When I initially thought about sharing my writing, my first thought was one of self-doubt. Who would really care to read the things I have to say? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a people person, I have no problem holding interesting conversations. In general, I feel I have a lot to offer others, on an intellectual level, as well as an emotional and empathetic level. However, by most standards, I’ve done nothing spectacular in my life. I have not traveled the world (though I’d love to), I have not endured anything especially horrific or had to overcome any monumental obstacles. I do, however, possess something invaluable. That is my outlook on life, my perception and perspective that are unique because they are all my own.
It is a beautiful thing to know that we wake up every day with the ability to make it a positive one. We choose what we focus our thoughts on, how we interact with others, and how we handle the situations we are faced with. It’s been said “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” The moment I began to focus on this fact, is the moment I began to feel at peace. Too many nights in my relatively young life have been spent regretting the things I did not accomplish that day, even though I was going to bed mentally and physically drained. Until one day when everything seemed much more simplistic in my head. Did I smile and laugh today? Did I speak to someone I loved today? Did I eat good food, drink clean water and wake up in a comfortable bed? Are my children happy and well cared for? The answer to all of those questions was of course, yes, every day. Our perspective is a powerful force in our life.
In the words of the intriguing author, Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I’ve chosen to look at the stars, and it is an amazing view.
I knew I could never write fiction because honestly I’ve never been much of a dreamer. Wild heart; need for change; craving for adventure; spontaneous; yes, but not a dreamer. What I mean by that is ever since I was a child my expectations for life were fairly realistic. I wasn’t the girl with the box of cut outs envisioning my elaborate wedding day or the mansion I would live in by the ocean. All I really remember wanting was to be happy. Which I’ve realized is a concept so relative, so fluctuating, that the mansion may be more attainable for some people. I don’t say this from a pessimistic point of view. Really, I’d say I’ve always had more of an optimistic disposition. But as I approach my 30th birthday, which is scary and fascinating all in one, I realize that being happy isn’t necessarily a goal as it is a way of life. If our happiness can be defined by fulfillment of specific goals (i.e. buying our dream house; retiring; getting married and starting a family) then really, it’s fleeting. A house can be lost to Mother Nature or because of economic circumstances. Retiring could get old and perhaps boring. Marriages break up often and starting a family comes with challenges all its own. If we, however, find ways to be happy in our everyday life, then really, we’ve won.
And here’s where most get stumped. Because you see, it’s much easier said than done. To be happy every day, when there are surmounting pressures of life and we experience little disappointments with ourselves and others often. However applicable, one of my favorite quotes is this one by Augusten Burroughs: “So we can be filled with holes, and loss and wide expanses of unhealed geography – and we can also be excited by life, and in love and content at the exact same moment.” What does that mean to you? To me, it means that we don’t have to have things together (mentally, emotionally, physically, materially, etc.) in order to be happy and fulfilled. Happiness doesn’t have to be merely a passing emotion. It can be a permanent state of being, no matter the circumstances.
My hope in creating this blog is that I can reflect on a regular basis on the things that I, and most of us, can find happiness in. I hope others can relate, and possibly find through my posts, some gratitude of their own. Not that everything I intend to post will be altogether cheery. But I’ve learned that there is always beauty behind the madness. Struggle, dysfunction, grief, heart ache…..they all give us a chance to appreciate when things are good and give us a broader view of life.