To be happy, she cannot live among the unhappy. She must go out of her way to find happiness, and there, in that place, is where she shall reside, with a smile on her face and pure joy in her heart.
This is genuinely how I live my life. I try as hard as I am able (because, no, it does not always come naturally) to find my inner happy – every waking hour of every situation with every single person. The world is plum full of negativity. There’s no getting around it. Even watching the 10:00 News can bring a person down faster than you can say Anderson Cooper. Bad things happen in our lives and there’s not a whole lot we can do about most of it. But, here’s my challenge to YOU. Take life’s precious moments one day at a time. Analyze your perspective on the situation. And decide, right then and there, that you’re going to focus on it in the best way you know how.
In the past few weeks, I have felt myself slipping into darker holes than in the holes I normally prefer to hang. I have discovered that the exhaustion of not sleeping, along with a work inbox that fills up every night between the NON-work hours of 5 pm and 8 am, and life’s additional stresses in general, does not a happy Nicki make. Sometimes, when the people you rely on to make you the happiest are not fulfilling that role in the movie of your life, it can start to knock you down. I rely on a number of people to do this for me, and it’s a helluva job but they all do it so well! I sincerely hope I fill that role in their life movie as well as they do mine.
Those people are more than entitled to have bad days. Some of my go-to people are going through some hard or challenging times themselves, and how selfish would I be if I couldn’t give them what they might need in their troubled time versus banking on them to please my sorry ass? I have a pregnant (and nauseous) sister. I have an overtired (and overworked) husband. I have best friends who are having surgery, treating infertility, coping with loss, dealing with depression and balancing financial trouble. It’s not always easy to spin a situation on its head so it’s right-side up and makes sense in the universe, but we can certainly give it our best shot and not live life upside-down and inside out with the ground crumbling metaphorically below us. I will always be the first one to offer a hug or a comfortable still-plump-from-pregnancy shoulder to cry on, but I will also be the first one to say the words, “It could be worse…” And nine times out of ten, that is a fact.
Tonight, I vowed to myself that I was going to avoid being exposed to external negativity for one whole week. This does not pertain to sadness or feelings of similarity because I’ll be darned if I’m gonna hang up on someone who calls me crying and just wants an ear to listen. But, there will be no reading of Facebook status updates that carry the tone of: “What a horrible day it’s going to be” (and the day is “horrible” because the laundry is piled up and the floor needs to be mopped). There will be no responding to texts or emails complaining pettily about work or spouses or kids. There will be no road rage on my commutes through rush hour. There will be no watching of feuding shows (read: Peoples Court) where they focus on something ridiculously trivial and think all will be forgiven with the victory of a $40 alimony check. There will be no more eye-rolling. There will be no more back-talking or talk-behind-backing. This week will be documented with a fresh set of eyes. And by the end of it, I’m sure hoping my soul will feel rested, fully-charged and ready to take on any situation with an attitude of understanding and a patient heart.
So, how did I start off my week of soul-cleansing? I made 45 minutes worth of effort to get my daughter to laugh while she laid on my legs and ignored my annoying baby-babel and dimwitted facial juxtapositions. I scooped up my son when he fell off his stool and held him in a long embrace simply because he wanted his mommy. I narrated Mabel’s three-month video update with silly memorable markers like “she is losing her hair in the back” or “we still can’t determine if her eyes are brown or blue.” I wrote a blog (duh). I commented on beautiful photos of my cousin’s newborn baby. I played on Pinterest (ladies, if you’re NOT on Pinterest yet, do your girly side a favor and sign up already). I watched Blues Clues “Shape Searchers” with Coen for the umpteenth time and vivaciously acted like it was my first. I lounged around the house in an oversized hoodie and my favorite pair of stretch pants. I looked up Sonoma lodging options with Nate and listened as he told me all about the lay of the land so, come September when we go on our trip, I will be all the wiser geographically. I brushed my teeth for far longer than two minutes and enjoyed every second of it.
I advise you to join me on my quest for rekindled happiness. If life gets in the way, relocate yourself and start fresh with a new frame of mind and smilier people. Make a list of reasons you’re thankful. Say a prayer for someone who’s hurting. I challenge you to bring a monster-sized LED flashlight into that dark hole in which you’ve been dwelling and see what comes of it. Let me know how your soul feels in a week.
And if all else fails, there’s always Bobby McFerrin’s little ditty:
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