So here we are again, awash in resolutions, but what all self-improvement boils down to is the desire to be happy, right? And even if we did achieve that perfect state of mind, who’s to say it would stick around? Would the realization of one goal only give rise to another? Would the “there” we’re dreaming of now be replaced by another “there” the second we reach it? Isn’t that what has been happening for most of us so far?
I spent most of my adult life waiting for happiness like UPS was going to deliver it. I kept waiting for it as if money or fame or someone else could make happiness come and stay permanently. Then I realized this is it, right now, as I washed the sink, or changed the baby, or resented someone for some insult in the distant past. This is it. Happiness was actually waiting for me, to make a choice, or continue not to, which is the same thing.
I learned that happiness is a choice, regardless of how much I have or don’t have. I must choose it for myself and defend it righteously when someone tries to destroy it (and they do – misery really does love company.)
But the irony is the happier I am, the more likely I am to achieve the things I want. Self-pity is never rewarded. The universe ignores it and I’m pretty sure it annoys God because He’s aware of all the effort that goes into being depressed and cynical – the adopting of the slouching posture, the ignoring of everything good (and free) around me at any given moment, the refusal to even begin to pursue the achievement that’s possible with even a minimal amount of effort. It’s hard work to be depressed. It takes effort to fail. I know. I set my own expectations of myself too low for years. My problem now is choosing which inspiration to pursue. And inspiration is everywhere.
I can be a supernova exploding in all directions, or a dying star. It’s my choice.
I tell my daughters who they are and will be is a choice they make every day and recommit to from moment to moment. Asking the right questions determines destiny –
Am I going to be happy or sad?
Am I going to be nice or mean?
Am I going to be healthy or sick?
Am I going to be decent or indecent?
Am I going to be smart or stupid?
How do I behave when nobody sees?
Not choosing is choosing. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Not choosing is resigning oneself to being a cork on the ocean, tossed about by the caprices of wind and current.
So good luck with your resolutions, and asking yourself the right questions. Choosing the right answers requires a lot of trust – mainly that good things happen to good people. All one must do to see the opposite is turn on the news at night – it’s full of the chaos that fills the lives of those who never bother to ask themselves the right questions, or willfully choose the wrong answer. In fact, this post is probably wasted because it’s being read by bloggers, a generally enlightened bunch who don’t really need to read any of this.
Anyway, in case someone who might otherwise be robbing someone at an ATM, knocking over a liquor store, or just generally treating people like dirt happens to be reading this right now, as the guardian knight in Indiana Jones said . . .