Getting Happy

The excitement of my move to Chicago was amazing! My spirits were lifted and I felt like I was doing something great, my life was on track. And then, I settled into my normal routine, with my normal thought processes, and my normal friend, Sadness. Gotta love that guy. He just pops into your house and smacks you awake in the middle of the night. Makes you cry for no reason. Like a bad ex, he just keeps coming back, and even though you don’t want to, you end up sleeping with him again. But, I was living my dream, right? Right?

A clarification, you can travel the world, quit your job, make art or do math or plant trees or whatever you like to do, make a million dollars and if you weren’t happy before, you just won’t be. What you do has a lot to do with happiness, but the reverse is true a million times over. It is harder than hard to accomplish anything when you’re depressed. The motivation just isn’t there. So, that’s where I was about a month into living in Chicago. You’ll notice a pattern with me. I’m impulsive and emotional to a fault, but my father’s introspective persona rubbed off on me enough that I know when self-evaluation is necessary.

Some of the people who kept me sane in Chicago while I was finding my happy.

Some of the people who kept me sane in Chicago while I was finding my happy.

Long story short I checked out pretty much every book in the LIBRARY on finding happiness. I put LIBRARY in all caps, because it is the greatest resource ever in the history of the whole entire world. If you don’t have a library card, shame on you. Shame, shame, shame. So, anyway I went through the “10 Days to Ultimate Happy” books, the “Cook Yourself Happy”s and I tried a few of the “A Brief Exposition on The Subject of Immaculate Joy” types, but I couldn’t make it through most of them. I read Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, Zeus and Buddha, hell I even tried Jimi Hendrix. After gathering all the facts these wise men and women could give me, I pulled out what has constantly been my best resource. An empty notebook.

I started much like my life crisis planning. I wrote down how I was feeling and what I wanted. But planning what I was going to do didn’t seem to be the way to go this time. So instead, I wrote down what I like about myself. In spite of depression, I’m hopelessly cocky, so this was a long list. Then I wrote down what I wanted to work on. In spite of being cocky, I’m hopelessly self-deprecating, so this list was even longer. Then I went back to the LIBRARY and found books more specific. “How to Forgive and Forget” “Don’t Beat Yourself Up for Dummies” “Do What You Say You’re Going to Do”. I absorbed the knowledge from these books, remembered what I’d learned from the others and, wait for it, actually attempted to apply the principles to my life.

And somewhere a few months later, I realized I was happy. It hadn’t happened over night, and it wasn’t all the time. But I found that I wasn’t crying myself to sleep. I was smiling during the day, and getting over disappointments easier. I was happy. This was an amazing discovery and it only took a few steps.

  1. Realize you’re not happy
  2. Figure out how you’re feeling
  3. Learn about happiness
  4. Love Yourself
  5. Evaluate Yourself
  6. Change Yourself
  7. Enjoy

I often repeat these steps, because happiness needs to be fed, and sometimes you let things in that make you unhappy, but these steps, especially 4-6, will change your life over and over, as many times as you need them to. And after you get happy within yourself, you’ll want to make yourself happy in every aspect of your life. Which is why, in April of 2012, I decided to quit my job and become a gypsy. But I’ll tell you all about that later.

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