by David Fleming
On a mission, destined for a story, from which romantic optimism knows no bounds
A personal study of the human condition…
A convincing argument for reexamining your life…
What reaching out to the risk of living with both arms might look like…
“Love Matters. People Matter. Everything else is secondary.”- Hugh Macleod
“Life is not an adventure until it starts scaring you shitless…”- Hugh Macleod
SYNOPSIS / INTRODUCTION;
In a nutshell — This Book involves the life story of a man ( this is me again) an occasionally flawed (but likeable!) character who is motivated by ( mortality and redemption ), who has a goal ( to become a Full Human Being ), but faces conflict (To understand the reasons behind his life decisions and reactions), who finds solace and solutions ( in referencing other authors and experts), which are presented alongside (his own point of view POV), Rendered in an informative and humorous manner. Deep Breath!!!
THEREFORE…What started out as an attempt to record the adventuresome stories from my past, evolved into an endless search for answers and solutions to all aspects of living and dying.
But! as far as public interest is concerned — if you are not headlining any fame, fortune or international acclaim on your resume…, you better have something special to offer — or face the same difficulty as say; feeding celery to a cat! One can only assume.
So what does one do with a good story and a purpose for writing it — But fame and fortune has not come your way?
“You could be so good that people can’t ignore you” as Steve Martin once said…, and did!
Or…, you could support your own efforts by employing the expertise and opinion of many other authors and publications that may significantly contribute to your cause and purpose who may appear throughout.
Hey, this is what I did.
I owe an enormous debt to the many authors, maybe I should call them co- authors — whose expertise, influence and humor have helped me present this to both of us.
Unfortunately the newer information and influences are arriving after the fact for me.
Better late than never — is what I am hoping!
It has not been difficult for me to concede that the life I have led has been privileged, even though I have never been totally content with it at any given time, but then who the hell really is?
Then there is this business of writing about one’s life that encompasses so many reasons for doing so I have discovered — but it is always a given that one must strive for honesty and candor especially if you are seeking clarity or calm from it…which I am.
But! Have you me yet? No?
Well, I happen to be male; which means I have this tendency to keep true feelings inside, not only from others…, but from myself too…, What the hell?#$@&!
So you won’t be surprised when I inform you that I am slightly limited…
No…, really I suck by normal standards when it comes to communicating verbally, which is why I chose writing over public speaking.
As it has turned out this project has not only became a quest to comprehend my own unreasoning conscience but humanity issues in general.
Oh the fricking Humanity!
So while I struggle to get it all out in the open, I am informed that we learn to adapt in order to fit in, get along, be liked, gain acceptance, and thus feel good about ourselves —Blah Blah Blah…
I’m trying O.K?
Therefore the rather rote autobiographic beginnings of my life story eventually became more of a platform that I have used to discover and discuss many other subjects of interest, humor and insight — hand-picked by yours truly as I seek out information that I feel may benefit or entertain us, of course!
So if I jar you loose from my own story…, as I will do on a regular basis — relax…, we will get back to it soon enough.
So… off I go seeking enlightenment and stumble upon this old saying, “There are no answers, only the search”…A statement I am really starting to believe may be accurate.
And if it really is, and there are no answer’s, then for the sake of saving time — let’s just assume that I know “everyshing”! LOL
This project has practically shamed me into becoming accountable for my life which may benefit you because I am going to pass on what I have learned and researched in order to make a difference in yours…, one can only hope.
I found that with each hurdle you overcome — each problem you solve — it takes another piece of baggage or stress away that never comes back… I’m just saying.
Having gained a better appreciation and understanding of the circumstance’s that shape and mold us into whom we are…I now feel free to move about the planet with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. It is my hope that it will do the same for you.
TO ALL THE FRIENDS, FAMILY AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME INTO MY LIFE — AND TO THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE ABOUT TO…ENJOY.
“It costs so much to become a full human being, that there are very few who have the courage or enlightenment to pay the price.
One has to abandon altogether the search for security and reach out to the risk of living with both arms.
One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.
One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.”
“A Full Human Being”, By Morris West, “The Shoes of a Fisherman”, 1963.
It was in my late teens that I came upon this excerpt describing the unique challenges and sacrifice involved in becoming a “Full Human Being”.
I remember thinking to myself … Hey! This sounds exactly like me… except totally different! — And there were no parameters to define it…Perfetc!
Recently I discovered “New Copy” that discusses this concept in a more provocative and colorful way — as received in a recent Blog post from my favorite Illustrator/Author Hugh Macleod who writes…
“Here’s to the Crazy Ones… The Misfits… The Rebels… The Troublemakers… The Round Pegs in the Square Holes…The Ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of the rules and they have no respect for the Status Quo.
You can Quote them, disagree with them, Glorify or vilify them.
Because they Change Things…
They Push the Human Race Foreword…, and while some may see them as the Crazy Ones, We see Genius.
Because the People who are Crazy enough to think they can Change the World…,
Are the ones who do?”
I was definitely one of the Crazy Ones alright, and this recognition would have added a noble concept to my early antics — but I wasn’t trying to change the world I must admit…, I was just trying to see and experience as much of “it” as I could.
It has been said that the world will always conspire to make you less than you are.
The question is, do you let it?
Hell No! is my eternal answer.
O.K…, So I have a tendency to verbalize with color in my enthusiasm. G. U. T. I.!
(Get used to it).
Recently I have been collecting phrase’s that might help to clarify my early existence or to find a suitable subtitle through this evolving selection process although I am leaning heavily toward the clarity and calm thing which I will get to shortly.
I seek a title that will represent both the turmoil and the good fortune that allows me to report that I am still standing strong in 2012 — just shy of 60 years old. Yeah!
You know I hate to admit it but; “time does has a way of allowing you to realize the vast infinity of what you will not see or experience in a lifetime”. You got that right…, whoever said that!
The ideal life that I strived to live…, as adventure beckoned and my choices seemed to have no limits has somehow eked its way into REALITY although I still manage to hang on to some of it now.
But first — We have got to go back to the 70’s and 80’s when we lived motto’s like;
“No sense being Dumb unless you can show it”…, “If you must be stupid, you’re going to have to be tough…,” “Living Life Out loud”!…“Live like Awesome feels” … “Where the Magic Happens”… “I Can’t Hardly”… “Living in the moment”… “Always on a Mission”… any of these could work.
Of course I want it to sound intriguingly cool and provide insight to represent the Bohemian life style I adopted — or a philosophical view point to abide by or to blame it on — whichever comes at me first.
I have read that people always seem to be more interested in a person’s internal conflicts, as opposed to their external hardships. But not to worry! — There will be no shortage of either of these here! — And I’ve got the calluses to prove it.
By the way, for those of you like myself, who do not regularly delve into this type of psychobabble; Internal conflicts are emotional problems brought about by these external conflicts that make a person reluctant to achieve a goal because of their own roadblocks. OK?
These conflicts emerge as an ongoing monologue concerning how I think and feel.
I suspect that similar feelings may have been felt by others…, and that I will not be alone in my mission to learn more about them.
Oh God! There’s those damn feelings again.
So as this story unfolds, it is my intent to allow us mere mortals to be transported into an incredible and entertaining world that will move you on a deep, emotional level…I.C.H. (I can’t hardly…)
O.K., just kidding about the mere mortals! What I meant was anyone reading this must be a special mortal!
By the way, I have adopted these open-ended ambiguous cliques as a running joke or quirky theme throughout. G.U.T.I. again!
As is typical of my nature, I also intend to explore or develop a style of writing that is not so traditionally ridged; one that allows for punctuation that may be sportingly delineated or abbreviated like the newer texting phrases which I love, as you will see.
I still don’t text yet however but I really like this one? “Gt thngs dne qkr”…!
In the early stages of this project I could have easily have called this an effort to wrap my head around “W.T.F. happened?”— Which does not stand for Welcome to Facebook!
Here’s the thing — I have been involved in or witnessed some incredible moments due to the lifestyle and attitude I adopted — in spite of, or perhaps because of — the lack of good judgment, daring decisions or pure fricken luck which usually was a resultant combination of all of these.
Think about it…, isn’t it the poor decisions that make the good story’s anyway?
It is not my intention however, to promote the idea of defying logic or failing to act in you’re our own best interest. What I am suggesting is that this type of mindset can and has produced incredible stories and outcomes in spite of the irrationality.
I don’t believe that you wake up one day and discover you were wired not to fit in the conventional manner. I believe it’s a matter of circumstances or defining moments that dictates this — A topic that I intend dissect in detail.
In fact, I intend to present and discuss as many topics and issues involving the human condition as possible, you can count on that.
Certainly it is realistic to acknowledge that we are never going to make everyone happy and that the approval we are seeking after all — really comes from within.
Wouldn’t you agree?
I have learned through writing about my own experiences that it is possible to come to terms with your words and actions in order to find and live with your true inner self.
Oh man! Is this getting too heavy for anyone?
I also realize that the life we are living now came about by our decisions and choices. Rarely is it a fate thing and even if it is…get over it O.K.?
I realize now that my decisions have brought me far and wide and to where I am at this moment.
The rest of the world in general really doesn’t give a $#!t about what you don’t like about your life. Your Mom does of course!
For example in January of 2013, I can report that I have been living the Salt Life on a Houseboat for the last three years where I have been docked in various marinas across South Florida.
What makes this significant is that this boat was located in Aiken, S.C. in 2009 perched precariously up on blocks basically rotting in someone’s backyard for the past 14 years before someone told me about it — the rest is a great story to be shared later.
My point is…, you have the ability to control your destiny in a large way.
If you won’t seize the moment and make changes …, because we all can seize and change, then at least quit bitching about or dwelling on it.
I simply love the following excerpt from “Own the Life You Live” By Lori http://www.CreateYourCalm.com
“Stop giving away your power to navigate your life. This is your life – the one you have right now. The future you is no more valuable than the current you. Take care of yourself and your life in a manner that supports how you want to live.
Stop letting the world piss you off; stop dreaming about how awesome your life will be when you have more money or lose a few pounds. Make your life awesome today.
Decide you deserve to have that awesome life now and start setting goals that will make your decision reality.
When the goals are set, start working on the plans to achieve the goals. You will get there. You will have the life of your dreams – all you have to do is get started. So go – get started!”
Here’s what I do is when I catch myself dwelling on stuff that takes me away from enjoying the present and messing with my plans — I ERASE! I found I can divert my thots by closing my eyes and moving my hands all around my head and my face while repeating “ERASE ERASE” over and over. Sometimes this must be repeated throughout the day if I keep going back to it…, Works for me!
I also found that by reliving what I will call the creative/adventuresome routes I took in life I can now make the best of it, by affecting a change or finding the humor… Basically what this whole project is turning out to be anyway.
I also get bored or distracted easily; don’t make me admit to the possibility of having A.D.H.D issues here but…
You should know that this is written in a way that allows an ever present flow of information; sometimes related / sometimes not — Oh look! There’s an Iguana — intermingled with quotes, humor and my own stories — And this keeps coming at you in a progression that never lets up.
So if you are normal, don’t let this blow your sane mind! LOL
The rest of you with the issues should have no problem!
Hey! You should see the flickering lights on my laptop.
I must mention here that I have become very enthralled with sayings and quotes. I love the simplicity, the inspiration, the motivation and the power they have to provoke new thinking.
If someone was to ask me what my main focus as a young man was today, I would have to concede that I was all about seeking out or orchestrating these creative moments … and this has carried on through to adulthood.
Still, I catch myself attempting to portray a civilized ambiance when discussing my younger years!… But don’t let this fool yah.
There were always people trying to make sense of, or correct me — who usually gave up without making a dent.
Hardheaded would be my guess.
Speaking of dents; did you know that “this is why we are here — to make a dent in the universe?” It was Steve Jobs’ favorite mantra.
With me there was no waiting, working, planning and saving for an experience that would only place me in the tourist or novice category.
Noooo, I strived to extemporaneously arrive through the back door in some sort of working, training or entertainment capacity in order to experience life in the face first, serendipity type manner that I required — flying by the seat of my cocky pants, fully aware that I may crash and burn at any moment — and did at times!
And Yes!… this damn story has brought back memories that I want so much to go back and slap myself… not that it would have done any good back then I’m afraid — and you are going to witness the; unedifying sight of my struggle to frigging express them.
How’s that for some contemporary jargon!
Today in 2012, as I approach the 60 year mark, I still possess an adventuresome mindset minus the creative mischief thank God! …but it is not near as physical or risky.
My new thot process has become one of thankfulness for having lived a great life toward the mission of making a contribution; for good of mankind type attitude if you will.
Of course, this is the ideal moral obligation behind what I am seeking to attain, but don’t hold me to this.
I’m thinking that my new adventures are probably going to look more like — an old man’s bucket list on a sissy mission to my younger self, but what the hell, I am no spring chicken.
Besides—“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do — than by the ones you did do.” Just ask Mark Twain, he’s the one who said this.
Back in my early years I once described myself as playing Huckleberry Finn, Ernest Hemmingway and Jeremiah Johnson.
I can remember feeling ambiguously guilty about this back then and even more so now, although the correct term may now be conciliatory. (i.e. Reconcile, Appease)
O.K. I admit this was a rare occasion to feel guilty when I was younger — but it happened, I swear!
Maybe now I should toss a little Redemption into the mix as I may be seeking atonement or deliverance from God knows what may come to light!
Why? Because I was always doing or pursuing something that was considered beyond; socially reprehensible or marginally acceptable to the normal progression of a young man’s life, typical of the Post Industrial era — and I was getting away with it…well, most of the time anyway.
Envision the uninhibited bliss of: throwing your ideas or desires against a wall to see if they stick type of attitude — add to this a person that was game for anything… and you’ve got me!
I was the kind of person that would; take off for Greenland if someone said the fishing was good and I could get by without learning the Greenlandic language even if they do eat slivers of whale blubber. Hell yeah!
For reasons that I have since discovered, I never bought into the typical indoctrination that wanted me to be satisfied with being and doing the average or mediocre.
I was always seeking spontaneous ways of breaking out of the mundane daily routine. To me the thot of living a boring existence was like laying in the gutter with someone else’s foot my neck!
My early pursuits did not necessarily have to have an income source, a plan of progression or any thought of security/retirement as was the norm of my parents and the majority of my peers. I simply willed my way into a profession’s that I thought I might do — figured out a way to make it work for me — and then ignored the naysayers as best I could.
OK, I admit there was a lot of desire in there as well.
Did you know that — “Avoiding boredom is one of our most important pursuits?
The trick is to find a way to keep yourself amused long-term…without wasting your life.”
“The best work keeps you both amused and productive. If you’re work lacks either, change
something, fast, or else risk having a wasted life”…, So, “Stop trying to whine your dream job into existence”
Both by Hugh Macleod…, my; self acclaimed spiritual advisor.
Why did I choose him you may ask?…,Because he’s the kind of guy that produces artwork with phrase’s like; …………….“Life is short, make it amazing”
Confucius say; “Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Well, I wasn’t exactly “Walking on Sunshine” on a daily basis if you must know there…, Confucius!
What the hell did they call you for short anyway? Con-Fu ?
I can just hear young Confucius sitting around the breakfast table saying to me in that thick Greek accent who is also credited with this quote…, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals…, adjust the action steps”. Lighten up Dude!
Of course there is always going to be someone who has written some profound statement that makes me want to say something about it.
For example, here is Sydney Harris’s thot on hardship; “When I hear somebody sigh, Life is Hard; I am always tempted to ask, compared to what?
Well Sidney, if you compared it to sticking ice picks in your eyes…, or one of my favorites, clunking a shovel over the head of a person who so deserves it…, life would be a piece of
cake and vice- versa… See what I mean?
By the way Sidney, who shat on your world?
In the various cities’ I frequented due to the seasonal aspect of the charter fishing business, I found the majority of people engaged in their careers and jobs or they were involved in school.
I was also a Rugby player for over a couple of decades. This allowed me to arrive on the scene as a competitor that could make a difference for your team which also opened doors, created friends, drinking buddies, places to crash and adoring fans… LOL, but other factors may have come into play.
I sort of fell into my own version of the Eagles Song, “New Kid in Town”— which I always felt was about a guy who moved away from his home town but came back and is surprised to be treated like some sort of hero for being new.
I routinely came and went with my fishing career and for any other projects, needs or desires; like to build my own log homes or to periodically attend college and all that encompass the college experience.
This perpetually gave me this new kid in town and the cycle repeated itself for many years. “A Kid in a Man Suit” is a humorous anecdote I wrote back then describing the mentality behind this phenomenon — in a later chapter.
Perhaps people found me entertaining because I breathed life into adventure or projects that were not the mainstream stuff they themselves were ingesting and it was refreshing to participate in, or witness — the realm I really lived for the most.
My flamboyant and unruly fashion was a mixture of exciting stories from exotic places.
; If I had a plan it was only roughly thot out,…if I had cares or responsibility I did my damnedest to not to show it… I was only going to choke down the smallest doses of domesticated reality as necessary and I’ve got people still alive that will attest to it. “That’s just the way I rolled”! (I always wanted to say this.)
Remember Lyle Lovett the singer/song writer who was once married to the actress Julia Roberts?
There is a line from one of his songs which captures a working hypothesis for my younger attitude; “What’s riches to you, just ain’t riches to me”…will become apparent as the story unfolds…
Another one of his songs oddly captures some of the diversity in my life as well;
“If I had a Boat…I’d go out on the Ocean…and if I had a Pony…I’d ride it on my Boat”
This one’s gonna take 42 years to make any sense to you.
Would somebody have that man call me? Or Julia…
Hey! I could have been the guy in that commercial lacking proper flood insurance, wading knee deep in what looks like a swamp in his backyard — blankly responding, “Do I look like I have a plan”?
My answer to planning back then involved whimsical, perhaps challenging projects that were simply conjured up in theory — followed by all out going for it.
Hell, some friends and I even purchased land bordering a National Forest outside of Tallahassee, Fla. that appeared high and dry, but during the rainy season it really did become a swamp for perhaps several months at a time!…thankfully we built the house on stilts without even realizing this would happen!
So yes, there has considerable luck involved in my life…, if there is such a thing…good and bad. Maybe Karma would be a more realistic force.
My seasonal movement also allowed me to observe people in daily routines who did not appear to be exuding the same enthusiasm or energy — which only served to reinforce my wide open existence.
There were times that I felt some people may have been jealous or even resented me but I came to accept this as something that came with the territory of going against the grain or being a bad boy of sorts.
Did you know that it has been said that; “Envy is the most common driving force in the wrong doing of people?” — Sam Mendez P.A.
Could this be true?
It didn’t help any that I actually enjoyed displaying the same amount of responsibility as a fricken house cat, which probably just pissed people off.
So yes, I was always up against some sort of self inflicted trouble everywhere I looked back then and I must concede this is another reason I became determined to discover why.
I too realize —“that it’s always going to be a given that people will experienced their lives in ways that will lead them to conclusions quite different from my own.” Unknown
Hopefully I can use this statement to get me off the hook for certain situations? Amen to whoever wrote that!
Remember the Cop’s T.V. show theme song “Bad Boy, Bad Boy…. What you gonna do when they come for you”? This certainly could have been an appropriate theme song, as I take a hard swallow remembering this tumultuous period.
Therefore the most difficult yet informative part of these early years in my life will be delving into the mystery and dilemma that was/is still a part of me — toward the mentality that recognizes when you stop chasing the shiny things in life, you give the important things a chance to catch up!
Forty years later I can honestly report that —“In order to move in the direction you want to go you simply must convince yourself that you are going to do it whole heartedly and be committed to accept the consequences—or your “$#!t” will never be right!”…I’m just saying…
You can quote me on that one!
My favorite quote depicting what I consider the overall theme of this manuscript;
“I believe that if people would keep the concept of how they would like to be remembered as a driving force in their decision making, the world and their lives would improve greatly.”
—By Me Again!
I was way too enthralled with challenging myself and living for the moment.
I got into this primitive, survival of the fittest, become self-sufficient type mode that had me constantly training and seeking to pursue this mindset.
I was one of those people who did not accept no for an answer — when someone told me I couldn’t do something — I became hell-bent to prove them wrong and if I was wrong, well then “Se la vie” no big deal!… Next!
I also had this hunger to make sure I was;
“ALWAYS ON A MISSION… THAT WAS DESTINED FOR A STORY… FROM WHICH ROMANTIC OPTIMISM KNOWS NO BOUNDS!”
Perhaps this statement explains the gist of my entire life and should be in the running for a title.