I Try to Make a Point Everyday Not to Die

I Try to Make a Point Everyday Not to Die

I don’t mean to sound morbid, but I’m sort of obsessed with not dying.

In the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek Beyond movie, there is an interesting conversation:

Mr. Spock proclaims, “The fear of death is illogical.”

Captain Kirk replies, “The fear of death is what keeps us alive.”

Both men make brilliant points; and together, they present a perfect paradox:

The fear of death is illogical and yet it keeps us alive.

Now at age 35, happily married with a wife and 2 kids, a “real house”, and a solid career, my life is clearly settled.

I’m no longer trying to figure my life out like I was back in 2001 when John Mayer’s “Why Georgia” was such a relatable song; as he ponders his “quarter-life crisis” proclaiming, “I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life… Am I living it right?”

It’s inevitable that at some point, I am going to die, so it’s truly illogical to allow myself to believe otherwise.

I assume that for the human race, that mystery of not knowing for sure what happens the moment we die only adds to the fear of dying. I don’t fear death itself, though.

The moment I die, I’ll immediately know for sure whether my life of faith in Jesus as the Son of God was the right call.

If I was wrong about Christianity, I guess the worst that could happen is I’ll learn that ultimately I was simply part of some elaborate Matrix scheme inside somebody else’s head.

My fear isn’t of death itself or what happens after I die; it’s about missing out on my future in this life. My actual main motivation for not dying is simple and predictable:

There are 3 people are greatly depend on me for the rest are their lives.

Granted, I have a life insurance policy in place to pay off the house if anything happens to me. But beyond finances, I am motivated by the desire to finish out this storyline that has been set in place.

What started as a romantic comedy back on October 5, 2006 when I met my wife, has now evolved into a family sitcom.

I see the world through the eyes of a writer. So I, as the protagonist, can’t let myself die. I can’t just disappear right when the story is really getting good.

So what exactly do I do each day in an effort not to die?

Well, before I answer that, I quickly accept the fact that if the Lord decides to take me at any point, He can and He will, as Job told God:

“A person’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.”

So I get it that I could randomly have a brain aneurysm and that would be the end of it.

But I instead focus on what I can control, not what I can’t.

For example, I refuse to talk on the phone while I’m driving. I always wear my seat belt.

Plus, I know that as an American man, I’m much more likely to die from preventable health issues than anything else.

Unless I’m really proactive on my end, as a stereotypical male, I am especially in the running to die of a heart attack, diabetes, stomach cancer, or prostate issues.

Therefore, I run. I mountain bike. I take walks throughout the day.

I obviously don’t smoke.

And while it’s not a popular decision or lifestyle, especially as a masculine American man, I have committed to my vegan (and therefore vegetarian and kosher) lifestyle for years now.

Yeah, I get it. I could totally be setting myself up to be the Mr. Play-It-Safe who Alanis Morrisette speaks about in her classic song, “Ironic.”

It’s not that I’m not trying to overwrite God’s predetermined number of days for me. Instead, I am trying to outsmart the more subtle and predictable ways that as a man, I might die too young.

Therefore, I try to make a point everyday not to die.

I can only do much. But I can do some.

Don’t You Think If I Were Wrong, I’d Know It? (A 5 Point Psychological Dissection)

Don’t You Think If I Were Wrong, I’d Know It? (A 5 Point Psychological Dissection)

I admit. I’ve never seen an episode of The Big Bang Theory. For years now, people have been telling me it would be my kind of humor. Yet, I’ve just never gotten around to watching it.

However, thanks to an Internet meme, I am definitely aware of a funny line that Sheldon apparently said in Episode 2 of Season 3:

“Don’t you think if I were wrong, I’d know it?”

I find that quote to be worthy of dissecting, from a psychological point of view.

For a person to ask that question, it assumes the following about them:

  1. They have the ability to always instantly self-identify when they are about to be wrong.
  2. Therefore, they immediately change their mindset, convictions, and actions the moment they identify truth; and always do it before anyone else can notice it.
  3. Therefore, they technically are only privately wrong about anything for a split-second, since they have the ability to notice it right away.
  4. Therefore, they are immune to human accountability.
  5. Therefore, they have the privilege of legitimately being close-minded to all constructive criticism.

And here’s the irony of that theory:

In reality, a person who is close-minded to constructive criticism is limiting their ability to learn more and improve their own life, therefore proving they are less intelligent than those who are open to learning.

Therefore, to ensure I don’t endanger myself of having such a close-minded mindset where I believe I am immune to constructive criticism, I constantly assume I am wrong at least 50% of the time.

My self-esteem is high and I have much confidence in my ability to make good decisions. However, it would limit me to believe that only in a rare occasion could I be wrong about something.

On the contrary, I am fully aware I put myself in a position to get further in life A) by being so open to criticism to learn to be a more efficient and educated human being and B) because so many people on this planet are not willing to so, therefore putting me further ahead.

The general concept is introduced in Robert Kiyosaki’s Best Seller book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

He explains that the people who get ahead and stay head in business are the ones who are willing to do that things that most people aren’t willing to do.

I have learned that most, or at least many, people are not willing to make themselves a sponge for constructive criticism.

Instead, they allow themselves to become victims because they give power and authority to other people by giving them the authority to “hurt my feelings.”

As I recently mentioned, I don’t give other people the ability to offend me.

Eleanor Roosevelt make this concept easily understandable with her famous quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

So for the record, there’s a good chance that if I were wrong, I wouldn’t know it.

Dear Jack: We Who Live on Dry Land are the Minority

5 years.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Dear Jack,

Last month during your “destination birthday party” Mommy and I had for you for your 5th birthday party in Destin, Florida, you quickly took to the water.

The thing about it was, it wasn’t a warm, sunny day. Instead, it was the beginning of a windy, chilly day.

Yet you didn’t seem to notice at all that the climate conditions were not idea for swimming. As I pointed out in an Instagram out of the event, it must be your genes that enable you to be able to have that much fun.

Must be his traces of Norwegian blood on his Mommy's side keeping him warm. You won't see me in the water this morning...

Must be his traces of Norwegian blood on his Mommy’s side keeping him warm. You won’t see me in the water this morning…

As for me, I’ve never been that interested in descending too far into water that I can’t see the bottom of.

We as a family love being at the beach. But whereas Mommy and I are perfect content barely letting the later graze our toes as it washes up on shore, you would rather be in it.

You’re not concerned with jellyfish or cold water or whatever else is in that ocean. You have the ability to just enjoy playing in it.

Lexus GX 460 Family Road Trip: My Son’s Destination Birthday Party in Destin, Florida

Though we as a human race seem to forget this, we who live on dry land are the minority. Only about 1/3 of our planet is land, but about 71% of Earth is actually water.

The ocean is the most unknown part of our planet. Without proper breathing apparatuses and/or means of transportation, we can’t survive very long in the ocean; especially not down deep inside of it.

If we don’t drown, or starve, or die of starvation, or are crushed by the air pressure miles below the water, then we easily serve as prey to sharks.

Sure, if you take a shark out of water and put it in the middle of a busy street, it’s not much of a threat.

But that same analogy reversed shows how physically vulnerable we are out in the ocean.

Ocean animals, whether fish or mammals, are created to not only survive, but to thrive, naked in the ocean.

Dear Jack: You Got to Go on the Southern Star Dolphin Cruise in Destin!

Not us humans. Our survival rate out in the ocean is solely based on how not naked we are out there.

We humans live on about 1/3 of the earth’s surface, while all marine life lives on 2/3s of the planet.

I’m sorry, but ocean life is superior to us who live on land.

Even as we overfish and pollute the ocean, it only hurts us in the long run.

But as a 5 year-old, you’re not concerned with such grandiose concepts. All you know is, you love playing at the beach.

Love,

Daddy

Lexus GX 460 Family Road Trip: My Son’s Destination Birthday Party in Destin, Florida

The Amount You Mature After You Turn 30

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This week I turned 34 and a half. I’m now just 6 months away from turning 35, which will officially toss me out of that targeted demographic which has traditionally been the coveted marketing demographic: age 18-34.

I’m also only 6 months away from the birth of my 2nd child; who I think is a girl.

Turning a year older is not something I fear or hide. I celebrate getting older. That’s mainly because I’m so grateful for the amount of maturity, emotional intelligence, and life experience I gain each year I’m alive.

I definitely don’t wish I was 30 again, or 27, or 25, or 23… I’m perfectly happy and proud to be 34 and a half.

And research shows the same thing; that the age people report being the happiest is 34.

By now, I’m married, I have kid(s), I’m out of debt, I have money in the bank, I “own” a home, and I’m stable in my career.

Additionally, I have (hopefully) already made my dumbest mistakes and learned my hardest lessons in life.

If I simply apply what I’ve already learned from life so far, I should be alright. In theory, I should be on auto-pilot, from here on out, to some degree.

I feel that while I’ll constantly be learning something new every day, my “life’s biggest learning curve” is complete. In other words, now I know what to do, it’s just a matter of testing that knowledge and experience for the rest of my life to see what else I can make of it.

When I turned 30, I knew I was hitting a major milestone. But in hindsight, I now realize that the reason it was a major milestone for me is because I have learned some of life’s biggest and most crucial lessons since then, during these past 4 and a half years.

The Amount You Mature After You Turn 30

My son was born just a few months before I turned 30. Obviously, raising him has taught me a whole lot about life.

Plus, I made some wrong financial and career decisions around that time as well; which ultimately led my wife and I to become the strict Dave Ramsey followers we now are.

Not to mention, I was hired as Parents.com’s official daddy blogger right after I turned 30, which ultimately meant for 3 years, I had to do a blog post daily; being encouraged to be controversial by my editors.

Therefore, I can see in retrospect that I sporadically said plenty of immature and/or now embarrassing things in my blog posts during that time in attempts to “better engage my audience.” I learned a lot from that experience and I’m completely grateful for those 3 years.

On top of all that, I’ve learned the hard way what not to post on Facebook, since turning 30.

But now, I’ve lived through all that.

And I’ve been married for over 7 years now. It would be an understatement to say that marriage, in addition to raising a child, has made me a more mature, less selfish, better balanced human being.

The first day of the rest of my life began the day I turned 30. I can only imagine how much more enlightened I will feel and be by the time I turn 40.

Preventing My Own Inevitable Death

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I’m constantly aware of all the ways that today could be my last day alive… each and every day.

So instead of sweeping those thoughts under the rug, I welcome them and keep my self aware of them, as doing so make me more prepared for them.

And by being more prepared for them, I can do a better job of preventing my own inevitable death; instead of just hoping I win the “long, healthy life lottery.”

Statistically, a car accident would likely be the easiest way for me to “slip into eternity”; as I have a 45 minute commute to work everyday in fast-paced Nashville traffic.

But I do what I can. While I’m driving, I always wear my seat belt, I stay off the phone, and I keep the radio’s volume at a low enough level.

I am aware that if I do my part, and pray daily for God to keep our family safe, then I’m doing everything I can in my control to prevent my inevitable death.

So that brings me to my next most likely way to go: heart disease or cancer.

I feel that the more I listen to men who are around age 50 talk, I hear phrases like “open heart surgery” and “stomach staple surgery” and “all my medications.”

So while my vegan lifestyle, which includes running and mountain biking, may sound extreme, I would say the other things awaiting me if I don’t live this way now are actually more extreme.

Granted, I’m only 34, so I still have some time before my body really becomes susceptible to going on “auto pilot to self destruction.”

But the way I see it, I actually do have a decent amount of control over my ultimately preventable death.

It could all end today, or tomorrow, for me- I realize that. However, I choose to focus on the parts I do have control over; not the other way around.

I don’t want to work hard my whole life, only to get cancer the moment I retire. I want the quality of my life to good the whole way through; not have to hurry up and try to fix things once it may be too late.

In the end, I won’t have any regrets about my crazy vegan lifestyle if it means I get to spend another healthy day with my family.

Our World Is Right In Front Of Us And It’s Pretty Good

March 14, 2014 at 8:04 pm , by 

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Tomorrow is the big day… We’re going to the Monster Jam show in the morning!

For the first time, you will get to see what happens when we drive past Whole Foods on I-65 in Nashville.

All you know at this point is that the other way on I-65 goes to Louisville, KY where we have visited the zoo a couple of times now; where they have the rhinos.

So I explained to you that going south on the Interstate will take us to a place called Huntsville, AL… where the monster trucks are. (As if it’s a special monster truck city where the monster trucks always are; where they live, work, and play in organized chaos.)

Today you have been deciding which toy monster trucks to take with us on the mini-road trip; hoping to see the “real life” Monster Mutt tomorrow, which is a monster truck that looks like a giant puppy, floppy ears and all.

It’s funny how a family trip to go see monsters trucks run over old cars (or whatever they do) could be such a big deal to the three of us, but it is. It’s a big deal to you, so it’s a big deal to Mommy and me.

This morning Mommy sent me a text that seemed to summarize things, as if in a simple, yet poetic way:

Spring and summer are on their way and we have lots of fun things to be excited about— because our world is right in front of us and it’s pretty good :)

She’s right. When I see you and Mommy in front of me, I see the world and I know that it’s pretty good. Well, actually “pretty good” is an understatement.

Maybe I could use #blessed as a good start. (Yeah, the hashtag makes it even cooler.)

 

Love,

Daddy

To Bring Another Child Into This Uncertain World

March 6, 2014.

3 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

I promise you that the next letter I’ll write will be undeniably positive and light-hearted.

But for now, I’m working through something in my head and I feel that I can’t really move forward until I write it down for you to read one day.

This is the kind of letter I don’t intend for you to read until you’re old enough to read/and or watch The Hunger Games; which contains the mood and similar content as this letter.

The irony here is that I just tucked you in for the night a few hours ago, as we said our bedtime prayers; an unspoken way of saying, “Don’t worry, I will help protect you.”

It’s my job to give you assurance of safety and to be your mighty guardian. There is no doubt I will

protect you with my life as it is up to me. Yet I myself am caught in a current emotional state of… insecurity, for lack of a better word.

For the past week, I have been studying the “alternative version” of the 911 attacks as presented in the documentary Loose Change, on both Netflix and YouTube.

It pointed out some things I had never considered before: I admit there is no clear footage of the plane hitting the Pentagon, nor pictures of it happening either. I can’t explain that. I’ve actually lost sleep over this and several other aspects of the September 11th attacks, as presented in Loose Change.

However, I believe in hearing both sides of the story. So I’ve also recently been w

atching the clever rebuttles of Myles Powers as well, on YouTube, which help me feel more confident that the claims of Loose Change are not as easily factual as they appear.

I don’t know for certain what to think right now, but I will keep studying both sides of the story. I want the truth in such an uncertain world; where the Twin Towers were hit by planes back in 2001, and just a couple of days ago, a plane from Malaysia apparently just disappeared in flight.

So I admit, my head is a bit messy right now; and to be honest, I probably shouldn’t be writing to you tonight. Maybe I should have just taken the night off because I’ll probably later regret my vulnerability here.

As Mommy and I continue to peripherally have to the ongoing conversation of “should we have another kid?”, this general concept keeps coming up as one of the reasons to possibly let you remain an only child:

There is so much evil and uncertainty in this world, so why bring another human life into that sort of existence?

Maybe it’s an irrational thought, but I think that question itself shows not so much my insecurity as a parent, as it does my deep, ongoing need to feel like I must protect you at all times, which I know I can’t.

However, you’re my son. I feel like I’m supposed to have all the answers. Or at least be able to keep you from all harm and danger.

I want you to believe I’m Superman.

But really I know I’m just Clark Kent.

 

Love,

Daddy