I am watching the sunrise from my window (again).
The colors of orange and purple amaze me at times like this. The clouds mix in and take the different colors under its belly. There are leaves on the ground and autumn has taken most of the foliage. But still, the remnants of colored leaves are not all lost. At least, not yet.
I find myself sifting through ideas of nostalgia and thinking about younger days and youthful times. Nothing was ever like this; so crucial, I mean. Nothing was so intense or heavy. Nothing was ever really pressing except for the times, of course. What I mean is the only thing that was important then is what we were going to do or where we were going to go. Meanwhile, we’d always end up at the same spots. There was something both beautiful and bitter about this. I wanted to do different things but I never dared. I wanted to enjoy myself, which I did but there was always some kind of friction. I suppose it was safe to say that I was at a personal impasse.
I’d always end up at the same places. At the same time, nothing different ever happened but then again, something always happened. If for some reason you missed it or you left early or went home or God forbid, you went someplace else and missed out; then you’d have to hear about what happened from your friends and feel like a piece of you was missing like an appendage was hacked off, just because you missed out.
I don’t think I ever missed anything. Then again, I don’t know if I ever saw much. All I saw was my City. I saw the inside of the popular clubs and the famous places that most people talk about when regarding New York City.
I saw a woman walking a man around on a leash one night. He was dressed casually. She was dressed nicely and slightly provocative.
The man had a collar around his neck with a leash attached to it. He wasn’t on all fours or anything like that. No, he was just walking around and only spoke when given permission to speak.
I think we were at someplace on Mercer Street.
I remember this.
She told me I was cute.
I told her I don’t wear leashes.
She said, “That’s what I have him for.”
I saw the dawn after exiting the afterhours spots. I had a few occasions at diners with big plates of food, which was always one of the stops before going home.
I had my fair share of confusion. I had my inaccurate concepts of friendship and friends; and of course, I had a set of defective principles on romance and struggled with the subtle differences between lust and love.
I go at this from time to time. I think about the times when I saw possible exits yet, I never took them because my fears of missing out were too great. I admit to my ultimate phobia, which is to be alone or worse, to feel alone.
Besides, if I went elsewhere, what else would I do? Who else would I be?
I deliberate between the times I spent out with The Boys and the times I chose to walk away, to see, think, feel and be free. But there was no one to share this with.
I go back to one of my earlier memories of how crowds seem to differ. It seemed that who you are is equally as important as what you own. I think back to the kids in the playground and the kids with the great toys. Or, what about how they compare to the kids who had no toys, or worse, had the toys that other kids made fun of.
I think about the kids with their lunch boxes and the so-called “Cool” foods. I think about matchbox cars. I think about the girls and their comparisons with dolls and doll houses. I think about the competition of status and how this is seen from youth to adulthood. This is real until one day we find ourselves at a new level of awareness and understanding.
No one ever asks what you want in life.
No one really asks “Hey, what would make you happy?”
“What would make your life more satisfying?”
No one asks this and if they do, no one sticks around to help you find the answer.
Plus, when someone does ask, “Hey, what would make you happy,” the interesting thing is that most people look upwards with this quasi-confused look on their face; as if to say, “I’ve been waiting my entire life for someone to ask me this question and now that I’m asked, I can’t think of the answer.”
I think of when someone said to me, “Do you want to know what my problem is?”
And directly after they said, “I don’t know what my problem is,” which was inaccurate because we do know what our problems are. We know what our complications are. We know what we think and we know what we feel. We might have to dig sometimes to understand this. We might have to sift through our trained behaviors and our patterns of living. But deep down, we know the answers to our riddles.
I can remember sitting in a therapist’s office. To be clear, I had been to therapists before this. In fact, I’m sure that if I added the hours, I could put up some record numbers with the amount of hours I’ve sat in some quack’s office or a social worker of some kind.
(I hated them all if I’m being truthful.)
However, this time was going to be different. This time was on me. I wanted to take an honest approach. I wanted this to work so I had to give this an honest shot. I was young and certainly filled with “Piss and vinegar” is how I was described. I needed help and I knew it. I couldn’t work very well because I was too consumed with the differences between myself and my coworkers. I excused and rationalized all of my beliefs, which were certainly limiting me. At no point could I reach my best potential, at least not while living this way. I had to make a change.
I thought about my main concern, which was my feelings of disconnectedness and always believing that there was something so incredibly different about me. I wanted to face my anger and my resentments. I swore, if anyone ever asked me about my anger, I was going to tell them.
Man, was I going to tell them. I was going to give it to them and give it to them good.
No doors would keep me out and no walls could hold me in. And what happened?
I sat across from a somewhat middle-aged man who was somewhat acceptable to me. I was not sure about this man. Was he someone who could help me? Would I like him? Would I like his tactics or his process?
I don’t know. But I do know one thing, he asked me “So, what brings you here?”
“I came here to work on my anger.”
“Yes, I am.”
“What are you angry about?”
(And here’s the funny part)
I had been waiting so long for someone to ask me about this. I swore the day I was asked, I would blow up like an atom bomb and let everybody know. But dammit all, he asked and it was as if my mind went blank. I couldn’t answer. I froze, as if there were too much to think or too many things to list and dammit all, I didn’t know where to start.
Son of a Bitch!
(Note to the reader: while typing, I just slapped the exclamation point key as hard as I possibly could.)
I was a person who wore the outfits and dressed the part but at the same time, I was just a kid who was trying to find his place in the sandbox. I didn’t have the best of toys but I didn’t have the worst of them either. I was somewhere lost in the comparisons that build our excuse machine.
I was pitted against myself, deciphering between desirable and not. I was wondering where I fit or if I fit; yet, how could I ever possibly fit if I never dared or tried to do whatever it was that would make me happy (or feel complete).
I offer this as honestly as possible because this is a part of my truth; furthermore, for someone else, this is an avoidable dilemma that can be corrected and changed. I could have taken an exit. But I didn’t.
At the time of this publication, I am scratching the surface of the half-century mark. Well, this means I’m 49 years-old to be exact, which is not to say that I am old nor is this to say that I should start considering the place of my burial. However, at this time in my life, I am not so young. I find myself at a new juncture. I am in the middle of a career change.
I am educating myself. I am starting over to say the least. But more than anything, I am choosing to go after my childhood dreams now.
I am sifting through my old ideas of old times, old jobs and my old hangouts. I think about the times when I knew it in my bones and said to myself, “This just isn’t meant for me.”
It’s not about anger. It’s not about fitting in. It’s not about my friends or where I fit in the social grove. This has nothing to do with my status or where I belong in the different echelons of “Cool.”
A friend of mine was in the middle of a project and asked me to take a walk with him. He was venting to me the same as I suppose I was venting to him.
“You’re meant for more than this,” he told me.
“Everybody knows that.”
He wasn’t putting my position or my day job down.
In fact, he even told me so. “But this just isn’t for you.”
“You’ve outgrown this.”
I think about where I was and where I’ve come from. I think about where I am and where I want to be. There is a difference between each station.
So, in answer to the question, which is a frequently asked question and valid, what makes people happy?
The answer is the belief that happiness is possible.
The answer is to believe that we can be happy, even when unhappy moments arise, even when life is tough and even when we work at a job that doesn’t fill the void. So long as we believe in our abilities, our possibilities can become endless.
I never knew that an adjustment in my belief system would have such an impact on my life. And here I am, working on a kick-off idea for a pilot that opens a golden door for me.
I think I’ll start here.
I think I’ll offer an honest approach and come from a relatable standpoint. I think I’ll show them who I am, honestly, openly and heartily because whether I’m late to the game or not, at least I’m in there.
At least I can say to myself (and to The Old Man who looks down from above) put me in coach.
“I want to play.”
This is my plan.
This is my path.
This is my road to happiness.
Here comes the sun now, folks.
I have some work to do.