me as I see that Katrina is visibly unharmed and standing. I drive around and pull. Without thinking I jump out and run to embrace Katrina. She’s crying and holding a water bottle. The gentleman who stopped after seeing headlights in a ditch sees that he is no longer needed and starts to walk away. Someone says thank you and that reminds me to do the same. “Thank you!” I say over Katrina’s shoulder. I wasn’t ready to let go. In that moment I was slowly beginning to realize who I couldn’t live without. I realize now that it wasn’t just Katrina who almost died that day.
   After I am satisfied with my embrace, I guide her to my tailgate to sit while I survey the damage. Dad and Drew are already gathering items that had flown out the windows. One of the items was her Macbook. (Other than a new dent, it seemed to be unharmed) It was a single car accident where she had lost control coming around a left curve. We assume hydroplaning or maybe a layer of thin ice was the cause of it. The back of the car must have started drifting as it came around the bend but soon got caught on the inner edge of the curve as it slid down into the ditch. The right side of the car smacked into the tree blowing out all the windows on that side plus the back and crunching part of the windshield. The car had spun around ending up facing the opposite directions she has come. The mechanics of the car seemed to be fairly unharmed but the damage to the body plus a bend in the frame told us that Stanley (the car’s name) was done. We talked things over and decided that my truck could pull it out. So we hook up my tow strap, turn on the 4 wheel low and crawl it out of the ditch. Stanley was still drivable so my dad drove it home as I fallowed. Feelings of sentiment pass over me as I see the car that was wrecked and yet left my girl nearly unharmed. Katrina walked away with a number of bruises and a bump on the head but nothing of serious consequences. God was most definitely looking out for her little angel that night and I was given a revelation. I did not spend a day away from Katrina till I had to leave for my job back up north, and that was no easy task. That Sunday, as she sang in the church choir, she never sounded more beautiful. Every moment from then on seemed to have more light in it. I don’t want to ever experience something like that again but I should probably thank it for showing me who I truly love.
     There’s not much else that happened over Christmas break. I got to celebrate New Years Eve with Katrina and my parents. Most my family members left to “go have fun” but Katrina and I watched The Princess Bride with my parents. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I left on the 5th without tears or severe heartache. I know who I love and I think she truly cares about me. That, honestly, is all I need. I don’t know what this new year holds for me, but I’m thinking Katrina will be a big part of it.
   Wish me luck this semester. … I can’t believe I have to retake Calculus.

Here’s a recording of an angel singing after her accident. Pity the quality wasn’t great.

What a wonderful weekend

      Well, I got to come home and it’s been awesome. After the seemingly endless 8 hour drive from upstate, I finally arrived at my humble home. After hanging out with the family members that were there and snuggling with the yorkies that I missed so much, I began to prepare myself for the arrival of my girlfriend who had no idea I was coming home. I had begun planning on making the trip over a month in advance, I just never thought the day would actually get here. My girlfriend was running late to the “movie night” at my family’s house. So we had dinner while we waited. After what felt like ages to me, (but was probably only a little while) she finally arrived. I patently waited quietly in the pantry with the flowers while she was greeted normally and placed the pie she brought on the kitchen counter. Barely containing my excitement, I peeked out the sliver of a crack in the slightly open door and listened to the beautiful voice I had not heard this clearly in 47 days. Finally, my mother said the words I had been waiting for. “Katrina, could you grab the plates out of the pantry? I think they’re on the second shelf.”  I stood their frozen, not knowing what to expect. She opened the door abruptly headed for the second shelf from the bottom. With puzzled and concerned look on her face, I watched as her eyes slowly climb the shape of my dark and mysterious silhouette. The realization of who she was looking at struck her so hard, I thought she might fall backwards. With one hand over her mouth and the other finding the stool that was supposedly nearby she slowly stepped back and eased onto her seat. I emerged from the pantry shivering with excitement. I had finally seen the expression I had been dreaming about since I first day I fantasized the scene. Without baring it any longer, I embraced her. I can’t remember the last time a hug felt that good.
     A lot of other things have happened this weekend including two thanksgiving dinners. I wish I could write more about them tonight but I’m beginning to get tired and I need to be up to go to class with Katrina. I’m hoping to see my favorite math instructor I had when I was attending the local college. It’ll be so nice to see her.

I’m feeling better.

In my past couple of posts I talked about some struggles I had been experiencing. Not exactly sure why I decided to post such gloomy thoughts. I feel I should address them as I take advantage of this some what more chipper rebound.

In my previous post I believe I talked about depression. I still believe that I was dealing with that to a degree. Less extreme than what might usually be considered diagnosable, but still prevalent enough to effect me. There are things going on in my life that have been taking a toll on me. Some of which have to do with me and some with those I love. My sister has been (and still is) somewhat sick. For the sake of her privacy I believe I am not at liberty to elaborate on the issue further. All I can say is that it has my parents, my siblings and I all very worried. We love her very much.

Because of this problem with my sister, my mother drove the 8 hours up here to see her. This is such a blessing. I love and have missed my mother a lot these past 87 days since I last saw her and the rest of the family. But who’s counting? Although the main purpose was for my mother to come see my sister, I can’t help but think my mom came just in time to really get me out of this hole I was in. I’m feeling a lot better now that she’s here. It’s really nice to see her again.

I’m going to say some prayers for my sister in the mean time. Hopefully everything will turn out well.
Oh one last thing before I go to sleep.      I can’t give all the credit of my brighter mood to my mother. A good portion of the credit belongs to my girlfriend Katrina. Thanks to her I’m feeling much better. I love her very very much.

Well that’s interesting.

So, I think I’ve figured it out. According to my miniscule amount of research, I might be dealing with a form of depression.
  “What?” I thought to myself. “This is crazy. Who am I to start labeling my issues as an actual disorder?” I think you’d be right in saying that. I honestly don’t have any right to diagnose myself with a real issue that has destroyed lives. What could I, just a poor college student, have in common with someone actually struggling with depression? This time in my life is so short and silly when you think about it. I have a lot of stuff to be grateful for. I’m sure many would say to me “you haven’t seen how bad life can get.” and I would have to agree with them. Who am I to put myself at a level of those who I’m sure would give a lot to be in my shoes. I feel guilty and compelled to express a deeper respect for those less fortunate than myself. I need to stop complaining.
  However, dispute the fact that I hate saying I’m having an issue with depression. I have no better definition to apply to what I’m experiencing. I have been feeling down to the point where I can’t focus very easily, I struggle with simple conversation, (Haha, yes I’m an introvert but I mean more than usual) music doesn’t effect me as much, smiling feels pretty hard and awkward and …. well …. the last thing that really has been bothering me is uh ….. well ……… I’ve been having a strong desire to uh ….. cry. This is completely weird. I’m sorry. It’s just that I would get thinking and seemingly every negative thought would come rushing to my head in a big storm of unpleasantness. Like what the heck? Why does the future seem so hopeless? Of course it isn’t! Why are you worried about that? It’ll be over in one month! Just every idea has ether a sad memory or a pessimistic ruling on it.

  Ok. So you get the idea. I think I get the idea too. Yes it’s a minor form of depression. Yes it’s proving to be a problem but it is something I can take care of. I’ll snap out of it soon. I’ll just need adjust my schedule a bit to accommodate more reading time, bike rides and other relaxing things. Wish me luck.

A random update.

This is nearly the end of my first week at Northern Michigan University. I think it went pretty well all things considered. I have ended up making more … friends than I had originally expected. After living in Marquette for about 10 now, I’ve started to figure out a little more of what this will be like.
  First I think I should talk about dorm life. It is different. One minute I’m in my own private settlement, reading a book or something. The next minute I’m standing in my bedroom doorway talking with a group of people I don’t know. Chatting it up like they’ve known me forever. It’s weird and sometimes kinda pleasant. Due to the fact I that my roommate has a girlfriend and ends up spending lots of time in her dorm, I actually get a lot more alone time than I expected. This is really nice for me. My dorm is a perfect place to be my alone and introverted self. A place to recharge my social batteries. However, although I can be happy with isolation and solitude, I do have a yearning for company. Occasionally a group in the dorm will assemble and spontaneously plan a trip somewhere. If I happen to be present, I will often receive an invite. Normally I probably would decline but this is where I’ll surprise myself by saying yes.  “SURE I’ll come with you guys” I might say to a fellow housemate.
  Basically I like it so far. This semester is going to be an interesting experience. I’m not sure what to expect. I think it’ll be better than I thought. I do miss my family though. A lot. I’ve been doing alright so far with putting the thoughts of home in the back of my mind. Although today I was scrolling through pictures I think and I had … Shall we say a brush of nostalgia. I feel like I’m holding back a pending sadnesses. It’ll be a while but I’m probably going to shed a tear or two do to missing some people.
I’m so tired, but I have to talk about one more thing.
  So I REALLY like my calc instructor. He’s super awesome and incredibly  nice. He’s Canadian. Today I was struggling a lot with a particular math problem and so I decided to visit him in his office. He was so helpful and so patient. I really have been blessed this semester with a teacher I believe I can connect to. After he helped me, we ended up furthering our discussion of math by using the equations again in our own questions. After that we started discussing the philosophy behind math. I mentioned learning some this topic online through some of my favorite YouTubers like vHeart, Minute Physics and Numberphile. Turned out he also watches YouTube and had seen many of the videos I had seen. Our discussion turned from toy magnets to the three primary philosophical positions mathematicians typically hold. The Platonists, the Nominalists and the Fictionallists. Each of these are described quite well in NumberPhile’s video “Do numbers really exist?”. I was so excited and I think he was too. To refresh our memory he looked up the video and we watched most of it but didn’t finish because we kept pausing to discuss thoughts and opinions. We even touched on the question of how you define existence. I really hope my next visit ends with something like that again. This instructor is so cool.
I think I’ll sleep now.
I’ll check this post out for errors later.

A random update.

Looks like my summer is coming to an end. I have around a dozen days left before I depart for my semester at NMU. Although I look forward to the upcoming adventure, I can’t help but continue to question my decision to go up there. I’m not quite sure why I feel rather uneasy about the whole thing. Perhaps I wonder if it’s possible for me to build my own social group from scratch, maybe I’m worried about getting a job up there or maybe I’m just feeling the pull to stay in my home town.

     Funny thing about this summer. My first evaluation of it would be something of a bore. This is due to the somewhat nonstop work I have had. I blame no one for this. I needed funds more than I needed fun this summer. It’s just that I didn’t find time to do the many things I had planned to do. I had made a short list of things I wanted to do after I finishing my winter semester at the local community college. My list included canoeing, bike riding, playing some of my favorite video games and catching up on a lot of reading. Sadly my list has remained somewhat untouched since it’s composition. Away from work, I feel as if I have done almost nothing this summer.

    However, at the same time it has been the most extraordinary summer I have ever had. Early this year I met a girl. A kind, interesting, beautiful, sweet girl. Fate put us in a class together and with little credit to myself, our friendship grew closer and closer onto the point at which it blossomed into a very meaningful relationship. I have learned a lot through my dear girlfriend. She has shown me not only what it is like to care deeply for another, but also what it is like to be deeply cared for. At first, I admit I was very cautious. I did not give her my heart as a whole on the first day I spotted her. Nor even the day I first heard her speak to me. No, I feel as though I through gentle encouragement and quiet patients, I have been slowly giving her pieces of my heart. Through deep conversation and quiet gestures, she has slowly built up a collection of who I am and what I hold most dear. I have never known what it is like to love, but I do believe that if something were to happen, I would not be the same person of who’s heart she now possesses.

     I would also like to say a brief thing about meeting her family. They have been most kind and understanding to me. I am happy to say that they were skeptical of me at first. Saying little to me, I often felt as though I was under a close and scrupulous examination. It was a little discomforting but I honestly preferred it this way. It shows a tightly wound family who truly care about each other. (Especially how much her parents care about her) I would find it rather unnerving if a family were to welcome me into their lives with no more than a quick assessment. However, pleasing this family was not as hard as one might think. (at least it wasn’t for me) I for one really came to liking the family. I believe I might be stretching the word “liking” a little there. I really really like them. I hope I have made a good impression on them. I know I have annoyed them with my late nights out with my girlfriend. I really hope things work out. It’s a shame they’re moving so far away. Maybe I’ll write about that in another post later.
     Basically, in a manner of speaking, I have experienced less and more this summer than I ever have before. I know more I see more, I feel more and I worry more. This has been the most extraordinary summer in all my life. In a funny sort of way. Although, I wouldn’t have asked for it any other way.