Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Last Post

My first blog entry was June 24, 2007. In the 3 and 1/2 years since that first post, I've experienced a whole lot of life. While my original intentions for writing this blog were to entertain, it quickly evolved into a form of self-therapy. I looked deep inside myself to figure out what I really wanted in life. I explored the darkest emotions and analyzed past events repeatedly until I covered every conceivable angle. In the process I learned about not only myself but also the world in which I live.

In 2007, I was a 25 year old kid. I had no idea what I wanted. I was less than a year out of school. I still wasn't certain if I could cut it in the pharmacy world. I still viewed the world through the immature eyes of a child. There wasn't a single area of my life with which I was at peace, and I couldn't find a direction in life that would provide me with peace. Lost is easily the best way to describe my situation.

Over the following 2 years, I attempted to build up a life which could bring me some satisfaction. I took more responsibility at work. I attempted to make more friends and go out whenever the opportunity presented. I was determined to not let the breakup with my ex-girlfriend stand in the way of my future love life, so I even ventured as far as to try an online dating service... twice I might add.

I took the suggestions of friends and readers who commented on my posts. I made what many self-help gurus would say were healthy attempts at picking up the pieces of my life and moving on. However, no matter how hard I tried, my life always came crashing right back to square one.

The reason for the repeated crashes didn't occur to me until much later. My foundation wasn't solid. I was trying to build a life upon a flawed and shaky foundation. Therefore, no matter how many times or how many techniques I would try to build up to a higher and happier place, that faulty foundation would always cause my efforts to collapse back to ground level. I realized that the only way I could get to a better place was to start all over again and build my entire being from scratch.

In order to do this, I had to really analyze who I was and what brought me the small slivers of happiness that occasionally pierced the ever-present darkness in my life. I had to decide what, if anything, I wanted to believe in, and what were my core values. Anything that didn't fit in with those beliefs and values had to be removed from my life.

Everything was eligible for the chopping block. Family, friends, work, basketball... absolutely everything. I had to figure out the key components of that solid foundation I desperately needed. The first thing that went were most of my friends. People, who upon deep reflection, didn't value me as a person and whose lifestyles didn't mesh with my own interests and values were removed from my life. I knew that I wasn't a guy who was interested in going out partying and getting drunk, so any of my friends who thought the best use of their free time was to hit up a club and get wasted weren't going to fit into the life I wanted.

The next important step was deciding the best use of my free time was to get in shape. Having been an athlete for most of my life, it always upset me that I had put on 20+ pounds of mostly fat since the end of high school. No, I wasn't fat by any stretch of the imagination. However, I knew that I was out of shape. I knew that my diet of pizza, pretzels, beer, and cookies wasn't healthy for me. Objectively I knew that exercise and eating properly are far superior to any anti-depressant medication for lifting one's mood, but I was always too lazy to maintain a workout plan.

I educated myself on how to eat properly. I participated in online health and fitness forums in which knowledgeable posters showed me the evidence that proved that most of what I had known about nutrition and fitness was incorrect. I learned how to exercise efficiently. I learned how to eat a balanced diet, and more importantly, I learned the differences in the way our bodies metabolize different nutrients. Understanding the difference between high and low glycemic index carbohydrates and learning the fallacy of low fat diets enabled me to make great progress towards cutting weight and getting into good shape.

In less than 6 months, I shed 17 pounds (mostly of fat) and greatly increased the strength and efficiency of my muscles. I went from barely being able to do 3 pull-ups to being able to do sets up 8 reps with 35 pounds of weight strapped to me. Through high intensity interval training, I increased my cardiovascular endurance to the point where I could play basketball for 3 straight hours and barely feel winded. I brought my mile-run time down under 6 minutes for the first time since I was in middle school.

Besides the physical benefits of being in-shape. The absolute best part was that I felt happier. I didn't stress out as much. I found it easier to remain calm. I had more energy to do more things in my free time, and that led me to be in better spirits most of the time. It was wonderful.

Being in an almost perpetual good mood allowed me to finally come to terms with my, what many people would call depressing, beliefs. I knew I didn't believe in any organized religion. I knew I was a strict science and logic guy. There's no heaven. There's no hell. Human beings aren't a part of some big plan, but rather an evolutionary accident that will some day vanish from the earth just like virtually every species throughout all of the planet's lifespan has done and will do. Life will continue to thrive on this planet long after humans are extinct. We will ultimately be forgotten by the universe and nothing we ever did or will do will ultimately matter.

With that in mind, I don't believe in angels. I don't believe in demons or ghosts. I don't believe things are "meant to be," and there is no divine plan. I believe praying does absolutely nothing besides provide a placebo effect (and even that is being shown to be untrue by newer studies on the subject). Moreover, as I've noted before in this blog, prayer is kind of a stupid notion because when you break it down logically, it makes no sense at all. I don't believe everyone is special. I don't really believe anyone is special. We're all just kind of here entirely by accident, and we're all going to die sooner or later.

Depressing, right? I know. I struggled with it for a long time. It's hard to come up with a reason to go on when you don't believe there's any real point to all of this. It all just seems so unimportant, and objectively speaking, it isn't important at all.

However, in my fitness induced good-mood I had a moment of clarity. Why does there have to be a purpose? Who cares if we live a few decades and die without leaving any real lasting impression on the universe? The funny thing about human intelligence is that we're the only species in the entire history of the planet who could even care about a meaning to life. For a billion years, life has been rolling along. Each individual life form lives out it's comparatively short life-span, and the cycle just keeps going.

Maybe the point of life is simply to live. In that way, no living thing is any more special than any other living thing. However, the simple fact that we're alive makes us all special. In case, you haven't noticed, life is pretty rare in the universe. The chances of the right compounds being present in the right environment for the chemical reactions of life to start are very very slim. However, right here on Earth, it happened, and in that sense, we've hit the universal lottery. Our mere existence is incredible. In my eyes, that's all the reason I need to live.

That was the last piece of my foundation. I knew it was a solid one because it came entirely from myself. No part of it was unconsidered or handed down from a parent or other authoritative figures in my life. It was my own.

From there, I could slowly start building up the life I wanted without excessive worries or expectations. I was finally content, and that happy feeling allowed me to finally pull my heart away from my ex-girlfriend and open it up to someone new. As I've said before, I'm not happy because I have a girlfriend. I have a girlfriend now because I'm happy. She didn't save me, and if this relationship doesn't work out, it won't ruin me either. I saved myself, and my happiness is completely derived from myself.

That brings me to the end of this blog. The previous 325 posts have helped me accomplish everything I wanted to when I wrote that first post in June, 2007. It was important to me in ways, despite all my analysis, I'll never fully understand. I thank everyone who has ever read my blog, and I especially want to thank those who took the time to comment on my posts (regardless of whether the comment was positive or negative, whether it agreed or disagreed with what I was saying). Whether you realize it or not, your shared in my strange, enlightening, and often times frustrating journey. I was a kid when I started this blog. Now I'm nearly 29 years old, and now I'm a nearly 29 year old man with a renewed sense of self. I'm sure if you go back and read my earlier posts, the change in tone is very noticeable. Looking back, it's actually quite fascinating to see how my mind was working at each stage of my metamorphosis.

The blog will remain up for a little while I try to back up my posts. I've written nearly 1,000 pages here. I'm not just going to throw them away. However, once I get everything archived, I'm taking the blog down. I'm sure this won't be the end of my writing. I like to write, so I'll continue in one form or another, but it won't be here. Maybe I'll start up a new blog. I'm keeping my options open.

(Typical of my writing style, this last post was incredibly long-winded. I'll apologize one final time for writing too much.)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading that post. It was enlightening. I didn't think about how incredibly lucky we are to exist. I was always thought about "why?" rather than "why not?"

I hope you continue blogging in the future.

Until then take care.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy for you! Good luck in your future and I'll hope to see more of your writing somewhere down the line.

-One of your many fans

Anonymous said...

I've read your blogg for 2 years now, but this is the first time I've commmented. I just wanted to say good luck in life, and thanks for your time.

The Ole' Apothecary said...

Mike, you are stuck with the fact that you will be missed in the pharmoblogosphere. For three years, your posts took the high road. No ranting, just pithy discussion. Goodbye, my friend and colleague. May you fare well in this rare miracle of life.

The Redheaded Pharmacist said...

Well although I am happy that it appears you have finally come to terms with your life and found balance I will miss this blog. It is selfish to say but I want more! I can honestly say that this blog was one of the blogs that inspired me to jump in and try my own hand at writing a blog even though I don't know what I am doing. I'm not brave enough to be as self reflective on my blog as you have been here but I enjoyed reading your posts and the quality of this blog caused me to challenge myself to try and become a better writer.
I wish you luck but more importantly I hope you continue to write even if it is just for yourself. But if you do ever find yourself starting another blog don't hesitate to e-mail me a link to it. I would appreciate the heads up should you ever write online again! Good luck and thanks! A true measure of a quality blog is the ability of the author to reach their audience and connect with them on some level that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. It is safe to say you've accomplished that here!

pharmacy chick said...

Mike, you certainly will be missed because i have always enjoyed your writing. you have a wonderful style of writing that makes it feel like you are jumping off the page, and even tho we dont share the same beliefs about religion, me being one of those 'pray-ers' I am most glad to count you as one of my friends! good luck friend!

Anonymous said...

Vicariously, and still anonymous, I've enjoyed this blog. I feel as an 'oldster' (in pharmacy) the feelings, emotions, conundrums, etc. are those that my sons are feeling, emoting, and seeing as conundrums.

Please, don't remove your column right away. I'd like to look back on it, too, and see the growth in responses were to various puzzlements.

Take care.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I have really enjoyed reading your posts as well -- you are a talented writer. Hope to see you come back.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

I don't read but a handful of blogs and your's is one of them. Thanks for keeping it real for all of us. I do hope, as many others do, that you will continue a new blog, maybe with your new perspective and outlook.

I wish you all the best and look forward to your next piece of shared blogsphere!!

Greetings from Germany,
Another pharmacist originally from AL

pharmacykid said...

When I graduate in 6 months, I'll be similar to where you started. I'll just have turned 24 with a great career ahead of me. But I don't know what the hell lies ahead. I'm so young and naive, but mature and ahead of people my age.

About fitness and exercise . . . it's one of the few things that makes me tick. Some people are on one spectrum where it doesn't matter to them. I'm on the other side where I HAVE to lift weights or play sports. When of the low moments of pharm school was the crazy semester where I had no time to go to the gym. Right now, I can do 6-7 pullups with 45 pounds attached. Not bad huh? My weakness is cardio. I don't think I can even run a mile in 8 minutes.

One thing will always be constant in life though. The Spurs > Celtics. haha. No for real, the SPURS are just tearing it up. This is like the reverse of how they usually do decent for the first half of the season, but kill it the 2nd half. I hope they can keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.

zin said...

I'll miss your blog.
I've been reading faithfully since the beginning. I'm glad you found inner peace and are happy with yourself. In the end, I believe being content with onself, is all that really matters.
Cheers,
Susan

Anonymous said...

Mike, i really enjoyed reading your blog. I think you were the only new grad with a blog. It goes to show that folks don't have the gumption to tell it like it is online about careers. I also wanted to tell you my last factoid: In Money magazine, they listed the top 50 jobs based on money, demand, AND quality. I think for the first time ever, pharmacy did not make the list. (#2 went to physician assistant) I hope whatever you choose to do in life brings you great satisfaction, whether it was cutting back on the pharmacy and doing more personal training stuff, or in fact moving to a new pharmacy. I was appalled at your pharmacy staffing/conditions and hope you get to see an ideal pharmacy in your lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I was also happy to hear pharmacykid was still around! (since I had not seen updates from his blog in awhile)

Anonymous said...

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