Day 4: I Am Grateful For Opportunities

Open Doors

I don't know how your life has gone, but for most of my adult years, even when times seemed to be at their hardest or bleakest (which in retrospect, they really weren't), there always seemed to be an opportunity that would present itself. Mostly in the form of a job, but definitely something financial, that would help me take care of my family.

From 2013 through all of 2014, those opportunities seem to just dry up. For the first time in my life, it didn't seem to matter what I did, what leads I pursued, or how hard I tried, the opportunities to make a decent living seemed to poof out of existence. I must admit, I did not try working at minimum wage somewhere, so I suppose there could have been some measure of an opportunity there, though I doubt I would have lasted very long.

man-3368474_1920.jpg
Image source—Pixabay

Ditch the hair and the Porsche jacket, add some pounds and about 30 years—you get the picture.

Enter 2015

It was actually towards the end of 2014 that two doors, ones I did not want to consider (and never would have before) opened up. One was for a full-time job in the housekeeping department at the local hospital, the other was a chance to go back to school and earn an Associates degree.

Now, to put this in perspective, the job and going to school were not mutually exclusive. The housekeeping job was for my wife, which she got largely because of her years and years cleaning homes (outside of our own) and her connections with people who worked at the hospital who could vouch for her character.

It was a road I had not wanted to go down, because my wife had not worked full-time since the very early stages of our marriage. And while she had done the housecleaning, she really didn't have to. I had been the primary wage earner throughout, and wasn't looking to change that.

The opportunity to go back to school, however, was mine. And while the job she had was at home, the school opportunity would be in Salt Lake City, Utah.

That would mean spending 14 months or so out of 16 away from my wife. We'd spent a few weeks apart several times during our marriage as she would go down to Mexico to visit family with the kids or alone while I stayed home and worked. This, however, wasn't going to be for a couple of weeks. It would be, at worst, a term at a time, with some breaks in between.

Just for the record, having gone through this, I wouldn't recommend it. Even though I found school worthwhile, the separation was very hard and I think I'm still experiencing the ripple effect from it.

Flashback To 1984-85

I spent a year at Brigham Young University from the Fall of 1984 through the Spring of 1985. Two semesters. While I did okay the first semester, the second semester was a disaster. Not because I couldn't keep up, or wasn't smart enough, but because for the first time in my life, I didn't want to keep up.

Just like nearly every other college freshman, this was the first time I'd been away from home, and like most young men my age, I finally got to the point, after a semester delay, that I just didn't want to do much school. Whether I really knew it or not, my mind was telling me I needed a break. Unfortunately, though, I was enrolled in classes that I didn't always go to or turn in work for. Down went the already middling grade point average from the semester before.

Back to 2015

At 48-years-old, I was back in college, but on academic probation. That meant meeting with a guidance counselor at least once a month. If I kept my grades up for a semester, I would get off probation and could skip the counselor time.

Well, 48-year-old me was about ready to build the time machine and go back and kick 18-year-old me in the rear for being so stupid. There's nothing so embarrassing as atoning for the mistakes of your younger self. For the first couple of visits, it felt like none of the intervening years had happened. Like I'd not matured at all. Not because of anything the counselor said or did, either. He was great. Thankfully, he was older and didn't talk down to me at all.

The saddest thing about this probation was, that last semester at BYU wasn't really me then, either. I was always the responsible one. Much more than my peers. But because of a few months where I got lazy (it wasn't like I really went crazy or had so much fun, either), I paid for it later.

But, instead of wallowing in self-pity or trying to make excuses, 48-year-old me pretty much took care of business. Straight A's in all of my classes, leading out when needed, taking a seat back to kids less than half my age the rest of the time. I did what I had to do. I attended all my classes. I got my work done, and I turned it in. That got me off probation and set the tone for the rest of my school time.

And Now It's 2018

My wife is now in her fourth year at the hospital, and I'm still not-so-gainfully employed. I've continued to run a Facebook page since interning my last semester at college, but I've looked into some Social Media Marketing jobs, as well as doing my own thing, which has included a Patreon page and now Steemit.

For the first time since I shuttered the doors on my business at the end of 2012, I feel like I have a real opportunity to do something. Not just with something I mostly enjoy doing, but with something that has the potential to create financial security for my wife and I throughout the rest of our life together.

That's what Steemit represents to me. An opportunity to regain freedom. Personal and financial.

I don't want to squander it, if I can at all avoid it. I want to take advantage of the opportunity I've been presented with, now that opportunities in general seem fewer and farther between. I don't want a repeat of those years where we were living off of unemployment benefits and then all of the rest of our savings.

This is why I've spent so much time on Steemit. This is why I feel compelled to make things work. And this is why I am grateful for any opportunity, even the small ones, because I know what it feels like to have no open doors. I know our situation was never as dire as many experience and may live in now. And I realize that throughout this we have been greatly blessed. I have tried to hold onto that, too, that the blessings haven't stopped even when the opportunities appeared to dry up.

And for that I am grateful, too.


About This Post

This post is part of the Seven Day Gratitude Challenge started by @conradt. I was invited to participate by no less than two individuals, @practicalthought (who got to me first) and @mariannewest (who figured she'd pile on, too).

As all challenges do, this one has rules:

Write a post about something that you are grateful for—this could be anything from being thankful for your current situation, someone being nice to you, your being kind to someone else, being thankful for your friends and family, etc.

Do this for seven days in a row if you get nominated.

Mention three people who should do this on each day.

Tag the post with #7daypositivitychallenge and include these rules at the bottom of your post.

Include a picture of something positive.

  • Instead of picking anyone, since I don't know who's been asked, who wants to, or who has the time, let's just say if you want to do this, go for it. You're officially invited, by me, to do so. :)
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I am a big supporter of education, and even though today you can literally school yourself on any subject from the comfort of your home, it's just not the same.
So, big thumb up from me for taking that door. It sucks that you had to spend so much time away from your family. Can't really relate to that since we live in the capital of a small country so anything worth anything is just a few streets away :)
We did spend a few months apart during our postdoc specializations, but that was just a month or two.
And yes it was rough.
Then again, spending some time apart from each other - from time to time - can do much good. You start to appreciate all the little things you have that you take for granted and can only see how much they are worth when they go away.

That last part, about spending some time apart is dead on. Which is why her one to three week trips to Mexico have been okay, because exactly what you said happens and does happen. The heart grows fonder, seemingly big things are seen for what they are—not so big a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Much more than that, though, and it's too much.

I would say it probably depends on where you go to school and what you major in. Some things, I think formal education is indispensable. You need it in order to get on a good footing, knowledge, experience, etc.

Other things, you might learn better on the job, in an apprenticeship or the like, such as in the vocations—electrician, plumbing, etc, or even in a lot of the technology fields because you're learning something like a proprietary coding language or specialized process anyway.

In my case, I knew a lot about Social Media Marketing before I went, just by doing it for my books. I did learn some things at school, and I did get to create stuff I probably wouldn't have tried on my own.

The thing about education, especially higher education, that most people get wrong is that it's not really about getting knowledge. Sure, you learn stuff, but you can do that in a public library, the most important thing is to learn how to think, retrieve knowledge and apply it.

Having raw knowledge today is IMHO useless, I have a college at my work that is filled with info on just about everything, actually I was his boss for a while. He was actually called to be a star at the national TV station on some kind of a quiz. So this guy knows just about everything on any given subject - he's basically Google. But he's stupid, he can't do shit on his own. You have to explain every thing that needs to be done, and then recheck 5 times to see what he did wrong. In the end, I got tired of holding his hand all of the time and I've fired him (from the project) - I realized I don't need another Google.

The practical vocations - it's basically the same thing. Yes, you learn from the experience but the people who were actually apprenticed by masters who explained not just how but also why, tend to be much better at their job. Because only if you understand why something has to be done in a certain way can you go ahead and think of a better/efficient/faster way it can be done. And that is what a master of any craft or vocation really is - someone who can do things better, faster and efficient than us other guys.

I'm guessing that most people get the critical thinking wrong about education in general because it doesn't happen as often as it should. Instead of being taught how to think (which is something I would hope would happen at home and in every day experience of life, too), students are being taught want to think. Like your Google Man who is a fountain of knowledge but has no clue what to do with it.

So, when the majority of the professors in most universities (I'll keep it to the US though it's got to happen elsewhere) are teaching their own findings and theories as truths, or primary and secondary teachers are teaching from carefully selected and approved texts so that students can pass the standardized one size fits all tests, those students who actually do use critical thinking skills end up castigated for questioning what's being taught or why it's being taught.

Man, I can imagine that being away from your wife that long would be tough. I know I would miss mine. I probably wouldn't have done it. I'd rather be with my wife than apart, even if being apart would prepare me for something else down the line, college or training).

I'm glad you see your time on Steemit as an investment. I really hope that it pays off for you. Every time the price starts rising I can feel the excitement around here grow, but every time it falls, the doubts creep back in. You seem to be fairly steady though, so hopefully through keeping it up you'll be able to amass a large pile of SP and when the price rises for real, then you'll be able to cash in. :)

That's the dream, brother. That's the dream.

Yeah. I wouldn't advise anyone leaving their spouse for long lengths of time. It's not why you get married, right? As it is, I almost didn't, but she had always said I should go back and so I guess I finally did.

Well, I'm trying to be consistent, but I can't just publish to the void. Been there done that. Need people to interact with. So, maybe after this EOS deal dies down a little (famous last words maybe?) we can all get back to making STEEM great again.

Wait, I think I just stole a presidential slogan. Or something. :)

Most people don't get married to get away from their spouse. That's why they divorce them. You don't hear about people getting divorced so they can go back to school though, like specifically for that reason. At least you made it through and now you have your degree.

I don't know where we're at with EOS. I haven't been paying that close of attention over the last week. I'm still not sure when it's launching, but my crypto adviser advised me against buying EOS at this time. (Not investment advice). I'd like to get back to just posting and connecting with people, but it seems the politics are here, at least for the time being.

I wonder if the next slogan will be "Make America Great Again, Again"
or maybe "Keep Making America Great"
or "Make America Even Greater Again"
or "America: Greater"

Take your pick from those and then mail me the royalty check. :D

I don't know where we're at, either. I thought they launched, but apparently that meant another process where people have to wait. Maybe the hamsters have to get up to speed. I'm not sure. :)

I know there's a 15% of all EOS tokens out there that need to be claimed or something in order to unlock the blockchain and then all of that needs to be verified or something to that effect. It's kind of like the grand opening of a restaurant or store where they cut the ceremonial ribbon in front, just inside the doors, in the main lobby/waiting area, and then at intervals throughout the building.

Then, people have to wait another period of time before they can come back and eat, buy groceries, shop for clothes, etc.

I've got to guess that at least one of those couples that cited irreconcilable difference as the reason why they got divorced was because one of them really, really wanted to go back to school. I mean, statistically, there's way too many divorces for that not to be somewhere in the mix. Along with too much money spent on boa and marmot taxidermy.

The rate we're going with language and slogans, it will probably just be, "AGAIN!" and we'll all call it good.

Captain: "Spin up the hamsters."
Mate: "Aye aye, Captain." Turning to the crew "SPIN UP HAMSTERS!"
Crew: "Spinning up hamsters!"
Mate: "We're ready, sir"
Captain: "Very good. Launch EOS"

There you go. EOS is now live.

I remember hearing about that 15% thing and I think it's just that they're ERC20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain that need to be claimed by the owners so the EOS tokens can be put in the right EOS wallets when it goes live. You would think they could just snapshot it and then give the people their tokens at a later date, but I guess not.

I don't understand the other waiting period, but that's ok. I don't have any so it won't affect me.

I mean, statistically, there's way too many divorces for that not to be somewhere in the mix. Along with too much money spent on boa and marmot taxidermy.

I guess it's possible that some people got divorced so one could go back to school. Seems like a weak reason though, like the person was just looking for a way out. And, um, boa taxidermy? I feel like you're referencing a tv show or something as I haven't heard of many people getting divorced for that reason.

I wouldn't be surprised if "AGAIN" were an election slogan within the next 10 years.

As far as I know, boa taxidermy for a divorce reason is original to me, and most likely has never been used. However, you never know. Over 1.75 million people get divorced every year, and it would be totally boring if all of them were doing it because of infidelity, boredom or non-specific disagreements with finances. I say boa and marmot taxidermy are among them. :)

Part of the launch did include a snapshot, but that came first, as the individual blockheads (can't remember what they're calling witnesses) start up their nodes. Then the 15% deal is supposed to take place to unlock the blockchain, and then they wait, unless they want to use ONO, although maybe there are other apps? Just haven't heard of them, but maybe they do exist already.

That's true, we do need more interesting reasons. I'm not personally going to come up with them as I still love my wife and plan on keeping it that way. I guess theoretically someone could have an addiction to taxidermied boas and marmots. I don't know that I have a special need to meet that person.

"Blockheads" that's great. I don't know what they're called, but I don't really care at this point. All I know is that I don't have a node set up and as such will not be collecting the large sums of money that they'll be raking in. Good for them though!

Haven't heard of any of the EOS apps. I heard they have them, but don't know what they are. I have enough trouble keeping up with Steemit.

howdy from Texas @glenbrethsen I really enjoyed your post, so many of us have gone through this situation of having to start our careers over or go back to school and man does that take discipline! You say that you don't regret going back to school, what field of study did you pursue and are you able to use any of that knowledge on Steemit or are you doing something else which utilizes it?

I got an Associates of Applied Science degree in Social Media Marketing. :) So, yeah, I have been using that knowledge here on Steemit. There's probably a lot more I could be using, too, but it's not necessarily time for that yet.

Mostly, though, I've been employing my love for writing, my acquired knowledge of Steemit, life experiences, and 15 years as very small weekly newspaper publisher.

I clarify, I think going back to school and earning the equivalent of a Bachelor's in less time and for considerably less money will prove to be a good thing. However, the time spent apart from my wife was not good. That's what I would warn against, if I could.

How are things in the great state of Texas?

thanks for the explanation. No I wouldn't try to spend that much time away from my wife but ya'll were dedicated and did what you thought was necessary because of limited or no options.

what is the newspaper about, is this an actual paper newspaper printed in ink about your local town? I love those things.

Well Texas is booming, the most insane growth everywhere in the state basically. over 1,000 people per day are moving here. I'm not a big fan of that because the Western culture is being very diluted as well as the conservative values.

But it's crazy in growth, all the major corporations of the world are moving here, traffic is insane when you get anywhere close to a suburb, the quaint little small towns are now turning into cities and there are huge condo developments everywhere with hundreds of homes as far as the eye can see!

so, great economic growth but what that looks like in the end I don't know.
Are you Mormon?
thank you sir for your time and information, I very much look forward to being at least a small part of one of the leagues.

I've heard that there are a lot of people moving into Texas from states that are much more liberal or progressive and that these new move ins are trying to adapt Texas into the same states they're leaving. It's amazing how there's this disconnect.

I've been to Texas four times to look at different places. This was all before this new migration started. There was plenty of traffic then. Of course, I live in a small town and don't venture too far afield, so any traffic is going to seem a lot to me. :)

It's going to be okay for the economy, which might make people okay with the politics for a time, but in the end, unless the traditional Texas values can be reasserted, integrated with these new folks, Texas won't be Texas anymore.

That's an interesting question, you ask. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and people do call us Mormons. Going to BYU for a year and then returning to school in Salt Lake are probably big giveaways, right? :)

Well, welcome to the leagues! I don't know if there is a small part, if you're out engaging folks on the blockchain. Every bit is needed. :)

thanks for your thoughts on Texas which are right on, in a way it may be a tragedy in the making...to lose the Texas culture which is so unique and yeah the libs from CA are working hard, already have taken over the big cities.
The Texans in rural areas like where I am and the ones in Dallas for instance have very few things in common!

Whoa, people do call you Mormons...what do YOU call you?
I thought members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(man that's a big label) were called Mormons. I apologize for mis-speaking.

yes I assumed because of BYU.
bytheway I thought Mitt was a wonderful candidate and was so wanting him to win. but now he will at least be a great Senator?

You really think that a person can make a great living doing this crazy stuff on Steemit? What if in a few years Steem goes away or becomes worthless? these are the questions my wife and I ask ourselves because I'm spending too much time here.

That's pretty much what it is here. Oregon would be much less liberal if the rural areas had any chance over Portland, Salem and Eugene.

No need for apologies at all. You had it right. We are called Mormons, we're just not usually the ones doing it. :)

I usually say what I said. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Or I might say I'm LDS (a latter-day saint). I think most members really don't mind being called Mormons, and that's what most people know us by.

2008 Mitt Romney was a much better candidate, in my mind, then 2012 MItt Romney became, even before the whole CNN debate debacle, where the moderator lady basically saved President Obama. After that, it felt like he gave up to try to win, or something.

If he wins, which he probably will, given it's Utah, I don't know how long he'll be there. He's already 71, and his wife has her ailments. So, who knows. Maybe he serves two terms. It will depend a lot on what's going on and what he's asked to do and which Mitt shows up to vote. :)

Some people are making a decent living from Steemit, but they've been here for nearly all of the past two years, have delegations or higher SP upvoting what they do, and they either live in countries with a low cost of living, or live on the cheap through traveling because they're single and don't have family to take care of.

As it is, though, Steemit isn't meant so much to be something you live on right away, anyway. It's much more of an investment platform, where your investment can be your time, with which you try to earn something from the reward pool through posting, commenting and curation. If you have some money to throw in, well, that's supposed to help, but most don't and would need to make that kind of decision on their own, knowing that STEEM could be worthless at some point.

As things are now, the STEEM blockchain has way too much going for it, despite any faults real or perceived that Steemit and the other apps have, to become worthless in and of itself. Way too many other crypto coins will fall before that. However, that doesn't mean governments won't start monkeying around with more laws that will make crypto undesirable, or something else that will come along and make STEEM look bad.

So, just like anything else, there is plenty of risk involved. My wife is pretty much of the same mind as far as the time I spend here, too, so that's a natural concern. I wish I knew how better to answer, but since we're talking future things, who can predict. :) Not me.

thank you sir for all your help and honest answers, it's been a real pleasure learning about you and from you! God bless.

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It takes a man of courage to revisit old battlegrounds to reconquer them. Starting over is hard, and I applaud you not only for doing so, but being the type of man who has built a strong partnership with family to do so. I noticed that you have an ongoing story on your blog (that goes way back so far I haven't read it, sorry). Have you considered adding self publishing to the hats you wear? Most don't get rich, but when I was churning hard I was breaking 2k a month once I had my branding going, my catalog sizable and email list growing.

I am glad you spend so much time here, for what it is worth. Thanks for sharing, only 3 more posts to go.

😁

Yes. I have The Maya going. It's a novel that's probably 50-100 pages from actually being completely written, but I've been posting it just to see what serializing a novel would look like and how it would do here.

While that book isn't published anywhere else, I do have two self-published novels for Kindle.

If you were making that much a month with yours, you were doing pretty good, but it sounds like you had the needed marketing and funnel infrastructure in place, too, which takes effort and time. I wasn't able to get that far. With self-publishing, you wear a myriad of hats and I haven't found the balance necessary to keep them all going.

I will have to take a look at how it has been doing for you. I realize not all things are equal, but I used some of my profits before I quit writing to pay a ghostwriter to write 2 novels for me (the others in that series have never come close to paying for themselves). They are unedited and I had toyed with the idea of just slowly posting them on here as is as I am really tired of the self publishing gig (all those hats, lol). I still make ok royalties though, last month being the best I have had in months (almost hit 500.00). I haven't written or ran any promotions in about a year and a half.

Are you pleased with how it is going for you, or simply continuing out of obligation since you started it?

I wouldn't say pleased, but it's gone more or less how I thought it might. There's been a couple of hits over the last three months by Curie, which has helped, and the amounts have risen from cents to a dollar or two now. I'd like to say that equates to a following increase, but that's simply not the case. No one regularly interacts on the posts other than very brief things like, "Good job," or "Interesting story." I do sometimes try to see if they're actually reading or not. For the most part, they aren't.

I'm continuing because it's been a rather consistent source of rewards, it's ready made material, and because I still have plenty of story left. Since no one has really read it from start to finish, or even got into it in the latter stages, I don't really feel any obligation to it. I enjoy putting up things that I created, like Outworlder #1, my 32-year-old pencil only graphic novel. That was fun to post, too, even though it's not that good. :)

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