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how to be happier

Saturday, June 6, 2015

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happiness feels too whimsical, fighting for okay seems reasonable & achievable

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I actually have no idea, how to happier. I wish I did, I wish I had some magical thinking to share with you that would help you in some dramatic, epiphany-esque way on a daily basis. Truth is, I struggle with this thing we all grasp at, clumsily and greedily, this very vague thing called happiness. I realize my life might look peachy from where you are sitting and in a lot of ways it is but in a lot of ways so is yours. Ernest Hemingway said, ‘happiness in intelligent people is the hardest thing I know’ and while I’m not claiming to be the smartest, I like to think I know enough to make being happy all the time just a little bit arduous. I used to think happiness was just sort of built into us, embedded in our pores, as natural as the air we breathe or the blood in our veins. It took me 26 years to realize this isn’t true. In fact, it is easier to wallow. I am very prone to melancholy. I revert and so often back up into this alley of misery, a little one-way pathetic road I nestle into and call home. My parents say I’m too jaded for a twenty year old and I guess I am. I trust no one, I find myself secretly rolling my eyes and muttering ‘ofcourse’ every time something or someone irritating comes my way – because to be shocked by the inconveniences, frustrations and sadness that infuses our lives seems rather foolish to me. I increasingly find planet earth to be a beautiful place but speckled with human disappointment and anguish. All the poverty, all the turmoil we cause on this pretty round ball – it’s enough to make anyone despondent, me especially. And it is this cynicism that works like a steroid, pumping my dissatisfaction to mutated proportions. But over the last year or so, I started striving for an emotion a little more reasonable, one that I call ‘okay’. Rather than the euphoria that seems to come so easily to some of my friends, okay is enough for me. As long as I’m not sad, then life is just that, okay. Every once in a while, happiness hits me swiftly  in the same way a few glasses of wine would and I cherish those days. I flag them as emotional postcards, and I like that – I wasn’t chemically programmed to be enthusiastic and over the moon happy all the time. And that is okay. I don’t bolt out of bed every morning, limbs and mind at the ready for the day – I move a little more slowly, perhaps with a sigh. And that’s okay. I’m far from miserable. I’m okay. And how do I ensure that all my days are okay? I use my cynicism to my advantage, nothing surprises me, I am prepared for the worst. I am not easily frazzled or stressed out anymore. There is equilibrium in ‘okay’ , a solace in this steady state-of-mind that maintains balance, rather than bouncing from those exhausting euphoric highs to sinking lows. As long as I am alive and the people I love are still walking this earth, then life is good. Everything is okay. I fight to feel okay – and my personal efforts are small but monumental. Some of which include, staying away from fashion magazines (everyone is too rich and beautiful), I read books and listen to music I like, I buy organic vegetables and eat them all day long….I exercise with a rigour verging on obsession and most importantly, I laugh all day long. Because as a cynic, life is laugh-until-your-sides-hurt hilarious. And running around searching for this whimsical thing called happiness is like trying to catch a star in your hand, fruitless and frustrating. You can look so hard you forget to glance at what’s around you. I aim for an okay day everyday. And that’s all I need. You don’t need money or beauty or clothes to feel okay – just the air around you and a willingness to laugh instead of cry. I hope you fight for your own okay.


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