What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

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Starting Over – My First Christmas

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Starting Over – My First Christmas

A lot has gone since we last spoke on this blog, Amanda and I moved out of Discovery Ridge early in December and into a brand new house in Mahogany.  We’ve been here a few weeks now, and are slowly beginning to get settled in, we have a few more boxes of I don’t even know what left to sort through, but we’ll get there.  The home is beautiful, I couldn’t be happier with it.  We have a lot of work to do in the spring with the yard, a deck and a fence but I am looking forward to all of that.  One of my favorite things about the new house is the office space/2nd spare bedroom upstairs, it’s the one space in the home I am allowed full control of, and I love it!  For those who have read this blog in the past, you know that writing for me is sort of like a ritual, I need music, I need dim lights, I need incense, I need a lot of stars to align to be creative. In a one-bedroom condo, it was difficult to do all of that without being a nuance to someone else.  Now, with the extra space, I am able to get away and do my writing pow-wow more often.  It sounds stupid, but the new home has been much more conducive to my writing.      …I hope I just used that word properly; “conducive” has become my favorite word lately.  My mom will let me know if I used that incorrectly I am sure, haha.

I hope everyone is prepared, and excited for the holidays coming up in a couple of days.  I am a little bit of everything, excited, scared, nervous, sad, the whole works… once again.  Springtime, leading up to the anniversary of Jen’s passing, and December are usually the hardest times of the year for myself, and my family.  This will be our sixth Christmas, and New Year’s without her, and it will be my first real Christmas without Jen.  Scratch that.  Now that I write it out.  I’m petrified.  The year Jen passed away, my mom, Brody and I set out to Cuba last minute, I believe we left Christmas day.  It was the best thing we could have done, cause I didn’t have to see Christmas really at all.  We flew home on New Years day.  Again, it was great cause I didn’t have to see traditional new years back at home.  Years since I’ve been in Hawaii, with Amanda and her family, and last year with both of ours.   That was also great, because you were completely distracted from the holidays here at home.  If we flew out on Xmas day, Terrific, I missed it all again.  If we didn’t, well, it wasn’t as bad cause you were usually so busy preparing for a 2-week trip to Hawaii that you didn’t really notice it as much.  And, in Hawaii, sure we still celebrated Christmas, we had dinner, exchanged gifts, said Merry Christmas.  But we did so in our shorts and flip flops, in 28 degree weather, at a Hawaiian pub.  It wasn’t real.  The people around were doing the same thing, nothing really changed.  It was wake up, coffee, newspaper, breakfast, and beach and then onto some activity, everyone did the same thing there, you never really saw Christmas, so to me it wasn’t really Christmas, it didn’t feel like it at all, new years the same thing.  I was able to avoid it, year after year, and I truly felt as I woke up on January 3rd, or 4th, after the dust had settled, I felt like I had won.  I beat the holidays.  The 3-4 weeks before the holidays, just like the 3-4 weeks before May 7th, you work yourself up so much wondering what it’s going to be like, that you almost psyche yourself out, and that becomes the most difficult part.  When it’s over, and you’re still breathing, you’re still alive… you feel like you’ve won, like you just beat someone in a battle that took nearly a month.  You came out on top.  Christmas and New Years has always been the same thing, Usually around Jan. 3, Jan 4 once it’s all done, I don’t feel like I have to hide from the holidays anymore, I realize that I survived, and maybe, just maybe it wasn’t all that bad.  I feel completely victorious, as you would after winning an exhausting battle, even though the battle is with yourself.

Amanda always calls me the Grinch, jokingly because I am so anti-holidays.  The truth is, I do hate them.  Absolutely.  You would too.  You would hate any time of the year that is as difficult for me as the Christmas holidays, and the spring.  We used to always spend every Christmas together, whether in Victoria, or Vegreville.  Our families would be together, and it was awesome.  Christmas was always one of the few times a year I would be able to see my sister when she lived in Victoria.  I looked forward to Christmas so much.  I can remember our last Christmas break together vividly.  We were going to Joey’s in Sherwood Park for dinner, my mom, my brother, Jen, Abbey and myself.  We were meeting my aunt and uncle for dinner.  I can remember the entire drive to Sherwood Park, I remember the conversations, I remember what everyone was wearing, I remember the weather, I even remember the damn road conditions, I remember bits and pieces of the dinner conversation.  I remember exactly where we sat in Joey’s.  The exact table, and I remember where everyone sat.  What I don’t remember, was really ever saying Happy Holidays to anyone, or saying goodbye to my sister.  I had no idea that would be our last Christmas, I had no idea that would be the last time I would ever have the opportunity to hug my sister.  I had no idea.  It was.  I’ll never go to that Joey’s again.

This is why I hate the holidays.  I’m afraid of them, I want to skip them all together, if not at the very least completely avoid them.  As I mentioned before, I’ve done a bang up job of doing the latter.  But, this year… There is no escaping.  I am here.  I am stuck, I have nowhere to go, I have nothing to distract myself.  I am going to have to finally face the holidays, and it’s already been a struggle.  I can tell since the beginning of December, I’ve just started to become a bit more stand-offish, I’ve been distant, I’ve been tired, not really motivated.  Just feel like you’re in a complete slump.  And it’s not really helping a whole lot at home when we have a tall task of moving going on.  There have been days where I’ve just come home, and I’ve been completely content sitting on the couch with the hockey game on, and doing nothing, saying nothing.  I’m just completely lost in myself, the hockey game is on, but I’m not even watching it.  I want too.  And, I want to help unpack, or organize things, but I just for whatever reason.  I can’t.  A serious case of the holidays blue’s, if you will… I guess.

A few times I’ve drove to work, or to hockey, or to wherever, and I can see Christmas tree’s in the windows of homes, or families building snowmen, or Christmas decorations.  Usually, I’d think that this should make a person happy, excited, or at the least feel good.  For me, it’s as difficult as can be.  Right away I have flashbacks to our Christmas’ together, whether it’s dinner at Joey’s, or we’re all sitting around the tree in Victoria.  Then, I think ahead to what will happen in a week when I am still here, and It’s Christmas, how the hell is that going to go.  Probably not well.  Then, I begin to psyche myself out all over again.

This is why I hate Christmas, Amanda is right.  It’s not because I just don’t like it, it’s because it’s an extremely devastating time of year.  It’s just… hard.

I’ve been thinking for the last month, what the hell am I going to do when the clock strikes 12, and its December 25th.  Now what.  I thought, well, I’ll go somewhere; I’ll go for a drive.  Nope, I can’t do that, because I’ll see it.  I’ll see Christmas, I’ll see families enjoying it, as they damn well should, I just can’t anymore.   I thought, maybe I’ll just hang out, and just write all day, and watch movies, but then I thought nope, I can’t do that cause I’ll put myself right back into that slumping feeling where I am incapable of doing anything else.  I thought, well, I’ll just sleep, I’ll just play xBox, I’ll go skate at the outdoor rink… I have no fucking idea.  I have no idea what I am going to do.  I thought maybe, I’d drive to Vegreville for the day, and just spend the day with my family there… But, nope, that’s far away.  Really, I just tried to avoid Christmas with the family because of 350 Kms?  … This is how far I am starting to go to try and avoid the whole thing.  I don’t want to leave Amanda at home by herself all day on Xmas day, and I certainly don’t think I want the hoopla of Christmas.

I don’t want to take Christmas away from anyone else.  I believe it’s something every family should celebrate if you can, like I said, it was my favorite time of the year. I’ve just lost that now, and I try myself to keep it all to myself without effecting those around me, in my “Grinch” ways.  Like, Amanda for instance.  She loves Christmas, and I want her too.  She want’s to do the gifts, and the decorations, and everything else, which I great but I just don’t.   But, I keep it to myself.

So this year, Christmas for us will be on Boxing day.  We are going to celebrate it, just a day late.  I laughed at that kind of, thought that’s Jen’s way of compromising with me.  Telling me, Kid, you gotta go through this, but I’ll throw you a bone.  Do it on boxing day, not Christmas day.  Have Christmas Day at your own pace.  I don’t know if it’s her compromising with me, or having a laugh, but either way… I am hoping it helps.

On Boxing Day, my mom, niece, and my mom’s boyfriend Alan will come over for dinner, gifts, and… Christmas.  As too will my good friend Geoff, who has been through it all with me from day one of this year never ending grieving process.  I have to admit, In a weird way,  I am kind of looking forward to it.  I am looking forward to Jan 3 more than anything else, and the days to come after.  This entire blog, I shared with my counsellor, told her why Christmas is so difficult.  She mentioned that maybe this is one of the last steps in my grieving process, and the last barricade of an extremely challenging year.   Christmas was always such a special time for me, then I lost that, then I avoided every one of them.  Now this year, I have nowhere to go, but I’ve had all the years in-between to grieve, and to prepare.  I can’t hide from Christmas forever, so maybe this year, is the year I go through it, and I become victorious on Jan 3 when it’s all over, and from there it’s uphill, Christmas is the last thing I need to conquer.

Maybe I am just being too much of an optimist these days… but this year has not really been conducive to my life.

Bring it on holidays, I guess.

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Early Loser Moment of 2013

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Further & Further into the Unknown

Flight Recorder from Viking 7

Well, Happy New Year to all.  So far 2013 has been rocking.  I have seen already crossed path with more celebrities then I have in any years previous…combined.  That been cool.  Maybe it is some kind of foreshadowing sign of my coming fame! I also enjoyed a few dark chocolate chunk cookies from Cookies By George.  Pretty Cool.  Anyone remember the first thing they ate in 2012? No. Probably not.  I don’t.  Hope everyone enjoyed a safe, and happy new year and concluded the holiday season with smiles, friends & families.

As I sit here on this Air Canada Airbus – En route to Hawaii for my annual vacation, and to start off this new calendar year.  Tough, I know.  I already told you. It’s been rocking!  As I was, I sit here, and first of all, I am absolutely freezing to death, and am puzzled as to why there can’t be even the slightest little bit of heat coming from this plane. I also sit here, thoroughly annoyed of the person who continually rifles off his “I need help right this second” beeper/light.  Whatever it is.  I have never in my life rang it, as I have always been patient, and trusting enough that the flight attendants will make there rounds in due time, and I will get whatever it is I need.  Though, maybe I should ring and get a blanket.  Nah, I don’t want to inconvenience anyone.  I’ll freeze. Some other people though. Clearly not. K seriously. The same guy has since rang it 5 times in the time it took me to type those few lines. I am starting to think it might just be an annoying child…  In a grown ups body.  I feel sorry for these flight attendants, I certainly could not deal with those people.  Actually, I could.  Here is how.  First, I would scan the situation, see if there is any need for first aid.  Hopefully there isn’t.  Then I would continually walk by the impatient prick, but in the opposite aisle (yes, big plane) and then, I would just continually antagonize the impatient murphy till he gave it a rest.  Kind of like my belief on crying babies.  Lock them in a room, and let em’ cry themselves to sleep.  Don’t worry. I am not a parent. Nor have any plans to ever become one. This is just how I deal with my brothers, Brody & Kyle.  13 & 21 respectively.  Still. Lock the babies in a room, they’ll cry themselves to sleep.   Haha.  Kidding bro’s!  Kind of.  Also, as I sit here on this plane.  I truly think I have the best seat on the entire air bus. Well, second.  Whoever the third person in the seat next to Dallas Green, and Leah Miller…  They might be the luckiest.  But, in terms of space.  I am right in the middle of the machine, and have a pair of seats to myself, with the window.  Across the small aisle is 3 seats, and only one person is in that! I debated whether or not she had the best seat, because she has 3 seats to herself, but then I looked out the window and saw the plane wing, and decided when we are landing in Maui, I will have the best seats as I check out the views.  She will… uhh, check me out while I check out the views.  Boom.   But yes, if you are still wondering about what I just briefly mentioned.  Dallas Green is about 25 rows ahead of me with his lovely looking wife, Leah.  Of course they flew fancy class, Which is cool. If I could, I would.  This is a long flight.  Fortunately, I got seats to my self.  But, seeing those 2 on this plane… Makes me wonder, Surely they have enough money between the two of them they are able to fly on there own, privately to Maui. Or, surely they have friends who can hook them up… Etc.  So, I am slightly puzzled as too why they choose charter.  I know nothing about flying private, so I don’t want to create much of an argument.  So, I will settle for the answer that I presume is the truth, they are flying charter, cause they just want to be normal.  Good for them. Good humble, Canadian kids.  Why can’t the rest be like the best.  Oh, also on this flight.  Mr. Mayor; Naheed Nenshi.  Not sure where he is sitting.  But, the man is somewhere on here. Just a plane of celebrities.  Dallas Green, Leah Miller, Naheed Nenshi……. Me; The Kid.

It was actually quite funny, I am about a big a fan of airports, as I am the Calgary Flames.  I absolutely hate airports. (And, the flames) Few things in life can stress me out like that of an airport.  And, I am not entirely sure why.  I have never really had any scares.  I am always organized, though in my own unique way.  I am always on time and prepared, and I have been on about 200 airplanes, so I know and understand the process.  But, still, it get’s to me.  Going through security, going through customs.  Holy piss.  What a stresser.  Once I get through customs, and security, which almost never do I beep; I am completely relieved.  Feel completely lighter, and relaxed. Then the vacation is on.  The reason I never am excited for vacations, is because I haven’t gone through security yet. Once I get through.  Party On Wayne!!!  Haha.  So, yes. I am walking to my gate, I always go there first just to see where I am going, so I am prepared, then I typically, enjoy a beer, a sandwich, or whatever, Starbucks.  This time, I walk into my boarding room, and I see Mr. Mayor Naheed Nenshi.  I know very, very little about him, and politics in general.  Other than he used to be a professor at MRU, while I was student, and of course, he is the Mayor of the city I live in, which, in itself, should be enough to make me have some interest in it.  But, no.  Though, Of any political figure, I do quite like Nenshi.  He has gone with the times, and is very social, personable, and I love how he utilizes social media.  I do appreciate that.  Being personable is a lost quality for people in positions of power.  However, Nenshi has stuck with it, and is always interacting with us Calgarians.  To me, that’s top notch, and he’ll continue to get my votes.  Any-who.  I was so excited that I saw the Mayor, even though, I have seen him around Calgary a few other times, including the Malcolm Gladwell show.  He’s probably the most famous person I have seen just chilling, other than maybe seeing the rock band P.O.D at LAX 10 years ago.  But, instead of going to talk to the man, and say hi.  I, a victim of this generation, decide to tweet him!  “Hey, @nenshi, have a good flight! I see you in the boarding room, got time for a beer?”  Yes. Creepy, I know.  I tweeted this, while he was maybe 15 seats away from me.  Haha.  Thinking I wouldn’t get a reply, within moments I have a reply.  “No beer for me, but please come and say hi!”  Oh shit.  Now what.  That was unexpected.  A logical person, would have, went and introduced themselves, and said hello.  But, then between thinking, I don’t really want to be that guy, and what would we talk about, I got all flustered and took a different seat.  A bigger, more luxurious seat, and began trying to collect myself.  Well, here comes the fucking knuckled! Sweet Bell Peppers.  Amidst, trying to collect my shit, and stop acting like a 11 year old girl who just saw Justin Bieber. I am buried nose deep into my phone, as per usual, and then, oh man, you know when you just feel someone looking at you,  Yea, I did.  So, I look up, and sweet crocodile rock, It’s fucking Dallas Green & his wife Leah Miller.  I am pretty sure, we made extremely awkward eye contact.  As I can guarantee as I saw them, I burnt a hole staring through them.  So, my loser moment of the year…took… all of 15 hours to happen.  Good one kid.  So, As I am trying to collect myself from being star struck by the Calgary Mayor, one of my favourite musicians; Dallas Green walks by.  Wow, the guy is beeping his “Help me” light again, constantly.  STOP IT. Anyways. I am a huge Dallas Green fan, I love City & Colour, right from his first album. I also enjoyed his band, or former now I suppose; Alexisonfire.  Especially their later stuff, where he had a much bigger hand in the vocals.  My sister was also a fan of Dallas Green, which adds sentimental value for me.  Also, I can remember when Leah Miller was a MM VJ, and I was just in love with her.  So, seeing these two, was pretty cool.  I never knew really if I would ever be a star-struck kind of person, cause I have never really had to find out.  Like I said, I haven’t seen many famous people, and the ones I have seen, I couldn’t care all that much about.  Until, now seeing someone that I do truly appreciate. Yep. I was starstruck.  I think I texted & tweeted everyone I knew, while, I stared at the two of them for ohh, I dunno, the next hour? Haha. Many times, I had to tell myself, deep breaths, they are only people bud. All the while, amongst this, I completely forgot about the mayor, who I was trying to collect myself so I could introduce myself.  I was fixated on the Greens. But then too, I wouldn’t talk to them, again, not wanting to be “that guy”.  Meanwhile, though, I tweeted something about having just seen him, and mentioned @cityandcolour, and then my girlfriend tweeted me, mentioning both him and I.  And, while I was still completely staring at them, He was on his phone quite a bit, and I wonder if he saw those string of tweets… And, thought, What the fuck. Haha.  The poor guy. Sorry. Awkward. So, yes.  Apparently I do get star struck, or at least did that time.  It completely threw me off guard! Not fair.  Oh, and then I instantly changed my iPod “Now Playing” playlist to that of City & Colour.  Haha. Loooooooosssser.

I will most likely get off this plane as fast as I possibly can, and will try and find a spot next to them at baggage claim, and again, not say a word, but just blatantly stare at them.

As I mentioned, Definitely my loser moment of 2013 already.  I don’t think I could surpass this in the next 300 & some days, even if I tried.  Maybe at some point in the next 4.5 hours of this flight, I will go up there and ask him if he wants the bag of peanuts I got.  I don’t know, maybe they don’t get those snacks in first class, and all the guy wants is a normal dudes baggy of salted airplane peanuts.  (I think I just surpassed my loser moment already)

I don’t even remember Jan 1/2012.  Jan 1/2013 has already been an absolutely hilarious, fun day.  Though it is only 7pm. Or, wait. No. I am somewhere in the air, so I have no clue of the time. But, lets hope today really is a sign of things to come for the new calendar year.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope the new year does bring you everything, or almost everything that you wish, and pray for, and most of all, I hope it brings you health, happiness and laughter.   Because, I know the entire world could use just a little bit more of each.

Thanks for reading goneawayboys

– Check me out on Twitter for a lighter, sharper, wittier, comical, arguing me! @BlairLystang