Friday, August 2, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Regret and Optimism Edition

Sometimes, what you need to get the ball rolling when you're stagnating is a good old-fashioned linkup. They're not rocket science - in fact, there comparable to those informal copy-paste surveys that used to be popular on places like Livejournal, Deviantart, and Facebook. But, having said that, sometimes it's just what you need to get thinking. Thanks, then, to the host of and the intuitively-obvious creator of 7 Quick Takes Friday for the kick in the pants.

Teriyaki-ginger Salmon, Roasted Taters
The conventional wisdom is that eating food releases endorphin-like compounds. That's the excuse people use for the emotional high from eating foods, and in a few cases (such as chocolate), the science seems to support it.

I posit, based on anecdotal-but-rigidly-observed evidence, that this is not always true. Food has an effect on emotion, certainly, but I deny that it is always busy. I've often stated that McDonalds beef products taste like synthetic depression (for all my love of their chicken products, I've never once managed to eat a Big Mac, Double Cheese Burger, or any other such thing in a decade without feeling sad afterward), and the same is true for most "bad" foods.

That could be because I place a premium on the quality of food I eat - for my broad range of enjoyable foods, I'm still remarkably fussy - or a mental stigma regarding fast food in general. But even so, you'd think I could convince my craving centres of the idea that I feel better eating healthy food long enough for my wallet to recover.

And long enough to get through the digestive "bends" that comes with a junk-to-real transition. Anybody my age who tried to drop the freshman 15 knows exactly what I'm talking about.

This is the regret and optimism edition, so I want to talk about that - specifically, about a decision I made girl worth fighting for, I started to become disillusioned with cadet life. Now, the better part of a decade later, with all that time to fog up my memory, I've been spending more and more time analyzing why I left, and why I wish I hadn't.
Super Trooper!
some time ago that I regret. In fact, two, but I think they can be separate takes. Around the same time I met the

You see, Cadets was a weird experience for me. I was always a kid with friends, don't get me wrong, but it was the first time in my life outside of home where as many people my own age treated me quite as politely. I learned a lot of things people my own age who never attended don't even know how to do - polishing my shoes for one grossly impractical but surprisingly fun example. What's more, I was good at it. Good at almost everything I touched. I qualified for most things on the first shot - every marksmanship qualification I was applicable for, every "star" exam (essentially grades), orienteering, first aid, fitness (bronze still qualifies, damnit!). I was awarded in my first year with an award for dedication to the Corps. I attended every meeting, every weekend exercise, every drill & ceremonial event, every mind-numbingly-dull Uniform Prep. I went to marksmanship camp for Basic and took my ACL with impressive results.

It was actually the summer of ACL that messed everything up for me. 6 weeks was the longest I'd ever been away from home that time, even if you count the weekend visits.  I was going through a wierd phase in my life where my medication wasn't quite enough to keep everything else in check. I just didn't have the maturity to compensate, so that year was rough.

What was more, I was starting to fall out with the other cadets my age at my home corps. Those that had run out the clock all the way up to Silver Star Candidate with me were mostly the people whose parents were forcing them to go. They had no interest in, well, anything. What was worse, the exemplar cadets, the ones that were helping me along in figuring out most of the "what do" of the RCAC, were aging out - too old to continue in the program, or else becoming formal reservists at 16. With that came the general-purpose ridicule of being the "super cadet". He who takes protocol too seriously, and genuinely wished to attend D&C for his ACLI camp year.

D&C is Drill and Ceremonial, naturally, though there was a nickname for it the gung-ho Adventure Cadets used for it that always amused me - Dusting and Cleaning. It had a remarkable ring of truth to it, as all good slurs do.

This was right around the time I started wanting more of my free time for myself, too. For someone who had only one real occupied night a week, I seemed to think I had a shortage of free time (which I tried to spend every ounce of on the aforementioned Girl Worth Fighting For). In short order, Cadets became a non-thing in my life.

Why regret, though? Well, frankly, it's because of the merits I see myself as lacking. I have no real desire to be a soldier, per-se, but certain aspects of what makes a soldier a soldier are appealing ideals - self-discipline, strong work ethic (rather than one that comes in waves), "keeping it together"... they're all things I feel like I could have gotten a better grip on if I'd just stuck with it.

Oh well. Late now.
Optimism - this move I'm making presented a lovely chance for a fresh start. It's funny what kind of baggage you keep with you - locked up in your closets and stuffed under the bed. You don't think about it until you're looking for it, and often, when you're packing your life away and find it, you look at this old thing or that and go "Haw, why am I carrying this stupid thing around?"

Then, you huck it in the trash, if you're wise.
Heterodox Grad Ceremony is Heterodox
I did tease you two with the idea of having two things I regret, and here's another, which I got thinking about recently for two reasons. One, a number of the blogs on my reading list were answering a recent "How We Met" linkup, talking about meeting their respective significant others, and two, a recent influx of new staff predictably lead to an increase in the number of times which I personally was asked that question.

The Meek One and I have been an item for a long time now - longer than any other state of my life existed in a single unbroken stretch with the obvious exception of "living with my parents". There is, however, one thing about this arrangement I frequently regret, and it dovetails nicely into the question of "how did you two meet".

See, we met in High School, and as anyone can tell you, I was delightfully awkward throughout that whole experience, to the point where more people remember me from high school than I remember (something I take with a mixture of pride and embarrassment). So awkward, in fact, that I never actually asked Kat out until well into our relationship - I had a friend do it.

Even though it makes both of us laugh, to the best of my knowledge, I still regret it. Go figure.

I never have enough juice for these 7 takes things. I eat lots of fish, so it's not a brain problem.  The main problem comes from hyperactive concerns for privacy - I'm never sure what I can and cannot talk about online. I'm also never really sure what my audience is interested in.

I've taken enough marketing to know that all media is essentially pandering to the audience (if you want that audience to grow anyway), but I simply cannot be arsed. Sometimes, I want to talk about spaceships, math, physics, chemistry, fish, food, wine, books, movies, politics, religion, philosophy, or some hellish mixture of the above. Sometimes, I don't want to talk about any of it. And sometimes, just sometimes, I want to talk about stuff I'm not allowed to.

I just looked over at my ledge (I have a five-inch-deep shelf that runs around the periphery of my entire apartment, no doubt a result of the shape of the foundation, since it's on all the exterior walls), which becomes a combination clutter-shelf and quick-access-organizer in the areas around my desk, couch, and bed, and found a most amusing stack of items, which are all from this week: three issues of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, including the current one; ESV bible, Ender's Game (Author's Definitive Edition), Catechism of the Catholic Church, a charger full of Panasonic Ni-MH AAs, my recipe box, and balanced precariously atop, a glasses case stuffed with Worthers Originals.

Been a busy week I guess.

Also, the notepad I keep just "above" my mouse on my desk has a most amusing note "Robo Butcher, Ten Deep, Ten Buckets". Taken out of the context, it amuses the absolute hell out of me.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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