Tag: happiness

If you smile when you’re alone, you really mean it.

soapbox I’m continually surprised by maturity. I’ll go about life and do things in a certain way and be all responsible, and then look back and think, “Well gee, that was mature of me.” We’ve been doing a lot of grown-up type things over the past couple of years. Facing issues, planning for the future, getting our wills done, doing some financial rearranging, looking after our health.

Doing all of that is supposed to alleviate anxiety, but instead I feel it as much of it as I ever did. Since I can’t win against it, I’m choosing to ignore it. This is kind of a first for me. Up until this point I’ve been feeling like I have to fix it and define it. I never just let myself feel it. So now I just think to myself, “Yep, I feel anxious. Maybe a panic attack. There may be a reason, there may not be a reason. As long as it’s not paralyzing me, I’ll just keep moving. I’ll probably feel a lot better in about fifteen minutes.”

And usually, I do.

I’ve figured out, in my forty-two years (ew), that life isn’t about perfection, or completely avoiding negativity. Life just isn’t going to let you go too many days in a row without SOMETHING happening to throw you at least a little off balance. Addressing the negativity in a positive manner is the only choice. The assurance that this moment sucks, but the next one might not, and even if it does, the suck won’t last forever. Push through it, “just keep swimming,” whatever you have to tell yourself.

I think that’s part of the problem with a lot of people today. They go into life expecting, demanding, feeling entitled to perfect happiness. Either they don’t work hard at all and figure it will just happen, or they work really hard and figure that they earned it. So why isn’t it happening? They completely lack the ability to deal with the suck, and wind up in a downward spiral that starts with Vaguebooking and ends with puke in their hair.

I can get all zen and say that happiness isn’t an external thing, but an internal thing – it sounds trite, but it’s pretty damned true. There are some folks who are equipped for this, and some who aren’t. Some people who are generally happy despite the bad, and some people who are generally miserable despite the good. I think internal happiness is something that can be learned, but it’s really really hard. Like how some people are good at math and others ask why there are letters with the numbers.

I’m not talking about mental health issues, like depression or anxiety or anything like that. Just a baseline… attitude, I guess. My baseline is happy. And I’m glad that it is, because I feel like I’m surrounded by people whose baseline is unhappiness, or who are just generally discontent. And I need all of my Inner! Zen! Fortitude! to just get by, some days. Some weeks.

I have no particular point to this entry. I just found myself really frustrated (but with a good attitude, dammit!) with people who just seemed to want to make things worse, for themselves and for others, by generally taking on a bad attitude toward things. I try to remember that my attitude can effect people whether I’m aware of it or not.

I wish other people would do the same.

Bangles from the Renaissance Festival.
Bangles from the Renaissance Festival.

I am the ruler of my mood

I have a baseline mood. It’s happy, or reasonably good.

Bill has a baseline mood. I wouldn’t call it happy. Neutral, I guess.

I pretty much need a reason to be in a bad mood. Bill needs a reason to be in a good mood. I’m not saying that I’m giddy all the time, or that Bill is crabby all the time. I’m saying that way we experience our days, the lens through which we view life, is fundamentally different. And sometimes that’s darned frustrating.

Today, Bill is in a bad mood. Yesterday, too. And he has a reason to be, which I’m not going to into right now. I have the same reason to be in a bad mood, but since there’s nothing I can do about the circumstance that has turned our weekend negative, I have chosen to not allow it to rule my mood. I wrote an article for Beyond Megapixels. I made potato salad. I took the dogs for a walk. Later I’m going to lift heavy things repeatedly, do some laundry, cook some more, and hang out with Amanda and her boyfriend. Then, we’ll watch the season finale of The Walking Dead.

This what I do, to turn a negative mood around. I stay active, do some productive stuff, and otherwise entertain myself. I can’t even tell you the last time I was bored.

Bill is bored ALL THE TIME. It drives me crazy.

Am I wrong in thinking that anyone can choose the mood that they want to be in? Is it possible for anyone to decide to be in a good mood, even when there is reason to be otherwise? Or is it a skill that I just happen to possess? Is the ability to rule your own mood something that is just inherent in your psyche, or something that can be learned?