Good with the Bad, and vice-versa

This Blog entry is being written in the midst of the Holiday season chaos that nearly everyone is undoubtedly undergoing. And like many of you, I have a daunting amount of things to do before I can gorge myself with turkey, cranberry sauce and other fattening festive goodness. SO, for once, I promise to at least attempt to make this a short entry, as I am somewhat forced to do so.. No promises.

IMG_3847   I took this photo on Tuesday, November 21 just south of North bend NE after a fairly routine, but quite exhausting pour. We were pouring a basement floor on the south side of the lake, with winds in excess of 50mph, and nothing but sand surrounding on all sides. If you’ve ever been in a sandy environment while it’s even remotely windy, you  know all to well that it is very similar to the sensation of pointing a sandblasting nozzle in your face.

Between the consecutive 17 hour days that we’ve been working, weather conditions, and very physically demanding work that we do, It was safe to say that I was not in the best mood, and definitely “questioning my career choices”.

                   (Finally, getting to the Thanksgiving inspiration for this article)

     The two things that come to mind when I see this picture are why I am VERY thankful for my current job, and that I need to realize that the majority of the things I complain about on a regular basis are quite short sighted. The downsides of both the line of work  I’m in, as well as the company that I work for, is that I work insane hours, I come home aching, grouchy, and the 4-5 hours of sleep that I get in between aren’t really enough to prepare me for the next day. The company I work for has gaps in management and fails at times to  appreciate the amount of dedication we put forth. (just like any other company under the sun)

However, when it’s all put into perspective after I reflect on the numerous ways I have been blessed, and begin to attempt to literally count out all of the things I should be truly thankful for, I am immediately humbled, and all of the negative experiences begin to be vastly outweighed by the positives. Just like the particles of sand in this picture represent: Yes, it was incredibly cold, the concrete was not cooperating due to the excessive amounts of sand being gusted on to the floor as well as into our eyes, we could barely see to pump, rake, and screed the mud into place (three tasks that are already quite tiresome on their own).  And FURTHARMORE, I just had to clean sand that was lodged in my inner ear not even 15 minutes prior to writing this! But here is the flip side, the Beauty of the sand blowing around in this photo.. If not for my current job, I would not be pushed to endure great amounts physical strain, working far later than I ever would have in the past, learning a trade that I never even saw as an option, and I wouldn’t be able to pretend that I have a small amount of photographic inclination by using  the beautiful blend of nature and industry coming together to make a neat looking photo!

My point in this blog entry that turned into a novel is not only applicable in the daily grind. We ALL have gone through some hard times that we think we will never get through. We question what we did to deserve our current situation, and some of us at one time or another in our lives (myself included) come to a point in which our own mind betrays us into believing that we have nothing to offer society, that things will never get better, and that the answer is to give up. But I am here to assure you, with myself as a personal example, that, Guess what? the cliché saying that “you’ve only failed once you cease to try” is true.  Regardless of the experiences that we endure, no matter how tragic, inconvenient, heartbreaking, or ominous they are, please rest assured of these three things:

  • Trials are temporary, even if it seems like you cant take it any longer, time really does fly, and time is guaranteed to bring change, whether it is for good or bad, is almost entirely up to you at the end of the day.
  • You are not alone, and their ARE people out there with very similar problems at all stages of life, and their is ALWAYS someone who cares. I see too many people with this mindset, including myself more times than I’d like to admit and its just not true. End of discussion.
  • There is ALWAYS a bright side, and you’re NEVER powerless.  In the past I was so good at feeling sorry for myself that I could fully convince myself that there was nothing I could do to make my life better, and things couldn’t possibly get worse. (this is a very dangerous state of mind, that can eventually become a life sentence for people unable to break the cycle).

Thanksgiving is many things to many people across the country, whether you’re at the in-laws, about to consume enough turkey and pumpkin pie to feed half of the football team you’re rooting for this weekend, avoiding thanksgiving dinner with the family to avoid inevitable conflict, or spending the day alone on the couch, binging Netflix with your cat, just remember that life happens and it cannot be controlled, but how we perceive our personal situation is far more important than comparing it to others.

Happy Thanksgiving from Nomad John!

Activation Energy

The initial rotation of a flywheel that sets an internal combustion engine into motion, the extra voltage drained from a battery when you flip the switch on your vacuum. Or in my case, the extra will power to close the YouTube tab on my internet browser and open up Photo shop to start designing a business logo. either way you explain it, getting moving in the right direction is almost always going to be the step that requires the most energy and determination.

The reason for my incessant babbling is this: I have wanted to start a blog for a very long time, but have never known what to even write about, nor did I think I would be any good at it, and therefor could not find the motivation to do anything about it. So, after much deliberation, I decided to elaborate on the very concept of  what keeps us from doing things that we are perfectly capable of doing.

Often times we may have the motivation to do something, but we lack the know-how to get started, or maybe we cant seem to get motivated to do something simply because we don’t even know how to start. (this has been me in so many cases that it’s not even funny.) Though my delivery of the concept isn’t exactly crystal clear, I think you get the general idea – that it can be somewhat of a vicious cycle. This first official blog entry is just a small step towards me breaking that cycle. I don’t know if anyone will read it. or even if they do , will anyone be able to decipher my jumbled thoughts?  What I do know is this; I have taken the first step towards my journey, and I will be, and already am, learning things that will most definitely set me off in the right direction. So whatever it is in your life that you have been wanting to do, become, or be a part of, just do whatever it is that you think might be a step in the right direction, and I promise you that no matter what the outcome, you will absolutely not regret it if you give it your best shot, and take whatever you can away from the experience.

Good luck!



Happiness in the shadow of failure and depression.

     What do we all desire more than anything else?

Happiness, regardless of what you find to be your source of joy, I have not once encountered a single person that said their lifelong goal was to be unhappy. This is obviously a no-brainer, right? So why is it that there are so many people that never manage to crawl out of the stress and anxiety filled lives that are laced with disappointment and sadness?

While I most certainly do not claim to be the authority on the subject of “lifetime happiness” I do however have a certain perspective on this convoluted thing we call life that I feel grants me more happiness in otherwise less than desirable circumstances. I’m sure that most of us have, at one point or another, heard the saying, “Life is not measured by the length but the depth“.  And while this may seem like a catchall phrase, It really does shed some light on the idea of living a fulfilling life.

What is the American dream?

Although each individuals opinion of what the American dream consists of varies considerably, for most people I feel that it represents the standard, Go to school, graduate, pursue your dream career, meet that special someone, settle down, and retire with plenty of money to live comfortably until we die at a very old age. (Or something like that.)  But what If something holds us back from one of our dreams? even if temporarily, or possibly something ends up changing the course of your life irreversibly and your current situation is what some would consider to be a complete mess? Do we then never reach that happiness that we envisioned in our dreams, and merely settle for merely being a functioning part of society?

As much as I wish it weren’t true, I have personally encountered too many people that fall into this snare of being lost due to either poor decisions in their past, or circumstances beyond their control. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen a post on Facebook, or heard a comment from someone saying they hate their life, wish they could do things differently, or even die, well, I’d probably have more money than I do now. But my point is, that I have learned to find happiness at the most inopportune times. There have been periods in my life that I have been in the deepest rut, I try to use all my energy to see the bright side of my current situation, instead of wasting that strength on worrying about things beyond my control. My license was revoked, my girlfriend at the time told me that she was cheating on me on my birthday, and I had more credit agencies trying to talk to me at any one point than I even care to disclose. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and was told to check myself into the E.R. if I ever felt that I was a danger to myself (probably should have at more than one point in my life, but never did).

My point in sharing all of this is not to say that I have overcome all of these things (because I haven’t) or that I have found myself living anywhere NEAR what I would consider to be what I envisioned for myself. What I really want to express with this little article is that It doesn’t matter what circumstances you find yourself in, you absolutely MUST strive to learn from your mistakes, derive what little bit of good that you can from even the most tragic of events, hold on to and appreciate even more, those that you do have in your life, and move forward a stronger person with a better understanding of what truly makes you happy in this life.

While there is no cure for depression, or a magic way to remove failure from your life, you most definitely can fight to live up to your full potential, and in the end, be an inspiration and light for those around you dealing with similar circumstances.

Failure and despair can hold you back, but If you never cease to use what you have to achieve what you truly desire, you never truly fail.



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