On Rediscovering Joy or A Very Late June Recap

Wow, so the month of July is almost over…and I never did the monthly wrap-up for June. So here we are.

Party of One disappointed me. Hot Little Hands made me sad. At least a couple chapters of The Fatherless Daughter Project were life-changing. First Comes Love was more of the same, (but, in all fairness, still fun). Grunt was good for what it is. The Invoice made me throw up in my mouth a little (and I’m still waiting on my now-owed-to-me kronor, Jonas Karlsson).

Kind of a blah month for books, honestly.

June was a weird month for me personally. Some things went down. Some major things that have changed some other major things, and I’m still sorting it all out. One thing is certain, though, I feel…different. I feel like I just woke up from a very long sleep, and now I’m looking around thinking, you know, I might want to change some stuff.

So that’s what I’m doing. And that’s why July has been not so bad–because I’m doing some things differently. I’m writing more, for one–which is why I’ve been reading just slightly less, I think. I’m being disciplined about the whole thing. I’m researching and studying and, probably most important, practicing. (At some point I’m going to write a post on my favorite books on writing. I’ve encountered a bunch that are wonderful.)

I’ve also been making a point to do fun shit, new shit (weird shit, blue shit?). I went to the planetarium a few weeks ago–by myself–and watched two shows–by myself. It was amazing. The universe is amazing, and it felt good to be reminded of that.

2016.07.11 Planetarium Beach 7
Looking at the Chicago skyline from the front steps of Adler Planetarium.

Last weekend I went on a bike tour of Chicago–mm hm, like a foreigner…even though I’ve lived here for over a year–and it was also pretty great. I met a lovely group of twenty-something-year-old Brits (and a Belgian and one German, and their American guide) who were touring the U.S. I took a picture of them gleefully flipping off Trump Tower, and it made me feel young and comforted. I’ve got shows I want to go to planned out for the next few months because suddenly I remember that I like music and I like watching other people play music. These are all the things you forget when you get caught up in life every day. All these things that once brought you joy. The joyful things get lost.

Anyway, I think there are moments in your life when you are naturally forced to reevaluate. I’m in one such moment right now. It hasn’t been the most pleasant. I’ve had some rough days. But I’ve also made some powerful realizations–about myself, my marriage, my friendships, my kids. The truth is sometimes hard to face, but it also feels good, it feels right. That wishy-washy “I don’t know what I want out of life” feeling is very quickly being replaced with “Um, I know exactly what I want, but I’ve been too scared to verbalize it because then I might be disappointed when it doesn’t happen, but since it doesn’t feel very good to play life safe and never ask or go for what I want, I may as well acknowledge what I want, say it all out loud and try like hell to get it because even if it doesn’t work out, well, I’d rather feel the pain of trying and not getting than the pain of never having tested what I was capable of.” (Because it turns out that keeping it all shut down is painful, too.) So, here we go. Onward and upward, you know? Onward and upward.

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