The Simple Things

Alright, Day Two. I can do this.

Good news is, it’s not even noon yet and I’m already working on this post. And, instead of planting myself in my dark, quiet man-cave of an office and forcing myself to pound this out, I’m trying to make it enjoyable. I’m out in the living room. It’s a glorious Southern California afternoon so I’ve got the windows open. I’ve got “Chicago’s Greatest Hits 1982-1989” playing on a record player. (“STAY the NYIGHT!”) And I don’t have to be at work until 7:30pm for a, thankfully, increasingly rare-for-me special event.

I’m actually glad I’m doing this. Life has been so full of frustration lately and it’s nearly all things out of my control. Any good news is instantaneously outweighed by a ton of bad. Yet, in the immediate circle of my life, things are good. Great, even. I’m engaged to be married to my favorite person. My parents are still around to enjoy my successes. In just 4 years and change, I’ve not only managed to survive in LA but have achieved something so deceptively simple yet near impossible in scale in this insane place: a degree of stability. Physically, I’m somehow in better shape now than I was 10 years ago. And, as of yesterday, I’m trying to jump-start the creative side of my life.

And yet, with all that, it’s still hard to not let it get overshadowed by things happening outside my circle.

So, in an effort to keep my sanity and appreciate all the good in my life, I’ve been trying to enjoy simple things again: Going for a walk. Sunshine on my face. Writing with a pen. Drawing with a pencil. Cooking a meal from scratch. Sipping coffee in the early morning quiet of our living room, flanked by two purring kitties. Listening to a full album in a single sitting, preferably on a record player (preferably involving Peter Cetera, Voice of an Angel. “LURV MEH TOMAAAHROW!”).

I’m not sure if this is the “mindfulness” or “self-care” my therapist recommended, but it seems to be helping. (I spent my life avoiding talking to a therapist but, this past year, I’ve discovered that therapy is as necessary to living in LA as oil changes are to owning a car.)

Interestingly enough, I’m also finding that I want to built things. Fix things. Take things apart and put them back together again. Tinker! Perhaps it’s because it brings me a sense of control in chaotic times. Maybe it’s just what happens in a man’s early 40s, some dormant gene kicks in that increases the urge to tinker (and pee more often, apparently). It might be because I see my dad at his age and I think about his dad (who never made it to that age) and how they’ve built things and fixed things and owned things, lasting things. In a world where everything’s so fleeting – a world of continuous Tweets and live-streaming and videos auto-playing whether you goddamn want them to or not – owning, creating and restoring physical objects feels like a luxury. Sitting quietly feels like an escape.

So, I guess that’s where I’m at. I’m slowing things down. Re-evaluating my priorities. And I’m blogging again.

Look at that, I’m blogging again.

POSTSCRIPT: While I was rereading this before hitting publish, I was reminded of a song I haven’t listened to in a couple of years. I’m not sure how I originally stumbled upon it but it ended up in a playlist when I first started using Spotify during my move to LA and I’ve always loved it. Considering this post, I feel it’s pretty apt. Enjoy.

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