GUEST POST - A Solitary Man . . .

We take a  break from my diatribes for a guest post from former colleague, current friend, and genuinely GREAT guy, Justin Hoppock (that's him, following in the footsteps of the Family von Trapp there to the right). 

To set the table - I recently used Twitter to request topics for blog posts and J-Hopp (as I like to occasionally call him) sent over a few ideas off the top of his head. Most were related to boobs (shocking, right?) but what struck me is that Justin ASKED if he could guest blog (a RESOUNDING yes to him and to ANYONE that might want to).

He told me that I could suggest a topic. Instead, I posed a challenge . . . 

My FAVORITE thing about your comfort w/ you. You travel alone, pick up and move, you're not married, you're not freaking out. Why is THAT?

So, why am I comfortable with myself? I’m not. At least, I don’t think so. I think I’m like everyone else…with maybe a little less fear. I have a million insecurities. Wrists skinnier than a 7th grade girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Sean! Girls don’t find that shit sexy. The thought of public speaking makes my windpipe cinch up. And everyone I know has qualities I covet.

I know what Sean is getting at and my best guess is a combination of confidence, a never ending desire for adventure, choosing what to believe and being a social-loner.

Confidence: Even though I fail every day and I question myself, I can always pull from a sturdy foundation of confidence my parents instilled in me as a child. My parents did everything they could to put me in positions to succeed. My successes instilled confidence and made me feel worthy. Whether it was Mom forcing me to study my spelling words every morning or Dad giving me the “hot spot” in the field when hunting pheasants…my parents were setting up the opportunity for success. I sure felt like hot shit, that first time I knocked down a bird in front of all the guys in my family. I still remember it clear as day. In a world that constantly looks for justification that I meet their definition of a man, I can look back on the validation my parents gave me. Maybe this is just a small part of the reason why I feel like I don't need a wife to validate that I'm a successful man.

Adventure: Life is so much fun…my excitement and internal desire to experience as much as possible overcomes any fears that I have. The more I travel, the more I realize how much I don’t know….and it creates a bigger desire to travel more.

Maybe I’m hard to satisfy. I get bored easily and need new challenges to look forward to. Adventures excite me more than the fear of anything else. I told my parents that my next big adventure will probably be Singapore and Thailand. A couple of months later, they brought up their concern of me traveling there alone. Why doesn’t it seem scary to me? Maybe I think I’m invincible. Maybe I think, if something bad happens to me, it’s an opportunity for me to learn from that story and be a tougher person. That bad thing, while it sucked at the time, made my story more interesting. Maybe that’s what freaks me out…that my life will become uninteresting. And nobody will want to read my story.

Choosing What to Believe: I'm not even going to attempt to try and explain myself here. I will suggest, keeping an open mind, challenging social norms, thinking for yourself, saying "yes" as much as possible and reading  anything by the Dalai Lama helps me.

Social-Loner: Maybe I'm just more of a loner than most people. I love learning from my co-workers, making new friends, listening to Sean's stories, but I also enjoy going to the bar on a Tuesday night and watching the game without having to engage with anyone. Balance is key - everything in moderation, right? I can't answer why I don't feel like I need somebody with me at the bar to justify my existence...I just don't care if somebody thinks I'm weird. I enjoy my alone time. People can get on my nerves and sometimes I'd rather be alone with my thoughts. However, I do agree that it is more fun to have adventures with someone. To be able to look into a friends' eyes and say one line that takes us back in time and brings a smile to our faces is...(insert MasterCard cheesiness here). 

So if I like being alone, why go to the bar? I like being where the action is at. I like being around people and taking in life. Sometimes I just don't feel like engaging. Life is beautiful and I like to be out in it experiencing it.

If I know that it's more fun to share adventures with friends, why do I travel alone? I can be selfish, controlling and don't like to sacrifice my wants. I'm not a very giving person (one of those qualities I see in others that I covet).

Those rationales are my best guesses. Below are questions I try to remember to ask myself when making a decision about what I should do next.

“If somebody were to write a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?”
“Life is short, if it doesn't make you happy, why are you doing it?”

Did I come close to answering your question, Sean?


Yes, sir. You did. And then some. THANK YOU for sharing your perspective and for being one of the most fearless (and skinniest, as you pointed out) dudes I've ever had the company to get to know. As T.I. once said - live your life (eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-ehhhhhh.)