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The "duh!" Guide to a Good Life - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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The "duh!" Guide to a Good Life [Dec. 21st, 2006|01:47 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]

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!
LinkReply

Comments:
From: authentichris
2006-12-21 06:57 pm (UTC)
Avoid people who bring you down is a good one.

2.) dont' get emotional about much...is another one.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 07:01 pm (UTC)
Don't get emotional is a BIG one. Some people leap onto the offensive with big emotions and create volcanoes out of speedbumps.
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[User Picture]From: eh_notsomuch
2006-12-21 07:13 pm (UTC)
Added that to my memories, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 07:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-12-21 07:20 pm (UTC)
Smile. Find one person a day to smile at, and really mean it when you do it.
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[User Picture]From: idic_writer
2006-12-21 07:34 pm (UTC)

I loved this!

Many thanks. Would you mind if I pass it along in my journal? I'd credit your wisdom of course. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 07:58 pm (UTC)

Re: I loved this!

Copying with proper credit and linkage is always welcome!
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2006-12-21 07:39 pm (UTC)
I love you, in case I haven't said it lately.

How about Surround yourself with smart wonderful people. That's you.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 07:59 pm (UTC)
Aw, love you too!
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[User Picture]From: butterandjelly
2006-12-21 07:49 pm (UTC)
thank you for the life lesson reminders...I think I needed those this week.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 07:59 pm (UTC)
Hey, believe me when I say I often write these to remind myself!
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[User Picture]From: vespurrs
2006-12-21 08:03 pm (UTC)
This is going into memories. Life lessons.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-21 08:07 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked it!
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[User Picture]From: mikilt
2006-12-21 08:31 pm (UTC)
A life-lesson that has made a difference for me is Choose your battles
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:48 am (UTC)
Very, very true.
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[User Picture]From: 28bytes
2006-12-21 08:59 pm (UTC)
Now see, if those were the commandments everybody wanted to put up in courthouses, I would be right there with them.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:49 am (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: astridsdream
2006-12-21 09:19 pm (UTC)
Number three is one that worries me about my now-ex-boyfriend. However, number six includes letting people live their own lives, even if you disagree with their choices. Which is something *I* need to work on. So thank you for writing this - it's good to have reminders like this every now and then.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:50 am (UTC)
Like I said, they aren't profound, just hard to remember.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2006-12-21 09:42 pm (UTC)
10. Think before opening your mouth.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:50 am (UTC)
Ooo, a VERY good one!
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[User Picture]From: elfwench
2006-12-21 10:00 pm (UTC)
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.

I am grateful for what I've got and I know it can get worse - and worse scares me, especially on my bad days (like today) where I'm keeping that in mind to keep perspective. Because I know my pain today doesn't begin to compare to what a cancer patient goes through. But what galls me is people who have it more fortunate in both health and prosperity who go on and on about how broke they are or how sick they are. And I read these posts and really often think, "Man, you don't know what pain or broke is, it can be worse, I'm living worse, and I know that there's still worse." No, I don't think this makes me any better or worse than anyone else, I just get frustrated when people don't realize.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:53 am (UTC)
You continually amaze me with your cheerful disposition in the midst of a truly bad situation. Yeah, you have really hard days, but you manage to look at the bright side an astounding amount. You and kimmaline are both heroes to me for that.

And I totally agree with you that there are certain people to whom one wants to say, "Hello-oo! Reality check?!"
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[User Picture]From: gypsydove
2006-12-21 10:15 pm (UTC)
hmm... I agree with being grateful for what one has, I try to be grateful. Even when I complain, I always say it could be worse...and count my lucky stars that we do have what we have.

Thank you for posting this, at times people need to remember these very things.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:54 am (UTC)
No one remembers them all the time, but it helps to try.
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From: elgordo303
2006-12-21 10:46 pm (UTC)
never lose your sense of humour ... seeing the funny side of the situation can get you through almost anything.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:56 am (UTC)
Very, very true.
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[User Picture]From: scarletdemon
2006-12-21 11:29 pm (UTC)
Good stuff! :D
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:56 am (UTC)
Well, not as interesting as penises, but that's your specialty. ;-)
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From: stella_x3x3
2006-12-21 11:39 pm (UTC)
Have parties... surrounding yourself with the people you love and doing the things that make you all happy.

Indulge... no one ever said it was a bad thing to spend a little extra money on yourself or someone else. Or eat more fatty foods sometimes, skip exercise for a day, or drink a little more than usual.

I think those are two good ones.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:58 am (UTC)
Yup. Especially this time of year!
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2006-12-22 12:30 am (UTC)
My Dad's frequent advice: If you recieve a negative comment from someone, "consider the source". If it's from someone you admire, consider whether you do need to improve in some way. If the person speaking is someone who hasn't got their own act together, feel free to let it go.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 01:58 am (UTC)
Man, I wish I'd learned that years ago.
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[User Picture]From: vrax
2006-12-22 03:27 pm (UTC)
These are the four that I live by;

1)Be Impeccable With Your Word,
Not just in terms of following through with "I give you my word", but every time you open your mouth. Be sure not to use your word to harm yourself or others.

2)Take Nothing Personally
Things that other people do, are not all about you. Despite the fact that I can see equally far in all directions, it turns out that I am not, in fact, the center of the universe. The negativity of others, while it may be directed at you, is not about you, it is about them.

3)Don't Assume
Um, duh?

4)Always Do Your Best
Be aware that humans are creatures in flux, and what is your best on Tuesday may be overshadowed by your efforts on Friday and yet looks great in comparison to what you can muster on Sunday. Give what you can at all times, no more, no less.

These are not my creation, they are what is known as the Four Agreements of Toltec philosophy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-22 05:44 pm (UTC)
Those are awesome. Thank you for sharing them.
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[User Picture]From: cathawk
2006-12-23 12:09 pm (UTC)
Excellent guidelines...I would just add a couple of The Four Agreements and it would work perfectly for me.
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[User Picture]From: violacat
2006-12-27 12:55 pm (UTC)
Create

Most adults in American society don't think of themselves as particularly creative or particularly talented. I recently had to put together a talent show at work, and it was like pulling teeth, because I'm the "talented" one. (I got people to do readings, and it was fabulous.) Knit, quilt, draw, paint, sing, make something with Play-Doh...it doesn't matter what it is or if it's any good at all; it's the process that matters. Get some crayons and a coloring book if that's your comfort level, just MAKE something. You can do more than you think you can.

Take care of something

This one might not be a good idea for everyone, but I really think it's beneficial to be a caretaker for something. Me, I'm not ready to have kids, but I do OK by the cats, and they love me back. If an animal is too much (and they do take work), get a plant. Cactuses are hard to kill.

Thank you for the reminders.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-27 02:58 pm (UTC)
Create is a terrific one. I find that moving back into that is opening up my soul again.
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[User Picture]From: oceansedge
2006-12-28 10:02 pm (UTC)
Moderation: Moderation in all things, including moderation. Once in a while give yourself permission to cut loose, eat too much, drink too much, dance in a fountatin in Paris.

Be Open: Be honest with the world about who and what you are. Skeletons in the closet can't hurt you if you don't have any. If you'd be embarrassed or ashamed or think people would think you're an asshole if they knew what you said/did... maybe you should think again about saying/doing it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-28 10:25 pm (UTC)
If you'd be embarrassed or ashamed or think people would think you're an asshole if they knew what you said/did... maybe you should think again about saying/doing it.

One that we could all stand to remember.
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[User Picture]From: dolmena
2006-12-29 04:37 pm (UTC)
Good advice...
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[User Picture]From: zalriva1
2006-12-30 09:40 am (UTC)
As I read the first line, I thought to myself, "Oh, so that's why theferrett walks funny..."

After that, it got much more sensible.

Thanks.
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