Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shiny, happy people

Posted by Michele

Whew! I just blogged about violence on my personal blog, so now I'm feeling in desperate need of a pick-me-up. What do you do to lift your spirits? Bring on the happiness? Do you have to seek a happy state, or are you pretty easily joyous at any given moment?

I'm very satisfied with my life. I'm laid back to a fault. In fact, when I get excited about something, I don't scream and shout and make a scene, I actually revert and get even more quiet, almost catatonic. I've warned my agent about this. Should she ever call me with some huge news that means I'm going to be making the big bucks, she should not be surprised if the phone clunks onto the floor. It is only because I have likely passed out with joy.

But seriously, when you ask yourself if you're happy with your life, comfortable, have no needs, I can answer with a quick yes. And it's not one of those 'yes, but you'll never dredge up all the stuff I really long for' answers. It is simply yes. I am happy. I have quite all that I need, in fact, too much at times. I don't have any aches or horrible conditions. I'm relatively fine with my 'a bit over' weight, though I wouldn't sneer at losing some poundage, but it doesn't make me sad.

Yet as a generally happy person, I acutely feel the sadness, anger and despair from others. Someone very close to me has the ability to actually make disparaging statements about himself. He can put himself down. He can say 'I suck' or 'I'm no good', and he does so often. I cannot conceive of making such a statement, because I truly believe that words enforce the soul. They stay with you. Once you speak something, you have given it life, and it may not necessarily become truth, but it will be there forever. So, to witness a less than happy person's interaction with the world sometimes startles me.

Yes, of course I have moments of sadness and anger. It's natural not to, right? But I don't dwell in them. I don't think I understand remaining attached to a negative emotion like that.

So what do I do to stay happy? Well, it's not something I think about. But I must admit chocolate is always welcome. Exercise, I have found, does improve one's mood vastly. Heck, I started walking in hopes of taking off a few pounds. That has not come to fruition, but I've no desire to abandon walking because I can actually feel the chemical changes in my brain when I breathe in the fresh air and infuse my body with vigor. It makes me happy!

Good friends are a necessity to happiness. Even if you sit around and complain, it still taps into that part of your brain that needs a recharge of goodness. Pets will do it. I can't imagine living without a cat. And good food is always tops on my list (which may have something to do with the non-weight loss; hmm...). Music is another non-negotiable happy-maker. Life without a soundtrack would be utterly strange. Watching those you love acheive, learn, make mistakes and come into their own is another big one. Oh, and books. Books, books, glorious books!

So what makes you happy?


Betina Krahn said...

Michele, we must have been separated at birth. You named my happy buttons. . . with a few exceptions. I'm crazy about patterns-- the ones you see in nature, not the ones you sew! Circles, spirals, golden ratios, stars in the middle of flowers; that kind of thing. Also textures; fuzzy, sleek, satiny, velvety, shiny, glossy, reedy, slick. Textures compensate for my lack of a sense of smell. I absorb them greedily. Also colors-- LOVE colors, though I wear too damned much beige. Also. . . photos of the newest family ankle-biters. . . they blow me away.

Massage/touch/hugs are always helpful. As is a dish session with my sister. I think I become a different person when I'm with her. Also movies-- good, thoughtful, upbeat movies.

Also, being in water. Cool, blue water in the hot summertime. Healing and happifying for me. . . nourishing, a womb for the soul. That's why I'm in Florida and staring out my sliding doors at a pool.

anne said...

wow. i have to go slit my wrists now. :D

i love being around happy people because i tend to be pretty dark and morose. they give me some balance.

and michele: i laughed out loud over your description of yourself. you are pretty laid back! :D i'm always in some kind of turmoil over something. prozac, STAT!

music is what makes me less morose, but i've noticed i haven't been listing to music lately. i'm kind of WORRIED ABOUT THAT, but i think it's more of a deadline issue.

Michele said...

Ah, Betina, water. I think I was a mermaid in a former life. What I wouldn't give for an indoor lap pool. Just love being in water.

And patterns! I take pictures of nature all the time, anything that has a pattern or is just unique.

Oh, Anne, put on some quiet tunes in the background. You strike me as the sort who would thrive on music.

I just thought of another thing that makes me joyous: ornamental letters. Yes, like an extravagent A or a ornamented M. All those old medieval monograms and victorian alphabets? Oh, nummy!


Helen Brenna said...

Interesting question, Michele.

I used to think I was a negative person, but it's sunk in over the past few years that I was only raised in a very negative environment. Can't tell you how many times I heard the old, "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong." I'm not laid back, but I'm generally happy.

I HAVE to work out to stay feeling good - it's a chemical thing. And because I tend to be an introvert, I need a good balance of time alone and time with family and friends.

And I tend to be greatly affected by the moods of the people around me. If my 17 year old daughter's happy, the whole family's happy!!

Helen Brenna said...

There was something else you mentioned, Michele, I forgot to comment on.

You said, "Once you speak something, you have given it life ..." I think as writers, words mean so much more to us than to other people. Don't you think?

anne said...

helen, i so agree with what you said about being affected by the people around you, especially kids. my day can be great. get a call from my son or daughter about how miserable things are, then i'm bummed for days while they go skipping off to some other bright shiny object.

Michele said...

Words are a big one for me, Helen. I subscribe to the Four Agreements, and one of them is to Be Impeccable With Your Word. Don't say it unless you mean it. And when you do say it? Mean it.

So yes, words mean much.