Autumn Evening Paddle

I thought that at the end of August, we wouldn’t be out on our kayaks for the rest of the year. Turns out that the weather is cooperating these days and proving me wrong.

Late yesterday afternoon, my wife and I drove for about an hour to Aloutte Lake to set in the water. We arrived shortly before sunset and the lake was still alive with boats and people enjoying picnic dinners.

Even though the haze from smoke was still in the air- we were able to enjoy the autumn colours. The trees shared with us the oranges and browns that they were changing into. The sky even reflected the glass like quality that the lake had to offer up.

My wife and I headed back to shore shortly after dusk settled in. It was a short excursion, but the time I had with my wife both on the lake and driving, was some enjoyable quality time.

Sometimes my wife is right. Taking time away from the hustle and bustle- as short as those moments may be- is worth putting the effort into.

Working Stress-Free

Sometimes a night at work can be relaxing. Having a purpose and doing a job can help alleviate the stresses of the world.

All those crazy emotions of home life are put on pause during the hours at my job. I’d like to think that life away from work is calm and peaceful, but it isn’t always. The worries of returning to school during a pandemic are highest in my home. Like many other parents, we are just waiting to see how life plays out.

So I take solace at my job. Where precautions have been taken since the beginning. A job I have done for almost 13 years. A place I know all too well keeps me calm.

Most Liked

Facebook loves to share “Memories” when I log in. I’m sure many of you see yours as well (if you still use Facebook). Sometimes I love seeing the old photos or bizarre status updates I once did. I can’t even remember the last status update I did… I also removed all friends a year and a half ago, so no point to update into thin air…

Today Facebook shared with me- my most “Liked” photo of the year 2009. It’s a cute picture of the time my children made a train out of cardboard boxes for me. Having deleted 400+ friends, how many “LIKES” would you say this picture received? 200? 100? 50?

FIVE.

My most “LIKED” photo of 2009 had FIVE likes. For the entire year of 2009. One of which was my wife. I’m not saying this is the greatest photo ever of 2009. But for a person who had a few hundred “Facebook Friends” you’d think that I could get a higher number on any of my photos.

In the end though, looking for satisfaction through other people’s opinions doesn’t equate for the sheer happiness that this photo brought to me personally. My joy isn’t measured in numbers from other people clicking a thumbs up for me.

Its part of the reason I don’t try and sell myself or this blog. Sharing personal stories is for my mental well being. And in the end- that matters most.

Feel free to like and share today’s blog.

Sober September Number 3

This is my third year going for “Sober September”. In fact I am already starting it early because last year I slipped and had a beer part way through the month. I won’t let that happen again this year.

If all goes well, I’m going to push for an Alcohol-Free Autumn. I’m not sure if my wife will try and join me this year. She doesn’t possess the same internal struggle as I when it comes to having a vice. In general I have more of those evil addiction traits than her.

Most of my year has had me in pictures with various beers at a variety of places. I appear to be touting the joy of drinking like an old magazine advertisement. As if drinking and fun go hand-in-hand. But seeing the last image of myself in front of my favorite watering hole, I realized I don’t look as healthy as once was. I have put on some unhealthy weight and a fake smile that I really do not like.

So wish me luck in my journey of Sober September 3. Each year gets harder than the last to let the drinking go. That is a sobering statement in and of itself.

What Were The Skies Like When You Were Young?

The skies always had little fluffy clouds in them.

I love staring into the skies and seeing the clouds floating there. I’ve done it since I was a child. Sometimes I just get lost in thought as I daydream. I sometimes think back to my late teens and listening to “The Orb”.

Stereophonic and psychedelic- a peaceful easy feeling. Listening to music while staring off was a great way to pass the day. A simplistic time in my youth where nothing mattered.

Clouds continue to take me away to my happy place. A spot in my mind that no one can control-the depths of my id. The inner me of me.

The skies continue to bring tranquility to me. I love taking photos of the clouds. I try and take pictures with clouds in the background as well when doing pictures of the outdoors.

Do you like clouds?

Asking An Adult

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.”

Okay… So it’s Thursday today. Many people do a Throwback Thursday post on various social media platforms. I think it’s time to go waaaaaayyy back. It’s time to do a mental reset for everyone. Especially adults who’ve forgotten the simpler things in life. Where this was the hardest question to answer as a child:

What is your favorite dinosaur?

I began asking everyone this question yesterday, continuing into today. And I mean everyone. To my surprise there are two types of people who answer. Those who answer quickly, and those who get confused by the question.

The ones who answer quickly are usually the ones who have small children in their lives. Either their own kids or grandkids. The other ones who have to think about it- do not have kids. The second group is also weirded out that I ask. And many do not remember anything about dinosaurs.

Just for fun, here’s the top five answers adults give me:

  • Triceratops
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Velociraptor
  • Ankylosaurus
  • Brachiosaurus/Brontosaurus

That is also pretty much the order of most popular to least. I had some people answer by describing the dinosaurs to me. Reaching way down into their memory banks of what these creatures once looked like. (That one with horns like a rhino… The one with a club tail… the dinosaur with a long neck). I also got into deep conversations with some about dinosaurs, museums, children, etc. This simple question opened up conversations.

My request for all of you out there- start conversations today with, “Mind if I ask you a question? What’s your favorite dinosaur?” You will be glad you did.

I’m Done

I’m finally through the longest mentally exhausting work week ever. Even though it was just my regular schedule, and the workload hadn’t changed, I’m done. I can actually feel my body loosening up and needing rest.

I’m going to take some much needed “me time” this weekend. I hate to do it, but I may need some time away from the family as well. If only for a couple of hours. I feel like I’m mentally overwhelmed and not making sense any more. I want to get back to normal.

By normal, I don’t mean “The New Normal” that everyone is talking about. I need to get back to my “Joyous Josef” normal. Fun t-shirts, silly discussions and laughing. That’s the normal I desperately need.

I’m done with not feeling normal this week.

Keep It Bright

During these crazy times in the world, when everything seems gloomy- keeping it light and bright is paramount. Sharing positivity, or support to those workers who get out there daily is important. It keeps their spirits up knowing that what they do is important. I’ve also been glad to see the Google Doodle showcasing their efforts daily!

The rest of us need something bright as well. Sharing a phone call, or a text to someone who you’ve lost contact with. Or share some thoughts on Instagram or Facebook. It may have seemed trite and melodramatic in the past, but now it really feels necessary.

Something to look at.

In our home, I washed the windows and repainted the walls in order to brighten our living space. We even moved our dining table to be closer to the windows. Seeing the outdoors and how much beauty it holds brings me joy. A fresh coat of paint indoors makes for a new lease on life as well.

What’re you doing to “Brighten” your world?

Estranged Stranger

I am an adult. I do adult things. I work hard to be the best husband and father that I can be. I also have friends and coworkers who rely on me and whom I rely on equally. I think I’m doing a pretty good job out there.

Over the years, I have chosen to lose contact with certain friends. Sometimes we just drift apart. Other times it was a misunderstanding or disagreement. That’s totally fine. Recently I was contacted by an old friend out of the blue. We shared stories and thoughts as if we hadn’t skipped a beat in our friendship. When I’m usually the one reaching out, it was heartwarming to know that he reached out to me instead.

As an adult with a life I in which I am trying to have filled with joy and happiness, I’ve chosen to lose contact with my mother and sister. My mother and sister have their own lives. I was often putting forth the effort to stay in contact and don’t have the energy to do it any further. It’s been a few months now, and I’m okay with that. After a few decades, it’s time to move on. I have other people who mean more to me in my life.

On the other hand, it’s also hard to want to miss somebody who could’ve been a bigger part of my life. How do I miss someone I’ve never met, like my Unknown Half Sister? It’s weird to think that there could’ve been someone I could look up to and ask advice. But that never came to fruition. That was more my parents’ choice to hide her existence for most of my childhood. As an adult, I just don’t care to discover an estranged stranger on the other side of the planet.

I sometimes dwell on the past. But I also move forward from these thoughts rather quickly. As I write this I know that it is helping me move forward with my life. I’m excited about the possibilities that my future has in store with friends and immediate family. Perhaps one day I’ll miss someone I haven’t met yet.

Invisible Man

Lately I’ve felt as if my existence is inconsequential. I’m floating through life day to day without making a mark. Work treats me like another number that can easily be replaced or removed. I feel as if the company doesn’t value what I bring to the table after a dozen years of service. I keep going because I like getting a paycheck. That’s sort of important I guess.

At home, our kids are busy being teenagers wrapped up in their own lives. With our oldest graduating this year from high school, our youngest working towards his speed skating goals, and our middle trying to figure out where she fits in in this world- daddio here takes the back burner. I’m easily ignored and forgotten about.

I also haven’t interacted with my friends in ages either. Everyone is busy being adults nowadays that it gets tough to get together. I’m not even sure what’s going on in their lives anymore since I don’t follow anyone on Facebook. Almost a year ago I thought the right thing to do for my Mental health was remove everyone. Now it feels lonely and a dreaded feeling of FOMO has crept in.

Perhaps today I just needed to vent and air out what I’m thinking. Feeling small and insignificant is a sensation I know many of you have felt as well. Usually I’m pretty positive and upbeat. Sometimes happy just doesn’t happen. This too shall pass, right?

But, uh, everything’s perfectly all right now. We’ re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Blue Monday 2020

Today is the third Monday of the year. It is also dubbed “Blue Monday”. Last year I was having a string of bad luck (read about it Here: Blue Monday). This year has not been nearly as bad- knock on wood as they say.

However I am feeling more gloomy than usual. I’m not to sure as to why. I think it’s because I haven’t been distracting myself lately from the daily routines. Perhaps it’s the weather? Maybe it’s those bills that I don’t like. Chances are it’s an accumulation of everything.

I think tonight after dinner it will be time for a nice cup of tea and a book. Try and change up the routine of passing out to some show on Netflix. Shake up the monotony of life a bit.

Do you experience Blue Monday? How do you combat Blue Monday?

I’m Not Just Good- I’m Great.

Lately I’ve had coworkers tell me I’m doing a great job. That makes me feel good, but also self conscious- which I find very odd. That’s because I often like to boost myself up mentally and emotionally. This usually entails me telling others that I’m great. Which has my family looking at me like this:

My kids and wife call me out on this All The Time. Now, I don’t go around saying them at I’m better than them. I just say that I’m great at what I’m doing. Two different statements. But an assumption is being made that I’m trying to put them down in order to boost myself. Which is not true.

I figure that in life you do need to promote your own ego a bit in order to have a healthy self image. And sometimes the only person who will pat you on the back is you. So go for it! Tell yourself them at you are pretty great! You never know when you’re going to hear it from someone else.

Besides, the more you state that you’re great, the more others will feel that way too about you. Which may explain why my coworkers feel that way about me.

Facebook Follies

Years ago I used to post about six or seven status updates on Facebook every day. This was not including the amount of times I’d change my profile picture as well. I went through a phase where I shared any and every humorous Star Wars image I could find.

Back in March of this year I took a drastic approach to this addiction. I deleted all my friends from Facebook. I’m not blaming my friends for my addiction. It’s just they humored my zany antics and prompted me to continue. I needed the next big laugh or long list of “comments” and “likes”. Those feelings never lasted and I craved more attention creating a vicious circle.

I find now that my daily blog is more informative and a better use of my time. It allows me to truly express myself and share how my life is going. I’m also reading more pieces from other bloggers and feeling much more productive. There’s an entire world out there that doesn’t require “a like for a like.”

I still use Facebook, but in a much different facet. I read articles that are enlightening or educational to me. I also interact with my blog followers when they comment. It’s a different, more grown up feeling I’m getting from using Facebook.

And I “like” it.

What We Think About, We Bring About

What we think about, we bring about.

I read this quote the other day and it got me thinking of how true it is.

If you plan on creating something, a painting for example, you can bring it to fruition. Get a canvas, some brushes, paints and an idea. It’s the idea part that creates. Without an idea there’d be no reality. These ideas, when brought forth, can materialize into a product. Essentially fabricating something from nothing.

But thoughts can do more than make a masterpiece for ourselves. If we think negative thoughts, negative results occur. If we think positive thoughts then good things happen. I guess you could say it’s like karma. Only difference is people tend to want to surround themselves with others if they sense happiness.

I pride myself in trying to be a positive thinker. I love being around other positive people. I’m not perfect though. Negativity seeps in from time to time. Moving passed it is the challenge. In all seriousness, I find getting over a negative thought is usually best done by listening to uplifting music.

Time to bring about what I think about. I’m going to work in my garden and create a lovely space to enjoy this summer.

What are you going to bring about? Let me know in the comments.

Healthy Lifestyle both Physically and Mentally

As I get older I feel that my life needs a bit more of a health upgrade. My wife is constantly pushing me to be more active. And she’s right. Look at yesterday for example:

I become stagnant and inert sometimes without realizing it. Yesterday she accomplished nearly 12,000 steps. I barely did 1700. As you can see- her goal is significantly higher than mine. Now that I’m in my early 40’s- it’s time to really start looking at my future.

I’m planning to retire by my mid 50’s. Which means besides being financially secure by then, I also want to be able to enjoy life. I don’t see myself hitting the gym, but walking more and getting off my phone to see the world are becoming more prevalent choices in order to feel healthy. So I also took a drastic approach to my cellphone addiction on Sunday.

On Sunday, as I was waiting for my son to compete in his Speed Skating competition, I noticed how everyone in the stands was on their phones- hardly interacting with one another. Naturally, I took out my phone and opened Facebook. This is when I realized I have a problem. It became clear that even though in the past I have taken a month hiatus periodically from the Social Media- I needed to do more. So I began by looking at my “Friends” list. I removed people to try and “clean house”.

By the end, I had removed nearly everyone on my list. There is now only my wife and daughters, my three friends who have passed away and two fellows whom I respect in many ways. One is a hard working artist, the other is my son’s coach. It took four days before anyone noticed that they weren’t my “Friend” anymore. The one who did notice is a close friend of mine and messaged me last night. Others may not have noticed, because if they follow my Blog- they are still seeing me posts on a daily basis because WordPress shares directly there for me.

After nearly 12 years on Facebook, it is tough to just give it up. I have kept my Facebook “alive” in order to read stories and news articles from groups that I follow. As well as to interact with those who comment on my blog posts. A couple of years ago I stopped using Twitter. The one social media I do enjoy is Instagram. I follow many of my Former Facebook Friends on their and enjoy seeing quick snapshots of their adventures.

Maybe one day I’ll regret dropping all of those Facebook contacts. I didn’t announce it to the world at the time because it really shouldn’t be a big deal. So I guess this is that announcement just to let people know. Time for me to move on. And by move, I mean walk more. Healthy living should be both physical and mental.

A new journey lies ahead. If I put my phone down- I’ll see where I’m going.

Not Socializing on Social Media

Last night as I lay in bed watching Netflix I was also browsing for nothing in particular on my smartphone (or should we just call it a phone now since most of us have one?). I don’t know what I was looking for. But it started and ended with Facebook.

First was a rabbit hole of videos. Everything from Fail Compilations to Wood Carving. Many of which I have seen before on these late night journeys of nothingness. Then I decided to try looking up former coworkers and schoolmates that I am not “Friends” with currently. Why? I have no idea.

Credit:Bizarro Comics

Do I need to pad my online self worth with people I once knew? Was it a deeper connection I desired with these strangers? I stopped myself before I began sending “Friend Requests”. I’ve come to realize that I have some great friends on Facebook. Ones who do share with me quite often even though we don’t see each other outside of social media.

I have also turned into the type of person that rarely comments on posts because I don’t want to offend. So my opinion remains curtailed and I lay dormant and quiet. Which is probably why I watch those videos. There is no interaction required. Just mind numbing useless videos that make me feel inadequate (I cannot turn wood into beautiful works of art) or I feel righteous (because of watching people fail at life doing stupid stunts).

The Fear of missing out prevents me from just abandoning social media all together. Maybe it’s time to reassess my reasons for staying on board. I’ve stopped using Twitter and Pinterest. I was never into Reddit. I enjoy Instagram because I love seeing the beauty in the world. But Facebook? No idea why I’m still going back. Sometimes I see a success story from a friend’s feed that makes me smile. Is it those moments that I crave?

I have a buddy that I have been friends with since kindergarten in the early 80’s. He has zero social media presence. He never did either. He and I are still in contact through text messages and calls on a regular basis. We meet up every few months and it feels like we never separated. I have a couple other friends like this. But I need more of those types of friends.

As I flip flop through deciding to abandon the social networking all together, I have to look at what’s important to me. Seeing success stories makes me happy. Using social media to keep up with technology and entertainment is also useful. Seeing hatred and misinformation spread is not.

Maybe it’s time for me to take my Month Long Break again.

Keep Your Chin Up

It’s only been one week into the New Year and already I’ve seen numerous people feeling down on themselves. It sucks to feel that way but I can totally understand it.

With every New Year comes resolutions- those new high expectations we put on ourselves can be overwhelming. When we don’t see results immediately or feel that we can’t overcome a hurdle easily, it sucks the life out of you. I’ve been there. In fact, sometimes I still end up there.

It may sound hokey and cliche, but to those reading this blog right now who may feel like a poopsock- know that I’m still here for you. We can get through this together.

Because you are awesome and you make this world awesome.

I’m Fine. I’m Just Not Happy

I’m fine. I’m just not happy.

And it sucks. Because my mood affects my family. From September to December I become easily irritated and miserable. Every year like clockwork. It’s also the reason I take a vacation in October every year. Which helps.

But I need to try and find new ways of improving my feels that last longer than a couple weeks. I want to do more stuff on my own. I’ve thought about playing more video games. The problem is my family likes video games as well. I also kinda suck at first person shooters, so I’d get more angry.

Maybe a new hobby is in order. Maybe read more books? Maybe drink more booze. Or less booze? Maybe I should just ride it out like I do every year.

I dunno. Any advice?

I’m fine. I’m just not happy.

Don’t Forget to Smile

Sanity and happiness are a near impossible combination some days. Life enjoys throwing curveballs in your direction when you least want it to.

I can be a real people pleaser. Sometimes I find it difficult to keep everyone else happy without sacrificing my own sanity. Whether it’s at home with the kids, out with friends or at work- I can’t please everyone. That can be tough.

What about my happiness? That’s what I need to work on more. I don’t want to be miserable or grumpy. So all I can do is smile. Laugh it off. Just go with the flow. Hope for the best.

Smile. It’s free.