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.

I see so many of my friends and family so transfixed by the darker aspects of life — rightly so, events can seem pretty bleak when all goes wrong — that they’re no longer phased by moments of levity. It’s something I like to call anti-naivete. This failure to pierce the heart’s emotion makes me mortified of people when they’re turned off by a cheesy love story or are unable to find happiness in another’s accomplishments.

This past year of writing my heart and sharing in the memories and experiences of others has led me to some real moments of clarity. In a manner, I write this blog out of selfishness. That may not be the right word, but what I’m feeling fits the spirit of the word. Perhaps a better label to put on Normal Happenings is self-preservation, as selfishness implies a negative where none exists. I write about appreciating everyday life because it grounds me to a reality that there’s more to life than darkness. Or rather, it’s the small but glorious events of life that ground me. I write to share them with others and literally make the world a better place. One year ago I had one reason to attempt to renovate the world through words; now I have 563 of them. Well, minus the spam accounts — I hope the robots find what they’re looking for.

I take moments to watch the dust riding on the sunbeams filtering through the window blinds because I seek beauty in a life where solace can seem scarce if I forget where to look. Whether this is the first time you’ve read a post here, or you’ve read every single post I’ve ever written over the past year, I’m genuinely just glad you’re along for the ride. Come help the world appreciate everyday life.

“Change this something normal / into something beautiful”
– Jars of Clay


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May the Years We’re Here Encourage Us

💬 Highlights:

  • Many live like they’re cursed by time.
  • Though times can be tough, it is possible to use it as a tool for encouragement rather than destruction.
  • Loved ones, learning, and art can make negative time a little better.

“May the Years We’re Here Encourage Us”

Volume 2, Number 4

Winter in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. can be rough, especially if you can count on one hand the number of times you’ve seen snow growing up. When Nikki and I moved from Alabama, U.S. to STL, we very quickly found ourselves feeling particularly down during the winter months. We are outdoorsy by nature, and when the ability to explore nature twelve months out of the year was taken away from us, we found ourselves experiencing “cabin fever” quite often. The temperature would plunge, freezing the roadways and making it impossible to even go to the gym or get groceries. Finding ourselves stuck in our apartment, we were forced to confront negative time.

Continue reading “May the Years We’re Here Encourage Us”

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”

I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity

A personality defined by irrepressible optimism, even in the face of the most adverse or discouraging of circumstances. That, in a nutshell, is what the word “pollyanna” means.

Normal Happenings is a blog of unbridled optimism. Although I recognize and have deeply experienced the darkness of the world, I choose to encounter the world through an unbreakable positivity. I have no qualms about saying that’s a form of Pollyannaism, and a very healthy manifestation of it at that. I am not naive, nor unrealistic, but it my worldview of optimism that keeps me from sinking.

Flashback to May of 2015: I had just finished my first year of graduate school, proposed to Nikki winter prior, and extremely recently lost my assistantship due to misunderstanding and bad luck. This was an obvious section of my life that mixed strong positivity with negativity, making it apropos that this is when the word came into my life. It always came as a surprise to me that the word took this long to show up. By this point I was already making end roads of manifesting my overly positive personality, but more so my communications background should have given me knowledge of the existence of the iconic 1913 children’s book by Eleanor Porter. After all, the book inspired a great many movie adaptations and firmly cemented its way into modern vernacular. Continue reading “I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity”

Light

– By Nikki –

I hear a voice more harsh than a gunshot whispering in my ear.

“No one will understand, listen, or care about you,” it claims, wrapping it’s arms around my neck and dragging me out of the existing moment I am participating in. I struggle against the weight of the constricting arms that are slowly choking me to death. I try to to verbalize what is going on, but all that I see is your hard face not noticing me.

I close my eyes and allow the darkness to overtake me.

I don’t feel anything.
I don’t have an opinion. Continue reading “Light”

Seven Things We Learn as Kids that We Need to Remember as Adults

 

Guest post by Megan Price from A Geeky Gal. You can check out my guest post on her site as well. Enjoy!

Hi there all of you readers! I’m Meg from A Geeky Gal and this here is my guest blog post for the awesome blog Normal Happenings. Hope you enjoy my guest post on seven things we learn as kids!

There are things instilled in us as kids from our parents and lessons that we are taught in school that shape us as people, but then there’s things no one told us to do, that was just part of who we were. Maybe we just knew some of these things, or maybe a little nudging gave us the power to give birth to unbelievable imaginations so we could think how we wanted to and in turn these ideas and actions came into being. We forget a lot of these useful things as we grow up, go to school, go to work, and have families of our own. We can’t forget what things are like as a kid, and we shouldn’t give up everything we learn from that time in our lives when we grow into adults. Continue reading “Seven Things We Learn as Kids that We Need to Remember as Adults”