It was an image of Keady lying in a sunbeam. This, by far, is what makes her happiest in the world. Even if it only lasts for a few minutes she will find a sunbeam coming in through the window and plop down determined to enjoy every last second of it.
The things that have been bothering me aren't the things that I typically like to write about (marketing, social media or whatever the Bears have done to make me question why I follow them like a religion.) What is really getting to me is what is happening in the world and the way everyone is reacting.
We are now living in a word of eternal pessimism, doubt and general anger. Trust and respect are two things that are hard to come by... and this is sad. I am sure I am not the only one that lays awake wondering about these things, but maybe others are worrying for other reasons.
It is easy to get caught up in what is wrong in the world. Everyone wants to talk about the latest scandal, how much money is being spent by big corporations and by our government, what is the latest pandemic, etc. But whatever happened to just enjoying life?
The thing I remember most after September 11, 2001 is the way America came together. How everyone really felt good about being American. How we took notice of the little things and were willing to spend the extra few minutes talking to our neighbors. It is sad that this didn't have a longer lasting place in our lives.
What happened is self-interest and greed once again took over. We went back to the world of wanting more and more and never being satisfied. We felt it was part of what made America the greatest country in the world - we pushed our fellowship of man to the back of our minds and pushed the new luxury car into our driveways. This is not to slight personal accomplishment, people should always push themselves to do more and people should be able to enjoy the rewards of their hard work... but think about this.
Think about the first Thanksgiving. Sure, I wasn't there and it could have been a real crappy day, but think about what we have been taught about that day. It was a day for giving thanks for basically being alive. For overcoming long odds and surviving...this, more than anything that can be bought in stores, is America.
In my lifetime we have seen many upturns and downturns - and right now we are seeing a downturn of major proportions. We are fractured along political lines. We are fractured based on our views on what should be done to the people and corporations that are being put in the spotlight for the economic ills we face. We are fractured in our views on social issues and morality. We are fractured on our views on what our effect really is on our planet. We are fractured, but I truly believe we can be mended. We just need to find our rays of sunshine.
Obviously our economy is in the crapper (yes, I grew up in "The Region" and say the word crapper with no shame.) No matter what is done or is not done people are outraged. People also want to see heads roll and people punished for what is going on in the world of big business. For the most part I was one of those people. A lot of people lost everything, including a lot of good people. However, being angry has gotten me nowhere. I am not saying people should not be held accountable for their actions, but really I am more interested in what I am doing to make the lives of others better. I am more interested in living my life.
I am not choosing to bury my head in the sand, I know there are still tough times ahead. What I am choosing is to focus on what is good in the world - there is still some good out there if you are willing to look for it. However, it might mean you have to take off your political war paint.
Both sides of the aisle have some valid points and some great ideas, but too often we all put blinders on and refuse to acknowledge someone who is "red" or "blue" if we lean the other direction. When it comes down to it, we all want the freedom to run our own lives. We want to be happy in our own skin and respected for who we are. The thing is, in our quest for personal freedoms we have tuned out the voices of others, or we have taken to talking so loudly that we can't even hear what someone else has to say. This goes for both sides of the aisle.
I can't tell anyone what to believe, but I shouldn't have to try. People should be free to live their lives with equal access to happiness and fulfillment. We should not work to segment the population and quiet voices that our different. We should look for those simple things in life that make us happy.
In a couple of months my wife and I will be bringing our second child into the world. In spite of what is going on outside my doors, I couldn't be happier that our family will be growing. It is no longer about possessions or personal status, it is about being happy and knowing I am doing right in the world.
Personally, I am going to makes sure I spend as much time with my family as humanly possible. I am going to make sure I am doing everything I can to protect the planet I live on. Even if we don't know the full effects of our carbon footprints I am choosing to error on the side of going full hippy. I am going to focus on what I can do to make others around me more comfortable, to be more tolerant and patient. I am going to stop obsessing about money - either I will have it or I won't, as long as I have the support of family and friends I know there is always a way to make things work. I am also going to make sure I continue to be snarky and sarcastic and never take things too seriously, I mean really... lighten the hell up people.
Finally, I am going to look for my sunbeams. Even in the times when things are darkest I am going to seek out those little rays of light and soak them up for as long as I can.
(I was just about to hit publish, but I wanted to add that I really do feel better about typing this out. Writing was always something I loved, but just pushed aside when life got in the way. Even if I am not the greatest writer in the world it is something that has always been personally satisfying and I know I should do a lot more of it. I hope others can remember what that one thing was that made them happy that they put on the back burner.
There is a quote from the movie Dazed and Confused that I absolutely love. It is from the character David Wooderson and I think it is the only appropriate way to close this post. "The older you get, the more rules they are going to try and get you to follow. You just got to keep livin' man. L-I-V-I-N.")