The Happiness Equation

Valentine’s Day is creeping closer.  Although I’m single and could easily be all “I hate Valentine’s Day.  Or should I say, Singles Awareness Day,” I harbor no ill will towards Valentine’s Day or my current single status.

I am focusing on me, and part of that focus involves my search for my happiness equation, figuring out what makes me most happy.  In other words, I am working on realizing what things, what areas not only make me happy, but make me unhappy if their metaphorical tanks are not full.  These are definitely part of the equation (in no particular order):

1. Travel

2. Writing

3. Blogging

4. Reading

5. Quality time with loved ones

6. Stability/security (this one is not to be confused with predictability.  For me, stability/security doesn’t mean predictability; rather, stability/security means being sure of my feelings and a general sureness of where others stand in regards to their emotions.  Stability/security is also what I value in terms of my finances).

7. Receiving gifts (And no, receiving gifts is not synonymous with spending money.  A gift is something with sentimental meaning; a pretty rock or shell found on a beach could qualify as a gift as long as there is meaning.)

8. Adventure (trying new things, going someplace new, etc)

I value each of the above areas differently, but they are all part of my personal happiness equation.  Right now, some of those areas have gaps in them, and those voids have been causing some major unhappiness.  So when it comes to my love life, I’d rather concentrate on my own happiness first before getting into a relationship because if I’m not happy with my own life, how will I have a happy relationship with another person?  Love yourself first, have a happy life, and you’ll have very little strife.  That’s the rhyming motto I’m going with.

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Project Thankful: Reason #59

I woke up this morning, and I felt the same pit in my gut I began noticing three years ago.  The pit of unhappiness.  Because I have not been happy for quite some time, and this unhappiness is not due to being dissatisfied with one area of my life or even a couple, but over all not being happy with my life.  When I began to realize this unhappiness three years ago, I started taking measures to try to remedy this unhappiness because no one wants to be unhappy, including me.  Fast forward to present day, and I can’t help but accept the voice, the Higher Power at work in the Universe, that says “You’ve done all you could, but stop struggling.  Let go.  I’ve got you.”

When we desire change, perhaps the reason why change rarely comes is on account of our desire for said change.  I have spent my life in pursuit of “want,” and what I have found is that it is a life of struggle.  So I’m going to take the voice’s advice and stop struggling.  

It’s like the scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where Harry, Ron, and Hermione are entangled in Devil’s Snare.  At first they struggle against the plant, trying to fight to get out of it.  Then Hermione remembers that the more you struggle against Devil’s Snare, the tighter it constricts.  When you relax, it lets you go.

Project Thankful: Reason #49

Thursday was a long day.  I did not get a break from students, except for my 30 minute lunch period.  After work, I had to go to the grocery store, run home to put the groceries away, pick up my mom from work, and go over to my aunt’s house.  Once back home, I had to feed my sister’s lizards since she is currently living in Florida for work.  Finally, I was able to have computer time, allowing me to check emails and blog.  By 9:00 I was ready for bed.

Friday morning I woke up, but I did not feel refreshed.  I felt raw, as though the winds of my current situation had at last worn down the layers of protection I had built up that kept me in a cocoon of contentment, so as to make me shout “You’ve got me!  I’m burnt out!  Unhappy!  No amount of time off from work will help!  It’s not a break I need, but a change and a really humongous one at that!”

I need to travel.  I seemed to have developed a need to travel at least once a year to a destination not within a day’s worth of driving distance.  This need has become essential to my happiness, and without travel I am not happy.

As my current financial situation does not allow for me to travel, I can envision my first travel trip of 2014 instead.  I would go to Florida and visit my sister and, more importantly, her puppy who is my adorable niece.  I miss them both terribly, and I wish I could see them.  While spending time with them I would visit Fort Lauderdale because that is a part of Florida that was so much fun last time I went there.  From there I would go to Crystal River to swim/snorkel with manatees, one of my favorite animals.  My Florida trip would culminate with me going to the Florida Keys, a place on my 2014 bucket list.

I’ve been to many states, all of which I have enjoyed.  Yet it is Florida that calls to me the most, makes me feel like it is the only non-New England state I could live in and call home, even if I could only live there for part of the year.

With every new year, people say different predictions about what the year will be.  For me, 2014 will be, is, my year of happiness, the year where I do not settle for contentment, instead choosing to live a life of happiness.

Why Do New Beginnings Mean Leaving People?

I am about halfway done with applying to graduate school.  My end goal: a PhD in English.

Ambitious? Yes, but I like to go after challenges. I love literature, especially research. Am I a nerd? Also, yes. To me, research is a form of creativity because you are explaining to others how you view something, allowing them to glimpse into your interpretation in hopes that they will be impacted by your words. Through my time spent working as an Educator, I am also fueled by the desire to teach at the college level, a desire stemming from my passion for working with students.

Then how come the gloomy title of this post? Because more than likely I will be moving to wherever I am accepted and choose to go to grad school. And only a couple of those wherevers are close to home. The rest are either long road trip or need to book a flight places.

Although I do not find out the admissions’ decisions until after the New Year, I am already feeling the sadness at the thought of leaving home. It will be my first time leaving home, living on my own (unless you count my cat), and the words “leaving home” and “on my own” are not the cheeriest of sorts for good reason. I am going to miss my family and my friends, as much as they may drive me crazy from time to time. And this sadness is more poignant around the holidays with me realizing that this might very well be the last holiday season I spend at home.

I haven’t mentioned any of this to my parents because if I did then I would start crying, and they would start crying, and it would get emotional, and we do not have enough tissues in my house for all the tears that would happen. So instead I am blogging about it. Because why do new beginnings mean leaving people? Why do new beginnings imply leaving something major behind, rather than simply an extension of happiness in someone’s life?

As a writer, new beginnings are used for a number of reasons. I am going to focus on mine for the positive aspects to try to distract from some of that sadness. That and cats. Because, really, who wouldn’t feel better looking at cats?

 

I Made It!

I am doing a happy dance right now because I received an email from Amazon with great news: my books have amassed enough sales so that I have reached the required minimum $10 sales mark to get paid!

I have reached the minimum.  I’ll take it and continue with my happy dance.

Being an e-book author, you are pretty much your own team for the most part.  Marketing, editing, cover design, etc are fields you often have to take on yourself in addition to, oh yeah, writing the books.  So when you hear that you are making it, you are overjoyed.

It’s been a slow struggle.  I will be the first to admit that my sales are not phenomenal or that my books are not hotcakes flying off the e-book shelves.  But they’re great books I worked hard on and worth a read.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this possible and continues to make this possible.  I’m talking about you, Reader.  A writer would be nothing without readers, and I thank you.

And resuming happy dance.

Confessions Of A Writer #4

Continuing where I left off with my Confessions Of A Writer series, this is Confession #4 on the list:

4. I think there is a stigma attached with being a creative type, whether painter or writer.  The stigma that if you have not “made it” within a couple of years, then you should put your pursuit of a creative career on hold to focus on a more “stable” career, a career with a steady paycheck and benefits.  There is a giant string attached to that “stable” career, however, and that is that it does not necessarily provide you with happiness.

You know, happiness?  That often talked about, dreamt about, written about concept that becomes seemingly alien as many get older.  Those many use life as an excuse for letting true happiness fall by the curb, saying that bills need to get paid and a whole other laundry list of reasons.  But there comes a time when you have to ask when do you start paying yourself?  When do you start being happy?  Because those bills will always be there; it does not matter if you have $50 in the bank or $5 million.  But you will not always be here.

I know for one, I want to be remembered for the type of person I was, and that includes never giving up on my writing career.  Come what may, I want to die with a pen in my hand and a notebook beside me.