Seasons Greetings Joey Style (2008)

Happy New Years friends and casual readers! I normally start off this annual tradition with “Ho Ho Ho Holy Shit!” but I think it is time to retire that line, you can make your peace with that decision privately with copious amounts of “X-mas Cheer”. So what has 2008 meant for me, for you, for all of us? In one word: Change. While trying to resist the urge to quote political slogans, it was an evolutionary year for myself, my circle, and the country. Lets begin…

[Thanks]

I usually throw out thanks to people who have helped me throughout the year and sometimes I feel like that is all people are getting from this little love note: I curbed it last year and it chomped me on the ass. Let them have cake:
* Thanks to my wife for marrying me
* Thanks to my parents and Allison’s parents for making the wedding as stress free as possible. Weddings can be the source that start years of family strife, our parents could not have been any more supportive to us or each other, and I am glad everyone still likes each other.
* Thank you to my wedding party (Rob, Andrea, Bill, Amelia, Steve, Adriana, Anthony, Clara, Nate, Theresa, Sean, Amy, George, Ashley, Vince, and Kate); weddings are a total pain in the ass, and you all were great.
* Thank you to my cousin Anthony for coming over here and helping me fix and improve my house (I miss man day!)
* Thank you to Paul and Aimee Vedar; you two were our go-to friends the whole year, filling our house with company and laughter
* Thank you to Jack and Lorraine for guiding me through my big house purchases throughout the year and always making me feel good about what I did. PS – Jack thanks for singing at the wedding,

Lets face it, there are so many of you the helped us this year that this list can go on for pages. If you are reading this, you know me, and that means I am genuinely thankful that you are a part of my life.

[Personal Changes]

I got married this year and have owned a home for a full year. On the marriage front, honestly nothing has changed for us. We still enjoy each other 99% of the time and on that 1% – it something to laugh about an hour later. Marriage and relationships are what you make of it, and its been smooth sailing (all jinxing aside).

The house: This house has been a joy. Sure there has been a few accidental leaks, a drafty window or two, but overall, nothing major. Lets hope I find someone to redo the deck in 2009 (anybody know anybody???)

Career: I enjoy my job and hope like all of us, that the economy doesn’t change that.

[Growth]

I am going to be 30 years old in 2009 which means that (if I am lucky only) one third of my life is over. This isn’t a morbid thought, I have lived the way I wanted and I have goals that are keeping me going. When I reflect on some of the conversations I have had this year a common theme has sprung up: “I don’t know what I want to do with my life”.

I want to take a moment to address this concern coming from the almost 30 crowd:

Your life is happening every fucking moment. Your life is happening right now. A job does not define you as a person. Should you have a career? Absolutely. But if you don’t have your dream job, you have 16 more hours in a day to define what your life is. If you are happy sitting on a couch watching TV when you get home and on the weekends, that is totally fine. If you don’t like your lot in life and are just complaining about it (for years)…do something about it, and that starts with surgically removing the couch from your ass.

I am going to introduce a rude awakening to 30 somethings…
* We aren’t young anymore
* Not being able to make decisions isn’t cute, it is a sign of weakness and failure
* Think about what our parents were doing at 30 and try not to shoot yourself

Sorry to harsh the year end happy buzz. This has been brewing for a while and I feel that it needed to be said and this definitely was the place to do it.

[The Fall of America?]

I keep noticing more articles and books about how America is going to fail and how “it is over” and all I can say is “HUH?”. I don’t think the exiting administration did us any favors (I certainly was not a fan) and I am really unsure about how the new one is going to dig us out but… We are America. We are the people who buy the SUVs, the flat screen TVs, the McMansions on 45,000 a year salaries. Are we hurting right now? Yes. Are we going to roll over and die? Hell no. People need to feel the pain before the true change comes.

Energy

Don’t get suckered by the tricks that are happening right now. Gas prices are low, but they won’t be forever. Fuel and energy continue to be massive concerns and we shouldn’t let up because somebody got us a 12 month reprieve. The automotive industry is hurting because they failed to innovate and bought their way out of a problem instead of fixing it. Lobbyist will only get you so far but you can’t keep sweeping shit under the carpet, eventually you will have a shit pile.

This guy doesn’t have all the answers, and he is looking out for himself first, but it is a good start:

Also, why aren’t we doing this more: Fuel from Trash

Media

Our government failed us by allowing the American media system to be bought wholesale. How can a handful of men control all forms of news and print media in this country. There WERE laws against that. Now they create talking heads filling up hours of programming contradicting each other offering ungodly amounts of useless information. The true educators and visionaries are decried as wackos. In these dark times, think about how you get your news, think about who is controlling the mediums in which you get it. When Rupert Murdoch owns all the newspapers, tv stations, radios stations, and is trying to buy up as much internet properties as he can, can you be sure of the truth? With the death of the newspaper comes the death of true journalism. The internet may be freedom, but it doesn’t have quality, ethics, and style. Hopefully it will be given time to mature before FOX buys up the whole WWW including the service providers (so they can block “undesirable content” from the main pipe).

If you can’t get good information, you can’t make good decisions. Any country is a collection of ideas, ideals, wealth, and people, along the way something is bound to go bad, but that is when you throw it in the trash and throw down a little baking soda.

[Challenge]

I am going to throw this out there. If you have been putting off taking up a hobby or learning a skill, do it in 2009. Don’t wait. In 2008 I wanted to learn to be a real guitar player, I found a good teacher and took lessons, it was a lot harder than I thought but I keep going, embracing the failure. I also wanted to write more which is why I will always do a Sunday Leftovers in addition to whatever other inspiration I have (you can read it all at here), these things make ME happy. I feel like they are making my brain better and I will keep doing it for ME (If you enjoy my rants, awesome).

If you don’t have any goals or new things you want to learn, volunteer. If you are too scared to start yourself, call me, I will go with you. The point of this challenge is that in order for something to happen to you, you need to do something, anything.

Also – I am announcing in 2009 The First Annual “La Macelleria Film Festival”. Everyone is welcome to submit a short movie on any subject they like, the films will be premiered at the film festival which will be at my house at the JoeBQ in May 2009 at 8 PM (or whenever it gets dark enough to fire up the projector).


La Macelleria Official Web Site

[Closing Thoughts]

2008 has been a hallmark year for me. House, marriage, and thankfully no baby carriage (Happy Not-A-Father’s Day). Moving into 2009, I plan to continue to work on being a better person as I think we all should. Nobody is perfect but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to reach perfection.

I am sure some of you reading this have big decisions coming up: Marriage, Break-ups, Houses, Children, Second Child, Career Changes. Breathe. Whatever you do, so it with respect to the people impacted by those decisions, do it with grace, and do it with fucking style.

Its easy to forget to think about what we are doing and why we are doing it. We live in a world where decisions and answers need to be made immediately; resist those demands. Going back to what I said earlier about not being able to make decisions, I want to add that you have to make good ones. I have said this before: Everybody knows that the right thing to do, we just choose not to listen to ourselves. Start listening.

When I was younger, my cousin Anthony used to “kidnap” me and we would spend the day playing video games at his mother’s house. He used to have a printed sign on the door that connected his room to his sisters, it said “Don’t Be Average”. It always stuck in my mind, to try to do better than I thought I could. Over the years, I have used the line and have gotten shit (hi Drew) but I am saying it again… “Don’t Be Average”. When everyone is satisfied with just seeing the mountains, they never even bother to look at the stars.

I hope 2009 is better than anyone expected. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. I hope you do something to make yourself a little bit better than the year before.

Happy New Year
Love,
Joey

Bars & Tones from André F. Chocron on Vimeo.

[The best way to read this blog is at Joey’s Blog]

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