I’m not exactly sure what I want to add to my long as 2 part video with the same name, but I’ll see what happens…
My Cousin Mandy
What prompted this video is the passing of my cousin and the funeral associated with her passing. I guess I’d like to introduce her first.
Mandy was my mom’s brother’s daughter. My mom is from Iowa and that’s where Mandy was born and raised. One of the first questions I seem to get asked is “Were you close?” and I’ve had trouble answering that question, I think in part, to down play the gravity of what happened for both the listener and myself. I’ll share our background and you can decide for yourself. 🙂
Mandy and I were practically the same age. From age 0 to about 18 every time there was a family function that demanded a trip to Iowa I would see her. When I was little that meant a lot of running around and playing, as we got old I guess I still ran around and played but I don’t remember seeing her as much. When I was younger seeing Mandy and my other cousins was something I’d be excited about. Quite honestly I was looking forward to being able to spend more time with Mandy when I “got my shit together.”
Bipolar/Manic-Depression, Mandy And Me
“Getting ones shit together” has been a pretty long process for me (and was for Mandy). I’m sure it could be defined as a life-long process, but I’m merely talking about getting to the point of financial self reliance (which implies a number of other things have been accomplished as well). A part of what has made things sort hard for myself and what made things so hard for Mandy is something I’ll label as “bipolar.”
I don’t think Mandy was ever formally given that title, but I heard enough stories from mom to deduce that myself. I’d here about Mandy being manic and coming up with some “crazy” idea about something or doing some crazy things. Then I’d here about how depressed she was and how she was trying to put things back together. I can’t remember exactly when I determined this, but I remember thinking to myself how I’d like to help her figure out how balance everything out. Anytime I would hear about one of Mandy’s plights I would say to mom, or think to myself “Why don’t you send her to Milwaukee?”
Don’t Let Life Pwn You
I haven’t mentioned it, but life pwned Mandy. She decided to remove herself from the game. I was mad at her at first, but I can hardly blame her. Her dream was to be a marine biologist and study/play with dolphins and whales. How was she going to do that living in the corn fields of Iowa and given the burden a “mental defect/disease” (at least that’s what people get you to believe).
You probably won’t believe it (I barely believe it myself) but there were many times I contemplated death as the cure for my instability. There was NO ONE (I repeat NO ONE) to talk to about my situation (well, I never found them). It was impossible for my closest friends and family members to fathom what I was going through. It’s strange being surround by people and at the same time feeling lonely. Anyhow… That seems like another post for another day. I would just like to note that Mandy was a strong willed soul to avoid the hospital and deal with what she was going through for so long. She was also lucky to have an older sister to talk to about what she was experiencing (her sister has been fighting and continues to fight a similar fight).
I read this book a couple months ago called “Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever”. I actually bought it 3 or more years ago while I was living in Taiwan. It points out how gamers attack problems vs. non-gamers. Gamers have been taught (via thousands of hours of practice) that there is always a solution to a problem. Even if there’s a boss that you’ve never beaten, you at least know someone else has (and they’ve probably put a video of it on YouTube now). These same principals hold true to life!
How you you beat/master a game? Lots of practice, perhaps hitting up gamefaqs for a good FAQ OR combining the two! I beat the Black Car on Ridge Racer on purely practice alone. I became a GOD at playing Tekken through religiously studying FAQs and lots of practice at the arcade and at home.
This skill directly transfers over to life! (But even gamers miss the connection). When I wanted to learn how to flip what did I do? Put some hours in practicing. I had a lot of trouble doing a back tuck, so what did I do? I went to the library and picked up an “FAQ” (aka a book). I know that solving any matter in life is some combination of practice and acquiring the right FAQ. Classes and a mentor help tremendously as well.
I wish more people knew this. I wish Mandy did as well…
Now I’ve decided to make pwning life the omnipresent theme of my life. Not just for myself, but for as many people as I can make it available to. I’ve been waiting to take the leap because I’m not happy with where I’m at financially and that makes me feel like a hypocrite. Actually… I guess I’m completely happy and OK with where I’m at financially. I just have to pay other people back!
Anyhow, the moral of the story is the time is now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not after I get that job. Not after I make this much. It’s right now.
People die every day but they don’t remind me of the importance of living NOW. Mandy died and it served as a reminder to, even BETTER than I have been, responsibly live in the present moment, doing and seeing the things I want to see and do and helping as many people as I can do the same.