Albuquerque gets a negative reputation from news media pessimistic attitudes and too few people overlook the city’s gems. From my own experience, the best neighborhood in the city is Nob Hill (surrounding the University of New Mexico) with a stretch of Central Avenue that caters to nightlife entertainment and chill brew hipsters. The Zinc Bar is just one of the many hangouts where you can order a beer, listen to some guitar strumming, and forget about life’s troubles for a while.
Claudio Tolousse also hosts a podcast called Art Talk Music in which he talks about “all thing music” with a variety of musical talents.
An internet connection is an incredibly powerful tool for storytelling. Unfortunately, most of the attention on the Web is focused on mindless entertainment over education and productive discourse. I’m guilty of this (I am human after all) but I try to create something of value on this blog, something with which people can connect. Perhaps that is all anyone wants out of life, connecting with someone through a mutual value, and we just don’t know how to connect with each other anymore because of all our distractions and superficial life indicators. There are so many voices shouting into the void today and we are all chasing an image of fame.
Perhaps a key to a fulfilling life is to start turning off much of these distractions and focus more on the physical world, the things right in front of us. To focus on the extreme examples of fame is to focus on illusions, most people (by definition) are not going to become exemplary. The best that each of us can do is simply what brings us joy regardless of whether or not it brings you fame. This may be a hard truth for a lot of young people today: most of your life will not be something that can be turned into an action movie; most of your life will be mundane, tedious, and boring. However, if you find something to do in life that brings you joy and fulfillment then fame shouldn’t matter.
Take it from Woody Harrelson, “enjoy the little things.”
The Tractor Brewing Company is a mid-size taproom in the heart of Nob Hill, Albuquerque, down the street from the Nob Hill Business Center. The establishment contains a wide, U-shaped bar for plenty of hoppers to get in and immediately go for a drink. There is also a plethora of tables scattered around the periphery of the building that makes for cozy spaces to sit down with friends for an interesting night. I sat at the bar as I do.
One look inside the beer menu and my eyes are drawn to the Double Plow Milk Stout which I order with some enthusiasm. The bartender (or “beertender” as Tractor Brewing calls them) brings me a pint of the delicious dark brown elixir but, after the first sip, I feel underwhelmed. The taste is okay for a stout but slightly bitter for my own taste. It also is a dichotomy of flavors – through my nose, I detect a hint of chocolate flavor but, on my tongue, I only taste coffee. This particular beer may not be for me.
A look at the specialty beers on the wall menu reveals another milk stout called Milk Mustachio Stout. I may try that one next weekend.
I am willing to try Tractor Brewing again in the future but, at this current point in time, my favorite stout remains the Driftwood Oatmeal Stout from Bosque Brewing Company.
Albuquerque residents, what is your favorite local brewery?
As I walk through my city streets, I see a strange juxtaposition of modern progress. I see rising infrastructure along the skyline with empty windows and “for rent” signs. I see people in suits with high-tech phones stepping over the tattered and dirty homeless. I see cold and desperate people sleeping outside of night clubs filled with affluent and arrogant college students. I see middle-class workers with their heads in their phones hustling between multiple jobs while lower-class street-walkers beg for some charity. I see all these examples of the dichotomy in America’s current success story and I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have any answers for the poor and the down-trodden besides all the cliches that have already been preached publicly hundreds of times over.
What happened to our sense of community across America?
I went to a polling place today to vote in a local election and I was confused when I realized that my new address was not updated in the City of Albuquerque’s list of registered voters. Earlier this year, I relocated from Albuquerque’s District 1 (West ABQ) to District 6 (Nob Hill) and immediately re-registered to vote (as I usually do). Perhaps municipalities should update their voter registration records more frequently, but what do I know?
I still voted this morning, I just had to vote for my former neighborhood rather than my current neighborhood; not a big deal in the macro.
(If I’m missing something, let me know in the comments section below. Don’t forget to tell me how big of an idiot I am.)
Life has a lot of distractions especially in modernity, it can be difficult to stay focused on what is important. Computers may have worsened our attention spans but they are not going away, so we have to become more disciplined with ourselves regarding how we manage our time amidst all of this technology. Create a long-term goal for yourself and remind yourself of that goal every day; resist the temptation of your vices and avoid instant gratification. The best things in life require effort so work for them.
I think I’m slowly becoming a morning person. These early morning hours can provide one with some much needed personal time for self-reflection and internal preparation for the day ahead; early mornings also provide opportune moments for journaling.
Working two jobs is surprisingly doable, it’s all about the people with whom you’re working. If you work with tolerable people that actually get shit done, you’ll find it satisfying to work alongside them. I recommend communicating your boundaries with your boss immediately – DO NOT sacrifice your personal time to cover anyone’s shift. Other shifts are not your responsibility and your personal time is sacred for your own mental health.
The key to survival is adaptability, using the tools from multiple situations to improve your own standing on the world. “Survive and take what is offered,” as one of my favorite sci-fi dramas words it.
Adaptability can be difficulty in our modern world because most of the changes that fall upon us are less perceptible in the short-term. Our pre-historic ancestors had to adapt to immediate changes like alterations in the weather, a new predator on the horizon, and a plague-stricken tribe. Today, we deal with more subtle changes like the possibility of a new job, market fluctuations for commodities, and the need to update our personal skill sets. Most people may not place a lot of value on the little decisions made in a day but these little decisions can (unfortunately) add up to a lifetime of regret. Seizing opportunities in youth can help set up decisions for the rest of your life and ensure a meaningful existence as well as commonplace happiness.
I’m not saying that we should stress over every repetitive decision we make in a day like what you have for breakfast one morning or should you drive or ride public transit, excess stress is never productive. I’m simply saying that we should always be reminding ourselves to try new things because it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. Humans are creatures of habit by nature and that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. To get trapped in a status quo (or an echo chamber) for the sake of security can lead to unfulfillment later in life. Be open to change and actively seek it out.
There is an old metaphor about human potential: if you are a military general leading an army with the goal of conquering an island, the easiest way is to burn your own boats because then there is only one option. It’s amazing what a person can accomplish when there is no way to go back – when there is no way out – when your goals become necessities.
You don’t have to be a “jack of all trades” to be successfull in life. I think it’s much more beneficial if you go all in on your strengths doing work for which you are best equipped naturally. Do not wait to pursue your passions, seize opportunities today.
What is your goal for today – this week – this month – this year?
Albuquerque isn’t a bad place to be (for New Mexico). It’s an urban oasis for city slickers trapped among the eastward migrations from the over-priced west coast, but the city is still a couple decades removed from the millennial generation. I’ve been living in Albuquerque for more than a year now and I still feel like Paul Kemp on his first day in San Juan, Puerto Rico, trying to make sense of a city plagued with vice and optimism while being flooded with hopeless venture capitalists. Two soul-sucking jobs in food service are paying my way through my latter 20’s while I try and force the words in my head into a coherent collection on paper with an intent for monetization. All the while, temptations of the mind are all around me, luring me through their doors with carefully crafted messages promising to take away from the daily despair to a heavenly euphoria. Tension seems to be the only thing driving me to get up in the morning, “the tension between a restless idealism and a sense of impending doom (Hunter S. Thompson, the Rum Diary, 1998).”
As long as I put aside the cash for next month’s rent, I’ll survive this city just long enough to get the hell out.