May 5, 2010

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.

"It's a heck of a start, being able to recognize what makes you happy."

-Lucille Ball

Over the last year my son has be increasingly obsessed with stuff. He always wants to get stuff, anything: toys, mail, candy, etc. He will explain to you in great detail how happy it makes him to be on the receiving end of gifts. He likes to get stuff to give stuff away. And it worries me.

It worries me because he is not happy without it. It worries me that when he is not happy, he doesn't know why. It worries me because I was the same way when I was his age, though mine was not the getting stuff, it was just a general unhappiness.

I've spent years and years trying to fill that void where happiness should be. I went through my teen years feeling hopeless and terrible unhappy, I had The Void. I've tried filling it with food, drinks, relationships, you name it, I tried it. None of it every worked, I'd get a temporary relieve from The Void, but over time The Void always came back. All I was doing was avoiding the what and why of happiness.

There is no certainty that you or I will ever find what truly makes us happy, but a little inner searching can help you distinguish why we do what we do.

Does money make me happy? No. Some people really love money, I don't. It pisses me off. I have to dedicate so much of my time to earning it, managing it and spending it, that it takes away from all the stuff I really want to be doing. I want it, lots of it, just so that I can go about my daily life without the money questions lingering in the back of my mind.

Does food make me happy? Kinda. Food is an odd sort of fellow. I love the fact that you can take all these seemingly unrelated items and create a fabulous experience of the senses. I like the fact that several times a day I can pull off a creation. The question is does food itself make me happy or is it the joy I get from the experience of working with it? I'll have to think about that question for a few more years.

I can go on and on with habits that are both good and bad and the 'Does it make me happy?' question. What I do know is I have a list of things that I know I get a kick out of: I like experiencing new things, I like creating things and I love learning something new. If I am doing any of those things, I fell happy and fulfilled, at least for a little while.

We all are different and our ability to acquire happiness is as varying as our personalities. You just have to ask yourself if what you are doing is making you happy. Long term success is based on how happy and content you are with your daily actions. If you continue to do things that go against your happiness, you will stop doing them or turn into a bitter and often angry person.

So, lighten up. Let some joy in. Who cares if you are 55 and still finger painting and playing with dolls. If it makes you happy, then do it!

Have a Blessed Day,


May 3, 2010

Like sand through the hour glass...

"Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life's currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose."
-Thomas Szasz

Having had a particularly rough week (yes it happens to EVERYONE), I was thinking about how wonderful the ocean is. How soothing the ocean sounds, the smell, the sand between the toes and how much better it seemed when I was little. I can go out for hours now, but back then we could spend day after day on the beach and it never, ever got old.

The sadness of this though got me to wondering where our sense of playing goes as adults. Is it something we lose as teenagers, when we are trying to be cool? Do we really outgrow playing? I think it's a damndable shame that we have such difficulty having a good time. How expensive we think it is to enjoy ourselves, when we used to just need a backyard. No frills, no equipment, just you and your imagination station.

One of the things I have always wanted to learn was to build a sandcastle. When we first set out to build one, we think of this beautiful castle that we can somehow just magically create in the sand. We get out there with our little plastic molds (or measuring cups, whatever) and start packing sand. Usually we start with dry sand and we get nothing, then we learn to do it with wet sand. I used to try and try and try, I have never been able to build that big beautiful sand castle. But I think I'll go back this year and keep trying.

The sand castle reminds me of the lives we all try to build. When we are young we have this great idea of what we want. Big house, cars, kids, pets, etc. Then we set out to build that life we dream. Not enough water, not the right kind of sand, tide comes up before we can finish, etc., etc. So many things get in the way of making our sand castle, but we can't build it if we never go back and try.

Have a Blessed Day,

Brandy Deming