I mentioned yesterday that it’s been something of a rough week. Some business and financial frustrations have really taken their toll on this household. Fortunately, things are on the upswing again and we’re heading out of town for the weekend with friends, which we’re really excited about.
But while I was in the midst of this frustration, I was lying in bed a couple nights ago and decided to just jot down everything that came to mind that made me happy or comforted me. I think it’s a great exercise to do this some times – this list helped me get to sleep the other night, so I thought I would share it.
I’m currently grateful for…
- My wife’s companionship. Some of the more serious financial struggles we’ve gone through are not new to me. In my bachelor days and my stupid business days, I’ve been beat up hardcore financially. But in those times, I was largely alone. Either the struggles were entirely mine, or I was literally living and working alone for almost 24 hours a day. It was a big test of my mental and emotional strength. So this week, when we got shoved up against the ropes, I was really thankful to be able to share the pain with my wife. That seems like a dark statement – and I certainly don’t like her going through that – but if you marry the right person, you feel like you can take on the world. Debts and money problems sometimes feel like they can own you, but I feel like I have a tag team partner in my corner that will help me kick its ass.
Winning tickets on the radio.Winning more contests than I’ve won in my life. Okay, that’s only two, but it happened two days in a row. My wife dragged me out of bed at 5:45am to call a radio station and I wound up winning two tickets to a Kenny Chesney/Eric Church concert that will be at Miller Park in May! That was really exciting, especially since she was going to buy those tickets for my birthday, but we don’t have any money for that. Then, the next day, I was notified by Offscreen Magazine that I won a free Une Bobine from Photojojo, which was really exciting as well! I had that on my wish list for a few months, so it’s really cool to get that also. We also shared a laugh because we kept winning, like, THINGS, when all we really needed was $20 of real money at the time.
- My new writing life. I’m really enjoying writing on this site and writing in my journal. I just wanted to share that.
- TV Without Limits. Not a whole lot of people know about my current side project, TV Without Limits, but I’m excited to ramp it up a little further (hopefully) in the coming weeks. I’m a huge media center geek, and I love having a complete entertainment system in our living room that I built that saves us hundreds of dollars a year in cable bills. So it’s something I want to share with the rest of the world. That’s why I put together TV Without Limits, and hopefully I’ll be able to do that.
- My media center. Yeah, okay, like I said, I’m a big fan of this stuff. Everything we watch in our lives is run through XBMC, especially now that they are supporting DVR software. Makes me love my life a little more.
- Direct response copywriting. This year, I was able to finally get some real direct response copywriting work, which I love to do. It also gave me a tremendous raise in income over last year. I believe this is the first year I’ve out-earned my wife in the four years we’ve been together, and I have direct response copy to thank for that.
- Our fake Christmas tree. I don’t like fake Christmas trees. I’d rather have a real one that smells like Christmas and drops needles on the carpet. One I have to crawl under and pour water into the bottom every night. But since we tightened up our budget and we had a tree downstairs, we just put up the fake one. And you know what? It’s okay. It’s a beautiful tree. It’s balanced. It’s symmetrical. It at least looks like Christmas. And I’m happy about that.
- Pen and paper. I’m a tech nut by nature. Paper and pen? Why don’t I just use a chisel and a rock, am I right? But I’m also an old fashioned guy, and I love some of the more romantic notions of the way things used to be done. Plus, I really believe that there is some merit to doing things the old fashioned way some times. I stopped putting notes into Evernote on my phone and started carrying a pocket notebook. I bought a really nice pen and journal, and I write my thoughts in it regularly. I never thought I’d be happy about it, but I really am.
- New blogs I’m following. I’ve discovered some really interesting reading material in the last couple weeks from a few places: The Unitive, Time Management Ninja, KP Haigh, Reason.com, RELEVANT Magazine, and By Ken Levine, among others.
- The Packer game this Sunday! In 2005, I went to my first NFL Football game – back when I didn’t pay that close attention to the sport. I watched my Green Bay Packers (in the middle of a 4-12 season) lose to the hated Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. I have very few memories of that game, probably because after it, we had to drive back to Milwaukee and then I had to start on a college paper that was due the next day. So I’m excited to see the Packers while they’re a good team, this time under the lights of Sunday Night Football, taking on the Detroit Lions. We bought tickets months ago, and we are ready to cross another thing off the bucket list this weekend!
- Pocket. I love reading great stuff from good blogs. There is so much useful information out there, but you need to have a system to digest it properly while casting aside the worthless stuff and “noise”. That’s why I use Pocket. (Boy, that sounded like a commercial, didn’t it?) Having Pocket on my phone is a godsend. With just a click or two, I can save complete blog posts and articles from Google Reader, Twitter, and pretty much anywhere else so that I can read them on my own time. Love it.
- My Ryan Grant jersey is relevant again. I have a Green Bay Packers jersey for running back Ryan Grant. I’m a fan of his. Then he was released in the offseason. It’s hung in my closet for months, and I only wore it on the Packers’ bye week. This week, they hired him again. He should be playing this Sunday. Guess which jersey I’ll be wearing this Sunday?
- Bob and Brian albums. Bob and Brian are two morning radio show hosts in Milwaukee. They’re hilarious to me, and they’re not shock jocks by any stretch. They release albums (proceeds go to charity), and I love them. They’re not everybody’s cup of tea, but man, I like them.
- My active church life. The hardest night of this week was also the night we go to church for Advent – which is a season of the church year where we look forward to the coming Christmas Day celebration. I can honestly say that, when we are feeling completely bottomed out, getting our butts in a pew at church is one of the best things we can do. Much needed, much appreciated.
- Dropbox. I use Dropbox for quite a bit. Keeping files synced across computers (and my phone) lets me send files to my phone quickly and easily, open a file in Windows or Ubuntu when I need to, and have the security of knowing everything is backed up immediately. Heck, I use Dropbox to share my portfolio with prospective clients. It’s awesome.
- Christmas. It’s my favorite time of the year. Regardless of the crap going on around me at times, I can still listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies, and immerse myself in the season.
- YouTube. As I write this, I’m watching clips of the cast and crew of Parks and Recreation discussing the making of the show with the Paley Center. It’s interesting (and right up my alley). There was a time when you longed to see things from your childhood, but if I want to watch the full opening theme of James Bond Jr., I can just find it on YouTube in 10 seconds. Music videos, best-of compilations, bloopers, and everything in between. YouTube can be an incredible waste of time, but it’s really satisfying sometimes.
- The future. You know what’s pretty sweet about life? Until you’re dead, there’s always a future. There’s always tomorrow. When there are things going wrong, and you’re still alive, you have a chance to change it and make it better. There’s something really cool about that.
So that’s it. A bit trite at times, but hey, it’s my list. Have you ever just sat down and listed things that make you happy?