Contentment + Gratitude = Peace

peaceIn light of the current economic recession, I found myself pondering lately on how I’m incredibly blessed to have a stable job, right now. And not only is it stable, I truly feel that with this job, I am being paid for my hobbies, too! To wake up on Monday mornings excited to go to work is something I don’t take lightly. I am grateful that I am not only passionate about the work that I do, but also because I work with people whom I trust and consider friends… a very important factor, I believe. I can honestly say that in the last four years working where I work, I haven’t felt an ounce of stress, at all. Being in the office, in fact, does not feel all that much different from staying at home, either. This is just ridiculously good! Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder how much longer I can get away with it.

But even that’s only the beginning.

The real story I wanted to tell here is what dawned on me, this past couple of days. I realized that I have been debt-free for exactly one year now. Yes!!! I was able to pay off everything I owed right about the time the economy was beginning to falter. After having religiously lived like a broke college student (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you know what I mean…) for many years, I was now able to breath freely and… well, not hesitate to fill up the tank and go for a joy ride, every now and then.

But wait… here’s the cherry on top of the whipped cream. Right after my debt was paid off, I set up an automated savings account just so I can get myself back to financial normalcy without having to think about it, all the time. Now, I had forgotten about this account. Yesterday, I decided to give it a look. Well, what do you know? I was surprised to find in there – well, let’s just say a substantial amount I’ve never had before! Just like that! I was like… gee wiz, if not for my occasional trips to Guitar Center (which, by the way, can be hazardous to a struggling musician’s financial health), I would’ve ended up with much more! Haha! Nope, not complaining at all!

Anyhow, I’m not saying this is a lot or even a big deal of a case. Circumstances are obviously different for everyone. But for a single guy who loves the simple life and doesn’t need much (well, sans the occasional musical acquisitions), this is absolutely monumental. Yet, I don’t think my spending habits have changed much at all, after all these years. When you’ve trained yourself to be content out of necessity, contentment eventually becomes a comfortable way of life… even long after necessity has expired. And this goes beyond mere finances, of course! When you are grateful for the littlest things that come your way, trust me, the peace it allows you is simply priceless. And no matter where we’re at in life, isn’t peace what we all crave for, ultimately?

I thought so. Especially, in times like these.

Change is good

I’m a pretty big fan of web 2.0 even though some of it is still kind of cryptic to me. I like the idea of “people first, machines second.”
And this technological mantra has definitely been the highlight of this new generation of the web. You may have heard of web 2.0 by now. It’s been an ever growing
buzzword since 2004, as far as I can recall. Yep, it’s not exactly a new kid on the block. If you’ve utilized websites like windows live, youtube, flickr, digg,
del.icio.us, technorati and my favorite web portal, netvibes (I have a lame version of it right here), among many many others,
then you have already been baptized in the waters of web 2.0 without even knowing it. It is so revolutionary though that by the time the rest of the world
catches up (if it ever does), a lot of us will have been wallowing on the 3.0 playground already.

I’ve barely scratched its surface here on my website. In this new version, I really just wanted to increase its usefullness and useability. And relevance, of course.
But there’s a whole lot more to it than just blogs, feeds, tags, CSS and all the obvious ones! Hey, didn’t you get enough buzzwords yet?

buzzwords

The cool thing about web 2.0 is that, at least for my own purposes, it’s not as much a new technology as it is a new attitude. A new way of thinking and
doing things perhaps. The technologies behind it, in fact, have been around awhile. But the combination of these make up a whole new world of web usage.

But I think I’ll skip the gruesome details. Now, going back to version 3.0. What could it be like, I wonder? Delivery pizza straight out of your CD drive?
One slice at a time? Sweet! You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for that one. We’ll see…

buzzwords

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the humor…

But on a more serious note… yes, change is sometimes hard. But change is good. Just like web 2.0, our lives go from one version to another. Sometimes, even without our permission or our blessings!
Good grief! Pray that it’s at least an upgrade! It’s like warming a new bench all over again. Like upgrading software, if you will. There’s always a new learning curve
involved. Some are steep, some are cake. It can be a nuisance sometimes. Or an interruption of sorts. But it can be exciting as well. If you can only look at it that way.
There are possibilities, opportunities and a chance to further enhance life with new experiences. Bad or good. Do you like surprises? I don’t. Well, not necessarily.
But sometimes, after a surprise, you’re glad, thankful, and you feel good.

Sometimes.

But that’s life. Change involves taking chances as well. By the way, that reminds me how funny it is that I, almost all the time, mistype “change”
with “chance.” (Yep, see, I did it again, just now.) And vice versa. It almost seems like these words are interchangeable in a peculiar way. Anyhow,
I know I took a lot of chances to get where I am today. Not that where I am now is ultra peachy.
No, not by a long shot, unfortunately. But I appreciate it nonetheless. It’s not shabby at all, in fact. For most of my life though, I feel like a nomad. Yeah,
Bohemian Rhapsody could very well be my theme song! 😉 (But no, mama, didn’t kill the man!) It seems I’ve been moving a lot the past seven years. I wish I could be
settled and be done with moving. But I can’t control it. The wind blows and I’m swayed. But I tell you, it doesn’t hurt when you don’t go against what feels natural.
It may in the beginning but the pain doesn’t linger too long. That’s the beauty of contentment. I don’t know about you, but I hate being miserable in any way,
shape or form. Actually, I don’t remember ever being bored for any reason. I find that there’s always something to do, or I can do… like say, write a blog? Ha!
That’s an acceptable excuse, I believe.

Anyhow, enough of my going on tangents! Where was I? Oh… when you’re content, no matter what, you learn to be less critical and cynical. And you learn to
appreciate and accept, whether or not you understand. Because to me, understanding something, in many ways, is irrelevant. There’s a lot of things we don’t understand.
And we struggle to understand but to no avail at times. I find that when I let go, life gets a lot easier to handle. It becomes more pleasant. There’s not much
to think about, wonder about, struggle about. You just enjoy it in whatever capacity you can.

Whew! talk about a rant! Can you see my passion here, folks? Yeah, I’m just a little politically incorrect sometimes, but at least it’s the real me. I’m not
going to jump into any bandwagon. No thanks, I’ll ride my own. But again… I appreciate all kinds of bandwagons passing by. Hey, let ’em roll from one place to another.
And just like web 2.0, let ’em roll from one version to another. I’ll be right behind trekkin’ along. Hey, it’s all change to me. And change is good.

I think.