Being Happy with Your “Now” You

forest-autumn-fall-trees-stone-colors-leaves-beautiful-wallpapers-hd-1280x768.jpgI got a rejection this morning. Another one. The ninth in six weeks.

Was I upset? Absolutely. I let myself be angry for about five minutes. I may have punched the mattress a few times.

It’s after times like these I get a bit introspective. That, and I’ve got a birthday coming up. It’s almost impossible to not think about what I’ve done with my life so far. Have I made the difference in the world that I hoped for this year?

This past year has been hugely different from previous years. In November 2016, I sent out my first query letter seeking a publisher for my first novel. This process is not for the weak at heart. Every time I hit send, I put this book into someone else’s hands hoping they will see in it the potential I do.

Then comes the waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

This is not calm, patient waiting. This is anxiety gripping at the throat waiting. Any minute an email might come that will change everything. It’s tense business. It’s hard to go on living a normal life and not be forever staring at my phone waiting for that notification to come through.

After five and six and ten and fourteen rejections you’d think I’d get numb to it. And I have, a little. You are forced to distance yourself from your project and see it as something other than your baby.

At the same time, it’s hard to not take rejection personally and not have feelings of worthlessness creep in when my project I’ve thrown my soul into is rejected time and time again.

What does this have to do with happiness? Nothing. Everything.

If this year has taught me anything it’s that happiness has nothing to do with what is happening around you and to you. Good things happen, bad things happen. Should you depend on your circumstances to determine your mood, you are cursed to live a life that looks like a roller coaster.  The only constant in your life is you. If you can’t find happiness in your own skin, what makes you think you can find it anywhere else?

There has been one other significant change in my life this past year. My youngest now goes to school everyday. I didn’t realize what a difference it makes when I can take care of myself instead of living in survival mode. You can’t be happy if you are living in survival mode. You are just trying to not drown as the next wave comes.

It’s been a long year, and an educational one. Between finally getting some “me” time and learning to accept endless rejection, I’ve found a weird happiness.

I’m okay with the me I am. And that’s just fine.

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How have you found your happiness? Share in the comments below! Don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” so you don’t miss out on future posts.

 

The Truth about Happiness

Butterfly_BeautyHappiness is a state of mind, not a goal or a destination.  It isn’t something that can be earned or bought and it isn’t something reserved for special people. It is meant for everyone and indeed everyone can find it, if they take the time to look.

For years I’ve struggled with finding my happiness. Whenever a difficulty, whether great or small, presents itself, it takes center stage in my emotional life, stealing the spotlight and making it impossible to focus on anything else.  I would keep telling myself, “When I get past this challenge, then I can be happy.”  Then another challenge would come to take its place.

When I wasn’t sleeping because of babies I’d tell myself how much better life would be when they slept through the night.  When it was too hot or cold to escape outside I’d tell myself how much nicer things would be in a few months.  When I was lonely and needed a friend I would sit and be sad and lonely hoping for someone to show up on my doorstep, or worse try to find a sense of belonging by lurking on Facebook.

The butterfly of happiness won’t land on people who keep brushing it away.  It is a delicate creature and seeks only those who it can trust not to harm it.  It doesn’t care about financial situations, personal problems, skin color, or body weight; all it wants is a safe place to land.

Want to get your happy on?

  • Watch the documentary “Happy” – available on Netflix
  • Go feed the ducks
  • Call a friend just to say “Hi”
  • Spend time reading for pleasure
  • Watch a favorite movie with someone you like spending time with
  • Take a class about something you’ve wanted to learn more about
  • Do something nice for a stranger
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Take time to be thankful
  • Seek out the good in your current situation
  • Give an honest compliment
  • Spend more time with real people than you do with your phone
  • Listen (and dance!) to your favorite music

Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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What makes you happy? Share in the comments!

The Techno War

For those thinking that this was going to be an awesome piece of fiction possibly with an urban sci-fi twist, sorry.  We’ve had an ongoing battle here at the house, real play with real toys vs. techno play with computers and other devices.  For a while we were doing well. There was a good balance between the two and it seemed that everyone was fairly happy.

That was before the discovery of Minecraft – the Legos of the software world.

I haven’t played it enough to grasp the appeal, but apparently it has enough flexibility for the player to make it whatever kind of game he wants.  It has the power to keep my eight-year old anchored in front of the computer for hours and when he’s not playing it’s the only thing he’ll talk about.

It’s not that I mind too much that he loves the game.  I grew up playing everything from Super Mario to Tetris, often for hours at a time.  Sometimes I still do.  What does drive me crazy is the fighting between siblings that the games have caused.  When he’s playing on the computer then his sister doesn’t have anyone to play with and she does everything in her power to get his attention which drives him (and everyone else) nuts.  Then the screaming and fighting begins.

So this weekend we short circuited the whole problem.  Instead of moping around the house, hubby found a hike that was family friendly and packed us all up and left all the kids devices behind.

We had a great time, no one fought, the surroundings were beautiful, it was a win-win for everyone.

Back at home there will always be the techno war, it’s inevitable.  There will always have to be limits and monitoring on computer and other device usage. I will have to be the bad guy telling them when it’s time to stop.  As they grow older this will only grow harder.

It gives me hope that our whole family can do something as simple as walk around a lake and find a happiness that isn’t found anywhere else.  Here’s to planning our next hike!

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Cleanliness Actually Can Make You Happier

Being the creative type means I sometimes often get distracted from taking care of the basics in my home.  When I go on a writing binge, or reading, or whatever I’m obsessing over at the moment and stop picking up my fairly clean house converts itself into chaos central.  Any unattended flat surface becomes a breeding ground for papers, toys, dust, books, and lost cups and forks.  When the house gets messy, I get crabby.

At first it’s hard to pin down why I’m starting to get more irritated.  It starts as a growing unease, an information overload.  There is too much to take in, too many little items calling for my attention.  Each item represents a choice; put away, throw away, file, deal with. Even though clutter has sapped my mood dozens of times before, it often takes days before I catch on to what’s happening.

Then there is the actual cleaning as well, the vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, dishes, laundry, bathrooms, dusting, windows, and whatnot that eventually have to be addressed. Again, at first the slow accumulation of grime is hardly noticeable. But it is noticeable. And just like clutter and junk it, plays mind games with me.  Each spot is another entry on an unending list of things to do.

Now, if I lived alone I wouldn’t have anyone else to blame but myself. The house would still morph into clutter central, it would just take longer. In my case I have help, plenty of help. Three young kids have the magical ability to create mess just by breathing.  

As mommy it is my responsibility to teach these little ones to clean up after themselves, which can turn into a task much more exhausting and obnoxious than doing the cleaning myself.  They must learn that it’s more fun to play when there is a nice clear area to do it. When their rooms are clean they are happier.  So why is it like pulling teeth to get them to pick up anything?!?  It’s one of the great mysteries of life.

When I get off of a creative binge and start picking up and clearing off surfaces, it’s as refreshing as breathing fresh air after being stuck in a poorly ventilated subway car. While stuck in the car you don’t realize just how icky it is until you leave and get outside once again.  When things are clean, my mood lifts and so does the mood of my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy cleaning – there are dozens, if not hundreds, of things I’d rather be spending my time doing.  I’m not a psycho perfectionist either, I’ll only scrub baseboards and deep clean when things get bad enough to bother me. Often it takes the promise of listening to a good podcast while I work to get me moving.

In the end, although it can be a royal pain, if keeping things clean makes everyone happier it’s worth doing.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just kept under control.

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Ahhh, look at those lovely clean surfaces!
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