Today is great because…

Find your focus, then refocus

Posted: August 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Nothingness, Personal, Uncategorized | Comments Off

out-of-focusNow’s probably not the best time to fire up the ol’ happiness blog. The tag line of the blog is “Today is great because…” Well, today wasn’t great at all. The last two weeks have not been great. In fact, I’ve been on something of a lower plane of mental stability for a while now. Happiness comes in waves; without lows there are no highs. (And the weeks after your gf moves out, the lows go a bit lower.)

We all go through these transition periods in our lives. As long as my highs aren’t lower than the lows that most people experience, I feel like I’m doing ok.

Thinking back, I had a different idea in mind when starting this stupid website a couple years ago–before I left it for dead and gave thought to it even less than the zero people who have ever visited it. My intention then was to focus on the positive, good (maybe great) little things in my day, or even in the days of the people around me. There’s a lot of good stuff happening all the time. SO MUCH! But it’s so easy to get bogged down into the garbage.

Recent good things/bad things/failed ideas

(not for sure which category these should fall in)
I started the initial plans/layout and marketing for a web development website that would follow my progress as I learned to code websites. I’ve had these two seemingly conflicting urges for a lot of the last few years: write things and learn to code websites. A few months ago I put together a timeline to improve my development skills. So why not start a website and share that and also keep my writing muscles in shape? That was the idea, anyway.

But I got lazy. Never completed my learning plan. Never even published the website.

Why I failed

  • I questioned myself. I thought the idea had already been done a thousand times. There are so many websites already dedicated to web development and learning it and teaching it and serving ads to people googling it. I got discouraged then started to think my idea was stupid. Then I stopped working on it.
  • I quite my learning plan. I just stopped studying and instead spent time on the couch watching movies with my girlfriend. And it was beautiful. It also turned to summer, so we went camping together and to friends’ weddings and other fun stuff.

Why I succeeded

  • I started the project. I started learning. I’m smarter and more experienced for having done the work that I did finish.
  • I didn’t let a plan or list of to-dos stop me from enjoying quality time with loved ones. It’s so easy to think that success is the divine goal–our lives turn into a series of goals and the to-dos to get there. We work hard all the time to earn our sense of accomplishment. It’s often worth the effort and conviction. Some times we also need to take advantage of the love we can share with our family members while we can get it. I don’t regret that and I will always consider it a success.

Declutter yourself

Posted: October 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: happiness, Nothingness | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off
Gandhi survived happily with this many things.

Gandhi survived happily with this many things.

I once moved all the contents of my apartment in two car loads of a 1991 Toyota Camry (read: small!) That was one of my greatest accomplishment. Six years later I still have my beloved Camry, but there’s no way I’d ever relive such a magnificent moving success.

Because now I have STUFF!

I wanted to title this post ‘More Stuff, More Problems,’ because the more I have, the more I want to get. That’s a serious problem. I have a laptop, an iPad, an iPod, now I want a new iPhone! Are all these things necessary to my life? No. I’m the perpetrator of totally unnecessary accumulation.  The more I accumulate, the more I feel like a shameless consumer, the less I feel good about myself.  I’m not a hoarder, even though it’s so en vogue right now. I’m talking about getting new things. The worst part is that I’m not happier for having more things. I simply HAVE MORE THINGS.

Follow these three simple rules to delutter your life:

  1. Stop getting new things
  2. Get rid of things you no longer use
  3. Stop getting new things

If you’re reading this you probably already have everything you need to survive. You have forks and plates, a bed to sleep in, you own a computer, you’re googling advice on how to declutter your home because you know you already have too much stuff.

I’ve started taking a really strict approach: nothing new comes in unless I neeeeeed it. Even if the thing is nice, or it’s free, if I don’t need it, I won’t take it back to my house.  Getting new things rarely offers sustaining happiness. Like caffeine, you get a rush that lasts a few hours and then it’s gone and you need more.

Also, be good to other people
Another tip for cleaning out your home: donate things to charity. You know those ugly shirts you have that you haven’t worn in two years? Don’t throw them away. The Salvation Army is always available to take things like that off your hands. Someone else will love them. You’ll feel better for having given instead of taking in, and you’ll feel great because your closet will be cleaner.


Today – 7:30am

Posted: November 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Inspiration, Nothingness | Comments Off

I had a bad day at work today.  I came home, made some dinner then watched the “Special Features” on a Jack Kerouac documentary that I’ve been watching.  After my pasta was gone and the red netflix envelop was resealed and ready for the mail, I wasn’t sure what, then, to do with myself.  I tried Facebook.  I tried email. And I found nothing.  Even though I’d already specifically made up my mind that reading a book at 7pm was a waste of good hours–I’ve got so much to get done!–I laid back and opened up American Gods and turned on The Wall (…and kicked off my Nikes…and unlatched my Rolex…and scratched my Head…and On…and On…and On…).

Knowing what to do with myself is a problem that I deal with daily.  I’m overwhelmed or I’m underwhelmed, it’s difficult to decipher whether there’s a difference or not.  The moral, though, is that I was letting a bad day at work bitter up the rest of my life and I couldn’t figure out what to do.  Even though I spent most of the afternoon dreaming about 5:30pm, when I’d get to leave, come home and do…do?…do anything else.

For the past few weeks I’ve been waking up early most days before work so I can have an hour to write.  It has been a savior.  I’ve been saving myself.  7:30 to 8:29am is the best hour of my day.  There’s hope. There’s possibility.  The sun is rising on my day.  There’s no questioning anything at that time in the morning. 8:30am is the worst part of my day, when I have to  shut the notebook, realizing that I have to get on the bike and get to work.  The hill of the day slopes downward from there and I roll through the 10am meeting, the aggressive phone calls from clients, a lonely sandwich with the daily paper at lunch, an afternoon push when I wander the hall toward a soda machine.  As I’m leaning over my bike to free the lock from the parking meter where my bicycle has been waiting for me the ground starts to level off.  It’s dusk by this time, downtown is right there in front of me, glowing just a few blocks away.  But it’s hard to see it the way I used to not all that long ago.  The glittering urban romance of a skyline now appears more like a field of bloated peckers spotted with fluorescent windows.

Tonight I rode home at top speed.  I got home just in time.


Short, but worthy

Posted: July 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Nothingness | Comments Off

Some days I wait out bedtime. After sleep comes a new day. And new days are so often better than old days. So some days I let flutter away the remains of an evening, look towards a night’s sleep and a new wonderful sunny morning filled full of potential.
The waiting out of a day typically comes in the form of television or riding the surf around the internet. I’m moving this week. So the television is unplugged and my eyes have already posted flags of conquest at outposts spread all across the web.
Today’s: Writing this instead of pilfering valuable time from myself.