Archive for the ‘Joy’ Tag

Odds & Ends

Whelp…looks like I missed on the post-a-week target again. Ugh. 

Here are some random thoughts from my work-stressed and scattered brain:

  • May the Fourth Be With You – a silly, silly play on words that never fails to make me giggle. I am, of course, wearing my R2D2 bow tie and “May the Force Be With You” spinner ring for the occasion. 
  • I am now convinced that my work computer has become sentient and developed a sick affinity for making me lose my mind. It only has to implement mandatory updates when I’m on a deadline. It only experiences slow-downs or crashes when I have unsaved work on my screen. And it loses network connectivity only when it is critical that I remain connected to access resources necessary for my deadline-driven, unsaved-progress-generating projects. This vindictive nascent AI is winning in its game of chicken with my last nerve. 😦
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is opening this week!!!! Can’t wait. This movie kicks off the summer blockbuster season and I’m so excited! I hope I get to see them all!
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is becoming an obsession. It was a belated birthday gift to myself and I love it. I’m absurdity proud when I beat a boss or solve a puzzle without resorting to a guide or walk-through. I’ve been a Zelda fan for forever. I’m old-school in that I am convinced beyond persuasion that Ocarina of Time is the best Zelda game of all time. But this one is in a league of its own. Such a rich, open world to explore! The 15 minutes to an hour of play I get on a good day during the week only makes my obsession spiral. It’s a great game, try it if you can!
  • It’s the little joys in life that make it special. I hope you find a pun or a movie or a game or some other little nugget of fun to bring some light and happiness to your day. 😎🙏✌️👊

Happy Monday!

I know: ugh.  But bear with me a second.  I know you probably just read that title with a snarky ring in your internal voice—nobody likes a Monday, right? Truthfully, I don’t usually like or dislike any given Monday, just the events that happen during their 24-hour borders.  But I just had a train of thought that took me down the Happy Monday path, an epiphany of sorts. It fits right in with my renewed commitment to positivity, too. And despite any mawkishness or tendency to sentiment this post may contain, I think the fundamental point is applicable to just about anyone.  I hope that you’ll stick with me through this chain of thoughts and apply it to your life and find something to be happy about on this Monday, too.

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Long periods of waiting and hoping…that’s what my life has consisted of for as long as I have been aware enough to examine my life.  Waiting to know. Waiting to feel. Waiting to see a beginning or an end.  Hoping for completion. Hoping and longing for success. Hoping and dreaming of happiness, of contented, replete, satisfied arrival.

I suppose that’s what everyone wants, on some level and in some context or other.

For me, my ideas of what would meet the demands of these dreams started off quite simple, nothing unachievably grandiose. And though the context has shifted a bit over time, my dreams and deepest desires have remained simple.  Ultimately, as trite and corny as it may seem to say so, everything I’ve ever waited, hoped, dreamed, longed for boils down to this one base human need: love.

As a child and youth, I longed to be a joy and source of pride for my parents and family, to be well-thought-of by teachers, to be popular among my peers.  I wanted to succeed at school and in activities, to look well turned-out, to sound smart and confident, all so that I could gain the approval, acceptance, validation of those whom I esteemed.  But really, isn’t that the same as wanting to be loved by everyone in my life?

In later years, as an adult new to the adult world, my focus shifted much more to achievement and professional success.  Yet even here, I wanted professors, employers and peers to admire and approve of me, as much as my work product.  I wanted to be loved as a person, as well as admired as a professional.

When, after years of hard work and achieving some success and independence my focus turned inward, I longed for clarity, transparency, authenticity of self. And I hoped and dreamed of love from without, as well as from within. I wanted to love myself–my true self–and I wanted to be loved for my true self by someone who could see that me.

Love.  That’s my deepest need and the consistent goal of my life. What’s more, I have it.

I am blessed to have the love of a wonderful woman who does see me. She looks at me with love and admiration, despite my many flaws, and sees me on a level wholly separate from my physical appearance.  This gift is indescribably precious.  ‘Thankful’ hardly captures the up-welling gratitude that fills me when I think of how blessed I am in having her as my life’s partner.

It’s Monday.  Always a challenge to shift gears from weekend fun back to work-day mind-set. Also, with news of business challenges on the horizon and the clamor of the quarter-end push beginning to rise, today has already hit a peak of stress and ‘ugh-it’s-Monday’-ishness. But as I sit for a quiet moment taking a bite to eat at my desk, my gaze turns to the bright blue sky full of fluffy white clouds outside my office window and I smile, thinking how wonderful it would be to share this simple meal and lovely view with my lovely Lulu.  Then it hit me—what a miracle it is that she is “my” Lulu and that she loves me and sees me and accepts me.  I am one very lucky butch. And that makes this Monday very happy indeed.

I hope you see the simple lesson here:  see the miracles that make the mundane bearable and, most of all, be thankful for what’s truly valuable. You are loved.  Love yourself and be joyful .

Enjoy your Monday!

Thankful for…the joy of gifting

As you prob’ly know by know from some of my grumbling on Twitter, I don’t like to shop. In fact, I hate it and avoid it as much as possible, save for the online variety and a trip to Walgreens every few weeks. But the problem is that shopping is a necessary evil when it comes to giving gifts to the people I care about. Even the hand-made gifts I try to give require shopping for supplies. I just hate dealing with crowds and noise and sensory overload, all endemic to retail shopping. But I do it, because I really love giving gifts.

There’s a part of me that feels a tiny bit guilty that giving presents to people makes me feel so good. It’s as if the act of giving and the joy the receiver feels is somehow diminished or re-directed to me, instead of staying on the gift’s recipient. But that’s just a micro-fraction of the overall sensation of giddiness and fun that I get from choosing just the right thing for someone I love.

So today, I butched-up and went shopping. I joined in on Small Business Saturday, a movement all around the US to focus holiday shopping dollars on local small businesses. It’s a commendable goal. Keeping small businesses alive helps keep entrepreneurism alive. And so many small businesses focus on the uniqueness of hand crafted items, which makes giving even more special.

I can’t say what I purchased, or even the genre, because that would spoil the surprise for a few folks. But I can say that I’m excited for the holiday season and the joy of giving thoughtful, fun gifts customized to the recipient. The anticipation is already building. And with each gift wrapped, each package sent, the reflected joy of giving builds up in my soul and makes my enjoyment of the holidays fly high.

I’m thankful for the people in my life and the joy they bring to me and I’m happy and thankful for the blessing of joy I receive from giving a tiny bit back to each dear one in the form of small gifts selected with care just for them.

I’ve enjoyed this 30 Days of Thankfulness writing challenge and the insights into my own happiness that the self-examination has wrought. I’m thankful that you’ve shared it with me, too.

Thankful for…quiet

Silence can be intimidating sometimes. But for me, quiet is nearly the most valuable commodity on the planet.

Although I like and am thankful for music and other forms of entertainment, the amount of sound in my daily world can become overwhelming. And too much loud noise makes me nervous and stressed. I can’t adequately explain why, but it does. So, I value quiet. It feels like a warm blanket soothing jangling nerves.

Quiet also is a huge benefit to my productivity. When I just have to get stuff done, it helps to turn everything off and shut my office door and knock it out. Like today, I hate working in Saturday, but the empty office, quiet phone and dearth if emails made it so much easier to get a couple of very important tasks done in very little time.

Even when Special Femme and I connect via Skype, there are moments of welcome quiet, when we get the joy of just being together in companionable silence while seeing the other’s smile. I’ve learned to value this comfort and ease between us. The physical distance between us could easily become a barrier to the development of our relationship. But our mutual comfort in quiet moments between the long talks and jokes shows that we can connect on a level beyond the distance and technology.

So today I’m thankful for quiet that soothes, motivates and comforts, without awkwardness or burden.

Thankful for…the love of Lulu

Author’s note: I wrote this as a private post to my Lulu, after she told me that she had been “hoarding” these thankfulness posts for her own enjoyment. But, with her permission, I’m sharing it as today’s bit of gratitude. I realized today, from a million small and subtle things and one very big and important conversation, that she is what I’m most thankful for in all the world. Bar none.

So…here’s my meager and imperfect thought of thankfulness, posted here with my subject’s blessing.

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I’m thankful for my beloved. She is everything I want, everything I need and more than I’ll ever deserve. It’s hard for me to articulate everything she means to me. But the following shadow of a poem gives thanks for a very few of the innumerable blessings she brings to me:

Thank you, love

You shower me with praise
You lift my spirit with your confidence in me
Thank you, love

You make sense of the crazy
You are my sanity amidst chaos
Thank you, love

With you, things are right & good
In your presence, I’m calm & free
Thank you, love

Your laughter lightens my heart
It is the sound of happiness & the trigger of my joy
Thank you, love

The love sparkling in your eyes
Fuels my courage
Thank you, love

Your tenderness soothes my hurts
Your companionship anchors my heart
Thank you, love

Your voice is the melody in my head
Your vibrant soul, the light on my future’s shore
Thank you, love

For your love, your faith in me, your acceptance of me as I am
For your gracious, caring, nurturing, challenging, uplifting, encouraging and empowering love
I thank you, love, and am thankful for you in my life

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Thankful for…cupcakes

Not to be flippant or irreverent with the whole ‘month of thankfulness’ effort, but I am thankful for cupcakes. Not really just cupcakes, but all the simple, childlike pleasures readily available to me. Cupcakes are just emblematic of them.

Things like: tasty, sweet treats; fun, quirky gadgets; ingenious, challenging puzzles; cool, awesome tech toys; and classic, nostalgic mementos of days past, are all “the little things” that make working hard and being a grown-up worth it.

Sometimes, I need to force myself to look at the details, the small things I overlook, ignore or take for granted. This intentional scrutiny helps me battle attitude issues that come up from the daily grind. I think it’s too easy to get pulled into a rut of negativity by going through the motions of the daily routine. Someone said to me once: “Gratitude helps you appreciate what’s there, rather than dwell on what isn’t.”

So…I’m thankful for cupcakes!

Here’s one I was given the other day as a “just because” gift: pink champagne cupcake.

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Soaring

We humans often struggle (at least I do) to fully capture in concise language the feelings we have for one another and the interactions we have with one another. So we use personal experiences and cultural references to help color the pictures we try to paint with words. Metaphor is a powerful tool in this mission.

Flight is often used as a metaphor for freedom, independence, new life, even plain happiness. I’ve used flight as a metaphor on this blog (as countless others have before me) as a metaphor for love. I’ve used it to describe the love that Special Femme and I have found together and the freedom we have to choose our own path together.

And I think I’ve got a tiny insight as to why the metaphor is so compelling for so many aspects of the human experience, despite our inability to fly unassisted by artificial aids.

Earlier this week, while waiting for a meeting to start, I watched out the conference room window as two eagles soared high over a stand of trees, riding the thermals. As I watched, it seemed clear from their lack of pattern and generally relaxed pace that they weren’t hunting, weren’t fussed about anything. They were just flying for the pleasure of it.

They had the innate ability to do it, so they were. No over-thinking. No dithering about whether they should fly or not. No debate over where to go. Just taking to wing and soaring, letting the sun-warmed air take them aloft and propel them at it’s whim. Pure, unadorned enjoyment of their own bodies, their true selves.

That pure simplicity, flying just because you can, is, for me, the truth behind the metaphors.

Souls yearn to express their essence, to do and be exactly what they are and enjoy it. Stripped of the flash and pomp of elaborate description and heavy morality, that’s what the human spirit desires most: simply to be who we are without complication, judgement, or artifice.

Just as the eagles appeared to savor, revel in the simple joy of being their true selves through flight, people feel as if they take flight, are set free when they follow their dreams. There is freedom and power and joy in people allowing themselves to be their truest selves, live the lives they want, love who they love.

That’s what I’m working on in my life. I still have a long way to go to achieve the fabled state of authenticity. And I have yet to complete the essential step of coming out to my family. Yet, I have begun an epic journey of self discovery and personal improvement. I’m working on giving my dreams wings.

How fitting, then, that the most significant step in following my dream of loving where my heart takes me begins with a 10.5 thousand mile, 36 hour, 3-leg airplane journey to a faraway place to be with my faraway love.

As I wait to board the second flight, to get to the plane that will take me on the longest flight and the shortest step to joy, I remember those eagles. I think I know how they felt.

Free. Pure. True. Natural.

I’m taking the most natural step of all: following my heart home to the one I love. I’m soaring, and not just on aluminum wings. Soaring through dreams, buoyed by well wishes of friends, and held aloft by anticipation of joy.

Here I go!

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