Thanksgiving Sales and Black Friday Obsession Is Our Fault

We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

Black Friday and specifically shopping during Thanksgiving dinner itself wouldn’t be the obsession it is if it weren’t for you.  If your family time was more important to you than a new flatscreen, less stores would be open during the time.

You selfish thankless bastards wouldn’t know that Thanksgiving was supposed to be special time to give thanks and be grateful with family and friends or go Black Friday shopping and fight with people over electronics at your local Walmart while shirking that family time.

While Black Friday participation was thankfully down this year among thirsty shoppers by about 20%, the consumer culture that it feeds is alive and sucking the wallets and time of the afflicted.   Yes, more stores closed, but still plenty were open.  This doesn’t even include the various warehouses where we stick our seasonal wage slaves.

Everyone – regardless of their ideology – can put their finger on this notion that something is deeply wrong, but most haven’t dug deep enough.  Simply put, we can’t fix ANY of our problems until we fix our people and the culture they create.

We can’t build meaningful relationships that transcend all the difficulties of life if we will spend that time on obsessing over Amazon details or shopping at Walmart instead of with our families over some tasty turkey.

That problem lingering deep down in a shadowy hole is that there are far too many people willing to forget their families in favor of shopping during Thanksgiving Dinner to save a few dollars off crap they really don’t need or have to own.   Do you really need another tablet?

Of course, greedy corporations and businesses looking to churn out profits from already greedy debt-ridden consumers are willing to appeal to the fallen angels of our nature to generate some additional cash for their never satisfied shareholders. We are our own worst enemy and there is plenty of mutual feeding on greed to go around.

It’s an unspoken dirty secret, but if there weren’t a significant amount of consumers willing to abandon precious time with family and friends – which they probably don’t see all that often – for “deals” and gadgets, there wouldn’t this hoard of companies willing to make millions of people work like dogs during Thanksgiving.

Maybe even the desperate deal shoppers themselves might think twice before throwing another article of clothing on the ground with the assumption some poor minimum wage seasonal worker is going to pick it up for the hours and hours of sorting and cleanup that will be happening all week.

The demand for Black Friday and it’s accompanying World Star videos are because enough of us are significantly demanding with pockets deep enough to blow 5 billion dollars in 24 hours on a day that is now stretching into the weekend.

Until that changes not only will most of us not be thankful for what we have – as well as the time we can spend with friends and family – but we will sacrifice the little time we have with them for the pursuit of more stuff.

No, this isn’t as if you are toiling away for a career, rather you are upgrading your 40 inch tv to a 55 inch during the time you should be spending with your family – the ones who actually care about you.

What make us supposedly happy and our primary goals are reflected by what we spend our time doing and investing in.  As Black Friday shows, too many people are still spending that time and money on stuff than on time with their families.   It’s what makes them happy.

That’s a horrid problem itself.  How do you alter the ingrained programming of thousands of hours of media that more stuff will make you happy?

Attitude of Gratitude

Often we forget about being thankful for what we have because so many people think their life is crap because they dont have the newest gadgets, products, or apps.  We end up shackled to these items and unable to experience the freedom found in gratitude.   at the Imaginative Conservative makes this point:

But gratitude remains the only key that unshackles us and lets us breathe free. Life is a peculiar phenomenon. We all unthinkingly use the phrase “the gift of life,” but it is only a gift if we really think of it as such. If we don’t, then life is an unbearable curse. It is Hell itself. No matter how bountiful and varied our good fortune, life has no flavor and is devoid of any joy unless we are grateful for it. As the Dominican mystic Meister Eckhardt succinctly put it: “If the only prayer you ever said in your whole life was thank you, that would suffice.””

The newest IPhone and 4k tv wont make you feel any more lively than your previous generation Iphone. Unless you are grateful for what you have, you will never be grateful for the future possessions you so envy after seeing ads for the latest flash sale or Amazon deal.

It’s tragic, but there is one definite way to experience gratitude just as Scrooge did in Charles Dickens parable like story or Jesus’ tale of the prodigal son.

You have to lose everything.  Your health, family, and every last item you so dearly valued.  You have to be brought down to rock bottom to rise back up, riches to rags.

Hopefully, we can learn those lessons Scrooge style from those who have so that we don’t have to go through their pain.

To that grateful end, I will share a tragic story that is a part of my industry.  Remember to look on that sunny brightside.  It could be much, much worse. So be thankful for once, you thankless bastards.

Where I work, I run into some rather sad unfortunate stories.

It’s made me realize a few things. We often get caught up in our own lives, worlds, bubbles, and in the troubles and trials that we endure.  Its easy to forget about the plights of those in the distance who are faring much worse.  We become our own worst enemy.

No doubt many of us have seen pictures, videos, and stories about the recent hurricane devastation that has been wrought upon Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico.  Or the fires that ravaged California. These people lost everything, but their families and friends remained intact who hopefully aren’t too immersed in “stuff” to lend them aid and support.

Talk to each person whose lost something there and you’ll hear some depressing stories about their current living situations as they try to cope. (Most of us take our support networks and families for granted.)

I won’t reveal where I work as we are in the age of self-righteous Internet lynch mobs who go after people’s jobs as I have a wife and two sons to support.

However I can tell you about about a tragic story I ran into.

 

Hotel From Hell


I’m on the phone talking to a man – we will call him George – who is stuck in a hotel of a large hotel chain.  Him, his wife, and his infant son are homeless after the hurricane.  Evacuating, they took with them as many clothes as they could, their son’s pack-in-play, car seat, and baby carrier you strap to your chest.

George – who was a vet and had fought in our recent middle east excursions – described that everything left in the hurricanes wake reminded him of towns he had seen that had been completely ravaged by bombs and artillery fire.  Their home which I believe was in Tallahassee had been utterly destroyed from Hurricane Irma.

Forced to go from one Red Cross makeshift shelter to another – with a rather sick infant,  a tad bit of luck would come their way; George’s brother would pay for them to stay at hotel for a period of time to get them out of the vicious hot humid weather.  All of the “good” hotels were booked through already.

They would begin their stay on Monday and on Tuesday night their already existing suffering would escalate.  Their infant son – about 5 and a half months old – had just been in the hospital three weeks prior.  Apparently he had been in and out of the NICU quite frequently since he was born, adding to the seriousness of their plight.

Their son – we will call him Jonny, had contracted RSV when he was just a few months old, on top of his previous medical issues.  RSV for infants that young can be deadly to the point they have to stay at the hospital for the duration of the infection.

Jonny had just started sleeping through the night in his pack-in-play. Or at least he was till a flea infestation in the room, unknown to them at the time, left the infant with flea bites from head-to-toe. It was so damn bad, he couldn’t sleep anymore and they would stay awake with him as he screamed and cried through the night.  They themselves would suffer from the flea bites.

A further slap in the face was that they couldn’t use chemicals to get rid of the flies off the clothing that was salvageable – almost none of it – because their infant son couldn’t be exposed to said chemicals due to his medical issues.

The fleas would decimate almost ALL of the clothing they brought with, including the car seat, port-a-crib, and infant carrier.  So now they weren’t only almost broke, but they would have to replace all the clothes somehow.  You can bet most of the charitable places in that area that give out clothes were already overwhelmed.

Of course they couldn’t switch rooms. There were no other available rooms. All had been taken by insurance agents and other survivors and refugees of the hurricanes wrath.  They were stuck there.

George would roam the hotel hallways to clear his head and to think of any way to improve their situation. Of course, he would be penalized for this.

While observing construction that was going off in an area of the hotel – that strangely wasn’t taped off, George would step on a piece of metal and puncture his foot – something that looked like a large metal construction staple.  It wasn’t even near the obvious area of construction.

He would be in immense pain from it.

George’s wife mentioned that she had never seen him scream or cry before, but when he pulled this staple out, he cried from the pain. Perhaps the mental and emotional burdens on top of this recent were enough to put him over the edge.  When thrown in the mix of losing everything you have, it must have felt like a release.

Now I don’t know what happened to them after this.  I hope they were able to find a place to stay.  Mail had to be sent to his mother’s house in another state – that’s the closest relatives they had in proximity.

They had lost everything, but at least they had some family.  Their stuff could be replaced, as tragic as their situation was, but family can’t.

——————————————————————————————

Family First

When you are obsessing over the stuff you don’t have, just remember to take a look at those who have nothing – through no fault of their own.

Spend time with your family. You never know how much time you really have with them.  New flatscreens and crazy sales designed to lure you into dishing out for a new one you don’t really need will always be around.  Your family may not.

When me and my wife lived 8 hours away from most of our family – specifically mine, it made me realize how much I miss them.  With so many families with members scattered across the states, Thanksgiving may be one of the few days where everyone will be gathered there together.

Make the most of it.  You can go shopping later, which you probably don’t need to.

 

Six Things I’ve Learned as a Husband and Father

Six Lessons Early On As A Husband and Father

You Will Need A Support Network

I can’t understate how important this is -especially when your kids are infants and need a lot of time.  Many families often relocate to where they can get work.   What’s crucial is finding a job where you have family or close friends available that can give you a leg to stand on in hard times, but can help babysit when you and your girl – in my case wife – desperately needs a break.

One or two people wont be enough. People get busy – often when you really need them – and you will need a wide network to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and when you have two boys that are 10 months and 4 days apart, that couldn’t be truer.  Your family, her family, friends, everyone.    People we know have bought us diapers, clothes, even carseats and strollers.  Without that help, I don’t know what we would have done.

You want to avoid daycare at all possible costs, but to make ends meet these days, often both parents will have to work. It’s essential you have family, friends and GRANDPARENTS nearby who can babysit and help out.  If you aren’t able to have one parent remain at home with your kids, your family and close friends are far more nurturing and key to your kids success later in their lives than a daycare will ever be.

Lots of babysitting needed there.

With three months left of our lease, our babysitting situation and inability to get the support we needed caused us to uproot and move back to Illinois and in with some close friends of ours.  Now, with my parents nearby, my mom can give us babysitting whenver we need it.  This has been essential to both me and my wife getting work and being able to pay off what’s left on our lease back in Missouri.

Again, if you don’t get support, taking care of your kids in their infancy will become an exhausting burden, rather than a blessing and your marriage will be strained as a result.  Me and my wife have had plenty of small fights over problems created by exhaustion and the lack of people to help us out.

The fact my mom will babysit at any point means that I can finally take my wife. We can go to the Warped Tour and see her bands. A night out at the drive-in theater becomes a reality, instead of a fond memory.  We can never forget what brought us together in the first place.

Swallow Your Pride

Alpha this, alpha that. If you are an “Alpha”, you should have some pride and confidence in yourself and the decisions you make for you family.  However, when you screw up, don’t let your pride get the better of you.  If you can’t keep a promise, plans blow up, or you legitimately end up causing your wife grief – apologize.  Own it.   You are a man.

I must admit, I’m a stubborn prideful bastard.   So when I’m wrong, it’s hard to admit it.  Your wife will respect you if you are willing to admit and own your mistakes.  Key here is that you apologize when you screw up – not just apologize for her mistakes or to make her feel better. Only apologize when you do something wrong so it’s significant when you do.

Admit when you are wrong.

Just do it.   This one of the rare times, “Man up” should be said.  If you want your wife to apologize for the mistakes she does – and not blame you for them, you will have to lead by example.  I absolutely suck at this, but lately I’ve been trying to own any actual mistakes I make.    When it comes to raising my sons, this will be key.   They will look at my example and see if I do what I preach.

Now this doesn’t mean that you should roll-over.  (My wife even admitted she’s glad I don’t do everything she says or wants.)  If you have to battle, pick your battles and stand your ground when needed.

Manage Your Time

It’s so easy to be lazy and not make use of your rare downtime. I get it, but when things are tight and time is of the essence, do something useful and productive.  I love my video games, but the demands and needs of young sons come first.   This means keeping on top of giving them baths, getting them fed, changing them, and watching my oldest as he scurries around trying to touch and grab everything. 14 months is indeed an active age.

For instance, I want my wife to be satisfied with cheap easy to make food – which she usually isn’t.  To make it easier, I’ll have to spice it up, do the small things, and actually learn more about cooking. ( I work from home.)   I’ll also need to do whatever cleaning and stuff needs to be done.

In fact, there was a faucet that had to be replaced.  I had to get some extensions for the water supply valves to reach the faucet ends, but I took forever to get around to it because I was lazy.   We needed that faucet ready to go. I finally did it, but far later than I should have.

Luckily with that SUPPORT NETWORK that I mentioned earlier, time is a bit easier to manage when they boys are being taken care of by my mom and I’m able to get whatever I need to done around the house that me and my wife are staying.

Me and my wife have sex every single day.  That’s no accident. We ENSURE we have the time – that and my wife demands it with her high drive.  No matter what happens that day, we MAKE time.   If you really value something, you can and will do the same without excuses.   This also means that I have to stop making excuses for not getting things done that I should.

Laugh, Love, Live

These are great slogans, but people are usually either too busy or self absorbed with life to actually participate in these.  A great support network will help enable you to actually live life.    The house me, my wife, and the boys currently live at is the home of my best friends parents who are like my second parents.  It’s very similar to living in a multi-generational house and the benefits are immense and tremendous.

We actually talk to each other over food.  Laughter, great stories, and that noise of “happiness” can be heard constantly.   We are never “Bored”, unlike so many people.  There’s always something going and someone to hang out with.  Great conversations occur. Often friends and grandparents are over. Board games, bonfires, barbecues outside are staples of our lives. Beer taste better when you are enjoying it with people you love.  Having a Wii with Mario Party and Brawl is suddenly a phenomenal thing.   We are our own Brady Bunch.

My best friend’s family had four kids and my best friend and his wife have a 3 month old son.  (I’d like to think we inspired them to get going) We are going through almost the same stage of life. The naive dream of me and my best friend hanging out with our wives and raising kids is actually happening.  I feel like I’m living my own version of Second Hand Lions.   It fills me with joy everyday and makes me look forward to waking every morning.

All this makes it easier to raise our two boys with the love, help, and input that my best friends family gives us. I’m constantly learning new things as a dad because of it and me and my wife fight MUCH less than when we lived on our own in Missouri.

One interesting realization is that there’s other people who can hear those fights, so we have to mediate our differences calmly and quickly.  It prevents arguments from blowing up into nasty fights and has allowed us to get needed space and conversation with others in the house to take our minds off it.

Regarding that love part; the daily sex that I mentioned earlier helps resolve those fights and constantly bond us together to overcome if either of us have had a bad day, her emotions are at a low, or just our libido is going crazy.  It also boosts her confidence in herself and her body – very necessary after having two kids back to back.

When my wife’s particularly cranky,  she’s mentioned how she has a stick up her ass and that she needs sex to get rid of it.  Sure enough, it works every time.  Never forget that little fact when you wonder why she’s mad at you for no reason and you can’t logic at all with her.

Do The Small Things

1. We can be great at having the big picture in mind, but it’s the small details and living of our daily lives that makes all of that happen.   It’s those small conversations, memories, and emotions that shape our futures.  It’s easy to let the days blend together until you can’t remember what you did last Thursday.

Do something small each day to make it different.  Tell you wife you appreciate what she does.  Make her a small gift, come up with a quick movie list, and tell her you have a surprise for her – just don’t tell her what it is to the last minute. Never let that spark of romance get lost in the gritty routine of life. Make a date night each week.

2. Plenty of fights me and my wife have gone through were often because she wasn’t feeling “loved”. Every time it comes up, I think to myself, “Seriously?”  Simple stuff like saying, “I love you” in the morning, a kiss when she wakes up, a sincere compliment here and there. If she’s looking really good during a moment of the day, TELL HER SO.  You’d think that she knows you already love her and think she’s beautiful, but she needs to be reminded of it.  She needs your validation and appreciation.

Go beyond her outward beauty and look to her as a whole. It’s easy to see what your spouse does wrong – especially during arguments, but you often forget to compliment and appreciate what she does right.  She needs to know everyday that she is making you happy and that she is worth it.  Appreciate your wife for the great mother that she is and that the effort she puts in everyday.

You can do it

So many men have become jaded and believe that marriage isn’t worth it and fear losing any kids they do have to divorce and eventual child support via a vicious ex.   The risks are there, but the rewards of choosing a life you want to live are there as well.

I don’t make much money.  Neither does my wife.  But with that support I keep shouting about, anything is possible. You don’t have to be financially “stable” – most of us won’t be for years to come – and in your late 30s till you can get married and even think about kids.   Against the current grain, I would advise getting married young and having kids.

It’s far easier to deal with the responsibilities of kids when you are young, then when you are in your 40s and your back is killing you. You also enjoy the wife of your youth in your prime when you are full of energy, hope, and that “spark” that seems to fade as people age.

That essential support network can let you live a life worth living.  Be your own man and if a family is what you desire, don’t look back.  Keep striving forward.  Even though I’m new at being a dad, my boys already have an advantage – they will grow up with a father who loves them, will lead by example, and will always be there.

 

 

 

We Are Terrified of Actual Romance

That empty seat besides you in your heart…

The Desire For Romance

They say that you aren’t ready to be with someone else if you haven’t fixed your own problems.   Well, with that conclusion, it seems no one is ready to date or find a relationship. In fact, it sounds more like an excuse because we refuse to face the fact that we are terrified of actual romance – or the possibility and potential of it.

How many people these days do you know have relationships that never last more than a few months? Or when things get serious, they scamper away?  Commitment these days is a dirty and scary word.   Many will tell you that you don’t want to be first in vocalizing your desire for commitment.  It all becomes a series of games between men and women.

In your 20s, you are supposed to play the field.   We are told there is always more fish in the sea. That’s true.   But here’s a sobering thought: What if you missed that one special person – that love of your life?  An abundance mentality is key for confidence and avoiding loneliness and depression, but what if you end up “nexting” of the one women who was the love of your life?

75% of married people, according to the Inquisitr,  report “settling” as they have lost their chance at true love.  Yea, that’s depressing.  In fact 46% of those people would leave their relationship for their true love.   That says something about the power of love.

My generation – millennials – seemingly have a terrifying fear of missing out.  We want to remain single, available, and in the mode of continued experimentation – yet we fear a potential future of remaining single. It’s a disturbing catch-22 filled with cognitive dissonance.  We “settle”, but we don’t fall in love.  Again, I suggest that some of us may have missed out.

The vicious truth of today’s consumer and materialistic society is that everyone is focused on their career above all else.  When push comes to shove, most people will gladly sacrifice their romance for a future that’s not even guaranteed.   Men and women are fed the lie that you don’t need someone else – a lie that flies in the face of all of human history and biology. This thinking is willfully promoted by feminism in that women don’t need a man and in reverse by the some in the manosphere that men don’t need women.   I call BS.  As FreeNortherner points out,

“However much some feminists and some MGTOWs rage against it, men and women want to be together with each other. They want to love and be loved.”

We want to be loved, needed, desired, and sought after.  The consistent denial of this is leading to people with unhappy lives, scores of people on depression, and every medical condition under the sun that’s popped up in the last two decades.

Romance Or A Career?

I for one will always choose my relationships over a career.   Now this doesn’t mean one should let themselves go completely, be lazy, ect.  Simply realize that life is short and you want to enjoy it the best you can with someone you care about and love.

I believe there are more people with these thoughts out there, but they are becoming rarer as our society degrades into a smartphone and social media obsessed cespool of vanity, jealous, and envy.   Often we don’t actually want romance – we want material things which we think will lead to it.

1. Love is a spark of physical, psychological, and emotional intimacy.   It’s so intense, that it scares people.  The uncomfortable truth is that relationships take work.  Perhaps love is where you throw everything aside for that special person.  There isn’t exactly a backup plan – another scary thought in today’s often shallow relationships, but it’s crossed my mind.

2. Relationships are work – and anything that takes work is a potential hazard that can bog us down in our quest to experience life.   Yes, we may be experiencing life, but are we actually experiencing any of the romance that we so keenly and subconsciously desire?

Ultimately, people want other people who have something going for them and this is often reflected in career, fame, friends, family, and a bright future.  You sometimes just hope that you may experience a bright future with someone who doesn’t care about how much money you bring to the table.  As Alice from the Honeymooners said to Ralph before she married him, “Ralph, I’d be happy to live in a tent with you.”

It shocks me how many people I’ve met who are dirt poor, yet are happy as can be with each other.   They don’t need anything else but the two of them.  Considering how short life is and how tomorrow isn’t guaranteed,  they may be on to something.

 

P.S. food for thought: