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8 Things Happiest People Do Everyday

1) They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.

2) They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.

3) They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.

4) They practice optimism when imagining their futures.

5) They savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.

6) They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.

7) They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions.

8) Their secret weapon they have is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.

List via The How of Happiness written by University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky.

HELP WANTED: Who the hell is Loutelious?!

I’m frustrated that I can’t answer the simplest of questions: where does my name come from?

On Sunday, for the first time I can remember in my professional career, I revealed in a live broadcast that the “T” and the “J” in my name don’t actually represent anything.

People have guessed over the years that the T is for Thomas, Terry, Tiberious, etc., and that the J is because I’m a junior, named after my dad. The latter is true.  I am named after my dad, but my full name is Loutelious Holmes, Jr.

When my dad was growing up as Loutelious Holmes, the family called him “little T.”  That was his nickname.  To this day, most people call him “T.”  So when I was born as Loutelious Holmes, Jr., the whole family started calling me T. Jr.  No one in my family has every called me Loutelious.  No one.  Not once.

As I got older, I was disappointed that I had a unique name that no one in my family or hometown would call me.  When I got to college, I decided to introduce myself to new people as Loutelious only.  A lot of my boys ended up calling me Lou.

When I started my broadcast career, it was important to use a name that could be easily pronounced.  Still, I wanted to use my full name.  For the first story of my professional career, I signed off as Loutelious Holmes.  My second story, I signed off as Lou Holmes.  The third story, I signed off as T. J. Holmes, and I’ve been T. J. ever since.

After a segment on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show Sunday in which we discussed kid names and my name, a lot of people asked me about my name and its origins.  I couldn’t answer.  I had a long chat with my dad after the segment as well, and he couldn’t answer.  He was named after a great uncle, but other than that, we don’t know where this unique name originates.  At some point, we thought I had some Roman roots, but further research is needed.

So, I’m now on a quest.  At the age of 36, I’m trying to finally figure out who Loutelious really is.

Baby Hair

I can’t relate to the Carters’ fame, their lifestyle, or their money.  Yet today, I feel more connected to Jay Z and Beyonce than ever.

By now, you know that Blue Ivy’s hair has been the subject of much, and at times nasty, public debate.  Though it’s appalling how people have criticized and ridiculed the couple over their child’s hair, that’s not what has garnered my sympathy.  Rather, as the father of an 18-month-old black daughter, my heart goes out to them … because there is nothing you can do with this stuff!

Sure, you can wash, condition, and style her hair all you want.  But after one hour or one nap or one trip to the park, it’s over.

We have fine tooth combs.  We have wide tooth combs.  We have dual tooth combs.  We have brushes.  We have 3 different shampoos.  We have 2 different leave-in conditioners.  We have hair de-tangler.  But we also have a “miracle de-tangler.”  We have something called the “natural curl calmer.”  One brand of products even calls itself the “natural family collection.”  Nothing works.  Pardon me, what I mean is that nothing works for long when you have a toddler!

I always want baby Sabine to look her best.  I work hard to keep her hair in some kind of order when we’re out, almost to the point of compulsion.  That’s just me.  However, when one shoe is missing, she just picked up a knife from the restaurant table, snot is running down her nose, you’re trying to find the off button on the singing Minnie Mouse doll, and the diaper is questionable, how pretty her hair looks is the last thing on your mind!

Let others debate the greater and deeper societal implications of Blue Ivy’s hair.  I see Blue Ivy and simply think, “I feel y’all.”  At the end of the day, it’s a baby.  Babies are supposed to be a bit of a mess.  And that makes them perfect.

Hide Your Wife

In a meeting in 2012, I was startled when someone suggested that Marilee needed to go away.  As part of a PR and promotional strategy, it would be best if I didn’t talk so much about my wife, they explained.  And, if I could show up to a few events without her, that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

This wasn’t a private one-on-one meeting where an off-the-record opinion was being offered.  It was a planning session that included a whole team of people, and MIA Marilee was an official strategic option.  I was floored.  At the time, I didn’t outwardly react according to how I was feeling.  I was enraged.  I was offended.

That wasn’t the first or last time this type of advice had been offered.  The argument from those making the suggestion is this:  my fan base is made up of a lot of women.  You want to always appeal to them, not turn them off.  “Women need to think you’re available to them,” someone said.  That is incredibly shortsighted and insulting to women.

I was in LA last week, and the suggestion was made again:  hide your wife.

Clearly, I haven’t followed the advice.  Marilee is everywhere.  I talk about her, I write about her, and I show up to plenty public events with her.  She has never been and will never be part of a PR strategy.  She is my life.  It’s impossible and unnatural to cut her out in some way.  I would hope that her presence would make me more appealing to the wider public, not less.  Ironic, isn’t it?  The suggestion that a happily married black couple is not the image I would want to put out there!

However, as I sit here talking to Marilee about this blog, I’m surprised to hear her say:  “I get it, T.J.  They think you have to market the illusion of availability to women.”  Let’s see if she still feels that way when I disinvite her from the public events on our summer schedule.  It’s only a PR strategy, baby.

Why didn’t somebody tell me THIS on graduation day?

I have no idea who spoke during my college graduation ceremony or what she (I think it was a woman) said.  Chances are, she talked about passion, service to others, following your dream, learning from failure, changing the world, fears, opportunity, blah, blah, blah.  Commencement speeches often follow these worthy themes.

Here is what I wish somebody had told me and today’s college graduates need to hear:  READ MORE

Daddy Daycare (cont’d)

1:26pm A loud siren can be heard right outside the apartment.  10 seconds later, a loud child can be heard awakening in her crib.

1:40pm Get her ready to go to lunch, but our departure is delayed.  The princess is missing one of her slippers.  The missing shoe is finally discovered under her changing table.  I wonder how it got there?

1:45pm Arrive at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants.  Get a great table outside.

2:05pm Three young, attractive women stop by our table and gawk at Sabine.

2:10pm Another young woman stops by and marvels at the cuteness of the daddy-daughter lunch date.

2:15pm Another woman stops by.

2:20pm Two more women stop by.

2:22pm I remember that I’m married.

2:45pm Leave the restaurant, stop and get a movie, then head home.

2:53pm Talk to Marilee by phone for the first time today.  Says she’s coming home early.  I tell her the child is fine.  She repeats, “I’m coming home early.”

3:49pm Sabine throws her first fit of the day.  Lasts only 15 seconds as she quickly realizes I’m not the parent who spoils her.