Friday, September 27, 2013

Happiness is Key; Will You be the Locksmith?

Lately, I've noticed an influx of advice on how to be happy. Many of you fairly imaginary readers may not know this (of course you don't know, you're almost nonexistent!), but I struggle with feeling depressed sometimes. I get down on myself a lot, and despite my cheerful disposition, I have a bad habit of looking at my life through a dreary lens. However, I have been trying to improve myself in this particular area, and the hoard of articles I've seen lately have been little reminders to keep me going. Facebook is great when people share worthwhile things, isn't it?

So recently a friend posted this: Habits of Supremely Happy People. This friend has a serious life-threatening disease, and in the past year went through a (presumably) difficult divorce. She is an inspiration to many with her courage and motivation, and this post was just another drop in the bucket. Despite all this, I saw her post and thought, yeah right. Mankind has been searching for the key to finding happiness for ages, and what have we got to show for it? This is probably just another hokey article about following your bliss. And yet, I read it anyway. We all have what will help us personally be happy, but the tip I remembered most from that post was that you have to choose to be happy. Making a conscious effort has huge effects, as evidenced by a scientific study that was referenced. The specific aspect from that post was that I tested was walking briskly and acting like I owned the place to improve my mood. And suddenly my drudging walks to work weren't so drudging after all (shocker).

The next post was shared by a newly-wed friend, but one who had waited years for the blessed event to happen, and didn't let her unfulfilled desires make her a bitter cynical monster. Evidenced by her sensible sharing of this post: How to get flat abs, have great sex, and rule the world in 8 easy steps. Now you may think, this post looks like what I see every day in the checkout line, but don't let it fool you. The eye-grabbing title only makes the post that much more ingenious. The blessed author reminds us of what headlines we constantly see everywhere, and how they make us feel like we cannot be happy the way we are. We aren't thin enough, sexy enough, or powerful enough. But despite what the world wants you to think, you actually can be all you want to be, and that power of decision remains with you. I would highly suggest reading this post as well.

Obviously the point I am trying to make is that we CAN be happy if only we CHOOSE to. And you're thinking, big whoop, dimegirl. Who came up with that, captain obvious? We've heard it all before! and you may be right. But I know that some days are bad, and often those bad days are followed by monotonous ones, or worse than before ones. Despite it all, we have to sit down (or just cease our busy lives for a moment) and realize how freaking blessed we are. We have clothes on our backs, we live in a country with religious freedom, our families are not tortured and lost to us, we can walk to work or school or the store and not be attacked, our bodies function well, we not only eat 3 meals a day, but choose what we want to eat! I have so much, and I cannot tell you how undeserving I feel when I claim that my life is hard. But I'm trying to reform myself.

It is easy to lose the perspective of how much we have when we get caught up in our (very real) small problems. So let's all make a commitment to ourselves to be more positive. When you have troubles, stop and help someone else. Make their burden a little lighter, because they're probably suffering from something just as you are. We never know what others are going through, so it's safe to assume that we are all going through something. Big or small, we all have problems and worries. So let's uplift each other and work to be happy. Happiness is the key, but we are the locksmiths and no one else can make us put forth the effort. It is our choice, and what a wonderful opportunity it is to choose to be happy. I thank God that we have that choice, among so many others.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Well, this is nice. My new blog layout and colors are quite pleasing, if I do say so myself. Why the revamp, you ask? It's simple. Right now, my life is going through a revamp. I've heard that word "revamp" used over and over again, but never really thought about what it meant. According to the OED (typical definition reference--yes, I am that cliche) the word revamp can be defined as thus:


To give a new and improved form, structure, or appearance to; to renovate; to overhaul; to revise.

 In my case, I felt that a renovation or revision of my blog's appearance and purpose was in order. The reason behind this sudden overhaul (yes, I can use big words from the dictionary!) is simply that I had a recent realization that my life is about to change drastically. I am on a precipice of human experience, as my college graduation will occur next June and probably babies soon(ish) thereafter. Now before you judge me or assume that I am another baby-hungry female provo-ite, stop.  
Note: at times people feel they should or shouldn't have children at any given time. Either way, it is none of our business, just a very personal decision. The end. 

Whew. Glad we got that out of the way. As I was saying, there are big things in the future. Something else for my readers to keep in mind is that although I am soon to finish my undergraduate education, my spouse is a college freshman and will continue on to complete a Master's degree leaving him with...5+ years left of school. Yay for education, right? Well, yes. But how to tackle the age-old young Mormon married couple question: How can we have kids and balance that with school/careers/etc? Oh, if only the answer were that simple. 

When this question comes to my mind, however, I think of a quote I've heard that states, "God can't steer a parked car." This reminds me that although the future is scary and uncertain, I must keep moving on. I must continue to do what I believe and know to be right, and not only hope for things to work out, but have faith in that scenario. There is a big difference between wishing for things to go your way and having faith in God's plan for you while moving forward with what you currently know. So, my husband will continue in his education, we will both work when we can, we'll try to stick to our budget and remain financially stable, and we'll prepare for the not-too-distant day when we will have children. Because I know what I want the most. 

So, back to the revamp. With all the fear for the future, (aka supporting my husband through school, trying to avoid student loans, having a child in this world and attempting to be a good parent, etc) it's easy to be set back and discouraged. The other day I was totally having a freak out when I realized I was graduating with a B.A. in English and had little idea of how to find a job after graduation, or even what I wanted to do with my degree. And yes, I've heard the all the critiques on Humanities majors and their lack of ability to find a job outside of the fast food world. But from this day forward, I choose to shape my own destiny, and not to fall prey to the negativity of the world. Does this mean I'll expect rainbows and butterflies and free money after I graduate? No, but it does mean that I will not let negative opinions around me preventing me from succeeding. 

With that, I'm now searching carefully for helpful internships that will make me more marketable, I'm revising my resume and lastly, doing a lot of self-assessment and soul searching. Because the better I know myself and what I want, the more aptly I can shape myself into what I want to become. My options include working in any type of editing, teaching at a charter school, obtaining higher education through an online process, teaching piano, secretarial positions, etc. There's a lot I know I can do, and just because I didn't major in it doesn't mean I can't have a job dealing with it. So that's my plan, and I'm sure I'll have to shape and adjust it many times over, but I know what I want and I'm determined to get it. Will being a mother with a husband in school long-term be hard? Of course. But it will be, and that's the beginning of what I want.