Friday, January 13, 2012

Unhappiness Virus

Day 44 of 365 Tiny Changes

Our home has been invaded by a virus.  A big ugly virus.  No, it’s not a cold or a flu virus.  It’s something much, much worse.  It’s the dreaded, highly contagious, UNHAPPINESS VIRUS. 

Yes, my home is an unhappy home at the moment.  We all have our reason’s for being unhappy.

I’m unhappy because I don’t seem to be making any headway on my massive to do list.

My son is unhappy because he can’t find a full time job, and afford to move out on his own.

My life partner is unhappy because his company is making some changes, I’m not not making any headway on my to do list, and my son can’t seem to find a full time job, and move out on his own.

I’ve seen this virus before.  It’s a really scary virus, because it can hang around for years, infecting and reinfecting the whole household and anyone who comes near it.

So, I could dwell on the causes of the illness, but I would rather initiate the steps to a cure.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  I am using this statement as my jump off point for discovering the cure.  After all, he was the President, so he has to have a somewhat valid point.  Right?

Now, this might seem somewhat simplistic, but I really think getting happy again might just be this simple.  I want to decide to be happy.

OK, I’m happy...Well, not yet.

OK, I’m happy, NOW...Well, not yet.

All right, deep breath, big smile, ready, set, OK, NOW I’M HAPPY! 

Still, not yet.  Pooh!

Well then, perhaps a different approach is in order.  Maybe I do have to examine the issues that are making me unhappy.  Lordy, that could end up being years of looking at the ceiling in a psychiatrists office.

Happiness just can’t be that elusive.  Happiness or at least the pursuit of happiness is a right to those of us who live in the U.S., it’s in our Constitution.  And, unlike the right to bear arms, that is also in the Constitution, I don’t think there have been any court battles or laws that limit the right to pursue happiness.

So I’m gonna pursue it.  Right here, right now.

How about this?  How about I list the things that are making my son unhappy and see if I can find the happiness in them?  It’s always easier to find the silver lining in other peoples problems.

Son problem number one:  He can’t find full time employment.

Silver lining:  He is meeting lots of new people in his search for a job.  People he may have never had the opportunity to meet, if he were already gainfully employed.  In my book meeting new people is always a happy thing.

Silver lining:  He is finding other ways to make some income, such as recycling, and donating plasma.  Both of these activities are helpful to the rest of humankind.  Being able to help others and the environment is  definitely something to be happy about.

Son problem number two:  He is unable to move out on his own.

Silver lining:  He gets to live, rent free, in a home that is much larger than the one he could afford  to rent.

Silver lining:   He always has company, and someone else to talk to.

Silver lining:  He rarely has to cook his own dinner.

Wow, he really has more silver linings than problems.  I’m not saying that he should give up looking for that full time employment, but I am saying that he sure does have a lot of reasons to be happy, while he’s looking.

So now I’ll look at my guy’s problems.

Guy problem number one:  Lot’s of changes being made at work.

Silver lining:  He has a full time job, that pays the bills for his entire family.

Silver lining:  He may find the changes bring more meaning to his job, or that they don’t really affect him at all, so he can keep on being the resident expert at his job.

Guy problem number two:  My son can’t find a full time job and move out on his own.

Silver lining:  My son does all the dishes and most of the laundry, so Guy is not required to help in these areas.

Silver lining:  There is always someone strong available to move heavy things.  (I rearrange things all the time.)

Guy problem number three:  I’m not making quick progress on my to do list.

Silver lining:  It’s MY to do list.  If I wasn’t here it would be his to do list.

Wow, again.  Guy also has a lot more silver linings than problems.

Now me.

Linda’s problem:  Not making headway on my to do list.

Silver lining:  I always know what I’m going to do when I get up in the morning.  I have tasks that I need to complete to continue down the road to my Definite Major Purpose.  The progress may be slow, but each item I can check off my list, gets me that much closer to success.

Wow, a third time.  That is something to be happy about.  I am on my road to fulfilling my Definite Major Purpose. 

That, apparently is the insidiousness of the Unhappiness Virus.  It temporarily blinds us to the real silver linings of our life.  It forces us to look at our situations as being problematic, when in fact they are reasons to be happy.

Hate your job?  Then love the people you work with.

Hate the people you work with?  Then love the paycheck, no matter what it’s size.

In debt?  Get excited about finding your way out of it.  Be an example to your kids, your friends and family of how to live frugally, yet happily.

Not in debt?  Then find a charity to champion and bring relief to others.  Let their smiles infect you with real happiness.

There are so many ways to pursue real happiness, but it starts with me.  Perhaps President Lincoln was correct.  Once I decide I want to be happy I will take off the blinders of unhappiness and look around.  Look, and really see all the blessings I am surrounded by.  Then, I will be grateful for what I have been blessed with, no matter how small.  Finally, the secret to the pursuit of happiness is sharing.  Sharing my smile, my umbrella, my home, my money.  Sharing a part of me is what will lead me to real happiness and cure the Unhappiness Virus in my household, for good.

Tiny Change 44:  I will focus on sharing my happiness, not spreading the Unhappiness Virus.

How will you share your happiness?

Best Regards,


Tiny Blessing of the Day:  I am blessed to share a home with my life partner and my son.

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