The Good Life

What makes you do good? Where does this good come from? God? Are we wired as humans to instinctively do good? I personally believe that humans at their core are morally good. Like everything else, there are exceptions. Wires get crossed and chemicals become imbalanced, but for the most part, the majority of humans are good and capable of doing good things. But honestly… does it really matter where the desire to be good comes from?

Working as a therapist in the public mental health world, you get exposed to everything from mental illness to substance use. During intake assessments one of the main prompts is essentially: In your own words, what brings you here today?

For some, it’s mandated by local courts…

Man, I fucked up. Cops busted me with a little cocaine and I just need em out of my hair.”

If that’s the reason the client wants to get better and start doing good, is it wrong?

For others, it’s a want or need to make changes or improvements in their lives.

If I don’t make some changes and get my shit together, my kids are gonna get taken from me.”

Big or small… no matter the reason… there can be no bad reason to be good.

For many, religion is a key component of why people are good. Christianity leads its followers to believe that if you are a good person, believe in specific things, you’ll go to Heaven. On the other side of the spectrum, if you do bad things and don’t believe, you’ll go to Hell. Now I’m not a fan of fear based tactics… but not being thrown into a lake of fire and being eternally tormented is a damn(ed) good reason to be good. And if that’s your reason for being good… so be it.

pic: Owlcation

What about those who don’t believe in God at all? What’s their reason for being good? Is their reason to be good less valid because they don’t believe in God or don’t follow the same religious practices or beliefs as you? No. Anyone’s reason to be good is a valid reason.

Same theory applies to those experiencing suicidal ideations. There is no wrong or insignificant reason to stay alive.

It sounds like you’re stronger than you think you are. Tell me, how have you managed to stay alive this long?”

It’s stupid, but I can’t stand the thought of leaving my cat behind. Every time I have a suicidal thought, I think of my cat and how lost she would be without me. How confused she’d be if I didn’t come home.”

our 2 cats:
Wobbles (top) Vinmo (bottom)

If your cat is what’s keeping you alive… that’s a 100% valid and good reason to stay alive. That is an identified strength and can be utilized to combat distressful, suicidal thoughts. You roll with that strength and through the process, help that person identify more reasons to stay alive.

Would you even think to say “Oh, your cat? That’s a stupid reason to stay alive.”

Absolutely not. That would be absurd. So what makes us attack others’ lifestyles or beliefs if they’re still being a good human?

I have a hard time understanding how people can completely bash another’s belief or lifestyle simply on the basis that it doesn’t align with their own personal beliefs. The cool thing about this human experience is that every single individual has the opportunity and autonomy to believe in and live as they see fit. Are you being lawful? Are you causing no harm? Are you trying to be a good human? Yea? That’s great. Keep doing you boo.

Part of my duty as a therapist is to advocate for those who can’t always advocate for themselves, to help give a voice to the voiceless and to help people reach their own goals and make their own changes to help them live their best human life.

Regardless of who you are or what you’ve done, you’ll receive a baseline of support and love from me.

Black, white, purple, reptilian…

pic: The Mozilla Blog

Trans, bi, gay, asexual…

It doesn’t matter. If you’re a good person, there’s about a 100% chance Ima love and support you.

The truth is… no one knows the truth. I personally don’t believe we’re built to completely understand this existence while in human form. But we can’t deny that there’s an inner presence in each of us, no matter how big or small, that pushes us to be good. I’ve found that it takes no actual skill to be compassionate and kind to one another… its not an extremely difficult task. I think the media wants us to believe the world is far worse off than it actually is… that people are rooted in evil. We’re truly not as bad as we’re made to believe. We just all need to keep our heads up and our hands out.

So whatever your reason for being good… keep it up. You’re doing great.

Little Things

I’ve always disliked the idea of giving gifts when it was expected… ie: for birthdays or Christmas. It just has always felt… forced? It also puts a lot of unneeded pressure and anxiety on people to feel like they have to give something. We might as well all just be out here swapping $20 bills from our wallets and calling it a Christmas gift exchange.

Real gift giving is different though. Ya know… when ya just randomly stumble across something that reminds you of someone or a crafty idea pops in your head and ya make something for a friend. I adore that type of gift giving and outside of words and time… it’s one of my favorite love languages.

I remember we kinda went all out the first Christmas Kati and I spent together in our first apartment. We got a tree, decorated and bought all kinds of gifts for each other to open on Christmas morning. Don’t get me wrong… it was fun… but afterwards we were like… “what was the point of that?”

Christmas 2010

It just felt off for some reason. So we decided to STOP exchanging gifts for Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries. Outside of a lil black Christmas tree, we’ve really stopped decorating for Christmas altogether. Now, we simply give gifts when the opportunity presents itself and honestly… it’s been wonderful. Before ya come for my head… I’m NOT bashing gift givers or anyone that follows traditions… I’m just saying that we’ve taken a different approach and doing things our way.

I’ve received a lot of wonderful gifts in my day, but one of my favorite gift memories was our first anniversary. We got married in 2010…

and shortly after “I do” I started trail running. I bought my first pair of Salomon XT 2 Wings and my love affair with Salomon products hasn’t stopped since…

I LOVED THIS SHOE. I litrully had ever color. My wife wishes that was an exaggeration… but it’s fact. I then stepped into the S/LAB series and have been hooked ever since…

1st gen S/LAB

I remember watching Kilian sport a new style vest during his 2009 UTMB race. No one had ever seen that type of pack before. It was shirt-like and had just enough cargo space for the mandatory gear…

I pined after that pack. I wanted it so badly but it was ASPENSIVE! I talked and talked and talked about that pack, but it was more of a pipe dream. As newly weds, the last thing we needed to spend money on was some frivolous shit like a fancy euro boi vest so that I could go prance around the woods.

June 5, 2011 rolled around and we had been married a whole entire year!

2011: Babies

Kati pulls out a box and slides it my way…

She freakin got me the vest. I was blown away. I wore that pack EVERYWHERE…

To the beach…

To the lake…

To the Dragon…

I litrully became… a EURO BOI.

That vest was such a special gift to me. It felt more like a gift of freedom and adventure than a physical vest.

Fast forward 11yrs later… we’re a lil older… I’ve greyed a bit (or perhaps a lot)… but we’ve still got that same young fire.

Yesterday I pulled into Cedar Creek Nursery, walked straight inside, grabbed something off the shelf and went to the counter.

You came through that door like a man on a mission. You must have known exactly what ya wanted to buy.”

I pretty much did. The previous weekend we had swung into the nursery to pick up some flowers and plants for the house. After picking a few out, we went into the gift shop to look around. Per usual, Kati stopped at the sight of candles and wafted her way through the shelf. You can always tell when she finds one she really loves. She takes a deep inhale, smiles a lil happy smile and then excitedly turns to me to get my thoughts. I love those little moments.

Kati placed the candle back on the shelf…

“I can’t buy this right now. We can’t spend money on a silly candle.”

Over the years, I’ve come to recognize certain pieces that seem to be consistent components in the success and happiness of marriage. For one, the better the communication, the better the relationship. We openly and safely provide a space to express our feelings, concerns and joys. We share stories and our crazy thoughts with each other. I feel this type of communication builds a strong relationship.

I believe one of the most important components is simply recognizing and enjoying the little things and moments. I know the bigger moments and trips are the ones that stick out the most and are the easiest to recall…

Tetons ~ 2018

But it’s the little things that count. Like a random Saturday where we wake up, have coffee together, go smell some candles, go for a hike and go stick our hands in the creek.

Today marks 11 years with my Dark Princess. Tonight we’ll get our traditional Chick Fil A anniversary dinner, pop in a horror movie, paint our toe nails, monch some popcorn and enjoy a bottle of wine. We may even light a special lil candle…

Moments and gifts don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to have special meaning. Sometimes it’s just the little things.