4 Things That Are Awesome About Riding A Motorcycle

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IG: raulfelix275

Despite the possibility of getting killed by an absentminded undergrad who is Snapchatting herself singing along to the latest hit pop song as she makes a left turn while you’re crossing the intersection, causing you to hit the side of her car at 45MPH, riding a motorcycle is pretty damn sweet. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a speed demon going nearly twice the speed limit on a crotch rocket with no intention of pulling over if the cops chase you because if you get one more ticket you’ll get your license suspended…or a grizzled biker covering vast distances on a tight time hack with several of your brothers on cruisers…or a cute liberal chick or skinny gay guy on a Vespa putt-putting about town…the thrill of the ride is incomparable to those who decide to forgo the cage-like safety of the car, even if just for the weekend. Why is that? Because there are many reasons why a rider’s life is way more awesome.

1. Kids Are Crazy About You

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IG: raulfelix275

Remember when you were a kid and you would see a motorcycle passing by on the freeway? Maybe your mom would comment on how dangerous they are. You didn’t care because the cool guys on TV rode the shit out of them, wearing badass leather jackets, jeans, and sticking it to the man. You’ll fantasize about being one of those dudes when you got older as you played with your Hot Wheels and always had the motorcycle do insane stunts that defied the laws of physics as it was shooting its machine gun.

Many years down the line, you are at a red light thinking about how much of a total badass you are ’cause you’re finally on a motorcycle. A car pulls up next to you and out of the corner of your eye you see a hand flailing. You look to your right and in the backseat you see a kid seven or eight years old waving at you with a missing-tooth smile. You wave back at him and he starts laughing. You rev the throttle a bit and he goes ape shit from excitement. The light turns green and you speed away.

Kids love motorcycles, plain and simple. Whenever you make appearances to any family event, all the little kids are going to see your bike and want to sit on it. You will be one of the cool grown-ups, not one of those who drives a soul-crushing minivan.

 

2. Chicks Dig You, Too

As much as it may frighten them, few things are more effective at drenching the panties of a female than a man who rides a motorcycle well. It’s not as simple as getting your ass on a bike and going to places where girls hang. First, you must prove that you aren’t some idiot who is going to try to impress her by riding dangerously. You must recognize that riding on the backseat is quite intimate. She is signaling: I trust you with my life. Sadly, a lot of men these days aren’t capable of handling that sort of responsibility.

Also, the seat positioning will have her body in constant contact with yours. Most chicks aren’t willing to do that with whatever chode on two wheels, either. Only after gaining her respect and trust will you be able to get her to take a ride with you. As the ride happens, the breeze in her face, the revving of the engine as you twist the throttle, and the utter freedom of it all will make her lady parts tingly. Don’t forget the vibrations of the engine, too. You’ve displayed your competence as a man.

Riding a motorcycle is not something that can be done by any random dude. Thousands of people—even long-time riders—kill themselves each year on bikes. But the fact that you ride one puts you in the niche class of “bad boy” that nearly every woman has a few sultry fantasies about.

 

3. You Instantly Have A Connection With Fellow Riders

 

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IG: raulfelix275

Men form bonds by sharing knowledge and conducting activities together. Riding a motorcycle is one of the manliest hobbies in modern times. A man on a motorcycle represents the images of glory reminiscent of galloping knights and cowboys on horseback—as opposed to the simplicity of driving a cage that requires no more from you other than grabbing your keys and hopping in the driver’s seat.

Mounting your iron steed has the aura of prepping for combat. You look at the weather report and adjust the amount of cold weather gear you’ll need to wear. You put on your vest, grab your helmet, gloves, and glasses. You approach your baby waiting for you in her spot.

“Hello, beautiful,” you say.

You fire her up to warm her up a bit while you don your protective gear. You give her a quick little rev to make sure she purrs all right. She does. Away you go.

If you can relate to this feeling, then you’re a fellow motorcycle rider. You get it; others don’t. That’s why you always have an immediate connection with those who also ride. You’ll make small talk with fellow bikers and make friends with fellow bikers. And at times, you party hard as fuck with fellow bikers.

 

4. There Is No Better Way To Travel

 

MC4

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The world is a gorgeous place. We become immune to the wonder of it all during the routine of our daily lives. Yet when you’re on a motorcycle, you can’t help but notice. You feel everything…the feeling of needles poking your face when you’re riding through rain at 80MPH…the blazing furnace that is Arizona…the smell of countryside…the fresh breeze. Everything, good or bad, is a part of your journey. Back to our primal roots, before the windshield and air-conditioning of the cage shielded us from it all.

I’ve traveled a vast majority the United States at some point or another on my motorcycle. I’ve also ridden it to Mexico and Canada. I rented one for three weeks and traveled the whole of Italy. I had one as my sole means of transportation for a year and half last time I lived in Cali. I ride one now when it’s not snowing or freezing over in Upstate New York.

It’s a wondrous love affair. Every journey feels like an adventure, like that rare lover you can share you life with. Whether to the neighborhood bar to have a beer or across the country, the saddle of a motorcycle puts you closer to the elements and the world.

~Raul Felix

Read:29 Things I Learned By Age 29
Read: The Gay Meth Story
Read: 6 Things I Learned About Israel While Living and Working There

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The Patience Of A Waitress

A little after 2 AM on a Tuesday night I walk into a twenty-four-hour diner. I have just finished a solid writing session where I wrestled with words and harnessed them into decent prose. I find my way to an empty booth and take a seat.

“I’ll be with you in just a moment,” says the waitress as she delivers meals to their tables. It’s quite busy considering it’s a random weekday night. She’s gracefully hustling throughout the restaurant with the utmost efficiency. I look around and notice that she’s the only server.

“Hello, my name is Elizabeth. May I take your drink order while you look at the menu?” she says with a tender smile as she places the menu on the table.

“Sure, I’ll just take a water, please,” I say.

I flip through the pages of the menu and decide on my order. She returns with my water.

“Here’s your water,” she says. “Are you ready to order?”

“Yeah, I would like the club sandwich, please.” As she writes down my order, I notice her black hair has a few streaks of grey in it.

“Would you like regular or seasoned fries?”

“Seasoned please,” I say as I examine the little crow’s feet near her eyes.

“All righty then, I’ll have your order in a few moments.”

She picks up the menu and scurries off to her other duties.

Despite her cheerful demeanor, she looked tired and overworked. She must have been in her mid to late thirties yet possessed more spunk and enthusiasm than a waitress half her age.

I begin to wonder if she has kids and is working at this late hour to provide for them. Maybe she also works at another restaurant and she’s pulling a double.

“That was my mom,” I think to myself.

Twenty-eight years ago: She made the difficult decision to leave me, her only child, with my grandparents in Mexico so she could make the long trek into the United States with the help of a couple of her siblings that blazed the trail a couple of years earlier. She found a nook for herself in their small apartment and then found an employer who was willing to overlook her lack of documentation.

Twenty-four years ago: A few years of waiting tables, long hours, sweat, tears, frustration, broken hearts, and longing for her son to be with her at last. She finally was able to muster enough cash and resources to be able to send off for her niño quierdo. After a daylong bus ride with my grandfather, I awoke to the kisses of my aunt.

“He’s awake,” she exclaimed. “Go get gorda!

Mi baby, mi niño,” my mom cries as she’s kissing and hugging me.

I later throw a tantrum when I find out I’m not going back to Mexico.

Twenty years ago: Her English is spoken with a heavy accent, yet her natural sweetness always shines through. She would become a favorite of her patrons. Her work ethic ensured she got tipped well. Her beauty would have many men competing for her attention. Her only bad habit would be to take a cigarette break. She would drive a beat-up ’75 Camaro to work. Her big heart would have her taking her mother, father, and little sister into an apartment she shared with a friend and her daughter.

Thirteen years ago: I, her sweet boy, turn into a typical spoiled American teenage shithead, ungrateful of the sacrifices she’s made for me to be able to live without serious wants. The long hours she works for me to have a roof over my head, food in my belly, gas in my car, and clothes on my back. She works doubles so I can grow up in a nice city. She confronts an older woman with the wrath of a mama bear when the woman makes not-so-subtle sexual gestures at me. She buys me books, CDs, video games, and a gym membership. She is proud when I get my first job at a fast-food joint. She cries and wonders how she’s failed as a mother when she sees my terrible grades in school.

Six years ago: She gets fired from the restaurant where she spent fifteen years working. A jealous coworker trumps up a reason to get rid of her. Her feet are tired. She no longer desires the headaches caused by cooks who slack on her orders because she won’t date them. She’s annoyed with the cheap patrons who stiff her on tips. She gets a job as a clerk at Chevron. I am freshly out of the Army and I pick her up on my motorcycle and take her on a ride.

“You have really turned into a man, mi amor,” she says as she gives me a kiss on the cheek after our ride.

The lone cook peeks his head through the window as he rings the bell to indicate an order is ready. The waitress delivers it to me without hesitation. I chow down. I ask for my check. I leave her a good-sized tip. I wonder whose mom she is.

~Raul Felix

Read: Ode To La Doña: The Linchpin Of The Mexican Family
Read: Keep Moving, Young Man
Read: Four Things Only Mexican-Americans Will Understand

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11 Veterans On How To Succeed After The Military

SPC William Lockwood, 55th Combat Camera

SPC William Lockwood, 55th Combat Camera

The military life has its own protective bubble in a way. You have a steady paycheck, health insurance, and a host of career trajectory options. Retention Non-Commissioned Officers will attempt to scare you into reenlisting by warning you about how hard it is in the real world and the dire condition of the economy. The feeling of finally gaining your freedom back as a civilian can be overwhelming and full of contradictory emotions ranging from full-fledged glee to utter dread when you realize you have no idea what you want to do with your life now that you’ve hung up your uniform for good. Most of the career advice you find never quite feels suited to your unique skill set and experiences. In an effort to pass down some hard-earned knowledge, the following 11 veterans will give you a bit of advice on how to succeed in your post-military career ambitions.

1. Raul Felix, U.S. Army 2005-2009, Writer & Poet

“Realize that most people will not understand that dark sense of humor you may have developed. Be consciously aware of whom you’re talking to and whether or not they can handle a fucked-up joke that may come out of your mouth. Test the waters a bit first; don’t go full-on dead-baby joke after only talking to a person for five minutes.”

2. Jack Murphy, U.S. Army 2002-2010, Editor at SOFREP

“The most important thing I realized when I left the high-octane world of Army Special Operations for the private sector is that you have to learn to be both a soldier and a manager at the same time. That is to say, you no longer have a Team Leader or Squad Leader looking over your shoulder telling you it is time to rest, time to eat, time to go to sleep. That soldier work ethic is critical and gives you an edge over civilians, but you also have to keep in mind that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Besides, you’re not a 19-year old Ranger now. It’s OK to take a vacation, read a book, or play some video games at the end of the day. Otherwise you end up working yourself to death.”

3. VaNiesha Honani, U.S. Navy 1998-2005, Certification Manager

“Job Interviews outside of DOD / Government jobs like Tech Startups: 90% of my interviews outside of DOD and governmental jobs have assumed that because I was in the military—it’s ‘robot do.’ We are only used to instructions and stringent structure with little initiative or innovation. I started cutting them off at the head with a good anecdote (they love hearing the “Once in band camp…’ stories.) that shows how we had to use some innovation in a stressful time. Second thing I point out is we are very adaptable. I’ve won every time by pointing out, ‘Being in the military – I’ve learned you can’t have a 3rd eye and be sensitive about it, adapt and take it with a grain of salt.’ In Tech Startups – you tend to be around some finicky but talented people – not being high maintenance and self sufficient is a dream employee.”

4. Leo Jenkins, U.S. Army 2003-2007, Author of On Assimilation & Lest We Forget

“Leaving shouldn’t mean severing ties. I get it; I wanted nothing to do with the rank and file of the military when I got out. Sadly that meant isolating myself. Guess what, you just served in the most cohesive fraternity in the world. You know the one thing fraternities are actually good for? Networking. You’ve just spent X number of years establishing relationships with people from all over the country. Those people are your best bet at making it in the world. You’re gonna need a job now and I guarantee one your military buddies has a family member looking for an employee who know what responsibility looks like, who can show up on time, and get the job done right, regardless of the raging hang over caused by binge drinking until 4AM. Bottom line, stay in contact with your buddies.”

5. Tyler Gately, U.S. Army 2004-2009, Press Secretary, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

“Come to the realization that when you get out of the military you are starting over professionally. The truth is that your military skills will likely not transfer to a civilian career. Research careers you are interested in and read about how other people got there. Maximize your benefits and intern as much as you can. Internships are the easiest and quickest way to learn what your passion is and more importantly, what it is not.”

6. Brent Ebell, U.S. Army 2001-2007, Professional Cameraman

“Use your past as fuel. Remember all the pain, suffering, humiliation, freezing weather, blistering heat, spit flying in your face as someone screams the most degrading shit at you. Use all of it because people will inevitably doubt you. You will hear phrases like, ‘that’s impossible.’ ‘Can’t be done.’ Or ‘those are pipe dreams.’ All you have to do is look back at what you’ve already survived and overcome. Whenever someone doubts you, look him or her in the eyes and smile, but just think to yourself, ‘Fuck you!’”

7. Glenn Ness, U.S. Army 2004-2015, Student

“Try to get up to college level before you get out so that you aren’t wasting the GI Bill on menial classes. If you know that you are shooting for a high-credit degree, try to pay out of pocket as long as you can before tapping into the GI Bill because a community college now is going to be cheaper than a university in 4 years. Also, stay away from predatory schools. Some for-profit universities design their programs to squeeze every bit of money out of your GI Bill.”

8. Nick Palmisciano, U.S. Army 1994-2003, CEO of Ranger Up

“You know how you look at guys who were high school athletes and all they do is relive those days forever because that’s as good as it ever was for them? Don’t be that guy with your military service. Just like high school athletics should be a stepping stone to greater successes, so should you think of your service. It made you stronger, taught you valuable life lessons, and helped you hone your character. So take that wisdom and find a new mission and get after it, knowing it may suck at first the way basic training did. Your life should always be leaning forward, never anchored to the past. When you lean forward, no matter how hard a year is, at the end of it, you’re a tougher, better, more skilled person than you were before. When you spend all your time looking back, the world keeps changing and you remain still, slowly becoming less useful with each passing moment.”

9. Shannon L. Adams, U.S. Air Force, IAVA Michigan Community Leader

“Find a mentor to help you with the transition that’s recently been there themselves. This can be achieved through your IAVA [Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America] network or a Veteran service organization. We all learned from others’ experiences while in the service, we accepted advice from our peers, our leadership and learned in professional environments (training) to overcome obstacles, to get promoted and to dust ourselves off when we stumbled. Don’t try and do it alone!”

10. Vincent “Rocco” Vargas, U.S. Army 2003-2007, Army Reserves 2007-Present, COO of Article 15 Clothing

“I have two things that really drive me. One is my family. I always imagine them watching me walk across some imaginary stage receiving an award of some sort and just seeing the proud look on their faces….It’s easy to justify giving up to yourself, but when you have to justify failure to your kids, or your father…that’s always more difficult. That thought has gotten me through some of my hardest days in training and in hardship.

I know the only way of making that thought a reality is to work hard toward a goal. Which brings me to my second driving factor….I like to give myself small goals or missions if you will. Once getting out of the military, I felt there was no real direction. I wanted to do something with myself, but unlike some achievements in the military, there is no prebuilt path. So I created these missions and strive every day to achieve them. Something as simple as being a more affectionate dad to something as difficult as getting back in shape. I continue to hold myself accountable for my self-improvement.

By the end of the year I should have, hopefully, become a better person, husband, and father by accomplishing these small missions. This has given me motivation to wake up the next day and keep grinding. Setting these smaller step goals and holding myself accountable to be the man I want to be for my family.”

11. Jarred Taylor, U.S. Air Force 2003-present, President of Article 15 Clothing

“There is no magical career path where you don’t have to put in hard work. Yes the circumstances and definition of ‘hard’ change outside the military, but don’t for one second think it gets easier once your out. Focus that ‘never quit’ and ‘don’t have the option to quit’ attitude when pursuing a civilian career and you will quickly see yourself rise above your peers. Because those that only know an environment where if they don’t like something they can just ‘quit’ don’t have the same drive a military person has.”

~Raul Felix

Read: 4 Things That Security Contractors Love To Spend Their Money On
Read: Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians
Read: 12 Things Only Veterans Of The Global War On Terrorism Will Understand

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Why Young Men Should Become Cougar Slayers

(c) Sergey Furtaev

(c) Sergey Furtaev

For all their youthful vigor, beauty, and perfectly angled selfies that show off their best assets, most young chicks are a real pain in the ass to deal with. Most of them think that the average young guy is incapable of fulfilling them and haven’t been humbled by reality enough to know what characteristics to truly look for in a man. Also, they’ll elevate a minor problem into full-blown drama and then yap about how they’ve been through a lot (of dick). Regardless, many boys and men will compete for their attention because nothing screams Alpha Male like having a hot 21-year-old with an hourglass figure hanging off your arm. Instead of directly going toe-to-toe with other dudes who have airtight game or higher social value than you in such a fiercely competitive atmosphere, why not change the field you operate in and become a cougar-slayer?

For those of you slow on the uptake, cougars are older, mature women usually 40+ who still look pretty damn good because they’ve taken care of themselves throughout the years. They are not to be confused with spinsters and fat-acceptance twats whose bitterness and sloth has left them with a body that only devouring hundreds of gallons of ice cream while watching romantic comedies compounded over many years can produce.

I learned about the unique prowess of these wonderful creatures by pure luck. When I was in the Army, my unit was constructing a bunch of new barracks and ran out of the room to house all the single soldiers. So they decided to give a bunch of us single dudes who had been there for a while an extra allowance for housing so we could get our own places off-post. The apartment I got for myself was near a bar that catered to a more mature clientele because they often hosted cover bands that played classic rock.

As I began to frequent that bar, something occurred that rarely happened to me: Good-looking women with amazing fake breasts and wild 80s-style glam-rock hair began to flirt with me. At the time, my MO was to hit up the bars, hit on chicks who were in my age range, and get promptly rejected. This would lead to me drinking alcohol in frustration and making another sloppy attempt at convincing a chick to let met touch her lady parts, which led to more severe rejections. Frustration drinking would morph into rage drinking, which would have me falling toward a downward spiral of angst and loneliness that ended with me jerking off to nude pictures of my ex-girlfriend.

A new world opened for me. Instead of constantly having my ego destroyed by 6s or 7s who wanted nothing to do with my goofy Mexican self, I was exchanging witty banter, dancing, making out, and more with cougars who were 8s and 9s in their prime and still looked like total foxes. They loved that I was an eager, muscular, clean-cut Latin 22-year-old with an outgoing personality and quirky smile. I loved their feminine physique, no-bullshit attitude, and ability to hold real conversations. It was the beginning of an infatuation that has maintained my interest until this day.

Why should young men experiment with dating cougars? Because they have an insane amount of knowledge to bequeath upon you to expedite the process of growing into a real man. A lot of these women have been hardened by the real world. They have been married, divorced, have full-fledged careers, and may have a few kids to boot. They don’t have time for the petty games that late-teen and early-twenty-something chicks love to play on the male psyche. When they decide to spend time with you, they mean business. They’re able to stimulate you physically and mentally.

Through your interactions with them, you’ll learn about the mistakes both men and women tend to make as they grow older—from having children before they were truly ready to allowing the romance in the relationship to wane. You’ll be exposed to their lifestyle and see how life can look like for you if you make the right or wrong moves. You’ll learn to interact more intelligently and have deeper conversations with the opposite sex. You’ll have a ton of hands-on experience on pleasing your woman in the sack because most cougars are more than willing to coach you into being a good lover.

You shouldn’t exclusively date cougars, but add them to your repertoire of women you consider dating material. Depending on how successful she is, you’ll be able to catch a taste of the high-class life. You know all those pretty young chicks going to all sorts of fancy, exclusive parties and places on social media? Most of them didn’t pay the bill for that. They got there by dating older men who have already established themselves. It’s tough to compete with that as a young man who is barely starting off in the world.

Don’t think just because you’re with an older woman that you can be a lazy sack of shit. If you’re a broke, sloppy mouth-breather with poor personal hygiene and the inability to hold a conversation, these bitches will shut you down quickly. You’re the young stud—play the part. Have enough money to take her out for drinks, be in good shape, dress nice, and have something of value to say. They are still women, after all. You must spark their interest and gain their trust. If you’re able to do those things, you’ll have more than you fill of cougar love, as opposed to trying to scrounge for a bit of attention from a mediocre chick with an overinflated self-worth because she has 2,000 Instagram followers who bombard her with likes every time she posts a cleavage shot.

~Raul Felix

Read: She Had The Body Of A Greek Goddess
Read: Army Rangers Talk About The Times Their Words Have Shocked Civilians
Read: 4 Things Women Can Do To Be More Attractive (From A Non-Beta Bitch Male Perspective)

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Onward To 2016!

ddd
Sometimes all you need to fix your soul and situation in life is to pop smoke and get the fuck out of Dodge. In the latter part of 2014, I found myself in Upstate New York because of a temporary job that I couldn’t turn down. After working the gig for a few months, cuts occurred and I was out of purgatory. I then traveled around the North East for a month and settled into a lovely little town that caught my heart named Ithaca.

I arrived on a bus from New York City a little after midnight on a blistering cold February night, toting only a backpack and a small duffle bag. With no friends or family in the town, I set off to start a new chapter in my life and put into place some life principles and habits I’ve been pondering around in my head.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
-Bruce Lee

I asked myself: What professional principles do I need to ingrain into myself in order to take my writing to the next level and move up the ladder of professional success? What kind of habits do I need to develop in order to become the kind of man I want to be? I figured I needed to do at least two out of four of the following every day:

Work, Work out, Read, and Write.

When I wasn’t sure what to do on a day, I just figured out what I can do in order to make two of these things happen. Did I work my bar job today? Mind too fried to write? I’ll just work out. I need to let my body rest, and I don’t work at any of my jobs today. I’ll read and write.

As simple as it seems, I didn’t always hit the mark. Dates with pretty ladies, random nights of debauchery, riding my motorcycle to visit my Ranger buddies, and at times, the laziness dragon caught me. Yet, those days when I did I hit the mark happened more often than not.

My output with pieces this year was pretty low compared to 2014 when I was pissing off people with sand in their vagina on Thought Catalog and making a name for myself. I began to read and write more poetry and gain a deeper understanding of it. The few articles I did write for Thought Catalog this year I was very proud of.

For This One Day, She Made Me Forgot was one of the hardest pieces I’ve ever written. While other pieces have been tough to write, this one was a deep knife cut per word and each sentence caused tears to pour down my face. I was emotionally drained upon completing it and had one of the deepest sleeps in my life.

29 Things I Learned By 29 showed that I have more going on my head than my quest for fame and pussy. It also has generated the most fan mail for me since The Division of Generation Y. Thanks to Ryan Holiday, I got to interview one of my favorite writers, Tucker Max. It was pretty fucking tits to interview a man I looked up to since I was 19.

“To be an artist means: not to reckon and count; to ripen like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of Spring without fear lest no Summer might come after. It does come. But it comes only to the patient ones, who are there as if eternity lay in front of them, so unconcernedly still and far. I am learning it daily, learning it through pains to which I am grateful: patience is all!”
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet

Those of you who have followed me since my early days have noticed how dramatically my writing style has changed. Those of you who are new, probably have noticed how different a lot of my pieces are from one another. I have never wanted to remain static as a writer. I want to throughly learn, explore, experiment, and develop myself in this art form. Only through constantly pushing myself in new avenues and approaches will I become the versatile, honed, and unique writer I need to be in order to be placed among the greats.

I love writing my panty-wetting, heart-wrenching poetry and essays as much I love writing my politically incorrect, misogynistic asshole rant pieces. They’re just different aspects of my personality.

Women have been the light and bane of my existence. That sums up my attitude toward the fairer sex for this year. I’ve been on dates and had some flings with some very lovely women and have had my heart stomped by a couple.

I have made a good, little life for myself in this small town. A lot of people know my name and face. I have a few cool friends that I hang out with regularly, and I’ve been to a few random college parties. Also, I got fired from one bar job because some chick recognized me while I was working behind the bar and told the owner I wrote a bunch of articles online that are offensive to women. She did me a favor because the owner is a worthless sack-of-shit who was jerking me around and not following through on the promises he made me. I found a better establishment to work at afterwards with an awesome manager who actually does what she says she is going to do.

Solitude was the main theme of this year. Most of my time, I spent alone. I started the process ingraining the principles of success into my life: Running the hills of Ithaca in the snow, reading poetry by Charles Bukowski and Edgar Lee Masters, watching every single documentary on war I could find on YouTube, putting my mind at peace by riding my motorcycle, swimming in Cayuga Lake, slinging drinks, and writing.

“You cannot repress anger or love, or avoid feeling them, and you should not try. But you should be careful about how you express them, and most important, they should never influence your plans and strategies in any way.”
-Robert Greene, The 48 Laws Of Power

You can expect more output from me in 2016 than in 2015. I needed to take a step back and reconsolidate my life. I have also been working on a project that I will I announce when I feel appropriate. I have found a serenity within myself that has allowed me to tame some of the demons that have held me back. Thank you for your continued support, and I cherish every single one of you for reading my words. Onward to 2016!

~Raul Felix

Read: Onward To 2014
Read: Onward To 2013
Read: 28 Things I’ve Learned By 28

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An Army Ranger Interviews A Navy SEAL On Resilience

What is resilience? It’s not something you can buy off the shelf. You can’t pout until it’s given to you, either. You acquire it by doing the most human of things: struggling. In this struggle, it’s essential that you keep fighting through and driving on, whether you have succeeded or failed in your goals. Each time you go through the process, you become a bit more resilient.

Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar, and founder of veterans organization The Mission Continues. He has written a book on the subject: Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living A Better Life. In a series of letters to his SEAL comrade who struggles with depression, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress disorder, Eric seeks to break down the elements that make for a resilient life so he can help out his friend and, in turn, others.

Raul Felix:
Eric, your organization, The Mission Continues, puts post-9/11 veterans to purposeful work by leveraging their already established experiences, skills, and giving them additional training. This is a bit contrary to what other organizations have done, which focused on giving veterans goodies with no long-term value. When did this idea come about and what does your organization do?

Eric Greitens:
Our wounded and disabled veterans had lost a lot. Some had lost their eyesight. Some their hearing. Some had lost limbs. All of that they would recover from. If they lost their sense of purpose, however, that would be deadly. I also knew that no one was going to be able to give them hope; they were going to have to create hope through action.

I wanted to welcome returning and disabled veterans not just with charity, but with a challenge.

So I donated my combat pay to begin a different kind of veterans’ organization, and two friends contributed money from their disability checks. My plan with The Mission Continues was to offer fellowship for veterans to serve at nonprofit, charitable, and public benefit organizations. We would provide veterans with a stipend to offset cost-of-living expenses and with mentors to help them build plans for their post-fellowship life. Most importantly, we would provide them with the challenge and the opportunity to rebuild a meaningful life by serving again in communities here at home.

Raul Felix:
In your book, you mention three forms of happiness: Happiness of Pleasure, Happiness of Grace, and Happiness of Excellence. All three are needed. Many veterans, especially the ones who get out in their early or mid-twenties, fall into the trap of overindulging in pleasure with alcohol, drugs, unscrupulous sex, and other whims in order to get that emotional high they experienced while on mission. I know I did and still do. Why does focusing more on excellence, which is way harder, lead to a richer form of happiness?

Eric Greitens:
I think that—most simply—the happiness of excellence leads to a richer form of happiness because it involves growth. When we push ourselves and engage in activity that leads to excellence, we exercise our power—and this leads to growth, to mastery, and—in time—to achievement. All of that deep engagement with the world creates joy along the way.

In addition, part of what makes this happiness richer is that, often times, our efforts actually make others happy along the way. You, for example, know that it takes a lot of effort to write a good piece. As you write more, you become better at your craft. At the same time, your writing offers something to others. And if this is true for you, you’ve got a great combination—inner growth and outer service.

Finally, I think that the happiness of excellence is often richer because it helps to provide us with a sense of direction and, over time, a sense of purpose. When I think, for example, about the kind of happiness that’s available to the man in your poem, “Keep Moving, Young Man,” we both know that the happiness of pleasure might offer a moment of relief, but afterwards a guy like this might plunge even deeper still. If, however, he had a sense of direction…if, however, he felt himself getting better…if, however, he felt like he was making a contribution to others…that might—over time and with lots of hard work—lead him to a different place altogether. And that’s the great promise of the happiness of excellence.

Raul Felix:
You mentioned that “The naive mind imagines effortless success, the cowardly mind imagines hardship and freezes, the resilient mind imagines hardships and prepares.” We were taught in the military that you have to have a contingency plan in case things do go wrong. When you acquire a veteran fellowship, what do you do in order to ensure they are prepared and do succeed?

Eric Greitens:
That’s a great question. We try to apply all of the lessons in the Resilience book to make sure that they have the best chance of success. So, for example, we make sure that they have mentors to learn from, models to follow. We create counselors to guide them, friends to aid them, and there is a curriculum that they complete, all designed to help them to build the mental toughness and to develop the sense of purpose that are necessary to make it through a tough time.

Raul Felix:
You have a whole letter dedicated to friendship. I agree that having good friends is one of the great things that makes life worth living. My friends have been there for me and have bailed me out of physical and legal trouble more times than I can recall. Also, real friends will call you out when you’re messing up your life, business, or just plain being an asshole. Can you give us a recent example of when your friends have helped you out?

Eric Greitens:
Of course. I run a small business—I started it when I came home from Iraq, and I’m proud of it. It provides a good living for my family and for the people on the team. A few months back I had a guy who worked for me—a guy I’d given a lot of opportunities to—who lied to me and stole from me. That’s a gut punch. I called a friend [to replace him] the next day. He was at my house two hours later, and he’s been with me now every day for over seven months. My company is so much stronger than it was before—and we got there because of my friend and the incredible people on my team. It’s a classic Resilience case: I never would have wanted it to happen, but in retrospect, I’m actually grateful that it did because it made us so much stronger.

Raul Felix:
Part of the allure the military, especially Special Operations Units, has to young men is that whole transformative process. It pushes you to your physical, mental, and emotional limits. It has the power to test you and make something more out of you than you were before. If not the military, what other rites of passage do you think would a young person need to go through in order to earn the same amount of pride and sureness of oneself?

Eric Greitens:
A rite of passage usually marks a transition from one phase of life to the next. When you join the military, you literally step off of the bus, and *bang*, you’ve got a drill instructor yelling in your ear and you’re in a whole new world. You’ve come to a place that is meant to transition you from a citizen into a citizen-soldier/sailor/airman/Marine who is built to serve others.

Going to college usually marks a transition, as does entering a monastery, getting married, or having a child. You move, in each case, from one phase of life to the next. You become a husband or wife, a father or mother.

For young people looking to develop pride and confidence, there is only one path: self-created success. You will know you are good and strong when you have done things that are good. Achievement can take place in the art room, on the athletic field, in an auto body shop, in your business, on a farm—and achievement can take many many different forms. But true confidence comes when we grow, when we learn, when we master new skills. Almost everything new can be frightening at first, but with the right kinds of experience, we grow in courage.

That’s why resilience is an essential virtue; you can’t grow without it.

Raul Felix:
You’ve done quite a bit with your life. You’ve been a Rhodes scholar, humanitarian volunteer, Navy SEAL, and you’ve started a great non-profit organization. A lot of people would look at what you’ve accomplished and think they can’t hope to reach that level of excellence and may be even intimidated by it. Obviously, everything you’ve accomplished was a result of your own hard work and resilience. What last bit of advice would you give to someone who is young but hasn’t really done much with their life in order to get moving toward the right path for them?

Eric Greitens:
Well, thank you, Raul. That’s very kind of you. I’ve been fortunate to work with wonderful people along the way.

What I say to young people is this: You have a contribution to make. You have something to offer. And to develop your own sense of purpose, do two things. One, stay humble. It’s important that we remember that every person is better than us in some way. Every person has something to teach us. So learn from people around you. At the same time, be bold. Try new things. Attack hard problems. Do the tough stuff. Push yourself. If you can be humble and bold at the same time, you’ll create something beautiful.

~Raul Felix

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4 Things That Security Contractors Love To Spend Their Money On

The Global War on Terror has offered unique career opportunities for American veterans that past wars have not. The US military’s inability to recruit enough troops to fill the mission requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other sites throughout the world has created the need to hire private security contracting firms.

Being a private military contractor allows a combat veteran to grab some of those big bucks that are usually reserved for those in the upper echelon or technical side of the military-industrial complex. Since well-paying jobs on the home front are hard to come by, it makes perfect sense for a man who was willing to fight in a foreign land for less than $20,000 a year to become a shooter for a six-figure income. If you’re one of these men, you come back with quite a bit of money in your pocket after doing a contract or six. How should you go about spending it?

1. Getting a sweet ride.

Now that you’ve spent a few of the best years of your life in a shithole country being the personal security for some faceless executives of Tax Payer Money Funnel Incorporated, you’re ready to live out your own dreams—unless you’re a closet hipster who has wet dreams about owning a Prius, which signals to the world you’re trendy, environmentally conscious, and gay. It will include one or all of the following: a truck, a badass sports car, or a motorcycle.

You’ve been stalking the vehicle that catches your fancy for months. Checking out every color and trim variations. Deciding which features and extras you must have: sound systems, limo tint, grills, and lift kits. You know what? Fuck it! Just murder that motherfucker out. Should you put 24s on it? You fantasize of cruising down an open highway with your hands in between the thighs of a hot brunette sitting in the passenger seat in a tank top who is barely able to contain her breasts and singing along to the latest Taylor Swift hit single because you’re confident enough in your heterosexuality to listen to pop music without irony.

You’re finally able to strut into a dealership like an OG gangster with cold, hard cash. You’re not playing any games; you’re getting the car you want.

“I have $XX,XXX cash,” you say to the shady salesman who is eager to take as much of your money as possible. “You will give me this car, at this price.” He’ll then try to swindle you by saying they don’t give special cash discounts. You’ll then be like, “Hey Broseph, I ain’t no dumb private just out of Basic that you can financially rape with your 18.99% APR loan you’re able to secure through a subprime lender because I got a secure job in the military. I’ve been contracting and doing my research. You’re going to give me the car I want, with the specs I want, in the color I want, and at this fucking price.” You then drive away with a gangster lean in your car because you just dick-slapped the dealership.

2. Taking a vacation that fully indulges your vices.

Sure, your friends and family back home will be eager to see you and have missed you dearly. But if you have learned anything from your years when you were in the military, it’s that being home on leave is pretty lame after two or three days. All your friends and family are doing their own thing. Even if you do show back up, you’re not really going to see them more than once or twice. Why sit around in your hometown where not much has changed when you can take a trip to a foreign place where the foreigners aren’t trying to kill you?

Wolf Of Wall Street

Wolf Of Wall Street

If Hollywood and music videos have taught us anything is that it’s standard operating procedure to celebrate your newfound riches with scantly clad women in an exotic location while snorting mountains of coke and popping piles of Viagra to combat chronic erectile dysfunction. However, since you’ve spent the last few months around men, your game with females may have suffered. No worries; the time-honored profession of prostitution is there to make sure you have someone who will pretend to care about you for the allotted amount of time that you have bought her. Make sure to hide your drugs.

Perhaps you’re not the hookers-and-blow type. Perhaps you’re the drinking copious amounts of alcohol, brooding by your lonesome, thinking to yourself how everyone in the bar seems like a pussy and you miss hanging around real men, awkwardly hitting on chicks, and then falling asleep as you jack off type. No matter; you’ll have a way better time in foreign places where your American brutishness will be considered a cultural flaw rather than a personal one.

An extravagant vacation may not give you any tangible assets, but it will give you life experiences. Think of all those stories you’ll be able to tell while you’re pulling security at your next contracting gig to break up the monotony of everyone bitching about who they think are total cocksuckers on the contract and bragging about how hard they were back when they were in the military.

3. Embracing your right to bear arms.

You can’t spend all your money on cool toys, travel, drugs, and hookers; you need to be an adult and make a responsible investment. A gun is an asset that assures the security of the rest of your assets. It insures that any person who intrudes upon your person or property will get two in the chest and one in the head.

As much as freedom haters will protest, gun ownership is your right as an American. You risked your life for this country not just selflessly in your military service, but for personal profit when you became a mercenary—I mean, a security contractor. You’re the embodiment of patriotism and capitalism, two major principles in our mighty nation.

Now it’s also crucial that you just not have enough to arm yourself, but everyone in your household, and two or three of your closest friends. When Obama causes a nuclear holocaust, currency won’t be stocks or deeds, but weapons and ammo.

4. Getting yourself out of the rat race.

OK, you’ve blown your money from your previous contracts, but this time you’ve learned your lesson. You can’t keep on deploying anymore. You hate being away from your wife/girlfriend, kids, or dog. You need to figure out how to make your money work for you, not the other way around. While the pay is great, this isn’t a long-term career. You have to make plans for the future on the off chance that the zombie apocalypse doesn’t happen.

You’ve sacrificed and put a lot at risk for the opportunity you have now. You can use your money to start that business you’ve always wanted to start. Or invest in real estate to create a steady stream of income. Or learn a new skill set that actually has a market in the US.

You earned the money; whatever you do with it is up to you. You’ve been broke before and now you’ve gotten a taste of what making real money feels like. You know having money is awesome and it allows you to buy the things and experiences that make you happy to be alive. But it’s also a trap to keep you coming back for more and more. With a little smarts and a bit of luck, you can figure out how to have a sustainable income instead of being caught in the up-and-down cycles of being contractor-rich.

~Raul Felix

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3 Signs A Woman Is A Dependopotamus

The Dependopotamus is a vile creature that can be spotted throughout all branches of the US military. She is the dependent of a military man and lacks any form of self-awareness and cognitive capacity to realize what an utterly worthless sack of shit she is. Since most women who marry a military man are upstanding people and citizens, the Dependopotamus is able to disguise herself as a person of character like an insurgent among the local populace. It takes a skilled eye to spot a Dependopotamus in the wild, but if you pay attention to these tips, then you, too, will be able to spot these wretched parasites in their natural habitat.

1. She has an unearned sense of entitlement.

The Dependopotamus has no real-world accomplishments to call her own other than dropping out of the cosmetology program of her local technical college because it just wasn’t her “thing.” Though she is a lazy bitch, she is also a prideful one who boasts to the world that she is a somebody. To sustain her masquerade that she is a contributing member of society, she’ll take her military man’s professional accomplishments and hardships as her own.

She holds on firmly to the belief that just because her husband is a Sergeant First Class, she automatically earns his prestige by proxy. She’ll look down on other women who are married to men who are of a lesser rank, even attempting to boss them around and implying that if they don’t do what she says, it could negatively affect their husband’s career. She shamelessly wears her husband’s rank, not realizing that just because a man sticks his dick inside her body, it doesn’t mean she gains ranks through whore-smosis.

You’ll see her in the comment section of military articles, talking about how her husband has been deployed three times and how hard that’s been to her on the home front, even though all she did was get fat as fuck, spend all his money, and have a half-dozen other cocks inside of her while her husband was in Iraq hoping not to get his legs blown off by an IED.

Yet she will insist on wearing her XXXL T-shirt with yellow pit stains on them that boldly proclaim to the world, “Army Wife: Hardest Job In The Army”—as if sitting on the couch while eating bonbons, fucking around on her iPhone, and watching Netflix as she lets the house get progressively dirtier can compare to being a real soldier. She’ll bitch about how lonely she is because her hubby is always working and deployed, and she’ll use that as her justification to fuck other men—despite the fact the she has no real career or even semi-respectable means of employment. She leeches off the trusting nature of her man in uniform. Poor sucker doesn’t even realize that his homely wife is the incarnation of what is wrong with modern society.

2. She spurts out one baby after another.

While dimwitted, the Dependopotamus is a shrewd beast who knows that there is one surefire way to trap a man: Bear as many of his offspring as possible. Since having a baby in the military is free thanks to the dependency benefits, she’ll be in a constant state of hosting and developing new fetuses that she isn’t certain are from her husband or one of her many lovers.

Though she has three or four offspring, she has little to no motherly qualities or skills. She will allow them to roam wild through the base’s housing tracts like feral critters as she sits in front of her computer Skyping her sister, a fellow Dependopotamus, bitching about how she feels military wives aren’t appreciated enough. She doesn’t see her offspring as children who need love, attention, and care; rather, they are pawns in her scheme to secure a permanent position in the life of her military husband—or, more importantly, a cut of his paycheck and benefits.

The Dependopotamus knows that she has no shot of surviving in the real world without someone else footing the bill. In a different life, she would be one of those women who lives off welfare and has seven kids by four different men, then expects the government to pay for her dumb cunt mistakes. Luckily for her, she grew up near a military base with plenty of young, desperate soldiers who don’t know any better. Like a predator on the hunt, she sought out the weakest of the pack and sank her claws and teeth into them. Poor Private Snuffy never stood a chance.

3. She is a fat fuck.

Not all fat chicks are Dependopotami, but nearly all Dependopotami are fat chicks. A hallmark trait of a Dependopotamus is her gluttony and sloth. Unlike a self-respecting woman who will take advantage of her free time to improve herself, educate herself, and at least keep some token form of physical fitness, the Dependopotamus is content with feasting on junk food, booze, and her husband’s soul.

When she does leave her den, the poorly bathed Dependopotamus will waddle very slowly to her car. She will then drive to the Dependopotamus social ground, the Post Exchange (PX). As she and other Dependopotami sit there eating their third Big Mac and gossiping away, they will scoff with jealousy at the younger, skinnier wives who aren’t complete pieces of shit like themselves. They will stare them down in an effort to shame them for giving their husbands a reminder of what a woman who actually takes care of herself looks like. God help the poor, pretty lady if her husband happens to be in the same chain of command as these green-eyed monsters. For surely they will make her existence miserable until she falls in line and agrees to take measures to become a blubber-bag herself.

The Dependopotamus is a paradox. She is an utterly useless woman with a high sense of entitlement and self-importance. She is completely repulsive, fat, and poorly hygienic but is able to secure a new dick willing to lift up her floopa and smash her guts easily. She is extremely fertile but should be on a list of human beings who aren’t allowed to reproduce because her genes are toxic and will only perpetuate more parasites throughout society. She’s poorly educated yet cunning enough to know all the benefits, regulations, and loopholes to keep her dependent status, secure child support, and extort alimony after divorcing her husband because he had the audacity to accidentally catch her doing a gang bang in their bedroom.

Armed with this useful information, you are now ready to go to your local military base and see if you can spot one of these creatures, but be warned—it will cause you to lose what little faith you may have left in humanity.

~Raul Felix

You can read more of my articles at Thought Catalog.

6 Things I Learned About Israel While Living and Working There

Living abroad seems to be on the bucket list of nearly every twenty-something who is on the road to self-discovery. There is this urge to get away from the safety, familiarity, and security of our homeland and go to another place with a different culture and language. I got the opportunity to live and work in Israel a couple of years ago. I went there not knowing much about the country other than that Muslim extremists hate them, but they hate everything, so their opinion is worthless to me. During my time in Israel, I learned a lot about that wonderful land’s customs and quirks.

1. Shawarmas Stuffed With French Fries Are Delicious

I’m not a foodie of any sort. I don’t know shit about spices, herbs, textures, nor about any of those adjectives food connoisseurs use when describing fine delicacies. But my taste buds are refined enough to taste the difference between good, OK, and totally disgusting. One of the staples of my diet was the shawarmas stuffed with French fries that I told the street vendors to make extra-spicy. They were delicious and were one of the few items that could fill me up with only one serving. Before I got there, I had no idea what hummus was, but once I tried it I was in love with it. My girlfriend and I would often go to eat at her parents’ house for Shabbat dinner. The whole family and their friends would gather together. There were the world-famous Israeli salads, but I’m a man and I like dead animals, so all of my attention to went to foods such as Cholent, St. Peter’s fish, lamb kebab, shish taouk, and shashlik. There was also a wide variety of chicken-based foods with carrots and peas that had a flavor I never have tasted anywhere else.

Israeli versions of other cultures’ food were hit-and-miss. They had “Mexicani” food, which was supposed to be authentic Mexican burritos but never tasted like real burritos although they were delicious nonetheless. Sushi and Italian dishes were as popular there as they are anywhere else. In Tel Aviv and Jerusalem there was a restaurant called Mike’s Place that specialized in American-style food and was a popular hangout for Americans aching to get some food that reminded us of home.

2. Jerusalem Doesn’t Have Strip Clubs

I lived in a medium-sized city in the Negev Desert called Be’er Sheva. Thanks to Ben-Gurion University providing an influx of students, there was a vibrant nightlife considering how small and remote the city is. Bars were the main gathering place for my coworkers and me. From my impression, Israelis aren’t big drinkers like Americans, or at least they don’t get drunk, wild, and out of control like we do. We would go to a bar at 10PM and be the only patrons there as we drank Gold Star, Tuborg, and Carlsberg. They have a hard alcohol known as Arak, which I avoided after my first taste of it. Israelis operate on something known as “Israeli Time” and are ridiculously late to everything. All of a sudden at 11:30PM there would be a huge crowd of people at the bar. Then at 1AM, everyone would be gone with us Americans still drinking ourselves into oblivion.

Jerusalem had a better and more intimate nightlife than Tel Aviv, but Tel Aviv had strip clubs while they were nonexistent in Jerusalem. If you wanted to go to bars where you could actually hang out, talk, and get drunk with your friends and everything was within walking distance, Jerusalem was the spot. If you wanted to go out to the beach, get drunk, get some titties in your face (the strippers actually let you grab their tits), go to clubs with loud music and dancing, and maybe score some drugs or a prostitute, Tel Aviv was the spot. The drawback there was that everything was spread out, so you would have to take taxis to go bar-hopping.

3. Attacks From The Gaza Strip Are Part Of Life

One night I was out for a run when I heard a siren go off. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing and thought to myself, “Did my iPod just change to an N.W.A song?” I stopped and looked around, searching for an ambulance or a police car. All I saw was one car pulling over and a person running toward a building. I took off my headphones and noticed the sirens were coming from everywhere. Then I heard a missile launch and looked up to see the trail. A couple of seconds later, I heard an explosion. That’s when I realized the Iron Dome had shot down a rocket coming from the Gaza Strip. I posted on my Facebook a status along the lines of, “I guess Gaza sent a harassment rocket.” One of my Israeli friends commented, “Welcome to Be’er Sheva.” That’s when I learned that random rocket attacks were a fact of life in the southern cities. They would never make the international news because they would only send a couple every month or two.

Rocket attacks became a spectacle for us. My roommate and I would hear the siren and run to the rooftop so we could see the Iron Dome intercept it. After the siren stopped, people would go back to their routine.

In November 2012 the Israeli Defense Force launched operation Pillar of Defense, which kicked off with the killing of Ahmed Jabari, a chief of the Gaza military wing of Hamas. After that, the rockets started and didn’t stop. Every thirty minutes, the siren would go off, and you would hear the explosions as they landed in the streets or the Iron Dome intercepted them. At first it seemed pretty fucking cool. Rocket attacks had been seen as a nuisance rather than a legitimate threat, since either the Iron Dome intercepted them or they landed in the middle of the desert. Then three people got killed by one while they were on their balcony. That’s when my girlfriend put her foot down and wouldn’t allow me to go up and see the action anymore.

4. It’s Expensive As Fuck

One of my Israeli friends told me a joke: “In Israel, the Jews Jew the Jews.” Here in California I could spend $200 in groceries and be set for a month; over there, that would last me a week, maybe two. I was told that people there work 12 hours a day, six days a week merely to get by. The government loves to tax everything so they can fund the IDF. You’re never quite sure how much you’re being taxed because the taxes are already worked into the price.

5. People Don’t Wait In Line

Whenever you would board a bus or a train, it would become a shoving match. After a while I learned how to out-shove everyone. Tiny women are tricky, though; they’ll squeeze beneath you and go ahead of you. They’d do it so quickly that you wouldn’t even realize it until they were ahead of you.

6. I Only Learned A Few Phrases Of Hebrew, But I Wish I’d Learned More

I never learned more than a few phrases of Hebrew. It’s an irrelevant language anywhere else in the world, but I had an opportunity to learn it and never cared enough to do all the work needed to learn more. I think it would have been a cool little skill to have in my pocket, because knowing random little things like that is always a good thing.

I also didn’t study much of the region’s history while I was there. I researched more about it after I moved back to the US. Instead of just going to museums and cities looking at pretty things, I would have understood what exactly those pretty things were and what they meant in historical context. I would have had a firmer understanding of the complex relationship between Israel and the Arab League instead of the oversimplified version the American media conveys.

I hold my time in Israel close and dear to my heart. I lived in debauchery a lot during my time there. I found a woman I truly loved and lost her. I made some good American and Israeli friends. I traveled and saw nearly everything there is to see. I made some good money and came back to the US in a better position. It may the Jews’ homeland, but it will always be a second home to this American.

~Raul Felix

Read more of my writing at Thought Catalog.