Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Used To Smile All The Time

Yesterday, I punched out a smiley face in the big pile of soap in the sink.  Because everything deserves to be happy.  

Recently, my girlfriend told me to smile more.  I was upset about this, because I tend to think I'm one of the happiest and most carefree people in the world.  I have the history of manifesting positivity in the face of great tragedy to prove it.  After I thought about it, however, I began to realize that although I think about the world now in very clear, concise modes, and although having such a clarity of perspective is inexplicably amazing, it doesn't necessarily mean that happiness will automatically follow.

I've been under a dark cloud for a long time, and my goals and my perception have been crystal clear since I was diagnosed.  "I want this, this, and this," I said, as soon as I found out I had cancer.  And I immediately set out to achieve those things.  Some of them were easy, others of them aren't yet fully realized.  I'm still hurting in certain ways after my experience, and the fact that I'm focusing on ways to fix that, instead of complaining and feeling sorry for myself is great, but it doesn't mean that it makes me happy, entirely.  Because happy is an attitude, and I'm working on that.  I still feel like I'm happier than the average bear, especially considering I know for a fact it's worthless to go through life being anything but.  I just think I've been too concerned lately about conditional happiness.  "When I get XYZ, I can finally relax..."  Except that getting to XYZ is a huge journey, full of unforeseen obstacles and circumstances.  And you still have to live your life while you get there.  This is a pretty common attitude, and it manifests itself in several ways:

"When I get that promotion I can finally relax" -- Spoiler alert; it'll never be enough money.

 "When I meet someone who makes me happy, everything will get better," -- Not necessarily; you generally need to be happy with yourself in order to attract someone in the first place.

"When I lose the extra weight, I'll be so much happier," -- I don't know, will you?  You'll still be you.  Be happy now, and lose the weight if you want to, not because you feel pressured to do so.

Conditions, conditions, conditions.  It doesn't matter what level of priority they have in the grand scheme of things, all the way from "I'm unhappy at my job and won't be satisfied until I get a new one," and all the way to, "I'm killing my family financially post-cancer and need a book deal soon or we'll all starve."  Conditions are a matter of perspective, but that's a thought for another time.

So, stop focusing on the conditional.  It'll be great when it comes.  But deal with your life while you have it, in the most fundamentally satisfying way possible.  Because, seriously, what's the alternative?