I might ramble in this post a little bit. Only because I feel this is an important topic. See if you ever meet me in person you will most likely see me laugh. I laugh at everything, partly as a defense mechanism but mostly because life is funny. Its funny when you can see the angles and how things work and more importantly laughing is better then crying. Its ALWAYS better to be happy.
Being happy isn't that easy though, you have to learn how to be happy, its not taught in schools. You have to figure it out or as the book "Eat, Pray, Love" put it:
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."
— Elizabeth Gilbert
In short, being happy is work. constant work, you have to learn how to focus on whats important and ignore the rest. Happiness is truly the art of knowing what to overlook. It took me a long time to realize this, I focused on the wrong things for so long. The other day I was talking to my cousin about what he wanted to do in life. Hes in a quarter life crisis and I explained that one day I decided I wanted to be happy. Seemed simple enough but I didn't know how to go about it. So I began to read about happy people, successful people, I read self help book after self help book until it all just sunk in. I knew how to be happy. I was able to apply the lessons I had learned and prioritize better, more importantly not let little things take my happiness. Even in the bad times I kept my happy things. Yes much like Peter Pan I had happy thoughts that got me thru. Then of course the custody battle started and it got all shot to shit lol. Actually thats not entirely true because I had plenty of happy moments then that kept me sane. They were just harder to hold on too.
I told my cousin "figure out what makes you happy and do that" which is a pretty simple statement unless you have no idea what makes you happy. That's a much bigger issue with people. Trying to figure out what truly makes you happy. Once you find out what that is you can just repeat it till happiness becomes a habit. A beautiful habit.
Here a story I printed out and put on my cubicle wall in 2002 when I was trying to make happiness a habit. Its crazy that I had a cube then and now I don't. That's another story though.
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full?
They agreed that it was.
So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He then asked the students again if the jar
They agreed it was. The students laughed.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
"Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognise that this is your life. The rocks are the important things - your family, your partner, your health, your children - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else, the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."