Are you happy? I mean genuinely happy on a consistent basis. Do you whistle or sing when you walk down the street? Do you enjoy interacting with your fellow workers? Do you wake up excited to face the day?
If not, when will you be happy?
Many people tell themselves, "I’ll be happy when...
• My health improves
• My relationship improves
• The economy improves
• I get a new this or that
• I get my career on track
• I move to a better location
• I get a raise
• I lose 30 pounds
• I retire
Many people seem to have a list, which ends up being a wall between them and happiness. The truth is that none of these things will make you happy. They can certainly put you in a better position to find happiness, but happiness is a feeling that comes from the experiences in life and our attitude about them. Happiness comes from within, and has little to do with all those things happening outside of you. The old saying is that happiness is a state of mind, and that saying has been around a long time simply because it’s true. Sometimes we feel content, sometimes not, but happiness is around you every day — it’s just that sometimes we have to look closer for it. It won’t come from the things you seek, but rather from the attitude you have about this journey called life.
Happiness is up to you, here and now. You can choose to wait for better days, or you can decide to look for the joy, the opportunities, the smiles, and the good in every day. You get to choose.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
In the past several months I’ve been caught up in some significant life changes. Starting as far back as September, my husband, Herman, and I began to prepare our San Rafael house to sell while looking for a new home in Palm Springs.
Over the past few months we have held a dozen open houses in San Rafael, walked through three dozen homes in Palm Springs, found a beautiful new house as well as sold our old one, moved into our new home on Christmas Eve, and began to settle into a new life here in PS.
What seemed so easy to type out in a single paragraph actually was a very high stress, often painful experience of letting go and flinging ourselves off a cliff and into a sea of unknown. It has been a scary path, but one that once we started down we could not turn back.
I’m sitting in my new office overlooking our front yard. Classic Japanese landscaping in San Rafael have been replaced with cactus and palms; gentle, green rolling hills have turned to rugged brown mountains; and our cozy, open Eichler is now a sprawling, midcentury ranch style home. In short: everything is different, everything is new. I feel somewhat disoriented, with only Herman and my writing as constants that I can latch on to.
I know that for some people this kind of move is no big deal. They’ve done it several times and, for them, it’s fun and exciting. But I’m a person who lived in the same house for almost thirty years. That house was my life raft to cling to in a changing world. For me this is an extremely big deal.
I’m sitting here wondering how many times in my life I’ve leaped into the unknown, and been the better for it. Certainly the time I left home to join the Navy. And the time I came home from the navy with a husband instead of a wife. There was the time I walked away from a seventeen-year relationship, only to jump into my current relationship a few years later. And the time I ran from a lucrative corporate career to be a little-known writer of gay literature.
Yes, I’ve experienced times of big letting go, but what I’m realizing here (a lesson I keep learning over and over) is that every day is a time of letting go, of leaping into the unknown. That is what life is, what makes it worth living. The trick is not clinging to yesterday, but embracing now. Okay, it’s a cliché, so shoot me. Lol
Yes, it is a cliché, but it’s also THE KEY to being happy and content in life.
And the truth is, Herman and I are loving our new home, our new city, our new friends that we’ve already made. The last two weeks have seemed like being blown along on hurricane force winds, and we are carried along, smiling, and taking each moment as it comes.
For the moment—and in truth that’s all we have—as I sit here, I can say without hesitation that we are happy and loving this new environment, and I am so grateful that we made that leap. The unknown is an exciting place to explore. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes: "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." Lao-Tzu