Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's.....Decisions....

I don't like new year's resolutions.  Maybe it's me getting old and grumpy, maybe it's sheer semantics, but making resolutions just bugs me.  I think that they're artificial in nature and somewhat forced upon us.  I prefer to think about making decisions for my life, and not just at the end of December.

That being said, the upcoming new year is a natural time to evaluate, see where we are, and decide whether we're on track to where we want to be.  As always, I realize that life has taken me in numerous directions that I didn't expect or plan for.  It's been a year of fantastic highs and some devastating lows, but I find myself back on a fairly even keel as the year closes.  I've learned a new skill, knitting, which has helped me maintain my sanity during some of the lows (and provided my newborn niece with a hat and mittens).  I pushed myself harder than I ever have when it comes to theater, which gave me new confidence and pride in my performance.  I've settled into being a happy homeowner, learning more and more about how to maintain the house without paying someone to do it for me. 

On the other hand, I find that my social center has shifted drastically this year.  Close friends have had changes in their lives which have moved them in other directions--some good, some bad.  Obviously I want them to find their happiness, but selfishly it's left me feeling a bit unsettled socially as I just don't get to see them very often these days.

So I need to make some decisions for my life.  Going out to seek a new social center is the biggie right now.  It won't be easy for me, as I'm about as shy an extrovert as you'll meet.  Once I'm comfortable among people I'm generally very, very happy.  But reaching out to those people is very difficult for me.  Meeting people is difficult in your 30s, but I'm hoping that perhaps taking a class or two will help me on that road.  For the sake of sanity, it's a step I'll need to take.  And I need to reach out to the friends that I have and be the organizer of the social events.  I know I'll be a happier person for it.

Being the curmudgeon that I am, I feel very clich├ęd making that kind of decision at this time of year but there's something comforting about recognizing it and moving toward a solution.  And once that's settled, I can work on making other any time of the year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hair today...

I hit a point in my early 20s where I desperately wanted a change of some sort in appearance, just to shake things up.  I thought very seriously about a tattoo or an earring, but I settled on a goatee.  I remember at the time that it was an absolutely momentous and difficult decision.  It obviously shouldn't have been but being the overthinker that I am, things can turn into far bigger decisions than they need to be.  I kept that goatee for a few years before growing tired of it.  Since then the goatee has come and gone as have a couple other facial hair styles, mostly for my community theatre shows  (The handlebar mustache will never, ever come back if I can help it).  It's comforting to be able to make that change now without worrying so much about it.

This winter I decided to grow a full beard, both for the change factor and for a little extra insulation against the winter cold (It's going to remain a short, well-trimmed beard, so it won't be too much insulation.  Also, the scattered grey hairs don't show as much when they're kept short.).  For some reason, this change seems to have created significant reaction.  It's mostly been female reaction, but it's been very polar in nature.  I've been told that it looks very distinguished.  Another female friend said that she doesn't ordinarily like facial hair, but that it's a nice look on me.  One more told me that she'd date me if she wasn't already married (I don't know if I buy that, but it's nice to hear!).  On the other hand, one said that it ages me ten years.  Another told me that it covers up my good looks (an interesting backhanded compliment, I suppose).  A third said that I need to shave it immediately if I ever want a woman to kiss me again. 

It's been an interesting and educational couple weeks since I've grown it.  Maybe I'm just paying more attention this time.  Clearly this type of change won't please everyone around me, but fortunately I like it a great deal right now.  We'll see when I need another change, though.  Hmmm...bare face?  Back to the goatee?  Maybe a fu manchu.  Maybe some mutton chops.  Soul patch?  So many options... (so few that I'd actually choose voluntarily....)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Doing Nothing

I've made a discovery recently: I don't do nothing very well anymore  (Yes--the double negative is intentional).  I used to be able to have a day off where I accomplished absolutely nothing useful.  Generally, it would be a day of some combination of sleep, tv, video games, and surfing the internet.  And perhaps feeding myself at some point along the way.  I wouldn't do that every day off, but it was a nice feeling when I had one of those days occasionally.

These days, much as I'd like to, I just can't do that anymore.  I don't know whether it's age, maturity, or something else, but I can't bring myself to that kind of laziness on a day off unless I'm sick.  I know that not getting that kind of day is a fact of life for my friends with kids, but I'm still single and childless!  These days, 8:00 in the morning is sleeping in (I'm normally up a little before 6 for work).  I don't have cable, so there isn't a whole lot to sit and watch during the day.  No video game has caught my attention recently.  And while there are new, interesting corners of the internet developing every day, my patience for sitting in front of a computer screen has dwindled.    

The inability to have that kind of day hasn't taken away my interest in having that kind of day.  I won't want to do some of the things around the house that need to be done on those days.  So I find myself walking in circles--I don't want to watch TV, so I'll go into the kitchen and realize that dishes need to be washed...and that clearly needs to be avoided.  So I'll walk down to the office and check my e-mail, but realize that I don't want to deal with the bills to be paid.  So I'll head into the bedroom, look at the pile of laundry to be done and back away slowly.  So I'll walk back to the living room and reaffirm that I don't want to watch TV, and the circle begins again.  If I'm not careful, that circle of going up and down the stairs will count as exercise and completely defeat the purpose of the do-nothing day!

Clearly I need to find a better way of doing nothing. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Chase...Without ACME

Wile E. Coyote has always been a favorite of mine.  In college, I thought about getting a tattoo of him with the look on his face just before the anvil falls on his head (With a few more years under my belt, not getting that tattoo was probably a good decision).  In my mind, he's always been a symbol of persistence.  The way I see it, he's just out in search of his dream meal, and he's not afraid to find some creative ways to do it.  (I have a theory that he's actually a product tester for the ACME Corporation--I see no other way that he'd continue to return to the company whose products accordion him, send him over cliffs and explode on him among many other things.  I mean, really--doesn't anyone else sell Rube Goldberg devices??  But I digress.)  As I was saying...the guy's got determination!  No matter how many times he fails, he comes back for another shot at the Roadrunner (or Bugs Bunny in a few episodes, but those were later on).

Some days I definitely feel like I can relate to Wile E. very closely.  I'm not chasing lunch (most of the time), and I don't think that accepting help from the ACME Corporation would be wise, but there are a series of things that I've been chasing for my life.  I'd love to find myself in a job where I can work Monday through Friday.  I'd love to find "Miss Right".  I'd love to find that glimmer of the right idea so I can write the great American novel.  I like to think that I have some Wile E. Coyote at heart inasmuch as I think that I've gone out of my way to find interesting and creative ways to go about achieving these, but I still find myself chasing  (Sadly, I haven't managed to figure out how to effectively stash some of those nifty signs that Wile E. holds up just before he falls).

I remember a cartoon where Wile E. Coyote caught the Roadrunner.  Sort of.  The gag was that the two were running through a series of different-sized pipes and would grow and shrink proportionally to the pipes.  Wile E. Caught up to the Roadrunner at a point where he was about 1/10th the size of his desired meal, leaving him without a clue what to do with that bird he'd been chasing for so long.
Sometimes I wonder what the heck I would do if I managed to catch all these things that I've been chasing.  I don't remember a time where I haven't been pursuing at least a couple of those goals  (Sometimes I wonder if the ACME Corporation might be able to help me, but that thought usually passes quickly).  I think my favorite coyote's second sign poses a good question under those circumstances.  Now what do I do?  I'm willing to keep chasing in hopes of finding out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Whistling in the Dark

There's only one thing that I know how to do well
And I've often been told that you can only do
What you know how to do well
And that's be you,
Be what you're like,
Be like yourself,
And so I'm having a wonderful time but I'd rather be whistling in the dark
(Whistling in the Dark, They Might be Giants - 1990)

Who knew that song such had such depth as to spark deep thoughts? There will be no whistling in the dark for me, but there are some basic facts about myself that I need to face as they relate to blogging if I want to be what I'm like and be like myself:

1) I'm not always deep. I remember the papers in school where you needed to have an introduction with a thesis statement, a body of the paper with facts to support the thesis, and a conclusion to sum everything up. It provides a structure that doesn't always exist in life. Since the blog is a reflection of my life, I need to face the fact I'm not always going to have the deep, meaningful conclusion. Sometimes things just happen that will be fun or freeing to write about. And that's ok.

2) I'm not consistent. Boy, don't I know it. Some days I have things to say, some days I don't. And until somebody is paying me to write blog entries, it really shouldn't matter.

3) I'm not perfect and I never will be. I'm sure that's as much of a shock for you to read as it was for me to realize and write. But waiting for myself to write the perfect entry before I publish won't get me anywhere.

4) I love writing. I've always loved writing. And I like to think I'm pretty darn good at it, if I may say so myself. It's a good way to work out issues and a good, creative release of energy for me. So provided I can give myself permission to accept facts #1, #2 and #3, fact #4 becomes the most important.