Sunday, November 4, 2018

Thanksgiving II: Gratitude, brick by brick

Good morning! Is there anything as comforting as the beginning of November?  It’s just such a delight after such a busy time to be able to really stop and catch your breath.  My world has been pretty nonstop since February and it’s nice to be feeling some normalcy and the commitments slowing down a bit.  When I last wrote in March I was wrapping up my South Carolina real estate license and really just getting ready to begin my new venture.  I honestly could not have imagined it would all go so well so fast.  I think the hardest part of taking on anything new is accepting that it will often be uncomfortable and you will not know what you’re doing.  When you are a pleasure and comfort loving Taurus like me, stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t just sound stressful, it sounds ludicrous.  And yet as part of this bigger picture, I’ve known it’s absolutely necessary.  The days have felt long but the months have flown by and every day it all feels a little bit more second nature to me. 

It’s been exciting to feel the shift from treading water, to swimming, to actually getting somewhere.  Something I am really trying to be mindful of as I build this business is to allow myself to accept individual achievements as success, even if I haven’t crossed The Big Thing off the list.  I think it’s a mistake I made while building my first business.  I was so obsessed with getting there that I didn’t give myself the credit for placing each brick along the way.  Some businesses can be bought pre-fabricated but both my salon and real estate businesses are really made brick by brick. Rather than be grateful for the clients on my books, I’d feel frustrated by the open spaces.   I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person who has a business, not necessarily a businessman.  To call myself a ”businessman” feels kind of like Romy and Michele dressing up andpretending they invented Post-its.  Yet through this period of growth, change, and mild to moderate discomfort, I’ve realized I have a lot of the fundamentals covered, thanks to my previous experience.  The good news is if you’re thinking of starting a business, I can tell you it’s pretty simple.  Keep in touch with people, answer your fucking phone, offer help to your community with the expectation of getting nothing in return, and don’t be an asshole.  Oh, and don’t be afraid to tell people what you do and ask for the business.  So put me in your phone 614.314.8099! I think sometimes we can be so hungry to accomplish the goal we snowball every part of achieving it into crossing the finish line and don’t let ourselves feel success for the achievements along the way that ultimately piece together the end result. 
The benefit of this previous experience is helping me enjoy this process and really feel immense gratitude along the way.  It’s a healthier way to work and I only wish I had learned it sooner.  Another part of this is allowing yourself to adapt along the way and forgive your own mistakes. 

Luscious lowcountry greens! Around every corner, I am tempted to take snips and make new arrangements. 
first, a soak in the tub! 

Some of my most fond memories on Hilton Head are collecting pinecones with my grandmother. 
A tradition that goes on
 So what does all this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well it gives you an excuse to buy new shit! I’ve been a bad boy lately and it’s really all between me, God, Paypal, and the USPS.  I can hardly believe how much my style has changed in the last few years.  On one hand it has gotten a bit more austere but on other other, a lot more fussy.  In anticipation for my tsunami of cardboard boxes headed my way via eBay, I decided I really needed to do some clearing out.  Do you have some things you pick up and put back down several times before you pull the trigger and just get rid of them?  Such is the case with these stupid cobalt glass shell plates.  I’ve had them way too long and never used them, and yet I still get why I bought them.  They’re cute and kinda coastal and remind me of something that would have been in a Gourmet magazine “Surf and Turf Dinner Party” in like August 1987. 
Sorry I hardly even got a photo of them! On their way out..

I bought them in like 2011 because while I didn’t yet have my own Hilton Head property on the vision board, they gave me that feeling, as much of HHI was developed in the 80s.  But the plates and I have had a come-to-Jesus and the fact of the matter is while I like them, I don’t like them enough to use them.  I have now entertained in Hilton Head several times and when given the chance to use them, I opted not to.  So if I’m not even going to use them in an 80s coastal environment, I think they gotta go.  While it’s my instinct to be a little annoyed with myself, why the fuck did I buy these and why the fuck have I kept them so long? Through my kinder, gentler, hoardier lens, I see perhaps they were a little piece of the puzzle toward my current path.  So off they go into the thrift store abyss, perhaps to be found by another emotionally unstable gay man to fulfill his own 80s coastal dreams.  See, so it’s like totally okay that I have like seven boxes of china coming. 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thanksgiving I: Getting Political...ish

Good morning! I am so excited we’ve made it back to November.  Personally, it’s been a great year for me. Though I have to admit I feel out of sync with the world as so many problems loom large over our heads.  I wrote like three painfully long and detailed posts but I don’t think they’re worth publishing.  My rule is if something I’ve written is too boring for me to read back to myself, I’m certainly not about to ask you to bother!  
October arrived late and lingers, but yesterday morning was purely November!
What I love most about Thanksgiving is that is not ever as set as Christmas.  Thanksgiving has room to grow, allows for tweaks to be made, and is forgiving.  My Thanksgiving may be heavily labored over but the beauty of the holiday is that all it needs to be is a gathering, a meal. 

I think it’s the elemental that we so desperately need these days.  Everything is so inflated, so hot, and so contentious.  My advice for holidays has always been to keep politics off the table.  What good could come from it?  I’ve changed my mind.  I think families need to have the tough conversations about political identity and how we’ve handed our country over to the far side of either party.  I think I’ll have ten for Thanksgiving this year, of those ten I know that four are staunch democrats, four are staunch republicans, one doesn’t care, and the other is me.  What am I? I don’t like the term independent but  I’m certainly not a democrat but I’m not a modern Republican either.  I kind of feel like I’m still at the Grand Ol’ Party but all by myself.  I really want to see if I can manage a discussion about gun control at Thanksgiving?  I’d rather know where my family is on that than who’s golfing where this winter.  As I see it, gun control is our single largest problem and should be the easiest to fix.  I am a strict constitutionalist so I am not at all about taking all the guns away.  In fact I wish way more women had guns.  But I see the biggest problem in our country as the NRA.  I think at this point in time, gun manufacturers should be held more responsible for what their products are capable of doing.  There’s just no need for assault rifles.  

As Heather says, the only way out is through and I feel I need to be doing more on this journey in bringing another view to the table rather than letting the extremes cancel each other out.  Keeping to ourselves and like-minded cohorts has only made things worse.  What do you think? Do you think it can happen? A civil, sane discussion on gun control? Politics at your table?

Thanksgiving is always a little different.  How will yours be different this year?