No qualifiers, no hyperbole, no BS. I’m happy.
I can’t explain exactly why. My life is far from perfect, and by many objective standards, my career has been a failure. I don’t have many creature comforts, and I basically live day to day financially. However, when I wake up each day, I’m grateful for the food in my fridge, the roof over my head, the opportunities in front of me, and the people who are close.
Many of my clients have plenty of money, but I wouldn’t classify any of them as happy people. Some are too petty to find joy in anything. Some are too selfish to appreciate the warmth that comes from sharing with those less fortunate. Some are just miserable individuals. I wouldn’t trade lives with any of them.
I know that a major contributor to my happiness is the gratitude I feel for the positives I do enjoy. If you are not happy and want to change your life, that’s the first and most important step you can make. Find the good aspects of your daily life and take a moment to feel real, sincere gratitude for those items or moments or people. That simple act transforms your perception. Instead of dwelling on all the things you don’t have, which is an infinite loop of dissatisfaction, you will begin to appreciate the little stuff that enriches you.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Happiness is choice. So is misery. You are in control of which way you perceive the world.
That’s all for now.
Really busy couple of weeks, so I haven’t been able to write a post recently.
This summer has been one of the best of my life. My kids have been here with me since early June, and they have helped me with the business quite a bit. If you’ve known me for any time at all, you should already know how hard my divorce and the loss of custody of them were on me. For the last 11 years, I have felt like a part-time parent, relegated to nightly phone calls and twice a year visits that always ended way too soon.
I missed too many firsts to catalogue, and I’ll never get those back, but this summer, I have gotten to be a real dad again. I got to teach my oldest how to drive and my youngest how to put in a full day’s work. I’ve gotten to talk to them for hours on end and joke and be silly and be stern and instill values and all of those things a father is supposed to do.
My hope for everyone is that they can find healing and love and purpose for their lives. If I could give everyone the blessings I’ve enjoyed these last three years, I would gladly share them with all. Life is too short, too fragile, too beautiful to allow anger and bitterness to consume you. Gratitude and thankfulness are much more pleasant paths to traverse.
That’s all for now.
When I started building that flower bed two and a half years ago, I survived off food stamps and the generosity of my parents. I’m incredibly grateful for both. We need a social safety net for people who stumble or get knocked down or just need a hand up. We don’t need a generational welfare system that reduces entire families to wards of the state, but that’s a different discussion for a different post. Without food stamps and my parents, I would not have survived the first 8-9 months, at least not without resorting to drastic measures.
I remember very clearly the first grocery trip paid for completely by my meager wages. I felt such a surge of pride that my sweat and muscle once again provided for my subsistence. I don’t know how people can be content living off of someone else’s money, whether that be the government, family, friends, or lovers. Obviously, there are people who are disabled and incapable of fending for themselves. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the able-bodied.
The feeling of doing for yourself is just too fulfilling. The sense of ownership that comes from earning the money to pay for your own stuff is so internally rewarding that I don’t understand how people can allow themselves to wallow in dependency.
When I finished checking out from that grocery trip, I felt like anything was possible. I know it was just a $40 bag of groceries, but it was so much more than that, too. I had tasted decent measures of success before, so I knew what it felt like. I had just survived some of the darkest moments I can imagine, and those scars were still quite fresh, but that little shopping trip on a winter’s night in January is one of my favorite victories.
That’s all for now.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is to stop worrying about the things I cannot control. I have zero influence over politics, so I no longer give politics my energy. That change alone has made me so much happier and healthier than I was back when I was plugged into the “daily outrage machine.”
I have no control over other people’s actions. The only thing I can effect is my reaction to their actions. After losing so many friends and family members, I had to teach myself to let go and move on. I simply cannot dwell on what others think of me, no matter how close we may have been. There are people I miss, of course, and from time to time I reminisce about our friendships, but overall, those people are quite simply dead to me and are not welcome in my present reality.
I cannot control overall market forces. I can, however, pay attention to and anticipate how those forces will affect my life. In terms of risk management, I try not to put myself into volatile situations. From being at the very bottom, I learned that there are always jobs out there that people don’t want to do for whatever reason (hard labor, dirt, danger), but they will pay someone else to take care of it. In that regard, the market for my services is relatively stable, as long as I’m willing to and capable of handling it.
I can’t control what memories or emotions bubble up on a daily basis. I can control my reaction to them. If anger comes up, I let it pass and move on. I can’t let anger consume me. If I have a twinge of self-pity, I push it aside as quickly as possible. That won’t help anything. Every single day, I make a concerted effort to focus on the blessings and positives in my life, and that focus has done more to heal me than anything else.
That’s all for now.