Saturday, November 01, 2008
It's Saturday afternoon. I am supposed to be taking a nap, but instead I'm lying in bed with my laptop writing. Writing, as you can probably guess, is very relaxing and therapeutic for me. I was that dude in college you hated because I absolutely LOVED writing papers. I always wrote them the night before they were due and I always got an A. I'm a dork like that. And you know what? I still do it. Write papers. Not as much as I used to, but I'll still come across something that interests me and I'll research it and write about it. Just for me. Just for the hell of it. Just for the sake of writing and learning. My next paper is going to have to do with my new job. I'll elaborate on that later.
Last night was Halloween. Russ and I went out dressed as Ernie and Bert. We had a REALLY good time. It was pretty hilarious and rather fitting. We pretty much are the human equivalent of Ernie and Bert. Originally, we weren't going go out at all as we're both a bit exhausted from our new jobs, our birthdays and just life in general, but we decided to do it anyway. We actually bought our costumes Halloween day. It was fun walking around. People love Ernie and Bert. They were cheering for us from their cars, telling us they loved us on the street and smiling as we walked by.
I had lunch with my good friend Lance today at one of my favorite places "Rosie's". We had such a great conversation. We talked about life and love. We talked about how we're both in such a good place in our lives. It was nice to realize that not only am I incredibly happy, but all my friends are too. Lance, Russ, Michele, Jes, Drew, Emily...just to name a few. There is no drama, only good times. Lance asked, "Doesn't it feel good to be able to just sit back and realize that life is just that....good?" I agreed with him. He even got a little teary-eyed when we talked about my mother passing away. Lance knows my history with my mother. He knows all the good and all the bad. He's even witnessed some of the bad. He said that it really touched him to know that even though her and I never achieved that closeness when she was alive, it was great to see that we had achieved it now. We talked about how at this age we had learned what we always suspected; you get what you give. If you put out good energy, work at being a good person and treating others well, you'll have goodness in your life. If you perpetuate negativity, treat others badly (think of me the year prior to my mother dying), your life will reflect that.
I used to think that it was true that nice guys finished last. It seemed to be my fate. No matter how hard I tried at being nice (sometimes to the point of being a doormat), things never seemed to go my way. Then I realized that though I claimed to be a nice guy who didn't like drama, I wasn't exactly living up to that. I wasn't a bad person, just not the person I claimed to be. Then my mother died. The wake up call was loud and clear. It was time to put my money where my mouth is. If I truly wanted the drama and crap out of my life then I had to stop perpetuating it. Turns out, it's pretty easy to do. And in the three months since my mother passed, I feel like I've grown more as a person than I have in the last 10 years. My mother's passing brought with it some amazing gifts. It shined a spotlight on the friends in my life and it showed me exactly who I could depend on. I once wrote a poem that contained this line, "I was always trying to make umbrellas out of fair weather friends." That was me. Why I always tried to turn to people who weren't there for me instead of relying on the ones who were is beyond me. I was always trying to make plans with people who never showed up. I was always calling people who never called back. I was always emailing the people who never wrote back. When all the while, I had these great people around me who reciprocated my friendships. So, I turned my attention to the people who matter. The people who are there for me and always have been.
So, back to lunch with Lance, (what you're surprised I went off on a tangent?)... while chowing down my bacon, cheddar hot dog & fries withgravy, (I know, I'm a bit of a health nut) I looked at him and said, "Happiness is a choice." He readily agreed. You choose to be happy. I don't care what the circumstances are in your life, you can choose to be happy. It's not always easy and sometimes it's downright unachievable. That's when you make happiness your goal. And just try your best to be a good person and to treat others well and to make a positive contribution to this world. If you do that, eventually goodness will come to you. It may not happen right away and you may get exhausted watching less-than good people get more than you, but in the end, you will win. And let me tell you, the happiness I feel in my life right now has been worth every single step I have taken. Nice guys don't finish last, it just takes them longer to get there. And when we do get there, we have so much more to show for ourselves. I don't mean money or material things, I mean friends and family and love. That's what counts.
Lunch with Lance was just what I needed. I think we need to make it a regular thing. It's nice to have him back in my life. I'm lucky he gave me another chance. You know what? I'm just lucky period. The other night this 22 year old kid heard me tell someone my 40th birthday was awesome and he said, "You're 40? You're so lucky. I just wish I was there already." I just kind of laughed and told him of my philosophy for attracting goodness into his life. Then he asked, "Does it get better because 22 sucks." I said, "You know what? It gets better. You'll like your 30's more than your 20's and I hear your 40's are pretty awesome too."
My childhood friend Dave Carver wrote this in an email to me, " Tell me if this is true for you, I had in my mind what I thought a 40 year old would feel like and I don't feel that way at all. I guess I thought when my dad was 40 (I was 20) that he felt really old and I don't. Don't know if it's because I run in the world of teenagers and college students or if I just never grew up. Anyway am I alone in this?" No, he's not alone in this and he did grow up. Being grown up means different things to us now then it did to our parents. It's more accepted to be young at heart and have fun in life. I get asked the question a lot, "Do you feel 40?" The answer is yes. I'm 40 and this is how I feel. The other day someone said "You don't look 40." I answered, "Yes I do. I'm 40 and this is what I look like. So this is what 40 looks like." (I kind of stole that from the actor Samuel Jackson -- thanks Sammy boy). Be who you are. Enjoy your life. Revel in your friendships. Allow yourself to love and to be loved. Be happy to be your age. Life is too short to live any other way.