“What makes you happy?”
I have no idea.
When I look back over my life, I realize I have constantly been striving for happiness. I can’t look back on my own life to see what happiness may have felt like. I have no frame of reference. Happiness was always something that was going to happen in the future. When I changed something. I suppose it is good to know my best years are not behind me but I have always been afraid I will let it pass me by.
I do know that I participate in a lot of behaviors and habits that give me temporary satisfaction. Drinking too much, smoking cigarettes, eating poorly, avoiding exercise, and obsessing over social media all help to momentarily quiet my brain but eventually lead to an over indulgence of totally negative and shitty self talk.
But “satisfaction” is quite different from “happiness.”
“Satisfaction” is momentary. “Satisfaction” is obtained from feeding a desire or appetite. “Satisfaction” is drinking another whiskey rocks or having just one more donut.
“Happiness” is a state of being. “Happiness” is an emotional truth you create for yourself. “Happiness” is …..
I have no idea.
I do know that all of those satisfactory behaviors cloud my mind making it absolutely impossible for me to truly connect with my own, real joy.
And it is getting fucking old.
So, I have created some rules for de-cluttering my own mind. Doing away with the momentary and making way for the reality.
Rule #1: Sweet
I am genetically predisposed to be addicted to things. And sugar is like cocaine. Or, what I imagine cocaine to be like…..
Sugar makes me a friggen psycho. Once I have just half of a candy bar, I can not stop thinking about the other half. And because I spend the entire day thinking about the other half of that candy bar, I will stop by Baskin Robbins on the way home to eat two giant scoops of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. As if I am telling the other half of that candy bar to go fuck itself.
So, for Rule #1, I will focus on moderating my sugar (including processed foods and white breads, pastas, etc.).
Rule #2: Sweat
I consider myself a smart person. (That is me working on Rule # 5) But, as I have said, I often don’t listen. When I exercise, I feel better. I gain strength, clarity, and relaxation. When I don’t exercise, I feel bad. I wallow in guilt and lethargy. My avoidance of exercise at times is like avoiding taking my own anxiety medication.
So, for Rule #2, I will exercise a minimum of five days a week.
Rule #3: Swig
We have discussed my propensity for addiction. We have discussed my tendency towards depression. So I don’t think there needs to be much discussion around the fact that I don’t need to be drinking. Alcohol is an addictive, sugar filled, depressant. Drinking alcohol is like drinking an elixir that makes me everything I don’t want to be but makes me temporarily believe that I am everything I want to be. I have put my life in danger countless times for a few hours of fun I many times don’t even remember. Also, IMAGINE THE MONEY I WOULD SAVE IF I DIDN’T DRINK!
So, for Rule #3, I will not pay for any alcohol for until my birthday on May 27th, 2013.
Rule #4: Silence
Life is too noisy and fast. Cell phones. Facebook. E-mail. News cycles. iPods. Conversations. Television. Subways. Sirens. There are times where the voice inside of my own head can not be heard over all of the chaos. And that is the first voice I should be listening to. But being active on social media and our electronic devices seems to be absolutely necessary in our time. Though being active and being completely consumed are entirely different. And as we know, moderation is not in my wheel house. I will spend hours on Facebook at work, on my phone, and at home. I am constantly reading and worrying about the lives and opinions of others and not existing in my own.
I also just need moments of actual, legitimate silence. Things like meditation and prayer have been a prominant fixture throughout the history of human development for a reason. You must turn your brain off once in a while or else it will over heat.
So, for Rule #4, I will only log on to Facebook for a total of 1 hour a day and practice 15 minutes of silence every day.
Rule #5: Soft
My inner voice is really mean to me. I have had a therapist tell me it sounds like the voice inside of my head lives with her abusive boyfriend. There are a lot of explanations for that dialogue existing in my head stemming from my childhood, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda…..but I just need to grow up, move the hell on, and break up with that abusive boyfriend. But the only way he will leave is if I act like I don’t need him.
So, for Rule #5, I will practice positive self-talk and avoid or alter any negative self-talk.
Now as you can see, I am attempting to practice Rule # 5 within the rules themselves. There are going to be times that someone buys me a glass of wine after a show. There are going to be times where I will travel to the south for work and I will have to got to the most famous chicken and waffles place in that tiny town I may never visit again. The distinction is that I will be indulging in those rule loop holes in order to enhance my own experience not to numb myself to it.
Alright. Those are the rules.
I have other things planned for my quest but these are the nuts and bolts and cookies and candies….STOP!
Here we go!