Tag Archives: self help

Crisis of Imagination

25 Sep

I need imagination because I can’t see it right now …

Holy crap. That was it.

I had never heard it put that way, but that was it. I had found the right words to try to help my friend understand what was happening. They weren’t mine, but I heard them and I knew why they had come my way. My buddy was stuck in a moment and couldn’t get out of it. Stuck in the hurt. Stuck in the disbelief. Stuck in the ache of their heart. Stuck in the “it is what it is,” situation they thought they’d never find themselves in.

That’s where they were currently residing.

And when I heard these words I knew I had to pass them along. I thought maybe it would bring a sense of comfort, knowing that once they broke through the mind block, they might be able to feel less hurt, and more hope.

You can’t imagine your life like this … You can’t imagine how you’re going to get through it … You can’t imagine life differently. And that’s the point … because you were never supposed to, your future wasn’t supposed to look this way. But now there’s no choice. It’s happening.

Most people go through something like this in their life, whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a dream, or a job. We’re hurting because we’re in the midst a life crisis, suffering a “crisis of imagination.”

We can’t see outside the box and that’s why the hurt lasts so long. That’s why we feel stuck, because we still can’t believe it.

I’m hoping I can help my buddy find some creativity in the unknown future. Help imagination find its way to their doorstep, so they can exhale and begin to heal, begin to realize that they can do it. It’s going to be hard, extremely hard to change their vision, but it’s possible. I’m hoping I can help them out. I’m hoping I can help them imagine that tomorrow’s tomorrow will help them find happiness in the present moment. I’m hoping I can help my friend find the imagination that their not seeing.

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:)

ūüôā

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I Better Get Moving …

17 Jan

 

:)

ūüôā

 

I saw this and realized I definitely gotta get moving.

I got GPS and everything.

Step one, baby. Step one.

And if I fall, which will probably happen, there’s always room for a chocolate break.

Then I can continue steppin’.

 

 

Happiness Project Final Update: I’ve Learned to Embrace the George Costanza Phase of My Life

11 Jul

It all started a year ago with a picture and an unexpected outing at Barnes and Noble.

There I was in a CAL Hockey Jersey hands up in the air celebrating an amusement park triumph. I looked at the photograph and paused.

Who was this chick, and where did she go?

It¬†was me …¬†only I was happy, my spirit was busting loose. My freak flag was flying.

I looked at myself in the mirror and thought … what the hell?

And there it was … this is when the concept of the lemon squeezer was born. Had I turned sour because Plan A wasn’t working out the way I had¬†imagined … maybe … I had my moments. Did I have bouts of malaise? Hell yes. Did I need an Elizabeth Gilbert Eat, Pray, Love experience? Yes…hell yes. But I was broke and had no time to really fly off to Rome, India or Bali.¬†¬†I couldn’t afford to go to Fiji and¬†have a Tony Robbins¬†life-changing experience. So I’d have to change¬†my life without the use of a passport.

But I didn’t really get started until Gretchen popped into my life.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Image via Happiness-Project.com

I never thought I’d meet a Gretchen or that she’d help change my outcome. I mean it’s not¬†like she was Tony Robbins or anything, just some chick with a book I glanced at during one of my self-help expeditions at the book store. In truth, I¬†hadn’t planned on going to Barnes & Noble, but the movie I wanted to watch was sold out, so instead of heading back home —¬†a¬†world where moms hardly escape — I decided to take a detour and hang out at the book store. As I was checking out all these ridiculous “find-your-inner-light” books by people who didn’t really have inner light, I came across Gretchen’s book: The Happiness Project.

I remembered¬†my picture and thought … yeah I need me some of that because Trader Joe’s may be running out of chocolate lava cakes.

What do I have to lose? $14.99?

I thought damn Guat¬†… you need to start squeezing some of the juice out of these lemons that life threw at you like a Randy Johnson fastball in his¬†prime.

So¬†I launched my Happiness Project. I made goals, plans, resolutions to make things better out of the crappy life I wasn’t meant to have. Sure I had my health, but I couldn’t just go walking around just being thankful for my health alone. I wanted more. I wanted to be like Will Smith¬†at the end of The Pursuit of Happiness¬†where he’s clapping his hands and crying because he made it. Yeah I wanted me some of that.

So I read it. And I know the book only had 12 chapters, but I managed to squeeze out 27 lessons, experiences, plans, resolutions for my Happiness Project. I vowed to take baby steps and giant steps toward my happiness. I vowed to rush down that field like an awesome Heisman Trophy¬†winner. I vowed to be Badass again … with a capital B. I vowed to let my freak flag fly. I vowed to try to be that Guat I saw in the picture.

:)

ūüôā

I concentrated on specific things for my own happiness:¬†¬†emotional, physical, and mental wellness; being an awesome member of the¬†parenthood fraternity; finding the funny in not so funny situations; dancing like I was the chick from Flashdance¬†every day because the music is definitely in me; staying athletic no matter how much IcyHot and ibuprofen I used; being present and not getting crazy with the multitasking that is inherent in all moms; seeking new¬†challenges so I¬†am less depressed; having my kind fun however it is that I defined fun which usually involved sports, the AMC network, or anything involving Jason Bateman; living like it was Shark Week; learning to be grateful; having a purpose and feeling like¬†there’s something out there for me, productivity as in pouring out my writing ideas even if the publishing date is still TBA, and¬†celebrating little¬†accomplishments as in giving myself a high-five.

This is what I tried to do for 365 days.

So the big question is, are you happy? Are you happier? Did it work?

I can only say that considering I had turned into the female version of George Costanza, my Happiness Project has kept me from jumping off a cliff. I see that chick in the picture more often than I used to.

Am I happy all day, every day? No. I’d need more cash for that to come true. And I know people say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but they might not be trying hard enough, because it sure does help.

But aside from that am I¬†¬†happy? Considering what I go through and what my life didn’t turn out to be, I’d say I’m rocking Plan B. I’ve squeezed every last drop of the hundreds of lemons dumped on me by life¬†and they in turn have given me more moments of happiness.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fallen off the wagon¬†plenty of times this year.¬†Marriage and family will do that to you. This is when the chocolate, drinking, Deepak Chopra style meditation, or Rocky Balboa type of workouts surfaced.

But regardless of the¬†crappy days, I learned that the¬†next day gave me another 24 hours to make up for it. I was like Jack Bauer … making the most of every hour. And during this Eat, Pray, Love journey that was confined to the Golden State, there were¬†a few¬†resolutions, lessons, goals that helped me out the most.

Be The Guat — remembering to fly my freak flag no matter what. I usually didn’t have a problem with that one ever, but it was always a good reminder.

Be present — as in show up, enjoy the now, be present in the moment in whatever it is I’m doing … running, reading,¬†watching¬†a movie,¬†eating dinner, playing Legos with my kid. Stop multi-tasking and be present. Savor the moment because if I’m doing something I can’t go at it half-assed. Whole ass is the way to go.

Find the funny — you gotta laugh. First you’ll probably cry, and eat a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry’s but once that’s done, find the funny. Write your life like a Saturday Night Live skit and you’ll find the funny and it’ll get you through.

HappinessHere

ūüôā

Yeah … these were my lessons, my goals, my resolutions. Am I happy?

I’d say I’m a little happier. I’ve learned to¬†embrace the George Costanza phase of my life. Happy Festivus!¬†¬†And even though I finished the¬†book,¬†My¬†Happiness Project still continues. I’ll always be trying to squeeze¬†out as much juice as possible, it’s in my nature now. I’m a lemon squeezer.

 

The Journey …

Happiness Project Update: Squeezing Every Drop of Juice Out of The Lemon

Happiness Project Update 2: Humor Seeker, Dancing Fool, and Big Pants Wearer

Happiness Project Update 3: I Don’t Fit Into Skinny Jeans, But I’m O.K. With That. I’m an Athlete With Curves.

Happiness Project Update 4: Listening to my GPS and Getting More Branches on the Tree

My Happiness Project Update 5: Still Aiming for That Six Percent and Tina Fey.

Happiness Project Update 6: Get a Grip! You’re Not Single Anymore, It Takes 90 Minutes.

Happiness Project Update 7: Enjoying The Now, Enjoying The Later Much Better, and Ripley

Happiness Project Update 8: I Accept That This is Not an 80s Movie

Happiness Project Update 9: Parenthood … Awful, Awful, Awful, Terrific!

Happiness Project Update 10: Parenthood … Where Everyone Has a Meltdown

My Happiness Project Update 11: Parenthood is All About Angles, Even If Some of Them Require 243 Pieces.

My Happiness Project Update 12: Finding Gratefulness in Ordinary Days … And Not the Artificial Kind.

My Happiness Project Update 13: Other People’s Crappy Life

Happiness Project Update 14: The Lemon Squeezer

Happiness Project Update 15: Getting A Mango Every Now and Then

Happiness Project Update 16: Pantene Moments During Crunch Time

Happiness Project Update 17: BFFs or Just BFs

Falling off the Happiness Project-Bucket List Wagon

Happiness Project Update 18: Table For One? Dude. No. Party of Two and Tag-Teams.

Happiness Project Update 19: It’s All About Options

Happiness Project Update 20: Paying It Forward One Penny at a Time

Happiness Project Update 21: The Lieutenant Dan State of Mind

Happiness Project Update 22: The Food Network Adventure Begins

Happiness Project Update 23: Extending Deadlines and Plan B

Happiness Project Update 24: Stopping the Autopilot

Happiness Project Update 26: The Antidote to the This-Currently-Sucks-Right-Now Moments

Happiness Project Update 27: I Fell Off the Wagon … But I Found Refuge

Happiness Project Update 27: I Fell Off the Wagon … But I Found Refuge

21 Jun

The “negativity bias” crept in this week, like a tiny parasite sucking the life out of me.

I let the outside effect my mood. I mean who doesn’t right? It happens to everyone, maybe even Gandhi himself, that’s probably why he meditated so much.

Most of the time you feel good when you wake up because you realize you have another 24 hours to make something happen for yourself. 24 hours to do something. 24 hours to find a way to be happy or happier. 24 hours for something different from yesterday. 24 hours to fly your freak flag and be proud. 24 hours closer to reaching you dream. 24 hours … I mean Jack Bauer saved the world in 24 hours the least you can do is have a good day right?

But then you get out of bed and life happens.

You stubbed your toe. You can’t find matching socks. Your kids fight over the superhero cape.¬† You realize someone sent in the payment late and you’ve gotten a penalty fee. You wanted orange juice¬†in the morning¬†and just as you reach for the Simply Orange¬†way in the back of the fridge you realize that some jackass left it in there with three drops. You try to shake it off, but then you hear from Debbie Downer and¬†they’re trying to drag you down with the ship. You get criticized for the third time in ten minutes.¬†You check your voicemail and realize that your friends are taking an awesome two-day vacation you desperately need, but you can’t go¬†on because there’s no one to watch your kids. It takes a village to raise one, right? This town is population: 1 Guat.

You need to get out of the house.

So you walk out to the car to get the diapers your dude left in the trunk overnight and¬†$78 parking ticket is hanging out on your windshield for all to see. Street Sweeper. People walking their dogs¬†see it.¬†They give you a sympathetic smile. They feel you. You’re glad, until you walk back home and step in dog poop.

You really need a Namaste moment. You realize the “negativity bias” kicked in.

The bias is defined by Gretchen Rubin as:

“… we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. I’d learned in February, within a marriage, it takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one critical or destructive act. With money, the pain of losing a certain sum is greater than the pleasure of gaining that sum. Hitting the best-seller list with Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill thrilled me less than a bad review upset me.”

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

Yeah … like I said negativity bias. Although¬†I don’t really agree with her on the money one, if I found lost money I’d be doing cartwheels, and forget about how pissed off I was when I lost it. Finding lost items is awesome. But I agree with the rest. So what could I do with all the negative stuff brooding in my system?

She suggests finding a mental “area of¬†refuge” and I agree. Thinking about an escape,¬†something to distract you from the drama, something to occupy your mind and get you through the momentary traffic jam that is your life. So I thought of bungy jumping in Austrailia. I thought of the giant water slide my dad and I ventured on in Guatemala. I thought about the Spider-Man theme song my uncle use to sing randomly. I thought about Trader Joe’s Chocolate Lava Cakes.¬†I thought about Jack Tripper¬†(he always made me laugh). I thought about my son in the swimming pool doing his first starfish float and smiling excitedly. I thought about my daughter’s bouncy toddler run when she “hits” a home run¬†and runs around are makeshift bases. I thought about the fresh smell of wet soil as I rode my bike through the park early Sunday mornings. It smelled liked Earth.

I wasn’t Mary Poppins after that, but I wasn’t festering in the crappy mood¬†or the dog¬†crap.

Things got better, until night time.

Thank God for Netflix. I was able to distract myself with episodes of Arrested Development.

Happiness Project Update 25: I’m Still Keeping The Snooze Button

15 May

Apparently everyone has a set of inherent¬†rules that help them get through the day. Sometimes you’ve had them so long you don’t even remember making the list, you just keep the rules because they have been working for you … sort of.

And then it hits you … you’re the female version of George Costanza except you’re in your thirties and¬†¬†you’ve got hair. Gray hair, a multitude of¬†gray sneaking in,¬†the bad kind. The stressful kind. So maybe you need to examine these rules a bit closer. Part of this whole Happiness Project challenge involves mindfulness and I couldn’t go forward without examining some of my rules.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

I know I’m a Chapstick¬†type of chick, but I’m still a¬†complex human being. I’ve got layers.¬†So my list was a little long. But I narrowed down the rules that¬†could use some tweaking. But could I? I’ve had them for a while. They were rules, right? Dude …¬†then I realized.¬†This is not Monopoly, you can totally change the rules. These were the contenders.

Hit the snooze button.

Finish the to-do list.

Hurry. Hurry. Hurry.

Calm down.

At¬†first they seem pretty good. Finishing my to-do list¬†was necessary. It gave me umph! at the end of the day. A high-five for crossing everything off my list. Victorious at the end of a very tiring day. And of course I had to be in hurry, how else could I finish the list. Hurry to be on time. Hurry to finish working out. Hurry reading this book. Hurry ¬†I only had 24 hours. But then I thought if I had all these things to do why would I hit the snooze button in the mornings? It’s just taking time away from finishing the list. Am I sleeping longer? Yes, but then I’m in a hurry because I snoozed it. Then there’s the calm down, effect. I realized that sometimes you need to feel a little rage. Case in point my run-in with the personal space hijackers at the beach.¬†Calming down is not necessarily¬†what you want to hear or feel at the time.¬†Just feel it. Repressing emotions just lead to crazy later.

That is what I learned after a brief review.

But the most eye-opening examination happened to be the one that Gretchen Rubin gave me. Apparently she agreed with me about the hurry, hurry, hurry. It’s not very constructive and it’s¬†probably more stressful. So she gave me an idea.

Instead of hurry, hurry, hurry. Try “I have plenty of time for the things that are important to me,” even if I hit the snooze button.

“By questioning my True Rules instead of applying them unthinkingly, I could make sure I applied them only when they’d guide me to decisions that reflected my true priorities … By mindfully deciding how to act in line with my values instead of mindlessly applying my rules, I was better able to make the decisions that supported my happiness.” — Gretchen Rubin

And so with this advice I added a few new rules to my list courtesy of Rubin’s¬†chapter on mindfulness in hopes that more happiness and less craziness comes pouring in.

 

First thing is first (as in when the plane is going down, grab the oxygen mask and put it on yourself first before helping anybody else … you can’t help if you’re not breathing).

Down with boredom.

Get some work done everyday.

Choose the bigger life.

People succeed in groups.

 

But I’m still keeping the snooze button, sometimes you really need it.

Falling off the Happiness Project-Bucket List Wagon

2 Dec

You ever feel like your life needs an intervention? I mean you’re not an alcoholic, drug user, or addict of any kind. Your only “addiction” is giving people the benefit of the doubt and somehow you just run into a lot of stupid people and a lot of bad luck. You look in the mirror and think this can’t be it. This really can’t be it. You need to sit yourself down in front of the mirror and say … What the hell is going on?

Yeah … I had one of these moments. And then I saw this …

 

I thought … holy crap I’m already there and I’m not even 40 yet, but I’m already there.

Granted the situation is not the same. I don’t have a trampoline and I’m not a bitchy wife, but you have these moments where you think … I didn’t think life would be this hard, or this much work. I mean I followed all the rules. The do what’s right and not wrong rules, the be kind to others rules, the go to college rules, the bust your ass to get an education and good job rules, the be a good mom with a good heart rules, the follow your dream rules, the make a Bucket List rules, the create a Happiness Project rules.

All the rules … I’ve done all the right thing rules and sometimes … sometimes it works and I can say that I’m happy … for a minute.

But I’d like it to last a little bit longer than just a length of a commercial.

I mean there are other times when I think … damn do I need another self-help project? A smack me out of this crappy state of mind project? However, I think I have too many projects already, I mean I can’t even find the time to fold my laundry. And when you’re the mom in a family, you usually come last on the list of priorities.¬† I guess I have to start picking an entire 24-hour period where I’m first, instead of an hour three times a week.

But let’s not get crazy, who ever heard of me getting 24 hours to myself once a week. Dude. Hasn’t happened yet.

I find myself in a happiness recession today. I’ve fallen off the Happiness Project-Bucket List Wagon. I don’t know, maybe I’m just still tripping over the loss of my dog, or maybe I just had a really crappy weekend, or maybe I need to see this Judd Apatow movie to get a few suggestions on how to get out of this unhappiness weekend funk by using comedy.

Maybe I just need a movie night. A ticket for one. A table for one. The quiet silence of the night without getting interrupted by someone needing something.

Maybe this weekend was a temporary setback and I need to continue chipping away at my “Do Better” list, my Bucket List, and my Happiness Project. Maybe I just need a 2.0 version of myself before I actually hit 40, so that I don’t have a crisis when I hit that milestone birthday. Maybe I need to continue visualizing The Guat 2.0 in order to get passed the current happiness funk the weekend brought me. Maybe I just need to cowboy-up¬† and realize that sometimes bad days last a little while longer, and I just need to buy more chocolate in order to get through weekends just like these. It’s all part of the intervention process. Chocolate is step one. Comedy is step two.

Falling off the emotional Happiness Project-Bucket List wagon is hard. It’s a good thing I’ve got padding, I feel I’m gonna need a lot of it.

Happiness Project Update 16: Pantene Moments During Crunch Time

8 Nov

“Who is she to talk about happiness when everything in her life is fine?”

She asked the question and I thought about it. And yeah … when I started this whole Happiness Project it did cross my mind. I thought yeah … Gretchen Rubin should be happy. She’s got everything she wanted … everything I wanted, what’s up with her? She doesn’t need any more happiness. She’s got surplus. I could use some. I’ve got deficit … in the trillions.

Yeah it did cross my mind. But as I continued reading and got to the end of¬† the “Be Serious About Play,” Chapter she brought up a good point:

“Are you more likely to think about happiness — and take action to try to build happiness — when everything in your life is going well, or when you’re facing a catastrophe?”

Dude. Everyone could use happiness, when you’re at the bottomless pit of crappiness you need it. When you’re happy you need to realize that you have it and you should do everything you can to maintain it.

Everybody’s answer is different.

After reading all the responses at the end of that chapter, I realized that for me, it’s a combination of both. I think about happiness during my mid-life malaise and when I have my Holy-Crap moments. On most days I have small moments of happiness … I hear a great song, I dance in the living room, I post on my blog, I eat a great piece of chocolate, I sit in the quiet of the night, or I watch an awesome episode of Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, or Breaking Bad. They’re not ever-lasting moments, but I enjoy them while they last.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Then on some days, like when I accomplish triathlons and Warrior Dashes, when I get seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, when I have pizza-making night with my kids, a girls-night out with my friends, or Halloween-athons with the family, these moments last a lot longer. Sometimes the entire day or the whole night and even though I’m tired, weary, or exhausted, I’m so grateful for the day-long happiness — for the Guat smile, for the Guat laughter.

Most of this gratefulness stems from surviving all the crappiness that’s come my way. And since I haven’t had many happiness marathon moments, I tend to really appreciate and savor them when they come.

I recognize them when they happen. It’s like having a bad hair day six days in a row and then on the seventh day, you look like a Pantene model, with soft-silky hair. You remember when this happens.

You try to bank these days.

“It’s like saving money, you can’t save for when you get laid off, or after you get laid off; rather you have to save while you have a job and the money is still coming in. Life is like that, you have to DO while you are able to think of what you want, what you like, what needs it will fill, how it will enhance your life, how it will help you to maintain you, so that you have some reserves when crunch time comes.”

Crunch time. It’s all about trying to have your Pantene moment, or remembering a Pantene moment, when Crunch Time happens. That’s one of the lessons I learned from this chapter. You think about getting happiness when you’re going through a catastrophe, and you’re grateful for happiness when it comes. Or at least that’s the goal.

But I’m also learning what specific things make me happy. In this chapter finding out what “fun” meant for me was a nice holy-crap moment. I mean I already knew what I thought was fun, I was just reminded that other people’s idea of “fun” was different from mine and that was O.K. Even though I may find ideas exciting and great, they might not be fun for me, and I’m all right with that because during Crunch Time all that matters are the little Pantene moments that contribute to the “good hair” days in my life, those little Pantene moments that I can deposit or withdrawal from the bank at any time, during¬† Holy-Crap moments or catastrophes.

 

Happiness Project Update 14: The Lemon Squeezer

4 Oct

Finding fun. I never thought this concept was complicated. In fact I found it quite simple, but after reading Gretchen Rubin‘s chapter “Be Serious About Play,” I realized I could squeeze in a little more.

Reading this chapter made me reflect on my progress and lack of progress in my own Happiness Project. Am I happier now, than when I started? Well yes and no. I’m not world traveling, rock climbing, bungy jumping or kayaking rapids every weekend, but I’m still finding ways to get through the daily part of life with more fun and less mid-life malaise.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

This whole project was set up to make a change, not a drastic one that never gets follow-up, but a bunch of little changes that add up and make a difference. I needed to flip a switch on a daily basis in order to squeeze every drop of lemon juice from the lemons life left for me. I’d become a squeezer, a Bed, Bath & Beyond Lemon Squeezer.

During all this juice extraction I realized, just as Rubin had written in her chapter “Be Serious About Play,” that you can’t have happiness without fun. Mind blowing concept, I know. So it tripped me out when she mentioned the “sadness of a happiness project.”

Sadness in happiness? What the hell is that? I got plenty of sadness in sadness, it doesn’t need to be creeping up on my happiness project.

But I found that it was a common realization. Apparently, it’s an understanding that there are a lot of things you wish you could do in life, because they sound so interesting and exciting. But then you know that you won’t do them because they’re not really fun for you. A couple of Rubin’s readers had some of the best responses to this awareness. She wrote:

“I will never be an F-1 racer. I will never be a supermodel. I will never know what it’s like to fight in a war. To be a dancer on a cruise ship. To be a dealer in Las Vegas.

“Not because they are entirely impossible to achieve. But because I can’t dance (I tried). I can’t take G forces (I can’t even ride a roller coaster). I am not tall or pretty enough. I hate physics and maths, so I can’t be an astronaut.

“This is less about whether I CAN actually do any of those things, but more about whether I’d actually want to do them. Or to be dedicated enough to work towards them. I will never be that person.”

Dude.

I had to take a minute on that one. I highlighted it. This was so true. I realized that although I wasn’t the kind of person to go out and do things I didn’t want to do, or do them and pretend I enjoyed them just for the sake of impressing a group or a person, there were still some things that I found fun that I may not have openly admitted or pursued because I didn’t think there were kindred spirits out there to join me.

But Rubin challenged me to try to “Find More Fun.” I thought get on it, because apparently having fun is an essential component to a happier life.

So what did I find fun? What made my list? Now considering that I don’t have the Oprah bank account to travel and explore new cities and do adventurous stuff like rock climbing, bungy jumping, and kayaking rapids my list would have to be more realistic and narrowed down a bit to fun on a budget. When the cash flow increases then perhaps I’d be off … traveling. But for now, the lemon squeezer finds more fun in the day-to-day, so that my happiness can increase.

So what’s fun?

Since I’m here in the blogging world, you probably guessed that writing and blogging is something I find fun. You’re right. I do. I get a kick out of putting my stories out there and hearing that other people enjoyed them, or that other people could relate.

I think watching college football is fun. I love hanging out. I love tailgating. I have fun cheering on my team and high-fiving friends and complete strangers when my team scores a touchdown. I have fun saying woo-hoo when this happens. I love saying woo-hoo to myself when I’m watching from my couch on Saturday mornings. I’m all about woo-hoos.

I think watching movies is fun. Mobster movies, 80s movies, psychological thriller movies, and of course comedies. I can buy a ticket “for one” and not feel self-conscious at all that I’m hanging out by myself at the local AMC. But I’m also very grateful for cable and Netflix. They help continue this movie fun quest on a budget.

Board games. I think board games are fun. I remember when I was younger getting a huge thrill out of playing Hungry Hungry Hippo, Trouble, Sorry, Monopoly, and Operation. My friends and sister would play for hours and we’d have so much fun. Lite Brite rocked my world too. So in effort to continue this I opened up a board game they gave my four-year old son and we had a blast. I decided I needed to make a trip to Target so that he could get the Hungry-Hungry-Hippo experience. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Sports. I think sports are fun. Playing sports or running in triathlons really does it for me. I enjoyed playing sports so much growing up that I decided to do the triathlon thing, it brings me the same woo-hoo-cart-wheel type of feelings as it did when I was a skinny teenager.

Seinfeld. I think Seinfeld is fun. I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld, probably twice, maybe even three times. I love cracking up and he does it for me. I’ve even checked out his new project Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I think laughing is fun, so I check to see what he’s doing.

And last but not least, dancing. I love dancing. I think it’s fun to get my groove on. Now that I’m older I’m not into the whole club dance scene, but I listen to¬† music every day and I bust a move at home. But I gotta be careful when I’m jamming in my socks, the wooden floor is not soft when I slip and fall because I’m totally into my Solid Gold Dancer mode.

This is the Guat kind of fun and as a lemon squeezer, I’m gonna do my best to keep it up.

 

 

 

My Happiness Project Update 13: Other People’s Crappy Life

19 Sep

I so wish I could be Buddha-like on this happiness-project resolution. I wish I could be one of those faceless shadowy figures who stand on a mountain top with an awesome sunset before them and their hands in the air — the kind of shadowy people who¬† are pictured in inspirational calendars. That was my goal, but no such luck. Not even close.

This whole gratitude thing proved to be one of the most difficult resolutions of My Happiness Project. I guess most people find it easy to be grateful. But before you go thinking that I’m some kind of an ass, let me clear things up. I am extremely grateful when good things happen to me. I’m busting out cartwheels and thank yous nonstop. They just don’t happen very often.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

I was doing pretty well with that whole gratefulness meditation thing that Gretchen Rubin suggests in her book, however I added chocolate and a glass of my favorite alcoholic beverage. And that seemed to help during ordinary days, but when you have crappy days I think that’s when the whole gratefulness factor needs to step it up a notch. This is where I’ve been failing, because there is not enough chocolate or Framboise.

I usually just get really bummed out because I can’t think of any new reasons for which to be grateful, so I end up watching a comedy to help improve my depressing attitude before going to bed. Then I’m thankful for comedy. Jason Bateman comedies are common during dark days, although I have a wide range of go-to films for crappy days like that.

But the key is thinking of something new or different each week, or each day. When this crappiness occurs, I always end up saying well at least I have my kids and my health. But part of this whole gratefulness resolution is to find more aspects of your life for which to be grateful.

So I got stuck. Then I realized why …

“One of the many ways to define unhappiness is the degree of difference between where you are and where you want to be — or the difference between what is and what you expect.” — Dale Carnegie

Yes. That’s me. There is a big degree of difference between what I am and what I imagined I’d be at 37. Ginormous. But I’m sure I’m not alone on this one, probably a handful of other people feel the same.¬† So then Gretchen Rubin makes a suggestion. Catastrophe Memoirs. In other words read about someone else’s really crappy, horrible life and be thankful that it wasn’t you. Now I’m all for reading, but I feel bad about gaining appreciation and gratefulness at the expense of others. I don’t want to be that person who reads about a chick with cancer and thinks … well thank God that’s not me. That’s sort of a crappy way to get to a happier place.

But I realized that Rubin wasn’t suggesting that I have the ha-ha this-happened-to-you-and-not-me mentality. It was more of¬† an “admonition to live fully and thankfully in the present,” and not wait until “catastrophe” strikes in order to be grateful, or in order to do the things that make your life a life. Appreciate ordinary days and cherish your health. This was what Rubin was getting at with all the catastrophe memoirs.

However, I have yet to read one. I imagine when I’m all the way at the bottom I might crack one open without feeling guilty. But for now, hearing about other people’s crappy life will do just fine. Plus I just stocked up on Framboise and chocolate.