“Strength shows, not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Hello old friend.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I have four good friends, including my wife.  She’s the only one who lives close and out of the four, I’ve known her the shortest, although most of the time it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.

The next closest is the one I’ve known the longest (going on twenty years now, buddy!).  He lives about three and a half hours away.

My next closest geographically, and the one I’ve known the next longest (what is it? 13 years now?) lives about eight and a half hours away.

The farthest lives about seventeen hours away by car and I met him a few months after I met the last guy.  We made that drive once.  From there to here.  It was an amazing experience.  We drank caffeinated beverages and ate No-Doze like they were candy.  We drove through a exaggeratedly-lit tunnel in and under Alabama that I still see in my dreams sometimes.  We skated across the foggy swamps of Louisiana in a fog of our own.  We jammed Tom Waits and Modest Mouse and whatever else the burned CDs and iPods had in store.  It was something else.  Surreal but Hyper-real.  Life-changing to say the least.

We don’t talk as much as we used to.  Life’ll do that.  But he’s still one of my best friends and when we do talk it’s always a treat.   I talked to him earlier today.  I’ve had a whirlwind of a past year or so and I’m trying once again to start over for the last time so I needed some feedback.  Do you know what he left me with at the end of the conversation.  Verbatim:

“.. get the blog back!  Its been almost a year man”

Damn, Bones.  You got me again.  So here it is.

I didn’t know what to write about when I started this.  I just knew that I wanted to get it going again.  Make some changes.  Do some things more and and some things differently from here on out.  Restart.  Start again.

It’s been a rough year.  We observed? celebrated? the one-year anniversary of my Dad dying a few weeks ago.  I’ve dipped in and out of depression and anxiety and anger and fits of manic happiness and numbness.  I got fired from my job for not doing something that I was never told to do.  I got another job and have since nearly double my wages.  My wife and I had another beautiful baby girl, born on what would’ve been my father’s 69th birthday.  I’ve been beaten and lifted and soothed and then beaten and lifted and soothed all over again.  It has been, in my own words, “a landmark year.”  But I’ve gotten through it.  Not flawlessly or expertly or effectively and sometimes just barely.  But I’ve gotten through it.  So far.  I don’t think the struggle will ever go away.  I don’t necessarily want it to.  But I’m changing the way I react to it.  I’m going to struggle regardless, so why now struggle for what I want?  For me, my wife, our family.  I’m starting anew and I’m starting here and now.

My wife, my best friend told me today to “choose my hard.”  She said it’s all hard: going to work, doing the things, why not pick the hard that works for you?  Goddamn brilliant.  So I’m choosing this for her, for me, for us, for anyone and everyone and no one.  I’m choosing my struggle and carving out the life that I think is worth struggling for.

Here we go.

 

Again,

Glass

Five-Minute Betterment: “And none will hear the postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart. For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?” – W. H. Auden

[Dear Reader, I encourage you to follow my blog for more That Man Glass wit and wisdom and also recommend it to a friend or two.  I would like to see this grow, but it’s going to take your help.  Thank you in advance. – David Glass]

Even in our digital world, there is still nothing quite like getting a letter in the mail.  Not a bill, not something addressed to Our Neighbor At, a real live genuine stamped postal parcel from someone you actually know.  I don’t get a whole lot of letters.  Holland (Mrs. Glass) and I enjoy sending and receiving postcards, even when it’s from something as low-key as Free Sundays at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (we all really enjoyed that by the way, even and especially Baby Glass).  We sent a few postcards that day and it was nice because they were only a quarter or fifty cents apiece.  So, for a couple of bucks (postcards and postage) we were able to insert a little sunshine into a few family members’ days.

I wrote another FMB post about reaching out to friends which I encourage you to read.  In short, I explain the need to maintain social interactions with the people you care about, even and especially if you only have a few people in your life.

Today I want to encourage you to take a few moments and GO BUY SOME STAMPS!

Stamps, you say?  Yes, stamps.  I always have stamps on me.  If you take a look at this picture

Every single day. #everydaycarry #carry #gerber

A post shared by David Glass (@thatmanglass) on

you’ll see my “wallet” which is all of my cards secured with a couple of rubber bands that were once on some asparagus.  As of right now (I just checked) I have 8(!) stamps ready to go for mailing postcards, greeting cards, thank you notes, etc.

The process of actually acquiring a postcard and/or writing a letter is going to take more than five minutes, but buying the stamps won’t.  The stamps themselves will ensure that you’re ready when the mood strikes and will be surprisingly effective at encouraging you to use them.

A couple more reasons to go buy some stamps now:

1.  This past January, the United States Postal Service raised the price of first-class letter-mailing from 46 to 49 cents, the biggest hike in more than a decade.  If you get Forever stamps, they will work, well, forever, and you won’t need additional postage, thereby securing the current rate in the event that the letter-mailing cost goes up again.

2.  Someone is tapping your phone.  Well, probably not tapping it, but there has been some conspiratorial buzz about Google or whoever keeping transcripts of people’s phone calls and text messages.  At the very least, Daily Mail reports that cyber criminals can hack Google’s voice recognition software in Chrome.  So, someone might be listening.  As of right now, there isn’t anyone going in and reading your letters (unless they have a reason to) so they’re probably much more private.  Especially if you Learn Cryptography.  By the way, here‘s an eHow to check if your phone is tapped.

3.  You’ll be more prepared than you were five minutes ago.

Number three is a really important one.  I hope you’re taking the time to follow through on some of these Five-Minute Betterments.  I’m sorry to repeat myself again, but I have mentioned before that preparation begets confidence begets perseverance and it’s true.  The more prepared you are, the better your chances will be of getting through whatever situation you might find yourself in, even if it’s something as simple as needing to send a letter.

Stamped

Glass

P.S. – As you can probably tell, I do have a Manstagram, @thatmanglass . Follow me there for the visual accompaniment to the That Man Glass blog.

Five-Minute Betterment: “Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Old friends.

Most of my friends are old friends.

Or not my friend anymore.

I admittedly have a hard time keeping up with other people.  Especially lately, it just seems like there are so many other things going on in the Glass House that the days slip by weeks and months at a time and I can’t remember the last time I checked in with people.  I only really have a handful a friends: one lives in town, one lives an hour away, one lives three hours away, one lives 600 miles away, and the other one lives 1200 miles away.  I used to consider a lot of people friends but, hey, we all make mistakes and so often my mistake was thinking that a lot of those people were worth a damn.

Chill, man.

Alright.  What I want this FMB to be about is maintaining relationships by keeping in touch with friends.  I want you to take a few minutes out of your day to let someone know you’re thinking about them.  In my mind, this person isn’t someone you haven’t talked to in ten years.  I would encourage you to make that phone call or send that letter/text/e-mail when you have more than five minutes to put into it.  And I’m not talking about liking a picture someone posted or whatever.  Ideally, it would fall somewhere in the middle of that.

Like I said, it’s not going to be a huge thing.  It should only take about five minutes.  But imagine being on the receiving end of a random text of kindness.  It’s a really good feeling and it helps to keep the friendship alive.

Human beings are social creatures.  According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Love and Belonging are the needs that follow physiological and safety related concerns.  So if we’ve got our water, food, and physical safety covered, the next thing we need would be human companionship.  Even the more misanthropic of us (myself included) are benefited by sort degree of human contact.  In fact, I dislike other people(‘s behavior) so much that it makes me really enjoy the company of my handful of friends!  It also makes it really special to hear from them or see them, as it doesn’t happen very often.  If you’ve streamlined your group of friends to a select few, then more power to you.  Just make sure you’re taking a few minutes every now and then to check in on them and see how they’re doing.  It’ll do you both some good.

Your friend,

David Glass