Seriously, that’s all I can say about 2013 and my goals to seek happiness in my flawed human way. All in all, I think it was a success, because I learned very much about myself, my abilities, my desires, my failures, and yes, what makes me happy. I also learned more about my family and community, which is just bonus. Were there times that I thought the project was too much and I should just forget it? Sure. But, then that voice in my head that hates unfinished things made me get back on track. I am deeply grateful for my fellow comrade in words, Toby Van Bryce, for giving me the book The Happiness Project to begin with, as well as, Gretchen Rubin for tackling such an endeavor in the first place and making sure something got published so we could all share in her discovery and find our own path to happiness.
I finished off December very strong, even given the craziness into my schedule that celebrating with a large family demands – at least that which makes me happy. I said “no,” to many things. I probably could have said “no” to many more. But, in the end the balance seemed about right. Again, I am a flawed human and that’s good enough. Perfection is the enemy of good. We’re seeking good. Good equals happy. Journaling gave way to more meditation, but I was seeking guidance on many things. My host a party for happiness goal allowed me to discover that often times when I’m putting on a family dinner, that’s all about happiness and I don’t have to do something above and beyond. I may just for the heck of it make a “happiness party” in 2014. We’ll see. I gave away many epic things this month and then some. Mostly, I give of myself daily, as well as to my family, to my friends, and to my community. I realized a good part of my “giving” also goes to my art. I give much. I’m good with the level of what I give. It has to be genuine, or it really doesn’t count.
I would say the biggest by-product of this entire endeavor for me has been to realize that I’m fairly satisfied and –tada!—happy with my life. The fact that I have a desire to self-improve and be adventurous and seek new people, places, and things (actions, moreso) through the course of living is a good thing. See previous paragraph: good equals happy. Does it mean that my life is devoid of problems, issues, and challenges? Hell, no! Many in my circle may tell you my life is fraught with a cloud of negativity. It seems cliché to say that I just tackle it head on, but for the most part, I do. I identify the problem – part of my “Personal Commandments” – and move forward from there. It’s amazing to me knowing that as on of my personal life rules, how many people do not posses that skill and get all trippy about the problem itself or worse – about the future and other things they can’t control. The rest of my personal commandments also help me deal with all the crap the monkey of life can flings at me:
- 1. Be Casz
- 2. Let it go
- 3. Act the way I want to feel.
- 4. Do what ought to be done.
- 5. Identify the problem.
- 6. Lighten up.
- 7. There is only love.
- 8. Help for one is help for all
- 9. Keep it to yourself.
Commandments seem to come in 10s – Moses’, Elmore Leonard’s, etc. So, I’m adding one as learned from this year’s Happiness Project: 10. Choose to be Happy. Not the kind of fake-it-till-you-make-it happiness – although there’s much to be said for the whole ‘half smile’ exercise (especially for those of us who seem to have a resting-bitch-face default going on)– I’m talking about keeping things in perspective and knowing my life is good and therefore, I should act accordingly. Do I allow myself moments to be sad, angry, and all those other opposite spectrum emotions? Of course. Emotions come and go. Mostly happy is a fleeting emotion, too. But satisfaction and contentment are also side effects of choosing a happier disposition. If we can string together enough energy into seeking happiness, we find, as I did this year, that life is good.
You could say that No. 10 and No. 3 are very similar. Except that I see that No. 3 is more of an action item for my internal mind. Whereas, I see commandment No. 10 as more of an external thing: Will taking that extra task for the community make me happy? Yes. Then I say yes. Will it add more stress than I can handle? Then I must say No. Ya dig?
Two years in a row now I’ve taken my new year’s resolutions and made quite the project of them. I’m still toying with what might be in store for me for 2014. It won’t be as detailed as this year. Also, 2014 is the Chinese Year of the Horse, which is my Chinese Zodiac sign. Apparently, as I’ve read, this is my year. We shall see. How was your 2013, darlings? Did you find happiness more often than not? What did you learn? What will you leave behind in 2013 and what will you take forward with you into 2014?