It was supposed to be bonus

Forgetting

Was looking for another babysitter for extra coverage today and I realized that Alison set up an account for us at UrbanSitter.

This is the picture she chose:

Don’t remember us setting it up because I’m purposely forgetting things.

A dozen years ago, I told you about a throwaway line from A Study in Scarlett where Sherlock Holmes said to Watson that the mind’s like an attic – you can only have so much crap in it before you run outta room.

That was really the start of my realizing that all we are are the sum of our memories. It’s a theme that comes up repeatedly in this blog, like in my Ship of Thesus Paradox entry.

So, after this entry, I decided to teach myself how to forget. And I did.

My reasons were rather mundane: Just wanted to clear my attic so I could put in more valuable things.

But now it’s more a question of survival. I need to forget things to make it to the other side.

You see, I remember how excited she and I were that the kid would be born in fall. Because that meant that our most joyous moments wouldn’t start in Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Year’s – but a month earlier in October (Halloween, Kid’s Birthday, Thanksgiving, Xmas, and New Year’s).

Told you once that all emotional pain and joy happens in that gap between what you hope for and what you actually get.

      • If you expect to make $20,000 a year and you make $100,000, that $80,000 gap is joy.
      • If you expect to make $100,000 a year and you make $20,000, that $80,000 gap is pain.

We expected so much joy this season: The boy finally understands what Halloween and his birthday is all about.

It was all supposed to be bonus. These extra days of celebration were all supposed to be fucking bonus. Instead, it’s all hell.

Alla that joy and hope’s turned to misery and dread. And I can’t bear it.

I wanna forget everything except that I love this kid.

Like I said, Survival isn’t pretty. But, I gotta be ok for this kid.

And I won’t be ok remembering everything I remember.

There’s more, but I’ll tell you the rest later.

Location: I forget
Mood: I forgot
Music: I was wishing we could go back to how it was (Spotify)
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Three people, independently

Another of my many life rules

What do coffee, tea, and chocolate have in common?

      • Coffee comes from relatively tall trees originating from a region called Kaffa in Ethiopia, Africa.
      • Tea, meanwhile, comes from an evergreen shrub in East Asia.
      • Chocolate, finally, comes from the relatively short cacao tree from South/Central America.

They’re really completely different species of vegetation that have absolutely nuthin – nuthin – in common with each other.

Yet, somehow, each plant, completely independently of each other, somehow figured out how to make the below chemical compound as a means of self-protection from animals that might eat it:

(c) Someone else

Caffeine.

I always found that remarkable. That three, completely unrelated organisms (they’re literally on different continents), can come to the same logical conclusion: Creating the chemical compound of caffeine will help it survive – and potentially flourish – somehow.

It musta worked because they all started this potentially millions of years ago, and are still doing it now, to this day.

I developed my own life rule  from this rando bit of knowledge.

Case in point, a little while ago, I was unkind to a fella at the gym I was going to at the time. Three people that I like and respect told me that I was in wrong.

So, I found the guy, sat him down, and apologized for how I treated him and he was pretty receptive to it. We now chat regularly and he actually joined Paxibellum.

Told you repeatedly: I’m not a good person.

It’s one of my many life rules that I keep for myself to similarly survive and, hopefully, flourish:

If three people, independently, tell me something, it must be true.

And the same rule works in the contrapositive:

If something is not true, then three people would not independently tell me about it.

I’ve been doing a lotta self-reflection with my therapist lately and just spoke to her today.

Me: What do you think, in your honest professional opinion? Am I a narcissist?
Her: (thinking) The hallmark of narcissism is a lack of empathy, but I don’t see that at all. You tried to help your father, your wife, your ex, Chad, etc, because you empathize with their struggles.
Me: And the rest? Am I irredeemable for all the things that I’ve done?
Her: I don’t think so. I see someone who went through – and is still going through – a lot of trauma but trying to be better for his son and those around him. I mean, you’re talking to me, after all.  It’s the people that never bother trying to be better that end up staying the same.

Location: earlier today, the Metal Park
Mood: trying
Music: I don’t want to dream about the things that I used to be (Spotify)
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These unknown versions of me

Maybe I was always awful

We had a soft launch of our gym this past Thursday and Friday with just an evening class on Thursday, an afternoon class on Friday, a nighttime open mat, and then a party afterward.

Before that, Chad and I were putting in full days, leaving most nights after midnight. It was busy but not terrible. We basically just focused on the task at hand each day.

In the end, the gym was mostly how we wanted it to look; I’ll have to go in and take some proper pics soon but not until after some more artwork comes in.

A buddy I met in the city some 20+ years ago was there there on Friday for the open mat. He showed me pictures of his kid.

Him: (proudly)
Me: She’s adorbs! We need to have a playdate.

I remember him applying to be on the force all those years ago. He’s about to retire. Crazy how long I’ve known some people.

I pride myself on keeping good souls around.

After the open mat, everyone waited patiently to shower – man, having showers is a godsend after spending years at a gym without a shower – and then I started making a half-dozen trips downstairs to get food and drink for everyone.

We had a platter of sushi, two platters of wraps, one tray of wings, a huge fruit bowl, and countless bottles of alcohol.

Hawk brought a bottle of bourbon, Curt brought more beer, someone else brought some tequila, and Mouse bought a bottle of Chad and my favourite rum.

Speaking of Mouse, we spoke for a bit after the party and she told me things I didn’t realize before.

Me: You’ve never said any of this.
Her: (rolling eyes) I’ve said this to you a dozen times.
Me: I don’t think you were ever this specific. Are you ever gonna not be mad at me?
Her: I don’t know.

Speaking of keeping good souls around, I used to pride myself on the fact that women I dated prior to Alison still liked me after the fact and wanted to be friends with me.

Evidently, I’ve just become an awful person. Or maybe I was always awful and never noticed.

I don’t remember these versions of me.

Chad hit me up on Saturday, he was sick with a cold – but not COVID as per a rapid test – and our first official day of the gym is tomorrow.

Because of that, I went down on Saturday to clean up some after the Friday night party. When I got back, I realized I left my wallet there.

So, I immediately headed back downtown to retrieve it.

Welp, my luck’s running true to form. I suppose there’s something to be said for consistency.

Location: Union Square, where else?
Mood: having rum in my coffee
Music: such a bummer, there must be more behind the summer (Spotify)
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I was right. Yay.

What do you expect?

The boy’s been away for a bit so I could concentrate on the gym and some things I’ve let slide since the theft.

Did manage to see my buddy Jonny for dinner along with Chad. He’s a fun fella and also a partner in the gym.

That’s us at the same place that Gymgirl/Mouse took me to when she graduated and my buddies and I went to before everything went to shit.

In any case, the three of us spent the day doing manual labour. Interestingly, Jonny solved a problem that’s been vexing Chad and me for a while now; it wasn’t as thorny as the sacrifice rod, but still…vexing.

Him: See, you shoulda called me immediately, what with my greater intellect.
Me: That was our first mistake. But what do you expect? We’re Americans. Trump was our president for the last four years.

Also managed to speak to another woman I dated a while ago. She was one of the women that broke the trust covenant with me.

Her: I could never trust you again.
Me: Why is that?
Her: (shrugging) Because I would never know if you were with me because you wanted to be with me or if you wanted to get back at me.

The thing is that I knew this. In fact, I told you about this ten years ago.

It’s weird but it’s part of why I want the boy to read, because, when you read –  unlike when do things like watch TV or videos – you get layers of understanding and complexities you’d never get in a million years otherwise.

There’s this scene in The Godfather book that’s not in the film – dunno why the director kept cutting out these important scenes.

Michael kills his brother-in-law, Carlo, and his wife Kay secretly leaves him. Mike’s brother tries to stop her but she says she can’t stay because she can’t be with a man that can’t forgive.

Mike’s brother says something like, even if Michael truly, truly forgave Carlo, Carlo still “had to be killed. Because treachery can’t be forgiven. Michael could have forgiven it, but people never forgive themselves and so they would always be dangerous….[Michael] loves his sister. But he would be shirking his duty to you and his children, to his whole family, to me and my family, if he let…Carlo go free. They would have been a danger to us all, all our lives.”

And that’s when I truly  understood everything: I forgave her for what she did, but she never forgave herself and could never believe that I forgave her.

She would always think I was plotting to hurt her out of revenge.

It’s why treachery is the ninth and last circle of hell: It destroys things so utterly and completely.

In other words, I was right. Yay.

Cancer and other fucked up shit like that notwithstanding, we all live the lives we create for ourselves and each other.

And here we are.


The boy’s away and won’t be back for a few weeks. This is him in my kali class. It’s funny, but he’s reminiscent of my friend’s dog, dontcha think?

Albeit much cuter, IMHO.

Location: earlier today, being told to buy solvent from a movie star
Mood: hungry
Music: Stops counting the crimes and lays down its pride (Spotify)
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I won the lottery

The pyramids were white

Him: It’s a regret of mine, that I never met Alison.
Me: You woulda loved her. She was great.
Him: I also really didn’t know you before she got sick.
Me: I was…better.

Recently spoke to three different women that I spent time with after Alison died, purely by happenstance.

They each told me, in their own ways, that I was not very nice to them (to put it mildly). I can see that. I’ve repeatedly said throughout the years that I’m not a very nice person.

It’s somewhat related to that old quote from Margaret Atwood I told you about years ago:

Wanting to meet a writer because you like their books is like wanting meet a duck because you like pate.

I’ve always been a good writer and a bad person. Suppose some things are constant.

First: I really liked you and you took advantage of me.
Me: I wish I could tell you I remembered or that I didn’t do it. But, that does sound reminiscent of me. For what it’s worth,  I’m sorry.

Oddly, that Atwood entry was about kindness, and these women reminded me just how unkind I can be. Not that I need much reminding.

Second: You made me feel uncomfortable.
Me: You were never anything but kind to me. I’m sorry. Let me know how I can do better.

It made me think of the more recent entry I wrote where I told you that all those Greek and Roman statues you see as white were all painted in bright colours once.

On the flip side, for 3,800 years, the pyramids were a bright white. Then in 1303 CE, an earthquake happened that changed their look to what you know now.

Been working with Chad every single day since the middle of July. I find it odd that he only knows this broken version of me.

I think I was better when she was alive. Something good died in me when she died, I think. Maybe the best parts of me.

Him: You’ve been a good friend to me.
Me: Have I? I wonder about that. I have my own horse in this race.

Just wanna have enough good left in me to raise the boy so he’s better than me.

My mom also broke my heart this past weekend, but for an entirely different reason.

Her: Today’s Chinese Father’s Day. You know, your dad would always buy a lottery ticket and he’d always win.
Me: Really? I never knew that.
Her: Oh, nothing big, nothing big just a few dollars here and there but he won a lot. I never won anything. (quietly) Well that’s not true I guess I won the lottery when I met him.
Me: (sighs) I think you both won.

Location: riding around Riverside with the boy, early this morning
Mood: resigned
Music: Damaged, but I’m copin’, holding on and hopin’ (Spotify)
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PSA: Change your Sacrifice Rods

Protect what’s valuable

Her: How do you know all these things, Logan?
Me: I don’t get out much.

Alison bailed on our first date. Dunno if I ever fully pointed that out.

So, because I was a womanizer, I literally walked out my door and went on an instant date with a grey-eyed accountant and then with the PCD.

Alison: (irritated) Because I didn’t meet you for a date, you go pick up two other women?!
Me: Technically three. But the PCD was the only one willing to let me write about her. (shrugging) If I wasn’t your fella, I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for something that was never gonna happen.
Her: My hot water tank burst!
Me: Oh. Did you – or your landlord – ever change the sacrifice rod in it?
Her: What?

Water corrodes. That’s what water does. When you have a hot water tank – and, if you live in a house, you definitely have one – that tank is made of metal.

After a few years, no matter what, some part of that metal tank will corrode to the point that the tank bursts. Unless you’ve prepared for the corrosion.

That’s why tanks on top of roofs here in NYC are almost always made of wood.

So what to do?

Well, every hot water tank has something called a sacrificial anode – aka, a sacrifice rod – whose sole purpose is to be more attractive to the electrons in water compared to the tank itself.

In other words, the purpose of the rod – which is made of a highly corrosive metal like magnesium or aluminum – is to die/corrode so that the metal of the tank will not.

From https://sharpe-ers.com.au/2017/03/hot-water-sacrificial-anodes/

Learned this while fixing my parents hot water tank years ago. But it’s useless unless you change it every 1-3 years.

I bring this up for two reasons:

    1. Life is a tragedy fulla joy. So prepare for the coming tragedies. Water corrodes, it’s what it does. Life corrodes us, it’s what it does. So I’ve spent my life separating what is valuable that I have to protect and what is not that can be discarded/sacrificed.
      • I’ll admit that I’ve never expected life to be quite this difficult and I wasn’t prepared for the things I’ve lost.
    2. The first thing I noticed about the new gym was that the hot water tank’s sacrifice rod was corroded shut in the tank. This is never a good thing. After X number of weeks – and a lotta effort by the two of us and every single workman we could ask – Chad and I finally got it out today. That’s how corroded it was. Well, more to the point, one of the Cary, Carey, Kari’s got it out for us.

Me: Honest-to-God, I’ve never seen a sacrifice rod that…gone before.
Chad: Well, it’s done. Cary said that it should be fine.
Me: God, I love that guy. One of has to sleep with him now.
Him: OK, we’ll have to figure out which one of us later.

Change. Your. Sacrifice. Rod.

And figure out what you keep in your life and what you discard.

People around you, situations, will break you down from the inside out. You cannot allow it to change the core of who you are. Things can change and corrode, but never the core of who you are.

I say this as someone who survives, even when I don’t wanna.

Location: earlier today, at Union Square, doing more manual labour
Mood: worried
Music: I needed a friend when I was at the end of myself (Spotify)
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Survival is not pretty

Ned Stark was an awful father

Ned: You want me to serve the woman who murdered my king, who butchered my men, who crippled my son?!
Varys: I want you to serve the realm! Tell the Queen you will confess your vile treason, tell your son to lay down his sword and proclaim Joffrey as the true heir! Cersei knows you as a man of honour; if you give her the peace she needs, and promise to carry her secret to your grave, I believe she will allow you to take the black and live out your days on the Wall, with your brother and your bastard son.
Ned: (laughs) You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honour for a few more years of…of what?! You grew up with actors; you learned their craft and you learnt it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago.
Varys: Pity. Such a pity. (Varys moves to leave, but turns back for one last word) What of your daughter’s life, my lord? Is that a precious thing to you? (Spoiler: Ned chose his honor over his own fucking daughter, who ended up getting raped and tortured repeatedly)

Years ago, I wrote a letter to my son, telling him about our family motto, “Survive.”

I had a number of people tell me how much that entry spoke to them but, in my head, I knew they didn’t really understand what I was saying.

Because they looked at it as some noble, honorable thing, when it was the exact opposite of that.

One guy I knew thought it was such a deep entry, but we clashed years ago about – of all things – Ned on Game of Thrones.

He’s the same guy who, like most people, completely doesn’t understand what “Survival of the fittest,” means

You see, I think Ned Stark was an awful father. Let’s run through the list:

      • Robb Stark – Murdered after he executed Rickard Karstark and the Karstarks abandon his army
      • Sansa Stark – see above. She suffered until she learned to be cold and survive.
      • Arya Stark – Survives because she’s precisely the opposite of what Ned hoped her to be.
      • Bran Stark – crippled but survives because he’s 10 when Ned dies
      • Rickon Stark – Killed
      • Theon Greyjoy (ward/foster son) – Hoo-boy, you don’t wanna know
      • Jon Snow (foster son) – Survives but only because he dies first

This dude was so upset that I said Ned was a bad father – note that he’s not a father himself – that he kicked me. That was the one of the last times I ever saw him.

A grown-ass 50 year-old man kicked me over a fictional guy. Jesus Christ. That tells you everything you need to know about him and why he and his business are struggling.

But, on a deeper level, it goes to a fundamental misunderstanding of what I wrote and mean.

Survival is not – at all – pretty.

Think about what survives things: Rats, roaches, weeds.

These aren’t pretty, glorious, honorable things. These are the things that don’t care about anything but surviving.

When I killed that rat last week ago, I felt nothing. He was huge and bit the shit outta what I was using to drown him.

If the roles were reversed, there wouldn’t be a moment’s hesitation of that rat trying to end me to survive. I respected that it fought to live, but it was it or me.

Ned taught his kids honor, duty, pride, politeness, etc.

That’s all fine and good, but if it’s a choice between my honor and my kid, fuck honor every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

You want me to bend the knee so my kid is ok? Which knee do you want?

Ned died – as did his wife, and two of his kids, while the rest suffered immensely –  because he did the noble thing, rather than the right thing.

The right thing woulda been to survive, protect his family, his sons and daughters, and – as Varys noted – the people of the realm.

How many people died in his family and throughout the kingdom(s) because of his honor, whatever the fuck that means? Based on his conversation with Varys, it sounds more like his pride at work.

I survive things, even when I don’t wanna. Because I’m this kid’s guard. That’s the reason why I’m here.

My buddy and his bullshit 14 year-old ideas of parenting and honor can go pound sand.

Friend: If we go to war with China or Russia, I’m finding you.
Me: (laughing) Why ?
Him: Because, out of everyone I know, you’re the one most likely to survive.
Me: OK. First things first, we get the fuck off the island and make it to NJ. Then we head west.

Location: earlier today, W 18th Street, having a beer with an almost relative
Mood: amused
Music: I spent so many nights just thinking how you’d done me wrong (Spotify)
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Logan dines and dashes (almost)

Memories with old friends

I’d just thought of Rain the other day because I met up with someone for coffee right outside his old pad. It was fine and we had a good time sitting outside chatting when we just casually got up and walked away.

Later on that night, I got hit with my usual insomnia and thought that I did a dine-and-dash.

The joint opened at 6AM so I called them as soon as I woke up and spoke to the waitress – who was the same one that was there when Rain was there – to try to pay the bill over the phone.

Her: What are you asking me?
Me: Did I pay the bill?
Her: Yeah. Don’t worry. (later) You’re Rain’s friend, right? Tell him we hope he’s happy.

For some reason, that whole interaction made me happy all day.

A few days later, I got a mass email from Rain. Like always, I looked at it like kismet.

The thing that always bums me out is the futility and meaningless of life.

But, every once in a while, I wonder if all might mean something.

It’s weird, how old friends seem to hit you up at just the right time.

I’ve hung out with more waitresses than you could possibly imagine. Alison and Mouse were both waitresses once – although not when I met them – as were any number of the women I hung out with like Daisy, Artistgirl, HEI, just off the top of my head.

Was trying to figure a place to meet up with someone downtown when I remembered a joint on St. Marks that Rain loved called Stingy Lulus.

It was cheap diner food that was good, not great, but plentiful. Our buddy Larry would always order the cheese fries with chili after 1AM.

The waitresses there were all drag queens but it was New York so it wasn’t a good or bad thing, merely a thing.

I remembered that I met up with Rain one night there because I needed to kill some time before meeting up some other college friends at this place nearby called Village Yokocho. I was dating a doctor, on-and-off, at the time.

She moved to Cali so the two of us could really try to give the breakup a go.

Rain told me that that night that, while he liked the doctor, he didn’t see the two of us together. And then he left and I headed to Yokocho afterward where I ended up chatting up a waitress there and going on a couple of dates with her.

It was cold on one of them so I gave her my favourite scarf. Never got it back because we both ghosted each other.

We’re actually FB friends now but I figure that scarf is long gone. Besides she’s married with kids and it’d be weird to hit her up outta the blue to ask for my old scarf back.

I’m rambling.

I feel like I don’t remember much of my life before 2015.

But rando memories are rushing up to greet me now. I’d completely forgotten about everything I told you – Stingy Lulu’s, late nights with Rain and company, Yokocho, etc – and it all hit me at once.

I’ve lived so many different lives in 17,500 days. I was someone very different, once. Not better or worse, merely different.

Actually, I was definitely someone worse – even more vain, argumentative, and shallow than I am now – but I was also someone with some great friends and a really cool wool scarf.

Man, I miss that scarf.

Me: I’m not sure you woulda liked the person I once was.
Her: How different could you be?
Me: So different. I guess I keep reinventing myself, hoping that this time, I’ll be who I’m supposed to be with the life I’m supposed to have. (thinking) I think that maybe I was only who I was supposed to be once in all this time.
Her: What happened?
Me: It’s too early to trade our sad stories, darling. Hey, have you ever dined-and-dashed?

photo: joannaepley’s flickr

Location: in my head
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I’m no good at goodbyes (Spotify)
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Chad Vazquez BJJ

What are you?

Chad: Can I run something by you?
Me: Sure.
Him: (later) I don’t think I’m ready.
Me: (shaking head) No one’s ever ready for their lives to change. The saying isn’t, “Take your chances when you’re ready.” The saying’s, “Take your chances as they come.” This is your chance to ball. You can be a basic bitch, or you can ball.

Chad and I have a buddy, Brando, that sent Chad information on a space to take over so Chad could have his own gym. The wild thing is that Brando owns a gym himself.

That’s what an amazeballs human being he is – even though he ran his own gym, he still sent Chad information so Chad could open his own. What a class act.

In any case, Chad turned it down. But then, last week, he gave me and alla those handsome devils you see in the pic above, a buzz to meet up to see if we would help if he did eventually open his own space.

Without hesitation, we all agreed and everyone met up at my fave Chinese joint around the way with less than 48 hours notice. And these are some busy and powerful people. Why?

Miller: We all believe in you, Chad.
Me: (interjecting) Well, I’m helping him.
Chung: We all believe in you, Chad.
Me: (grumble)

Over some soup dumplings, Szechuan beef noodle soup, and beer, we banged out a jaw-dropping amount of details in just about 90 minutes.

Then I spent the rest of the weekend building out spreadsheets, writing up legal papers, and dealing with all sorts of random issues.

All of this while juggling stuff with my own building and alla these new people I’ve been meeting in the world, but that’s a story for some other time.

Chad’s helped me with a lotta things and this is my way to pay it forward with him.

Besides, this is what I think he’s meant to do.

Me: When I was kid in Queens, there was a saying I rather liked. It went: Bitch-ass motherfuckers get what they can. Hard-ass motherfuckers get what they want. I know what I am. What are you? Or, rather, what do you *want* to be?
Him: The latter.
Me: (nodding) Then take your chances as they come, brother.

It’s early yet, but you heard it here first: Chad Vazquez is gonna try and open his own gym.

The hardest thing about doing anything, is the deciding. Everything else is just details.

Maybe you’ll come by and watch Chad do his Chad thing?

I might do some stabby-slashy-stabby there whenever he he finds a place and opens but this is gonna be his little slice of the world.

I’ll keep you posted.

Location: around the way, having an Old Fashioned
Mood: so goddamn excited
Music: been working so the both of us can ball (Spotify)
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PSA: Talk to Someone

Mental Health Awareness Month 2021

May’s almost over, thank goodness, as it’s an awful month for me for reasons you probably already know.

Having said that, May’s also Mental Health Awareness Month and I wanted to get in this entry before the month was over.

This Thursday, I’m seeing a therapist again for the first time in over a decade-and-a-half. My buddy Miller’s been really supportive and encouraging for me to just talk to someone.

Should note that I’m actually not in a bad place right now, all things considered. But the insomnia’s  always just one poor food choice or one argument away. And that’s not a good thing, because my insomnia’s always a trigger to bigger problems.

With the kid and my age, I’ve gotta be extra vigilant to be ok.

That means brushing my teeth three times a day, exercising regularly, watching out for carbs, avoiding zombies, keeping up with the people important to me, and making sure that I’m on top of my mental health.

If you’re not making sure your health – mental and physical – is where it needs to be, you’re setting yourself up for a difficult time down the road.

Broken people become broken people over time.

After all, alla your life’s problems can be divided up into health, wealth, and relationships. So you should be spending a little bit of time on all three every day.

Being a gym rat, I meet tons of people that are also very attentive as to their physical health but I wonder if they’re equally watchful of their mental health.

The thing is, you gotta take care of your mental and physical health because when you’re not ok, it’s the people you love that pay the price.

Someone’s gotta pay for you to be alright, and it should be you and not them.

May’s almost over but attention as to your overall health never ends.

Him: Why do you go to the gym so much?
Me: So I can stay healthy and stay with you a long, long time.
Him: Will you go away?
Me: Someday. But not for a while.
Him: Not for a hundred thousand years?
Me: If I could stay with you until the end of the world, I would.
Him: That’s a long time!
Me: Not long enough, kiddo. When it comes to the people you love, there’s not enough time. There’s never enough time.

Location: Chinatown, eyeing the carbs
Mood: healthy
Music: It’s easy when you’re not around (Spotify)
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