In response to the blog post Thirteen Reasons Why Challenge, in which proposes posting 13 reasons why you are happy with your life, I am going to give it a shot. I can’t in good conscience label it as 13 reasons why I’m happy, so I will instead call it…
13 Things I Have to Be Happy About
- My cat, Trixie. I miss Lucy and her neurotic ways, but Trixie (her sister) is still very much with me. Now that she no longer has to compete with Lucy for space on the sofa, Trixie spends more time snoozing next to me (usually on the heating pad, whether or not it is on) or on my lap.
- The creek that runs past my apartment. It has been a while since I last spent time on the deck, enjoying the sight and sound of said creek—but I can still hear it when I have the door to the deck open.
- My car. I have a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta that is still going strong (though the parking brake hasn’t worked properly for almost two years, despite having it repaired three times so far).
- I have a flexible schedule. Because I don’t have a commute, I can sleep in if I need to. I can work at 5 a.m. or 11 p.m., if I want to. If I am going somewhere, I can time my departure so that I can either avoid traffic or allow plenty of time to take alternative routes.
- My apartment. Although my rent is going up again in June (the first time since I moved here that rent has gone up two years in a row), it remains reasonably priced—particularly compared with the typical Seattle apartment. It is also reasonably quiet, there is the aforementioned creek that runs past the building, and its north-south orientation means that the temperature is comfortable most of the time.
- The whole poetry thing. I started writing poetry again as a creative challenge, and then as a way to address things that I was unable to in my regular journal entries. A year later, I was inspired by a friend’s self-published book to do a book of my own. That book led to more books. An invitation to read at a monthly open mic led to my going to other open mics; soon I was reading on a regular basis. I am now writing every day, attending open mics more or less regularly, and putting together two or three books a year. As a result, I am able to put my graphic design, editing, and photography skills to good use; I have become more comfortable speaking in front of an audience; and I am gradually becoming part of a community. It has also given me a focus at a time when everything else is uncertain.
- Some of my interests have resale value. I have never been one to spend large sums of money on clothing, cars, or nightlife. My non-essential spending goes mostly to buying books, CDs, and videos. When I lose interest in any of these things, or when funds become scarce, I can scrounge up some cash by selling the titles that no longer feel essential.
- Social media. As annoying as social media can be at times, it is a great way to keep up with folks I don’t get to see very much. Of course, we wouldn’t have social media if it weren’t for…
- The internet. I have had internet access since 1992. From e-mail to online shopping to social media to the cloud—and whatever comes after that—the internet has made it easier to communicate; shop; keep up with the news; publish my poems, photographs, and music; keep in touch with friends (old and new) and relatives; and receive and deliver work assignments.
- All forms of recorded media. Thanks to our culture’s emphasis on recorded media—from books to videos, and everything in between—I am never without some kind of access to the lessons that works of art, literature, music, and film have to give. These things have always been important to me, but have become more important since I have been on my own again. Some things inspire me, some help me learn things about myself, some relax me, and some help me sleep.
- I have seen many of my favorite musicians perform live. Among the concerts I have been to: Barry Manilow (1976), Karla Bonoff (1978, 1979), Cheap Trick (1979, 1980), The Cars (who were surprisingly dull) (1979), Jimmy Buffett (before the whole ‘parrothead’ BS) (1979), Graham Parker and the Rumour (1979), Rachel Sweet (1979, 1980), Frank Zappa (1980), Elton John (1980), Gil Scott-Heron (1982), The Go-Go’s (1983), Thomas Dolby (1984), Prince & The Revolution on the Purple Rain tour (1985), Culture Club (1985), The Style Council (1985), Go West (1985), Joe Jackson (1986), Pink Floyd (1987), David Sylvian (1988), Earth, Wind & Fire (1988), Prince (1989), The Style Council on their last tour (1989), Ringo Starr (1989), Nav Katze (1992), David Sylvian & Robert Fripp (1992), Merzbow (1996), Masonna (1996), and Jill Sobule (1997). I also got to see George Carlin three times (1976, 1977, 1982), and Martin Mull (1979).
- My anxiety is largely under control. I don’t like that the antidepressant I take has caused me to put on weight, but I do like that I am far less prone to panic attacks than I would be if I were not taking anything.
- My friends. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have are good people. They inspire me, make me laugh, make me think, and introduce me to new things.
Well, there it is.
(22 April 2017)