Happy Everything Part II


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I’ve had some (psychically) tiring few days. I am still trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. And most of all, why other people’s infringement on my well-being upsets me so.

I’ve been trying too much for too long. To be helpful, to please others, to JUST BE THERE. For whomever needed me. Anytime. Anywhere. Not sure for how long I can keep this up.

It takes so little effort to make me happy. So many insignificant little things that mean exactly nothing to others, might mean the whole world to me. Whenever I get to that level of pure joy and enchantment I soon find out how ephemeral that moment really was.

Then I try to look around for other small “pieces of happiness”, like broken glass that I try to put back together and make whole again. I call it building the jar. While looking around for my happy moment I ran into my favorite couple. The ‘happy everything couple’. <3<3<3<3<3

The beautiful elderly couple, who wished me ‘Happy Everything’ a few weeks ago, returned for a visit and this time, before they left, they made sure to wish me to have the greatest day I’ve ever had. Now, how beautiful is that?

I don’t think I’ve seen happier people in my entire life. The lady, who calls herself a chatterbox, briefly told me that we all have something that we’re good at. ‘My husband is good with numbers. Once he sees a number, he never forgets it. Me, on the other hand, I have a chatty mouth. That’s my gift.’ Their visit was short but they gave back so much. They helped me put back some of the pieces that I’ve lost these past few days while trying to help others. Their visit has been one of the nicest things that has happened to me lately. They concluded their “stop by” with their signature ‘I love you and may this day be your best one yet’. THEY ARE COMPLETE STRANGERS, but that did not prevent me from “yelling ” after them: ‘I love you too!’ A part of the love we feel, in general, comes from moments and people that make us, for a short period of time, experience pure joy. I only wish there were more of those.

To all those who, each and every day, or once in a blue moon, participate in ‘building my jar moment’ I say: May today be the happiest day you’ve ever had. You certainly deserve it.


D & J during their visit. My ‘Happy Everything’ people ❤


Married with (no) children


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I’m a 33 years old Romanian woman currently living in the great nation U.S.A. I was brought up in a strong matriarchal family with my grandma Maria as the head of the family. My family is now scattered all over the world. From that uncle that nobody talks about anymore, who escaped the country during the glorious communist times and established residence in Australia, to my aunt, uncle and cousins from Italy and now me…the youngest of all kids/grandchildren to move abroad.

When we were younger, before everybody I know had the “audacity” to desire a breath of foreign air across the borders, my family reunions, birthdays, weddings, funerals, etc. looked more like bits and pieces of My Big Fat Greek Wedding than your typical kin gatherings. And that was just fine. Most people in my family talk loudly, they interrupt each other, they “curse and spit” at each other for good luck. No hard feelings. Just another Romanian family doing what it does best: eat, drink, listen to obnoxious music nobody understands and planning futures for everybody in the family. *Cos that’s what we do.

Not sure if it mattered to the family [read ‘elders’] that most of us had already planned our futures, had a clear picture in our minds regarding our life choices….whatever we thought we had figured out was immediately canceled by the “council of the elders”. Everybody was aware of what everybody else was doing, there were no secrets. Every single detail of our lives was dissected and analyzed. We were educated in a spirit of fairness and justice for all. We were taught to be humble and love each other. We had to attend Sunday mass at our Orthodox church and be active in our community. We were raised entirely by our grandparents because our parents were working all the time [helping in the building of a strong powerful communist state]; so for many years we were our grandparents’ children. We learned EVERYTHING we needed to know in life from our grandmas: manners, respect, language, religion, punishment for our mistakes, good food…and all the love in the world. Then we went to school, some of us dropped out early and started working at an early age, some went to school for 20+ years. In a way or another everybody was working for a living. During the communist regime – “unemployment” was a fictional word, “Lazy people go to prison”, my grandma used to say. For some of us, the next thing after school, was starting a family. And I mean right-away. No breaks, no vacations, no pauses. School-work-family. The Romanian holy trinity.

Now, some of us were stubborn and decided that marriage is not for us. Children outside the holy matrimony was “forbidden”. And with the new economy and the “millennial syndrome” some of us said ‘pass’ to marriage and children altogether.

In my family, the idea of not wanting children is an absolute abomination. At 33 all I want is peace of mind, a good night’s sleep, a good wine and all the travel I can get with a low income.

I genuinely love kids. I had my first official babysitting job when I was only 8 years old. And I was good at it. I wanted way more things when I was in my 20’s. Becoming a mother when I was in my 20’s sounded way more realistic than it does now in my 30’s. Not sure why. Year after year I realize that might not happen for me and not sure how to feel about it.

Married for almost 5 years now (whoaaa, 5 already?) and no kids in sight. And I have a distinctive feeling that I became the pariah in my family. And these things don’t get “unpunished”. The head of the family is no longer with us but she left 2 executioners in her place and they will make sure our family keeps the tradition alive. So we will have to continue to get married, breed and just perpetuate the loud breeding Romanian eaters (as a reference to MBFGW that seemed so appropriate [smiley face]).

Motherhood might hit me at some point…when I will hear my biological clock ticking. Until then, I beg you, please do not start a world of trouble for yourself by bringing up the subject of baby-making. This is an intimate, personal, none-of-your-business territory. Nobody knows what battles one fights in order to remain sane [and together] in a world that pretends to know what’s good for everybody. 

Everything you want is on the other side of fear


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Self-doubt has killed my dreams [maybe not all of them, but the important ones].

To my younger self I’d say: “do not worry so much, do not be afraid to make mistakes, dare more”. I would have been the best version of myself today if I would have looked up to me as the person that will lead me forward.

Forget the examples, good or bad, that you’ve been thought to follow or stay away from. They have put you in a box. Whatever you need to know about this life is already there. You got it. No school, no book, no lecture is going to teach you how to live and how to dream.

The way we’ve been brought up, society, our own experiences have created this structure, a background in which we are allowed to evolve. The amount of dissatisfaction that we experience every single day is larger than we’d like to admit. Part of that comes from the fact that we’ve let ourselves down. We managed to do that through constant and repetitive actions that have minimized us in our own eyes.

I have always had this feeling that other people are and should be more important than I am. That their lives and actions count more than mine. Not sure when I first started feeling this. And not sure if it did too much good for me either. All I know is that it taught me to be humble, altruistic and mindful of others. In the process I’ve lost touch with my own reality.

I’ve become scared, worrying constantly that I will disappoint, and always, ALWAYS staying focused on pleasing others.

Be helpful and take pride in a job well done, don’t harm anybody intentionally, be useful, but don’t make anybody or anything the center of your world. In the end you will become this miserable unhappy person that wanted to do it all and accomplished nothing. Just like me.

Are you afraid to put yourself first? Don’t be. Sounds selfish saying that? Maybe. I don’t know. But I have to start somewhere. Somewhere I’ve never been before. A place where I can love myself more, take care of what I want and go through with all the things that I’ve left unfinished because I was afraid I will disappoint. The only person I’ve ever let down was myself. The people that genuinely cared for me understood my struggles and pushed me towards bettering myself, the ones that where only there for the enjoyment of seeing me fall never cared about me to begin with.

All I know is that I WANT. Something, not sure exactly what, but the WANT is there…

Happy Everything


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Today, at work, this elderly couple (in their late 80’s), holding hands, had some words of wisdom for me. For a while now I’ve identified myself as a person who has lost the meaning of happy. “Lost” might sound like a harsh word so I will temporarily replace it with “misunderstood”.

What stroked me as odd was that they had so much to tell me in such a short time and they were so fluent in their conviction that we know each other or we have known each other for years [so no further explanation was needed].

“Life lessons 101” from people that that have (visibly) lived their lives to the fullest. Now, how did they do that? What am I missing?

Mind you, I work in an assisted living and dementia facility so more often than I could count I have people talking to me thinking that I am someone else. But not the happy couple from today. They “knew” exactly who I was. I would not put down here the things they’ve said to me but the sheer feeling of immense gratitude that lingered after they left is something I will probably want to carry with me for a while.

And at the end, on their way out they mimicked a hug and said “Much love…something, something [followed by]…I love you.” And let’s not forget the “Happy Everything!”.

P.S. This is the first time in my life that I hear the “Happy Everything” expression!


And this:



The (short) story of my life


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mark twain and he's dog

“The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.” — Mark Twain

The exacerbated mental visualization that my life is passing by. Some days faster, some days slower, but always passing. One thing that I must give to this fast-paced “aging” process is the realization that I am truly rich. That, of course, does not show in my wallet, but in the amount of satisfaction I feel when I know what I HAVE. And I became aware. I started paying attention to the small pieces that have, together, created my little universe.

With all this time that has flown by so have some of my memories, past relationships, people I loved and places I’ve seen. Year after year I see that the people I once called friends are now just distant memories and the few that are still around have become my family. With this small bunch of individuals I’ve learnt what the true meaning of sharing really is. I’ve learnt what that thing called love is all about, what it means to get down and dirty with life’s challenges and how to get back up, shake the dust and move on. Disappointments have been many and what has hurt the most in all these years have been my own expectations. People whom you love the most are also the ones that you love the most. They are the people you could never run away from.

The older I get I tend to avoid certain people and situations. Gatherings no longer interest me as much as they used to. I have to always be in a group of people with whom I share the same interests, values or opinions. I was asked to be more sociable (as if I was never enough)…whatever that means anymore. I AM a social person, a peoples’ person. Since I no longer tolerate small talk, dumb gossip and meaningless discussions I am subtracting myself from that equation. Choosing the group that I want to surround myself with does not make me unsociable. At best, it makes me organized.

Therefore, I am left with “just” the people that matter most. New people make me nervous. They are “outsiders” that either love me from the moment they meet me or they hate my guts. There’s no in-between. And “my level of giving a damn” about that is, well….about nonexistent. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have met some awesome people in the 2 years since I’ve been in this new town that I now call home, but our interactions are minimal. I like them, I think they like me and that’s it. Our mutual appreciation stops there.

So pause and look around for your riches. What’s in your wallet?

Yours truly,

O. (C.D.) Stiff

April 30, 2018

I Am Mine


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Today is one of those days I wish I didn’t depend on anybody and that nobody depended on me. For anything. I’ve been disappointed lately. And I know that it’s mostly my expectations from others that have brought me down.

From where I stand there is a way to pause things from happening, for just a while, enough to take it all in and just…breathe. One moment I can call my own. When I no longer have to give back, when I just become mine.





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Mă perind de o vreme încoace într-o dezordine completă. E ordine peste tot în jur, numai la mine în cap e haos. Întrebări de tot felul, gânduri care zboară aiurea, amintiri care țipă la mine dintr-un colț în altul al minții. Nu am nicio problemă îmi zic, nu mă derajează nimic, nimic nu mă rănește.

“Pune-te la loc”, zic.

From Great Expectations to Really Low Ones


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“It’s not the world who hurts you, but your own expectations”. I’ve read that somewhere, don’t remember where, so I can’t credit anybody for it. Sorry ’bout that.

Nowadays I just credit myself for no longer getting mad at people. I just learned to expect the lowest out of the people I once thought the highest of. These might also not be my words. I probably read them somewhere. Again. My apologies.

It’s harder and harder to stay original in a world so full of imitations. So we play pretend. The majority of the time we spent assuming things that we want to believe are about us or when it comes to people, we just socialize for the sake of imitating socially acceptable behavior or for pretending that we are still part of a group. When growing up we were seeking acceptance from others, we gave our very best to be/become popular. The older we get we just retreat in our bubble of comfort and we refuse to like the same old shit anymore. We cease to fake smile at people that we never liked, and we spit out words that hurt.

No filter lately. Just like all the other stuff I realized recently….my words would either attract a great mind or would offend a weak one (this is a quote, not mine, I swear – I don’t typically own that great of an English vocabulary to sound that good).

Now, to be completely frank, I think I like fewer and fewer people the older I get. So, it is really far fetched to say that I like or even sympathize with the people that were once my “groupies”. At best I can tolerate.

So, if you are not a dog I’m not even sure I really like you anymore. I can only tolerate you.




People don’t like me mamma


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I’m currently looking for a job, another job. Actively. And from the back of my head I keep hearing my grandma’s (and now my mom’s) voice telling me: “that school of yours did not prepare you for this world”. For any world I’d add. ‘Cos you need to be a lawyer, a doctor, a banker (financial adviser, accountant and so forth), a janitor or a hooker in this world in order to make ends meet. And since I am not any of the above I have to reconsider my options. I am patient, and motivated and I like the whole searching process, but nowadays I find myself embracing the “whole millennial lifestyle” which is waking up whenever my body tells me I had 8 hours in, followed by the morning routine…splash of water on the face, some breakfast and coffee. Then I log in a few good hours of computer work which consists in searching, updating, data entry, typing…blah, blah…all this while I sit in a yoga position in my desk chair, in my pajamas (my home-office attire).

I get easily distracted. Sometimes I find myself joggling between my typing, googling stupid stuff, chatting with my friends on facebook, searching some song on youtube that randomly pop up in my head. Then really late in the afternoon I remember I haven’t had lunch. I take a long lunch break while I watch a short series, and finishing my bottle of water, then I re-heat another cup of coffee and back to the computer. My back (all of it, upper, lower and in between) aches. My right hand fingers are becoming really stiff from the way I type, which is not your typical style of typing. Mine is more of a contortionist kind, with one decorative left hand getting in the way of my right hand in order to type the exact same letters. No one taught me how to use a computer, type or do any internet stuff. Which is why I don’t type very fast, I always have to visually retrieve the keys on the keyboard. I am not very computer savvy, except for finding my way out of trouble from doing computer work, which I now consider experience.

But now getting back to the job-search situation I realize that I have to go through literally hundreds of jobs everyday and see what might be a good match for me. After this step I get the days when I have to go through “reject emails” and their so similar phrasing like: “thank you for applying and the time you put into this but we have decided to continue this process with candidates that are more suitable for the job”….

Well, to be honest, some of the jobs I had the pleasure to apply to have NOTHING to do with what I have studied in school or my experience. Jobs like fund raiser for the local symphony, or financial adviser, or even mortgage specialist are no good match for someone like me, you know, a dreamer, easy going individual.

My parents are eager to find out news about my prospective job and the ways I am building my life in America. But I have to disappoint them week after week. And I know I’d end up saying: “People just don’t like me, mamma.”

November 2, 2016

When Life Gives You Friends, You Make Memories :)


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FRIENDS ~ old and new, lost and found, in all 70 + people I grew up with, went to grade school, high school, college and grad school with, family friends, family members, kids I used to share toys with, do homework with, share my food with, exchange lice with (don’t judge, we were small and dumb, kindergarten was crowded….it was fun), family that are not just my family but they are my dear and close confidants, people I share a tear or a laugh with, occasional friends, acquaintances, lovers ~ they found some time to wish a happy birthday to this 31-year old gal wondering the world.

Do I appreciate you? Yes, most of the time. Do I remember what we’ve used to do together? You’re damn right I do! Do I want to remember everything? Yeah, maybe not everything. Would I change anything? No! Why would I? Do I miss you (some of you more than others)? You betcha’. Because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade….or in my own words: “When life gives you friends, you make memories”. And I mean every single word.

Why do I write it in English and not Romanian? In the mood I am right now, it feels fluent. That and my Romanian friends are too damn smart and English is too easy and they get it just fine. Just in case, my foreign friends think we [Romanians] grew up in the tree 🙂 Mistaken, again.

I keep hearing from various people that I am a blessing. Not sure about that, but all I can say is that if you were me right now you would feel blessed. Some of you I truly admire, some I respect more than anything, the most of you I cherish, and to those of you whom I don’t or can’t say it enough: I love you. I really do. I would be an average, insignificant individual at best if it wasn’t for you in my life. A beautiful, witty, intelligent, overall amazing crowd. May you all find peace and love in this world,


Oana (March 22nd, 2016)