Hindsight is Always 20/20: Don’t Let a Failed Relationship Hinder Your Future

Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.
Sunset. Mount Cheaha. Alabama. June 2016.

I wrote in this post that I was in an online relationship once upon a time. I was. She was my first love. Bekki. It all started in June 2008 in the books & authors section of Yahoo! Answers. Around that time, the Twilight book series was on the rise in popularity. I was 16, a couple months away from turning 17 and starting my senior year of high school. I saw a girl making comical contents about the Twilight series, bashing it sardonically. I thought she was charming. We answered each others questions on the site. She had a link to her MySpace on her profile and I added her.

In late July, I sent her a message entitled, “That Twilight Junk”. It started off with yours truly complaining about the popularity and oversaturation (in society) of the Twilight series. She agreed with me. A common interest (or should I say disinterest?) joined us together. Soon, we were talking about our lives, interests, hopes and dreams. She was 14, and a freshman in high school. Again, I was about to be a senior. She was from Florida; I was/am from a different state.

In October 2008, we started talking on the phone, and it began a daily ritual of us talking every single night (and some days) for two years and two months, all the way up until late December 2010.

Her parents attempted to stop her from talking to me. Looking back, I can see why they did that. She was talking to someone she met online, and they were concerned I was some old man, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Regardless — again, looking back — if I were in their position, I would do the same thing.

Despite her parents doing their best to nix our relationship, she found ways to go behind their back and talk to me every single damn night. It was an amazing time. I still contend — not out loud, but this is the way I feel — that 2008 and 2009 have been the best years of my life so far. She and I had the perfect chemistry. We would talk about every and anything you can imagine. She was a music fanatic, and to this day I still believe she knew more about music than any person I’ve met (that’s not in the music industry).

So, you might be wondering, what happened?

Well, we never met in person.

Looking back, it’s easy to tell what happened. She was young, and still mentally and emotionally growing up. Her parents began to separate in 2010. That’s when Bekki changed, too. Her friends made fun of her for being in an online relationship; I think that was the kiss of death to our relationship, because for a teenage girl, for your peers to make fun of you, that’s huge.

On December 28, 2010 we Skyped for a few hours, everything seemed normal, and then I didn’t hear from her again until September 4, 2011.

Just like that, she ended all contact with me. Do you know how it feels to go from contact each and every single day for two years and about five months to no contact at all?

I had a delayed emotional response to what happened. I didn’t grieve at all in January 2011. I was in shock, I think. I watched the TV series, “Rescue Me” on Netflix, was on a ketogenic diet (bullshit diet; I mean if it works for you, great, but it’s not the best thing ever or anything, which I’ll discuss in a different, future post) and watched the Green Bay Packers steamroll their way to the Super Bowl.

But in February, when I was alone at my aunt’s house, after I finished watching a recent episode of Californication, I began bawling my eyes out, thinking about Bekki and how much I missed her. I genuinely spent the entire month of February 2011 crying. I spent that entire year depressed. There were many days I didn’t want to leave the bed. I was in so much pain.

You might ask, “Well, why didn’t you contact her or check on her? What if something happened to her?” I didn’t want to look her Facebook up or Google her, because I feared the inevitable that she’d gotten with somebody else. I knew she’d ended things a couple days after that fateful day in December 2010, because I’d logged into Skype and saw that she’d set a status, and she logged out when I tried to contact her at that point. That day, I just had a pit in my stomach. In April 2011, I checked again, and she’d once again had a different status/post on Skype.

On September 4, 2011 she sent me a Facebook message that I didn’t see until September 7th. She started out by saying, “Hello, you. I owe you a billion dollars for the damage I caused to your mind and heart”. She told me that she started seeing someone in person in late 2010, and it was a breath of fresh air to have actually been treated nice by her parents.

In hindsight, I should have told her, “Alright. Thank you for explaining to me what happened. I appreciate the closure.” and never spoke to her again. Except… we began talking again. This time, we Skyped every single night until 12:29 AM on December 8th, when she did the same thing as the last time, except this time I knew I’d never hear from her again, and I didn’t.

It’s funny how life turns out. 2012 was a horrific year. My last remaining grandparent — my grandmother; my mom’s mom — died, and I was bitter, angry and carried an awful attitude towards everything. 2013 was a bit better, but unproductive. I was still depressed.

However, I’m over Bekki now. I wanted to write this post today, because I know somewhere out there that another person has gone through hell and back when it comes to a relationship like this. I never talked to anybody about it (outside of my current girlfriend, Dana) for all these years. I just bottled it up and let out the sadness and incandescent rage whenever I was alone.

It’s unfortunate, too, that I never talked to anybody about it (outside of the internet and, again, my current girlfriend, which wasn’t until 2014). 2012 was the lowest point in my life. I remember spending an entire day in my bedroom in 2012 when my family from South Carolina came to visit, and I didn’t even come out to see or talk to them. What an asshole, right? But I was depressed. I’d stay up all night and sleep all day.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back, it’s not surprising how things went down. She was a teenage girl going through the motions of finishing high school and gaining wisdom through experiences. She was evolving and changing fast. Peer pressure is real.

I’m over her now, but the pain put a chokehold on my life, and I wasted a few years of it.

If you would’ve asked me about the year 2011 during the years 2012 or 2013, I would have told you it was an awful year, but now that time has passed and I have a broader perspective, I can genuinely say that 2011 was an amazing year. I had some incredible times with my best friends. We made a horde of memories. However, when 2011 was occurring, I wasted a lot of time being depressed over Bekki. Even in 2010, I was so concentrated on making her happy when her parents were separating that I missed out on some awesome experiences.

Now, 2012 and 2013 were still atrocious, wasted years, but 2011 was not as bad as I originally felt it was.

I’m in a better place now. I’ve been with my girlfriend, Dana, for over two years and six months. We, too, met online. Hell, I met Dana on Lush Stories, an erotica website! We encountered one another on there right before my grandmother passed away in 2012, but we didn’t become close until January 2014. I was truly an asshole in 2012. I didn’t know how to process my emotions, and I shut a lot of people out.

It’s funny how things work out… I met Dana on Lush, she was from a different state, we met officially on August 3, 2014 and then in May 2015, I visited her and her family, and now? We live together. Dana moved in with me on June 6, 2016.

If everything that happened with Bekki never occurred, I would have probably never met Dana.

I’m not religious, but count your blessings, folks. I’m not an “everything happens for a reason” type of guy, but those past events led me to today.

Another thing: I originally started college in the fall of 2009 at a community college. I allowed myself to be distracted by my relationship with Bekki and didn’t prioritize my classes. I ended up not going to my classes and I never properly dropped them. I didn’t re-enroll in 2010. After almost five years of inactivity, I returned to the same community college in 2014 and I’ve taken my paltry 1.9 GPA and moved it up to a 3.3/borderline 3.4.

Why does the post title say not to let a failed relationship hinder your future even though I wrote that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the aforementioned past events? Well, I still mean what I titled the post with.

Even though who I am today is derived from the past, I still wasted years of my life. Even though I said I had some awesome times in 2011, there was never any growth in regards to something to expand on in my life. I didn’t accomplish a single, solitary thing in 2012 and 2013. In the first eight months of 2014, I didn’t accomplish jack squat either.

I used to want those years back, so that I could rectify ’em, but I can’t.

That’s why I say to not let a failed relationship hinder your future.

Once the relationship is dead, in your mind the other person should be dead to you, as well. That’s not sound mean or macabre, but when it’s over, it’s over. A breakup is called a breakup because it’s broken. No matter what happens, the world keeps spinning. The roosters keep cockle-doodle-dooing. Life is short and there are so many experiences and lessons to be learned and had.

It took so long for me to get over Bekki because 1.) she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen, and 2.) we had incredible chemistry. But I looked her up a couple weeks ago and saw that she now has two children. A daughter that’s a few years old, and now a newborn son from a different man. She might be doing well in her professional career, but it looks like I dodged a bullet, since I know who she turned out to be (I don’t know now, but in 2010 and 2011 she was a molecular structured liar and cheater).

If I would have stayed with Bekki, I would have had a tumultuous relationship with the in-laws. Fortunately, Dana’s family loves me to death and her parents treat me as if I was her son. They are so sweet o me. They actually gave me their old smoker for Christmas, to cook incredible barbecued meats and bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jalapenos in.

Go through hell in life. Experience it. But don’t let a past, failed relationship hold you back for as long as I allowed mine to do me.

Food Lion Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Review: I Love My French Press

Morning bliss.
Morning bliss.

If I have any say about things, I will never go back to using an auto-drip coffee machine unless I absolutely must. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but after drinking my delicious French Press coffee this morning, the auto-drip machine pales in comparison.

I’ve been a caffeine fiend for about eight years now, but surprisingly, I’ve never owned something outside of an auto-drip coffee machine or a Keurig until yesterday evening. I’ve known about French Press coffee for years now, but yesterday I tried coffee from my best friend’s French Press for the first time. Maxwell House. It was pretty good. Strong as hell (in flavor) and I guess it’s because of the scoops to water ratio. I bought a Bodum French Press from Target and decided to give it a shot this morning.

The other day I was at Food Lion (a grocery story, for the uninitiated), and under their clearance/closeout section they had three bags of their limited edition chocolate raspberry coffee. Their name brand coffee was on sale for 40 cents off the original price last week, so I thought, hell, I’ll try it since the Van Houtte chocolate raspberry truffle K-Cups are my favorite.

I drank it a few times from my auto-drip machine. Eh. Alright. Nothing special, at least compared to the Van Houtte chocolate raspberry truffle K-Cups.

This morning, I tried it with my French Press. Holy shit. It’s absolutely delicious.

I hate to make this post about shitting on auto-drip machines, but as a caffeine lover and someone who simply enjoys the smell and experience of morning coffee preparation, this is tantamount to seeing the ocean for the first time.

The flavor from the French Press is incomparable! The clarity is just, wow!

I was planning on doing a review of Food Lion’s chocolate raspberry coffee, but it would have only been based on what it tasted like from the auto-drip machine. That would’ve been a sad review, because the conclusion would have been, “Meh”. Before, the raspberry notes were nonexistent outside of the scent. Now, the raspberry comes out so perfectly well with the chocolate. To compare the teamwork between the chocolate and the raspberry would be like talking about John Bonham’s meaning to Led Zeppelin!

Food Lion’s chocolate raspberry coffee is excellent. I’m not sure if the coffee is that way or if the French Press magnified the flavor. Maybe a little bit of both. They are the yin to each other’s yang. Tom Brady-Bill Belichick style.

My only problem with coffee (particularly any kind) is not knowing the caffeine content. I can be a little OCD about how much caffeine I put into my body (I just like knowing) and the lack of information is disconcerting.

Now it’s time to get a grinder and some whole bean coffee to experiment with.

StepBet Tips and Tricks: How to Walk and Win

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I’m only on day four of my first ever StepBet game, but it’s been smooth sailing (or, er, stepping) so far. Originally, 1,285 people entered the game, and just four days in 13 people have dropped out. If nobody else drops out, I’ll only win $2 bucks from the total pot ($51,400). At this rate, there will be over a 100 people that will drop out by the end of the game. I’m not gonna sugarcoat my hopes: while I wish everyone genuine success, I won’t complain if a lot of people drop out of the game. And if you are playing with me, neither should you!

I do most of my walking either at my community college campus or here at home. Sometimes I listen to music, but lately I’ve been catching up on episodes from my favorite podcast, The Fighter and the Kid. I have a fairly big basement that features a treadmill, but most of my walking comes from leisurely walking around my house or in the basement. I’ll get on the treadmill if I want to get my heartrate up from running or faster walking.

Here are my tips and tricks in order to conquer your StepBet game, win back the money you originally placed to enter the game and win a share of the total pot.

1.) Just walk. Move. No excuses. You can do this. Even if you live in a tiny, single-wide trailer. Walk throughout the house. Even if you only have a tiny bedroom to walk in. Walk in place. Do what you can to move. You don’t have to be outside or on a treadmill or going on an actual walk to get your steps in. You can walk in place. Just move. Again, no excuses.

2.) Listen to music, your favorite podcast or watch a show on your tablet (the last one: if you are on a treadmill and you have decent balance). It makes the time go by, and before you know it you’ll have your active and stretch days met in no time.

3.) Don’t ‘plan’ your rest day. You get one day off during the week in a StepBet game. This is my most important tidbit of advice. Why would you plan your rest day? I’ve noticed so many people in the Super Steppers game I’m in doing this. Life features so many unexpected moments. You might say, “I’ll have my rest day on Tuesday” and then have something unexpected happen on Wednesday. You might get sick or something else might call for your attention. And then you are screwed! Life is not linear. Sometimes plans don’t go the way we want it. Develop a #NoDaysOff mentality. Besides, walking isn’t hard. It’s the easiest way to be moderately active. As human beings, we were never meant to be sedentary, so get off your ass and move.

4.) Along the same theme as the last tip, try to get your stretch days in as early in the week as possible. As you can see in the screenshot, I got mine out of the way on Monday and Tuesday. I recommend you do the same. By getting them out of the way quickly, it makes the rest of your week easier when you only have to meet your active day goals. You get a sense of relief and there’s no panic when it comes to getting only your active day steps the rest of the week.

5.) Your schedule pending/permitting, get some steps in when you wake up. If you can only be more active in the evenings, so be it, but getting your active/stretch steps out of the way earlier in the day allows you to rest up a little bit before the next day’s challenge.

6.) Park far away, take the steps, find excuses to walk. When you go to the grocery store or any miscellaneous store, park far away. If you are somewhere in a building where you must travel a few floors up to get where you need to be, take the stairs instead of the elevator. This simple tip will add so many steps. You might be surprised.

7.) Don’t give up. Even if you don’t feel like getting your steps in, just do it. You don’t want to lose all the money you put down on yourself to meet your goals. If we only ever did what we felt like in life and shunned the necessary things we didn’t feel like doing, we’d be in terrible shape in every facet of our personal lives.

Why I Love BANG Energy Drinks

bangenergydrink1

VPX Sports is a supplement company based out of Florida. In December 2009, while my cousin was living in Ohio, we were playing NBA 2K10 for the Xbox 360 on Xbox Live. At the time, his sister was in nursing school. My cousin explained to me how his sister was drinking these strong, highly caffeinated energy drinks called “Redline” and that they were helping her kick ass at whatever task was in her way.

I was intrigued. 2009 was the year I delved into caffeine and energy drinks. In March 2009, I drank my first ever energy drink. An Amp. Soon I delved into the blue Monster Lo Carb energy drinks and never looked back. I was in an ‘online‘ relationship with a girl from another state (we talked for a couple years before it fell apart). I was also a senior in high school (graduated in June 2009). We stayed up late every night, including school nights, talking. Early days called for caffeine.

By that December, I simply enjoyed finding new energy drinks and trying them out. My cousin in Ohio did, too. He came to visit for Christmas for Christmas and New Years, and we went on many hunts trying to find new energy drinks to try.

One night, I decided we’d go to Walmart and I’d try to find Redline. Long story short, I found it, tried it the next day and I loved it. The energy rush was unreal. I worked out, cleaned up my house and felt invincible. I picked up two four-packs in January 2010 from Rite Aid and loved those, too.

I didn’t drink any for a while, but that’s only because I slipped back into my Monster Lo Carb routine. By September 2010, I tried Redline again, but VPX — the makers — had reformulated the product. Irresponsible idiots neglected their health and the warning label on the bottle and misused it, cried about it on the internet and I reckon VPX had to take action in order to avoid any more bullshit.

I wasn’t upset. It was “whatever” to me. I still enjoyed a Redline occasionally over the next four years after 2010, but it wasn’t the amazing drink it once was.

In May 2014, after watching a YouTube video where a guy ran around with an energy drink called, “BANG” and asked random women at some unspecified beach if they wanted to “bang”, I ordered a case of VPX BANG energy drinks. I knew they were from the makers of Redline, and I also knew that they contained 300mg of caffeine, its own patented creatine blend, BCAAs, CoQ10, glutamine, a little bit of vitamin B12 and light electrolytes.

I fell in love with the stuff.

I love caffeine in any form. Caffeine pills, coffee, energy drinks (0cal energy drinks). I use it responsibly within the self-tested tolerance levels of my body.

I love having a BANG energy drink with my first meal of the day (usually brunch). It’s delicious and helps power up my meal with its BCAAs. The caffeine intake is abated due to the food being consumed, and I’d theorize that the cortisol spike from the caffeine isn’t nearly as high as what it typically would be. A BANG energy drink consumed after a meal featuring scrambled eggs cooked in coconut oil, bacon the side with a honey biscuit and a handful of prunes? I feel phenomenal.

I can’t empathize enough how damn good BANG energy is.I’m not affiliated with VPX in any way. I wish I were; I’d love to be a rep for the company. However, I’m not a bodybuilder nor am I a female fitness model. I support and freely advertise the drink because it’s a product I believe in wholeheartedly. I wouldn’t do so if I thought it was trash. I don’t have the desire to back up or support shitty products. However, BANG is an outstanding drink worthy of merit.

StepBet: An Experiment and Ongoing Review of a Promising New App (Part 1: Days 1-2)

stepbet1 stepbet2

Damn right, StepBet! Since I’m endorsing you guys by writing this post and bestowing it with the word “promising” in the kind title, you guys should hook me up… with a verbal high five in the comments or somethin’.

StepBet is an app you can download on your phone. I found it the other day while I was looking through the partner apps for S Health on my Samsung Galaxy S7 (S Health is a step counter app with a few other perks). The idea is genius. You and a group of people from around the world (who also have access to this app) walk and get paid for it.

Well, it’s not that simple, but that’s the simplistic premise. StepBet syncs with either S Health, FitBit or Google Fit. When you sign up for StepBet, you join a ‘game’ with other people. Among every person, there’s a pot. To enter the game, you pay a certain amount (I’ve only seen $40) and each person’s $40 goes into the total pot. Usually games last for six weeks (a warmup week where you cannot be eliminated is included in the beginning). Each week, you must meet your active goals four times along with two ‘stretch’ days (which are days where you step goals are increased a little bit). You get one offday per week where you don’t need or have to meet your step goal.

What determines your step goals is your past history with the app that you are using to sync with StepBet. From what I’ve read, you must have one week of history of use with the app you are using. My goals for the entire game are, for my active days 7,060 steps and for my stretch days 9,360 steps.

If you complete your goals each week for the duration of the game, not only do you get your $40 back, but you gain a share of the pot. I joined the group “Super Steppers”. There are 1,286 people in the game, and the pot is $51,440. I’m not sure how much I’ll win of that pot in the end, but I will report back here when the time comes. If you fail to reach your step goals, you are not only out of the game but out $40. My main motivation is to keep my $40. It’s a mild adrenaline rush.

I can’t afford to lose my $40 right now. At the moment, $40 is a good bit of money to me. I know I can complete this challenge; I have all the opportunities to do so, right here at home. Yesterday was day one, and I already completed 1,500 steps in my room. By the time I got home from class and the grocery store, I’d already almost hit 5,000 steps. I walked 14,952 steps yesterday, reaching one of my stretch days for the week.

I’ll write another update in a couple weeks and a final update at the end of the game to report back on my thoughts and how well I did to conclude the review.

(Note: I am not affiliated with StepBet in any way. This is an objective user reported review in order to provide feedback for other prospective users that are interested in the StepBet app.)