Friday, February 26, 2010

Epic Adventures

One of my friends on Facebook is always posting status updates pertaining to her "epic adventures". She seems to have one every week at least, and sometimes even more than that.

I don't know her especially well, and we hang out it different circles, so I am not sure what the ins and outs of her life tend to be. So I finally asked her how she manages to secure all of these epic adventures.

You see, I don't. Not very often anyway. In fact, let's just leave out the epic part of it and say that I am not very often in the midst of adventure of any kind. I have tried to find adventure. I have tried to start adventures. I think we all need some sort of adventure in our lives at some point in time. On a fundamental level I think the human spirit is designed to undergo adventure on at least a periodic basis. Your definition of adventure will of course be different from my own, but by definition an adventure takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. It removes some of the certainties of everyday life. It tests your mettle in some ways.

In other words, adventures, in addition to being quite fun, expand your boundaries and help you to evolve as a person. Which is why I think all people should have them at some point. Everyone can stretch their boundaries and broaden their horizons.

I confess that I have not had much of a chance to do so. In any given era of my life adventure just doesn't materialize. So I tend to marvel at those that encounter them with any degree of regularity. Like the friend from Facebook I mentioned.

So what was her answer to my question?

"I just tend look at normal outings with friends as epic adventures."

Perfect answer. She is right. We tend to make our own sense of adventure sometimes. It is something within us, and I admire her ability to do so.

However, she is not doing it alone. She is blessed with friends that are adventurous. People with whom she spends time, and want to spend time with her.

I lack such people, by and large. Sure, I love a lot of my friends, and I feel they care about me as a person. But many of them are either too far away to use for adventure. Or are too busy. Or if neither of the above, are just not that adventurous.

The few friends that I have who are both adventurous and local honestly don't seem to invite me on any of them. (I don't include the friend I mentioned in this I said our circles are very different.) But as for others closer to me that don't invite me, I guess our wavelengths are too different for them to want me around for same. Or perhaps they think I will ruin the adventure. This I confess, is sometimes hurtful and sad. Not to mention stunting to spiritual growth.

Yet I won't let it remain that way. I have a goal to find more adventurous local friends. People who define adventure in a way similar to my way. I have stagnated in life sometimes because I have not gone on enough adventures of any kind, and I know that this is partially my fault. Partially, it is the fault of having friends that don't match up to the challenge.

Yes, I know we should be able to find adventure all by ourselves, simply by contemplating the magnificence of existence. I don't fault people who can do that. I think it's admirable to be that spiritually developed. But for right now, I'm Too XYZ to be that on top of things. You probably are too.

If you have not had many adventures, join me in seeking more of them out. It's a pain in the ass, I know. It may be scary to some of you. But you must start to go on more of them. We must expand who and what we are. And we must find other people with which to do it. We must seek to surround ourselves with the adventurous types.God loves the duds as much as he loves the adventurers. And I love some of my dud friends as much as I love the action oriented ones. But let's face it, the duds don't challenge us. And in the face of stagnation, we need challenge. We need to mix it up. We need adventures. Epic adventures.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Optimizing Optimism

Be honest with yourself. You’re just Too XYZ to ever be an optimist.

Yes, you have read the articles and books. You have seen the movies. You have perhaps even attended the seminars and workshops. All of them insisting that the key to success in any endeavor is a constant stream of optimism. Total faith that things will work out. An expurgation of every single doubt and worry about your life. And as much as you may identify with the concept, you cannot put it into everyday practice.

You don’t wake up each day, jump out of bed and sing with a smile on your face, “Hello, World! What sort of happiness will you give me today?” You haven’t attained the ability within you to actually look at every failure and say, “What has this taught me, and how can I improve myself because this happened?” It’s not practical for you to say, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Yes, there are really people who do that. I’ve met them, and so have you. They are the optimists. And we must face the fact that they DO in fact meet with certain kinds of success more often than those who do not. Annoying perhaps, but indisputable. Yet don’t let anyone sell you the idea that you must become an optimist in order to succeed. You won’t ever be one, and neither will I. We’re Too XYZ for it. But we can succeed too.

Now, I may have given you permission to not be an optimist, but you don’t get off that easily. This is not a free pass to be a pessimist all day. You can’t park yourself on the other side of that road and bitch about everything and anything before, during and after it happens. Work is still involved, folks. Just make the work more suited to what you are.

We have the ability to obtain optimism. We just have to remember that we have a limited supply of it. It does not come naturally from within us. So we be optimistic ABOUT something, as opposed to becoming an optimist as a way of life. Focus optimism on a target, where it can be more potent, instead of trying to apply it to our whole lives, where it gets spread thin, and loses potency.

Work on smaller, individual moments at first. A single commute. One date. Maybe just one cup of coffee. Work on saying to yourself, (and believing it), “Maybe.” A simple “maybe” can in fact be one of the most optimistic things people like us can do because there is no Pollyanna assumption of success, but there is no assumption of failure either, and that is the key.

When those little successes do come, (Good date. Perfect cup of coffee) We can build up a reserve of optimism that we can take with us when the bigger challenges present themselves. And we can focus that accumulated optimism on the challenge, as opposed to trying to apply it to each and every aspect of our lives. Which means that yes, we then have room to complain (a little) about something else. We can be pissed about the weather, or we can bitch about getting the bad parking spot, but still be optimistic about the specific event in question.

After some time you may need to drop back rebuild your reserves. For people like us, we may have find ourselves having to do this if the big event is a failure, or even if it is a draining success. And it may take us a while to once again build up the optimism reserves at that point. We may have to go back to saying “Maybe,” about cups of coffee for a while. But at least this way we too can eventually reap the benefits of positive thinking, without having to beat ourselves up for not being Santa Claus all the time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Temporary(?) Twittersphere Trek

I don't hate Twitter, but I have to confess I have seen very little use for it. It is just more noise in an increasingly noisy and impractical internet.

I am also turned off by the near ubiquitous insistence that anyone who "takes himself seriously" as a writer, (or seller, artist, photographer, seamstress, cardiologist) MUST be on Twitter, if they expect anyone else to take them seriously in their field.

I will always disagree with this. It may be persistent one, but Twitter is truly a fad. It will stick around for a while, perhaps forever in some fashion. But it will be replaced one day. As will its replacement, and on and on. This is a given. Yet even while it is still "king", I have many problems with the assumption that it will drive traffic to one's sites or products or pictures.

What causes my to doubt the biggest internet "media" force seen by humankind in, well, about two years? Nothing you haven't heard before; 140 characters is too short for much thought. It encourages net speak. The frequency and size of tweets invites for an especially clogged system, given the ease with which total pointless garbage can be produced. It enables even further our short attention span society. It's yet another internet popularity contest. (Which I never win.)

The list goes on and on. I stand by those conclusions about Twitter overall.

But in an effort to be open minded, (without having my mind made up FOR me be Twitterers) I have over the last month sought opinions from those in the know on other sites of which I am a member. I've sought out, (with more effort than I think ought to be required...another drawback of the service) Tweets that are intelligent, or at least a step above the average, and have concluded that I will try Twitter myself. For about 30 days. If no demonstrable uptick in my followers there, or readership in either of my blogs takes place, I am pulling the plug on the experiment.

No doubt people will say the 30 days is not enough to become a Twitter god, or drive the world to my sight. Neither of these are my goal at this time. My goal is to simply see if using Twitter, by it's very nature, will attract more people to my writing, and encourage them to get to know my work. Some amount of indication ought to begin with 30 days or so. If none does, I think it is the service, more than it is me.

I was also glad to hear from other writers who find no use for the service. It confirmed what I already knew; that writers don't NEED Twitter to be taken seriously as same.

That being said, you will NOT find Tweets from me that:

--Post stupid updates on how my lunch turned out.

--Mundane weather observations.

--Net speak. (EVER. I will not be using abbreviated words or contracted phrases that are not otherwise noted by say, the Associated Press or something.

--Celebrity gossip.

--Tweet pics. Too much to worry with.

In general, I am hoping to think of grammatically correct thought provoking yet entertaining Tweets that will start some conversations. I doubt personally think it is going to work much, but I am willing to try now.

If you would like to follow me, or just read my Tweets, my account is TyUnglebower.

Friday, February 19, 2010

When Honesty Is NOT the Best Policy

Got tact? If not get some. Now.

You are going to run into a lot of people that offend you. And I don’t mean enemies. I am talking about colleagues or even those who supposedly are your friends.

They will consistently make dismissive or insulting comments about you, or about something important to you. You will feel hurt by it, or at least irritated. But then they will guilt you into pretending you are not hurt, or that you shouldn’t be. These people will try to convince you that you have no right to be offended.

They’ll say:

“Hey, I tell it like it is. No bullshit with me. I call it exactly as I see it, and people who can’t handle that just need to stay away from me and get out of my way. Laughing at yourself is good for the soul, learn to do it.”

Translation: “I’m too bitchy to summon up the energy it takes to be civil to people, too lazy to try to understand something different, and too insecure in myself and my beliefs to just stay silent on the subject.”

Also, have you ever noticed that the people who are most proud of being able to “tell it like it is” are the very ones who are the most offended when you tell them how it is?

Don’t be this person. There is nothing noble in being frank to that degree. Sure, it may make you a few fast friends that share your propensity to make yourself the center of the known universe, but the rest of humanity will at best tolerate you, and more than likely despise you. As well they should. You should be building relationships, which is a two way street, not broadcasting that you are small minded and petty, and waiting for those that don’t mind it to show up at your doorstep.

Say whatever you want to your spouse, or within the confines of your home or your closest circle of friends. But once you step out into the actual planet Earth, you are going to be dealing with literally millions of different ways to perceive this one life we have. That life is far too short to put people off by not censoring anything you say.

We are not talking about matters of conscience here. This isn’t about denying your religion, or refusing to stand against a moral wrong that you feel you have the power to bring to light. But ask yourself if telling someone that they always wear ugly sweaters, or that their stories are boring, or their boyfriend has bad teeth really rise to the level of high morality. Does your faith in God truly require you to make these sort of comments?

In the end, ask yourself if anything positive is coming out of something you are saying to another person. If you are not trying to save their life, or make them feel better about something, chances are your insults are simply expressions of fear disguised as honesty designed to aggrandize yourself. Do the world a favor and refrain.

And that’s me telling it like it is.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Go for the...Something

The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games are in full swing, and despite the really lousy American television coverage, (courtesy of NBC), several great moments have already been noted. Undoubtedly there will be more to come in the next two weeks. Probably because the spirit of the Olympics has not quite vanished from view yet.

You hear the stories every Olympics. There are the favorites and the powerhouses. There are the most touching personal interest stories. There are the ones who are not expected to medal in anything, and of course don't, but attain personal bests.

And every once in a while we are blessed with witnessing those who were not expected to do anything, but come from no where and win a medal. Even gold.

One thing is true for all Olympians; they have very specific goals. The push their bodies passed what we could ever imagine, and focus their minds to such an extent that you can almost see them thinking. All in pursuit of whatever their goal is. Gold, or just finishing while standing up.

I envy those who go to the Olympics for many reasons. But perhaps the biggest one is the goals. Nothing about being an Olympian is easy, I would gather, except for the setting of the goal.

Cross the finish line first. Record a specific speed. Have more points than the other team before the clock runs out. Each event has it's own specific goal that is required for victory. And each individual athlete chooses their personal goals from within that framework. One done, all of that body breaking mind bending work can be focused upon something. And the sharper the focus and the harder the training, the more likely we are to see amazing things from them. (medals or otherwise.)

Many times, our goals are not as easily defined. We have to define them ourselves. And for people who are Too XYZ, that is sometimes the greatest challenge.

I know it has been for me. As a freelance writer, my overall, meta-goal if you will is to secure opportunities to be paid for me writing, build a portfolio of said writings, and make the world aware of my abilities.

Broad, I know. And not exactly something I can tape to the wall of a training room and work towards everyday.

I need more specific goals that are smaller, and that is where my problems lie. Something that can be obtained, say this month, or this summer. Sometimes any given single day. Something tangible that is not so nebulous as to remain a dream for too long, but also not so mundane that I can accidentally attain it without effort.

I have improved in this very crucial skill of small/medium size goal setting. Somewhat. But given the nature of my (current) business, I can't really set too many business goals. So that leaves more personal goals.

How do you set goals? Anyone have any stories or advice as to how the smaller, touch stone goals are set in our lives when we are Too XYZ to be mega planners?

And to slow for speed skating...

Share your thoughts with me, readers.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two "Holidays"

Today of course is Hallmark Day. Or is that Valentine's Day? Or is there a difference?

It also just happens to be the Chinese New Year.

I am not Chinese, but I honor the day more for the Chinese New Year than I do for that other atrocious corporate farce.

I've never liked Valentines Day when I was single. Nor have I liked it when dating someone. It is because it is a constant reminder, (out of many) of what our society thinks you should do today. How it defines romance or love. Men and woman latch onto this to coerce things out of their significant others every year.

If you have read this blog by now, you know that I am Too XYZ too cater to such pressures.

A New Year of any culture is a time to think about resetting, reevaluating, and planning. Starting over. Self improving. It doesn't matter most people in this country already had their New Year. Embrace the notion of another New Year. Of many new years. Of being able to start over again at any day. Any time. Simply by decided your status quo is no longer acceptable. By refusing to listen to what society and companies believe ought to be your way to success and instead defining your own. Anytime you want.

This is the key on this February 14th, to a life truly filled with happiness and yes, even love. To set one's own course, and make the starting point any day, or any moment, you choose.

It sure beats third rate chocolates on a 5th rate holiday, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't Hard Sell

Don’t ever use the hard sell.

You read that right. I fly in the face of all of the career/personal success gurus, websites, articles, and books that teach you otherwise. Those that would tell me I am not ahead today because I don’t use a hard sell. I am not as far ahead as I should be, but I will not use a hard sell. Neither should you. I repeat. Do NOT use a hard sell tactic to get something you want. Never. Not one time, ever.

Why do I utter such marketing sacrilege? Simple; people who engage in hard selling are obnoxious pricks and are forever remembered as such. Period, end of discussion.

Here’s an example. I’m sure you know this guy.

I was at a networking event a few weeks ago. An alleged internet “website optimizer”, with a stack of business cards the size of his head cornered some poor woman, his card out before he even reached for her hand or asked her name. I never heard her name, and neither did he, because he was too busy selling, and spouting off at lightening speed.

Your goal is to make money…You need a website…My goal is to make a website…but not just any website…an optimized website…a website that knows how to work the internet…and what’s the internet…the internet is exposure…and what’s exposure…exposure is money…and what’s money…money is whatever you want it to be and I’m going to help you get more of it…more than you thought you could have…what I want to do for you is…

Recognize this jackass now? That is the hard sell. If you are like me you are far Too XYZ to fall for that as a customer, so don’t employ it yourself. Even if you haven’t yet found solid business relationships, you can’t bring yourself to be this guy.

Yet, shouldn’t you? Isn’t that the way to get ahead? No.

Hard sells are only of use when dealing with the very gullible, the very desperate, or the very impulsive. It is those groups that give the false impression that the hard sell is effective. Yet, such people are going to buy something from somewhere anyway no matter what the pitch is. You may get to the front of the line by being an ass, but the line has nobody of worth in it.

And of course that is not truly building a relationship. It’s just selling. There is a difference. If you want to build business, talk to people like they are people, not like they owe you a living. Be remembered by a potential employer, or customer, or client, or network connection as a person they may actually want to talk to over and over again, not as “the asshole who sold me my air conditioner.” For while the latter may be someone who makes a string of single sales, the former is making an investment in people.

Be an investor. Don’t hard sell.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


“It will work for a while,” goes the old cliché’, “but it’s just a band-aid.”

So? We need to embrace band-aids, not avoid them.

I agree of course that some problems are so serious that very particular steps must be taken to fix them. But the problem with the whole “it’s just a band aid” warning is that it overlooks something.

For the right things, band-aids work. And they work just fine.

One problem I think people that are Too XYZ have is that they reach a point, (as I often do) where they feel that they must organically fix, alter or “heal” all of the weird stuff about themselves. And that until they can make a quirk or deficiency go totally away, they are somehow less mature. They say to themselves;

“Because most people like the bar scene, and get most of their relationships or sex from there, I need to find a way to also be comfortable with the bar scene." "I like to read, but only cheap romance novels. It will best serve my intellectual reputation if I find a way to enjoy the classics." "I need to find a way to write a better resume for myself, because I just can't seem to get it right."

Those would be the three complicated or stressful solutions to these situations. But all three also have band-aid options.

One could meet people online. Read the Study Notes or abridged versions of the classics. If you have the money pay somebody to write a resume for you and be done with it.

Ask yourself if the fundamental problem you are trying to solve is really going to have far reaching consequences to your conscience or your safety. If it isn’t, forget the rebuilding process. Stick a band-aid on there. Take the short cut. Few will care. And if they do care, and start to preach “The Band-aid” sermon to you, tell them you would prefer to spend your energies on improving things you can control. Such as avoiding negative people. Then walk away.

I am a prime example of this. I am a terrible navigator. Part of it comes from not having a lot of driving experience when I was younger. Part of it is just me. As a result, I went to fewer places then most of my friends because I was scared of getting lost. (I didn’t have a cell phone in my youth.) Job and social potential decreased, and so on with the rest of those dominoes.

For a while, I had it in my head that I had to learn to be a better navigator. Study maps. Take practice runs to complicated places. Train myself, despite the stress levels and damage to my spirit, to be able to drive anywhere.

Then, I borrowed a GPS device for the first time and everything changed. I could suddenly go anywhere, with almost no stress to my system.

GPS is a band-aid, and I know it. But I don't care. I’m still a lousy navigator. But when I got my own GPS that problem ceased to matter. Band-aid. I would much rather slap a band aid on a problem like this, and know I can move on, (literally), then go nowhere until I beat those skills into my head. I can now drive anywhere I want to, without fear, just by pushing a few buttons.

What are your minor problems? What short cut band-aids can you use to solve them?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fuck Them.

Yes, it’s a vulgar thing to say. And it represents uninspired writing on my part. I take pride in writing more intelligent prose. But this point is so important to me that “fuck them” is the only thing with enough punch to deliver my message.

I’m 32 years old, and I still get family help with my rent. Outside of my freelance writing work, I have never been able to get anything other than a seasonal or part time job my whole life. (Despite having a college degree, and applying for over 1,100 jobs over the years, when I stopped counting.) Off and on I have lived again at home with my mother. I can’t promise it will never happen again. I am not married, in a relationship, or even visited at home by any local friends of mine.

Other than college I have never lived more than 15 miles from the hospital I was born in. And through it all, I have slaved, studied, investigated, searched, given up, started again, been close, failed, wondered what it was all for, fought harder still, and found myself moving backwards at times. All in an effort to get a decent job. Find someplace different and exciting to live. Do something for the world worthwhile with people that I respect. Pay the bills without killing my soul.

And I have met with some success in very narrow perimeters. And that only recently. But I am behind in many things, and I know it. I’m working on it. If you have similar difficulties, you should keep working on them too.

But if you are like me, you know what most people tend to think of those of us in such a situation. That we are lazy. Stupid. Perhaps even retarded or mentally ill. Unmotivated and lacking ambition. That we can only be clinically depressed loners, welfare gluttons, drunks, druggies or emo artists. Or some combination of the above.

So prevalent is the view that financial productivity and career placement defines our very humanity, that it is almost a given anymore. People have bought into the notion that the entire purpose of existing is to secure a job, ANY job, right away at all costs. No matter what it does to our bodies, our souls, our spirits or our minds. Doesn’t matter if the only one you can find is a low paying job 2,000 miles away from everything you have ever known. Rent the U-Haul and get to it. “Paying bills and taxes are your primary responsibility,” such people spout. “You have to feed yourself.” ”A job’s a job.” ”Go where the money is.” “A job is supposed to make you miserable. That is life. Deal.”

Say it with me; “Fuck them.”

Don’t buy into this. Because to do so sets up a scenario wherein it’s far too easy to lose your humanity. Your self respect. Under this billowing flag of narrow mindedness, if you don’t force yourself into a job that you are not built for, if you are under employed, or lose a job, or just have difficulty in ever getting hired through no fault of your own, (like me) you are not a real person. People like us are third class citizens, under such a definition. (Conveniently, if not intelligently defended by those who say, “that’s just life.”)

But we are people, those of us who fail a lot. We are people who are willing to pay our dues, but we have just not been permitted to by circumstances beyond our control. We are denied, over and over again, the chance to pay those dues in ways that allow us to be who we are. Those that were just never quite shown the way. Never had a helping hand extended to us. Never really caught the breaks that most people catch.

And of course because we can’t pay our dues in the way that most people can, those same “most people” see us as marginal garbage. Socio-economic flotsam and jetsam that by our own choices have ended up just getting in the way of those who really are productive.

Again, fuck them.It may be the only two words to hang onto when you are at the end of your rope. Use them often, and use them well. Use them until you’re okay with the fact that so far, you have failed a lot. Use them until the views and attitudes of millions of others are pushed out of the center of your consciousness and replaced with what you know is the truth. Use those two words until all that remains in your mind is a clear view of what your problems are, and what your next steps need to be to solve them. At your own pace.

Use them until the only people who want to remain in the room with you are the ones that will love and respect you no matter what you say, where you go, what you do, and how often you fail. The people who will support you, emotionally and financially if need be, until you are on your own feet. Those are your real friends. Those are the ones that matter. And those are the ones who will join you in saying “fuck you” to anybody who offers you neither a helping hand nor a kind word as you struggle to face your problems.

Don’t avoid self improvement. Always face your issues head on. Don’t abdicate your responsibilities. Work as hard as you can to fulfill them yourself. Don’t hurt other people. And for the love of the Divine, if you are able, help other people out of their situations any time you see a chance to do so. Be self focused, not selfish.

Yet being so requires that you forget about what I know almost everyone else is going to be saying. You will in fact be so outnumbered in your struggle to do it your way, and obtain the help you need that diplomacy just won’t work. Only two words will beat back the tide.

“Fuck them.”

Go practice it. Today.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How's This Gonna Work?

This week I have hopefully established what this blog is, and who I am. At least in an introductory sense. The question now is, how? How am I going to provide advice, commentary, recollections, links, speculations, theories and questions pertaining to the sorts of things about which I plan to write? (Such as career, freelancing, writing, relationships, introversion, education, spirituality, etc.)

It’s quite simple really. I shall write about that which moves, inspires or concerns me at any given time, and make liberal use of the labeling function to categorize posts.

That’s it.

In other words, I’m going to let Blogger organize it, and let you, the reader, sample it in whatever way you wish. Want to only read posts about my thoughts on being an introvert? Hop right to them. Opinions on job hunting more your cup of tea? Go after those. This is a blog, not a novel. So there need not be any over arching sequence. If one post refers to another post, I’ll link to it. I’m about content and accessibility. Not about being cute, or organizing things into oblivion. (Of which I am sometimes been guilty.) So expect self contained posts connected by a common thread, but hopefully also useful in their own right.

My goal is to make this place fun to both write and to read. I find that having fewer boundaries and strict perimeters suit that end quit nicely, don’t you?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who the Hell Am I?

Why should you listen to me? What credentials have I that will prove I am the guru you ought to follow to solve your problems and pull you out of the mud?

None. I have no credentials. I am not a psychiatrist, career coach, CEO, clergymen or famous. Which is one reason I wrote this blog. As a response to my sheer weariness of trying to survive, let alone succeed in a credentials oriented world.

“Prove it,” every one is always saying. “Prove you are qualified for this job. Prove you believe in God. Prove that you love me.”

I’m not about proving anything here. I’m just about sharing conclusions I have come to in my life as I examine my lack of progress in some key areas, along with my successes in other. I want to chronicle what I am and doing. Both because I am a writer, and because I feel my thoughts might just be of benefit to others in similar situations.

So who the hell am I? I’m a guy that is Too XYZ, and has spent much time and effort in getting around that when needed. My credentials are that I have no credentials. But if you are looking for something real as opposed to some half-assed official study sanctioned by a lot of people with credentials, you will get something out of this blog.

My name is Ty Unglebower. I live alone in Frederick County, Maryland. The fifth of six kids. My mother is a widow, my father having died when I was seven years old.

I only get along with about half of my family at this time.

I am college educated, with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in the Theatre Arts, from Marietta College. (Ohio). That hard earned and expensive poly-sci degree never did a thing for me. Didn’t open a single door. I make no use of it in the slightest, and never have.

I work as a freelance writer at this time. It doesn’t pay enough. Not nearly enough. So I have to get help from family sometimes. That’s just the way it is when you cannot find a job working for a company. Freelance writing is just about the only consistent thing anyone has paid me to do. I rang a bell one Christmas, washed dishes for a summer, watered plants for another, and sold radio ad time for two weeks. Spent two seasons as a tour guide. None of it full time. That is what a degree, 1000 resumes (and counting) 8 years, 4 interviews and three offers (not counting my freelance writing gigs) have yielded me on the job front. Haven’t exactly made a single dent in my student loans either, as you can probably guess.

Sound hard to believe? Try living it.

Why is it so? Right now I’m working on the how to fix it more so than the why it has been that way. And I have grown weary trying to figure out the why over these years. But I imagine I will explore both that why and the “what now” in this blog.

Though I rarely get paid for it, I spend most of my free time stage acting. Whenever and wherever I can. And I’m good at it. It is a large part of my creative life. So large in fact, I keep a separate blog to talk about my experiences in theatre. You can find a link to that in the link section. I will be referring to it frequently.

I enjoy digital photography and will sometimes post my pictures here.

What is my philosophy for success overall? After reading the books, articles, blogs, and speeches on the subject, whether they be about careers, love, sex, or spirituality, I can say it’s important to cut one’s own path as best as one can. Even when one doesn’t know how to begin.

Too XYZ is one way in which I have begun to do this. The advice column way, or the conventional story book ending just doesn’t seem built for me. It may not be in your cards either. Yet maybe I can help you, and in turn be helped by you. Keep reading and find out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Launch

Welcome to Too XYZ.

This will be a place where I share my observations, situations and tribulations with the world at large, but especially with people who find themselves in my same predicament.

And what is that predicament?

The predicament of falling just outside of the circumstances of conventional success. The predicament of being well ahead of the game in some ways, but due to various occurrences, quite behind in others. An age and situation often ignored by advice columnists, success gurus and positive thinking adherents. The predicament where too many assumptions are made about one’s abilities and potential achievements, simply because one is an adult, or is intelligent, or healthy.

It is the predicament of having come, through many ordeals, to a keen and ever evolving self awareness, but having never really been given of a solid chance to make use of that knowledge in the outside world. The predicament of unrealized potential, and bad timing. Of being left to one’s own devices without assistance or guidance because one is “smart”, and “will figure it all out.” Of being without mentors or even equals because of it.

Ours is the predicament of wanting to change, to succeed, to evolve and to influence this world and society, but finding ourselves powerless and clueless as to how to do so. A predicament of just not connecting. In our careers, our social lives, our spiritual lives. Of wandering, with only a vague outdated road map, thin networks, and canned advice. That just doesn’t quite fit our condition. The predicament of following that advice anyway because we need to “do something.”

It’s a predicament of being too different too early in life, or too damaged, or too confused, or all of the above, to develop as one should have developed in order find conventional success in the world. Or even in order to take the advice of those who coach others in how to do so. A predicament of being too unique in too many ways so that even suggestions for “unique people” doesn’t quite stick to us much of the time. Like a sticky note with hair and dirt on the back.

The predicament of being stalled, or perhaps of never having started. The predicament of only just now getting around to the aspects of life for which most people your age have falsely concluded you are too old. The predicament of knowing that society’s definition of success is not the be all and end all, but not knowing how to carve your own definition to get what you want. What you need. What you deserve.

In short, the predicament of being too….something. Too what? An undefined value. A value I refer to in this blog as being “Too XYZ.”
Too XYZ to have a resume that sings. Too XYZ to network and schmooze your way into those connections and positions everyone likes to write about these days. Too XYZ to enjoy being alone all of the time, yet also Too XYZ to jump through the standard hoops of how to date, or make friends. Too XYZ to take part in the networking events that others claim are so crucial to getting ahead. Too XYZ to fit in, yet Too XYZ to conform.

But you and I are also Too XYZ to fail. You may not know how to prevent it, or what happened to you to make you Too XYZ, but you know that you are neither hopeless, nor simply able to pick up the latest self help best seller, think a few happy thoughts, and watch your life get fixed. You need something else. Something more. A different way of seeing what you are, what the world is, and a new style of success. One that isn’t set down in specific rules, but is fluid, human based, and adaptable to your circumstances. Maybe you just need to hear the stories of someone else who is Too XYZ. That is where I come in.

I’m Ty, and it seems I have always been Too XYZ. I will share my views, advice and reasons here. What I have learned, and am trying to learn. My hope is that it speaks enough to you to help you out. Or at least, makes you think.

Which is where all of this must start. With a thought.