Happiness is a lot of work

untitled

Everybody loves a happy ending whether it’s a tear jerking love story or a fairytale inside a mystical realm filled with amazing creatures. Now I believe we need these escapes and in their own way they remind us that there are always thousands of great possibilities just beyond our reach, but if we stretch we can reach them.
Happiness like success takes work and everybody sees happiness differently. My happiness is really quite boring I think for most people. I no longer just hop on a plane just because I can or walk into BestBuy think cool its shiny and buy it. I no longer just do whatever I want because I can, but I am happy. My boring life involves work and home for the most part, but that is my comfort zone. Watching the Wiggles and Go Diego Go have become a big part of my life, cuddling on the couch  and burning a chicken supper and telling everyone its BBQ flavor is also a big part of my life.
Realize that my little piece of happiness didn’t just happen. I worked hard for it and searched the world trying to discover what makes me happy. Like most people there were tears and heart break and at my low points a lot of confusion. I think that for all us, except a few select few, that is what the pursuit of happiness looks like. We kiss a lot of frogs on our journey and eventually we find what we need to be happy then we work our ass off keeping it because we know that its unique.
People being people leads some to only see the other side of the fence and think wow it’s so much greener without realizing that their neighbors water it every day. The question they should ask is why am I not watering my grass? Lately I have noticed that select people seem to be annoyed over my little bit of happiness. Yes I usually add my family life into most conversations. That is a big part of my life. Bigger than work, TV and even my novels because I have worked lots of jobs that didn’t make me happier or add much to my life other than a pay check. If I lost this job I could easily find a new one and my life would go on. I will always have thrilling ideas for novels and whether I write one great book or not I still see it as a hobby so my life will always go on, but my family is always what brings me the best joy in life.
To anybody who looks over the fence and sees greener grass all I can say is, don’t get jealous or complain how much better the grass looks on my side, fix your own lawn. If you want happiness find it, work for it and enjoy it. It’s not easy because being happy is a hell of a lot of work. Not just finding it, but keeping it. I see a lot of people who seem to look around and automatically think it came easy to them like their neighbors life was a gift from god. Ok if you believe in any god you have a right to think that it’s a gift from god but what happens in the end and any memories are made from work.
I come from a long line of red necks. I mean moonshine and long beard red necks. We all grew up on the same little dirt road and went to the same schools. So basically we all started out at the same place with the same opportunities. I have a cousin that is happily married and a nurse. Another that is a teacher and a lesbian that works at a bible college. With the exception of one brilliantly intelligent cousin (The teacher of course) there is nothing really special about them.  I always thought they had it so much easier than me. Some even had it harder but they worked harder and found their happiness. On the other side of that same coin, I have cousins that are really smart and look like they could be models who are never happy and hate everyone around them who is happy.
Things that life has taught me is that I am in charge of my happiness. If I choose to see the world around me as dark and gloomy, it will be. Nobody can make my life happy. They can add to it, share it and even be there when I need to be cheered up, but nobody can be responsible for truly making me happy. I can be happier because they are in my life but they cannot be my only source of happiness. Family is, and I think will always be, a double edged sword because most of the time they will bring joy to your life, sometimes they will annoy you like no other and there will even be times when you understand why some species eat their young. On the flip side, they can be the greatest joy to your life, but not for everyone. Some people are content to live without family, but I found my happiness.
My happiness didn’t come easily, it took a lot of work to get to where I am.  It’s not a gift and it’s certainly not easy but it’s always possible. I think that we need to like who we are and be happy with who we see in the mirror then we can start living a happy life, but true happiness is and probably should be a lot of work. Then you can enjoy what you get when you have it. However, you have to find the happiness you want, work for it and find happiness in the things you can’t control.

Smile

JD

Not the life I wanted

untitled

It’s easy to forget who we are. To forget about what is really important in. Earlier this year we had this guy at work that would come to work and every time he’d get stressed he’d run for a smoke and state this is not the life I wanted. It’s a simple enough statement and I am sure that he is not the only person that wakes up every day knowing that statement is going to be leaving his lips.

After hearing him say it on a daily basis I finally asked him what was the life that he wanted? What does he think that is missing from his life. Of course I was expecting to hear him cursing about his job. He never mentioned the job. It was the reason behind going to work that he was missing.

Now in my adult life it took me a long time to understand the reason why is more important than where you actually go to work and what you actually do. Now I have friends whose identity is tied into their job and I am sure that a piece to them will be screaming on the inside. I even lived my life that way for decades. My job was part of myself image, but that’s another blog.

There are various reasons why people go to work and when you consider that most people work a forty hour work week having a solid reason to go to work should be important to us. Now enjoying your job is important, but what if you don’t have a job you enjoy.

I am not really sure that anybody truly gets the life they wanted. There are many reasons. Some we can control and others we can’t plus the world is always changing. We change. It’s how life works. I know people who put a lot of effort preparing for a career that they simply weren’t designed for and others who found a job they love, but for whatever reason the job is no longer there.

Still some have what I like to call the Brady bunch view where they think life will always provide a happy ending. Some even look at the world and resent those who seem to have somehow managed to live the kind of life that they want.

I am one of those great planners and goal setters. I might only accomplish half my goals in life and there are times I look back at my child and wonder does such a place still exist. Of course I know that most of the feelings of security are images and memories that my mind has slightly twisted to make them happier.

Like most people my life is not what I dreamed it would be when I was a child. It’s not a bad life and certainly I struggle to chase my dreams and there are even times when I wonder is it really worth it? I mean looking at the future with the enthusiasm of a teenager and the responsibilities of an adult. After asking myself is this the life I wanted? No it’s not the life that twelve year kid who thought he’d be a great hero wanted or that star eyed teenager who bought a cheap headless blue bass guitar and thought hell I will be a millionaire by the time I am twenty, but the adult me who still dreams like a child says yes it’s the life I wanted because I didn’t settle on love or family which are the truly important things. When I die I will live on through my children and those people who truly know me. Whether my books sell millions of copies of become great movies is not so important because I wrote them and that is something nobody else can take away. I traded a higher paying job with lots of travel because suddenly my home life and love meant more. Money and fame don’t mean a happy life. A happy life is priceless even if it’s not what you thought you would have.
Smile JD

Lasting impression

images

In the late 90s I started off my IT career like many techs in my city. It was in a consumer call center for a major computer manufacturer. Glamorous job no, but it helped shape my career and I learned so much.

Luckily this was during a time when computer sales were spiking. Windows 95 had just been released and Ottawa had one of its first major call centers so they literally came to colleges looking for anybody that wanted a job and didn’t really worry about experience or skill. As I was told people skills we cannot teach, but computer skills we can provide. So there I was working with 1000 other techs with the constant flow of senior people moving onto better jobs and new techs starting there careers.

I worked hard there and had a reputation when I left. I wasn’t considered the smartest tech, but hardworking, loyal and dependable. That reputation has followed me and helped ever since. My next three jobs in fact which is the point that I am trying to make here. The people we work with and meet along the way in our lives can be the greatest contacts we we ever meet. When that first call center closed after nine years I came home to a phone call from my first manager who was an ops manager at a different call center. It was a job offer. When I asked him why his answer was I know the skills and work ethic you bring. I had not actually seen him for seven years, but he remembered me.

As call centers seem to do when this one closed I was on vacation so I didn’t even know I was unemployed at the time. Before I even knew I did not have a job I had a job offer with someone new. Of course I have done the same for other techs as well. Those that stand out as people I would put my reputation on the line for.

Recently we had a tech at my current job who wasn’t a great tech but he had alot of possibilities of becoming a great tech. When he left his position it made me wonder if he truly understood the damage that he had done. Not only did he ruin his chances of ever returning, but the memory of him is tarnished forever. Most people in my experience only remember your first two weeks and last week on the job. His first two weeks were not wonderful, but not horrible either. The last week though was terrible. He came in at least two hours late everyday, took long lunches, left early whenever he felt like it and did barely any work.

Now his new job lasted only three weeks. His position was phased out because he was hired based on a potential contract and the company didn’t get it. While searching for a new job he lists our company and in one way or another somebody knows somebody and they ask about him. I cannot say for sure that a bad memory affects his job search only that he is still searching.

I know from my experience a good lasting impression can open doors and I am pretty sure a bad one can not only close them, but lock them as well.

Smile
JD

Searching for puddles

imagesM0N7JMUG

Spring is in the air. Well between the surprise snow and colder then average weather that has been popping up. Today though was a great spring day. Lots of sunshine and a warm breeze so we went searching for mud puddles. Most of my free time is spent with Sarah and an inquisitive two year old, who recently found the joy of splashing in puddles, so today was spent walking around our block and neighbourhood finding and attacking mud puddles.

You would be surprised how quickly you can walk 2000 or more steps when the two year old keeps seeing one more puddle just down the street. It started off as a walk and a tactic to give Sarah time to do school work without having little fingers pounding on the keys while she is working on an essay. Then it was a way of giving our little bundle of energy some outdoor time to use up some of that never ending energy. Now, though, these afternoon strolls have taken on a new meaning. We are building memories. Mine for sure and his I hope. As someone who does not have a lot of happy childhood memories, it’s my hope that he will look back and find a lot of happy memories filled with adventure, joy and happiness.

Its easier, I know, to let the tv educate him. He already knows every Wiggles song off by heart. I laugh, but Sarah and I do too. I sometimes wonder if the group realizes that their fan base in many households ranges from two to forty two. Well in our house it does. Also we have thirteen steps leading from the main floor to the upstairs and he can count them all. He has actually made it as high as seventeen. He surprisingly knows all his ABCs and the colors blue, red and orange. Am I bragging? Maybe a little, but these are the memories we are building in our house. I am not sure how long he will keep them, but for me, they will last a life time.

I realize as he gets older, that despite the fact he is the poster child for the terrible twos, that I am blessed. Not just because he is so much smarter then me and amazes me daily with the knowledge that he picks up, but because I am young enough to do so many things with him (Even countless hours of Wiggles dancing and Go Diego Go), but also old enough to enjoy it. I hear the younger fathers at my work place act like every minute that they spend with there kids as a daunting chore and remember those days from my youth.

I am just glad now that I can build memories and see the world along with a fresh set of eyes.

Smile
JD

Reversing the roles

images1YYVYT15

I was raised to believe in equality. Not just of the sexes, but in race, creed and color.  Pretty much in my world people are people. I think if you are going to dislike people do it on personality and actions. That gives you so much more to work with lol. Now up until I always thought that I supported feminism the same as I do gay rights, but lately I realize that I am not a great supporter of feminism. I am a great supporter of equality. I do not want to control anyone or be controlled by anyone. That is why I am no longer a great supporter of feminism. There are different levels of feminism and lately I realize that some of those levels want me not to be a man because historically they see is as the down fall of woman. Now through my travels for various reasons I have seen situations where woman are forced to be stronger, work harder and be wary of any man. I am the first to admit that in countries and even places are in north America getting screwed over is a common daily event for some woman. I know there are countless woman who are abused both mentally and physically as well situations where some ass takes what he wants from the bible and says obey me it says so right there. I have even seen gorgeous brilliant woman who are forced to stand by while there husband sleeps with countless woman due to over population and their thinking is having a bad husband is better than no husband at all. I know these things and yes I know that being a woman can be hard. I even know a few guys who are signing up for a Woman’s and gender class at the local university not for the education, but because of a comment I made. Sarah signed up for the class and there are two guys in the class. I said as a joke ones gay and the other wants to get laid. Two guys thought that was a brilliant idea and made a bet and took it as a challenge over who could sleep with the most women. I know that men can be absolute asses. The point I am trying to make is we are not all that way. I have had female bosses that even now I see as great leaders. I am not threatened by it. She was qualified for the job and I treated her with respect. Actually I treated her with more respect than my current boss. Honestly I thought she did a better job and she was kind of scary at times. At home I wash the laundry on Sundays, wash baby bottles, make horrible homemade pizza, amazing spaghetti and change way too many stinky diapers. Even the boy cooks and washes dishes because in our house we believe people is people. This is our life though. We all do the various chores not based on gender, but age and how well we do it. Yes I do not have to sweep floors because I suck at it. Lol incompetence yes gender no

Now I hear how all these young women in Sarah’s class want to rule the world. That is a great thing and we should never stop striving to reach the top. It’s one of the great things about being young. What I do not like is historical examples of men ruling their houses like kings would a castle and hearing how historically when have forced woman to fight for their rights and using that as an excuse for what I hear is role reversal.

I think that being equal should be enough for anyone. It should not matter who makes the most money or the gender you are. Give respect and demand it back. Yes I think we all need to demand respect no matter who we are. Nobody wants to feel the iron fist controlling them so look for and treat people as equals and do not let the way the world used to be determining who you are. We should ever forget the past, but certainly it should not be the reason that we allow ourselves to steal another person’s equality.

Smile

JD

List 5 things you would change and 10 things you adore about her

untitledEarly this week I heard a married guy complaining about his wife like she was more of an enemy than his partner. Of course there was that one guy who has been divorced three times to agree with him and add his insight into how he was so right and his wife was so wrong. This actually pissed me off. I know that many people vent to their friends, but this was not venting. I have never met his wife and by some of his complaints, I can understand his frustration, but how can you love someone and talk about them like that? I do feel though that there is a time and place to vent, but publicly at work is never that place.

Now I know that the idea of a perfect relationship is a fairy-tale. I am not saying that there are no great relationships because I think that I have one, but a perfect one does not exist. Two people with separate points of views and opinions can be respectful and loving, but perfect no. I think that it’s a great goal, but cannot quite ever happen.

I listened to this guy downgrade his wife’s parenting skills and pondered if she knew how he felt. As he went on I realized more and more that every problem he listed seemed to be because he never spoke to his wife. He made the mistake of asking my opinion. I asked two questions. Have you told your wife about how you feel and do you respect your wife? To me these were important questions because life has taught me that if you never talk you will never fix the problems and if you respect your partner you will never talk down about her.

You see at my house I am generally the harder parent on the kids and more or less Sarah is the softy, but we talk. Kids no matter how much you think you are raising angels are not perfect angels. We know that the kids will try and get what they want by playing parents against each other. Its human nature if dad says no you ask mom. It took us a long time to get this in sync, but we talk and learned this. I am not saying that we are perfect either, but we do talk. Not just about how people frown upon duct taping the boy to the wall even though plenty of days I consider it. Of course I do not, but a dad can dream. My point is that we talk and despite the fact we may not be perfect at parenting, if we did not talk we would be a lot worse. As a result, the kids don’t have the upper hand.

The other thing that bothered me the most is the way he spoke about his wife. I have never met his wife so I have no opinion on the kind of person she is, but talking about her the way he did was a terrible thing. Now in my house and my life I believe that nobody can talk about Sarah any worse than I do and I treat her like gold. It’s true. In my world the example of how Sarah should be treated is set by me. So everybody I know hears how amazing Sarah is. Of course those that really know me thinks she must be an angel because she puts up with me and still others think she should get a trophy for staying. Lol yes these are my friends. Anyway the point I am trying to make is any man can stand around making his wife look dumber than a post, but a real man tells the world all the great things about his wife.

Now I personally never complain about Sarah. We actually discuss things so I have no reason to complain. I know some men who will talk about their problems with a friend. I understand that because everybody needs someone to talk about their problems with. Luckily I have Sarah, but I would never consider bad mouthing her to the world. Honestly, I have no reason too. First of all in many cases if a man does not respect the woman in his life those around him won’t or they think you are an ass. There is also the fact that eventually people will meet her. From my experiences they will have an opinion already made about her or you depending on the person.

I once heard a man say that he was ready to divorce his wife and a friend told him every morning when he woke up to list 5 things we wished that he could change about his wife and ten things that he adored about her. Every day he woke and made his list. Within 90 days he realized that those little thing about his wife changed depending on his mood, but those ten things he adored about her never changed. The strangest thing was that he realized a lot of those things he did not like were not that important. He told his wife about the experiment and there was one thing that he learned that day. Most of the things that bothered him so much at the beginning either were not habits, but onetime events or became not so important. Some of the things that he did not like she did not know bothered him until he told her. Of course the same friend gave her the same advice. It may sound really simple, but the end result was they talked about the major events and forgot the small ones. It helped save their marriage.

Not every problem can be resolved by talking, but certainly it’s a great place to start.

Smile

JD

 

 

The world is ending

images

I am a very lucky man in so many ways. My life is not perfect, but I like my life. I have a great home life where I rush home from work every day because honestly there is no place in the world I would rather be. In many ways I have something rare that a lot of the people in my little world admire and envy. I am nit the richest guy in the block, certainly not the best looking, but I am happy and everything fits together like a puzzle and I have all the pieces.

Now last year I decided that I wanted to write one great novel. Not a classic like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (which I still consider an absolute amazing story) or J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (Which has been one of my favorite series since childhood), but the best book I can write. My first two attempts failed miserably. My book “Innocence Lost” was to emotional and “Little White Lies” was a big leap as far as my writing skills went because I evolved, but I pulled both because they were crap. It took me three tries to get to the point where I went WOW I like this book. It’s my “Stealing Destiny” book. Is it the best book out there I doubt that, but it’s my best book so far and I am proud of it. It’s the realization of my childhood dream. To write the kind of book that I want to read.

Now I was lucky that my first two books received 5 star reviews, 4 star reviews and 3 star reviews, but never anything lower. The 4 and 5 star reviews built up my confidence while the 3 star became a learning experience. I took what those 3 star reviewers said to heart. Not as an insult, but as free education. Why not they said what they did not like and some even emailed me explaining it in more detail. I took this information and reread my books and turned it into knowledge. I honestly thought this was great. I write books and most people like them and those that do not tell me that they love my books are helping me get better.

Then the unthinkable happened. I got a 1 star review. Now I will admit I was shocked to hear that someone thought my book sucked. A couple guys at work read it and explained that is why they could never release there’s to the public. There is always that possibility that someone somewhere will give you the dreaded 1 star review.

I read the review and even though I did not want a 1 star review attached to my masterpiece I knew that this day would come. I could be like other people I know who I think are much better writers then I am. I could give up and the world would not care. After all I am just a name attached to a picture that only a handful of people have ever heard up. I could blame the editors (Others I know blame their editors when some one sees a grammar error), but I know I have a great pair of editors. Actually I am very lucky of have such amazing people edit my books.

A lot of people hate rejection. I am not fond of it, but fear of rejection doe snort rule me my life. I do. I actually read the whole review from start to finish and opted to learn from it. Fear is a terrible thing unless it involves jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, in front of moving vehicles or bullets. I firmly believe that those fears should be taken serious, but rejection is a part of life. No matter what we do in life fear of failure should not stop us from trying. It was help motivate us to do better. Try harder. Push onward. When we do hear no or get that dreaded one star review look it as a way of becoming more then we are now.

If you believe in evolution we all started out as monkeys and evolved into what we are. If you are religious we were put here to have faith. Not just in whatever god you believe in, but yourself. I personally believe that the things that mean the most to us have some personal risk. When you ask a girl out on a date she might say no, but there is always that possibility that she will say yes. When you get married it might end horribly, but there is always that chance it will last a life time.

Failure is a state of mind. It does not and should matter if you get it wrong the first time or the second or even the third. As long as you learn from it and keep trying you never truly fail because failure is giving up on something that deep down you really want to do.

Smile

JD