"Happiness depends upon ourselves." -Aristotle
I don't exactly remember when I ran across this quote, must have been some time at the start of my college career almost six years ago this August. It's a little strange to think I've lived in Oklahoma that long working on school continuously. I'm finding myself get a little more antsy as the weeks drag on and in the same breath I can tell you how much more time I wish I had to finish up what I'm working on now.
Tonight as I escaped down the magazine aisle of Target, this quote came to mind. I should say that when I'm feeling a little blue or out of sorts I tend to wander the aisles of Target in search of nothing really, but the hope to wander into a pleasant distraction. Flipping through the colorful pages of some health magazine I kept skimming across articles about finding your happiness and it struck me as odd.
Today in this day and age with all the available resources and options a person can ever dream of, we are still in search of that ultimate happy. First of all, what is the ultimate happy anyway? I could swear it would be the giant cup of Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch in the frozen food section would be the ultimate happy for the moment, but not for forever. And if we are talking about the forever and ever ultimate happy, how can you even know what that might be? I knew when I was five that my ultimate happy was for me to become the next Dolly Parton. Look at me now--college graduate and dancing fool, totally happy with how things worked out not being the next Dolly Parton. CLEARLY that was not my be all end all happy.
Ultimate happy. Hmmm. That's a big concept and it got my wheels turning. I can't really make myself happy on a carton of ice cream and stomach ache--that only lasts for so long. I can't really make myself happy by throwing money on some impulse purchase. I can't really make myself happy by complaining about the situations and hurdles I have to get over. Well, a good venting session and sob fest does a soul good, however, the pity party train stops there.
Again, the quote pops in my head that happiness depends on ourselves. Or does it?
Here's where I begin to contradict my original thoughts on Aristotle's musing. I fully well believe that if I want to change how I'm feeling, how my life is going, what's happening to make things an unpleasant life for me, I am the only person that can make that change. I am the only person to save myself from the situation I am in if that is what I choose.
HOWEVER, I believe that a good support system must also be in place. There are those special souls that reach out and touch our hearts in a way no other person could. Whether that's a parent, a sibling, a true love, a friend or a pet, it's a special connection that puts that extra bounce in your step and a happy in your heart. To be so incredibly lucky to have those folks in your life is certainly a positive.
Currently I'm not an unhappy person. I have a good life. Great life in fact. Healthy body, good family, great friends, a wonderful love, and all the necessities of life. On a daily basis I constantly remind myself of the good things I have, how lucky I am, and you can bet money I thank my lucky stars for the blessings I've been given. In retrospect, I don't really rely solely on myself for my happiness. In fact, I rely heavily on those blessings on a regular basis.
Happiness is a state of mind--it's a state of being, really. Ol' Honest Abe Lincoln believed "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Ain't it the truth. I have the option every day to wake up to the world and say, "today's going to be a good one!" Or I have the option to crawl back into bed and hope for better weather, but I'm going to make the conscious choice from now on to make every day a great day.
Mom and I were on Wal-Mary run a few months back and while picking out room fresheners, we caught a whiff of one that was none too pleasant. I died laughing as Mother presently announced, "Ew, not that one! Life's too short to smell crap!" While the pun was perfectly timed, it was what she said that struck a chord. Well, I'm running with that general notion.
I'm going to find my happy every day in something because life is way too short feel like crap. Life is too short to be happy with mediocrity. Life is too short to feel like I have to settle. No, I won't have that! I'm going to follow my bliss and cut out nonsense that creeps into my inner conscience. I want to enjoy my days on this earth and I'm not naive. Some days will be harder than others. I'll have more worries than I really want as I keep getting older and what's a mountain of an issue right now will only be a tiny bump in the road years later. Still in all, that doesn't mean I can't try and enjoy what joys are waiting for me today.
I may not know what the ultimate happy is to my life, but I have a feeling that my life may be the ultimate happy if I make it that way.