Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happiness -- Elusive or Attainable?



I’m going to start this post with another question:  What makes YOU happy?

Quite a deep question isn’t it?  I believe for a lot of us rush through our lives from one responsibility to the next with little thought as to what truly makes us happy.  Usually it’s not until we face a stress-related health problem or some other “ah ha” moment that we realize a need to reassess our lives.

This can happen to authors all too easily.  We have responsibilities that fall outside our writing, editing, and social networking.  We have domestic needs to care for, most of us have a day job we go to, and for some that’s just the start of it.  Maybe we’re parents and have to care for young ones, or tend to elderly parents?  No matter what your life situation, I believe it’s safe to say you have a lot going on.

But when you think on that question, what makes YOU happy, what first comes to mind?  I found in this process that possessions, or the acquisition thereof, were not at the top of my happy list.  Of course, I like nice things and would love to have a little money, but what feeds my soul?  I found it to be in smaller things--and they don’t really cost a thing.  I refer to the gifts given to us a human beings, the ability to pursue a craft, or exercise as basic examples.  When I take time each day to do these two things, I’m very happy.

Maybe right now you’re thinking of something that makes you happy, yet you’re already in the process of firing off reasons to hinder your pursuit of it?  Possibly you making excuses.    You don’t have time for example or other things need to be done.

I’m going to reverse this and ask, do you make excuses not to go to your day job, for example?  If you did, you would find you didn’t have one for long.  But, do you see where I’m getting with this?  Pursuing what makes us happy is just as important as the responsibilities we take care of on a daily basis.  In fact, being happy is a responsibility we have toward ourselves.

My brother-in-law had an  “ah ha” moment and he compared life to a car.  We’d never get in on and run one flat out.  Why do we do that with our lives?  So many of us try to jam so much in--some things are unavoidable and sometimes we just take too much on. 

All too frequently we hear the phrases, is this day over yet?, is it the weekend? We would rather be anywhere else than where we are or what we’re doing in that moment.  Aren’t we in essence pushing off our ability, our power, to be happy in the now?  Going through our lives in this way is no way to live.

I say we live in each moment, breathe it in, appreciate it, and be happy for it.  While it may be true we have to do things we would rather not, make sure that you do buy out time in your life to pursue your happiness.

Happiness can come in many forms.  It can be exercise, reading, writing, etc, to name just a very few. 

As a simple life illustration, you may be surprised how many authors make excuses and procrastinate to write--what they LOVE to do, what brings them happiness.  They squeeze it out with the I have to do this first, when in reality they may even be able to work on their book in that moment.

In summation, just like the saying goes with money, pay yourself first, the same applies here.  Pay yourself first by pursuing activities that make you happy and the rest of life’s responsibilities will be easier to handle.