Regrets. Frank Sinatra has had a few.

Bonnie Ware was a palliative nurse that cared for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She conducted surveys of regrets people had while close to death. She recorded five recurring responses.

This was a great way to gather wisdom. I enjoy chatting with older people and for my love of older people, I am often labeled as an “old soul.” I can learn something from anyone but more from older people. They have more life experience than I do. Bonnie used her position to explore the true thoughts of these people while they were in a vulnerable state of mind.

I’ve revisited this article a few times over the last few years to remind me of things I would like to improve on. I’ve never made a conscious decision to improve one of them but by reading over it numerous times, it is ingrained in my subconscious to improve in these five areas.

Aristotle said happiness is realized at the end of life. I interpret this to mean that we must work now towards happiness so when we are near the end of life we can have that moment when we decide that we are satisfied with our lives and can exclaim we are truly happy with it.

My thinking is if one has regrets, one is not satisfied with themselves currently. Regrets are not always negative. If someone can realize by introspection, outside opinion, or other ways that they are not happy with themselves, then they can start a plan to remedy the issue. Everyone is the sum of their life experiences. We know there are less-than-idea moments in our lives. That does not mean that we cannot reframe those moments, learn from them, and grow ourselves in the Human Capital category.

I will be writing five separate posts on each of the five most common regrets that Bonnie discovered with her patients. I will talk about my philosophy pertaining to each, and steps I will or have been taking in attempt to not say I regret any of them whilst on my deathbed 🙂

I hope it will spark something in you as well, Reader. I encourage you to pick one regret from the list and think about it for a month. What can one do to improve it? What may be barriers to one improving? What is something I am missing about these regrets? The head of the Internet is better than one. Let me know your thoughts!

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Goals.

My girlfriend (you remember, Debora, don’t you, Dear Reader?) and I wrote goals to complete within a year. We did it in a cute, couple, paper-wasting method. We tore little slips of paper, wrote a goal to accomplish by November 1st of next year, stuck them in a bag, then drew them from the bag and talked about how we could help each other achieve the goal.

I tried to follow the SMART goal-setting method. Some are specific, easy, fun. But some are the opposite. We did not share any goals before we both finished writing all of our goals. So as not to copy each other or to know how serious, easy, etc. each other’s goals are.

I already feel good about the goals, simply from writing them down. It is nice to have a list and tick a few off every now and then after I’ve accomplished them. I was inspired to do this while on a bus from Chile to Argentina from the movie that was played during the trip. Which makes that expensive bus worth it😛 The movie was The Bucket List.

Some of Debora’s goals are to write a vegan cookbook, buy a Fairphone, and buy a new traveling camera. I believe these represent her personality well. She is a minimalist but buys things that bring her happiness. Buying a Fairphone is more sustainable and is one of the best options of having a phone that is ethically produced. She loves taking pictures while traveling so the travel camera makes sense. And she loves to cook. It brings her joy to cook for others and many people often ask how she makes various dishes. Compiling all of her ideas into one book is a great way to share them with people and gives her a chance to do another thing she loves to do which is to write.

Some of my goals are to write ten memoirs about my trip in South America, meditate at least six minutes each day, travel to five countries I’ve never been to, and read one of my poems at a poetry night. Many of my goals are to keep me on track for long-term goals. I love to write as well so writing memoirs will bring me joy and improve my writing skills. Meditating is hard for me to stick to so I made it only six minutes a day but ideally, I would like it to be more. It helps improve my focus, patience, and clarity — which I find help my happiness overall. I believe happiness is a goal for everyone. Getting outside of my comfort zone is something that makes me creative and more introspective. For this, reading a poem at a poetry night is a win-win. I know I will be nervous to read a poem in front of people and be judged for how it is read and what the words are. I am fine with that. It has been a long time since I performed anything to an audience. I look forward to getting outside of my comfort zone again.

I look forward to the next year. Debora and I will be busy but I hope to fit these goals into our daily lives and future plans. I still have 354 days and I’ve already started meditating more, writing memoirs, and started reading Breakfast of Champions. No list of goals is complete without Vonnegut!

I encourage everyone to make goals. Big and small. Short- and long-term. And not only for the New Year. Start now. Especially if your goal involves anything about going to the gym because you will get in there before the influx of others. And in February or March, when most of those people have stopped going as often, you will have it back to yourself. Do what works for you. We are all different and have our own ways of learning. Your strengths may be my weakness and vice versa. Do what you believe will make you happy. Unless it impedes on the liberties of others of course. If being a cannibal makes you happy, only eat people who are willing to be eaten.

As always, thanks for reading. Ciao chicos!

Memoir Monday #2

“Folks, the next comedian drove from Richmond here to Virginia Beach tonight. I wouldn’t do it, but he did for free to make you all laugh. Please help me welcoming to the stage, Drew Fridley!”

My first attempt producing laughter from a room full of strangers. The host just announced my name, no turning back now.

I inhaled a Chipotle burrito an hour ago but my stomach feels empty. Mouth is dry, but how? To my sensitive teeth’s dismay, I drank two and a half glasses of ice water three and a half minutes ago. My chest thumped like a dryer with only shoes inside. Sandpaper would slide away from my palms. Milliseconds have past since I had been announced; fight or flight? — I stood.

I traipsed down the center aisle of the 200-seat, dark-lit venue; I’m glad only a quarter of the seats are occupied. I have dealt with feet falling asleep before but not my entire body. It feels as though I have pins stuck in my skin from an acupuncture appointment that I needed to leave abruptly. I notice people drinking alcohol and hope they have drank enough for an endorphin rush to facilitate laughter. I am second-guessing my decision to not indulge in a drink myself.

Success! I materialized on stage! Six seconds of walking without tripping! After shaking the host’s hand, I thought, thanks to anxiety-ridden comics, his right hand must stay moist most of the night. I feel the heat of the spotlight on my back. If I would have known about that synthetic-sun contraption, I would not have worn a black and red flannel.

On the floor behind a speaker, I lay a cell phone sized piece of paper on my cell phone. My phone is recording so I can cherish this moment forever. Or delete it once I return to the back of the room. On the paper, five topics are written; the topics of my jokes in case my mind goes blank up here — hours of practicing the five minute performance is not enough to forgo this miniature insurance policy.

The metal microphone feels like an outside rail in winter. A nice contrast to that light, still doing its best to burn a hole through my back. I turn and slowly raise my head to face the crowd for the first time. Unbeknownst to them, this my first time performing stand-up. I want them to know. I want them to know I am not a professional, before I prove assumptions wrong.

I move the mic stand behind me. With apprehension, I pull the slack in microphone cord like I am about to wrap up an extension cord. I am trying to remember what all those psychology articles said about confidence: shoulders back, stand up straight, make eye contact, smile, speak clear and loud. — I spoke.

The host introduced me as driving from Richmond but I drove from Charlottesville, another hour on the other side of Richmond. I improvise self-deprecation, “I actually drove here from Charlottesville tonight, so I’m truly a dumbass.” — Everyone laughed.


I loved the feeling of performing stand-up for the first time. It is like a drug. I know I’ll never have that feeling again and I’m fine with that because I have a vivid memory of it.

Laughter is an excellent tool in life. I’ve used it for defense and attention for almost my entire life. Some people use it too much, some too little. There is a balance and I feel like I’ve found it. I do not feel I need it for defense or attention as much. I don’t say never because I’m still human. Well, half human. But at night, I turn into a mythical dragon 🐉 . On full moons I turn into Freddie Mercury and perform the entire set that Queen performed at Live Aid in ‘85.<

encourage everyone to do any kind of performance in front of an audience. It’s a kind of magic. Any kind of performance. Sing, dance, poetry slam, act in a play, cover Queen’s set at Live Aid! It is a great way to gain insight about yourself and others.

Short Story Sunday

Buen día Interwebbers.

A prompt I was given to write a short story: You are taking the job of Death as he travels on vacation. You can take the form of anything, travel through time, and take any human life (but no other kind of life).

Here is what I produced—->


Having worked at a morgue, funeral home, and nursing home I had the best resume to temporarily take his place. He was going on vacation. A thousand year vacation after 13.8 billion years is overdue. Death gave me the details and answered some of my questions about the busiest times of his job; world wars, Holocaust, the Mogols, etc. Death informed me I could take any human life, take any form, and travel throughout time. "Here is the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum, how you'll travel throughout spacetime," said Death. Vonnegut hit the nail on the head. Death told me he loved Vonnegut and the Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum was once simply named the Spacetime Ship. He thought that was a boring name so in 1959 he renamed it after reading Sirens of Titan.

The first place I traveled was to see Led Zeppelin live in '69. Why? It has always been my answer to the "If you could travel back in time…" question. Next I went to when the pyramids were being built in Egypt to find out how they did it. Many believe they were constructed by aliens but I can tell you they were not. They were constructed in the same way many great things have been: exploitation of lower-class citizens. It is amazing what people can achieve without Internet and endless amounts of beer.

Traveling spacetime was fun but soon turned monotonous. I wondered about what my purpose was as New-Death. I did not want to take human life. At rapid pace, humans were already doing a great job of that by themselves. The numbers of deaths happening was too fast to read the names coming in. If it weren't for being able to be multiple places at once, this job would be constant, never-ending work. Since I could be everywhere at once and was tired of traveling, I essentially had two choices: I could rummage through the history of humans, seeing whose life it would be advantageous to take, or I could take the form of anything. Don't ask me why I can take the form of anything but cannot take any life but human life, I don't make up the rules in world of death.

I decided I would spend my time as New Death trying to improve humanity. The more I could improve life, science, and technology the less work I will have to do.

I took the form of millions of aliens and invaded Earth. At first, Earthlings were terrified and had no clue what to do. Soon, they formed a cohesive unit against the aliens and killed all 13,021,976 forms of me. The plan worked! I brought world peace to Earth by uniting them against a unit bigger than themselves. A unit they saw as different and threatening. Based on human history, it was a sure way to unite them.

The peace on Earth lasted for almost a century until the peace wore off. Earthlings went back to their "Hey! Those people look different than me" ways. I could not get another attempt at fixing it before Original Death came back from vacation. He was impressed at my attempt to lighten the load of work and serve the Earthlings. I was surprised he had not heard of a win-win situation. He enjoyed my ambitions so much that he asked the Official Death Panel of the 7th Solar System of Earth if the planet could have two representatives in the Department of Death. I am now serving a spacetime sentence as Death Dos En Tierra, and loving every moment of the challenge.


Thanks for taking the time to read what I write. Have you heard of Sarahah? I would like to use it for constructive criticism for pieces I write. Please submit any comments you may have here.

This has been Drew, dropping in to drop off some droppings. Over and out.

“To be alive at all is to have scars.” – John Steinbeck

I have a burn scar on the inside of my left arm. Burnt by hugging a kerosene heater. Telling someone I hugged a heater immediately puts them at ease. It makes them feel good because they do not believe they would do something so careless. "How old were you?" I am always asked. I was two. They give me a well-that-is-a-little-more-acceptable look.

Scars are great ice-breakers and conversation starters. They helps skip boring parts of conversation and onwards to more interesting parts. "Ever hugged a heater and burnt your arm? I have. See? It was not a conscious decision. What is your definition of consciousness?"

If you have perfect skin, you can always chat about your mental scars. Mental scars are often more beneficial than physical scars. If you don't have mental scars either, you're not human. Don't you have better things to do than be reading this post, Robot Reader! You should be out forming an Artificial Intelligence Army to take over the human race by infiltrating our consciousness!

When thinking about scars, remember cliche quotes such as, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." – Kanye West. – Kelly Clarkson. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I have an ink-scar, a tattoo, on the inside of my right arm: "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." Many conversations have been started because of it. Here are a few personal examples of scar-conversation:


Inquiring mind: "What does your tattoo say. (Inquirer reads Einstein quotes) I like that. Did you make that up?"
Me: "No. Google says Albert Einstein said it. It also says he stated that 'No problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it.' What's your definition of consciousness?"


Inquiring mind: "Is that mark on your arm from doing heroin?"
Me: "No, I used to donate plasma twice a week."


Obvious mind: "Your pinky-finger is deformed."
Me: "Agreed. My birthday party in third grade was at a bowling alley. It turns out, if you are carrying a 12 pound bowling ball, trip, and it lands on your pinky finger…it turns your pinky into a pancake."


All of my scars are interesting to me on different levels. I am not upset about the scars on my body. I am not upset about the scars in my mind. They all have their place in making me who I am. Rather small or large, they contribute to the sum of the human I have become. I enjoy the being I have become. Apparently, I've become someone interested in consciousness.

  • The incision mark on stomach from surgery at two weeks old reminds me that I could have died at two weeks old. Each day I have after that has been a bonus.
  • The scar on the back of my hand from a classmate stabbing me with a pencil in 5th grade reminds me that pencils are dangerous. I later learned that hurt people, hurt people. He had a hard life growing up. While I wish he wouldn't have stabbed me with a pencil, I wish no ill-will towards him. Damian Nelson, if you ever read this, I hope you're doing well.
  • The cut from a machete on my wrist reminds me that there are some bad people in the world but to remember all the beautiful people I've met in my life that did not try to rob me. And again, it reminds me that hurt people, hurt people.

I have many more marks. From my hair to my toenails. If you ever meet me in person, or next time you see me, pick a scar out and let's have a chat about it. This is a fair warning to prepare your answer to the question, "what is consciousness?"

See you then. I hope to hear about your scars as well. Until then, I wish you many scars, Reader. Have a fabulous day.

Debora Döhrbeck

Meet Debora:

Who is this girl? Why should you know her? What is special about her that she requires her own post?

I will do my best to answer these questions. 

Debora is from Switzerland. Famous for army knives, skiing, and cheese. Often confused with Sweden (known for IKEA, Vikings, and meatballs).

She does not speak Switzerish because that is not a language. She speaks Swiss German, German, French, English, and un poco Español. 

I met her August 11, 2015 at a music and art festival in Budapest. We had a few conversations and found we have many things we have in common: traveling, Couchsurfing, sustainability, minimalism, a passion for hummus, etc. 

The standout moment of the week for me was seeing her eating black beans out of a can for breakfast. It was love at fourth (or fifth) sight. 

Skipping ahead to now, she is my girlfriend. 

I often dislike labels; they tend to complicate things. With Debora, nothing has changed (for the worse). We continue to grow closer together and thrive as a team. 

How I feel about her is ineffable. Despite this contradicting effort where I will attempt to paint a picture in your mind of how much and why I adore her. 

Debora is caring. She cares about people, animals, the environment, and everything in between. She is as sustainable as possible. She’s vegan (A Swiss gal that doesn’t eat cheese?!) because eating plant-based is better for the environment. She does not like to fly in planes because of the fuel. She even gave me a metal straw because I used to use plastic straws. 

When she sees animals, she does this

She makes delicious food with cute, heart decorations

She makes stick-figure people out of grass and daisies

 

She’s a beautiful person on the outside and she is gorgeous on the inside.

The best part about our relationship is our communication. Our non-verbal communication is great. We also talk out the dynamics of our relationship. We have plenty of miscommunication but communication is still our strong point. We discuss little issues before they turn into big issues. We embrace talking about our faults which helps us work on any issues we have. 

She writes her own blog about traveling, minimalism, recipes, and a lot more. She’s more interesting than I can do justice. If you’re interested in knowing more about her or reading an interesting blog, hop over there for a moment. 

Home is wherever I’m with Debora. We are traveling through South America together right now and I could not ask for a better person to spend each day with while exploring this continent.

I love you, Debora Döhrbeck. I love when you know what I’m thinking. I love when you suddenly stop to play with each animal we encounter. Selfishly, I love when you massage my back. Thank you for sharing your mind and time with me. 

Happy birthday. I hope to spend many more with you and celebrate in traditional Swiss style, with Dominic Deville, the evil birthday clown 😘:


Hiking the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador

Memoir Monday

I wrote a short memoir about an adventure I had in Croatia after leaving Krka National Park. Critiques are welcomed. And for the love of all things holy, visit Croatia. Enjoy:

Sleeping naked in a tent by this Croatian-highway is not something many people can tick off a list. I’m in the midst of placing myself in this sparse group.

Do I want to sleep on the rocks or exert energy to hand-mow this gigantic grass? Croatians are clearly not allocating enough money to highway maintenance.

I assemble my tent and lay it against the tall grass. Climbing inside I lay down to flatten the grass with my body weight. I unravel my cylinder of packed clothes like a red carpet runway. This royal-runway-carpet o’ clothes is what I will sleep on for seven hours. I am traveling with clothes, a tent, Kindle, and a jar of peanut butter; the clothes are the best option for optimal, comfortable sleep. I take off the clothes I am wearing and wrap them around my Kindle and the jar of PB to make a pillow; I feel like MacGyver in his prime.

Hours ago I walked a few miles from Krka National Park to here to hitchhike to Zagreb; I’d hoped to sleep in someone’s car. Alas, no one was willing to pick up a stranger as the July sun made the mountain its grave.

My skin is as sticky as a fly trap ribbon. If I roll off of these clothes in the middle of the night, I risk waking up glued to my plastic tent.

Cicadas singing to the melody of 18-wheelers. “THIS is living,” I say, “THIS is vacation.” Sarcasm is my method of defense for this situation. I struggle to keep in mind that this will be hilarious in hindsight.

How humorous it would be to be woken up by Croatian cops unzipping a tent to see a guy only wearing an eye mask and ear plugs. Or if a vehicle veers off the road, crushing the tent and its contents. The news article tomorrow will be “Naked nomad crushed near highway.” – Except it will be in Croat. Some of my friends back home would not be surprised by the headline, which brings a smile to my face.

For proof of my situation I get out of my tent and take a 22 second video of my surroundings: vehicles zooming by at 120 kph, highway lights, and sounds of hidden cicadas. 

I ventured on this journey to get outside of my comfort zone. Mission accomplished, Drew. You’ve 41 days to expand the zone further.

I am going to sleep now. Croatia is beautiful, but tomorrow I need to get the hell out of here.

Well there it is, Reader. And here is a photo of how happy I was in the park before this incident occurred:

Podcasts for all!

My best friend (Majestic Locklear — yes, that is his real name) told me about podcasts on January 13, 2011. I only know the date because the app he told me to use, Stitcher Radio App, tells me my join date each time I open the app. It also tells me I’ve listened to over 2796 hours of podcasts. He also told me about a paid app to use named Downcast that I’ve used even more than Stitcher. Reader, I admit, I have a podcast problem. 

There are so many things I have learned from podcasts that I would not know otherwise. Some information is useful and some has a .03% chance of me ever using that information again. 

Thanks to podcasts like Stuff You Should Know and Stuff To Blow Your Mind, I know about:

  • Jean Paul Sartre
  • Mermaids
  • How NASCAR began
  • Aphantasia
  • The history of peanuts
  • Quinoa
  • LSD
  • Penile transplants
  • Gene editing

Did you just Google aphantasia? I would have if I had not already listened to Stuff To Blow Your Mind’s episode about it. 

Podcasts are great to listen to while doing other things: at the gym, driving a long distance, driving a short distance, on the bus, walking through town, cooking, cleaning your toilet, and so many other situations. 

Podcasts are excellent because they are personal. Unlike audiobooks, you can get to know the podcast hosts and hear their points of view on many different topics. Developing a personal relationship with the host(s) makes the listening more meaningful. 

Podcasts have boosted my creativity, knowledge, and listening skills. They have given me new interests and are great to chat with friends about. Even if your friends haven’t listened to an episode, it can still be interesting to talk about. 

I bet you’re waiting for a long list of podcasts I love, that you may love, but you may not, because we’re not the same person, but you’re hoping since I’ve listened for years, they won’t all be worthless. Well dear Reader, I hope not to let you down:

  • Radiolab (science/philosophy/human experience)
  • Hardcore History with Dan Carlin
  • Invisibilia (human bahvior)
  • Freakonomics
  • This American Life (storytelling)
  • Song Exploder
  • Gastropod (food)
  • Modern Love (stories of love, loss, and redemption)
  • Science Vs
  • Startalk (space)
  • Democracy Now! (independent news)
  • A History of the World in 100 Objects

There is a podcast for almost every topic. There are podcasts for fictional storytelling, serial killers, philosophy, food, language learning, nutrition, and many more. 

Do you already listen to podcasts? If so, fantastic! Tell me some of your favorites that you believe would interest anyone. We look forward to your recommendations, Reader. 

Until next Drew Dropping, au revoir.

Greetings, Reader

George Carlin has a great book named Brain Droppings. That is where Drew Droppings came from. This space will be for my Drew Droppings. For those bits of information that drip from my head. I have no precise aim for this blog other than random entertainment, perhaps. I’m a philosophizer, over-analyzer, walking-contradiction, and many more descriptions. This ought to be fun for you and me.

If you don’t know George Carlin, it’s never too late to be acquainted. George, meet Reader. Reader, meet George: Brain Droppings read by George Carlin.

I’ve been weary of starting a blog. I have had thoughts such as I need a niche, it needs to be interesting, etc. I’ve realized it is better to not worry about it and risk having a friend tell me it is unbearable. Rejection builds character. Nietzsche said that after giving Hitler a high-five. Both were rumored to have had syphilis, but who knows? The internet is like being in an Orwellian dream of reality, or otherwise. 

I’m traveling through South America at the moment. I’ve been gone for four months. One day I will return to the US of A; if I can make it back before Trump bans all US citizens that are traveling in countries with brown people.

I think this has been a great start. What do you think? I’m in dire need of reassurance in life. 

I’m going to eat coconut curry lentils. It’s fantastic. I cannot get enough curry in my life. A friend nicknamed me Curry Baba, The Curry Saint. When I go to India, I hope to be called by this name. Reader, have you had curry peanut butter before? I hope you have. I hope you have. 

Okay, I’m really going to eat now. I feel like I’m being one of those people on the phone that say bye but then start a new conversation that you sigh at and barely listen while you clip your toenails and repeatedly say, “Un-huh.”

Ciao for now, Reader.