For most people, when you ask them “what was the happiest moment of your life?” you’d probably wind up getting a variety answers that were likely based on another person or group of people. “When my first child was born” or “when my wife and I got married” or “that family vacation where we went to the Grand Canyon.”
It makes sense that those are the types of answers that come to mind. The other day I read a prompt from my favorite astrologer Rob Brezny. He suggested writing down the top 5 most ecstatic moments in your life and taking enough time to write them down and dwell on them so that you were able to really remember them and feel them through you.
I did this exercise and all 5 of my moments were based on other people or groups of people. Ex-lovers and family were at the center of my top 5 moments that came to mind.
While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, it made me take pause. I didn’t have any solo moments of ecstasy that came to mind. No examples of great joy or pleasure or happiness while I was by myself. This caused me to take time and space to actually contemplate this. I tried not to force it or be convoluted in thinking up moments where I was mindfully happy without the input of others directly on the moment.
I’m glad I wasn’t too hard on myself for not coming up with these moments, because out of the blue a few just came to me as I came across a Charles Bukowski quote posted by my jiu jitsu idol Renzo Gracie.
I realized those moments were incredible. I was a full version of myself at those moments. I was giving more of myself to others and to myself at those moments. I was my best self. I was healthy. I was strong. I had energy for the world and I received the worlds energy as well. I was living fully.
So all of this is to say, maybe these solo moments should take up a few more places on my top 5 all-time moments. Maybe it needs to be a top 10, rather than 5 so I don’t feel like I’m excluding any dear memories. Or maybe it’s about prioritization of myself.
I’m not sure, but I love when exercises like this lead to sharp moments of perspective like this.
I really wanted to write a super long and articulate blog post about turning 30, but I simply can’t find the words. Too much has happened, too much is in the process of happening and it’s just bigger than me right now. I accept it.
So, Happy Birthday to Me! I am one tough, creative, resilient son of a gun. Time for cake and ice cream!
A lot of people say “I wouldn’t be where I am without my mom,” or “I owe my mom everything.” I think a lot of us agree with that sentiment, but I really, what does it mean?
There are too many examples of this sentiment for me to list. I can think of several of the most important, risk-filled, half-brained moments in my life where I had the choice between an un-fullfilling, easy, steady path and something I was passionate about but scared to hell of doing.
To name just a few…
Embracing my love for writing
Going to Saint John’s
Deciding to go to college
Leaving UMass Dartmouth and moving to Boston
Learning how to treat a woman and be vulnerable
Moving to Madison to work for a startup
Moving to Colorado for love
Moving back to MA to start over and finally live my truth, wherever it takes me and in whatever form
God knows, I’m a stubborn son of a gun and have done whatever I wanted a lot of times, but as much confidence and bravado I might show in the face of uncertainty, much of it has to do with knowing that I have the support of my mom. Even if she doesn’t agree with what I’m doing or it makes her nervous (a lot of the times, this is the case), she has always put my personal, professional and health growth ahead of what is safe, easy and comfortable.
Life has been one hell of an adventure so far and I imagine it’s only getting started at this point. I have grown more from just the Worcester boy I knew myself to be than I could have ever imagined. As all-over-the-place as I may seem, the love and support my mom has always shown me throughout my life has shaped my world view and grounded me more than every new piece of art, every book I read, every new place I travel to and every new person I meet does.
Thanks for everything, mom!
Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of my favorite humans, ever.
I’m not sure being a “teacher” was every on my bucket list. It’s not for a lack of respect… that’s for sure. I’ve known several teachers very well in my life and I know that the amount that they go through, what they contribute to our society’s children and what they are compensated financially and otherwise is completely imbalanced. To be frank, I never thought I was cut out for the job.
However, as I’ve moved back to MA and have been in a career/job transition period, my cousin who is a senior administrator at a local high school asked me to substitute while I was figuring out my next job. I was hesitant at first but figured I’d give it a try. So, I applied.
Driving back from a promising job interview this week, I got a call that I sent to voicemail. The local high school wanted me to come in and substitute this week.
My first reaction was “Sweet! Adventure! Extra money!” Then I thought about what a shit head I was in high school and thought about the load of karma I was about to receive. I got very nervous!
However, today I went in, covered a full day of Biology for a bunch of sophomores, and it went great! Pretty easy. The kids respected me for the most part and when I needed to check them, it worked.
It just goes to show… sometimes you just need to say “yes” to what life brings you.
Now for something a little bit.. darker… maybe less sentimental…. or sentimental in a sweet way.
I was watching SNL, which I normally don’t do so much anymore, because Lena Dunham was on. I really enjoy the show Girls on HBO, so I decided to tune in to see how she did. I suppose her performance as a host was pretty good, but I really was struck by The National. I am ashamed to have never heard them before!
I tweeted to my friends on Twitter to see what songs I should listen to. So many people responded with their favorite songs. I saved all of them on Spotify and I really like them all.
If you haven’t listened to The National yet, here’s your chance. Enjoy!
If you’re lucky, you have a place that you can go to, whether physical or internal, that is consistently grounding. These are the kinds of places that you go when you need a sort of silence or honesty that eludes you in your day to day life. The kinds of places that remind you who you really are, what you’re really doing on this free-floating rock in space and what really matters. I am so incredibly grateful to have my grandparents and their home in Maine as my place of real groundedness.