Finding Your Joy

Recently, a friend introduced me to this Youtube video of S. White, a Taiwanese street performer. Now I can’t stop watching it. Not only is she a very talented drummer, but I can’t look away from the pure joy she expresses while she does her awesome thing.

I can’t help but envy her. She’s 23 years old, and she clearly loves what she does. I didn’t find something I loved to do until I was 36. I was meant to be a bridgetender. (It’s not nearly as exciting as what S. White does, but it suits me.)

What shocks me is that so many people never find their joy. I think the mistake people make is focusing on the big money instead of the personal bliss. Yeah, you’ll probably always be sitting pretty, financially, as a lawyer, but what’s the point if you wake up every morning dreading the day ahead?

Life is what is happening day in and day out. You can’t live for the occasional high of the next big purchase. There are too many long stretches in between. And while a Mazerati may make you smile while you’re driving it, it won’t make you smile when you tuck in to bed at night and look back on your day. Things won’t keep you warm. Experiences will.

Instead of finding a career and trying to cram yourself into it, find out what you need in life to be satisfied. THEN find the pastime that will provide you with those things. I guarantee you that if you do that, everything else will fall into place.

S White
S. White. The epitome of joy.

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When the Love Spell is Broken

Love is like a drug. When you’re deep in it, especially in the early stages, it’s hard to see flaws. Red flags just look like a pretty splash of color in your world. You want to bask in the fact that you seem to have found evidence of perfection, and that perfect person, against all odds, thinks that you’re pretty darned amazing, too. Such bliss.

It’s a heady feeling, that perfect love. The problem is, it’s pure fiction. Everyone has flaws. It’s a rare person who doesn’t have the scales fall from dazzled eyes at least once in his or her romantic life. It’s profoundly discouraging to discover that the prince you’ve been kissing has been a frog all along and you’ve just refused to see it.

I think the reason we try to cling to the fantasy for as long as we can is that we’ve been raised to believe that true success means we must be part of a couple. It’s as if those of us who don’t go around two-by-two have somehow failed at life, and should be ashamed. What a steaming pile of horse manure. In modern times, one can do quite well on one’s own.

Yes, it can be lonely. We are social animals. But it’s possible to be social without being joined at the hip. I think it would be easier for many of us if we didn’t have so much societal pressure to take paths in life that we are unable or unwilling to walk down.

But if you insist, know this: True and enduring love is not ignoring someone’s flaws. Neither is it settling for the intolerable. It’s finding someone whose flaws you can see clearly and live with and still maintain a modicum of self-respect as well as respect for the other person. I understand that that picture isn’t quite as pretty, but it’s a heck of a lot more realistic.

flawed

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What’s Important

I just gave my new dog Quagmire a stuffed squeaky toy, and for about a half hour, his life was complete. He ran around the house squeaking it at random, shaking it within an inch of its life and covering it with slobber. Then he ruthlessly ripped its little head off and coated the bed in stuffing. I don’t think he’s ever known such joy.

For a brief shining moment, nothing else mattered to Quagmire. I suspect I could have waved a rare steak under his nose and he wouldn’t have noticed. He was in the zone. Pure bliss.

If someone were to give me a stuffy, I wouldn’t reach such heights of ecstasy. But there are other things that do it for me. (That steak wouldn’t hurt.)

It’s kind of fascinating that each one of us has a different source of joy. It’s also probably the only reason our society can maintain itself. If there were only one thing that made all of us happy, we’d soon be fighting over that thing, and none of us would be able to enjoy it.

So seek out your equivalent of a stuffy, and shake it silly! And don’t let anyone make you feel silly for doing so! Do your thing.

The fact that we’re each unique is the best possible thing that could have happened to us. It sort of makes you wonder why we are so hellbent on discriminating against others for their differences. Thank God for the differences, I say! That way I can have my stuffy all to myself!

IMG_1425
Welcome to Quagmire heaven!

 

What Does Stupid Feel Like?

I know a girl who is, as the saying goes, as thick as two planks. She herself will admit it. But I’m not even sure she’s smart enough to grasp how tragic that is. She hums along, flying extremely close to the ground, utterly unaware that the majority of things go completely over her head. She misses out on so much, and often has to ask for explanations of even the most basic words, but none of this appears to bother her.

Another thing I’ve noticed about her is that she is totally devoid of curiosity. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had never Googled anything or made any sort of an effort to find out more about any given topic. I can’t relate to that at all. I’ll always want to learn. In a perfect world, I’d be at university for the rest of my life, without ever having to pay.

Is she capable of expanding her knowledge, and just too lazy to do anything about it, or is there some barrier that she cannot cross, despite her best efforts? She’s aware that most people are smarter than she is. But does she get the full implications of that? If she did, she would be constantly upset, and in fact she’s a very happy person.

What must it be like to have an intellectual glass ceiling perpetually pressing down upon you? Would you even be smart enough to realize it’s there? Do we all have one pressing down upon us without knowing it? Do we all bump up against our limitations on a regular basis? If so, we’ve been given the gift of not feeling rage or frustration when we do. Ignorance is bliss.

My intelligence has never prevented me from making epic mistakes or getting into the wrong relationships or making a bloody fool of myself. Those situations provide me with opportunities for further growth. Everything in life is a potential lesson. But perhaps not everyone looks at things that way.

My friend is the kindest human being I’ve ever met. She’s generous and loving and compassionate. She’s just an all-around decent human being. And yes, she is happy. Maybe at the end of the day she’s smarter than she looks.

Stupid

I’ve got a Crush on You, Sweetie Pie

Here’s an interesting thought: at least once in your life, someone has had a crush on you and you didn’t even know it. You know how I know? Because I’m quite sure that every single person who is reading this has had a crush on someone at least once in their lives and has kept quiet about it, so you do the math.

Ah, to bathe in the deliciously warm and silky waters of a crush is like nothing else you will ever experience. For a brief shining moment in your life, you get to indulge in the sweet fantasy of positive possibilities. You get to imagine your future as a thing of perfection in which every touch, every word, every experience will be pure bliss. Colors appear more vibrant, everything tastes better, and you seem to dance down the street, your feet never quite touching the dirty pavement. When the object of your affection comes into view… paradise. What’s that you hear? A choir of angels singing. “Ahhhhhhhhh…”

I’ve had more than a few crushes in my lifetime, and I hold each one close to my heart like a precious jewel. It’s also why I never go to reunions. I don’t want the balding man with the beer gut in the ill-fitting polyester suit to take the sparkle off my sapphire.

Crushes can run their course and fade away, or they can lead to a rude awakening when you discover him in the supply room with Becky Maplebottom. (I don’t want to talk about it.) They can lead to humiliating rejection, or they can turn into sweet agony and endure for decades. On the other hand, if they become obsessions and enter the realm of stalking, then you need to be in a rubber room.

The only sad thing about crushes is that when kept in the closet, they also represent potential that was never realized. Being vulnerable is scary, but if you don’t take a deep breath and speak up, for crying out loud, you’ll never know what you might be missing.

I’d like to think that for every contented couple out there, there was once a delightful crush that ended in a breathless mutual admission. And I’ll make that the happy ending to this story. Because I can.

I shall leave you now with the dulcet tones of Frank Sinatra. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtH02InlKP4 )