#311 - Melissa’s Favorite Number / I Write About Existential Bologna

7 minute read

Motto: I Will Never Understand You. When Will I Stop Trying?

311 is Melissa's favorite number because she likes (or liked?) the band "311". #FunFactRightOutTheGate #MisplacedHashtags

It's rare that you know you're making a mistake while you're making it. 

Often times it takes years to realize you probably shouldn't have done X or Y. You make a choice and take an action, see the consequence and immediately write it off as the only possible eventuality that could have occurred. You're a rational person. You made the choice. So it had to be a rational choice, right?

You aren't perfect. You learn that growing up, time and time again. You look back at the choice you made and see where the path could have diverted. You could have gotten from there to here with less pain. You could have gotten to some other place that you'd rather be. 

It happens as you get older.
First, you look back at yourself in elementary school or middle school and think "WHY!?" 

Why were you so scared?
Why didn't you make more friends?

Then, you look back on yourself in high school and think "DUDE!? WHY?!"

Why didn't you think about what you wanted to do when you grew up?
Why did you hate how skinny you were, but do nothing to change it?
Why didn't you go out and do more things with more people more often?

Later, you look back on yourself in college and think "IF ONLY". 

If only I had been more outgoing.
If only I had studied something I enjoy doing in my free time.

It's when you get to the next phase of your life that you can properly look at the rear view mirror and say "how did I get here anyway?". Then you look at all the things you've learned in that rear view and you use them to tell yourself "Now I've learned. Way back then I was a moronic kid. I'm older now. Now I know more. Now I'll won't make silly mistakes."

What if you're in the longest phase of your life there will ever be? When do you look back? Surely you can't wait until retirement to realize what you should have been doing all along. I think that's what midlife crises are about.

Lucky for me - I'm doing it faster. I'm doing it more often.

I ordered too much pizza tonight. There's literally an entire large pizza sitting on the counter that I haven't even laid eyes on yet... and I'm full. I don't want it. I'd rather have my $7.99+tax back. But now I have to decide, do I eat more pizza than I really want to (a decision many people make wrong all the time), or do I put an entire large pizza in the fridge for leftovers? I'm on a plane tomorrow. Is there any chance I will eat an entire large pizza before I get on the plane? Is there any chance that eating a day-old, entire large pizza before getting on the plane is a good idea? No. So why in the world did Aaron from an hour ago decide we needed it?

He was a moronic kid. 
I'm older now.
Now I know more.
Now I'll never make that silly mistake again.

Lately I've noticed the cycle between "choice" and "regret" has shortened immensely. It is humbling to realize I am not, nor will I ever be, infallible.

I'm still self-analyzing after 28 years... and don't reckon I'll ever stop. My tattoo means many things to me, I change the meaning depending on who's asking. It has roots in mathematics, religion, and history. It is an eye, which has a symbolism of its own, removed from the specific instance I have on me. I think, to me, most of all, it means "look into yourself."

I'm struggling with one thing. that will be the thought I'll leave with, but first I want to wrap up the above. 

I haven't been perfect. I continue to fail on an almost daily basis. But overall, I've think I've done it. I haven't lived life free of regrets, surely; but for most of the things I expected I would regret, I really don't.

Do I regret pouring so much of my energy and time into girlfriends I had growing up?
I could have had so much more fun.
I could have been worried so much less of the time if I were more care-free.
... but if I hadn't made those choices, I wouldn't know what I liked in a partner. I wouldn't know what I don't like. I wouldn't have the wife I have today, and I wouldn't have the life I have today. For those two facts, I wouldn't change a thing. It sucks that I had to go through years of growing pains, but the benefits were more than worth it.

Do I regret trying the skateboard maneuver that broke my arm, Thanksgiving Day, 2001?
I wouldn't have suffered.
I wouldn't have missed my first season of organized basketball.
...but I wouldn't have been able to pick myself up. I wouldn't have been able to push myself to go conquer the trick that put me in the hospital. I would not know what it's like to experience that level of acute pain. 

Do I regret developing some sort of autoimmune disorder? It's not a choice I made, but the same basic realizations hold true. I wasn't taking care of myself. I wasn't making good life choices with respect to food, sleep, and exercise. Obviously, given the pizza from before I'm still not perfect (the right amount of pizza is "none"). I struggle daily with symptoms... but the days without them are all the sweeter for it.

That's not the struggle I wanted to leave off with. It's something I've thought about writing many times over, but I'm going to elect again today to not address that struggle.

I struggle with the fact that some small choices, ones you've made hundreds of times over in the past with zero consequence, can be the ones that you come to truly regret.

Who knew playing basketball in those shoes would cause me to lose a toenail? I've played basketball in new shoes before without problems. Who know that toenail would grow back with a mind of its own? Who knew I'd still have problems 290 days after making such an inconsequential-seeming decision?

Who knew that trying to deadlift 345 would cause me to pull a muscle? I've pushed myself and set new PRs before. Who knew that the resting period from pulling that muscle would cause my back to flare up? Who knew that the return of constant pain after a long period free of symptoms would cause me to be so down? Who knew I'd still have problems 127 days later? 

What did I learn from those things? How do I know which of my next seemingly inconsequential decisions will be the one that does me meaningless harm? 

I'm struggling with the fact that big things have little beginnings.

Writing accomplished. Now I'm contractually obligated with myself to have a picture in each post, so this is whatever photo I find that's convenient:

Melissa and I painted the walls of the gym. It's starting to look more and more like a gym.

Top 5: House Projects I've Had In Mind Since Day 1
5. Setup the home office that we wish we had in college - COMPLETE
Finish converting the storage room into my perfect homegym - NEARLY COMPLETE 
3. Get Melissa the music room she's always wanted - PENDING
2. Complete a home theater setup that makes staying at home to watch a movie as engaging as going to the cinema - PENDING
1. Give the work space in the garage a lift, literally and metaphorically - PENDING 

"Do you guys have any non-old-people cereal?"
- Krista -

"You mean to tell me you've never chokeslammed a baby?"
- Nick -