Chapter 4.

And with the writing of this line, a new chapter of my life begins today….

That’s not my latest attempt to add a bit of literary flourish to the beginning of this entry, that is an actual statement of fact.

I’m finding facts to be so much more important these days, especially in an admittedly unpredictable landscape that we all find ourselves in, no matter what we stand for or believe in.

It’s been a difficult journey, one where longtime friends turn against each other and discard friendships like any other disposable item. We have in some ways turned our basic human connections into metaphorical Kleenex. We need it at the moment, but have become premature in discarding these moments, these people that we shared some fragment of our life with.

And sometimes, when those ideologies sharply contrast to the point of the greater world around us, it needs to happen. It’s shaped a lot of my thinking the last few days.

But I’m getting off topic.

So what is this “new chapter”, you ask? It’s an ongoing project, so some answers will be provided as things fall into place. While I can already sense the hands of exasperation being thrown to the tune of “Predictably Vague Guy” (which begs the question of if I am so predictably vague, then why are you still throwing your hands up at this point?), I will share with you as I go along, before I reach the culmination of all of this hopefully sooner than later.

In 2014, I started what I called “The Quest For Happiness”, which was well-intentioned, but the fact that I ended up in the hospital for anxiety and depression by the end of the year told me that there was still some work to be done. The year wasn’t all bad. Some travel, new projects, and a return home to my high school reunion set forth what would be one of the key elements of why I can say a new chapter has started.

“Home” was a return to basics. A return to simplicity, and people from my youth that I reconnected with on a different level, one mixed with fond nostalgia and mutual respect. I found an appreciation for my roots on a different level that I had before, and even with my sidetrack, the value stuck. It was that, and a shock to my own mortality (and a more mature commitment to love) that also made me do the “grown up” step of getting engaged to Jennifer (Did I mention the “love” thing already?).

(Yes, we are actually planning to seriously get married this year. This is not an invite to start with asking about children.)

“Happiness” is not definable for everyone in the same way. What makes me happy isn’t going to be the same for you that reads these lines. There are a lot of questions to ask, more than you expect, and deeper than basic pleasures than “coffee in the morning” or “sleeping in late”. Those are great, but there is a need to dig deeper to scratch past the surface and see what really makes us tick.

I’ve had friends say some poignant things to me over the years since I started going about this quest. When talking about mistakes made and then present frustrations that could have gone better, one friend asked “And how is that working out for you?” It’s made me ask that question mid-sentence instead of going fully into a lengthy and “helpless” complaint fest, causing me to break ties with problems easier and faster. Another friend last year called me “nostalgic” and “sentimental” as I tend to look back on my life a lot, trying to take lessons from my experiences. I look back to move forward.

In the time since, my life has put me in situations that have challenged me with more questions. What is trust worth? Friendship? How can nostalgia motivate me to move forward instead of being held back by it? The world of late has caused me to look at the value of aforementioned facts, and my place as a smaller steward of information in this world.

At best, I write in this blog. At least, I make points to a social media driven audience. Is it productive? Perhaps not always. Do I feel better about it? Occasionally. Is it the best use of my time? What on the internet is these days? Most of it is skewed to get maximum clicks, shares and likes. It’s not helping anyone but some corporate algorithm.

And so I am looking for value and meaning in what I write. Am I helping people? Am I being entertaining or making them think? Am I being honest, not only to my audience but to my own values? As another friend put it: “Are the so-called ‘experts’ just winging it?” Aren’t we all in a way?

So things are being put into place into place as to what makes me happy (A point finally materializes). “Happiness” for me boils down to these elements: Connection, friendship, love, facts, nostalgia, sentiment, meaning, value, truth, art, fairness, trust, respect, creativity, adventure, and simplicity. And who am I kidding? I have my “base” needs like video games, movies, food, travel, and crazy wagging animals. Some call them “Dogs”. I call them “The Monsters at My Feet”.

I’ve decided that it’s time to do what’s best for me. To find my happiness. And to be the person that I want to be. I am tired of feeling wearied and uncertain. Sometimes, you have to be a little brave to get there. And in my case, a little crazy. Fortunately, I carry an abundance of both. It’s going to be necessary in a word that is changing and unpredictable now.

So with all of this in mind, I recieved an e-mail during this writing taking that first real step. So starts the second line of this new chapter, for a story that will be told soon.

Make no mistake: The fourth chapter of my life has started today, and I look forward to sharing with you when the news finally arrives.