Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Matter of Perspective - Part 2

The two girls in the last post are both me - on a bad day and the other on a good day. I tend to have more good days than bad days, and honestly, my Girl One mindset usually only lasts about fifteen minutes and then it gets tiresome and I talk myself out of it. But I wrote them down because I've been thinking a lot lately about why I am generally happy and why I know some folks that nothing ever seems to go right for them. And when I say generally happy I don't mean all the time. I still was very sad when I had to put my horse down in December and grieved that and I get really pissed off if I watch the news and they're talking about politics, but I also appreciate that I have an exceptionally good life and there are things in my life I get excited about and every day has at least something I look forward to. I figure, if I could know how I got to this place of general happiness, maybe I could help others get here too? But I haven't quite figured out how I did so this is just another of my attempts to understand why some people tend to be mostly happy and other's don't.

One of the most valuable things anyone has ever said to me and it has helped me tremendously is that it does no good to base our happiness on something that has not and may not happen. A woman named Lucy Suzuki told me that years ago when I was still living in the city and I felt like I would never be happy until I was able to move to the country, which at that time seemed impossible because my husband had no desire to ever live anywhere but in the city. My life just wasn't what I thought it should be for me to be happy and it seemed like there were too many obstacles in my way to ever achieve those goals that would make me happy and therefore I was screwed and destined to a life of frustration and misery. Which really wasn't fair. Damnit.

But I took what Lucy said to heart and decided to try and make my life the way I wanted it right then and there with what I had. I dug up part of my yard for a garden, I got some chickens, I drove an hour each way to go out of the city for riding lessons and eventually was able to afford to get my own horse who I kept at a farm forty miles up north. And I made a conscious decision to find ways to be happy with what I had. And strangely enough it worked. I still think back fondly on my little "urban homestead" back in Seattle.

The thing is, even now living in the place that I thought would make me happy, I still have to work on my perspective every day to maintain feeling content with my life. It would be very easy to say "I can't be happy until I have an arena/a barn/a nice tack room/a truck/fancier horses" or "I can't be happy until there is a cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis" or any other number of things.

So today, you may have some really awful stuff going on, you may feel like without enough money or without being healthier or without having a better job (or even having a job) your life can't possibly do anything but suck. But just as an experiment, try to find something about your circumstance in this day to enjoy and be thankful for and entertain the idea that maybe you can achieve what you want with what you already haveeven if it doesn't look like your original plan.

As a concrete example, I'm taking a class called CERT which stands for Community Emergency Response Team, and today we worked on making splints out of whatever we had on hand. So my team mates made a splint for my leg out of cardboard, blankets, some scraps of torn fabric, and my KUOW messenger bag. And it worked just fine and the instructor said in a real situation it would work as a splint to stabilize a fracture. It's the same idea - work with what you've got and you might even have fun being creative with the scraps you find lying around in your life.

Here is a photo of my team mate, Laura Jean after saving me and my pretend broken leg.

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