Tonight was a good night. I mean, a really good night.
I find that I often linger on the negative and somehow miss the positive. I’m not sure if this mentality is part of the human condition, or if I’m naturally pessimistic. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been so overwhelmed with my own disappointment with my life lately that it takes more effort to push the happy moments through my own mental/emotional filter.
In any case, tonight was good, and since this is the year of my Happiness Project, I’m making a point to pay attention. J and I tried a new restaurant tonight, and we enjoyed not only the ambiance and food, but also each other. We laughed at each other’s jokes. We sampled each other’s entrees. We smiled at each other.
This shouldn’t be all that earth shattering, but for us it is. When we have good nights like this, it makes me think that there is hope for us yet. (And yet, my analytical self wonders whether it was the fact that we were in unfamiliar territory that made all the difference. Perhaps when we’re in familiar settings, it’s easier to fall into old bad habits. Regardless, I’m thankful for tonight. …and if I’m being honest, I’m also thankful for those potatoes because they were bomb!)
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about happiness lately. Mostly, probably, because I’ve been so unhappy for so many years. In the American culture, despite the adage that money can’t buy happiness, we seem to believe that it can. It seems to me, however, that the more money I personally have, the less happy I become. …or maybe there are other forces at work here…
I’ve dedicated 2013 as the year I learn to be happy. I’ve done some light research on it (and by that I mean I’ve looked at what other people have found out). Specifically, I read a book called The Happiness Project not long ago, and then tonight J and I watched a documentary called Happy.
I think the bottom line is that I need to consider making some major changes to the way I do life. I want to get off the money train and focus on the things that matter. Relationship. Compassion. Generosity. Altruism. (Yes, I know. There is a lot of overlap here.)
Such changes are much easier said than done, though. For example, I’ve been trying to be more social lately, but it’s slow going. I have a kind of social anxiety that makes it exceedingly hard for me to be around people I don’t know very well, and if someone shows an apparent hesitation to hang out with me, I easily lose heart and give up. A pox upon the Seattle Freeze! (Maybe I should just move somewhere else. Oh yeah, I have a mortgage. Never mind.)
So, the pursuit continues.
If anyone out there has any brilliant ideas on how to be happy, I welcome your thoughts.