Hi. My name is Ryan.

Right out of the gate, I have to let you in on a little secret.

See the trendy glasses I’m wearing in that picture up there? Well, here’s the deal: they’re fake. As in, they are doing nothing more for my eyes than if I wasn’t wearing them at all. Kinda silly, right? Friends of mine that I’ve let in on this secret have never been shy in telling me as much.

Ok, so why start off an “About” section with such an odd, revealing factoid about myself? Well, because that’s kind of what I am hoping the purpose of this blog is going to be. As I approach the middle chapters of life, I have come to realize that transparency is one of the most valuable traits we can possess. And also, I’m just not nearly as cool as I’ve previously thought myself to be.

Why are you choosing to bare your soul in blog form in the year 2018 instead of say, on Medium, or Facebook, or somewhere similar?

Well, I’m a millennial, but I just barely made the cut on the front edge by a year or two. So blogging just seems to make a little more sense to me as a communication tool than say, Snapchat.

I’m choosing this particular blogging format because I think that the vulnerability I’m aiming for here requires a level of intimacy that might get steamrolled in a more “public” platform. I also hand-coded much of the features of this site myself (I’m particularly proud of the tag structure that incorporates the names of some of my favorite songs).

In some cases, I will be double-posting on my Medium page, so if that’s more your speed, you can follow me there as well.

Fair enough. Now, wasn’t this an “About Me” section?

Right, so besides wearing zero-prescription Warby Parker’s far past when I had Lasik surgery, here are a few other random tidbits about me:

  • I was born in Northeast Ohio but now live in Kansas City.
  • My favorite TV show is and always will be MacGyver.
  • My favorite musician is Bruce Springsteen and there ain’t no one bigger or badder than The Boss.
  • I still consider Seth Cohen a fashion icon.
  • I’ll take a chocolate chip cookie over a donut any day.
  • After spending 14 years in the realm of Mechanical Engineering, as of 2017 I switched my allegiances over to the dark side, Project Management.
  • I co-host a podcast, because it’s 2018 and I’m a middle-aged white male, so why not?

I’m a husband to an all-around amazing woman and a doting dad to two of the most fun kids this side of the Mississippi, so you’re going to see that reflected in far too much of what I write about. I’m going to go ahead and just pre-apologize for all the gushing and fawning right here to save myself the trouble later on.

Lastly, I wear the glasses because my wife thinks they look cute, and when you’re my age, that’s about the closest you’re going to get to feeling cool.

So what’s up with the spooky blog title, dude?

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with U.S. states that are haunted by spectral beings. But really, that’s not too far off.

The name Ghost States references a phenomenon in particle physics where an electron is said to travel all possible routes between point A to point B, that is, until it is observed. Up until that point, they can literally be “everywhere and nowhere” at the same time. That in-between state, before the electron is observed and has revealed the direction it has taken, is called a “ghost state”.

You can read more about this concept by Googling the “Heisenberg principle” or diving into the complex world of “pseudopotentials”. You can also read a more simplistic take in Chapter 2 of Rob Bell’s 2013 book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God.

Ok, so where we go from here?

Well, if you’re new to this blog, the best place to start is probably with my series, “A Midlife Guide To Growing Up”. It encompasses just about everything I’m trying to do with this blog: establish a place to be real and to hopefully help others feel less weird or alone in such a strange time of life.

Next, if you’re feeling truly crazy, you can scroll through my 40+ pages of archived posts, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Because here’s another weird thing about me: I’m a serial archivist. And with this blog, I’ve collated nearly every single blog post that I’ve ever published, going way back to the Xanga blog I regularly wrote on from 2003 to 2008. There are some real gems back there if you’re game.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @ryanstraits or subscribe through RSS to keep up to date on when a fresh, new post drops. Thanks for stopping by!