RSS

I will be grateful for this day…

Image

Hello World!

Lately I have been feeling great. I am not sure why. Whether it is the world around me, or a change in attitude, I seem to be bouncing back from my daily swings into slight sadness. It’s not depression, mind you. I have been there, and this feels different. I have known folks who can’t get out of bed from their Depression (here’s the clinical definition: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001941/ ), and those too scared to even move through life. That is a road I have seen, and I have gratefully never followed for too long.

No, today I am simply feeling blue. This is okay and perfectly normal. After a period of joy, it seems logical and reasonable that one would experience a slight letdown. So yeah. I am. Crestfallen, or whatever. So I felt compelled to take stock in the things in my life which already produce happiness. I just need a little change in perspective and attitude. Whenever I find myself a little bit blue like this, I find that doing a gratitude list really puts me back on the path to joy.

So here goes:

I AM GRATEFUL (see gratitude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude )

I am grateful for my carpet: Because I remember a time when I had cold, hardwood floors, and a tremendous heating bill.

I am grateful for my computer: Because I remember a time when all I had was a word processor. I feel lucky and privileged to own such an advanced piece of equipment.

I am grateful for my family: Because I remember a time when I lost my mother to heart disease, and the toll it took on my brother and father.

I am grateful for my friends: Because I recall the lonely times when they were the only ones around still speaking with me. I have the best friends in the world because I know that despite having wonderful lives on their own, I know I can always depend on them when I am in need.

I am grateful for my Netflix: Because I remember when I had no choice of what to watch on TV, and only had a few channels to choose between.

I am grateful for my job: Because I remember a time when I didn’t think enough of myself to try hard.

I am grateful for my money (and lack thereof): Because I realize that the freedom to spend is a choice I make, and that it affords me wonderful luxuries. (ok, moderate luxuries, but luxuries nonetheless)

I am grateful for my food: Because I have seen how a lot of the world lives in poverty, and how significant it is to have all this wonderful food at my disposal. With Farmer’s Markets, Supermarkets, Food Trucks, Michelin Restaurants, and varieties of food from all over the world, one never finds a lack of things to eat in the Silicon Valley.

I am grateful for my healthcare: BecauImagese I remember when I was sick and had no one to turn to. I had been so used to having a health plan that the prospect of not having one frightened me. It was incredibly confusing and nerve-wracking trying to figure out how to get services. Eventually, I was offered help by wonderful Enrollment Specialists and Case Managers, but I never forgot that feeling of not being able to just run over and get some antibiotics for that pesky bronchitis I tend to get… I have Kaiser now and I love it. There may be problems, but there are usually a host of benefits that heavily outweigh the challenges these days.

I am grateful for my mood: For I remember being so scared to sleep that I would shake, so afraid to speak up that I would stay silent, so scared to joke that I would only cry.

I am grateful for the weather: Even on its worst day, Silicon Valley still has pretty tame weather. I have seen houses ruined and people die from storms both at home and abroad. A little rain here and there is no big deal.

I am grateful for my freedom: Because I have seen those who don’t have the power of choice.

I am grateful for my mentors and those who help inspire me everyday: Because I remember when I didn’t even think enough of myself to write a blog. This is for you. 🙂

Ok, I feel better… 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Feel free to comment and share your own gratitude.

-Jon

 

 

Advertisements
 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

You gotta fight ’til your dying day! (Or “The test begins… NOW!!!!”)

You gotta fight ’til your dying day! (Or “The test begins… NOW!!!!”)

Nothing guarantees happiness. Every day can present problems which can knock you down. The true test of character comes not from what you are given, but what you create with what you have. Ben Kweller’s “Fight” illustrates the truly vital nature of sticking to one’s guns. All of the struggles I have dealt with growing up gay and coming out of the closet have made me a little bit stronger, but not invincible. Coming to terms with growing up in my twenties, and dealing with major illnesses have also made me realize how precious life is, but those experiences, as wonderfully trans-formative as they are, do not make me permanently positive, upbeat and happy. And throughout my life, I have struggled with anxiety, depression and the loss of my mother at an early age. Life can give you a big F-U without a moments notice. There are no memos, no Facebook invites, no Evites, no text messages. Life shows up. Some days big time. I can wake up feeling great, getting a head start on things, with a positive outlook, and BAMN – car accident! Or I can be on Vacation, loving life, and rewarding myself for all my struggles, and WHAM – come down with Food Poisoning. What happens next really depends on your attitude. Do you give up? Do you whine in misery? Do you lament your station in life and the fact that you were born under a bad sign? Well you could! You could blame all your problems on the world. Go ahead. It won’t help. The crap of the world is always a’brewin and will eventually make it’s way to you. There ain’t shit you can do about it. The universe doesn’t operate on your whim and fancy.

Do not despair. There is hope. Here it is. Acknowledge what you can change, and what you can’t. Sound familiar? It should. It’s part of a prayer commonly known as the “Serenity Prayer.”

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

So knowing what you can and cannot change afford you the opportunity to focus only on what’s in front of you. Some may consider suicide an option, or maybe other harmful behaviors – gambling, sleeping around, excessive drinking, using street drugs, robbery, domestic violence, or even just shutting down. As the Flaming Lips would say “To fight is to defend.” To push through pain sometimes we must fight. Sometimes pain is constant. For some the pain of depression, addiction, or other physical or mental illnesses can be a daily struggle. To merely wake up can be a challenge. One can challenge one’s lot. One can fight. For those whose struggle come on a daily basis, one must fight every day.

It’s not always easy, and it’s not always pretty. You can fight and fall flat on your ass. There’s no use in pretending. Another line Ben uses in his song “Fight” is one of my favorites “Some days are Aces, some days are Faces, some days are Twos and Threes.” (@ 2:25). Just because a day don’t get you to feel ecstasy doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. Sometime just suiting up and showing up can show that you passed the fight test. Hell, sometimes just getting out of bed is good enough. Fight on and never give up. The test begins. NOWWWWWWWWW!

And as Shakira would say “Every day there’s a war to fight, and if I win or lose never mind.” You have to fight every day no matter what. 🙂

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is me… Bulleted

This is me… Bulleted

Hi Readers!

Although I feel like I have much in common with many people, I also notice that I have some quirks which make me unique… Well maybe you do these too! Hmm. Well we shall see. Here are some parts of me that I’d like to share with you today. I’d like to hear your quirks too. Please comment. 🙂

Image

Vesper drowning in Casino Royale

  • When I am watching a movie or TV show and the person is underwater (for whatever reason), I tend to hold my breath. Ok, not sure why, seeing as the impending doom of the actor on the screen has little to do with my environment. It is a knee-jerk reaction. I suppose I overly sympathize with the character’s situation.
  • Image

    Blastin’ that super bass. Gangsta!

    When pulling up to a car at a stoplight, or passing a car, I always look to see if their window is open. I like to play my music with the windows down sometimes (depends on what I’m playing). For some reason I always hope they will have their windows down so they can hear the music. I guess on some level I hope that they will recognize the music I play. I like some alternative and indie artists. I suppose it is my effort to make a unique connection with someone.

     

  • Image

    Lord of the Rings again? Omg I’m so stoked.

    I like to watch movies over and over… When I find a movie that makes me feel good,usually epic or sci-fi, I buy it on DVD and watch it multiple times. I feel like this may be different than a lot of people, as many of my friends decline watching and/or renting a movie they’ve already seen. Well, not me!

     

  • Image

    And then he… uh… died. I guess.
    Whatever. I do know he was shirtless at
    some point though! 🙂

    I have a hard time remembering the ending of movies… Despite my affinity towards watching movies multiple times, my brain tunes out the endings. It certainly makes it worth it to watch the movie again, to remind myself of how it ends. It also prevents me from inadvertently giving away the ending and ruining the movie for someone else. But it is a bit troubling to have that certain inability to remember…

     

  • I love colored plastic, gems, and neon lights. Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday, as there is something special about the abundance of lights. I feel safe, loved and protected. I always have to resist the temptation to put up my Christmas lights too early.

ImageImageImage

  • My favorite song is classical choral music. I have a particular love of this song as I remember singing it when I was in the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. The Miserere Mei by Gregorio Allegri circa 1630.

So that is a part of me… bullet-ed. If you can relate, wonderful! I have found a kindred spirit out there. 🙂 If not, I’d love to hear about your unique quirks, habits, and joys.

Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome.

-Jon

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Habits and Hobbies, Music, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image

A Letter From My Future Self

20121104-161753.jpg

Despite the unlikelihood that my iphone will last 22 years, the calendar does indeed allow me to “look” that far in the future. lol

I liked the Daily Prompt topic suggestions, but as I began writing I realized that I wanted to take a different angle on the assignment. So… I decided to write a letter to myself, but not to myself at 14, or to myself 20 years from now, but rather from the vantage point of my future self twenty years from now – more specifically, from November 4th, 2032.

November 4th, 2032

Dear Jon Breen Sr.,

So I bet you never thought you’d live past your early 30’s. Well you did! I’m looking at the pictures of myself back then and I can still see the utter confusion in that beautiful face of yours. For you at 30, I can definitely say you have only seen a little of what the world has to offer. Frankly, I envy you. You may not know it, but you are in for the ride of your life. From all our “star trek” watching, you must know that I cannot divulge too many details of the future, for that would alter my own timeline. It would be a dangerous thing to disturb the delicate thread of our existence. For I like who you have become. Not to sound narcissistic, but your future self is pretty great (humble too, most of the time! *laugh*) You have no idea of the wonders you will embark on – but I do. I do not wish to tell you what is to come, for had I known of the challenges which would come before me, I probably wouldn’t have left the house from the years 2022 to 2024. Don’t ask me why, but you will soon find out. I can’t tell you everything you would want to know, but I will tell you what I can.

You will find love. You will also realize that you have already found it. You will propose to someone who you truly love. They will say yes, and you will be very happy. Unfortunately, the happiness will be short-lived due to a crisis. And despite the pain and anguish you will suffer, you will come out of the experience happy to have done it. It may sound crazy, but I truly hope you won’t stop yourself now, having known what I have told you of your love-to-be.

You will have many good friends, but only have five truly great friends. Protect them. Tell them that you love them. Yes. Love. Not care for, not kinda like. LOVE. And you must be there for them. You absolutely must not waver on this. I beg you don’t EVER take your friends for granted. You will lose one to illness, but that will be completely out of your hands. You will experience great sorrow and loss, but again, don’t lose sight of the fact that they are a part of you, and with you and through you, they will live on. And you live on through you impact in their lives. You will have mentors who will continue to inspire you throughout adulthood. Paul has finished his 18th book from his home in Montevideo, Uruguay. This one is another fiction novel (although it seems to have some basis in reality). It is always a blast to visit him down there.

Photo from New York Times – all rights reserved

You will have a rather tumultuous career path. Don’t get me wrong, you will find great successes in you career, but it will not be anything like you might have thought. I’m going to leave out the details, as you really do need to follow your own path. I will say this. You will be glad you went back to school, although it will be a challenge for you and test your serenity. You will practice medicine but not in the United States, at least not for quite some time. Learning languages will fill you with more joy than you will ever realize. I must say, your Spanish will get better, and, oddly enough, you will develop an accent. You learn a third language – which will give you a unique opportunity to travel and help those in another country. (sorry if I’m laughing while I write this part, but you will see later on why I am…). That experience will test you more than any other experience before. But you will survive and will have your family to thank for that.

As for family, your father and mother are still happily married and are enjoying their lives in Montreal. You father is still composing music for the conservatory and will be teaching a couple advanced Kodaly classes at Harvard in the Spring. You mother’s clinic is still thriving, and has recently been recognized for their achievements over the years. Your brothers are well and are all still teaching. Max has accepted the position of Principal at his old high school, and his tattoos have been recently featured in INK magazine online and Erik is planning his fifth trip to Mount Everest. He is now teaching a climbing course to first-timers. You have to see the pictures from his last trip! Patrick has been offered a position with the Oxford University Department of Philosophy. A post he didn’t expect to receive. He does however want to consider his options prior to accepting the position. Most likely he will. Your nephew Francis just graduated college, so Patrick and Bethany might now consider moving again when Bethany can find someone to overlook her Art Gallery.

Your travels will be amazing. You will meet a Prince (you will not marry him, sorry,) you will find a muse for your writing in many different places, you will sing and dance in the wildest places. You will live in a palace for a year (had to tell you that one), but you will be there on a mission, hard at work, and will create something wonderful while there. You will find great despair living in a run down apartment in Europe. But this time your friends will be your salvation, and will help you recover.

Your stories will bring joy to lots of people, but mostly to your children. You will write songs for just for them, and one day you will lose the desire for any fame. Your only cares will soon become the children in your life. Jon Jr. and Sara will bring you great joy. I am still waiting for our grandchildren, but I think they will come soon.

As for your love, your partner, you must find this path yourself for you will know when you have found the one.

But remember to love yourself. And never give up. I believe in you! Which, by extension means you believe in you! So you really do have good self-esteem. Remember that!

Time moves fast, but never make it go faster by forgetting to take the time to show those in your life how much you care for them.

I hope you enjoyed the letter.

Love,

Jon

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Props to my Brother

Image

Me and Patrick at Priscilla Queen of the Desert in NYC

Typically my blogs have been centered around my thoughts and considerations, feelings and reactions to things. Today I thought of writing about something different. Something important and personal to me. My Brother Patrick.

Those who know him are aware of how smart he is. This is true and I admire that. But what’s more than that, I admire him for the manner in which he shows his intellect. He doesn’t use it to make others feel bad, nor does he talk down to you if you don’t know something. What I have seen is that he regards learning as something to participate in, something that doesn’t have limits. You can tell him he’s a genius and he will not concede the same. He may be aware of it, but he keeps his mind open, and never pretends to know it all. For that reason I see him as a inspiring teacher.

When we were little, we were sometimes forced to play outside together. I wasn’t the best at making new friends, and thanks to him, had someone who I could be around and not feel scared. To a child this can mean the world, and so it did to me. I am not sure if I ever told him how much I appreciated his being there. He was there for me when I was alone and scared. Because of this, I consider him a loving protector.

He has had his share of troubles in his life, and has pushed through despite the challenges. A bright intellect doesn’t necessarily make dealing with life on life’s terms easier. In fact, sometimes, it seems, it can make things a whole lot more challenging to handle. I have seen Patrick deal with some rough things in his life and he keeps facing them head on. Facing his fears and judgement and inescapable monsters, he never gives up. For that, I consider him a brave warrior.

And in my life, when I am stressed out. Patrick is there to provide an understanding ear. When I make a mistake and fear the world is against me, he reassures me that everything will be alright. And when I feel stupid and foolish for things I’ve done, he talks to me as an equal and makes me feel like a king. And when no one is around, he is there for me, through thick and thin. When I came out as gay, he showed me unconditional support and understanding. For these reasons, I consider him dear friend.

There are few men as great as my brother, and I am grateful to have him in my life. I admire him for being the inspiring “grade-A” teacher, loving protector, brave warrior, a dear friend that he is.

Thank you for being you, bro!

Love,

Jon Jeremy (Your brother)

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Idea for a holiday – Reconnect/Disconnect Day

ImageSo the idea is to create my own holiday. I must say that I really like this topic. At first I thought, maybe something having to do with giving and gratitude and blah blah blah. Ok it’s been done. Even if we don’t truly take advantage of the spirit of Thanksgiving, or other holidays, that doesn’t necessarily mean there should be another. If there is to be a new holiday, it should be something different. In thinking along those lines, I wanted something that incorporated spontaneity, good food, intimate non-sexual human interaction (well ok sex for some, if you really absolutely need it), music, and poetry. This may not be hugely different than every single holiday out there, but oh well. Critics be damned. I came up with the following:

The idea is called Reconnect/Disconnect day. A day without phones or internet. A communing with one’s environment and one’s inner soul. From morning to night, sunrise to sunset, a total disconnect with the world, aside from personal interaction. in a desperate attempt to tap into your creative side and shut down all judgement centers of the brain. A reconnect with one’s child-like sense of wonder, and disconnecting from one’s learned harsh criticisms of adulthood. In addition to the turning off and logging off of network-based devices, certain traditions would also be followed. This would include not going to work (no matter what day of the week Reconnect/Disconnect Day fell on), creating an elaborate meal for one, and find someone to share it with – showing up unannounced at someone’s house if need be. Afterwards, because there was only food for one, you would both go to the store and pick up you favorite snacks to share.

After finding a suitable location, you would then proceed to play music which holds meaning to either person and proceed to explain to any memories associated with the song. At the close of the day, you would write a poem dedicated to long lost pets, and go out to eat at a restaurant you have always wanted to try. At dessert, you read your poem to whomever was with you, or, if alone, the waiter, waitress, or cashier. You would then go home, watch a sappy movie (where someone dies or a dog runs away, or some kid gets into college or lands a scholarship or something…), drink a lot of chamomile tea, cry as much as possible, and go to bed early. The following morning, you rise early, turn on your phone, drink a lot of coffee and get your ass to the gym. You must then spend the rest of the day drinking only diet coke and returning all the texts from people who didn’t celebrate the holiday the day before.

Happy holidays,

That’s all I got.

Thanks for reading.

-Jon

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Swallowed up whole…

Image

Here’s a poem I wrote. I hope you like it –

The Fates it seems are cold and blindImage

Give love up front, leave pain behind

When it seems a glimmer to peek

My soul is mute, too scared to speak

Leviathan covets me and I covet him so

I’m truly fucked with nowhere to go

Until a storm above me takes

Away the fear and trembling quakes

I know that illusion doth a bastard make,

I do not cImageare – a sweeter medicine to take

An elixir born from love and hate

Eros can both destroy and so create

In delirium I do so quietly remain

And now my only solace hath become my deadliest bane.

I must admit it quite a joy

This love, this interest, this pleasant boy

Romance owns the heart and not the head

Thus the book of love is always felt, never read.

And if I could do it all again…

I’d always fall for the affection of a man

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Uncategorized