Archive for December, 2017

I hate the intense pain, but I don’t know how to live without longing

by David McElroy

Imagine living in a world where everybody sees black and white and shades of gray — and you realize that you’re different from everyone else, because you see the world in vivid colors instead.

The experience of color is amazing, but how frustrating would it be if you couldn’t explain to others what you saw? What if others didn’t understand, because they had no frame of reference? How painful would it be to want to share that experience of color — but you couldn’t share it with anyone? How lonely would that be?

For much of my early life, I assumed everyone experienced emotions in the same intense ways that I do. When I discovered otherwise, I was confused and struggled to explain how my interior experience of painful emotion works. I’ve almost given up, because so few are even interested.

I was reminded of this again tonight because of what I felt during a movie. It was just a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, so it’s not something most people would have seen as intensely emotional, but interaction between two characters struck me in that oddly intense way. Two characters each experienced painful longing for the other, even though they couldn’t be together.

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We’re all masters of denial when facing painful truths in our lives

by David McElroy

I’m a master of denial. For one reason or another, I’ve become accustomed to disappointments over the last decade or so. Maybe longer. Denial has become my way of dealing with things I didn’t think I could control.

I was reminded of that again Friday evening when I unintentionally recorded some video of myself from the side. My MacBook was recording and Lucy wanted to jump into my lap for attention. I turned to let her jump up while she happily licked my face. I thought the video of her might be cute. But then I looked at it.

I know I need to shed some weight right now, but I walk around in denial about it most of the time. I’m about 25 pounds less than the worst I’d let myself get — maybe 35 pounds now that I think about it — but I still need to get rid of about 80 pounds of excess fat.

When I looked at that video of Lucy and me, every one of those 80 pounds seemed to be visible — and every one of them seemed to be taunting me.

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Maybe it’s easier to do hard things when nobody says they’re difficult

by David McElroy

Andrew was enthusiastic when he heard I’d made my first video using footage from a drone, so he wanted to watch it. After seeing the three-and-a-half-minute video, he was gushing about how cool it was. But he wanted to know how to make such a video himself.

“How do you do it?” he asked. “Do they just have a button and it flies around and decides what to shoot for itself? Is that music just added automatically?”

The questions were shockingly ignorant. I was offended. Just a little. He thought I just pushed a button? He thought the drone did the work? He didn’t think I struggled to make this? He thought it was easy?

Let me back up.

About six months ago, the real estate company where I work bought a drone for me to learn to use. It seemed as though it would be fun and we could use it for high-end property listings. I fooled around with it for a few weeks, but then I got busy doing other things. I hadn’t touched it for four months.

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Money can’t buy happiness, but poverty can make you miserable

by David McElroy

Nothing about this couple suggests affluence. His arms are covered with tattoos. They both appear shabbily dressed. Their speech doesn’t suggest much education. The car in which they arrived isn’t very new or impressive.

But as I watch them interact with each other and their son — who’s about 2 years old — I’m struck by how happy they seem to be as they eat together in this restaurant.

They both interact tenderly and lovingly with their son. When the man gets up to get a drink refill, he pauses to kiss the woman on the forehead — and she smiles in love.

I can’t know how much money they make, of course, but everything in my experience with such people suggests it wouldn’t be much. I’d be surprised if they made more than $40,000 combined. Maybe $50,000. I’m just guessing, of course.

But I’m thinking about this because of an article that NPR published today lamenting how difficult it can be to have enough money if you make $100,000 or more a year. It details the horrors of four individuals or families struggling with incomes of $100,000 or more.

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If there’s something you must do, income and vocation might clash

by David McElroy

It was an odd feeling Friday to meet a couple at a house that’s for sale — and to be the “expert” to help guide them through their process of evaluating whether to make an offer on it.

Even though I’ve worked for a real estate company — in one capacity or another — for a couple of years now, it was my first time to be the licensed agent showing the house and hoping to write an offer. Everything went well and I’m showing them another house Saturday. I hope I can help them find what they’re looking for.

To be honest, I know I can do this job well. I’ve worked extensively with the ins and outs of contracts and negotiation and managing the closing process for more than a year now. Nothing about it is intimidating to me.

I also know I can make a lot of money doing this job. If I average closing just two houses a month, I should be able to bring in more than $100,000 in 2018. I haven’t made anything close to that kind of money since I got out of politics. I’ve gone through such a dark period that the money sounds really good. This is a business in which I can become wealthy after a few years if I choose to.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

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We're the Government — and You're Not
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