transparency.

the thing about writing is that it requires a high level of transparency and honesty. especially when you are writing about yourself and your own thoughts. you cannot simply make stuff up and expect it to work. i mean you can always make stuff up, i just don’t know how well it works.

this level of transparency and honesty sometimes scares me as a writer. it actually keeps me from writing often because in reality, i’m more comfortable with being vague and keeping my distance. that doesn’t work as a writer. or i guess maybe that’s why i like to write. maybe these words are a shield. in blogs, the ease of typing and then hiding is appealing. you can write whatever it is that you wish you could say to someone’s face without actually having to look them in the eye. you can express yourself in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise. but i don’t want to do that. as a writer, i want to be the same person on print as i would be if we were meeting face to face.

there is a balance that is difficult to keep at times for me. anyone who knows me knows that i am full of opinions. i cannot dispute that. but that’s the trick, that’s where growing into the person i’m becoming can be difficult when it comes to actually writing about my opinions. sometimes i want to be outspoken and speak my mind and write whatever it is that comes to mind. sometimes writing my thoughts is the last thing i want to do because i know how much my thoughts can differ from others. believe it or not, i hate conflict and the last thing i want from writing is to create any. there are plenty of things i have opinions about that probably differ from my family’s point of view or my wife’s family’s point of view. i have different thoughts about politics than how i was raised, different thoughts on religion, the environment and gays and lesbians. i like the president, that probably isn’t a universal opinion in my family. my parents are MSU grads, i love U-M. it’s just how it is.

the one thing i’ve learned about becoming an adult is that it doesn’t magically happen. and it doesn’t really matter what others think. when i was a teenager i assumed that hitting thirty years of age meant that i would suddenly be more mature than the twenty nine year olds in the room. i figured i would just know how the world works and how to fix stuff. i assumed that there’d be a pay increase in my salary because i was at an established age, and yes, i assumed i’d be established because being thirty meant, immediate success and establishment.

i’m almost half way through this decade of thirties now. nothing happens automatically.

i’m still figuring out this stage. i make mistakes and take leaps and risks. i’m not afraid of being told no and i know full well that things and thoughts can change. ask my wife, life with me is nothing if not unexpected. i call it an adventure. what fun is life if you always know what is coming next?

i’ve changed a lot the past few years. i consider it maturing. that’s what life is. i’ve learned that we have to always be evolving and being prepared for what’s next. i don’t like writing about myself as much as you’d thing. i mean this is a blog where that’s sort of the point right? so it should be easier, it’s not. but i’m evolving. i’m admitting that in order to improve in life and as a writer, i have to show more transparency. life is better when we can really just be who we are supposed to be and not worry about what anyone thinks. right?

imperfection.

in the past, when i’ve tried to write a blog post, i would try to write the perfect flow of words and hope it all sounds so good together. i’d want it to be perfect or i just wouldn’t write anything at all.

so i decided to ignore my blog. for the entire summer, on purpose. i wanted to get away from the idea of perfection. i wanted to remove myself from the concept that every post needed to convey all the right thoughts and all the right emotions at all the right moments.

because here’s the thing…

i found that my pursuit of perfection also cramped my daily life as well.

you cannot create perfection.
it’s just not all that attainable. i’ve tried. and so have you. and neither of us have made it happen very often, have we?

i’ve tried to be the perfect son, the perfect husband, the perfect employee. i’ve tried to make the perfect decisions that make everyone around me happy.

don’t you feel the pressure to be everything you think everyone is expecting you to be? do and say all the right things? if you say no… i guess that’s nice but i can’t say i believe you.

but again, trying to be perfect is unattainable. it’ll never happen. and all those people we are concerned about making happy? they already have their own thoughts and worries and concerns to deal with. besides, they already know we aren’t perfect anyway.

it’s not really a conscious thing, i don’t sit up at night asking myself what the formula for perfection is. but, it’s the concept of being afraid to let people down, upsetting the normal. doing what is expected of me. it’s a tightrope isn’t it?

today i’m going to start writing again. i’m going to start writing the way i want to without the self-afflicting pressure applied. also, i’m going to live daily without the faulty concept that perfection is the goal. there’s no reason for that nonsense anyway.

musings.

[ personal note: i haven’t done much writing since moving to chicago, which is somewhat surprising to me. the lack of writing is not due to any lack of inspiration, i’ve just been missing the key ingredient that mixes all my muses together in a cohesive unit. so i decided to just bust out a bunch of my random thoughts i’ve been grinding on the past few months. enjoy.]

being in a city as fierce and bold and busy and loud as chicago has taught me to slow down, relax and be stronger.

moving away is hard. and awesome. and painful. and rewarding. and empowering. whenever you dream about doing something and then do it, it makes you feel like anything is possible. the idea that dreams come true is somewhat true, but you have to work towards it, make it happen. and you need at least one person in your corner who also believes anything is possible.

i hate bad grammar. except when i’m writing my own stuff. then i just create my own grammar and label it creativity.

you can be whoever and whatever you want to be, but if you aren’t making this a conscious decision, whoever and whatever you surround yourself  with will take that decision from you.

i have so many friends and family who are pursuing passions. it inspires me to pursue mine. thank you for helping mold me into who i am supposed to be. keep grinding.

 chicago is building me into the best version of myself. as much as i love where i came from, i know that where i am now is where i’m supposed to be.

i find myself wondering where the years are going.  it makes me want to embrace everything about today. today creates our history.

when i was a kid, my mom told me not to rush growing up, to enjoy life’s stages. i see people today who are going as fast as they can to get places they don’t really want to be. i’d rather take my time getting where i want to be. the journey can be just as amazing as the destination.

few things are as satisfying to me as completing a writing assignment. few things are as frustrating as writers block.

in the past i’ve gotten frustrated when i was told no. obviously. who likes being told no? the older i get though, the more i realize that stop signs are for our protection and not discouragement.

when i get further and further away from good music, the less and less creative my writing life becomes. it’s amazing how much music triggers thought and action.

it’s true. my wife is the better part of me. when she is away for work, my life is only half as good as it could be. i love this life we have together. i’m more excited than words can display about what we are building in this city and what the future holds for us together. she is not simply my wife and best friend, she truly is my co-pilot, my rock, my inspiration.  this adventure of being in a new city has shown me that our home is where our hearts are. i’ve witnessed how strong she really is and how hard she works to be the woman God made her to be. there is no one i admire more. sometimes she puts on a brave face, but mostly she has a tenacious sense about her. nothing is outside her reach. we climb mountains together.

i think that about sums it up.

turn off the music and drive.

writing really hasn’t been my friend this year.

it’s not that there hasn’t been a lot to write about, there has. i’ve experienced more in the past year than in any year before. it’s just that this year has been overwhelming in so many different ways.

it’s been the best year of my life.

it’s been the hardest.

it’s been the saddest and the happiest.

it’s been the most stressful.

i’ve struggled with looking for the big picture and finding the little things.

i’ve seen the best and the worst in people.

i’ve seen tragedy strike more than once. the types of things that happen to people in the distance. not to people you love.

i’ve wanted to write books about this life and i’ve vowed to myself to never write again.

the thing is. this is life now. i realize with a nice swift punch to the gut that adulthood is not always easy. in fact it’s usually not easy. that’s what makes the good times so good.

yesterday i took the morning and afternoon to drive. i turned off the music. i didn’t even listen to sports talk radio. i just drove. i needed the silence. i recommend that you do this at least once a year. just shut up and drive. and not on the highway. i drove down to southern michigan and drove up the coast of lake michigan. two weeks ago my wife and i were driving along the coast of the pacific ocean. i almost like lake michigan more. anyway, i drove and drove. in silence. sometimes you have to shut off the noise. sometimes you just have to shut yourself up.

it’s not that life can be chaotic. life is chaotic. that’s how we do it. that’s how we like it. that’s how we drown out whatever is going on around us. when i was driving yesterday, i was reminded about the little things. i was reminded of how lucky (blessed) i am to live in this beautiful state of michigan. it truly is full of hidden gems. (detroit’s demise does not tell the real story of this state) how the breeze from the lake feels so refreshing. how driving through little coast towns that no one has heard of can remind you that there are people everywhere and you cannot possibly be the only one going through whatever it is you are going through.

that’s the key. perspective. the worst is feeling alone. like no one else has gone through what you are going through. the best is not that others are also struggling or have struggled or have seen the worst or ugliest in others just like you have. it’s knowing that you aren’t the only one with this story. it’s knowing that with all these little hidden gems around you, it’s quite impossible to truly be alone. sometimes we just have to turn off the music and drive.