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Lockdown day 38: I actually just counted the days on the calendar, because I barely know what day it is most of the time. That’s 38 days I’ve had my shop closed. 38 days without income. 38 days my staff has no income. As of now, we don’t even know when this will end. And as far as experts are saying, this exact thing will happen again this winter.

Yeah, it’s going to happen again. Only next time it very well could be worse. That puts a lot of us into some strange predicaments. There’s no doubt in my mind that we should be closed, and so should just about every other business. Without efforts to mitigate damage, estimates have put the death toll in America at over 2 million. …

I’m mentally ill. I talk about mental health in a way that creates a separation between me and the sickness, making it appear like I have my shit together. The problem is that my awareness of my illness does not remove the episodes, and no matter how much personal work I do or what medications I take, I am still mentally ill.

Sometimes I don’t like myself. I’ve spent my adult life playing tug of war between knowing I’m a good person, and believing I’m a monster. Lord knows I’ve done enough monstrous things. …

Whoah, We’re Halfway There (Whoah oh! Living in Despair!)

Lithium may control my mood swings and even out my mood, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have mood changes. It doesn’t mean that I float along at a steady medium, never dipping too high or low from the medically regulated baseline I’m accustomed to. No, it doesn’t mean I no longer get sad or happy.

If anything, it’s made the lows a little less severe, and the transition between moods a smooth process, and not a frantic back and forth. Less severe doesn’t mean nonexistent. I’m actually coming out of what I assume has been a manic episode, and I’m monitoring my mood pretty closely. …

This post doesn’t have any pictures. It won’t have any fancy links, or interesting facts. It doesn’t have formal structure, or much structure at all, really. It’s a minor miracle it groups words into sentences and paragraphs.

There is a reason for it, though. I’m writing this post because I don’t write enough. And it just so happens that things like pictures and links and structure are what stop me most of the time. Writing blog posts reminds me that everything we do is judged and measured.

The reason I write is for impact. I want to give something valuable to people in the form of life advice. Not because I think I’m perfect, or some kind of fucking guru, but because I’ve been deep in the shit and I always manage to climb out. That has to be worth something to all the other people who are deep in shit. Be a fucking light to those in the dark, and all that nonsense. …

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I feel like this subject gets beaten to death. Not that that’s a bad thing. After all, repetition is a great way to learn, and anything important bears repeating. But do you really understand why gratitude is so important?

I’m not knocking nice things. I love nice things. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, and setting goals for tangible items is totally fine. What’s bad for our mindset and mental health is when our craving and desire for those items overrides everything else. You might want a Porsche, but your life isn’t over because you drive a Toyota.

We associate happiness with success, and success with wealth, and wealth with possessions. So when our mind breaks it down, happiness = possessions. I can’t really think of a more fucked thought process. Each of those things has little bearing on the next, in addition to being shitty definitions of those words in the first place. …

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This Is Fine

I’ll start by saying the name of this post is a lie. Acceptance isn’t the key to happiness, because there is no key to happiness. There’s no magic wand to wave and sprinkle some fuckin pixie dust and you’re all smiles forever. There’s no happiness cheat code.

What there is is strategies; actions and plans that help you along the path to happiness. Acceptance is a big one. As you learn to accept the reality of the situations you find yourself in, you’ll find it more and more difficult to be vexed by them.

A lot of people mistake acceptance for being supportive of your situation. This is completely incorrect. Accepting a situation is only a recognition of what’s happening. We tend to push away shit we don’t like, and all too often that means ignoring key aspects of difficulties we face. We ignore uncomfortable challenges to the point that they destroy us and the things around us, just to avoid facing it, as per the “this is fine” dog. …

Like herding cats, with more hissing

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flow chart showing how artistic freedom and monetary gain work in unison

When I decided to make the transition from an independent contractor to an owner/operator, one of the first things I thought was “this can’t be that hard. I’ve been in this business for more than a decade.”

Good LORD, I was wrong.

It turns out that running a business is completely different than working in one. I was bombarded with problems, and slammed with bills and fees I didn’t know existed. What the hell is use and occupancy? Why am I being charged $50 by the city to have an alarm system? …

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I used to think I was a man set in his ways. Hell, I still try to pitch that idea when I’m being stubborn about something. The truth is, I’ve made multiple drastic changes in my life. My father showed me that change can happen at any time, and when I was in my early 20’s watching my dad get his degree, I knew it wasn’t just lip service. He had turned his entire life around when he was older than I am today.

Speaking of how old I am today, I just turned 40. That’s me and my kids after I blew out my candles. It’s funny when I think about it, because at 30, sitting home and eating cake with a bunch of kids wasn’t my idea of a great birthday, and I HAD 3 kids. That speaks to the idea that we can continue to reinvent ourselves and make changes as we age. …

Let me sleep

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I’m grieving.

I don’t really know what that means, or what it entails, but it’s agreed by all parties that I’m grieving. That’s not something that you’re really taught about in life, it’s just something you have to experience. Apparently there’s no rules or specific patterns you go through during grieving. It’s vague, and the only real truth to it is that it hurts.

She may have been my mother in law, but I lovingly called her ma. Her passing was anything but fair. I remained strong through her illness, being the stoic for my wife as she sat at her hospital bed day in and day out. I remained strong when she passed, as my wife handled arrangements. That’s my role in a relationship, after all. Support. …

Midlife crisis in the career department

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The urge tattooers fight

It’s not that I don’t love tattooing. I really do love it, I just think I’ve become tired and jaded. I got into this when I was 19 because I thought it was cool, and thought it would make ME cool. Shit just doesn’t work like that.

For years, the pursuit of relevance kept me pushing. Now that I’m older, and I’ve embarked on a path of self discovery, I’m discovering some crazy shit. For one, I’ve found that the only purpose I can truly have is service. …


Tim Pangburn

Father, husband, artist. Constantly producing art, smashing goals, and taking names. Productivity, motivation, and sobriety.

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