Sunday, July 18, 2010

Personal Commandment No. 5: Cultivate Your Swagger

The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

I see a direct connection between cultivating my swagger and discovering - or rediscovering - my passions and interests. Here's what I've come up with so far. Details to follow ... Swagger on.

  • Helping struggling readers
  • Helping young people develop life skills
  • Wine
  • Hiking/Camping
  • Travel
  • Playing the piano?
  • Writing?
  • Reading
  • Teaching
  • Cooking and baking?
  • Organization
  • DYI Projects
  • Conducting research
  • Learning more about Buddhism
  • Mark Twain
  • Martha Gelhorn
  • Ben Franklin
  • Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Commandment No. 9: Recognize and appreciate love languages

As part of my Happiness Project, I wrote 10 personal commandments. Number 9 is Recognize and appreciate love languages. I gained a new perspective on love languages from my friend, Heather, who offered some sage marriage advice when she blogged about her 10th anniversary. Check it out on her blog, Battery Brains. Heather is several years younger than me, but so much wiser. She's an old soul. And she's an incredible wordsmith, so be sure to read all of her stuff!

Anyway, I took Heather's advice and began paying more attention to Mark's love language. He's not a man of many words or grand gestures. Here's how I know he loves me:

  • Last Sunday, he rode 15 hours on his motorcycle so he could arrive home one day early from a bike trip. He missed me and the peeps.
  • The day after he got home from his trip, he took the peeps for a whole day because he knew I'd been with them alone for four days.I didn't even ask him.
  • Most nights, after dinner, he plays with the peeps so I can have a little break, even though he could probably use a break himself after a stressful day at work. 
  • He brings me coffee in bed EVERY MORNING. Really. EVERY MORNING.
Recognizing and appreciating Mark's love language ... I have someone who loves me ... my ideal reality.

I found the image at Richard Wiseman Blog. Check him out, too!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Making Happiness Happen

I just finished reading This Is Not The Story You Think It Is ... A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson. She wrote it as her 15-year marriage was unraveling as a way to work through the grief, confusion, anger, and sadness. But it's less about her marriage and more about the choice she made to put an end to self-suffering and to playing the victim. Her tough, sometimes heartbreaking, and often courageous journey made Munson realize that she was the only one responsible for her happiness, for creating her ideal reality. Relying on people, places, and things outside of her control to make her happy was a losing battle.

For me, this was one of those books where, on the surface, I didn't think it held much for me. It wasn't until a few days after I had finished reading that Munson's message began to sink in. I have spent quite a bit of time contemplating her story and reflecting on how it could impact my own life. It's a must read.

A few quotes from the book that resonated with me.
  • "Sometimes we just have to let ourselves be misunderstood."
  • "I'm just waking up to the fact that I'm in the middle of my life. This is it. I'm a forty-two-year-old who wants to be in a twenty-year-old's body, and it's not working."
  • "I'm going to get out of it what I want. I'm not waiting around for anything anymore. If I'm a garden and I need to be tended, then I'm going to do the tending."
  • "Instincts are everything, especially when it comes to crisis."
I joined The Happiness Project, and  my commandments are in writing in my Happiness Toolbox!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July: Colliding Illusions

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. ~Sigmund Freud

In my ideal reality, my adult Fourth of July celebrations mimic my childhood Fourth of July celebrations with the slight alteration that I now relive those days of yore vicariously through the peeps. This year, I envisioned the little ladies wide-eyed with amazement, shrieking over sparkling fountains,. savoring the acrid smell of smoke bombs, squashing black snakes with their new sneakers, chasing parachutes.

Not so much.

At the first wisp of deep purple smoke wafting from a smoke bomb, my ideal reality collided with, well, reality. Apparently, the peeps are afraid of all fireworks, including the innocent, seemingly harmless, smoke bomb. Wide-eyed with amazement? Try wide-eyed with terror. Fingers in ears in futile attempts to stop the noise. Oh, there was shrieking, but it wasn't of the giddy-with-excitement variety. More of the, "Why are you subjecting us to this horrible form of torture, o' evil mother figure?" variety.

We celebrated our independence early, on Friday, with Mark's family at Aunt Mary's house. After the smoke bomb incident, which sent the peeps out of their orbit and into hysterics, we (meaning me and the peeps) remained inside. All. Night. The evening consisted of me watching Alvin and the Chipmunks on FX while coming down from a two-glass high of Cupcake Chardonnay. The peeps pinballed between watching the movie, tooting toy horns (rather loudly, I might add. Or maybe that was the Chardonnay talking), and draping themselves in neon necklaces and bracelets. They had a blast.

Don't worry. Not all of my Fourth of July dreams were dashed to pieces. We had a highly successful outing to Toy Story 3, which was the peeps' first time in a movie theater. I got my wide-eyed amazement and my giddy with excitement shrieking. The peeps also walked in a neighborhood parade and snarfed down bowls of homemade ice cream ... for lunch. Our neighborhood goes nuts on the 4th, so the peeps went to bed early that night and avoided another fireworks confrontation. Mark and I spent the evening together on the porch, enjoying the chaos. He drank whiskey; I sipped some (OK, 3 glasses) of Red Bicyclette Pinor Noir. We snacked on graham crackers and mini marshmallows. The height of sophistication, yes?

I think I created a new vision of ideal reality.

BTW, how do you like my Feedjit widget? I just added it today. I stalked the idea from one of my new blog crushes, Green Acres in the City.