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Elusive happiness

Writer’s blog,  bar date 66161.58*
*I’ll explain this soon enough

I’ve spent the past couple of years thinking about what happiness is, how I can have it and how I can’t let it get away from me.

Yeah, yeah, it’s your point of view and your attitude. But honestly, when you think about it, we’re also influenced easily by who’s in the room or what movie/ tv show you saw. Sadly, a lot of my attitude in 2011 was watching the news, far too much of it. Now that I have streaming, watching more Onion and Daily Show allows me to see that others see the absurdity of things I see.

I also listen to Adam Carolla’s podcast. When I rant and complain, a few people laugh and it took me awhile to focus on what they’re laughing at. People love a good Seinfeld– type breakdown. Unfortunately when I’m in it, I’m already pissed and my immediate reaction is being pissed at the person I thought was close enough to allow me to vent about what’s really bothering me. Now, I can look back and use those things.

Of course I have tough loved others for complaining about less. I feel sorry for the others with no jobs, living in shelters. I don’t feel so bad about people getting into accidents on ski trips, mountain climbing, the polo field or cruise ships. In an instant I think my humanity suffers, but I think I also fall into enable mode and write it off as they got themselves there instead of spending wiser.

Even when I had money in the bank and making the most I ever had, I kept things to simple pleasures. We still shopped at the dollar store for disposable basics, I still at a lot of groceries that had the least chemicals I accept. Las Vegas is so damn great with the free entertainment. And there’s always a contest in every business you enter that doesn’t cost anything to enter if you don’t do the up sells and spending “in the area” that casinos excel at.

Happiness is all about money? I have read about plenty of Zen and Buddhism the past couple of years. I’m not happy with the way western influence has damaged my body and my mind. Thoughts still creep in my mind that buying something or taking a costly vacation somewhere will make me happy. I want to live simpler and yet enjoy where I work, the dream.

I have observed that in the past, when I get a job I go out more and buy more things. And I see other people spend like drunken sailors. People find ways to treat their paycheck away and then realize bills are due after their big nights out.

I see how Buddhist monks and even the Amish are happy, living simply and sustainable. I also understand the reality of living in the United States in the 21st century. I have to succumb to some sparing technology. I spend a lot of time trying to decide what “future” technology I will accept. For the most part, I see what industries that are closing because of what can be read online, downloaded or uploaded. I understand I need to be a factory and not a warehouse to live life.

Also, I’ve spent the past couple of years going thru old boxes of shit to see what made me happy back then. I did buy a lot of crap with some job. I also accumulated a lot of boxes of free stuff. Whenever there’s something people are getting rid of, if I can use it “someday” I’ll take it. I’ve noticed I’ve been a box hoarder.

It’s not as bad as the clips I’ve seen on the hoarder shows, but everything was in boxes. It’s too much for me, 1 person to have. I got that from my mother and I fight it every week, not to buy anything. I’m on a Brewster’s millions spending plan. And it includes limiting getting stuff for free.

There are things that I see that will make me happy that I don’t have the money to do. I want to hang out with co workers for a few happy hour beers. I want to go for a walk late at night without a coat or fear for my safety. I want to take my weekend trips and I have my plan on how I can incorporate that, with a trade down the line.

Good food makes me happy. I have learned to cook and enjoy my bulk food in my unemployment. I spend more time with my cat that I love. She’s very old now. This is her retirement. I hope she can be with me after I’ve saved and can leave this place. It’s a trap to compare yourself to others. It think it’s also bad to belittle or gloat those “below” you. I know where I was at my best, I try week after week to get myself at least back to that place, regardless of how long I see it taking now. I have no other direction to go.

There are ways I’ve been happier than I have in years. It’s different. I feel for the Tibetans. They’re happy, but they get taken advantage of and I worry something socioeconomic is happening to me the same way. I want to be happy where I am now, but I also want to make money again. It’s conflicting. It’s an argument for materialism and the joneses I’m not happy with. I want to be self-sufficient the way I was a few years ago, money in my pocket. Not describing money as what I have “to my name.”

Writing makes me happy. I can revisit places I’m not finished with. I can laugh with people on our adventures that have gone on without me. As I pare down my possessions, I pull memories triggered from them to hopefully support my ambition as a writer and yet pack another box for Savers.

2012/02/28 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolutions on it’s ass

So, resolutions. For some reason a couple of days after x-mas to the end of January, people are happier, friendlier, starting up gym memberships and doing all kinds of things to try and redeem themselves.

There are a lot of things I want to do. Last year I listed most of them and kept it in an “action binder” that I refer to. I’ve been working on such a binder that kinda reminds me of the binders they used in Falcon and the Snowman for some reason. They are my codes.

If they are in this binder, they’re not in the pile of scrap papers I also have to go thru. I try to stop or dam of scrap papers and use, consolidate or eliminate then someday shred the discarded. I have written a bunch of things stored on computer, also. When I got a computer, it was supposed to be a big informational hub where I didn’t need to write things on papers and in blank notebooks and journals anymore. I actually did manage to get rid of what I remembered to be a laundry basket filled with pages of notes. It’s down to a good work boot sized shoe box I’d say. In a binder, they’d be readily available, not buried in a computer I’d have to turn on, find the file, open it up, etc.

There is a gauge, like on a dashboard that I imagine, with me my most productive at the far right. On the far left are the things I cannot do, I have to stop doing, I have to quit. And in the low middle is idle existence. It’s status quo. It’s also enabling, it’s the space that I curse for being gullible. It’s a gauge I try to organize and prioritize. Sometimes I push to the right to get bounced back to the left. Some days it’s maintaining a good rhytm in 4th gear. Sometimes I can’t get out of first and I try to force things. Sometimes I let things go and like a gas tank shit accumulates and escalates to the left until things are fucked and I have more to do to get me back on the positive side.

One of the things I wanted to do was maintain a blog again. I have written about how Myspace and facebook screwed me. How can I start up on another web page that I have to assume won’t be around in 10 years. Buying my own domain is right up there on the things to do when I get work, but I’ve been unemployed for 19 months, now. Even domain owners get bought out, changed or deleted. I honestly have to make plans on the assumption that I’m not just broke but actually poor, or my expectations build my frustration. Unemployment is being David Banner.

I’ve been reading Zen Buddhist books that tell me I have to be happy with who I am, where I am. It’s hard advice to take. I spent half my life trying to escape the bay area. I know people would love the tourist side of things and I am happy with a lot of political aspects, surprisingly, at least compared to most other states. But Vegas is place I was happiest, even without money.

I have a ton of resolutions I spouted on twitter, but when I look back at them it just looks like my weekly goals. It’s a lot about thinking I have to maintain. Happiness is always a puzzle to me. I think too many people overdo it, to be honest. People take drugs and it backfires on them. I look at people and all they do is entertain themselves all day, fun clothes, play games on their phone, see the fun movie, watch tons of tv. Nobody wants to work for anything. Everyone wants the cubicle and surround themselves with their cable and season tickets and lets have a kid, in the bay area anyway. It’s totally foreign to me. I don’t want to be a working stiff, but I want to be proud of making the money to get what I need and save.

I see certain areas of happiness as distractions. I feel like, I don’t know how to say it, vegetables. It’s what’s good, but most people think it’s boring and would rather eat society’s junk food. When I have no money, I get back to basics. In fact, I saw a book the other day on how Amish people have the most impressive self-sustaining habits as far as a group goes. No one wants to give up plugging into the network in silicon valley. I see it as a hive or cattle I have to smile and nod while I find the means to leave.

In 2012 I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about what would make me happy that doesn’t involve money, for now. I still have my “to buy” list from last year, I don’t think anything above groceries and cat food got done. I run out of things and eventually go without them.

My goal here is to write at least 52 essays, one a week. Most likely, this will be about my leftover thoughts, too big for twitter. Some may be about my work search. Some may appear random, but I outline a lot, so they lead to something.

2012/01/03 Posted by | Single malts | , , , , , | Leave a comment