Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Good Life

Ahhhh...things are good. Despite all the chaos of moving and double my usual weekly workload, I have a huge smile on my face these days. My new studio is coming along nicely. I've unpacked almost everything (save for a couple of boxes of office stuff that will require a good day of organizing) and finally have internet again! Which means, that I am contentedly sitting here plugging away at images and listening to my favorite streaming radio station (BeatBasement, listed on iTunes Radio, which features independent hip-hop). Life is really good.

Finding this studio took much patience. I've been looking for the ideal spot for a couple of months now. I just know when I walk into a space whether or not I'll be able to "get creative" in it or not. And because I work from home, it is even more important. Finding a place in this particular part of the city has proven quite a challenge. I found a couple of apartments on Craigslist in this area and jumped on them, calling right away, but to no avail, as they were rented out quickly.

A few weeks ago I went and looked at an apartment in a very affluent neighborhood. An ex-boyfriend of mine lived in this area when we dated a few years ago and it is undeniably impressive...huge houses, meticulously landscaped, great sidewalks and paths for walking. So, I went and looked at the apartment. It was pretty standard for an apartment complex but taken up a few notches to suit the neighborhood. The apartment was fine, brand new, with a deck and nice view. The agent said it was the last one currently available (how they love to say that!) and asked me if I wanted to put in an application to secure it. I agreed, but this nagging feeling started to rise to the surface. I definitely didn't have that instant impression of inspiration. I had to pay an application fee to secure the apartment and because I came to view the apartment on my way to the gym, I only had my debit card and driver's license. The apartment agent told me that across the way there was a market with an ATM that I could grab cash out of.

So, I went down there and first went into Starbucks to grab a coffee. As I was standing there on a busy Saturday morning, I looked around me. The people seemed really superficial. And I have nothing against affluence, nor do I wish to stereotype. But I couldn't help but feel stifled by the environment. Would I really find inspiration dodging Porsches and luxury SUVs each day on my way to the market or for coffee? And as I waited for my vanilla latte, I felt a pang of awareness...recalling my 20s and how much more money obsessed I was. There was sadly a time in my life in which I would have felt that being in such an affluent area would be great...I could meet some rich guy and live in a huge house and drive a nice car, etc. But I've had the 3000 square foot house and the Land Rover and the beautiful diamond ring. And I walked away from that life for a reason...because I wrongly expected those things to make me happy and fulfilled. It was empty. I don't want money to dictate my life. If I can get by, great. If I make more, that's great too...but I no longer make decisions in expectation/want of money or material objects.

I grabbed my latte and walked over to the market. As I approached the ATM, a huge smile broke across my face. There was a handwritten note posted on the ATM that simply read, "NO MONEY." I didn't need any further pangs of intuition to know. This wasn't the place for me. So, I called the agent and told him that I changed my mind. I felt so good about myself. I was on a high all day, as I felt that I was finally making the right decisions for myself.

And here I am, in my new place, which I love. The neighborhood is eclectic and diverse, laid-back and inspiring. Happiness abounds. My sister E set a wedding date for July, my sister N has a new love interest, my sister J and my brother C continue to be inspired by The Secret and we enjoy great discussions and encouragement as a result. My brother D has a beautiful family and is turning 40 this weekend. My mom is healthy again, having pushed through that painful recovery from her surgery to remove cancer. My dad is also healthy and thriving on the summer weather, which always brings out the best in him, particularly when he can listen to/watch his Mariners' games. My niece and I have our weekly time together and I feel like a better role model for her life each day.

Can I just say once more: life is good.


Richard said...

People don't want to be different. They want to be like everyone else and try to stay comfortably in the middle.

Good for you that you want to be independent and a free thinker, however ... I think many confuse associating with a smaller group to be a sign of independence, when it is simply conformance with a smaller group rather than the larger majority.

Pam said...

YAY! Listening to your heart is such a joyful experience...your inspiration starts there, yes?

carra said...

I read this post yesterday and it took me 24 hours to think of something to say. I can see that you are finally happy, you are leading the life you wanted for a while. Everything is getting into place and starting to flow what more could one want? I am so happy for you.

b said...

richard...i disagree that people don't want to be different (and you seem to assert the opposite in my post on Crime and Punishment). I think that it is seemingly more comfortable in the middle and that's why people don't assert more independence. I also believe that people do want to belong and feel needed. However, I do agree with your comment on my previous post about people wanting to feel unique and special in this world.

Don't get me wrong. In wanting to be a free thinker and independent, I do not desire to disassociate from all humanity. Quite the opposite. Rather than focusing on associations with groups based on material/superficial beliefs and possessions, I want to associate with humanity on the most fundamental level and not religion, politics, wealth, etc. At that fundamental level lies happiness and baisc needs...and importantly, a universal desire to love and be loved, to feel important and needed.

Yes, I fully acknowledge that I may belong to a smaller group of like-minded individuals and I eagerly embrace that. I look forward to having more of those people in my life. And that is why I decided to put myself in a physical and mental place in which I will attract those like-minded individuals of a smaller group. I don't think that takes away any of my independence or free thinking. I certainly don't desire to go out and live in the woods alone. I want to make a difference and connect with others on that basic human level, even if in my own small way.

As always, thanks for the thought provoking comment!

pam...yes, listening to my heart is a joyful experience and it truly is the place where inspiration emerges. it doesn't hurt being connected to people such as youself, whom also inspire my journey greatly.

b said...

carra...thank you so much. i think i've always been happy but i too often mistaken pleasure for happiness and pleasure is always fleeting. but yes, now i feel that i am really establishing roots to my happiness. i realize that it takes cultivation of character and steady evolution.

thanks for your constant support and friendship. even from across the world, your sincerity and kindness is felt and it has made such a positive difference in my life.

Cavalock said...

Yay! happy for u!

have fun!

La Page Française said...

So glad to hear things are going well for you. And congratulations on your new apartment, and good for you for listening to your heart about the neighborhood. I'm a firm believer in looking for signs, sometimes seeing an outside influence (like your note on the ATM) can just snap us into seeing our true feelings that were in front of our nose all along but we couldn't put our finger on.
And glad to hear your family is healthy and in love too!

b said...

cavalock...thank you! :)

la page française...i view signs in the same way. i truly do not think they come from out of nowhere but really are manifestations of our true thoughts, desires, etc. thanks for the kind wishes and encouragement.

Richard said...

No contradiction. People claim to be independent thinker, however, from my vantage point, their behaviour seems suspiciously similar. I suppose it is a question of not seeing the forest for the trees. Alternatively, wherever people are on the conforming / non-conforming spectrum, they always see differences - much in the way twins see differences between themselves that others may not.

I think people basically use choice to be more like the median of the group (or to avoid being different). For example, as an energy saving measure, I pointed out to Sofia that we could help to keep the house cooler by installing awnings over the front door and front facing windows (the shadow of which would keep the house cooler - despite keeping the drapes closed, a lot of solar heat still gets in). She looked up and down the street and said, "If it is such a great idea, why isn't everyone else doing it?"

"Because they are idiots," I replied. "These people are not interested in energy efficiency, they just want to be like everyone else, don't stand out. Don't be any different. Just make sure you have the right status symbols. If it means turning up the air-conditioner, then they will - look how many have their windows open, letting the sun directly into the house. They don't even take the basic precaution of closing the blinds or curtains!"

"I don't know. If it was such a simple and good idea, then other people would be doing it. Besides, it would look ugly, it would make the house look like a restaurant," concluded Sofia.

(We have a number of trees as well, but they do not block the sun from the front door (which gets really hot) and the kids' bedroom windows).

b said...

richard...i think that we are all independent and unique but to varying degrees. i do agree that there are tremendous similarities in people's behavior as well. i couldn't help but laugh at this example you provide of the awnings. it's one thing not to install them because nobody else is doing it but i can't find fault with her aesthetic sensibilities. a restaurant, eh? haha!

i know that i should probably install a window air conditioner in my kitchen, to brave the hot summer days ahead. but i don't want to obstruct that window with some ugly contraption. i know...weird.

Manifesting Jack said...

Realise that life is absolutely perfect, beautiful and amazing the whole time...

And prolong this incredible feeling you have.

You've been busy...

These realisations are immense B... Letting go of desire is progress personified. Even more so, recognising what you used to hanker for as worthless is really enlightening.

And if there ain't no money in the cash mashine, then you're not supposed to get any money out.

So simple, so good!

You're in breakthrough mode.

Nice place to be!


b said... is absolutely perfect. and yes, i have been quite busy and while i am very happy, there are still struggles in my life that i don't often post about here. but i continue to strive towards happiness instead of desire. and i do feel that i am in breakthrough mode. thanks for the encouragement. it means a lot!