Happiness, Repeated

Apr
1

I’ve written about happiness several times on this website over the years. Happiness is a subject I’m interested in, as a purposeful goal, not a random happenstance. I looked back recently on the very first post I ever wrote about happiness and had mixed and new feelings about it. For one thing, that particular “moment” of happiness didn’t last in its then form. But second, I didn’t give up on happiness and came to realize it wasn’t a one-time mission to be accomplished and forgotten. If you want it, it’s an ongoing pursuit, a regular reconvening within oneself, taking stock and re-prioritizing and reevaluating direction. Many of the things I’ve said in the past, I find to have held true, but I have new thoughts today and this is a combination.


Gratuitous happy photo.
IMG_2136
My life isn’t perfect, but I do love my life, and that is because I live my life for myself rather than for other people. This isn’t as self-centered as it sounds. Pursuing happiness is a factor of self-interest, not of selfishness. Selfishness is not caring about how other people feel. Self-interest is caring about how other people feel then balancing that against caring about how you feel, too, and accepting that you’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness, only your own. And tending to your own happiness is a big enough responsibility without trying to manage other people’s, believe me.

There has been more than one period in my life when I was just putting one foot in front of the other, pushing a boulder of negativity off my chest every day to get up and keep going. Happiness is not always easily achieved. Happiness is being surrounded by people, places, and things that feel good, down deep, that feel peaceful and positive and right, for me and for my family. More than once I’ve made radical changes in my life to pursue happiness–and each time it started with opening my heart to a tough question. Are you happy? This is a massively frightening question to face because if the answer is no, then what are you doing to do about it? Most likely, the answer to that question is going to involve a lot of trouble. And require putting yourself on a road with no map, letting your heart find the way on its own.

It’s true that nothing worth having comes easy, and it’s possibly more true of happiness than anything else. But it’s also true that it’s worth having, so don’t be afraid of the hard questions and the hard answers or letting your heart have its way. Usually, it knows best anyway.

Today, I am happy at Sassafras Farm. Two years ago, I’d never heard of Sassafras Farm nor could I imagine it. I have no idea if I will always be happy at Sassafras Farm, or if it will always be my home. Be not alarmed, I have no plans to go anywhere, but I have lived enough life these days to know that the future is always a story that has yet to be told, that there are always surprises in life. I am enjoying the here and the now, and that is all we have, you know? And I am enjoying not knowing the future. In the darkest days of Stringtown Rising, I wish I could have seen the future as the gift unwrapped that it was. Today, I have learned to view it as such.

Near the end of my book, I write this paragraph:

I know that I’m writing the next story in my life each day, but I only see it by the page–which is the way life should be lived. It makes us better characters if we don’t know where our story is headed.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on April 1, 2013  

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Comments

17 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 4-1
    2:17
    am

    Thank you. What you have said is so true, and the older we get the more we realize those very facts.

  2. 4-1
    8:52
    am

    Wonderful post – and I think that the photo of the critters at the gate should be on the back cover of your book, or maybe on the last page :)

  3. 4-1
    8:53
    am

    What a wonderful post! I think that it is easy to read popular blogs and assume that the writer’s life is perfect in every way. I think you show what a great writer (and pretty awesome human IMHO), by including those posts that show that you have a real life with real challenges just like the rest of us! Thank you! I can’t wait to read your book :)

    Beth – the Old Goat

  4. 4-1
    9:00
    am

    Loved the picture of the happy, furry faces greeting you.
    Also, I am very excited about your book. I’m looking for ward to it!

  5. 4-1
    9:01
    am

    What a wonderful, thought-provoking comment. Every time I think about what I’d LIKE to do, I feel selfish. I shared this to my facebook wall with much these same words…

  6. 4-1
    9:35
    am

    Thank you Suzanne. I have always held that a good writer, for me at least, is one who can express thoughts you held inside of you, waiting to get out. Now that I have also started on a journey of self enlightenment, whatever that may be, I find your writing to hold true to that maxim. God bless.

  7. 4-1
    10:32
    am

    I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  8. 4-1
    10:55
    am

    It couldn’t be any more timely for me that you wrote this post today. I just read the others (on happiness) this past weekend. As one who is not happy I am having a hard time facing the “Are you happy?” question. And yes I view it as selfishness to even ask or contemplate the answers. Thanks for tackling those hard areas.

    Rhonda

  9. 4-1
    10:59
    am

    This post feels like there is something coming up anew in your life. MORE HAPPINESS
    It helps me realize I am also adding to the next page of my life (I’m not a writer).
    Be BLESSED, Happy April 1st!

  10. 4-1
    12:20
    pm

    Well written Suzanne. Life is a series of adventures. I love your blogs and pix and being allowed into your exciting life. :snoopy:

  11. 4-1
    12:43
    pm

    This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
    “Nothing is exciting if you know what the outcome will be.”

    I have tried to live my life with this in the back of my mind to remind me to live each moment as it comes. I don’t always succeed but it is a good adage to help keep me in the now.

  12. 4-1
    1:55
    pm

    I am so thankful for the fact that “Our future arrives ~ ONE DAY AT A TIME.

  13. 4-1
    2:23
    pm

    Amen sister! No one could have ever said all that any better.

  14. 4-1
    4:09
    pm

    That looks like a picture with Clover & Nutmeg. Poor baby, we all miss Clover. You’ll never have a goat with that much hutzpah again.

  15. 4-1
    4:11
    pm

    :wave:
    Happiness is sometimes hard to see. It can hide around the corner waiting for tomorrow.Then it just jumps out when your not looking.
    I am so glad you were looking when it came. :sun:

  16. 4-1
    5:04
    pm

    I’ve always said “take care of number 1 first”. Because if you’re not happy, those around you cant possibly be either. So it’s up to you to make your own happiness and the rest will follow.

  17. 4-1
    9:47
    pm

    I am learning just what you speak of. Too often we spend years doing what makes others happy and losing a bit of ourselves along the way. I am trying to be present in the NOW and not lost somewhere back in the past or entertaining worry about a future that hasn’t even happened yet. Sassafras Farm is beautiful!

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