Archive for Positivity

Blerg?

Well, this is embarrassing. After all the hullabaloo I made about posting stuff, I almost shrugged off making a post today. The only thought I had this morning was a rather childlike “I don’t wanna.” It’s a thought I’ve been having a lot lately, between applications, doing my taxes, and slowly fixing up the house.

God, growing up sucks. You think it’s going to be all staying up late and bacon whenever you want it, but it turns out to be bills and the slow, inexorable hands of mortality and death haunting your every waking thought.

Am I right?

Though, I am feeling better day by day. I’m reading again, and it’s slowly bringing back the creative parts of me that got burnt out over the last six months. Hell, two days ago my friend Kevin and I tried to write a rock opera. We even made it through half a song, a cigar, and two whiskeys before we got bored.

So, slowly getting back to baseline. That’s the cool thing about us humans. Give us three weeks, and we can get used to just about anything.

-Austin

Spring Cleaning

No more letters from my grandpa, sadly. At least, none that I can find. Starting a project and then procrastinating until you forget about it is timeless, I guess.

Something strange has been going on these last two weeks. I asked my friend Kevin to help me take a look at all the work that needed to be done getting my grandma’s house, and he in turn asked his mom to come, who has a lot of experience cleaning out old houses. For the last two weeks the whole Davis family has helped me pack, move, and clean a house that has not had a deep clean in years. they asked for nothing in return, and between them and me, we’ve probably logged over a hundred hours on that old house.

I mention this because I don’t understand. I’ve always heard about this kind of generosity, but I’ve never actually encountered it before. All these favors and time and they get nothing out of it?

Well that’s not entirely true. I did give them an old chair and a veg-o-matic. But that doesn’t really cut it, I think.

It’s been a formative experience. Instructive, too. You learn how to treat others from how they treat you. nine times out of ten, that leads to folks treating each other like garbage. this is the tenth time, the time a person can draw their ideals from. A shining example that becomes the basis of how I treat people from now on.

Which really just adds on to the list of favors I owe them.

It’s Over 9000!!!

I haven’t slept much this week.

I’m not complaining – my sleep deprivation is actually a good sign. I’m starting a new project, and I’ve been too busy daydreaming and researching solutions to sleep. I’ve found something that interests me more than sleeping, which is really saying something. Like I said, this is a good sign.

A couple months ago, my wonderful mother sent me a link to a podcast named “You Have One Life – Set Bigger Goals” by designer Sean Wes. While I don’t agree with everything Wes says, I agree that it’s important to set huge, ridiculous sounding goals – to Dream Big. Sure, I haven’t fulfilled 90% of the goals I’ve set in my life, but that’s no reason to give up hope.

So, without further ado, here is my big goal:

I will gross $20,000 in sales with my artwork in 2015.

Sounds crazy, right? That’s a lot of paintings and marketing for someone that can barely find motivation to write a blog post. $20,000 requires lots of paintings, and lots of buyers.

That’s where the project comes in. I’m currently working on a licensing agreement with a designer in Germany. If everything goes well, I’m going to start raising capital for an art-driven, self-run business that I can run alongside my current job (or a new job, who knows?). If all goes well, I’d like to eventually go part-time on my current job and focus on my new business full time.

I’m not going to say anything more about the product I’m creating, but it’s something that would capture my art style and interests perfectly. I could make money from my passions, and use my skills and profits to help benefit others. I’m really excited to see how this whole thing plays out.

So there’s my sky high, ridiculous goal, and very few specifics on how I plan to reach it. As much as I wish I could tell you more, you’ll just have to stay tuned for updates, and hope that I have good news on my next post.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

The Great Winter of Meh

Alright, this has got be one of the crappier winters on record. There’s enough hardship here at GiTH right now to fill two novels and a soap opera.

Some things didn’t pan out last week. Dan and I were going to debut a big thing we were working on, but through no fault of our own it didn’t get done, and some deadlines were missed. Dan was way more bummed out about it than I was, I think due to losing out on a potential payday.

So that big reveal will have to wait some more.

It’s not so much that things are falling apart, it’s that they’ve slowed to a halt. Dan is in a routine he likes, but not one he wants to stay in forever. Clark doesn’t like where he’s at, but likes the person he might be in a year or so. Me, I’m moving forward the only way I know how. Slowly and with more self-doubt than there needs to be.

Not a whole lot of positives in our collective lives right now.

Except that’s not exactly true. We have a lot to be grateful for. Family that loves us, friends that sustain us, and talent that drives us forward.

I forget that sometimes. We all do. It’s especially easy to forget when life comes knocking like it has in the last month. So this is my reminder to me and message to them. It’s tough right now, but this too shall pass. In the mean time, lean on those who love you, and the winter might get a little warmer.

This Was a Triumph

One year ago, Dan doubled down on dreaming big, Austin considered coping mechanisms, and I promised myself a year of hardship.

Today? Dan is declaring the death of his childhood, Austin is watching a loved one fade away, and my year has been overwhelmingly difficult.

Mission accomplished?

I think so.

All cynicism aside, this year has been a massive turning point for the writers of Gold in Them Hills. Dan made huge steps towards publishing his work, Austin helped dozens of kids find a sense of stability, and I completely abandoned my comfort zone on a quest for perspective.

Amid the paralyzing anxiety, forced deadlines, longing for companionship, inability to find my dream job, roller coaster of emotions, and utter confusion, I’ve managed to come out of 2014 with more passion and drive than ever before. Bigger things are coming, and this time I’m going to ride the wave instead of being pummeled by it.

There’s a fire in my heart, and it’s not going anywhere. I have a few announcements in the pipeline for 2015, and I’m sharpening my skills and hitting my knees for the next season of life.

So here’s to 2015. May you all learn from your mistakes, remember the good times, and be brave enough to keep trying when the times are tough.

– Clark

Commitment

I wasn’t sure what to write about this morning when I woke up. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew what I wanted to write about, I was just going to avoid it and half-ass something else.

See, I had gotten a bit of feedback on Saturday. My boss that I wasn’t doing enough to step up at my job. Coworkers didn’t feel like I had their backs. For a place where one of the hazards includes being attacked by mentally ill teenagers bigger than you are, that’s serious criticism.

So I spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself. After the pity party, I decided to make a change. Turns out it really can be that simple. See, inside the pity party is the implication that I didn’t think I was able to make any kind of change. Experience has proven that this is not true.

I’ve been volunteering for more. Making sure I’m the first one there in a blowout. Offering to take over and tag out for all manner of thankless jobs and paperwork drudgery. I’m only two days in to manning up, but I think I’m going to be okay.

When I buckled down and committed, it was like a bunch of puzzle pieces in my mind clicked into place. The inaction and the leaving the crises to other people were bad habits left over from when I wasn’t allowed to do much more than shadow. Action and effort suit me much better than anxiety and inertia.

I think the lesson here is in committing to a better way of doing things. Once you really go for it, things start to line up. Dan experienced it when he got back into acting and writing. Clark experienced it when he decided to take the plunge and move to New York. And now I’m experiencing it. If it happens that often it can’t just be coincidence.

So, at the risk of being preachy again, here’s my challenge to anyone reading. You know the right thing to do. Get out there and do it.

-Austin

The Peanut Butter Incident

Like I mentioned earlier, I try not to give out details for confidentiality reasons. So, here’s the HIPAA compliant outline. There was an incident at my place of work from which I gleaned much professional insight. It starts with me being a hard-ass. It ends with peanut butter being thrown at my head.

When I started this job, my supervisor recommended I start off very strict with the children, and then transition to being more lenient once the precedent was set. Good advice. Then one of my coworkers saw me try to put it into practice. He told me “Dude, you’re getting into power struggles with these kids. The other kids see that, and know that they can mess with you.”

So, I learned that there’s a time for being strict and a time for giving them a break.

And then I learned about the peanut butter. It turns out that we try to keep at least a couple jars of the stuff in the building at all times. We don’t deny them food, and kids, as they get older, are hungry all the time. As a compromise, they can request a spoonful of peanut butter at pretty much any time.

The astute reader may already realize that this is a privilege that is easily abused. As a result, I chose to be a hard-ass about this particular rule.

Now, I really wish I could go into details. Needless to say, I didn’t read the situation right, and said no at the wrong time, and got peanut butter thrown at my head. It missed, lucky for me, but it did make a mess.

It’s not important. What’s important is what happened afterward.

The first thing I said (after a few combat breaths) was “You were right. I screwed up.” And all that anger fell away. The kid just wanted someone to hear him/her out, and that string of no’s just built up until it popped, like it would with anyone. And because I admitted I made a mistake, not only did we walk away from this as something we could laugh at, that kid learned a lesson in owning your mistakes that he/she will remember.

The moral is, I’m not perfect. And that’s okay. More than that, because I know that I’m not perfect, it gives me a shot at becoming great at this job. Mental Health is helping other people be more authentic in their lives. We teach people how to be human. And part of that is learning how to be really good humans ourselves.

That day, I learned how to be more human. In so doing, another person learned the same lesson. To me, that’s a victory.

Almost There

I’m two hours away from Brooklyn, and I couldn’t be more excited.

My New York family is meeting me at the airport, and soon I’ll get a tour of our new apartment. I’ll even get to look at the city from our rooftop!

So while I’m off meeting Brooklyn, you should check out Dan’s new blog: Tales from Two Cities.

Tales from Two Cities is a public letter exchange between two of the coolest people I know. Adair is a Montana transplant living in Seattle, and Dan is a Montanan in NYC trying to make a name for himself. Together, they tell stories of growth, humor, and big city oddities. They’re off to a great start, and I’m looking forward to reading their stories over the following months.

Thanks for reading, and be prepared for more content, blogs, and experiments in the coming months. With Dan and I in the same city, there’s no telling what could happen next.

New Job!

Today I started work at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch. I kept it under wraps because, well, don’t count on anything until the check clears.

About five things off the Life Stressors Test go into a new job, from taking on new responsibilities, to the pleasant surprise of finding my net worth going up. You know, instead of my usual debt spiral.

Good stress is still stress, and I can feel the initial numbness of shock starting to wear off.

I seem to have a bad habit of putting myself into make or break situations. Going to grad school in a strange land. Taking what people told me was one of the hardest internships in that strange land. And now working with the population that I swore I would never work with? Forgive the humblebrag, but after kicking my own butt for going on two years now, I think I’ve earned it.

This new job is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Before two weeks ago I had never imagined working with any kids, never mind kids in need of a residential treatment facility. The color of my life has changed drastically overnight. I remember what one of my mentors used to say.

“Whatever you don’t want to do, go and do it.”

I was squeamish about the idea of working with kids, in part because of how tough my own childhood was. And once again, my old mentors have a point. If I want to grow, I have to step outside of my comfort zone. In the Austin Logan way of no half-measures, I took that step and turned it into a flying leap. Let’s hope I land on my feet and not my face.

Being Grateful for the Sunshine

Dan and I have noticed something. There’s only a certain amount of luck in the world, and it can’t go to both Dan and I at the same time. As a result, when one of is doing pretty well, the other is struggling. And as Dan continues to wrestle with his own creative instinct, I find myself having a great week.

In the meantime, let’s hope Dan stays miserable. You know, for my sake.

One of my professors once told me that helpers were made, not born. One of the most important things that helper could do was to cultivate a sense of gratitude. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly wasn’t built by one guy. Likewise, as I reflect on my good mood, it’s important to give credit to the people that helped me get there. In fact, it will be those people, my friends and my family, that will push me even further.

I was talking with Alyssa earlier today, and she was telling me about her new commitment to write more. Apparently November is write a novel month, and she’s participating. She also asked if I would join her. Funny thing is, I honestly haven’t thought about writing fiction for fun for a couple years now, and now I’m seriously considering getting back into it.

That’s exactly what I mean. My friends, like Alyssa, Clark, Dan, and I have cultivated a place where we can both support and push each other. And while now is a time for me to bask in the proverbial sunshine, it is also a time to support Dan.

I’m sure, in the way of the universe, that eventually the roles will switch, back and forth forever until one of us dies. The survivor of course, will live forever.

-Austin