Embracing 2016

Although 2016 was the most painful year of my life, it feels like I’ve grown more the last 6 months than I had previously my entire life. The best way to describe the impact 2016 has had on my life is to compare two completely different experiences under almost exactly the same circumstances. It was an extremely profound experience similar to that of Bill Murray in Groundhogs Day. Faced with the same exact circumstances of a never ending Groundhogs Day at first he fights it, then he tries to exploit it in an unauthentic way, and inevitably embraces and manifests the most he can out of it. In a way I feel that 2016 was exactly that for me; an inability to accept the consequences of my own actions which allowed the unconsciousness that created them to continue and snowball out of control. Eventually, though, I reached my pain threshold which allowed me to change for the better.

Due to my own lack of responsibility outside of poker and poor attitude while moving to LA the move was a complete fail. It was a complete fail all because of me, but my experience in LA is not the point of this. When I moved back with my mom the goal was to hopefully deal the series or do something productive over the summer before traveling a little and taking my CELTA course. The CELTA course being a month long program designed for those with no teaching experience to get certified in TEFL. I failed both my auditions at PH and wasn’t even offered one at WSOP, so that plan didn’t work. Due to my own entitlement I was unwilling to get any other sort of job because it didn’t pay enough. For the last 4 years I was making ~35-40/hr at poker, so couldn’t imagine working at a restaurant or hotel for like 10-12/hr at the time. For those of you wondering why I am getting into teaching, obviously I will be poor, but I am becoming a teacher because the only thing I care about right now is traveling and living in Asia, so teaching seems like the most viable alternative. Back to the point, I didn’t have a job and was effectively sitting at home all day with nothing to do until I went to Paymons to complain to people about how I just sat at home all day and had nothing to do. In order to cope with how depressed I was I would binge drink fireball, scotch, or IPAs, whatever I was in the mood for. This eventually led to me getting my 2nd DUI and totaling my car. The entire summer was a complete waste of time. I did spend time with friends and have fun, but it didn’t make me happy. Instead of creating my own value I hoped it would come to me externally from my friends or just magically fall into my lap.

I now think of all the productive things I could have done. I could have joined a gym, I could have studied Spanish, or I could have gone hiking whenenver I wanted. Oh yeah that’s right, I fucked up that possibility by totaling my car and getting a DUI and now can’t even drive to MT. Charleston or Red Rock if I wanted to, great idea. I still could drive, but after ~4 most of the time when my mom was off work. I now have a torn ACL and would absolutely love to go for a hike, but I can’t. Are you seeing the overall picture here? There are so many things in my life that could have made me happy that I could have done myself if I just made a conscious effort to be happy instead of waiting for things to happen in order to be happy. There were so many things, abilities, or reasons to be grateful; to be happy for what I have instead of being depressed when it eventually became something I “had’.

This finishes the first of two PRE Celta waiting experiences I had this year that I wanted to compare, the other being after I got home from Asia, but I still wanted to talk about what happened in Asia that led me to the good part of 2016. In Bangkok, I inevitably had an absolutely insane story, but basically I got tripped, fell and tore my ACL. For those of you know what actually happened, afterwards I found myself unable to walk and bawling my eyes out on the floor of a street in Bangkok. Not crying because I was in physical pain, but crying because after this had all happened I knew that my knee was severely injured and that I would not be able to heal in time for the CELTA course in 10 days. Also crying because I felt tremendous feelings of regret, shame, and anger with myself. I had my flight to Krabi the next morning, but instead was being carried in a stretcher at 2 AM and moved to some hospital in Bangkok where they wouldn’t even give me fucking ice. I now also realize that this experience could have been infinitely worse, so I got out lucky, but of course at the time I was just distraught and hating life. I couldn’t go to Krabi or Phuket, I couldn’t do my CELTA course, (although luckily theyre letting me postpone until February), and I also had tickets to see Future Sound of Egypt 450 hosted by Aly and fila in Manchester, my first rave in Europe, but would have to miss that as well. Yeah this was the trip of a lifetime. Had seen two new countries so far, and would have seen so many more over the next two months.

I think once this occurred that I met my pain threshold. I realized that if I didn’t change or at least start making some conscious effort in changing NOW that I would be miserable forever and things like this would just continue happening to me as they have for the last however many years (DUIs, unnecessary breakups, losing friends, tearing ACLS, random other unnecessary tragedies caused by excessive drinking or being an ungrateful degenenerate) Oddly enough though, once I got home I wasn’t depressed. This horrible experience compounded onto everything else that happened to me this year didn’t make me depressed. I viewed this second pre CELTA down time as an opportunity to be productive, embrace my solitude and do some things that would make me feel happy or proud of having done before I left in order to cultivate a better relationship with myself. A few things I decided that I could do from home were reading, pushups, crunches, and trying to grind some money on WSOP.

Over the last 3 months I’ve barely had any human contact outside of my mom and at physical therapy. I may have seen a total of 7 friends only two of which I had seen more than once. Yeah it sucks that everyone’s busy and I can’t drive to meet people, but I’ve made due. Ive truly started to love my solitude! Over the last 3 months I’ve made some money on WSOP starting from $.92 and a $5 sngo token, have read 6 books and currently reading more and have a list of books I have obligated myself to finish before leaving in February, and starting with 20-30 pushpus and 40 crunches every hour or other hour I’m awake, Im hoping to gradually get up to 40-50 pushups and 100 crunches every hour or every other hour I’m awake. For the reps I’ve given these are doing me maxing. I’ve also managed to lose 25 pounds and feel so much better about how I look. In one of the books I’m reading, Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, a big value which he actually adopted from the Japanese “kaizen” (CANI in the book) is constant and never ending improvement. I am nowhere near close to where I would like to be, but by being mindful of that gap and trying to make small improvements to lessen the distance it has greatly improved my life. It has helped me cultivate a sense of internal worthiness opposed to hoping something external will create it for me.

2017 has some extremely high hopes for it. I will be taking my CELTA and finally be officially transitioned out of poker. Thank God! Lol thank the poker Gods, LOL by the old gods and the new I’m out! I also have had the most important lesson of my life that any situation, no matter how good or bad, can provide an empowering meaning. I hope that 2017 will also allow me to feel more positive emotions because of teaching. As a poker player, although I had extremely good relationships with fish and rec players, all poker players are predators trying to exploit and gain as much from others as possible. Its not personal and it doesn’t say anything about any poker player specifically, but it is undeniably the nature of the game. As a teacher I’m sure that I will be more happy cultivating and collaborating. Counting down the days until February 7th when I leave, but finally am fulfilling my New years of Goal of 2016 which is my presence in the meantime.

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