Today is my birthday, but I woke up a little depressed and anxious. There were some problems from the weekend that had not yet been resolved. I got up, made my coffee, and made a decision: I want to be happy – as much as possible and as long as possible. I qualify it because I know it is not possible to be happy all the time. I also know that the desire to be happy is suspect because it smacks of selfishness. Some assume (as some once did to me) that I will abandon everyone I love and do horrible things. What they failed to realize that if I did those things I would be unhappy.
This is what I know about happiness:
· The decision to be happy is exactly that – a decision, a constant and mindful decision.
· It is a discipline. It takes work (and meaningful work often leads to happiness, but more on that later).
· It requires analysis of my internal and external life.
· It may require change and acceptance of what is at the same time.
· It is an art and a science.
Interestingly, a lack of challenges doesn’t always create happiness. When I was 15, I lived with another family and away from my parents. I was extremely happy not only to be largely independent, but to have good friends, adults who loved me, very little stress, and some self-created challenges. I spent a lot of time on the phone talking to friends and playing Pyramid Solitaire. I tried my hand at drawing. All my needs were provided for. I had no financial struggles and no one to take care of. It was one of the few times in my life in which happiness was given to me. Now I have to create it.
These are the ways I can create happiness”
· Setting and achieving goals.
· Being with my Muse.
· Having fun and meaningful times with my kids.
· Serving others.
· Working on something meaningful.
· Reading or listening to books about US Presidents.
· Reaching new levels on Toon Blast.
Yes, that last one makes me happy. It’s good to have fun and even do something meaningless once in a while. I imagine my list differs from everyone else’s and that’s a good thing, but I think the principals are the same. I take care of others and I take care of myself. A meaningful combination of both makes me happy.
I’m also happy when I Get Started and Keep Going. I think that’s what I’ve been saying all along.