Pulling the pin on Stoic shit.

Too many people practice “The Philosophy Of Being A Serious Bore.”

When you find a live grenade in your bag you had better bury it quickly.
Especially if you find the grenade on a Sunday.
Hell, we needed to rest dammit, not worry about little canisters of death and reprimands for harbouring death!
The thing with the grenade was complicated, after manoeuvres you’re supposed to remind yourself to hand in “all unused ammunition and parts of ammunition.”
For the sake of safety there’s a whole ritual where each soldier solemnly pledges and declares that he has no live ammo on his person.
But Mr. Clean found a bloody live one in his bag – and wanted to report the grenade!
That dumb and frankly quite unnecessary action would simply have gotten the whole damn platoon in trouble.
All of us convinced him to simply head out to the training area, take his pooper-scooper-camper-shovel and dig a decent hole for said grenade.
“Convincing” was also used in a loose manner. One of the bigger guys pinned him down and told he him that castration would be on the table if that grenade got anyone into shit with the officers.

Yes Mr.Clean did head out into the forlorn parts of the hills to go and bury the contentious weapon.
None of us ever spoke of it again.
Ok, not quite.
Years after service a few of us got together and revisited many of the funniest things we experienced during the days of brown uniforms and food that never tasted anything like chicken.

Mr. Clean revealed that while he made that journey into the foothills he pondered the deed from a philosophical angle.
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The courage to call bullshit on failure? Taking a walk inside your reality.

If you haven’t yet pulled a few thousand visitors per day your blog is a failure.
When you look at your fit and buff neighbour, your neighbour’s beautiful and beautifully-bejeweled wife, and the sports car that the damn arrogant neighbour’s son drives then you know your life is a failure.
You simply did not meet expectations and you are still a bottom-feeder in financial terms.
Are you a failure?
Are you a failure because you allowed online marketing gurus to convince you to believe your worth as a human would be measured by numbers – the number of “couldn’t really give a shit” visitors you conned into visiting your website?
Do you subscribe to that carefully constructed and insidious lie that resides on the whitewashed porches of suburban bliss?

I’ve been on that driveway of “failure” and I watched my neighbours pull into their driveways – sitting proudly behind the wheels of fancy cars.
But the thing is, the “failure” I experienced was solidly based upon perceptions and expectations I grew up with.
The expectations we believe we need to meet creates the illusion we’ve failed, while all this time we forget we are still moving towards a goal.

As much of a cliché the following might sound like, it is true.
You will invariable compare yourself to others, you will compare yourself to those in a “higher” performance bracket than yourself.
And here’s the kicker, even though you know that comparisons are meaningless, and more so without perspective you will nonetheless keep on doing it.

Hindsight is an amazing prophet, and a completely worthless one.
But hindsight showed me how my erstwhile well-to-do neighbours were in truth battling below mountains of debt to perpetuate their own illusions of what success needed to look like.

I have one takeaway for myself today – All the time I fussed about not having the watch, the TV, the car or the big house I conveniently forgot one pretty big fact.
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Toilet paper marks the unexploded bomb.

One of the deadliest weapons I ever held in my hands would be a white phosphorus grenade.
Those grenades created a blinding fireworks display that could burn through skin and bone.
But a far more insidious remnant of man’s capacity for destruction lies and waits in the form of unexploded ordinance.

I vividly remember a characteristically cloudless and bright day on the anti-tank practise range.
B Company was tasked to do a sweep for unexploded ordinance.
The whole area was littered with munition fragments.
The elite armoured divisions and specialist forces literally had a field day while on manoeuvres.
This left the infantry recruits to clean up.

So how did “sweeping a firing range” actually transpire?
Much to our amusement each one of us was issued with a roll of single-ply toilet paper.
yes, single-ply – The better quality rolls were reserved for the officer’s bathrooms.
I guess we were expecting to receive state of the art metal detectors, and there we were – Fully armed with bog rolls.
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Stoic Lemonade – Practical Happiness: Light within the real darkness.

What is the true darkness of our time?

We tend to think of darkness as something carrying a negative value.
But the darkness we perceive is nothing more than an object that absorbs light.
Darkness invites us to generate more energy, to burn brighter as human beings.

There are those who manage to dim existing light.
We are drawn towards light.
But we approach “light” with entitled opinionated comments, callous actions, egoism and militant self-centeredness.
We can succeed in reducing light to a mere flicker – or even extinguishing it.
This is the real darkness that haunts humanity.
I don’t fear the dark, I fear those who kill the light.

Light is energy.
Withhold one asinine or truly hurtful comment from social media today.
This is already a very small, albeit practical way of not draining someone else’s energy.
And ultimately – not depleting any of your own.

Words by me, picture by https://www.deviantart.com/matmoon

Stoic Lemonade and practical happiness: Fabulous orgasm, fake life!

You can hardly pick up a magazine without an article promising you some “mind blowing sex.”
The media would like you to subscribe to their methods for landing that dream job or flattening the tummy with yet another miracle diet.
Advice out there promises better saving plans, healthier lifestyles and longevity.
Movie reviews guide you towards a 120 Minute thrill-ride.
Esteemed critics assist you with the selection of a perfect restaurant.

But what happens in the moments between your “monuments.”
What should you do in the hours between the great orgasms and the dream gym-routine?
You will have to figure that out by yourself.
Nobody can really tell you how to fill your seemingly-insignificant moments.

The point is, nobody can really lead a 007 lifestyle of excitement and unadulterated glamour all the time.
Hell, not even James Bond himself can live his own lifestyle?
At some point he needs to go to the toilet and eat cereal.
He also needs to brush his teeth and do other “mundane” things.

Life also “happens” in the mundane moments between earth-shattering thrills and spills.
Only when you start thinking about those moments do you realize how special they can be.
Music can’t exist without texture, moments of silence and changes in tempo – Otherwise it would be as dull as doornails.
Listening to music also make more sense to me when there are gaps of white noise or nothingness between tracks.
I’m not one for “never ending mixes.”
I prefer playlists with some diversity – Metal co-exists with some softer mood music, spatterings of pop and party tunes.
And then there are times when I wish for utter silence.
And that’s how life is lived like music.

Picture by cataclastica

Stoic Lemonade and practical happiness: Tweet like a twit!

Why did you open a Twitter account?
Can you answer by saying, “I opened a Twitter account in order to …”
Do you use your account to inform people that you need to go to the toilet?
Do you tweet to inform people you need a cigarette?
Is your account for virtue signalling?
Perhaps you need to show everyone out there how clever or beautiful you are?
Do you get off by the sheer magnitude of faceless followers you amass?

I refuse to get pulled into Twitter’s never-ending furore about everything and anything.
On occasion I read the news, but I see no point in reading a thousand opinions.
I feel I drown in an acidic blue sea of noise when I look at people’s tweets.

I find Twitter’s real time updates of the transit system helpful.
This micro-blogging platform isn’t entirely without merit.

But I always smile at this superfluous wonder of our times.
Some postulate that they use Twitter to engage in debate.
Opinions and vitriol hurled back and forth is hardly “debate.”
When last did you admit you learned something on Twitter?
You know you only wish to push your own viewpoint!

This is why I refuse to become part of this.
I won’t teach myself that I need to scream online in order to be heard.
I see no reason to scream anywhere for that matter.

If attempting to process a hundred thousand opinions and flaky emotions on a daily basis makes you HAPPY, then do it!
Personally I can’t, and I’ve chosen not to.
Emotional clutter kills my happiness vibe.

I see no point in being flooded by a never-ending emotional deluge with no practical way of stemming the tide.
In the offline world I can attempt to do some good – I can even make a difference without “hearing” snide remarks and irrelevant, unrelated opinions from at least a hundred faceless onlookers.

But enough of that… I need to go to the toilet now!

Picture by wizzex.

Stoic Lemonade and practical happiness: A wedding killed my Facebook Account!

Two years ago a wedding I attended helped pull the proverbial firing-pin on the “Fuck Facebook” grenade!
The wedding itself was great!
You know when you reluctantly drag yourself to a function and it turns out so better than anything you anticipated.

But here’s the part that got to me.
Call me a sentimental wuss!
Most everyone took pics of the event.
The newly-hitched couple looked good.
But for some or other reason nobody posted anything on Facebook?
Except the bride of course. She was a Facebook friend when I still had that account.
The mother of the bride – Zero posts!
Stepfather of the bride – Nothing!
The Half brother of the bride – No mentions.
Other family members – Ok, by now you can see a pattern – Nobody posted shit!
The real kicker however… After the wedding I saw copious Facebook posts by all of the usual suspects mentioned above.
One or two actually posted random Facebook crap while they were at the wedding! Charming people!
I know!
But somehow nobody really managed to squeeze out even one “Congrats girl – Beautiful day – Well Done?”

Of course I over-analyze shit like this, but that’s who I am.
This led me to check out my own “memorable” Facebook events.
I had 500 plus people who barely managed to raise an eyebrow whenever I posted something truly great!
Well, ok … Something great in my opinion at least.

Right, obviously I did something terribly wrong on Facebook.
I marketed myself incorrectly?
But WTF! Really?
Why do I need to MARKET myself in order to get people to pay attention?
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Stoic Lemonade and practical happiness: Ditch Passion, do something new!

Find your passion by doing something new?
Well, I see “Passion” as a fickle lover, she is often reluctant to reveal much of herself.
She wants me to embark on a journey of discovery.
She wants me to find her, but she wants me to make sure that I want her!
She’s a catch, but she aint easy!

If you run out of options and finding your passion seems more abstract than ever before – make that fickle one jealous.
Forget about chasing down Passion for a while.

Do something new.
Try something that always interested you.
Think about practical things:
Start painting – even if you believe you suck at it.
Try out rollerskating.
Build and fly a kite.
Cook a few meals.
Do some gardening.
Read books that really differ from those you usually read.

Be realistic however…
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Stoic Lemonade: This is a great day, because nothing changed since 2018!

Did you experience any life-changing events when you celebrated the 2018-2019 transition?
I will wager you didn’t.
We would like to believe there’s a mystical force that separates the old year from the new.
Technically we know there isn’t.
But the New Year’s Eve celebration is at least cathartic.
Humans don’t like to admit they need boundaries.
In the electronic world of “infinite scrolling” there’s some comfort in knowing certain things do have a logical conclusion.
You wouldn’t read a book if you knew there wasn’t going to be an “end?”
We do need certain thing to have properly defined endings.
But does anything really change when the watch’s hand creeps past the 12 o’clock mark?
I don’t think so.
You pop a few corks, become inebriated … dance and temporarily forget about your new year’s resolutions.
And then on the 1st of January you discover you’re still the same person after a hard night of partying.
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Stoic Lemonade: Goodbye 2018- Forget about new year’s resolutions. Don’t “reinvent” yourself.

I’m sure many of you also started receiving insipid little “New Year’s” messages on WhatsApp groups.
This was one of the worst:
“Repeat after me, 2019 is going to be all about new beginnings, I will reinvent myself.
Being healthy physically and mentally and blah blah and more blah and yet more blah”

Sue me if you think I’m a cynical bastard, but I do know this – You will only have so much control over your health!
In fact…
If I can’t bother to take care of myself throughout the year, then why bother scribbling meaningless “resolutions!”

I believe all new year’s resolutions are nothing more than useless placebos.
The only resolutions worth mentioning are those with a practical edge.
Screw this “reinventing” myself for example!
What does that even mean?
This obtuse concept of “reinventing” is wider and more waterlogged than the Pacific.

Instead I will choose to focus on re-appreciating music that I have known for a long time.
I have the music on my drive, you noticed – I already have it!
I have picked out a few books I wish to read. They are on my shelf.
Perhaps the inspiration that I glean from those works of art might inspire me to constantly better myself.

Throughout the year I’m actually aware that I “need to be a better human being all the time!”
C’mon we KNOW these things!
Will a resolution be the trigger that prompts me to “be better” if I have never internalized the desire to “improve?”
I doubt it!

So shoot me if I ever use a diffuse blanket-concept such a new years resolution to disguise failings and insecurities that I know full well I have no real desire to tackle and solve practically!

In the end we only end up feeling guilty when we fail to complete or even start the shit that we knew we would not complete or even start!

I wish you all a practical 2019, one devoid of “can”, “should”, “must” or “need to.”
So dump that one-day fix that you sugar-coat with temporary and vapid feelgood resolutions!
Be practical – if you wrote resolution-crap on a piece of paper, tear it up.
Delete the Word document from your computer.
And that being said…
I do hope that you are able to journey through a year in which you find the strength and resolve to implement life-changing improvements on a daily basis.

Happy New Year!