I am sitting in my office surrounded by my books and personal trinkets with the blinds fully open before me, providing the perfect view of today’s rain. WPRK is playing a jazz mix in the other room, where Topher’s just finished Dremel-ing a safety light fixture for his motorcycle. Last night I rode with him to Universal Studios, where we watched fireworks over the water, and today we visited the library.
I used to dream of a life like this. The simplest of my dreams here now before me.
If you can’t already tell, I’m feeling serious today.
I would like to talk about happiness–what we all strive for, whether it be a conscious or subconscious pursuit. I’ve learned a lot about the pursuit of happiness since moving to Orlando, and I think a lot about happiness now the way I’ve always thought about the rain: Restorative, life-giving, cleansing, free-ing.
The most unhappy people I know do not feel free; they feel trapped in lives they have convinced themselves are beyond repair. They see themselves as un-saveable and therefore cannot be saved. Everything is out of control for them, and I have learned there’s no helping those people. No matter how much you care… your caring-for-other-people is not a magical power that makes other people care about themselves. It’s just not.
Freedom and happiness go hand-in-hand… but just like happiness, freedom is a convoluted word–used so often it has become essentially meaningless, and in serious need of refinement.
In its essence, happiness is the freedom to change.
I’d posted something along those lines on Facebook a few years back, and I received the most negative responses. It truly upset me. People have convinced themselves it’s okay to be unhappy, because to them, change is impossible. So many people I love… let me repeat that… so many people I love have convinced themselves it is okay to be unhappy because they think it is impossible to change.
It is always possible to change, and whether you like it or not, life has a way of changing without your permission anyways. Some circumstances are tough, but no circumstance is permanent because life moves on with or without you.
This may be a bit random, but it’s one of my favorite scenes from any movie ever, and it reminds me of what I’m trying to say (addendum: I also recommend the graphic novel):
In the face of the worst circumstances, even when almost nothing is in your control, you still have control of yourself. If you can change nothing else, you can still change your ATTITUDE, your VALUES, your BELIEFS. You choose freedom when you choose INTEGRITY, when you commit to the importance and value of YOURSELF.
I am so, so passionate about this.
The main things I feel I cannot change/control in my life (right now):
- My need for a job: 40 hours of my week that is devoted to the earning of a paycheck and the opportunity to have group-sponsored health insurance.
- My distant dream of master’s school/a fulfilling career/publication/etc: I am not willing to settle on these things, therefore, I am not ready for them. I am not good enough now, but I will be if I keep working toward that dream, meeting small goals toward it along the way.
The main things I feel I CAN change/control in my life RIGHT NOW:
- My commute time: I committed to listening to audio books in the car on the way to work. Just got two from the library today. Something so small, but this small change will make the world of difference in my daily happiness levels.
- My after-work time: I’ve been trying to change this one for awhile. I’ve finally after many failed attempts found a routine that works for me. After work I choose between one hour of doing one or more of the following things: working out, writing, reading, gaming, or cleaning. They all lead to my happiness but for some reason I veg out and do nothing when I get home if I don’t commit to doing them.
- My weekends: I have been appreciating my weekends for awhile now, and I definitely feel happiest on Saturdays and Sacred Sundays. I am going to add a writing goal besides my Sunday blogs for the weekends. It’ll have to do with my novel, but I haven’t pinned it down yet. It will happen.
Speaking of the novel that I briefly mentioned last Sacred Sunday…
*****I met my Wicked Wednesday goal of writing one page (378 words to be exact) of my novel last week,
which created a CRAZY BRAIN OVERLOAD of first-page-of-a-novel induced thoughts, which created another 25-minute long self-recording of novel ideas (ie: my crazy self orating four more scenes).
All of this possible, because I committed to changing something so simple in my life, because I committed to starting something I had a million excuses not to start.
This week, I’m committing to my second challenge: 1,000 words of character sketches.
What are you committed to changing this week?