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You should never be unhappy.

For long.

Yes, “long” is subjective, but we’ll get to that.

Outside of synapses misfiring and psychological disorders, we should all be happy most of the time.

Not content. Not getting by. Not okay.

Happy.

I’ve been thinking about it for some time. See, I know that only I can cause myself emotional upset, but it’s easy to stay there. You could argue that it’s hard to get out.

I’ll agree with you, but I have bursts.

The unhappy state doesn’t last long for me. Sure, it’s upsetting and if you’re close to me, you know how I can dwell, but it comes and goes in waves. If something simmers for me, it’ll simmer; however, at some point, I make a conscious effort to get over it.

Can we blame that on astrology? The fact that I’m ruled by both mars and Pluto (aka rebirth, warrior, fighter–unable to self-pity for long)? The fact that my water sign/earth sign ratio is actually extremely equal (it’s also close to fire, but off by about 4%).

You can decide. I like to think that no, it’s just me. Sometimes, I like to think it’s astrology.

One thing that always makes me happy is a quote. (I love quotes. I have a quote for every occasion.)

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Lao Tzu

I don’t think I need to continue writing, as that sums up my entire existence these days.

I will, though.

Today, I was sitting at this light where there’s a second lane that ends just beyond the intersection. Every tool in the state thinks they’re a VIP and tries to cut someone off by being in that lane. Since I was first in the first lane, I found myself staring at my mirrors to make sure no one was going to burn me in the next lane.

I felt that annoying feeling of anxiety in my chest. It was subtle, but it made me uncomfortable.

Then I stared ahead. Who cares if someone burns me? Maybe they have somewhere to be. Maybe they have a chip on their shoulder.

Who cares?

If no one gets in that lane, faith in humanity is temporarily restored.

Immediately, I felt at ease. I didn’t care. I felt happy. It was 68 degrees, cloudy, and there was a breeze. My windows were down and my hair was blowing all over the place.

I have a tendency to focus on the past. I overanalyze, because I am a thinker. I have to understand things before I can accept them.

Well, you can’t understand everything. (It sucks if you’re anything like me, and you need to know why a caused b and how it yielded to f.)

I’ll never get advanced calculus (except for that one summer – you were lovely 2011). I’ll never understand another person (or maybe I do). I’ll never understand people who don’t like chocolate. I’ll never understand a lot.

Another thing I tend to forget is living in the present. When it comes to travel or new experiences, I try to remember everything so I can write it down later. I’m much better at it now, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I get caught up trying to remember it.

When I was seventeen, I was in the passenger seat with an old friend. He was driving us home from a diner and bad mouthing a summer mix I made. I remember being torn between focusing on what we were talking about and remembering that day.

I remember the day, but I wasn’t conversational. I wasn’t fair.

On the opposite spectrum, I used to focus on the future too much. I created so many different lives that I wish I had wrote them down. They were all so intricately weaved and unique. I could have had a lot of different books.

After one too many disappointments, I swore I’d never picture a future I wanted again, because it was like the universe would hear me and say, “you foolish girl, you can’t choose how things unfold.”

Really, not one thing I’ve ever pictured has come to fruition, nor will it ever. So when I want something, I don’t think too much about it. I certainly don’t picture it. I don’t even let it enter my mind. That way, if it happened, I would be able to honestly say, “never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen.”

Of course, the silent part of that would be “but oh how I tried not to dream of it because of how badly I wanted it.”

It’s a bitter pill to swallow. I’m all for creating your future, and I do, but expectations still manage to surprise me.

My favorite song during the 2006 – 2009 era was by The Books, “Smells like Content.”

At the end of the song, he says:

“Expectation leads to disappointment. If you don’t expect something big huge and exciting… usually…I don’t know, just..”

I knew what he was getting at. I knew it in my bones.

You never realize how big your expectations are until you’re disappointed.

So, where are we?

Live only in the present, and don’t have any expectations.

The past can’t affect you now, and it shouldn’t. What has happened has already happened. What will happen will happen without you worrying about it.

It’s nice to know that among all of the chaos, you can still rest assured that you’re where you need to be.

Unless you have a winning lottery ticket and don’t know it, I guess.

On the reg, though, you’re where you have to be.

“Life is so great that we only get a tiny moment to enjoy everything we see. And that moment is right now. And that moment is counting down. And that moment is always, always fleeting. You will never be as young as you are right now.” – Neil Pasricha

I learned this from Mogli on one particular walk last year. He kept stopping to smell flowers. I used to smell flowers often, but I stopped. I don’t have any reason, but I stop these days. Most don’t have a great scent, but I take the moment anyway.

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through you fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.” – Lauren Oliver

I joke and say I’ll live to 125, but I really don’t know. I try to live every day to the fullest, but my fullest isn’t your fullest and I don’t think people are aware of that.

Sadly.

Living every day to the fullest is being happy, loving my friends and family, and doing something that achieves one of those.

Some days I’m not good at any of them, but I’m a work in progress.

The biggest issue that dampens my happiness is focusing on the past or worrying about where I should be now.

I read this quote that said she wishes she could be 5 and have her whole life ahead of her or 29 and have her whole life figured out already.

I’m almost 26. I know people who are close to 29 and over 30 who don’t have anything figured out.

I don’t speak for all of them, but a select few will probably never figure it out. I can tell you why, too, but I don’t need to get on my pedestal.

Instead, I’ll say that I have goals and I’m halfway to them. I have a list of things I need to accomplish by 30, and you can bet that I’m working hard on them. I’m not focusing on the end-game, but I know it’s there. I know what I want.

I don’t, however, let it taint my today. My present is where I need to be.

I wish I could explain this a little better. Anyway, I shouldn’t compare my life to anyone else’s. I clearly have a different outlook and that’s why I’m me.

So, I hope that if you’re faced with a moment of sadness, that you think about what is upsetting you. I hope that if you recognize that it’s something that occurred in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it now (maybe there is, I don’t know. You figure that out.), you focus on the present.

Because unless certain things happened (illness, death, some other catastrophe), you still have your health, at least one person who loves you, and the ability to change and be whatever it is you want to be.

Or maybe this is just for me. I can’t tell anyone what to do.

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