Tag Archives: attitude

Choose Happy

13 Jan

cow

Over the Christmas break I was having a very funny conversation with my parents about someone who is particularly difficult to deal with – historically and present day.  I said to my Dad ‘how can that person not recognize how off-putting and polarizing their behavior is?’  Dad said ‘I think a lot of it is genetic and it isn’t going to change in this instance.’  He said ‘just like intelligence, some people are smart and some people are negative.’  I’ve always been adverse to such ways, but with age I have become even more turned off by it.  As in, I literally find myself tuning out of conversations where the outlook is negative or critical of others.  As I get ready for my day I listen to podcasts.  I start off my day  listening to inspiring talks with inspiring people.  Today it was Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and she was talking to Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Happiness Project.   It was 32 minutes of I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THAT content.  She stated that happiness is actually 50% genetic, so it seems that my Pa was correct!  It got me thinking about happiness and how it is such a prevalent topic.  How do you find it?  How do you stay happy?  Why are some people more happy than others even though they have less or have more challenges?  Why are some people never happy?

I’ve always been a naturally ‘happy’ person.  I generally see the positive side of things and I always remain optimistic.  I guess we can say that is 50% because of my genetics, but what about the other 50%?   Or let’s say 40% because no one is 100% happy or positive (and anyone who acts like every single thing is amazing is covering something up).   Believe me, there are times when I feel like giving the finger, I’ve done my fair share of gossiping (and complaining) and I’ve been in a relationship that definitely brought me down.  And I am now 37 and single – not what I envisioned when I was younger.  Some days the inner cynic in me comes out, but I genuinely try to kick those shitty thoughts to the curb.

To exemplify what I am talking about, I will give you a little window into my world.  When I wake up in the morning I send a few girlfriends (who need a little pump up) positive thoughts, videos or quotes for the day.  It is therapeutic for me too.  Millie (my dog) and I head out for the day – I never used to listen to music when I walk, but now I do.  As I trot along I often find myself singing out loud to the songs I am listening to.  The music puts a little more bounce in my step and it has been a great addition to my morning.   We walk to my brothers house where we scoop their Golden Retriever (who is always pumped to see us).  Along the way to the office we talk to many people who love dogs.  In particular, there is a guy who asks for money on Spring Garden Road and we walk by him most days.  The dogs LOVE him, and so most mornings we stop to chat with him.  The dogs lean into him, lick him and just give him a big dose of love.  Earlier this week he told me that he watches for us every morning and that seeing the dogs is the best part of his day.   (Heart warmer!!)   I am sure he is invisible to most people, but the dogs treat him like he is the best thing since sliced bread.  After that we make our way my way to the office to start the day.    This past Wednesday it was super icy.  Black ice everywhere along the way.   When I got to my office I changed from my sensible winter walking shoes to my ‘not so sensible for the winter booties’ (they are leopard so that should indicate their level of their uselessness in winter).  Shortly after arriving I had to pop out for a meeting which was only a block from my office.  Forgetting about the black ice I stepped off my office steps with great vigor (at the same time two guys were walking by).  My front foot hit the ice and slid forward while my back foot was still on the step.  I literally did a full Nadia Comeneci style splits.  I popped back up (in my dress) in record time to the boys saying “Oh wow, ahhhhh, are you okay?” to which I said “Oh yes, I am fine!’  I took one step forward and BAM I went down again.  This time a face plant type of fall.  I again popped right back up and one guy said to the other ‘Take her hand man’.  I said laughing ‘No, no, I got it.  I am going to walk gingerly now.  I didn’t even rip my tights and I gave you guys your story for the day!’  We all had a solid laugh and I made my way to my meeting.  My hands were burning from hitting the pavement and my legs were wet.  The meeting was with a mom who recently lost her 43 year old daughter to ovarian cancer over Christmas.  Talk about a way to snap back out of your own shit and be grateful for everything you have.

What I am getting at – the other 40% is within you.   It is how you choose to use your time, control your thoughts, perceptions and reactions to life.   I dated someone who made lots of money and he was one of the most negative creatures I’ve ever met.  Happiness doesn’t come from money.  I’ve met people who are married and they complain endlessly about their partner.  Happiness doesn’t come from having a partner (or how they behave).  I’ve met people who have great jobs, but they are miserable.  Happiness doesn’t come from your job.  I know people who are beautiful and thin, but they are insecure and self critical.  Happiness doesn’t come from being beautiful or skinny.  I’ve met people who have all of the nicest things (big house, cars, clothes, travel) their heart could desire, but they aren’t happy.  Happiness doesn’t come from things.

As my very wise brother told me once upon a time – life is mostly made up of choices.  Most of the parts of your life are choices you made:  the big house (that you might have to work your ass off to pay for), the job (that you are spending too much time at to pay for the house), the partner, the kids, the commitments and the list goes on. Now don’t get me wrong folks – there is nothing wrong with a nice house, a busy job, wanting to climb the ladder or having nice things.   I am talking about your attitude towards it.  How do you treat other people, do you complain, do you feel stressed, do you feel joy?   Life is going to throw curveballs at us – lots of shitty things happen that we can’t control.  If you’re already off balance when those things happen it is going to be a real challenge.  One of my dearest friends lost her Dad unexpectedly on Christmas Day.  The support she has received from others is amazing because she is awesome and always goes out of her way to help others.  You get out what you put in.

Everyone’s idea of what makes you happy is different.  I dare you to do a few things that make you feel happy – it will make your day better and anyone who you come in contact with too.  As one of my favorite quotes states: Awesome things will happen today if you choose not to be a miserable cow.

 

 

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Groundhog Day

24 Feb

cranky

Yesterday something so awful happened.  I woke up cranky.  I literally feel cranky, maybe, twice a year.  When I do it is atomic.  It is a devilish blend of hormones, winter, general life annoyances and not getting enough sleep.

To start it off I spilled my coffee grinds.  All over the place (inner thought – Shiitttt). The dog gets excited to get out the door in the morning, but yesterday her bark annoyed me so greatly that I got cross at her (inner thought – Shut up!).  She put her tail between her legs and did not want to come near me.  Shortly after walking she couldn’t keep going because the salt was bothering her paws (inner thought – Seriously?)  I had to pick her up and put booties on her and of course got yucky water from her belly all over my coat (inner thought – Dammit).   We were making our way to pick up my brothers dog and as luck would have it a big section of their street hasn’t been shovelled and the sidewalk is a huge mess (inner thought: Assholes).  So I stepped out into the street and went into what I didn’t realize was a pothole full of slush.  Right over the top of my boots.  (inner thought – Fuck).  We picked up Preston.  On the way Millie wasn’t able to walk as fast as usual because her paws were still hurting, so Preston was pulling her along  (inner thought – Commmeee onnn).  As we were making our way we had to cross a few crosswalks.  Drivers didn’t stop (inner though – Screw you) .  When we finally got to the office I realized I had dog hair all over my tights (inner thought – Urrrgghhh).  I then went to get my coffee at the shop around the corner from my office – I went to put milk in it and the pitcher was empty (inner thought – Of course).  Back at the office every email and phone call was a complete annoyance (inner thought – You are so annoying).  The internet, it was so slow (inner thought – This sucks).  3 pm came and I had an absolute cracking headache.  I didn’t have an Advil at the office so I had to make my way over to the drug store.  The friendly cashier asked me ‘how are you today’ to which I replied ‘I have an awful headache.’  He said ‘hopefully that Advil helps’ (inner though – Yeah thanks for that Captain Obvious).  On the way back to the office every person I walked by annoyed me (inner thought – Too slow, move over, get out of my way).  I took the Advil and waited for it to kick in.  On the way home from the office I wanted to avoid the salt for Millie, so I cut across Citadel Hill.  It was really mild and so when I went to walk on the snow, I sunk.  Like really deep.  Right up to my waist  No exaggeration.  Filled my boots with snow and I had to sort of crawl out of the bank (inner thought- You HAVE to being kidding me).  I made it home, took off my drenched tights and hid away from the world.  I didn’t even call my mother for fear of being short.  I went to bed at 9:30.

I woke up today feeling refreshed with some perspective.  What a COMPLETE waste of a day.  It was actually a beautiful day here and I didn’t even see it.  My body literally had a physical reaction to how yucky my thoughts were.  A headache!  I never get headaches (unless wine or beer induced).   Other than telling the guy at the drug store that I had a headache, I didn’t put my shitty mood onto anyone else.  I am emotionally intelligent enough to have kept it inside my head.  Unfortunately, I see people reacting outwardly the same way I was feeling inwardly all the time.  My inner thoughts are their words.

I recently watched the movie Groundhog Day.  It had been years since I saw it.  I did not remember the premise of the movie other than his day was on repeat.  Phil was cynical, negative and everyone annoyed him, making him short tempered all the time.  In having his day be on repeat over and over again (he stepped in the same puddle and saw the same guy who annoyed him) he learned that it was his reaction to the day directly affected the outcome.  When he was a dick the same cruddy things happened over and over again.  When he changed his outlook and his assumptions of others, his day changed.  Presto!  Imagine.  When he didn’t see things from a negative standpoint his day was exponentially better and so was the day for all of those around him.

Through my work I deal with people going through really awful things all the time.  Like, really awful things.  It gives me perspective that my ‘stuff’ is not that bad.  Now, I am not suggesting that you can’t be cranky.  We are human after all.  When you aren’t a crank you see that everyone you encounter is also – just human.  They are not assholes (well most everyone), lazy (well most everyone), inconsiderate (well most everyone) and that your dog just loves you wholeheartedly.  When you look at it from a positive standpoint small annoyances are much easier to deal with.  Get the broom to sweep the grinds, change your socks when they get wet, get the lint brush to take the hair off and just ask to have the milk pitcher filled up.  Shake it off.  Move on.

What I am saying is that life is a beautiful-beautiful gift and you sure as hell miss out on a lot of good stuff when you are a crank.

***my dog is treated like a queen and all I did was tell her to SHUT UP.