It gives me some small comfort that pretty much everyone I know is on drugs. Prescribed medications, of course. Mostly. I even joke that we should have someone at the door where I work, standing to the side like a WalMart greeter. I envision them holding a platter with colorful pills of blue, yellow, pink and green, offering whichever flavor the incoming customer prefers. It would just make everything so much easier if EVERYONE were on medication.
That said, when did we all become so stressed out? Mental illness has been around for eons and ages. People have been axe-murdering each other since forever ago. But I have to wonder if it wasn’t television that gave us all the big boot into modern day neurosis.
From what I’ve read and in my own non-professional understanding, back before World War II we didn’t all realize that the guy next door could potentially be a serial killer. We were all sort of content to smile at one another and believe the best in our neighbors. Once war images started being televised, society realized that there was some ugly stuff going on in the world. Not that we were really oblivious to the dark side of life, but maybe not aware of its reality on such a large, worldwide scale.
Nowadays it seems everyone is on something just to handle the craziness of everyday life, and social media isn’t making it any easier to maintain one’s sanity. Seems like any stupid thing you do might be subject to millions of viewers on YouTube if you happen to be in the vicinity of someone with a cell phone, which – let’s face it – is pretty much everyone. And the constant play by play of a life can wreak havoc on the mental condition of anyone.
My advice in a crazy mushed up world? Think about what you WANT, and remember what you’ve already DONE.
* Think of the best case scenario for the day and hold that image in your mind. Yesterday, for example, I was feeling punky, and I imagined myself out on a lake, just floatin’ on a boat. Improved my mood immediately! Did I get to go out on the lake? No. But seeing myself there made my body relax and set my mind at ease, so that I was better able to deal with what was right in front of me.
There are waayyyy too many of these kind of lists: “I should have”; “I ought to”; “I didn’t”. We all beat ourselves up over the littlest of things, because there are always so very many things to be doing.
* Keep a journal (I use an old unwanted book someone was tossing out, and use colorful Sharpie markers to write all this down) for your new lists. In one column or page write the things you’d like to accomplish for the day: Grocery Shopping, Pick up Dry Cleaning, Wash the Car, etc. In the other column or page, write down what you actually accomplish that day. Include little things like: Treated myself to lunch on the river. Took the dog for a long walk. Finished that short story I’ve been putting off. Washed some dishes. Took a long bath.
We tend to berate ourselves for things we DON’T accomplish instead of praising ourselves for the many things we do without thinking about it. Try to remember and include all the awesome things you took care of today.
Will this increase your performance and efficiency? I don’t care! The fact is, being nice to yourself will probably give you a longer life expectancy than beating yourself up over a less than perfectly organized house.
Just my thoughts on how to be Accidentally Happy with just a little effort.
i push through the door with my hand flat. only it isn’t the door, it’s the window, and my arm goes right through it and immediately starts to bleed. i’m thirteen, and full of energy, but in a repressed sort of way. misdirected energy – like every other thirteen year old – and loads of angst. i live in a dumpy house with a poor family and a father who drinks too much. the days are warm but full of dense, smoggy air that makes it hard to enjoy perpetual sunshine.
my sister is busy teasing me. she doesn’t need a reason; do they ever? this time she is teasing me because i sort of have a boyfriend, and he called to talk nervously on the phone with me. he’s cute, and shy, but i don’t know why he’s my boyfriend. we don’t know each other except from one class in junior high. why did he even get a crush on me? my confusion makes me curious to understand the situation, so i tell him yes i’ll ‘go with him’.
but not now. i already said yes a week ago, and this is just a phone call that my sister interrupts to pick on me and call my boyfriend ‘Snookums’. (his last name is Snook) (but this is way before Snookie came around, so don’t get that confused)
i’m a bit embarrassed on the phone.
a. i don’t want him to know that i kind of like him, and i also don’t want him to know that i’m very apathetic about the whole thing at the same time. i actually have more of a crush on his best friend than i do on him; the other one just took too long.
b. i don’t usually have boys call me up. my sister is the one who has all the experience with the other sex. she has make out sessions all the time, and i’m just a goofy, crooked toothed tomboy. i’m surprised by the attention but don’t want to come off like an idiot.
i could punch my sister right now for making me nervous and awkward on the phone, but i kind of want to hug her. she never really pays any attention to me. she is cool and i’m just the little sister. a nobody. too shy to make any real friends, too hyper for most standard people that actually walk with their feet touching the ground, and too crazy for people outside of the drama club. i’m almost a full blown embarrassment for her i’m sure. but today she is bothering to talk to me, as though i might have something to offer in exchange.
so i’m happy, as i set the phone down and chase my sister outside. she tries to slam the door on me, but i’m quicker than she remembers, and catch the window with my palm.
which of course shatters the window and sends shards of glass in every direction. now that i’m breathing hard and giggling, i will have to concentrate on avoiding the glass all over everywhere, since i’m barefoot as usual. it IS California, shoes are not required. my father will make us pay for the window with our allowance, but it’s a good investment. no window would mean burglars coming in to steal my important Hello Kitty sticker collection, so i gladly shell over the funds. my sister probably talks her way out of her half of the window. she’s like that. and she can’t possibly know she will leave me with a small scar on my hand to remind me of this precious sibling interaction; where as usual, i come away bloody or broken and she comes out of the whole thing unscathed. that’s to be expected.
and while my boyfriend is completely confused about the whole situation, he is still on the phone. too bad for him i enjoyed the chase with my sister more than his conversation.
well dang. gave myself a minor breakdown today.
i sometimes wonder why i put up weird pictures on here, because i might like it, but really – not everyone has the same taste. and i am well aware that i am on the “outer limits” of the norm, not only for my ‘condition’ but also for my taste, style, aesthetic…and humor. oh, and outlook. but i put up pictures none the less. and Accidental Happiness # something or other- i’m glad i have! i’ve started saving some of my pics on a new jump drive, cause i’m trying to get them organized. there are some shots i deem “cooler” than others, and want to make prints of, to maybe sell at local shops in my area. and FUCK IT if my brand new drive full of pictures didn’t say “corrupted” today when i slid it into it’s little home. WTF??? i completely freaked out, then did the melting down thing, then cried. lots of hours of work, and lots of anticipation fucked all over the globe. but i did a little research and found that i’d squirreled away many of the pictures i wanted; on other drives, here, and on my facebook account. (thank you facebook!) i suppose now i should make hard copies as well as do the whole shutterfly and/or flickr thing, which i just keep putting off.
some pix i can’t find. and i guess either i don’t need them, or they don’t want to be found, or i need to go make new ones. but what a panic! and i’m glad to have found the majority in other little places. so, accidental happiness: 80% of pix recovered. word to the wise: don’t skimp on jump drives and get the cheap ass ones on sale for 3.99 in a big barrel/bin at whatever office supply store is unloading them. major suckage.
so i mentioned doing some thrifting on my birthday in a recent post. whew! last weekend was a flurry of activity. we went to garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets, and i walked away with treasures galore! a good little bit of activity out in the sun gave me some much needed skin color (though i guess “pasty white” is a common enough color in Michigan) and an outdoor DJ at the flea market made me want to linger even after my treasures were secured.
here is one more of my finds from that weekend, from a thrift store by my sister’s work. it was love at first sight for me, and doubly so when i sat down in it; it rocks, swivels, and is the perfect size and length to stretch out a bit with a good book.
been abandoned in someone’s attic for some time. but here it is all shiny and new!
i love the random interestingness of life. we are taught to think and use our logical minds; to pay attention to what our egos tell us, and usually follow what is logical and makes rational sense.
but there are so many wondrous, magical moments that can be missed if we live only by the schedule, clock, and calendar. we can plan our lives down to the second, and never think to factor in magic, spontaneity, happenstance or random blessing.
last week, when it had finally gotten good and cold here (bleh) we had a warm day, and i wanted to go out shooting pictures while i could still stomach the weather. i threw on my coat and headed a few blocks over for some quick shots. i hadn’t pre-planned on shooting that day, and it certainly wasn’t how i was expecting to spend a day off. i have a house to clean, a book that needs to be edited, and a box of creative mish-mash to sort through. i don’t have time for this extra hour roaming through the streets.
but, if i hadn’t followed my gutt instinct, i would have missed out on this, most rare of all photos; the coveted sighting of The Hungry Tree!:
you just never know what is coming your way…
and that is the fun of living
The sky darkened above me today, while I walked my walk through the streets. Clouds filled up like pregnant ladies and burst their bundles all over me, soaking me from head to toe.
I don’t mind. Walking through town in this rain is interesting, though. Streets normally full of traffic-rushing and lunch-getting are quiet and calm in the rain. Looking down the street there should be hundreds of cars headed my way, but instead there is a vast expanse of shiny asphalt, reflecting back lights and shimmering like a magical path in a fairy tale.
I smell toast as I pass the houses and cars; and coffee, and also some bagels wanting some cream cheese. I smell the delicious scent of earth and dirt, as I meander through Poncho Park. There is something sweet here – perhaps a sugary treat dropped by a child – dancing next to aromas of cigarettes and exhaust fumes. Warm concrete wet with new rain, and the touch of moist grass to top off the mixture.
I heard recently that the sense of smell is the weakest sense in humans. There are times (i/e: when working with the public) that I would appreciate a weaker smeller a great deal. I, however, have super smell, and can often identify a brand of perfume just from walking into a building, or the smell of an egg salad sandwich eaten six hours ago, but somehow still lingering about the lunchor.
This super power allows me to enjoy a million little things that go unnoticed by others: someone lighting a candle on a rainy day, perhaps to sit and read a good book by; the fresh laundry smell that squeezes through the house and brushes my nose with its clean, happy scent; and the smell of life, which seems to be toast and coffee for me – scents that say it’s time to get up and start another day. Live. Be alive. Go make something of this day.