02 January, 2010

H = HAPPINESS

"Attack your fears, rather than shy away from them. Bring what you do in alignment with who you are."-Po Bronson
She was standing at the farthest corner of the counter, watching me, as I walked in the door. "May I help you?" she asked. Help me? She didn't look like she wanted to help anyone. "I'll have a whole grain bagel, not toasted, with butter and a medium coffee, black, nothing in it please." "Sliced?" she asked. "Yes please, thanks" I replied. Her hands went to work, flinging the bagel in the slicer, dropping it into a sack, with a few butter packs and napkins for company. "That'll be $2.98" as she placed a cup of steaming hot coffee in my hands. My mind wandered over all the conversation starters like "it's really cold today" or "what are you baking back there, it sure smells good" or "you must be into Karate because your body is really kicking"

SCREECH

HUH...are you kidding me???

I did not feel especially cordial or for making this transaction last any longer than the few seconds I was willing to invest into it. So, shaking off these very twisted thoughts, I handed her my money and off I went, into the cold, cold world of January. Brrrr.
Nothing, that's the point. 2 people were involved in a transaction, with many opportunities to make it a happier moment and neither person had the courage to lead the other one out of the January, after-holiday funk and to a better place than what became an ordinary, happy-less, insignificant money-changing moment. Hey! I want to be a nicer person, with time and patience for everyone. I want to be happy! So much for New Year's Resolutions...I just broke mine, no, wait....I blew mine up in smithereens.

"I'm feeling rough,I'm feeling raw,
I'm in the prime of my life.
Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives."-from the song, Time to Pretend, by MGMT

I finished a book, earlier this week called WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE, written by Po Bronson. It was the number one book on the New York Times Bestsellers List. For me, it was surprisingly, a very inspiring book. Maybe even, life-changing. I wasn't prepared for that. I wasn't prepared to visit the places that this book has now pushed me into visiting. It's scary. I need work. Using true stories, of very real people, the author presents answers to this hard-to-answer question using the very people who overcame fear, anxiety and confusion to find the true calling of their lives and become happier and more fulfilled.
"A calling is not something you know, it's something you grow into, through trials and mistakes."-Po Bronson
Yup, I buy into all of this...sign me up!!! Where do I find my life's calling? I have always identified with the image of someone who would be called "a go-getter". Ambitious, hungry, aggressive, insightful, competitive, progressive, passionate, open-minded, perceptive, adaptable are all adjectives that I have used, at one time or another, to describe the person that I was attempting, no, evolving, to become. I have always battled to emerge victorious in the life that I have been blessed with living...each day. I desire, no, wait a minute...I crave success. I am not bashful about it...I covet it.

I spoke with my brother about the big "C" word (career) and overall happiness, using the book that I had just read as a conversation starter.

"Are you having a mid-life crisis????" he asked and "oh, by the way, Happy Birthday."
At first, I was offended by his remark. I couldn't believe it. Maybe I was wrong in thinking I could speak about so heavy a topic, so casually.

A mid-life crisis?

Isn't that what old, over-weight, red-faced, bitter, chain-smoking old people get?

Me...
Moi...
A Crisis??

But maybe my brother was not really far off the mark. A crisis occurs when someone realizes that something is not working and yet, while recognizing this, the person experiences fear and confusion over how to really "fix it", so, it builds and builds until...yes...a crisis of epic proportions is born.

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE?

I joke with close friends about our workplace and day-to-day life, especially when neither seems to be working in the manner in which I would prefer and I ask

"IS THIS IT? IS THIS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT?"

I have traveled a long time, only to arrive in this place and well, it's not what I thought it would be. And I wonder, "what bad things have I done in my life, that now find me doing penance for? Oh God, please, don't let this really be IT for me."

In the book, Po Bronson, in the final chapter, makes a statement that has made a significant impact on my psyche:
"Work shouldn't be just fun. Work should be like life-sometimes fun, sometimes moving, and defined by meaningful events."
And so, HAPPY NEW YEAR, here I am, 2010...a new decade...trying to bring meaning back into my life, because I think I lost meaning along the way. So, 2010 will find me trying to figure out who I really am, where I fit. Am I a round peg or a square peg? And, how do I find my square or round hole, whatever that is?

It is really going to be an interesting year and I am looking forward to the journey and hopefully, a better me.

Stay tuned....and Happy New Year,
Ralph

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