I don’t recognize what’s going on around me anymore. Some time ago I shifted my focus on things to only what I could control through my own actions. Everything else that fell outside of that bubble was observed, thought about, pondered, etc., but at no point was it actioned by me. The difference in my perspective over a short period of time was absolutely amazing and terrifying at the same time. It was difficult for me to see how weird things had become with almost every aspect of people’s lives around me. Everywhere I went I inevitably saw someone drinking the Trump Kool-Aid. On the flip side I would also see someone making a face or muttering under their breath about something incoherent and likely out of their control. I’m seeing the world through different eyes.

The election races in my own state are brutal and both sides are making accusations of the other side. Being the slightly left leaning independent that is much closer to the center than anything, it’s a weird place to be as no one actually admits if they’re in the same position. Fear over how others will treat, react, or what they’ll say to you forces most to declare a hard position on one side or the other. I’m more inclined to just not engage at all and just give non-answers that placate most so they change the subject or go away all together. I have a friend and his wife that have gone so far down the conservative rabbit hole, they’re both now starting to see conspiracy theories that just don’t have any merit in logical thinking. For example, saying that the government forcibly takes your information in order to purchase/own a firearm, yet they pay their taxes each year dutifully surrendering much more information than is asked on a firearm application and background check. If you’re on the Internet, there’s information about you for most to easily find. If you own a house, there’s information easily obtained that’s part of public record. If you drive a vehicle, there’s data about you literally on the magnetic stripe on your license. My point here is that using firearm ownership as your hill to die on regarding privacy is short sighted and fly’s the crazy flag.

My daughter is unfortunately suffering in high school with the kids that are around her. Listening to what some of these morons do and say to her, it’s hard to believe that in the span of three years, they’ll be viewed as adults potentially contributing to society. I was picked on and ruthlessly bullied for most of my high school years, I get it and mostly understand. I say mostly understand because there’s an aspect of her situation that I just never had to deal with: social media. The devil in a black bar package that’s connected the world electronically while at the same time making an entire generation feel more alone than any previous generation before them. I don’t see it as a coincidence that suicide among teenagers and young adults has increased over 50% in the last decade with no signs that it will improve any time in the near future. Anonymity online has created the perfect storm of depression and anxiety created by a group of morons that have zero impulse control and parents who are generally don’t understand or don’t care. Being in the tech industry for two decades has given me the skills to be all up in her business and actually have partial control with what she does on her devices. The control is a constant battle, but I’ve protected her from some rather nasty paths because I was able to block it and then talk to her on why I blocked it. The age of majority in my state is 18 making the conversation easy for me by telling her it’s like this until then, if she doesn’t like it she can give me the device back. I’m sure she’ll be surprised to find out she won’t be able to buy her own mobile phone until 18 without my consent.

The life I’m living right now is quite calm and collected, more so now than at any point in my life prior. The worry that I don’t feel any more about crap I can’t control is no longer present. This has enabled me to be focused on what I can control and very little is missed, much to my daughter’s disappointment. The hardest part of seeing people around me get so bent out of shape about things is not being able to properly explain how it just doesn’t matter sometimes. Being able to have time to do things that I enjoy and disregard the things I don’t has been oddly satisfying because I just don’t care if feelings are hurt. So what honestly. So feelings are hurt for something I don’t care to spend energy on thinking or worrying about, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

I’ve become my Dad.