2014

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It is true that I’m not a fan of arbitrary ceremonies, holidays, or social obligations I do see value certain objective moments to help spark change in one’s life. It helps to have a day to mark beginning and end, to provide a frame to view the past and the future. Our calendar system with the new year starting a week and a half after winter solstice is pretty arbitrary but in the end it works. So, as I reflect on the past and look into the future I can’t help but be happy. Every year has been better than the last as I have grown, learned to love others and myself, and realized happiness is internal.

Last year marked a time of growth and advancement for myself for society as a whole. Marriage equality grew by leaps and bounds, the Drug War is collapsing around us, and on a global scale just about everything is better as we continue to end war, famine, and poverty. Certainly there is work to be done, as the world gets better the United States continues a steady slide into a police state where the media and political class keep everyone paranoid of “terrorism”. In my personal life I have found a passion for writing and travel, am in a wonderful romantic partnership with an amazing woman, I was able to celebrate my best friend’s wedding, and have begun repairing relationships that have been nearly broken with members of my family. I am happy and with that momentary ball drop, champagne toast, and kiss to wish in the New Year approaching I find myself focused on three things for 2014.

Writing – My biggest struggle with writing is the feeling that I don’t have anything new or of value to say. With the internet we are flooded by thousands of writers (both good and bad) and it can be overwhelming. I need to realize that every person, every story, every idea has some value to someone. I am not writing for everyone, I am writing for the one person who may learn a lesson or become encouraged by my words.

Positivity – While I am generally a positive person I often find myself focusing on negative things, particularly on Facebook and other social networks. I want to start to change that. I still think it is important to comment on injustice and bring attention to abuse in order to bring about change (ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away) but solutions need to be provided as well. Whether it is pointing out libertarian solutions to problems or providing contact information for law enforcement officials accused of abuse my focus needs to be about fixing a problem instead of just pointing out the problem.

The Moment – I will continue to work on enjoying the moment instead of worrying about the past and future. Whether it means implementing more yoga, meditation, or just “stopping to smell the roses” I want it to become a habit to just be. The only thing under my control, the only thing guaranteed is now.

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To be 23…

As is often the case a blog crossed my Facebook feed and sparked inspiration into my caffeine-fueled writing gland. The post (23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged) is filled with a glorious rant about how today’s generation approaches long-term relationships and a fun little list of alternatives. While I’m not much of a list maker I am a strong advocate of people forgoing lifelong commitments until they know themselves as individuals first.

So, here is a quick rundown of my past so you know where I am coming from…

  • I’m 32 years old (I know! I’m old, but damn I still look good)
  • I walked into an Army recruiter office on September 11, 2001 and became a paratrooper. I was 19 years old.
  • I was stationed in North Carolina, served for four years, and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan
  • During my enlistment I got engaged to a girl from South Carolina
  • I started college in 2005 and my engagement broke up in 2006
  • I received a BS in Economics in 2009 from the College of Charleston in South Carolina
  • Moved to DC and worked at a couple of non-profits for three years
  • Got sick of DC, sold everything I owned and rode my bicycle across the country to Los Angeles
  • While in LA I got into a relationship with my current partner
  • After two years in LA my partner and I are going to start a 2-year bicycle ride around the continent

I provided that list because I want people to recognize how much different my life would have been if I got married in 2006 like I originally thought. At that time I was 25 and still didn’t really know who I was. My religion was different, my view on family and life, I was aligned different politically… I had not experienced enough life to find me. I needed time to be independent and have adventures, explore the world, and challenge myself to find happiness.

Human brains are not fully developed even into the early 20’s, the idea that we are mature or ready to commit to a lifetime with someone when we don’t know ourselves is insane. Sure, it works out sometimes (I think mostly due to social and religious pressure than happiness) but as the article pointed out, the divorce rate among those who marry young is twice the average rate.

Previous generations had very good reasons to marry young. That type of support was necessary for security and to provide for a family. But we are not the previous generation. We live at a time when the economy is based on entertainment, service, and information. The internet has allowed us to earn an income from anywhere, survival goods are cheaper, and women do not need a man to provide. Instead, for maybe the first time in human history, the average person can travel, explore, and find their passion.

Now, I have been called selfish for not wanting kids, usually by people who have kids. Aside from the collectivist mentality that I owe an overpopulated society a genetic reproduction (this world has enough people with blue eyes, big booties, poor eyesight, and average height), it is hypocritical for people with kids to call me selfish. Nearly half a million kids in the US alone need adoptive parents, until that is taken care I think the selfish ones are those that somehow think the universe needs more of their DNA floating around. Want a kid? Adopt one.

I agree with the author… get out there and explore while your health and freedom allows you to. While riding across the country I met hundreds of people and by far the most common thing I heard was, “Wow, that’s awesome. I would love to do that, if only I was younger.” The body degrades, obligations increase with marriage (and particularly kids), the time to discover yourself, your boundaries, and your love is now.

Are you with someone you love now? Is your relationship great? That is fucking awesome. I have that same thing and I wouldn’t have it if I got married when I was younger. Your life partner should be someone that you adventure with as mature adults. It is crazy to make a lifelong decision based on 3% of your adult life when you have not fully developed. The odds are that you or your partner will change and the big three things necessary for a long term relationship (agreement on marriage, the amount of children, and lifestyle) will change. You can only be made better by new experiences, and that means you will be a better individual and partner. As the article author puts it:

“If your love is truly eternal, what’s the rush? If it’s real, that person will continue to be committed to you 2 months from now, 2 years from now, and 2 decades from now. Grow, learn, travel, party, cuddle, read, explore. Do. Freaking. Something… other than “settle down” at 23 with a white picket fence.’

 

Labels…

I tend to find labels exhausting. But truth be told, they are necessary in our world today. As much as I’d like to live in a time and place where we are just individuals and nothing is thought of our political beliefs, sexual practices, or religion that is not the case. It is never “this is what Peter believes”, instead we use shortcuts like “Peter is an atheist”. We try to compact complex ideas into single words so that we know who is an ally and who is an enemy. This sucks, but it is reality. And as a writer living in reality there is value in defining terms so that people know what I am talking about. As a person it also challenges me to put my beliefs and views into words… often it seems people adopt labels without knowing why they call themselves it.

So, here are some of my labels and what I mean by them. I may add more to this post and reference it in the future as needed.

Anarchist – An ideal world is one without violence or threat of violence. Because government in all forms is backed by violence we should move away from government solutions to our problems. It should be remembered that anytime you say “there ought to be a law” or something similar you are really saying “this situation is so bad that the only way to handle it is to allow people with guns to take people against there will and put them in cages if they disobey, and if they resist with force they sacrifice their lives”.

Atheist – I do not believe there is a conscious being that created and/or interacts with the daily lives in humans that is morally superior to us or should be worshiped.

Introvert – When I am mentally drained I recharge by time alone or time with close friends in a comfortable place. This doesn’t mean I’m shy or avoid public places, it simply means I find new conversations or unfamiliar places draining and need to be in a comfortable place to recover. Yes, this means I stay in 5-6 nights a week and would prefer being curled up with a book or Netflix over putting on clothes and going to a bar or club.

Libertarian – I believe the only person who has the right to control the body, mind, or labor of an individual is that individual. No person, organization, institution, or concept can morally restrict the freedoms of the individual as long as they are not harming another. A peaceful society requires maximizing freedom for all and equality under the law.

Nudist – The human form is beautiful to me and I am comfortable being naked and around naked people. To much emphasis is placed on turning people against their own bodies and forcing us to be embarrassed if we see another person nude. The body is not explicitly sexual and when you start to view it in non-sexual environments regularly you increase respect for individuals and appreciate the beauty that comes from our diverse forms.

Pansexual – For me sexual attraction is not fluid or binary. The people I am attracted to is not determined solely by their organs but depends on time, place, and the individual as a whole, not just their genitalia.

Partner – I am in a relationship with a wonderful partner who I love dearly. The decisions I make do not solely effect me so I take my partner’s thoughts and feelings into strong consideration when I make important decisions. We see eye-to-eye on all important things (marriage, children, and lifestyle) and we communicate openly. I would not be with her if I didn’t feel we complimented each other, can grow together, and are in many ways family.

Polyamorous – If relationship orientation has “only monogamous, one-and-only, no sex, intimacy, or attraction” on one end (let’s call it “1”) and “only polyamorous, must have or pursue multiple sexual partners, intimacy, and relationships” on the other end (“10”) then I range closer to 10… probably fluctuating between 4 and 7 depending on time, place, and individuals.

Promiscuous – Sex is not something that is spiritual, super-natural, or of great importance to me. I have no moral problem with having any kind of sex with consenting people if I wish. (Note: Being a partner means that she gets a strong say in this)

Transhumanist – Thanks to technological advancements humans will someday (possibly in my lifetime) be able to move our consciousness out of the body and into something more durable. The exact form of this will change many times and the initial advancement that grants the option of immortality is still unknown.

Skeptic – I prefer objective proof over subjective testimony. Humans are capable of understanding much through scientific inquiry and those tools should be used whenever possible. The “supernatural” doesn’t exist, though there may be natural forces and mechanisms in place that we have yet to discover or properly understand… in fact, I am sure of it.

Spiritual – I believe that there is something unique about at least humans (possibly other earthly animals and very likely extraterrestrials) that is more than just body and mind physical reactions as we understand them. A soul/spirit exists and exercising it can be beneficial to both the mind and the body. No organized religion has a monopoly on the truth but certain common threads among some “prophets” like love and honor each other, forgive, immediacy, etc provide a foundation. This are internal areas where objective measurement is not yet possible so we must use subjectivity. Whether the soul lives on after bodily death or not I am unsure of.

Hi…

So, it’s been a while. I never meant to take a serious hiatus from blogging but after quitting my job I needed to get things in order and get used to a new routine. I’ve had some successes and had some failures but I am happy… very fucking happy. My plan right now is to start blogging again regularly, hopefully daily, starting after Christmas. I’ll be in St. Louis with my partners family until next Wednesday and I’m realistic enough to know I probably won’t get much writing done.

I’m still trying to find out what I want this blog to be moving forward. It started out as a way for me to share my thoughts during my cross country ride last year but since then it has been random ramblings. With a new bike ride coming up in April my partner and I will be working on a new blog together which we will be launching soon… actually two blogs, one will be uncensored for those of you who like stories of sex, drugs, and anarchy (looking at you Cathy) and one that is safe for parents that will be more of a guided tour of the US and Canada.

Anyway, I miss and love you all. I really hope to make blogging more interactive and get more involved with my little corner of the internet. I’m not sure how exactly to do this yet but it is a goal of mine.

Peace and Love,
Peter