Retro Relapse: The Cost of Living by a Code

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

As I’ve become and adult, I’ve realized several things about myself as the years pile on. One of those things is that somewhere down the line, I started living by my own code. It wasn’t intentional and I didn’t notice it until recently and it was actually a significant other that pointed it out to me but it is what drives me and what makes me who I am.

I am not stating that my code is perfect or infallible. I am also not stating that I am perfect and never violate my own code. Quite the contrary. Life, like the code, is a series of trial and error experiments that take shape throughout time. I am not claiming that I am better than anyone or that I have some secret formula at how to be the best human being possible. At the end of the day, I am trying to be the best that I can be by the standards, ethics and morals that I set for myself.

Do I win at that everyday? No. Everyday comes with failure but also comes with success. It is what you learn from that failure that leads to a bigger success ratio.

There are some issues one must deal with when one lives by a code. I wasn’t able to put some of this into perspective until I realized that I was living by my own code. The biggest issue, at least for me, is the fact that most people don’t live by anything other than reacting and responding to each situation in life as it is handed to them. Concepts such as loyalty and respect are lost amongst these people. In fact, borrowing John Cena’s mantra, I’m a firm believer in “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect”. Most people, don’t seem to know what that really entails and certainly don’t have the ability to even entertain the thought of such a simple concept or code. I’m not attacking them, I’m just stating my assessment based off of my own personal experiences.

It is hard when, on a daily basis, I am faced with people who violate not just these core principles but lack almost any sense of morals, ethics and a general understudying of what is right and what is wrong. I deal with it in life and especially at work. There is just a complete lack of character from the majority of people. Again, I don’t perceive myself as better than anyone but I do seem to look at things at a much deeper level and give a lot of attention to how my actions and my presence effects those around me.

While that is partly due to how I was raised, it has more to do with who I am at my core. Lots of people are taught these concepts as children but for many, it is in one ear and out the other and they go through life unaware of their complete lack of character.

For example, there are several people I work with who take advantage of the system in place within the office and look for constant loopholes within the rules and general company protocol. In life they take advantage of every shortcut and don’t have the foresight to understand how they aren’t developing certain skills and methods to be more efficient and better people overall. They take advantage of situations, which often times results in making things harder for their peers. More rules are instated, more challenges arise from these people and management continually tightens their grip. And it isn’t a natural need to fight back against some form of oppression or workplace fascism, it is just them trying to take the easiest route possible at work and through life at the expense of those around them. It is hard to name specifics without incriminating anyone.

In life, there are people who just have no concept of how they effect those around them. Neighbors who always fight – loudly, people who cut in line, people who violently argue over a typo on a coupon just to save another 35 cents, those assholes who walk into a quiet waiting room yelling into their cellphone about some girl with a “nasty front butt” – these are just a few examples of things I’ve witnessed over the last few days alone.

Then I have to think, how do people like this exist? How are they not annoyed enough by encountering other people exhibiting the same behaviors? How is this normal to them? How do they not drive themselves crazy? And why the fuck don’t most people have that urge to want to improve themselves and become better people? And by “better people” I don’t mean becoming ‘roided up freaks, silicone factories or the new owner of a 10 year-old German car they can’t afford.

Maybe at 35 years-old I am becoming an old crank or maybe after 35 years, my tolerance for juvenile behavior by most adults, especially those my age, is just so fucking baffling to me that I find myself wanting to stay in more and to not hang out with certain friends because I know a few certain assholes will probably be in tow. I have tolerance for stupidity but I don’t have tolerance for ignorance, especially from someone who is at an age where they should know better and want to be better.

I get it, we all have flaws, that is what makes us unique. We should all be able to recognize our flaws and want to work towards eliminating them. Perfection is not possible but to strive for perfection or at the very least, improvement, should be one thing that drives all human beings.

When you are a person that understands these things and tries to employ all of this, it is detrimental to your sanity when you see so many people content with being exactly the same (or slightly worse) as each day, each week and each year passes by. I’ve walked away from many friends because I got tired of hanging out with 21 year-olds in 35 year-old bodies. And yes, I do hold people to the standard I hold myself to.

When these people were still in my life, they would comment on how I’ve changed like it was a bad thing. Like somewhere along the line I sold out. No, sorry to break it to you, I just grew up and I faced the responsibility of adulthood and worked towards being self-sufficient, self-reliant and my own man living by my own code of ethics, morals and standards. I decided to always learn new things and to better myself everyday, so that each new day I was at an advantage over the previous day. And that is how the great people in the world and how men and women historically used to carry themselves. And people wonder why things have turned to shit and get worse with each passing generation.

And that brings me to my next point. The truth is, this really shouldn’t even be a “code”, it should just be the way people are and how they live and manage themselves and their lives. This is how shit used to be and why people from just a few decades ago could probably kick our asses in every way.

In Fight Club, Tyler Durden said, “Self-improvement is masturbation. Now self-destruction is the answer.”

He’s right because what the modern world considers “self-improvement” is a complete fallacy. And the “self-destruction” he referred to was the internal fight against the modern world’s false idea of self-improvement.