Recognizing Happiness

Happiness comes not from having what you want, but from wanting what you have.

I am not sure where that saying is from, or who said it, but there is a lot of truth to that short quote. Recently I have felt antsy, like I am ready for a change, a move, a shake-up, a different place, crowd, or environment. I’ve felt this way before and I have done something about it, having moved my family a few times now. But I’m almost five years in to that once-new place, and I feel it again.

And the change will come, but I have to tell myself that now is not the right time. I need to put my head down, be happy with my abundance and many blessings, and get to work doing the right thing. I need to learn patience. And when the time is right, the change will come. Just like Same Cooke sang, I know a change is gonna come. He was speaking about a different context, and bigger issues than those I deal with now, but Cooke’s song is still a good reminder to me. I have so much to be grateful for, so much to look forward to, so much to remember. The path ahead is bright.

The month of May starts tomorrow. The time is flying by, and it will pass anyway. So, as I write this to myself, I need to remember to be patient and enjoy the ride right now, in the situation, environment, place I’m in today. And remember, my four kids will never have this exact day again to be with and learn from their Dad.

Advertisements

The City of Lights

After almost fifteen years, I made it back to Paris for a quick visit. This time with my wife instead of my college friend. Older and wiser, I planned the itinerary through January and February and planned to pack a lot in a short amount of time. As one of the most visited cities in the world, I knew we were in for some tourist traps, but I hoped to visit some out-of-the-way places too. Overall, Paris didn’t disappoint.

We visited the Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Pantheon, and more, but one of the highlights, honestly, was the Paris Opera House. I highly recommend the audio tour there. It was fascinating.

Another point many people don’t often share is not just how overwhelming the Louvre is, but how impressive the interior of the building is. The building itself is a work of art, not just from the outside but throughout its many levels. I was expecting to be impressed by some of the ancient and priceless art within the building, not by the building itself. Wow.

Paris is a spectacular city full of history, with art and beauty at every turn. To not enjoy Paris is to not appreciate or enjoy humanity.

I know I have said this before . . .

but some months there is really not much to say.

Focus 2018

I have been a member of Facebook since 2007. The service has provided me with connection and reconnection, convenience, information, and at times, a distraction. It’s been over ten years since I joined the club and Facebook has become a behemoth, as has its Messenger and Instagram apps. While I usually limited my consumption during the day, I found myself the last few years spending more time than I care to admit on these three apps in the evening. After the kids went to bed. Or even as I sat in my bed. 2018 arrived and I decided I had better things to do with my time. I could read actual books more, you know, like I used to do. I could sleep more, which is never a bad idea, especially when I rarely hit the recommended daily intake during the week. Or, I could fill my time with other productive activities.

As January comes to an end, I am happy to report that I have spent limited time (almost none) on the apps mentioned above. I have not deleted my accounts, have not given up on smart phones in general, but have greatly reduced my exposure to social media (with the exception of LinkedIn). I still read news and attend to email, but I don’t whittle the minutes away on those sites any more.

And I don’t feel like I have missed anything (although I have missed conversations with one particular person). I have exercised more in January, have read more from actual books, have reorganized my desk and closet, and have even slept a little more this month. I am also still acutely aware of how many issues our country and world face in today’s hectic times – I’m not shutting myself out from the world – but I have controlled the source and filter of my news rather than handing it over to an algorithm.

The key from here on out is to replicate January eleven more times. If I can do this consistently well in addition to my other goals I am focusing on in 2018, I will be ready to call this year a success.

Origins

We hosted my dad and two of my siblings at our house over the Christmas holiday. Many memories were made over the short time we spent together, but what I may remember most is my dad, not always the sharer of experiences in his past, opening up on Christmas night to share some of the stories of his past. I couldn’t waste the chance to write this one down.

My dad started college in January at a no-name school in a small town. This was a month after he arrived in the United States, mind you, fresh off the boat, as they say. My mom, an American, was a young freshman from the largest city within a four hour drive and was probably unexposed to much in the world at that time, but was smart enough to get herself to college. One cold Sunday night in February, a month into my dad’s American dream, my dad’s roommates ended up calling around to various girls’ dorm rooms seeing if they could score an invite to come over. One of his American roommates made the pitch that his roommate was from Europe and these young women ate it up. They had to meet the foreigner. The guys came over and my dad and mom ended up meeting for the first time, sat together, and shared a conversation that Sunday evening.  Of course, as fate would have it, they ran into each other that coming week on campus, my dad asked her out, and the rest is history, as they say. By August of 1978 they were married and by the following July I was born, in that same small town, to a young happy couple who had just completed their associates degree (back when that meant something) and were ready to move on to bigger and better adventures together.

I know I’m not including a lot of details here, but with this basic outline, I can fill in the rest. I have never returned to that small town, for I feel no connection to it, but I feel that perhaps one day I will return, walk the campus where it started for my parents, where my origins began.

 

There goes another one . . .

Another year, that is. It feels like just the other day I mentioned that ten years had passed since I started this blog. Now, another 365 days have passed and we are at eleven years since I started Sound to Sound. I was a new associate at a law firm in lower Manhattan when I started posting online for the world to see (however few of you are out there). The world and my life was ahead of me. I didn’t even have any children back then. Boy, things have changed; boy, how things have stayed the same.

700 East

Twenty years ago I lived on the corner of a busy intersection on 700 East, Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time, I wanted to escape Utah, but this City and this road keep pulling me back. Even without intending to, I have found that my daily route to and from the office takes me on 700 East, where I am pulled, encouraged to stop by the wayside at a park they call Liberty, to walk, before I begin my busy day on calls, in Outlook, in legal documents, in meetings. Oh, the meetings.

In the sunrise, in the light of the moon, the drizzling rain, the afternoon heat, I walk briskly, or sometimes stroll, alongside 700 East, the cars next to me, heading south. I have consumed book after book in the park of Liberty, headphones on, movies in my head, ideas, sadness, drama, excitement, words fill my ears, various accents, genres, time periods, locations, some real, some fictional. But all alongside 700 East. I have not escaped the pull of the road nor the City of Salt Lake, but I have escaped through my saunters in the park, accelerated my car up and down the road, timing the green lights headed north, then headed south, day in and out. 700 East. My road. My escape. My daily drive . . . .