Inspiration and Motivation.

Sanitize.

So this is becoming a common site at public places during these YetAnotherApocalypse times. This jug of Purell was to be found at the hostess’ station of a local restaurant. The hostess didn’t mention it but I gave myself a squirt just because it seemed the right thing to do.

While in public this weekend I’ve been a bit more observant when it comes to the cleanliness of those around me. I watched a young woman lay her head down on a food service counter as she flicked her hair all over the take out bags that were stacked to one side. I shot her a look but she was oblivious. She probably still is.

After a pilots’ breakfast yesterday, while visiting the wash room I noticed several other men using the facilities washing their hands for extended amount of time. No one left the room without washing their hands. That’s impressive and is hopefully a new norm.

They say to sing “Happy Birthday” or something for timing your hand washing activity but I enjoy singing Abba’s “Me And I”. It’s obscure but still fabulous. Once in a while I’ll sing “The Visitors (Cracking Up)”, also by Abba, just to sound spooky. I don’t know if you’re suppose to do the timing of your hand washing by singing out loud but I do from time to time. Maybe if this Coronavirus thing continues I’ll add a little jig just to live people’s spirits up.

Bucket List Item.

I need to experience this type of flight once in my life. Many will say they have no need for this type of service. I absolutely want this type of service once in my life.

This is a goal.

All I Want.

I woke myself up in the middle of the night last night singing backup vocals on this track. This is not uncommon behavior for me, in some respects I’m happy I was still in bed and not standing naked outside thinking the balcony was some sort of stage or something.

My singing aspirations have usually centered around a group performance with me singing backups. I would love to do that once again with a group before I move on from this life, and this is one of the songs I would love to contribute to.

One of my favorite songs from the 90s, here’s Toad The Wet Sprocket with “All I Want”.

Evolve.

In less than a month I will no longer be 50 years old. As we cross into my astrological sign, I can’t help but think about the first 50+ years of my life and reflect. I’ve been pensive lately. Am I where I wanted to be in my life?

I received a box of family photos in the mail today. My aunt and uncle, the keepers of the city side family heritage, came across a stack of photos from various decades and felt I should be the next keeper of these snapshots of memories. There’s quite a few that I don’t really remember, though I’m in the photos smiling. Happy times. A “Jetsons” themed t-shirt from 1992. A small red mustache dusted my lip. I’m smiling, standing in the back of the photo, taller than my mom but shorter than my dad. Looking like one with the coloring of the other. There’s no doubt where I came from.

When I was in my mid to late teens I had dreamed of living in a big city, though I didn’t know what big city it would be. My thoughts often gravitated toward London, because from what I had read in books and magazines and the like, London was much more open to ‘different’ folks like me. Plus, I really loved British pop music. In the late 80s and 1990 I spent a few years living in Boston and by 1992 had moved back to Central New York state. In 1992 I thought I had screwed up my opportunity to live in the big city and had kind of resigned myself to living in Central New York. I was happy but I didn’t feel like I was thriving. I was finding my way again.

And here I am 27 years later living in the third largest city in the United States. And Chicago has been very kind to me.

How we evolve.

As I looked at myself in this photo, with the cheesy mustache dusting my lip and the Jetsons dancing on my shirt, I couldn’t help but remember that while I felt a little resigned, I still felt quite happy. It would be five or so years before I got my first cell phone, we were nearly 10 years from the events of 9/11, and the subsequent after math.

People just seemed happier back then. Is it a sign of my age that I look back at the early 90s and think, “ah, the good old days”? I’m not so naive as to think that time was “the good old days”, as I was still attending too many funerals of friends dying of AIDS and honestly I would never dream of holding hands in public with anyone that I was dating at the time. Yet, there I was, smiling and looking genuinely happy with my dad, my mom, and my sister, who looked genuinely happy as well.

Happiness is such a good feeling.

I glance through the news and watch people on the street and read conversations online: Turmoil. Distraction. Addiction. Complication.

At first I thought, I need to find the happiness. But then I thought better of that, I need to bring the happiness. Pick up the mantle. Take the lead. Amass the troops. Be a positive, unstoppable force.

With less than a month of age 50 left in this life, I need to heed my own advice: don’t sweat the small stuff. Herd our evolution in the direction of a better world.

Maintaining Your Sanity Online.

Flipping through Twitter this morning, I found a link entitled “Rules for Maintaining Your Sanity Online”, originally posted by Sean Blanda on “The Discourse”. I’ve highlighted the ones I found particularly compelling.

  • Reward your “enemies” when they agree with you, exhibit good behavior, or come around on an issue. Otherwise they have no incentive to ever meet you halfway.
  • Accept it when people apologize. People should be allowed to work through ideas and opinions online. And that can result in some messy outcomes. Be forgiving.
  • Sometimes people have differing opinions because they considered something you didn’t.
  • Take a second.
  • There’s always more to the story. You probably don’t know the full context of whatever you’re reading or watching.
  • If an online space makes more money the more time you spend on it, use sparingly.
  • Judge people on their actions, not their words. Don’t get outraged over what people said. Get outraged at what they actually do.
  • Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, be charitable in how you read people’s ideas.
  • Don’t treat one bad actor as representative of whatever group or demographic they belong to.
  • Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about.
  • Sometimes, there are bad actors that don’t play by the rules. They should be shunned, castigated, and banned.
  • You don’t always have the moral high ground. You are not always right.
  • Block and mute quickly. Worry about the bubbles that creates later.
  • There but for the grace of God go you.

Inspiration.

This quote from my 1982 high school yearbook has been bouncing around in my brain lately. This was a response from one of the teachers to be included as a caption under her photo. Most of the other teachers wrote things like “knitting” or “filling out sheets like these”, but Mrs. O’Brien wrote this:

While I never had Mrs. O’Brien as a teacher (she taught what was called “Adjustment” or “Special Education”), she was active with the drama club and a couple of other organizations I was involved with. She was the teacher who practically “talked me off the ledge” after an 11th grade Ethics class whereas the class conversation around homosexuality turned, what seemed to me at the time, rather hostile.

I’ve never had the chance to thank her for that pep talk, not even all these years later. But her optimism and her zest for life continues to inspire me.

Evolution.

We went to the Chicago Expo today. It was our second time attending this Art Show; like last year, I found this experience to be quite enjoyable. Actually, enjoyable is probably an understatement. I found several of the exhibits to be powerful.

This photograph probably touched me the most. Taken by photographer Jess T. Dugan, the energy captured in this photograph brought me to tears. Such beauty. Such confidence. Such groundedness.

The story of Momma Gloria moved me.

Society tries so hard to force us into boxes: pre-defined existences that fall in line with the lowest common denominator. You’re either male or female. You act like a man or you act like a woman, and you better be acting the way that’s been defined by the genitals you were born with.

I don’t believe the world was meant to be so narrowly defined. This is so apparent to me. Earl remarked, “are you evolving”? I am.