Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happiness is...

Happy Holidays!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Chanukah!  Joyous Kwanzaa!  Makes no difference to me, just know that I hope you're enjoying the season, and life.

I started out the day today in a bad mood.  I can't honestly tell you why.  It was just a day, with its typical family drama, work demands, careless people, poor tasting coffee, etc.  No different than any other day, and usually I don't have a problem staying in a good mood.  You see, I learned a long time ago in my days in the service industry that happiness is, just what you make of it.

Today was a down day.  I wasn't particularly motivated to do my work or interact with people.  I'm not looking forward to going home and dealing with family issues.  I'm a well practiced procrastinator, and decided that rather than being productive, I'd spend my time catching up on some reading.  I can read on my desk, in my cubicle, without raising any suspicion.  Yes, I work in a cube, since I was downgraded from an office a few months ago.  Doesn't this economy rock! :|  Just another thing to challenge my overall good demeanor.

Anyways, I decided to catch up on my favorite blogs.  Do you know that saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear"?  That's how I felt when I read two blog posts that couldn't have been better suited to my day, and my mood.  The first was Fantasy Island, where BLM explains his view on life.   "Life isn't unfortunate things that get in the way of a normally happy time. To me, it's quite the opposite: it's a normally miserable time interspersed with some happiness ".  Amen, Brother.  That's how I was feeling.

Then I read What, Me Happy?, by jasonstreet on Guys Like Me, which is his response to BLM's post.  He reminded my of my general philosophy on life.  Although absolutely nothing changed, just remembering made me feel better.  It made me happy.

Happiness is, truly, just what you make of it!

I have many reasons to be unhappy.  I am not the rock-hard stud I wish I could be, with both men and women falling over themselves to get next to me.  I am not rich, driving the my dream car, living in my dream house, working at my dream career.  My family is not perfect, and far too many of them are not with me today.  Who I am, and the choices I've made, means I live a dual life.

But I have many reasons to be happy.  I am healthy, loved, needed, and wanted.  I can afford to have fun every once in awhile.  I have a car, a house, a job.  I have a family.  I live my life more open than many others I know.

My reality is that I am happy, but only when I CHOOSE to be.  

And as it turns out, "faking" being really happy can actually have its own placebo effect.   Not that I endorse falsehood.  It just turns out that there is some psychological truth to the Depression Era song about "Smile, though your heart is breaking…" -What, Me Happy?
I didn't always choose to be happy.  Most of the time, I chose to be depressed, and the rest of the time I chose to be angry.  When I was younger I worked in what I feel is the worst possible job, fast food.  There you get the worst possible customers, crappy hours, thankless bosses, and you are literally going nowhere.  No offense to anyone currently working in fast food, but that's just how I felt.  One day I started whistling while I worked, and was amazed at the difference it made.  I had no more reason to feel happy, but I was.  Or at least I was less unhappy.

Not that I don't ever get angry, depressed, sad, complacent, you name any "negative" emotion.  I deal with all of these just like any one else.  But when someone stops me and asks, "Are you happy?", I can honestly answer "Yes, I am".  Why?  Because I choose to be happy.  I choose to remember all the reasons I have to be happy as much as, if not more, than the reason I don't.  Maybe it's a chemical reaction in my brain, with endorphins or the right neuron firing at the right time.  Maybe there's truth that we have some mental power over the world around us.  Maybe I am delusional.  

It doesn't matter what the reason, it just is.  

So I sincerely say to all of you, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.  Be Happy!



  1. the little tramp brought smiles to millions of people during the great depression. oftentimes the holidays are a time when all our emotions become magnified...the lows can be especially low. so i thought you might enjoy listening to Michael Jackson's especially touching version of the Charles Chaplin song.


  2. Sometime just hearing from a friend, or in this case a fellow blogger can put a smile on my face. Sometimes you're happy, and sometimes you're the cause of someone else's happiness.

    Life is weird.

  3. Jay - you are totally right! We do choose our own happiness. Thanks for reminding me. I choose to be happy, too!
    Merry Christmas


  4. Auld Lang Syne is a Scottish poem, thought to be composed by Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns in 1788. It is sung to the traditional folk tune Roud 6294. Auld Lang Syne literally translates to "Old Long Since," and more roughly it means "long, long ago" or "days gone by." Here is the English translation followed by a charming rendition of the original Scottish version. be sure to listen to the youtube video. TO YOU JAY AND ALL YOUR READERS, BEST WISHES FOR A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR!


    Auld Lang Syne

    Should old acquaintance be forgot,
    and never brought to mind ?
    Should old acquaintance be forgot,
    and old lang syne ?
    For auld lang syne, my dear,
    for auld lang syne,
    we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
    for auld lang syne.

    And surely you'll buy your pint cup !
    and surely I'll buy mine !
    And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
    for auld lang syne.
    We two have run about the slopes,
    and picked the daisies fine ;
    But we've wandered many a weary foot,
    since auld lang syne.
    We two have paddled in the stream,
    from morning sun till dine† ;
    But seas between us broad have roared
    since auld lang syne.
    And there's a hand my trusty friend !
    And give us a hand o' thine !
    And we'll take a right good-will draught,
    for auld lang syne.


  5. Jay - I just discovered your blog as I was checking out if there were some married bi bloggers I had missed seeing. The nice coincidence is you happen to be reading my blog response to Bi Like Me in this recent post...and that we both have elected to write about the issue of, do we choose to be happy or not, during the season that tests our inner happiness more than any other. I see you have been bogging since last June - sorry to have only discovered you but I have now created a link on my blog to yours.

    Given your age, I hope you can work through all this stuff and figure out a path for yourself early in your life than some of us "bi late bloomers".

    Glad to finally discover you, and good luck...and nice personal post too.