Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Art of Living Happily

I have been thinking about my life differently since I stopped smoking nearly three years ago.  It's hard to imagine that I used to spend a great deal of time ingesting destructive chemicals into my lungs.  Looking back, I think the real problem was that I held on to resentment and anger, foolishly believing that it was my right to be mad and depressed about my circumstances.  I clung to the past and spread blame for every injustice done to me, never realizing that I had choices.  I didn't understand that I willingly participated in things that made me unhappy.  I'm slowly waking up to that fact right now. 

These thoughts have come to the forefront of my consciousness because I am beginning to pay closer attention to my emotions.   Just yesterday, I realized that I was jealous of one of Richards' happy memories.  It's shameful...to be jealous of the beautiful moments of his past.  But there I stood, completely wanting to have his moment of joy and freedom for myself.  He had described a sunny day at a ball game in Charleston, eating a hot dog.
It's true that I've attended many baseball games in my life, complete with a hot dog and sunshine.  So it was completely illogical to want his moment in the sun. Then I realized that his memory recalled a particular circumstance that I desire:  no responsibility.  At that time in his life there were no children to care for.     

   I can't remember a time when I did not have children to care for.   

And this is messing with my head.  I love children, especially the ones I am blessed with.

It is my own fault for thinking that I have no freedom.  Because in reality, I am free.  I don't have to listen to the annoying noise from the video games or the children's programming for hours on end, just to "get some work done"  I could instead tell Elliot to find a silent activity while I play music on the computer that I like.  I don't have to listen to the latest pop/rock/rap in the car while driving around with Emily.  If I want silence, I should ask for it.   I don't have to compromise so much, thinking that everyone will be happy if I do.

The art of living happily is to remember what I like and to practice enjoying those things every day.  If I need respite, I should walk outside and water the garden.   


Or ask Richard to dance.

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