Friday, October 6, 2017

Price of Manners and Decency

I consider myself a polite person. I believe I'm overly nice to nearly everyone. I wasn't always polite, but I was never an a$$hole either. I just kind of did my own thing and ignored people for most of my early life. Ironically, television inspired me to be more polite to people. There was a show I was in love with called Due South. It was about a Canadian Mounty that traveled south in pursuit of his father's killer and decided to stay there. He was extremely polite, uncharacteristically intelligent, and just a general good guy. He constantly believed that people always had the best intentions. At first everyone thought he was weird, but his ways brought everyone around for the better.

What was most appealing about that show to me was how everyone just instinctively trusted him because of his good nature. His reputation was gold, and his word was his bond. So, I decided to try that lifestyle out. I made it a point to be nicer to everyone I knew, and go out of my way to be polite and help people. It was actually a lot easier than I thought, because, apparently, I'm just a nice person by nature. I was around people that weren't, and I thought that was the way you're supposed to be. What was more surprising was the motivation. To be completely honest, at first, I was motivated because I wanted more respect and I wanted to be praised for being nice. I wanted people to listen to me and value my opinions, etc. It was stupid, but I was a young kid who just didn't feel important. Something happened after about a month, though. I found I actually truly enjoyed helping people and how it made me feel. There was no greater feeling in the world.

As I've grown older into my mid-30's, something is troubling me. I'm finding it easier to start becoming more reclusive and bitter. The division in the country, the extremely strong political views, the need for everyone's opinion to be heard and understood, and the fact that if you do not agree with them, then there is either something wrong with you, or they need to explain it more. I don't remember it being this way. I remember a time when people would just say, "Eh, I see it differently," and we would move on. Now, everyone is offended and feel it's their right to not only have the opportunity to be heard, but to have everyone share the same opinion or they're wrong and intolerant.

I worry about the future of this country in general. The Politically Correct stuff is destroying some real values, it feels. It's making everyone want to simply keep opinions, thoughts, and ideas to themselves. Anything that is brought in the open is vulnerable, and the person that brought it out has the potential of being completely ruined, all because the majority of people didn't agree with them. It's gotten me to the point that I don't want to share an opinion on anything at all anymore, and that is very disturbing. What happened? How did we come to a place where differences were persecuted? It's like the equality everyone was fighting for didn't happen; it just changed sides.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Continuing Education

I think continuing education is important. I don't watch nearly the amount of television I did ten or even five years ago. I simply don't have time for it. I fill most of my time with trying to further my career and skills. I recently got cable television back, but it's really amazing. In the entire family, maybe one person might watch it for a couple of hours a week at the most. We all sit down from time to time to watch a family movie through it or the Xbox, but generally, we're on computers. Now, this does take time away from being with each other, but I think the time together getting out to do something or watching a movie at home helps to make up for it. Plus, the kids are getting to ages where they'll want to be alone more and more, and Vanessa (my wife) and I understand that.

The continuing education part is important though. Vanessa pointed out to me how much the kids pay attention to me constantly wanting to learn, read, study, and further myself. It's amazing, but the kids simply don't get bad grades that often, and they're learning more and more. They've advanced in a short time. Granted, they're supposed to be getting better slowly as they age, I get that, but they are genuinely curious and are really excelling in school. Nothing is "too hard" anymore. I thought maybe the schools were easier here, but I remember them really having a hard time in the beginning when they started, so it's not that. What's more, they really are taking an active interest in some of the subjects and thinking about careers. That part is actually exciting.

As far as the careers go, Vanessa and I are doing everything we can to try and make it a possibility for them. We want them to experience everything so they can make a decision. For instance, Joshua says he wants to be a marine biologist and work underwater - to scuba dive for a living. Well, there are classes that allow the introduction for only $25 in Hendersonville (not far from us), and I heard even closer. We're going to take him to those to see if he really likes it. I'm going to do it as well. :) And if he does, the whole certification program is only about $300, so it's very doable for him, and maybe even me. I'll enroll him in it, but I'll wait until my Pilot's School is complete first.

The point is, I think it's important to continually strive to better yourself. Just becoming satisfied with where you are is dangerous. There's nothing wrong with being grateful for where you've come from and where you are. Being humble, thankful, and generally appreciative for all of the blessings in your life is of vital importance. My sentiment is simply to not be afraid to keep pushing forward. My reasoning for it is like this:
I know countless people who have never smoked. They don't regret not smoking. I know many more who have smoked and quit, and they are grateful they have. Every single one of them wish they had never smoked to begin with. Those who are still smoking wish they could stop, but lack the willpower. There are a select-few that think smoking is okay, their right, etc.
Now, apply that same logic to education. I know several who wish that went to college, somewhat regret the cost, but glad they did it. I know many more who never went, and most wish they had, or would "like to one day." I don't know of any people that say college is a waste of time, except for people who are pursuing education in other ways, doing okay for themselves, etc. Some, granted, are just stubborn, I suppose. It makes sense, given the exposure of the people I've seen, that most people never regret continuing to learn, but many, many more, have great remorse over stopping.

Of course, there's statistical data to back all of this up, but the point is simply:

Never stop learning.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Public Journal?

I just updated my blog description and changed the name. Jedidiah May Blog is the title - simple. catchy, and it serves the purpose for now. It's true in life, just as everywhere else: the more you do, the more you learn. It's also true that the more you study, the more you learn. I believe it's again true that you study harder on what you want to do. When I first started this blog, I did so because I was simply curious how blogging worked, what kind of stuff you could do with it, how easy it was, etc. Well, curiosity fades, and eventually, that "new" feeling is gone. It probably happens to a lot of people. So, what's changed? Why am I starting back to blogging now?

Well, to start, new features! 😁 That's actually somewhat true about there being new features, but it's not the reason. The features and layouts are nice, but I have found something out about myself. Now that the newlywed lifestyle is slowing down, the kids are becoming more self-sufficient, I've got more time. I've discovered I really enjoy writing. I even attempted writing a book (attempted, still on the back burner). That part was pretty cool. And with the Kindle publishing options, I could even get it published myself. Much of that was, again, the "new" features and discovery. I'm a junky. I love learning new stuff. I also love to teach it.

And when I think about it, that's the reason I'm doing a few blogs now. I have one called Path 2 Developer that is chronicling my specific experiences and learning to become a computer programmer/developer. My other blog is called Path 2 Pilot (noticing the cool pattern?). This one, I'm chronicling the journey to actually getting a pilot's license and recording that experience. When I looked up information on both, the information was really sketchy and hard to follow sometimes. Pilot's license information varied so much, it was either so generic you couldn't get any real information or it was so technical, you couldn't understand it. The same was also true for becoming a developer. The information is all out there, but someone who knows nothing about programming would have a very hard time figuring out what to do. So, I feel it would be a good practice for me, as well as to help others, if I logged all of the experiences down.

So, that's my plan. To write everything out. I'm not exactly sure where the Jedidiah May Blog posts will fit in because nearly all of my time is going to be spent either learning to be Tom Cruise from Top Gun or Hugh Jackman from Swordfish. I suppose the interesting things that take place in between will have a home here. Maybe as I get time to actually write crazy ideas, they'll show up here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back to Blogging

It's been a few years since I've gotten online and blogged anything in a while. Life got in the way. I got married, full time with wife, kids, job, and me, and it's hard to find time for everything else. Now, however, things have finally slowed down a little. The one-year anniversary is coming June 25, so I've got to find something to do that's creative, but not too expensive.

It's awesome right now. My wife actually gave me an early Father's day gift that the kids were in on. They got me setup to do flying school and then actual flight lessons. School itself isn't too expensive, but I think the lessons might actually be. I'm not sure yet.

Now. The reason for the comeback. Well, it's about time. Computers are about to take me over again, and I'd love for them to. I've got a position as a tester and working toward becoming a developer. For the first time, it looks like it might actually be a possibility that I learn how to be a programmer for computers, which has always been a dream of mine. I want to learn it all. I want to be able to write code for apps, create websites, write software to run Raspberry Pi devices, you name it.

A book my group is reading now, the Software Craftsman, suggests writing a blog to help track your own progress. I really liked that concept. I write in journals now to just get ideas out of my head, and I think writing something down might help others as well.

So, long story short, I'm back. Back to blogging a little more often, I hope. I'm going to keep trying to fill my time with learning and progressing forward, rather than waste time. I hope it works out in that direction.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My First Mobile Post

Mobile technology is amazing. I, personally am extremely excited about it. It drives robot robotic technology. Thanks to the cell phones, electronics technology is getting miniaturized. They're becoming cost effective as well. Because of this, the cost for personal robotics parts, pieces, micro chips, everything is becoming much more affordable.
And now, I realize too late, that I need to change my field of study. I am still very much fascinated by the complexity of robots and how they interact with or daily lives. I would love to start studying to become a mechanical or electrical engineer. That is extremely expensive and takes a ton of time. But, as I have noticed, the famous men and women of this country typically never finish college. Their passion leads them. These great people are largely self-motivated and self-educated. That's what I'm going to do.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Learning Confidence

I have always been an extremely shy guy. I feared rejection, so I never asked many people out. I had a few girlfriends through the years. Most were just dumb luck in the way we ended up together. They typically ended badly. About six months ago, I finally got the nerve up to ask someone out, and it's been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made.

It's really easy to tell people, "Just go for it? What do you have to lose? No one cares if you strike out. No one pays attention.", etc. In reality, that's not true, or at least, it wasn't. My whole life growing up, I was made fun of, bullied, and every move I made was scrutinized. If I asked a girl out, I was immediately made fun of, regardless of what she said, and she was so humiliated that, typically, she would always be pressured to say no. There were always multiple people doing this, so fighting wasn't an option. Eventually, I just learned to keep my head down and just try to get through life without causing a scene.

This carried on into my adult life with my job. I was very shy, introverted, and constantly tried to stay in the shadows. Luckily, I made some really amazing friends that forced me out of my shell. It's amazing what happens when other people believe in you; you start believing in yourself for once. You start having opinions, making bolder decisions, and eventually taking risks.

It took several years before I finally started getting out more a realizing that not every place was like my childhood. Many people were genuinely kind, supportive, and at the very least, really didn't care what you were doing. Most people were so busy with their own lives that they didn't have time to worry about mine. Several friends pushed me constantly to get out of my comfort zone. I had asked a couple of people out, they said yes, and it didn't work out, but that wasn't the point. Several people said no, several actually, and that was the point: getting comfortable with rejection. I had finally learned that there was nothing wrong with someone telling me they didn't like me, didn't find me attractive, didn't find me interesting, nothing. It wasn't the end of the world. My friends laughed it off, made me feel better, and we moved on to another failure. I actually learned to make fun of myself with them. 

Eventually, this carried on to my professional life as well. I no longer fear failure, rejection, ridicule. I learned that it's okay to fail, but the only way to learn something is to keep doing it. I'm not fearless by any means. I still have moments of insecurity, shyness, and doubt. I still have a long way to go as well, but by no means am I anywhere near where I was ten years ago.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Time Management

I took several courses in college. One that was mandatory and an early requirement was the course regarding time management. This made sense because, in order to be successful in college, especially the online courses I attended, you needed to be able to effectively manage your time. There was no boss, no schedule, and no immediate repercussions if you didn't do the work on time; you simply failed. During my couple of years at the University of Phoenix, I managed my time very well. One of the major reasons I was able to effectively control my schedule was because I was young and didn't have any real commitments outside of my job. I was unmarried, no girlfriend, no kids, and only a dog to look after. Life was simpler, structured, but a little hollow.

Now, however, I have much less free time available. I have volunteer work I do on the side for the Red Cross, I have a steady girlfriend who has two children, and she also has three cats and another dog. The bulk of my time is spent with them, and I thoroughly enjoy every minute of it. So much so, in fact, that I have neglected some of my other passions and responsibilities. She has made sacrifices as well, so it got me thinking. How do we get everything we want with minimal sacrifice? The free time is much harder to come by. Every second I finally have available appears to be a second I need to be spending taking care of something else. I love the time I spend with my girlfriend and her kids, but my time management skills really need to be fine-tuned with this new life I have acquired.

With that in mind, I try to reflect back on some of the teachings.

  1. Schedule the day. Don't just have an idea of what you're going to go, select time slots. If you start running over on a slot, skip it for now, and begin the next item. It'll be hectic at first, but you'll get an idea for what you need to do.
  2. Successful people typically plan a day the night before. This way, the mind subconsciously starts working out ideas as you sleep, and the next morning, you have a better idea of how the day is going to go.
  3. Prepare. Simply put, this is part of the day scheduling. Set up goals, but in order to meet the goals, you need to have a plan in place.
  4. Take time for yourself. This part is important. You will burn out and not do anything if you don't take at least 20-30 minutes a day to just do something you enjoy, meditate, relax, nap, something. Me, I use the time to research dreams, ideas, plans, goals, etc. I love that, and I love my tech stuff. It's been helping.
  5. Ask for help. If you're overwhelmed, there's no shame in trying to get help achieving things.
  6. Help others. It's part of the rule above, but it feels great to help others, puts coins in the Karma bank, and genuinely helps to motivate yourself to complete other tasks.
  7. Try to exercise, eat healthy, and generally take care of yourself. You'll get more accomplished, have more energy, and feel better overall if the diet and exercise is balanced.
My girlfriend is truly an amazing person. All I would have to do is tell her that I want to start budgeting my and our time better, and she would probably start drawing up schedules and get plans together immediately.

But to sum up, that's it. My pearls of knowledge after a few years' absence from the classes. There are a few things I've neglected that I need to take advantage of again, but hopefully, it'll get back on track soon. A new rhythm is already starting to get established at home, and it's starting to work out much better. I just need to be a little more disciplined with myself.