|The "duh!" Guide to a Good Life
||[Dec. 21st, 2006|01:47 pm]
I was packing fudge this morning - oh, stop it! Packing squares of fudge into little gift bags to give out at work. What is wrong with you people?!
Anyway, as I cut and packed the fudge I had made yesterday evening, I started thinking about the coming year. Because today being solstice, the shortest day of the year, it feels more like a new beginning than New Year's Day ever does.
I'm sort of annoyed that this year seems to be going out on my being vaguely and indescribably sick, but not sick enough to actually lie down someplace and be sick, just sick enough for me not to have energy for things like working out or much else beyond surviving the day at the office.
Nevertheless, I find that I am, on the whole, as happy as I have ever been in my entire life. Sure, next week will be a bizarre game of telephone trying to coordinate writing a motion for summary judgment with a partner and an associate who are both on vacation and accessible only by email three time zones away. And sure, I have not one second of vacation time left this year for myself, and sure the every appliance in the house seems determined to break down in the span of 2006, but I have the love of a wonderful husband, two terrific kids, and a circle of marvelous friends, and, really, the rest is superficial.
So here are some tips for being happy. Because I haven't pontificated for a while. Sure, they're obvious, but that doesn't mean people don't need the occasional reminder.
1. Don't take yourself so damned seriously. I see people doing this all the time, just looking for some reason to take offense at something someone else has said, and finding it in places where it isn't even meant. Assume that perceived offense is given out of stupidity rather than cupidity. And if someone is intentionally offensive, walk away from it - who needs the irritation?
2. Be grateful for what you've got. Some people constantly compare the troubles of others to their own so that they can prove that they are really the one who has it bad. Trust me; there will always be people above you on the scale and there will always be people below you. (I can say this with certainty, because the people truly at the top or bottom are not reading my damned journal!) I say stop worrying about it. Celebrate the good fortune of your friends - they didn't get it at your expense.
3. Avoid people who bring you down. This is such an easy trap to fall into. Joe Po'mouth is a funny guy, what with his cynical outlook on the world. It's great fun to egg him on - heck sometimes it's fun to be him. But being around that too much just breeds discontent and misery. Likewise, the person who is continually looking at the dark side of life and seeing the worst in people will drag you down there with him. Don't follow down that path, and certainly don't lead!
4. Be kind to yourself. Don't run yourself down continually. Your brain hears you and starts to believe.
5. But be honest with yourself. Being kind to yourself is not the same as giving yourself permission to be crappy to others, or to excuse bad habits in yourself.
6. Treat others with respect and expect the same. Do I even need to elaborate?
7. Go outside and enjoy the world. It's easy, in this day and age, to spend your entire life in front of a computer. But it's not very satisfying.
8. Give of yourself. Volunteer, give money, make something. It's amazing how much such things ground you in the world.
9. Laugh, sing, dance, act goofy. We're back to not taking yourself too seriously. Which is, I think, the most important lesson of all.
Other suggestions? You guys always come up with great ones!