Remembering the Best Parts

Sometimes I find reminders of the good in my past

There was no internet, no “I” devices

Yesterday while I was cooking lunch I heard an awful loud and rumbling noise outside, I looked out the window to spot a street sweeper passing by. It has been more than 25 years since I have seen a street sweeper in a residential area and I had a little chuckle over that. I did how ever have a spat of disappointment when I noticed the sweeper was using nylon brushes. I remembered fondly as a child riding my bicycle or walking with friends or family collecting whatever “junk” I could find. The metal street sweeper blades were the top echelon of “junk” one could collect.

There was no internet, no “I” devices, just baseball, bicycles, fishing, club houses, and of course junk collecting and trading. We used to keep our junk in tackle boxes or coffee cans, whatever we could put it in! I would collect all manner of nails, bolts, pill bugs (roly-poly bugs), strange parts and pieces of whatever was strewn along the side of the road or in the fields. One had a sense of accomplishment when looking through all the fun “stuff” collected over time.

Realizing I was lost in this thought and my pasta sauce was about to burn I ran back to the kitchen and finished my lunch with a sense of calm serenity. I had a kind of solemn happiness thinking about how I had so many good moments as a child. Throughout my adult life and my battle with alcoholism in particular I have been conditioned to focus on the negative aspects of my past and present. The idea of working with past trauma, and accepting past mistakes is beneficial I understand however, I don’t really recall any situations in counseling or meetings where past positives were a focus.

There are a number of therapy methods centered around positivity such as focusing on daily gratitude and such but most therapy focused on the past (that I know of) seems to be centered solely on the negative. I’m not discrediting any of the methods by any means it is just something I’ve noticed. In any case I will say that gratitude is a good thing and I should probably start working on that more myself! Back to my original thoughts though!

The image that comes to mind is from 2001 A Space Odyssey; Dave removing the “memories” from HAL “Daisy Daisy….” It’s as if Dave is in my head moving the memories around!

In the short time between what I affectionately call “the clean street incident” and the time of this writing I have experienced numerous moments of happy reflection on good times of my childhood! This experience has been wonderful in helping me to continue my momentum of maintaining a positive attitude. I’ve found myself remembering moments long forgotten, almost as if some unseen force has changed the tape in my head. The image that comes to mind is from 2001 A Space Odyssey; Dave removing the “memories” from HAL “Daisy Daisy….” It’s as if Dave is in my head moving the memories around! Lucky for me his goal isn’t the same as it was with HAL, I don’t feel like he’s shutting me down. I think he might be trying to help me organize my storage space.

So for today I think I am going to relish in these good thoughts and maybe jot down some experiences as I remember them to reflect on in times of negativity. I wonder now how different my life would be if I had focused on the positive experiences rather than the negative long ago. Perhaps I should not even wonder this, what’s done is done! Today and tomorrow are what matter most, I should get my priorities straight!

Remember the best,

~Joe

 

Positivity in a negative time

The miracles of positive thinking combined with hard work

 

The last few months for me have been a time of serious and intense self-examination, a lot of reflection on the past and present, and probably not enough focus on the future. The last few weeks this all changed as I began to realize that my history is filled with just as many positive successes and improvements as it is with negative actions and self-destruction. I began to shift my focus from regret and shame about my past to an energetic hope and curiosity for today and the future.

Why is this shift relevant to my self-discovery in isolation? Quite simply I had an “Aha!” moment wherein I realized that despite possessing no more than a general education diploma, and having no formal education I was able to work my way to a top-level information technology position, start and eventually sell a successful IT services corporation, become a respected marine plankton researcher, establish a high level of expertise in accounting, finance, business development, and even teach myself macro photography. I did all this by keeping an attitude of “I can” and a willingness to work as hard as possible as often as possible on what “I can” do.

Of course, I also managed to self-destruct and lose all the wonderful benefits of these things in a short amount of time. Worse yet, each time I would try and rebuild I would dwell on my regrets and the negative actions and consequences from the past enabling myself to continue an inescapable loop of self-degrading negativity. I spent years in this loop laying a foundation to rebuild and then destroying it just as it was almost ready to support whatever structure I so chose. The idea of “almost” turned into something of a religious action, a self-destructive ceremony to celebrate the doctrine that I am not worth the success. This entire frame of thought is absolutely garbage in its entirety; an ironic thought given that my dream job as a child was to be a garbage man and “take out the trash”.

The thought that one can look at any positive action during a time that appeared to be primarily negative or simply stagnant and turn that positive action into a marketable experience becomes incredibly transformative when practiced.

Cue the aha moment, maybe if I stop living in regret and find the next thing that I want to accomplish I can break this loop. I have always enjoyed cooking, what some people consider tedious such as the act of chopping vegetables and other prep work has always been a form of working meditation for me. I have through practice established the skill of technical writing, I journal daily for myself to get my thoughts and ideas on paper though I rarely go back and read them.

Perhaps I should pursue the areas of culinary arts and amateur journalism; the absolute worst case is that I am unable to enter either field and so long as I remain positive I can remedy that situation by finding yet another new endeavor. The thought that one can look at any positive action during a time that appeared to be primarily negative or simply stagnant and turn that positive action into a marketable experience becomes incredibly transformative when practiced.

So given these positive thoughts, and a path forward the second part of my “little plan” begins; the part where I have to put in the work.  Closing the YouTube video of whatever political stream I was watching and coming here to build this site and begin my work.  Learning journalism the hard won way that I learned everything else with, that of trial and error.  I hope that this first musing (I hesitate to call it an article) not only invokes some sort of positive thoughts for you, but also invites constructive criticism to help me “find my way” in this new version of myself.

Thank you,

~Joe