Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Pursuit Of Happiness

These days I've been thinking a lot about the course of one's life. How much you lead it and how much you follow it.

It occurs to me that it takes a lot of confidence, and strength (and gall perhaps?) to chose the direction of your life. To make decisions based on your own interests and deal with the consequences accordingly.

It's much harder to turn away from life's collective forces and opportunities (or good enough scenarios) that present themselves than you presumed when you were daydreaming in your high school physics class. Back when you had the confidence (and gall perhaps) to believe you had it in you to control everything that came your way. That you would take the road less traveled... of course you would.

Who knew, then, how tired you'd get? And scared at times. How ingrained it is in our culture (it is) to not risk too much... to be happy with a mostly good life.

Anyone can grow up to be President... but... not you. You're going to work 9-5 at a job you find passable (or don't).

How many times have you heard: "Things could always be worse."

Is that really reason enough not to try?

Is the fear that things could be worse a legitimate reason not to try (or want, or validate the wanting) to live a life that is BETTER (not perfect... but better)?

I battle this internal dialogue all the time. Why can't I just be happy with this? This is enough, isn't it? I'm supposed to think this is enough... aren't I? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?!

I was talking with another mother the other day. We were talking about all of this. She said "I have nothing but respect for people who decide to choose the direction of their own lives." We talked about positive energy and the law of attraction (yes this is what it is like when you have a playdate with me... drink coffee first... or alcohol..). And I do believe that is true. Whether or not better things come your way or not... I do think that when you are positive and actively choosing (as opposed to responding) you'll experience those things in a positive light. And that is life changing even if, in the end, your life isn't dramatically different.

In the end I think it is more fulfilling to live a life that is hard and challenging but of your own choosing, than to live a life that is mediocre. It's got to be.


Brina said...

could you please for once not be so spot-on, mrs. f? ;) but you are absolutely right, at least for me: i need to get my mojo together and start living the full live again, and not just respond.

re the Why can't I just be happy with this? This is enough, isn't it? I'm supposed to think this is enough... aren't I? who is the person you should be listening to if that person tells you that this should be enough? shouldn't you be the only person who can tell you that? ah well, then again, i think i need to practise what i preach before dishing out advice like that^^ :P

inkelywinkely said...

You know, I could use a little dose of whatever has a hold on you. LOL..I want to choose to make my life better, I really do, but somethings makes me back out constantly...I amp myself all up and fall into old habits of accepting a mediocre life, and these are my own actions that make it mediocre! What the hell is wrong with me?!!

I KNOW it is wrong to make kids all spoiled and get them into commercialization of christmas too much. So much so that I only put up a tree and that took alot of effort, the mr didn't even help, he is so fed up with it...yet, here I am running around stressed trying to get gifts that I know are not important instead of making the choice to stand firm in my convictions and do it the way I KNOW it should be done...I guess because it is easier to stress myself and do this crap rather than listen to some whining and explain why we don't feed into the crap like the faceless masses as we always said we would...and the mr is so calm and collected, says he isn't worried...why am I? These are MY convictions!!! He is standing firm in them better than I am!

I have made the decision today that what is here is good enough. I will stand firm, either more will come from others, or it won't. This holiday is not about spending and buying love - it just isn't. I have decided today that I will no longer be frustrated and ragged because of a near 7 year old who is defiant because his life is in complete shambles. I will not allow him to make himself feel worse by dragging me in and making me argue with him over everything, in turn causing his father and I to argue. I will catch my breath and act like the adult I am..the one inside WHO KNOWS BETTER instead of doing the easy thing and just rolling with it.

Today, right now, I choose to make my life better, I will not accept no for an answer- it isn't even an option.

Thanks, Mrs F, I needed that inspiration. :)


AT22 said...

Here is the real question - as you move through life, HOW do you decide what is good enough? My version always is changing.

I took a leap to try and be more "fulfilled." A leap that came as a bonus with a higher salary. But it also came with more hours of work, more stress, less time to do the things that I discovered were the things I really enjoyed.

I guess that is the trick -- to take some leaps or walk a path and to keep figuring out what matters to you. What's "enough" for me may not be right for someone else.

And -- Wow, inkelywinkely!

Andrea said...

wow how do you know?

AshinMT said...

Wow. You have somehow managed to target all of my emotions and put them into words.

I feel like I am currently at a "crossroads" in my relationship, career, wants etc. It has been a constant internal battle as of late, trying to figure out what "is supposed to" and what is "going to" make me happy.
My relationship, which is all of the things that is supposed to make it "enough" isnt leaving me fulfilled, a rut or a real life change coming my direction? scary. Exciting and scary. mostly scared shitless.

Thanks for the insight.
Also, sorry for the random rant here...

Mrs Furious said...

Oooh I'm loving that this is resonating with people!

HC said...

Preach it, sister.

I think figuring out one's happiness is a lifelong process. And I've gotten to a place where I believe that happiness is never static -- what will make us happy evolves and shifts -- it's a slippery little bugger. The trick is to be thoughtful and alert to what our heart is nudging us towards at any given moment, the way you're doing now.

Wishing you and the Mr. luck on the job front!!

Claire said...

This is the perfect "talk" for me to listen to now that I am basically facing my last day of work this Friday. I have the two weeks of vacation ahead of me with Christmas thrown in and then another new life begins for me. I am so excited to have this opportunity of freedom and really want to use it wisely - not necessarily safely - but take the opportunity to really make some new decisions! Thanks for the insight!!!!

Mrs Furious said...

Oh Claire,
Wouldn't that be great... if this hardship actually freed you to find something/do something better? I hope that comes to pass.

I'll get back to everyone LATER... I'm obsessed with Sing Off!

Preppy Mama said...

Mrs. F this post is so striking a cord with me. Yes, I agree whole heartedly with you...I'd love to have a playdate too!

Mrs Furious said...

Oh and AshinMT...
Please do not settle for a good enough marriage. There is enough settling, compromise, disappointment, and work in a GOOD marriage.
If you are not feeling it now... believe yourself.

Marie said...

What is hard is when you don't quite know where you want to end up..or how to get there if you do. Right now we are in a holding pattern because my girls are so little and its going to be almost 3yrs before they are all in school..until then financially we can't afford any big changes.

Dh has been debating (nonstop) going back to school for a masters degree. It would double his salary. DOUBLE. Plus he would rock it. BUT..it requires LONG hours and him not being able to work for 18 months. AT ALL. Soo...how do you swing that? It would mean me working full-time while raising the girls full-time because he would be gone most waking hours of the day and studying whenever he is home. I want him to go for it. Hell, we can survive 18 months somehow. And then we will be great financially AND he will be happy in his job. But it is soo hard to sacrifice so much (esp. when it includes kids) and leave all safety nets behind..

Kate said...

When my husband and I decided to up and move our family across the country to California from the town in Maryland I'd lived in my whole life I read this and it really helped me get through the challenges I knew we'd face:


A highlight:

"All of us have dreams. Desires. Needs. Wants. The most beautiful thing about life is possibility. We can DO anything, but it is up to us to make it happen. I love the last sentence 'Which shall it be, quiet bondage, or hard fought freedom?'"

Mrs Furious said...

Hey ladies,
I've really been enjoying reading everyone's comments and thoughts about this post.

I'd like to get back to each of you individually but I'm feeling like I'm falling behind! Gah!

Baby and I had a major Christmas shopping expedition today and now I have to make 10 3D snowflakes for Kid's performance tomorrow.

I will try and get back to the comments tomorrow!!! Or Friday...

Mrs Furious said...

Oh but HC,
Agreed. I think it is ever changing. I think following that and consciously choosing to reevaluate and not get caught up just responding to what lands at your feet is where I am at in this process. This whole daycare situation has really highlighted how much of a "yes man" I am and how unhappy it makes me... I do things I consciously know will make me unhappy all the time just because it is easier in the moment to do so.

Preppy Mama,
You never know... maybe someday we will be in your neck of the woods ;)

Oh I love that. Thanks.

Deb said...

My husband once said that most people live mediocre lives. It's a statement that has really stuck in my head, and I probably think about it every other day, if not every day. He said it with the confidence of someone who has lived an exceptionally interesting existence, and I think up until we had kids, we both lived very interesting lives. Even with one kid, we managed to keep things pretty cool. Two is definitely leading us down the path of mediocrity. It's hard to be exceptional when all you really want is nine straight hours of sleep. Or seven. Or five.

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