2017 New Year’s Resolutions in Quotes

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.” – Ben Stein, American writer, lawyer, actor, and speech writer for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford

I want to be truly happy.

There have and are people, puppies, and places that make me happy. But true inner happiness has eluded me much of my life. Several weeks ago in my journal I asked the question, “Why am I so unhappy?”

My answer came in part a few weeks later as I sat watching the program, “60 Minutes” on CBS Television featuring a segment with Denzel Washington on the set of Denzel’s first HBO production, “Fences,” and his mission to produce all ten plays by one of America’s greatest playwrights, August Wilson – winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.

Paul Whitaker asked Denzel if he enjoyed directing and Denzel responded he would not be directing anytime soon because he has to pay the bills.

“Acting pays the bills. Do what you gotta do, so that you can do what you want to do. I’ve just done what I wanted to do. Now I gotta get back to what I gotta do.” – Denzel Washington, American actor, director, and producer

 What I gotta do

I never pursued my dream career for several reasons, but in the end, it’s really my own fault. I allowed circumstances to get in the way of my creative passion instead of it making it daily career goal.

In 2009, I lost the career I actually pursued and, to say the least, I was devastated. I thought it would devastate the financial well-being of my family too. But while the loss forced me to travel unexpected terrain and seemingly bottomless valleys, I have triumphed by creating a contracting business that helped my family navigate the debt waters. And now through the help of friends, who are really angels in disguise, I have full-time employment again in an era when 4th quarter-age and experience are not seen as assets.  This job although it is not a passion, but one I am grateful to have and one that I will do to the best of my abilities. I hope I will competitively excel to allow me to do what I gotta do to do what I want to do.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

To do what I want to do

The Denzel Washington interview opened up a new way of thinking for pursuing my own passion. Success is not only for the 9 to 5 job.  Happiness to me is exploring and producing my creative endeavors. If achieving true happiness never produces a cent of financial success, so be it. It is the creative process in itself that makes me truly happy. Happiness outside of my family and friends is immersing myself in the creative process of poetry, storytelling, blogging, journaling, or wherever the crafting process takes me.

I have drilled into my sons to pursue their passion which ultimately is the gifts God has given them and they will make a living out of it somehow. The important lesson is to love what you are doing. And I will add this piece of advice too for those who are in the 4th quarter of the game like I am on the subject of being successful, remember these words by Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize, and Goethe Prize winner:

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer, French-German theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician

It’s never too late to be successful.

True happiness is

My only resolution for 2017 and beyond is pursuing true happiness.  What does true happiness look like? To me, it is an endless supply of pen ink for my fountain pen and any available scrap of paper. Writing has always meant happiness for me even when I am sorting out whatever it is – good or bad.  The Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso said:

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life from our souls.” – Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright

Dreaming intentionally

Exploring my creativity through my writing is my passion and it does bring me true happiness. The process and the end result is not for my readers although every writer hopes their words are read and valued. It’s what I want to do. I have to turn my dream into a reality just like Denzel.

“You have to dream intentionally. Most people dream a dream when they are asleep. But to be a writer, you have to dream intentionally.” – Haruki Murakami, Japanese Writer of multiple International literary awards

Pursuing the passion

At least for me, Edgar Allan Poe and Leo Tolstoy said it best:

“With me, poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.” Edgar Allan Poe, American writer, poet, and literary critic

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy, Russian writer

happy-new-year-2017

The Blogging Owl postscripts:

In 2017, you will be reading more from #FitbitTheOwl and #SheriFootball, and maybe a new hashtag personality.

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill, American New Thought Author and suspected con man

2017 deadline:  A book of poetry and an inspirational memoir

Whatever you are resolving to do in 2017, I hope it includes a continued reading of, The Blogging Owl.

Happy New Year and God’s Peace in 2017!

Sheri ~ The Blogging Owl

This Seat Is Taken

December 22, 2016 marks the 26th year of my father’s sudden passing, and each year I post my personal essay, “The Empty Chair.” This holiday season instead of reminding every one of their empty chair because everyone has one, perhaps we should consider what I call the ’Larry Effect.’ Whether the chair is empty for the first time or just another year in a string of many, I would like you to think not of the emptiness of that chair but who God may have placed there in their absence.

This past summer I lost a very dear teacher, mentor, and friend. His sudden passing threw me into a depression I had not expected. As I thought about the loss of him, not only to me but to his family and others whose lives he touched, I began to reflect on the loss of my father in a different way.

The Larry Effect

Some people may not bear looking at their empty chair while others may touch it fondly with a memory or two. I didn’t have many fond memories. When I have looked at my empty chair in the past, I asked many questions. Questions that were all why, should have, or could have been questions. Coming out of that depression, I began to reflect on all the people God placed in my life either long before or after the chair became empty. People who assumed roles (some unwittingly) of those either missing in my life or roles of people who were just absent either by their decision or perhaps mine.

I am calling it the Larry Effect.

I began listing these special chair occupiers by name…. J. Larry Roberts, Anita Pepper, Rev. T. Richard Marcis Sr, Mary Bierlein, Margot Matula, Michael Rehling, Mike Pendy, Dave McNally to name just a few. While some of these treasured people have passed away, God always placed one or more people to occupy that empty space in my heart. It is never the same, mind you. No. No one can be replaced. But there are others God has gifted me wonderful relationships that fill the emptiness.

The Larry Effect taught me not to focus on the whys, should haves, and could have beens, and most of all, not on an empty chair. But the seat that was taken by people and memories of advice, mentoring, laughs, poetry, and love.

Thank you to all my treasured readers,  friends and family. May you all have a Merry Christmas and know God’s Peace in the New Year!