Recently I was walking on the beach with a friend of mine who was frustrated with life and the waiting game he was caught in. He said he felt like he was biding his time till a job fell into place. All signs pointed to the end of August early September. That part felt good. What to do till then with no money felt shitty. This boy was used to having money, to flying around from city to city to play, doing what he wanted when he wanted with little to no thought to the price tag. He was unaware of fun on the cheap; boy was he a lucky bastard to have met me.
It is no secret that I like to have fun, love to laugh and am up for any adventure. These skills sometimes place me in the role of Julie your cruise director from the Love Boat but I soldier on because it’s a gift. I have a knack to find fun, laughter and wonder everywhere. It’s just how I roll. There have been times in my life where I earned a six-figure salary and was a very unhappy person. Not that being broker agrees with me but figuring out what makes me tick and choosing better sure as hell does. I started with identifying what sucked in my life and removing those things. Doing so made me lighter, happier and I was better able to find people, work, and activities that made me feel whole. This is all good stuff, and stuff I learned to do on the cheap. The best accessory to finding a good time other than me is the right attitude. You have to be serious about finding joy every day, about being happy you are alive and well and frankly as my dad Willy-boy said, “everything else is gravy.” He was right. If you are alive and well that is all you need to get where you need to go.
Where we were headed on this morning was wandering the beach and talking. What things did he love as a kid, what things did he do in the past for fun? We were mining the past for clues to the now. Sometimes this works sometimes it makes you nostalgic for what you used to be able to do and now can’t, so we left yesterday-land and moved on. This was all well and good but things were not getting any brighter. I needed to take charge and direct some social activities. I offered up a half a dozen suggestions but he was distracted. I let the subject drop and just lead my friend as best I knew– like a Sherpa in the wilds of ennui.
What I know about life is how you see things is how they are. And if you see them as lousy they are. To shift that mindset is a tricky thing and no one-thing works consistently. Each one of us has to figure out what makes them laugh, what makes them feel loved, nurtured, and what makes them lighter. For me walking or yoga calm me and get me grounded. Talking to someone that I love helps do the same and usually laugh as well since I mostly only hang with funny people. Life is short my man, what is the point of being here if you are not enjoying the ride? Other things that work for me to feel good is when I try something new, a new place, food, activity, anything like this gives me a buzz. I love a learning curve and ‘new’ gives me that. So when I feel like I am stuck and I am killing time in life, because I am waiting for a job, money, a lover or a sandwich, I know I need to get an attitude adjustment. I look in my bag of tricks and pull out something that helps center me, reminds me to take back control of what I have control of and let the other things fall away. Sometimes it is just bubble wand and bubbles, other times feeding huge scary bat rays at Sea World which gum at your fingers like a toothless pony in a broken down rodeo.
If the first thing I try doesn’t work I go back to the bag and pull out another, music, movement, a good book/movie, the beach, each move gets me closer to fine. Each thing in my bag is cheap or free. I am in control of my amusement, my choices, my ability to allow, engage and enjoy. We all are, which in my opinion rocks.
When I work with kids in grammar school sometimes they tell me how they don’t want to grow up because things get harder, the school work, jobs that they will have to hold down, responsibilities of being an adult. I am an adult, that is true I have taken care of myself solely my entire life, I have good credit, have owned multiple homes, moved from state to state, held very prestigious jobs and generally done well for myself. I am not however grown up, that is just plain silly and of no use to anyone. Grown up is a make believe term deeming that one should be serious about things one should never be serious about which is practically everything. Hello? It’s not like we get out of this alive. So back to the kids I point out to them that getting older and being an adult rocks. Point number one I start, I get to eat candy whenever I want, I can have ice cream, pizza or pie for breakfast. Their eyes grow large like saucers at this. Point two I continue, being an adult means you can drive. Bingo, game over, I win. There is nothing better than freedom to go where you want when you want. Even if you have to scrounge the sofa cushions for gas money it is always worth it.
So after our walk I suggested a roof top burger joint to my dear forlorn friend, a man who eats one meal a day. Yes indeedy from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed he eats non-stop and is built long and lean. A frickening crime against nature with the things he consumes but don’t get me started. This suggestion pulls his head up off his chest and he stops in his tracks, “a burger?” We amble up to the roof for a kick ass burger where he starts to lighten up despite the ½ grass fed beef and fries he was chowing down on. He finds that by looking through the window in the stairwell he can look straight through to the window on the other side and see the beach. He is now able to find the goodness at will now I notice. He is happy, he is sated, and the things that do not matter are falling away. He is planning his next meal, and then a day at the beach with all the appropriate accoutrements of sandwiches, chips, snacks, beverages and beach chairs for napping. He is getting lighter by the minute; I will soon have to tether him to the table as he will be up like Bullwinkle in the Macy’s day parade. Then he kicks it into overdrive by remembering he has one last Zebra snack cake left in his fridge. He is waxing euphoric about every bit of minutia of these crack like snack cakes. He points out crack is whack, and he can stop the Zebra’s anytime he wants “ Yes Whitney” I murmur. We were wandering back to the car at this point and laughing pretty hard about nothing and everything. It’s the little things we string together that build a great morning, a wonderful day and a beautiful life, not the big ones.
He loves to walk on the beach and that usually is a good place to get him heading in the right direction. Talking was also good, especially to someone with my sparkling wit, or more like 5th grade sense of humor. Each of these are things he has in his bag of tricks–which got him so far on this day–he still was not where he wanted to go. So I helped him to remember to reach in to that magical bag and pull out the big guns, food, glorious food. By the time we were driving back home he was telling me to stop because we were laughing so hard. Ok I was laughing, he was snort-laughing and trying to drive. Me, I was trying not to pee on his car seats.
We always have the ability to see things differently at a given moment, wanting that, wanting to get out of the bat cave and into the sunshine is about making the choice over and over to move to the light, the laughter and the snack cakes.