Lifestyle, Writing

The Happy Ones say Happy Memorial Day

May 22, 2015

When I started The Happy Ones blog two and a half years ago, I did it because I needed a reprieve from unsuccessful job hunting and nervous snacking. It was the summer of 2012 and Mike and I had just moved from Yuma to San Diego into a second story apartment in the heart of Little Italy. Our street had dozens of trendy restaurants, coffee shops, and even a couple of breweries, so it was the place that beautiful, trendy people descended to have brunch on weekdays while wearing bohemian hats.

I would watch these beautiful, trendy people out of my bedroom window and count the ways I was falling behind in both relationship and fashion. People walked in clusters of threes and fours, which seemed unfair in my early transition to San Diego, since they clearly had a bounty of local friends while I had almost none. In my mind, this called into question these strangers’ inherent generosity. Didn’t they have extra friends to spare? Why were the rich just getting richer? I became a sort of social communist during this time– believing that friends should be equally distributed for the common good. And by ‘common good’ I mean my own personal good.

I have since recovered as a social socialist, except for when I go to Costco, where I firmly believe they should institute the buddy system. No one should have to navigate that alone.

I learned a lot of things from the window of that city apartment. For example,  I had no idea that tie-dye hair was actually called “ombre” or that high-waisted mom jeans could be repurposed if cut into shorts of an indecent length. My brother came and stayed with us for a few weeks that summer, which was a mercy because he is cooler than me and also boosted my local friend stats.

To pass the time while looking for work, I dressed my dog in men’s underwear and took pictures. I assume this is what all people do during unemployment. Then I started a blog to post the pictures. When I realized there was a lot of white space in the doggie posts, I started writing. And when I started writing it felt like the time of solitude was repurposed,  sort of like mom jeans except instead of exposing skin it exposed a purpose that I hadn’t yet discovered.

I worked on the blog and dreamed about a book, dabbling in both while applying for jobs. December 2012 was a new low when I was rejected, not just from my intended job field, but from part-time seasonal retail positions at the mall. Around the same time, my book proposal was rejected as were all freelance articles I submitted anywhere. At the time, I felt despair, but now I suspect that God was actively working, protecting my isolation so a writing dream could grow. I only kept writing because I  had nothing else to do, which was convenient because writing requires lots of space, encouragement, and strong coffee to mature. Unemployment provided the first, my husband the second, and Taza d’oro provided the third in ceaseless quantities.

The Happy Ones has been around for a couple of years now and has given me a space to narrate my own life. When I look back at old posts, I hear myself searching for  words to summarize the longing for purpose  that quakes from within. When I re-read current posts, I hear the same things, except now my hair is longer, so I applaud myself for personal growth.

Next week, I’m launching a new blog website that will focus less on the whole family of Happy Ones and more on me as a narrator of our military life. It’s a subtle difference, really, but a strategic move as I prepare for the scariest job title of all: author.  I’m withholding the URL for now because the site is still in the works and I would hate for you to have a lackluster first impression. But suffice it to say, next time you check back at The Happy Ones you will be forwarded to the new website where I will still write about similar things on a more beautiful web interface (with even longer hair).

Thanks so much for traveling with me, for reading and commenting and liking when the mood strikes. As with any dream, I consider quitting it constantly, but my friends have stood in the way by shouting encouragement over my uncertainty. So if you are one of those heroes, thank you.

And speaking of heroes: this weekend is Memorial Day, an occasion to brush off our patriotism and wear stars and stripes scarves at casual afternoon barbecues. More than that, it’s an occasion to remember the heroes that have sacrificed in the largest possible way: by proving that freedom is actually quite expensive. While we are in the spirit of saying thank you, let’s not forget to honor those that have died in service of country. It is such a privilege to have married into the community of those that wear the uniform.

Fair travels this weekend. May your burgers be juicy and your shorts extra long. Happy Memorial Day from The Happy Ones.