Appreciating Everyday Life

The normal happenings of each day help beautify our lives. They are like the trees planted to spruce up a city block, or perhaps a painting in a room acting as a fixture to draw the eyes. They may be hard to notice in the moment, but the sum of our moments would be far lass valuable without them. I simply appreciate that life exists and I am part of it.

In my introductory post for Normal Happenings, I said, “if you ever catch me straying, remind me to go back and read this post.” Perhaps this post should be added to that arsenal as well, readied for the day I inevitably fall off the wagon and start speaking incomprehensible gibberish that only makes sense in my own head.

I want to take this time of relative respite, while the big events of the past few months — things like Tracking Shells or the Blog Awards — to reemphasize what Normal Happenings is all about. I’ll call it a renewal of vows, if you will, perhaps because I’ve recently been concerned I’m reaching a bit too far outside of my writing core. It’s important I slow my roll and do a deep-dive into my own motivations. After all, over-ambition can get the best of me — a topic I intend to discuss in an upcoming post. Continue reading “Appreciating Everyday Life”

Positivity By Force

💬 Highlights:

  • Positivity is a learned skill, but it has become my new default.
  • It takes a lot of energy to be positive.
  • Often tools are required to be optimistic in situations not ideal.

Part of my pursuit of removing pretentiousness and bloat from my own writing. Sometimes simple messages are best told simply.

“Positivity By Force”

Volume 2, Number 3

I am an optimist, but I was not born one. I am positive by default, but it is a learned skill. I do it because I feel it increases the quality of life of myself and those around me. The funny thing about positivity — it doesn’t come as easily as negativity. Like how it takes more effort to smile than to frown, it seems reasonable to set my default state of being to within a standard deviation of neutral. The day determines if I fall to the left or right of that baseline — a slight push towards negative or positive is determined by the weather, the daily commute, or the current level of caffeine consumption. That type of life does not work for me, however. I want to be more than the sum of my reactions.

Continue reading “Positivity By Force”

To a Father; Love, a Daughter

· Featuring Megan of A Geeky Gal ·

I’m three years old, and I’m holding your hand as we walk towards a baseball field. I feel safe when you hold my hand. I feel safe when I’m in your arms. I wish you’d hold me more. I wish you’d play with me more. I wish you were home more. My world is so small for now, but I know I love you.

I often wonder what you thought about when you and mom planned to have me. Did you think of my first steps? Or perhaps my first word? Or maybe you pictured the same blue eyes you have looking back up at you. Did you ever think that things would be the way they are today?

Continue reading “To a Father; Love, a Daughter”

Be Happy for the Success of Others

Human nature is that of competition, from the ancient plains of the savannas in the past, to the girders and steel of corporate metropolises on the present, and likely the far-flung future of asteroid mining and space colonization. Because of this drive for dominance, I’m about to say something that runs counter to culture and common sense. It’s an uncomfortable request – a plea completely unnatural when intersecting with the human condition:

You should be genuinely happy for the success of others.

Normal Happenings isn’t about telling you what to do – it’s more about the exploration of concepts that can lead to a bigger appreciation for life. However, in this particular case, I’m asking you: please try to be happy when good things happen to others. It will lead you to a better life. Continue reading “Be Happy for the Success of Others”

Happiness Isn’t a Limited Resource (But It Sure Is Rare)

The topic of happiness has been on my mind lately, and so I’d like to spend the next two blog posts discussing its purpose in appreciating everyday life.

Small, quiet elements of the human experience confuse me far more than they should. Why do 20% of people, myself included, automatically sneeze when they go out into the sun? What is with people’s obsessive fascination with finding beauty in symmetrical faces and patterns? And why do people continue to imagine doing repetitive tasks long after they’re done?

Then there are the things that move beyond simple curiosities and can cause real negative effects in society. To me, one of the most egregious of these is the human nature to shoot down the happiness of others.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or this has become such a part of daily life where you don’t even notice when it happens, I urge you to keep an ear to the ground on the daily conversations surrounding you. Listen to the ebb and flow of discourse when one person mentions a truly positive event in their life that makes them happy. Unless the other person has specifically trained themselves to take joy in the happiness of others, their automatic instinct is normally to attempt to balance the scales and introduce negative repercussions into the circumstances of the happy person.

Continue reading “Happiness Isn’t a Limited Resource (But It Sure Is Rare)”