4 Simple Ways to Live a Happier Life.

“In the dark of light, there’s no life in sight.”

Your IPhone when you stare into the screen.

Reality alert: As humans our tendency is to complicate everything, or close to everything. This penchant to complicate festers the longer we live.

Once I believed that with age came wisdom and clarity. Now, I’m not so sure.

With each passing year, the build-up of negative experiences saunter like heavy suffocating shadows.

We over-stuff our heads with negative episodes of the past. Personal baggage pressed at the seams appears at the ready to spill poisonous contents on innocent poor bastards thus destroying any hope of connection.

Facebook has a blocking feature where you can make people quickly disappear.

Blocking is a healthy addiction. Too bad we can’t find a way to permanently block debilitating thoughts. At least long enough to allow another to share a comforting word without skeptically searching behind it for a motive. Too much searching. Not enough listening.

We are overstimulated and overstimulation leads to overthinking which culminates in complication.

Opportunities to connect with a clean slate, with minimal if any expectations, are rare.

The worst part?

Our inner sparks go cold. Nothing excites us anymore. We think smaller. We can no longer find the humor. We lose hope.

This will be my first Christmas without a tree. Oh, I own one. Purchased a new eight-foot evergreen beauty with colored lights from Wayfair last month. Surprising to me, I have very little motivation to release the damn thing. Like opening the box means imminent doom. It’s a warning sign that something isn’t right. One I won’t ignore.

I think about how our brains shrink as we age. Perhaps that’s the reason I’m just not feeling the tree thing this year.

It’s all about perspective and not falling into a dark well with a bottom that never follows through. Talk about perspective – I know a few males who can’t ‘get it up’ any longer and they’re happier as hell. Happier than they’ve ever been.

Having sex, thinking about sex, working to get sex, steers precious mental resources away from important, life-changing ventures. So they tell me.

One head may be dead but the other – Teeming with ideas?

Amazing what happens when the bar is raised high from the low of which you focus.

Simplicity in a world dominated by narcissistic grandeur is a daily challenge. One must work at it. Stay focused. Of course, it’s healthy to have a positive self image. However, there’s a deteriorating marginal utility to self-adulation when every photo on your personal Facebook page is a selfie (and they all look the same after a while, BTW).

In the social media age, seductive headlines, each inflammatory phrase, is deftly crafted to over-stimulate the limbic system of the brain, the amygdala, or plainly, the primal ground-zero of personal fears.

Fears that we’re not the smartest, the prettiest, the sexiest, the most popular; that our dicks are too small, asses too wide; our politics are rot and conflicting opinions don’t count for shit. Today there exist endless algorithms of headlines which gorge negativity.

Image result for fear

Social media obfuscates how we truly measure up with little understanding why we try so hard to do so. We’re constantly competing, seeking something (or someone) smarter or betting looking, always striving to one-up. Instead of competing with ourselves, we’re competing with the fabricated, select Facebook lives of others, most of them strangers.

It’s an anxious, mystifying state of purgatory. The hamster wheel to nowhere. No rewarding endgame. Just exhaustion.

At the end of all the mental bullshit gymnastics, I wonder:

What the fuck do we accomplish?

Image result for penis shrinkage

As I purposely tighten up my personal space and establish new boundaries which includes a reduction of social activities, purposeful quiet has allowed me to re-group and take inventory of the physical, mental and spiritual contents of my life.

Calm has finally arrived after a prolonged stint in a mentally abusive relationship, the worst I’ve experienced with another human; a prolonged period of anger, mourning, and ostensibly, apathy, blissful apathy.

It’s also been an amazing period of career growth. Embedded throughout there has been this yearning, insatiable desire for simplicity.

In a plugged-in 24/7 world that seems to thrive on complexity and drama, I cogitate over simplicity as the true path to dissonance reduction. Inner quiet emerges from disconnect, not the connect.

Achieving small, however you define ‘small,’ allows control and control creates choices that lead to fulfilling accomplishments. At the least, your perspective won’t feel “blocked” or “polluted” by the miasma of complexity.

Listen, people are catching on to the concept of simple. It’s not a fad. It’s becoming a way of life for a generation. Oh they’re online connected but ironically they’ve found the way to use it to their advantage, I guess.

Forget Millennials. Consider Gen Z or those born after 1998. They strive for small yet enriching lives.


According to Goldman analysts Robert Boroujerdi and Christopher Wolf, Gen Z is more entrepreneurial and pragmatic about money,

“Raised by parents during a time marred by economic stress, rising student debt burdens, socio-economic tensions and war overseas, these Gen Z youths carry a less idealistic, more pragmatic perspective on the world.”

What are 4 ways to live a simpler life?

Random Thoughts:


Living lavish appears great in movies. In reality, not so much. Big mortgage, big car payment, big liabilities in general, are certain to curtail the breathing room and proper perspective to allow consideration of  life-changing choices that can lead to enriching wealth however wealth is defined.

Generally, people will stick with what feels safe such as a job they dislike, solely to meet financial obligations. They may even compromise their personal ambitions, seek happiness in the very possessions that chain them, prevent them from achieving personal and financial self-fulfillment.

Downsizing begins in the psyche. Start small. Take inventory of material items no longer used then release them. If you must purchase a durable good like an auto, exclude models with unnecessary bells and whistles.

Need a kitchen appliance? Basic models freeze, clean, bake at 30% less; seek out floor models or slightly dented. I’ve always been amazed by consumers who are turned off by an undetectable scratch on a refrigerator door.

Downsizing will help you reclaim some of the rhythm of life choked off by a complex, debt-fueled existence.


Image result for negative energy

The wrong people can chip away at your sense of well-being like a cancer. Complex reasons exist for keeping around those who treat you badly, cut you down or make you feel rotten about yourself. I won’t go into them. Look back and I’m certain you can come to your own conclusions as to why you stay longer than you should. We’ve all gone through this.

Cutting people you dislike out your life is one thing; removing those you love because their energy isn’t healthy is a supreme paradox.

Those who thrive on drama or negativity battle a special kind of demon. Usually, due to a great loss or void in their lives their perspective is closed, or off kilter. They’re not out consciously to cause harm.

Frankly, more of the damage is to themselves; their release of energy or what I deem the “after burn,” is what those close to them feel. It’s like standing near a blazing fever or taking in the bittersweet odor of a person close to death from metastasizing cancer.

The easiest path to a cut is simply, avoidance. Frankly, under the guise of being busy it’s plausible to rarely be in the same place at the same time.

Regardless of the method, to remove people you like or possess no-ill will is a difficult conscious choice to cleanse the negative and establish fresh boundaries.  It’s the saddest of breaks, however it could be necessary.


Self-reflection with journal and pen (not computer), even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, is a healthy way to blow off steam and deal with the energy-draining trials of the daily toil.

Whether it’s author James Altucher’s daily habit to generate 10 ideas a day on a waiter’s pad of all things, documenting a morning ritual or short sentences of gratitude, writing is a healthy addiction that provides balance.

As I’m up at 4 am daily (I’m a morning person), I favor The Morning Sidekick Journal.


Abstinence is a discipline even if it’s not a forever deal. An extended period of isolation or limiting activities which fog the mind, is a self-nurturing act.

I have a friend who for three months a year abstains from alcohol, fried foods, staying out past nine and updating social media. It’s her line in the sand. A time of rejuvenation and renewed purpose. Those months are not boring, they’re filled with organization, writing, physical self-improvement and documented reflection.

You know what complicates lives?

Pondering over endless brands of paper towels and toilet paper that choke up long aisles at retail stores.

How much fluff and fragrance do I need to wipe my ass or clean counters? Also, keeping up with every social media channel and figuring out why we take on such a task is beyond rationale.

Recently, at Best Buy with my daughter I was overwhelmed by 4 rows of washers and dryers. Waves of whites and stainless steel blocks vying for consumer attention. Front load. Top load. Multiple dials, buttons.

Overall, I felt paralyzed and sort of stupid. When I need to replace appliances I’ll look to hire an appliance consultant to make sense of it all.

Washing machine

Am I launching a space shuttle or cleansing my briefs? You tell me.

Strange how with all the modern conveniences and innovations designed to make our lives easier, simplicity has been push-buttoned and dialed away.

Maybe ’tis the season let go. Get crazy: Don’t look for reasons to believe a person you recently met is going to disappoint like an ex or another asshole.

Set your expectations of others to zero. 

Well, I’m feeling better.

I may put that new Christmas tree up after all.

Check with me next week.

Dedicated to my close friend Lori Pinder who searches and defines her personal simplicity every day.




10 Things You’ll Remember: 10 Seconds Before You Die.


“Two boys gone. The land is mine, Roy.

They’ll never build on it.”

Johnny Cash was awkward at consoling his friend.

Johnny and Roy

I marveled how he lived. Perpetual discomfort in his own skin, especially when the topic turned to human hardships, death or separation from people he had embraced once or a thousand times. He was touched easier than most people.

His heart was meant to be touched.

There was an eternal itch he couldn’t scratch, a wound that never healed and occasionally those souls festered and formed into poetry, often set to music. But mostly, scribbles on wrinkled college-ruled. I possess a few of those scribbles.

He took in those he cared for. All the way in. No one who touched him was ever gone. They continued to tap him on the shoulder, sometimes a bit too much.

Death or disappearance didn’t matter.

Souls gone but never gone, faded to an image of a re-lived last goodbye or emerged as hard reverence.

A graceful testament to those he loved. Especially the tortured ones.

Mostly. The tortured or hurt ones. The frail who couldn’t go on and took matters into their own hands.

Like he was singing to God to let them in.

Pleading for their mercy.

Let. Them. In..


The Faron Young Memorial. The country legend. A suicide.

They slunk like shadows out of nowhere to follow him.

Around the edges dark of light.

At times, he was ahead of the demons. Then black days existed. He was captured.

Unfortunately,  like ill-timed the public always seemed to be around for those moments.

Johnny mugshot

He was heartbroken and haunted over deaths of youth. They were his losses. In a way, J.C. anxiously sought to absorb the pain because that’s what you did for people you love.

He never was able to release from the death of his brother Jack.

He shuffled the heels of his favorite house shoes.

Back and forth in the dirt like an anxious child with an agitated hitch in his step, or nervous tic. Forming nervous heel arcs in the dirt.

Solemn words delivered deep and straight and without compromise.

Cash was like that with promises.

Those he made to others were kept. Promises made to himself – not so much.

As we admired a big, slung-low orange sun disappear in slow motion beneath the glass-like water of Old Hickory Lake, the conversation shifted to Roy Orbison who lost two of his three children to a house fire.

The Cash and Orbison families were next door neighbors in 1967.

Perhaps it was the Tennessee high-octane that gave me the courage to pull the past into this moment, dig into the scars of heartbreaking tragedy.

The fire fascinated me. Fire always fascinates me.

JC’s overwhelming act of love fascinated me more. As I watched him ponder, perhaps relive that moment, I asked a question that popped into my head.

What do you think goes through your head 10 seconds before you die?

Dark shadow

I don’t know why 10 seconds. It was a question that popped into my head because it was supposed to, I guess.

10 just rolled off my tongue. Little did I know at the time how important the thought of 10 seconds was going to be. And asking the question. Over the following decade I was to lose everybody I cherished.

He spoke in deepest baritone. Vibrations circle and settle in my ears.

In the middle of the night I can hear that voice resonating under my head. Shaking my pillow.

I listen.

I always listened…

plane death

John Gilpin was testing out his camera when he accidentally caught a 14-year-old stowaway’s fall.

The last seconds of a life are staccato sparkles which ignite eyes to free your eyes.

To see.

A thousand firecrackers. Energy agitated, ready to flee, anxious for release.

It’s you pushing out to the next you, whatever, whomever that is.

It’s the wave before the crest.

The smell of a season.

The crisp of air that kisses sharp on the cheeks. Tiny blades of pain and comfort that are rarely never forgotten because it coupled with a first kiss.

The eternally burned anguish of the unrequited.

The glimpse from afar before the lids seal tight.

The sound of a distant cry.

A final goodbye never delivered.

Oh, I’m no expert on death.

Unfortunately, I’ve been in the wrong places at the wrong times. Or have I?

“What are you thinking?” has been my question.

I’ve asked my grandfather, my father, mother, a good friend and a music legend.

The last glimpse of a life from the inside out or inside the inside.

There are snap shots I’ll never forget. Nor do I want to.

But when I asked JC, when I asked him what he believed his last 10 seconds would be like, what would he say?

Quiet. Then.

5 responses:

“I’d see my demons move on. Defeated.”

“I’ll remember how proud I am of my kids and I’d tell them once a second. Ten times.”

“June and I would travel around the planets in a camper.”

“I’d hug Jack for as long as Jesus would allow me. And then some.”

“I want to compose great music to keep the heavens shining.”

Loved ones. I’ve lost many but I’ll stick with my top 3. Their “close to last” words stick with me. They surround me but never wall me in. They encourage embrace.

So, what would your  last 10 seconds on this planet be like?

What will you remember?

Write them. Feel them. One second. Slow it down. Turn it into 10 minutes, 10 hours, 10 days. Then know you have more time than 10 seconds.

Slow it down.

You’ve been given 10 seconds, 10 lifetimes, of second ten chances.

Are you holding something back?

Are you not telling people in your world how much you love them?

10 seconds goes a long way to shattering a lifetime of regret.

So, 10 seconds is a title. A thought. Headline candy. Nobody is talking anything coherent 10 blood-beats before life energy is released to the universe.

Dad: “Why didn’t we spend more time together?”

Mom: “Will I ever see you again?”

Me. So far: “I never stopped loving you. I never will.”

To live fully is to die a thousand times in one life.

The resurrections make you who you are.

And then there’s the shit that sucks.

Like things you meant to say to those you love before they go.

But you didn’t.

And now you must think those words and hope they carry to a place they may hear them and hold you.

This post is dedicated to radio personality, incredible husband and father, and special person who will be missed  by thousands for an eternity.

A good man. A really good man. A noble man.


Take courage when the road is long.

Don’t ever forget you are never alone.

I  want you to live forever. 

Underneath the sky so blue….