Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am one. Are you?

I always knew I was. I just didn’t know why. And I certainly didn’t know what to tell you when you’ve asked or commented on how well I’ve handled this or that.

“Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I’m just a Mom doing the whole Mom Thing. You’d do the same.”

But the fact is you might not.

According to this article that ran in our paper yesterday, I’ve long been a member of some secret happy society. Here are Ms. Griffith’s observations on what makes happy people happy. I have to say I think she’s on to something.

Live in the present.
Don’t look for a specific event to happen “some day” to make you happy. Be happy in the place you are right now.

I do pretty well with this one these days, although when I was much younger I spent all my time waiting for my life to “start”. Ha! Good thing I got tired of waiting around and took matters into my own hands.

My biggest problem here is not living in the present but being present. Does that make sense? Like when I’m down on the floor playing with my boys and I’m really thinking how much laundry there is to be done, that dinner needs to be started, and how B hasn’t cleaned his room yet like I told him to this morning. That way he’s not allowed to be present either. Humph.

Ok. I’ll try to work on this a bit more for happiness’ sake.

Practice forgiveness.
Pretty self-explanatory. Anyone know how to teach someone how to do this? I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember, but have never had to contemplate the process before. In my discussions with a co-worker I recognized the truth of the matter. Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling. So many people wait around for that feeling of forgiveness to wash over them. It’s just not going to happen that way. Unless you make a deliberate choice to shrug off the bitterness or malice you feel towards someone it just isn’t going to go away. In other words, Fake it till you make it, Baby!!!

Have a thick skin.
Don’t be easily offended. I try (this is the operative word here, folks) to see the offending party’s point of view. It helps me decide first, if I even need to be offended, and second if the shoe being thrown at me is indeed my size. I am not always completely successful in this. I mean, I love a good bitch-fest just as much as the next girl… then it’s out of my system and I move on. But sometimes… sometimes I’ll be hit with a comment that is visibly benign yet still find myself seething with resentment or anger or just plain old hurt feelings… I am always just as shocked by this as the offender. I do hate it when my psychological junk drawer gets stuck open and crap starts falling all over the place.

Find the joy in little things.
This doesn’t count if we’re talking about sex. I’m just saying.

Bring beauty into your life.
I think this is incredibly important. I need to see the wonder of God around me every day. I lived in town for two years when Daddy-O & I first started dating. After a few months I was seriously depressed. I saw nothing but town my entire way to work. Asphalt. Sidewalks. Trees surrounded by sidewalks. Traffic lights. Cars. No nature. No wildlife. No nothing.

Now I am back in the “country” or at least the unincorporated area of the County. My drive to town every day is an array of tidal splendor, spectacular views of Hollister Peak, cows and horses grazing on the hillsides, and agricultural fields sparkling with dew in the sunrise. It is rejuvenating. There is no better way to begin and end my day.

Get connected.
Some of the unhappiest people I know are no longer speaking to one or more of their parents or siblings. I say life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Get over it. I try to maintain my relationships. Even with my Ex’s. Plus, there’s all of you. People scoff. But apparently all us happy people know all about connections like the internet and blogging and such.

Now you’re probably reading this thinking one of two things. Either you think I’m full of crap or you think I’m an incredibly well-adjusted Mommy Blogger/Cancer Survivor. Well, you’re all wrong. No. You’re all right. I’m both of those things. I am also none of those things. And just to prove it, I offer into evidence the last advice for being happy:

Celebrate every day.
I don’t think she’s talking about birthdays here. But I do like what she says and she’s on the money. “Every day is a miracle. Just ask someone with a terminal illness.” Man alive, there is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to make you glad to get up in the morning. The post-diagnosis joy in and appreciation for life can only be compared to a post-coital man’s generosity toward all humankind and general willingness to do anything asked of him.

Unfortunately, it lasts about as long too. This is where I am today. My rose colored glasses are all askew again. I’m having a hard time looking beyond the “I’m broke” and the price of gas to all the “Will you just listen to that bird singing!”

I guess I’ll add this one to my check list too. We all have to have a project after all.


Sarah S. said...

I really liked your post. I think that we all struggle with these things everyday. Even after cancer. It seems like you are on the right side of it though. I think some people never even get halfway there.

sarah said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours (though, gosh there are many!). I'm going to send it to my sisters.

I particularly like your "psychological junk drawer getting stuck open" and the "crap falling out". BRILLIANT!