Manly Vocabulary: Preparedness

Preparedness is a strange thing. It’s taught by many groups ranging from kindergarten to the time you graduate college, but it’s never truly defined and it never seems to actually help you in any way. It’s said that school prepares you for college, and college prepares you for life. I think that’s a load of horse shit, and here’s why.

I was in scouts when I was younger and the one thing they always said was “be prepared.” I joined as a cub and graduated throughout the ranks until I was eventually a full-fledged scout. And although I hated it, it wasn’t all that bad, I met one of my best friends in scouts and went on many adventures with the group of boys I eventually came to call my family. For a couple of years we played jokes on each other, built and tore down countless campsites, rolled countless sleeping bags, and took stupid classes at camp. We built fires, swam for hours, explored caves, shot rifles and bows, and got lost in the woods on purpose just to find our way back. But worst of all, we camped in the snow. Yeah I earned my below-zero badge several times, and it wasn’t fun at all. Ok it was pretty fun, but I don’t advise using summer tents to camp in mid winter, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it.

But there soon came a time when all of this brotherly friendship turned into something different, something more annoying than fun: we all grew up. A-frames were replaced by high school desks, bunk-mates were replaced by classmates, leaders with teachers,  fire pits and logs with cafeteria’s and tables crowded with chairs too small for your ass regardless of age,sex, or size. Tree’s and holes were replaced with bathrooms, charred burgers were replaced with mystery meats, and worst of all– friends were replaced by others. What was this world of porcelain and tile floors, sports teams and cliques, girlfriends and locker-mates? No one trained us for this, no one prepared us for this. No one cared to tell us that our friends would no longer talk to us because of what clothing we wore or music we listened to. You weren’t taught that your friend, who you’d bunked with for years, would become addicted to prescription drugs and drop out of high school to get his GED. You weren’t taught to deal with friends who you thought you knew attempt suicide– not for attention but to truly end their life. You weren’t trained to have every best friend you’d ever had move hours away and you certainly weren’t taught to deal with bullies who beat you up in the bathroom in between classes because you were different from them. Where the fuck was that preparedness course?

But you make it through, barely, some faring better than others. You graduate, hopefully, and look back at what you’ve accomplished. You look back at your old group of friends who now wear Abercrombie & Fitch rather than the uncomfortable tan shirt and olive drab pants of the past. You see the person you once called your best friend taken from you by drugs and alcohol because of family abuse. You watch your friends slowly sliding into mediocrity and think to yourself “what happened to wanting to be somebody?” But you carry on anyways and go to college to watch the cycle continue again. Friends come and go and classes blur into one giant shit storm of homework. You periodically check how your “friends” from back home are doing on Facebook or Twitter just to make sure they’re ok, even though they aren’t. You take unfathomable amounts of money out in loans to pay for your college, hoping you chose the right degree to pay it all off, trying not to think about what happens if you can’t. You go to class like a zombie, you procrastinate, eat wrong, gain weight, make friends, lose friends and fail classes. But you make it through, barely, some faring better than others. And you graduate, hopefully, and look back at what you’ve accomplished. You look back at your old group of friends, who now wear North Face rather than the ridiculous “preppy” clothing of the past. You see how much your teachers impacted you, changed you,molded you into who you are with their hammers of knowledge, and you say thank you. And you leave with zero dollars to your name and thousands of dollars in debt along with no idea on how to pay it off. So you move on and continue down the road called life.

And that’s the thing about preparedness. It isn’t taught in any school, or through any group, or by any one person. It’s taught by you, by your mistakes, by your misfortunes, by your failures, by your untouched level of dedication to be something better, to do something better. There is no preparing for the future the future is unforeseeable. Maybe that’s why the schools in America don’t teach you how to pay bills, take care of a child, change a flat on your car or integrate you into society. Then is it your parents job? Right, lets add that onto four jobs at one time, bills backing up, two kids in school one in college and a dad who doesn’t really give a shit. No, they have enough to do already.

Preparedness in my opinion is bullshit. You can plan all you want, but everything changes. Your four-year plan turns into a seven-year plan. Your plan to get that dream job is cut short by your inability to show up to your classes because “the party Saturday night was bumping.” And you’re plan to get ahead this time is ended by your slippery slope into who you were in high school.

If you’re going to prepare for anything, prepare to fail, it seems to be the only thing that is 100% going to happen other than death. Just remember this one thing: it isn’t how you fail but how you pick yourself back up afterwards that defines you as a person.

Hope this makes you feel better –> CLICK HERE FOR AWESOME

Failing: Everyone Is Doing It

Failure: something that everyone is afraid of, yet something that is and will always be inevitable. Failure happens, and I personally feel that it isn’t how you fail, or why you failed. Rather how you pick yourself up after doing so, that defines you as a person. Now I know that sounds like the quintessential “pick yourself back up” phrase, and it kind of is, but there is obviously some truth to it.

Last semester I was still planning on becoming a high school history teacher. My adviser didn’t give a shit what classes I took, and after taking a quick glance of my first collegiate schedule I had ever made for myself (freshman year is made for you at my school) she quickly signed off and gave me my pass code to sign up for classes. Want to know how I chose my classes? “This sounds cool, I’ll take that.” Terrible right? Yeah, it was. I was a first semester sophomore in college taking two 500/600 level classes (that’s second year graduate). Russian history and England history were the two classes, and boy do I hate those two classes. Don’t get my wrong though, I loved every second of the classes, I learned so much about both Russian and England, which I am still interested in today. But the problem manifested itself in the way of grades, and it quickly became apparent that I was not up to par with the level of class I was in. I tried my hardest to do well in both of the classes, but simply put, I was shitty at everything we did in there. Whether it was world news, history in general, or the kings of England, I didn’t know anything. And even though there was no prerequisites when I signed up, it was obvious that there were lots of prerequisites… like a degree in history.

Needless to say I failed them both. My 3.2 gpa from Freshman year was now ruined and had dropped to a measly 2-point-something — So low that I didn’t even want to look (and I still haven’t). I was in a box of shit for a while, just stepping and standing, wallowing in hate and guilt and lots of other emotions (yeah, I’m a dramatic “failer”). And after a close friend of mine rubbed some salt into the wound about how he had warned me about declaring a major in history, I decided to make a huge change and declared a new one.

It doesn’t matter how you fail, there’s always ways to step back onto the plate and swing again. Besides, you can’t fail until you try (and believe me I tried super hard, and failed super hard in those two classes). But in the end I’m glad I took them and failed, because it made me realize history wasn’t my thing. I’m not one of those “everything happens for a reason” kind of people, but I am glad that it happened. So regardless what you do, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t give up (so cliché…).

When I tell this story to people most of them ask why I didn’t drop the classes. The simple answer is I couldn’t. If I dropped I’d have to add two more classes to be a full-time student in order to keep my financial aid and my lap top the school loans everyone. When I tried to drop, no classes matched up with my schedule or they didn’t pertain to it. So I made the bold choice to ride it out… I was at a 30% in both of them by midterms. It was awful. But It’s in the past and I’m looking toward the future (can you say cliché?).

 

As always, here’s some awesome manly stuff. It’s a band I recently found and I feel the song is about failing and not wanting to give up. You may think differently but It makes me want to not give up and punch small children in the face with joy. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

Feelings Can Be Manly

Artists and their internal renditions

Artists and their internal renditions

Today’s prompt is about what’s really on the inside. I figured I’d take a few moments of your time and explain some feelings. Because feelings are manly. (Don’t worry I’ll throw some bacon in at the end)

As a student I often find myself overwhelmed and understaffed for the incoming hurricane of knowledge known as college. For most it is the next step in their education, but for many it is the only way to a better living than they’ve known before. I fall into the later category. Now before you get all butthurt and think of me as just another woe is me my life stinks kind of person, just remember these are my feelings. Feel free to express your feelings in the form of a comment, but remember I’ll do the same right back. So keep it clean and classy. Or I’ll find you and kill you with kindness. (or bacon, I haven’t decided)

Growing up I wasn’t privy to many luxuries other kids were allowed like heating, or air conditioning, or a hot water heater (for nine months at one point). I was born in Modesto, Calif. but my family soon migrated to Missouri when I was four years old. My childhood home (that I remember) was a real shit box. I have many fond memories of building awesome ramps for me to jump my bike off, but I have just as many memories of being scared, freezing my ass off in winter, and boiling water on the stove to shower with. A memory I won’t soon forget is of my favorite thing to do as a child, I often road to the nearest grain silos and climbed them unbeknownst to the owners, or my parents. But the chance to ride three miles to what is essentially a giant ladder to the sky in the middle of corn fields was priceless to me. The feeling of being free some three to four stories in the sky was an awesome feeling I can’t describe to anyone, especially at the age of 10 or younger. And it’s not like my parents were deadbeats, I love them both very much and everything they’ve done was and still is for me and my siblings, but some people are just less fortunate than others

My point being I was too young to realize what I was doing, but I know recognize those grain silos were a way to escape my somewhat shitty lifestyle I had become accustomed too. And regardless of how hard school gets, or how much inner turmoil is created due to family life, love life, or bacon being over cooked, I know that what’s inside of me will always triumph like a lion. A bacon loving lion. A bacon loving lion waiting to eat every other person in the world until I’m the alpha lion. So that I can have the worlds spoils of bacon!

Look, that was a shit metaphor, sorry for that. Regardless I know everyone else feels the same as I do. Overwhelmed, stressed out, tired, and worried about next weeks test you have yet to study for. It’s the way of the college student, and that is why we are all here. To get our degree, earn a bigger pay check than the generation before us, and escape the harsh realities of the world. And whether you fall into one of those, or all of them plus some, you need to remember that whatever your struggle, it’s possible to overcome. Look at Wheelz from Nitro Circusbest success story in my opinion. You have to remember that we are only 17-22 years old, which is only a fraction of our life that we have to live. Chill out and enjoy an ice-cold Cream Soda and remember, it’s ok to have feelings. Even if you are the manliest bastard out there. Just make sure that whatever is inside is reflected on the outside, not the other way around.

Now here’s that bacon I promised. You may think you cook bacon like a pro but If you’re like me and are always looking for ways to improve yourself, here is a proper technique on how to cook bacon. Watch it here.