Sometimes in life, it’s the smallest little thing that speaks to us……a song, a painting…..or something even smaller than that. I read a lot of blogs……when Google decided to ditch Reader, I quickly discovered and transitioned over to The Old Reader…..but, I digress. Technically, let me jump back just a bit………..
A few weeks back, I decided that I would “assign” a life project to myself. I wanted to do something that would be a BIG thing…..something tangible, concrete…..one of those major bucket list sort of things. So after a little thought, I came up with it:
I will take and post in some public place(s) on the Interwebs……..500,000 photos of various places and things found in the state of Texas. My digital photographic mosaic of the Lonestar state and many of the places one might find therein. That was/is something I might focus on, creatively, for the remainder of my life. Starting such a thing at the age of 44 is not too awfully crazy. If I average about 10,000 photos per year for a while (which shouldn’t be too awfully hard)…..and then really pick up the pace after retirement, I should meet that goal! A creativity footprint. Something meaty and solid that might live on forever. I liked the thought of that.
I am a social worker, and I like what I do…..I believe in what I do……but a close friend said to me years ago, that the only thing we really leave behind in this world is what we create…….that stuck with me.
I have done a poor job of stoking the fires of creativity within myself for a long time…..and I’m stopping it. I’m stopping it with the photo project…..I’m stopping it in many ways.
Along those very same lines, I was reading a guy’s blog today, and his little bio read something like: John Smith, creator of (yada-yada-yada)……[small comics, web comics etc. etc. etc]…..and it sparked me to think, “Y’know, when you reach the end of your life, it would be nice to say, “[Your name here]….creator of ‘this’ and ‘that’ and ‘the other thing’.” It was silly, really, but it got my juices flowing. I want to’ve created some “stuff” in my lifetime. I want to look back and see the stuff I wrote. The people to whom I meant something. The music, art etc. I’d created. I want it to be obvious that I was here….y’know what I mean? So, here’s the first photo I posted (at Wikimedia Commons, by-the-way)…..this is the very first one since my big idea:
Yeah….I know….it’s a sign…..but it’s a sign found in a park located in Tyler, Texas! I’m a creator……and that’s something to be proud of.
I’m a little tired, so this will be short. 2013 was not a bad year for me/us……not by any standard. Just regular life stuff and all the standard insanity that makes life what it is. Most any thing I’d complain about would just be “First World problems”……by and large. For whatever reason, I’ve really been in one of those, “Does my life really matter….”-modes. I wouldn’t use the word “depressed”….not by any stretch. I just thought that, at age 44…..my life would be……..ummmmmmm, bigger by now. Now, we’ve tasted of the major economic woes that many others have tasted of during the past few years, so that’s a big factor (although there’s a long list of people who’ve lost EVERYTHING—and WE CERTAINLY didn’t experience that)…..but we had some cloudy days.
I suppose I just want to have a healthy and balanced focus this year…….healthy and balanced. I’m just one guy. One guy, who grew up in a small po-dunk town in East Texas……a guy who, by-and-large has done OK for himself. I want to be the Dad my kids need the most…….and the husband my wife married (but maybe just a smidge better than that smart-aleck!!)
In the U.S., we’re allegedly past the Great Recession now. I suppose, by-and-large, my family’s finances are better than they were 18 mos. ago. My wife and I have been through some dark, dark, DARK TIMES as far as money is concerned. We are (I guess) the average American middle-class family (although, “average” and “middle-class” are ‘moving targets’ when it comes to definitions these days). There’s been a lot said and written about personal finance over the past 5 years or so.
Personally-speaking…….I have gone through such a metamorphosis about how I think about my money. I literally cant stop myself from laughing whenever I think about how the words “happiness” and “money” used to be linked in my personal world-view. I didn’t even know it was so severe until it started to change…..and change it has. I don’t at all believe that I’m in any position to give anyone advice, except to say, “If you want to know how to do it all wrong…..then look at how we did it.”
Two final thoughs while I’m waxing on about the Almighty Dollar:
Stupid Debt will destroy you. Most of how we get into debt in America is via Stupid Debt. Generally, so long as its a small house and you have a nice, polite, tidy little mortgage (with a stable interest rate)……a house is Smart Debt. Other than that, though, Stupid Debt will be your ruin…….take my word for it.
If you’re buying to make yourself happy…….you’ll NEVER BE ABLE TO BUY ENOUGH to reach that point……..never.
I’m not saying that I agree with everything David Cain says…….I both love him and hate him when he decides to become an anthropologist………..however, he says some remarkable things sometimes. A big chunk of this post (should be called an ‘essay’, really) is posted up in my office this very second. This single article has been “liked” on Facebook over 100,000 times…….a blog post, for God’s sake!!!!!?
Any-hoo, it (and many other interesting things he writes over there) is worthy of your time.
Y’know, you hear words like “image crafting” and “image management” in today’s social media-laden world. People often only put really attractive photos of themselves up or only discuss their major successes…..stuff like that. I tend to like it when people discuss failures/struggles via social media……it often has a very real timbre to it in a universe laden with synthetic happiness.
In line with that: yesterday…..in less than two hours (before lunch, mind you!) I learned that my sister had a heart attack in the wee early hours of Wednesday morning (she lives in another state) and was being prepped for a heart catheterization and ALSO that one of my 20-year friend’s brother (only 52 years old!!!) had died in his sleep due to a heart attack that night!! Oh, and later that night, my friend’s flight (while en route to Indiana) had to make an emergency stop before arriving at its destination! (“Emergency stop” sounds like fun, when you’re flying home to see your grieving parents, doesn’t it??) Also, I was embroiled in a 5 hour meeting that day that was much more stressful and ardous than it needed to’ve been.
Rough day……I mean that!
The best little Gameboy music sequence you’d ever want!!