The What For

My good friend Joey over at Joeyfully Stated dropped one on us the other day that’s one of the best thinkers I’ve seen around these parts in a bit.

She titled her essay On Purpose, and she says she wrote it because Edwina’s Episodes had tackled something similar and had, in fact, passed the chore along to her.

Yeah, another challenge.

These things are springing up like the weeds of the season it is up here in the Northern Hemisphere.

But I digress.

Joey, you see, wrote a heartfelt story about who she is and what she hopes to accomplish in her time spent here that made me sit up straight in my recliner and clap my hands. It’s genuine and true and sweet and eloquent and folksy. And while it fits in with the everyday tone that makes her a regular read in my BloggyVille rotation, it also has a special touch that elevates it to art in my eyes. I hope the Mister and your kids read this one, Joey. So nicely written.

And inspiring.

It made me reflect on my life here in the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, shared lovingly with my dear wife Karen and Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle.

And that’s a worthy purpose, most certainly, making sure my wife is cared for by my actions and loved well from my heart, words and deeds daily. Throw in my constant concern and hopes for my 25-year-old daughter Elisabeth and Karen’s adult son Daryl, and that’s plenty to live for and of which to be proud.

There was a time when my career goals would have … well, if they weren’t the lead of my life story, to use a journalism term I’m pretty sure everybody can understand, they sure as hell probably would have earned a compound sentence.

So I spent a noisy, busy 34 years in newsrooms after graduating with that journalism degree in 1979, devoted to educating and informing the readers, with a modicum of entertainment thrown in to make it interesting.

Frankly, I was obsessed with the story, finding the best one in the community, getting it before the competition, telling it the best way possible in words and display, living it in my brain until the deadline was past and the press was rolling or later, the publish button was pushed.

Spreading the news was a big part of who I was. My first wife used to call me Joe Post-Standard. The nickname was affectionate only most of the time.

Put a Joe in front of it. It's of no use to anybody now.

Put a Joe in front of it. It’s of no use to anybody now.

But the layoff at the big daily, one link in the chain owned by the longtime presiding family and microcosm of what was and still is happening in the news media business, left me out of that job and put me into this blogging thing in February 2013.

I’m still looking for a full-time job to more robustly replace that paycheck, and besides what you read here on markbialczak.com, I write a bunch of other things in the freelance world online and in print.

Yeah, the drop in pay has changed me, I have no doubt. Dreams for retirement years have been altered. Worries about getting to the ages for a dedicated pension that remains and social security, and exact figures to come vs. what will be needed have increased.

Surprisingly, though, my dear wife Karen thinks that if she had to compare, the After Mark is a happier and more satisfied version than the Before Mark. The bitter, angry and confused mostly checked out of the psyche some time ago.

Agreed.

Calling my recliner my office chair has its advantages as I write on the blue tooth keyboard attached to my iPad Air and get up every now and again to let Ellie B in and out from the back porch and backyard.

My first vision for this blog, February 2013.

My first vision for this blog, February 2013.

I live my life with MDW Karen and Dogamous Pyle and take my photos on my iPhone 6 and I write about it here. I tell stories and share pictures in such a way that I hope people — you — can relate to your life, no matter what part of our world you call home, and smile or chuckle or frown or maybe even learn a little something.

My what-for these days is to live my life in a manner that keeps my loved ones at home happy and well, and to be smart and eloquent enough to translate that life into stories that can somehow give you a few minutes of happy and well, too.

I’m not nominating anybody. Please write about your purpose in life if you’re so moved. I’d love to read about it.

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53 thoughts on “The What For

  1. A heartfelt post, Mark. I can understand both the money concerns and the appreciation of the new happier Mark. I have a friend who was editor of a large newspaper and dealing with all the layoffs, takeovers, and craziness that was making his job harder. He worked crazy long hours (plus commute). I know he is now a happier man, too. His wife says his physical ailments have also lessened or largely disappeared.

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  2. As someone who’s always had a day job, but never a career in anything, I think I relate better to your post-Post-Standard goals better. They seem to embrace a fuller picture of life. I bet your dear wife Karen is right about your happiness level.

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  3. Ummm, we are complicated creatures Mark – that is for sure. I went through a very similar process in my life. I have to tell you though, years ago pre-internet, I loved picking up the paper and getting the most up to date news and commentary. I appreciated what you did for a living Mark – what you did for ME and those like me. I never knew you by name but I appreciated you.

    The world changes and life changes – that the both should place you in your armchair may be a gift. We learn to live with less and appreciate it more. The quest for acquisition dims and we begin to hear ourselves over the din of the world around us.

    Indeed change permeates existence to the atomic level – it is so a part of our universe that it is silly to ever even consider trying to avoid or stop it. That would be like trying to stop the tides.

    Great post Mark. Thanks for the thought provoking words.

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    • Thank you, Paul, for making me think about life — my life and the world around me — with every comment you make here in BloggyWorld. Yes, I am a different man, pursuing different goals differently, but still pursuing, every day.

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  4. Wonderful post Mark understood and appreciated! As a person who always tries to do it right the first time then you will not have to do it again! Life throws us curves we dodge them if we can. To own a home, have a educated, hard-working husband, healthy happy children, loving in-laws and parents, siblings all nearby seems to be my purpose, without that life would be empty! The “Gatorette”.

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      • Thanks Terp-fortunately my husband has two thriving businesses and I still work part time from my home office (Real Estate Broker-Appraisals) and do his books/accounting/payroll as well as my Dad’s. So I am kept very busy at the home front! No, I will admit I have seen changes for many people our age and older and let me say that it has to be hard to work like you did all those years and have the rug snatched from under you! Both of our families were always self-employed in multiple businesses so the families are well-known in the area. We are fortunate indeed and I never take any of it for granted, certainly not in today’s economy for many. The Gatorette!

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      • People who work for their own businesses alway work hard, Gatorette. πŸ™‚ As do people who are driven and goal-oriented in big companies. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I thought newspaper journalism was invincible when I was in college. Wrong. Life surely is something. Thanks for your support. πŸ™‚

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  5. I love this, and I’m so glad you wrote it. It’s impossible to read your posts without hearing the journalist — they read like my favorite column in the paper, written with contagious enthusiasm.
    When I stood at the crossroads of choosing what I was educated for and embarking on something new, those who loved me most told me to do something new. Not because they didn’t think I was a good teacher, but because they wanted me to be happy. The best, I think, was when The Mister said if I really wanted to teach, I wouldn’t be thinking about something new, I’d just be saying I gotta go back to school and that is that. Sad that your turn for a more relaxed lifestyle came without your consent, but maybe when you find that full-time paycheck, you’ll know better how to balance it, after having this rich life experience that is freelance writing and time with your loved ones. I very much enjoy your posts, and your kind words.
    Thank you for playin along πŸ™‚

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  6. I don’t know where to start in my response to this Mark. It’s just so good to know that the bitterness and anger has gone. Your loved ones probably have a bigger share of you now and that’s a great thing in family life.
    I’m still hoping for a job for you though – but I hope that when that happens it doesn’t eat up so much of your time that the life lived now slips away again because you sound fairly contented to me πŸ™‚
    How’s the book coming along? just thought I’d ask while i was here.

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    • Thanks, Rachel. I think when the job comes along I’ll be able to focus on that and my home life with focus and devotion. Because now I know I want to do it that way, and should be done that way. No new report on the book. Thanks for asking. πŸ™‚

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  7. Pingback: My Purpose in Life | Passion through Poetry

  8. You are the epitome of living the good life MBM. I’ll try to reflect on this. It makes me think of an essay I wrote for school years and years ago. I think of it often but haven’t been able to find it in a long time. It’s about the morals and values of my life. You made me think. πŸ™‚

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  9. Your words ” the After Mark is a happier and more satisfied version than the Before Mark.” That’s such a great observation. It is so interesting to me how life circumstances, though negative at the time, can turn into something that is more positive in the long run. When you look back at this time, you might find that they did you a favor. (finances not considered). All the best to you, my friend. You’re on a path. ☺

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  10. A complicated world makes for uncomplicated moments… YOU my friend are having many uncomplicated moments. I call them simple pleasures. Sweet, sweet man gave me a sign that reads Simple Pleasures! That’s what life is all about …uncomplicated moments…aka simple pleasures.
    And I know that everything is going to be okay with you… I just know it!

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  11. What impresses me, Mark, is how you kept your head through your layoff and afterward and just went heads down and kept busy, active, and visible with the blog. Many men and women in the same position go into shock and shut down. You showed tremendous strength of character there, both in your actions, and in your manner–that calm, cheerful warmth and your brushes of humor that make this such a nice place to visit.

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