It’s Monday and I woke up pretty happy, but then something happened and it was one of those moment when I had to take a commercial break and I heard the narration in my head by a TV announcer say, ‘This morning’s event is brought to you by…” *cue the theme song of the Twilight Zone* and then I heard Big Bird says, “This morning’s episode is brought to you by the letters W-T-F.” No, I’m not crazy and no I didn’t really hear these things, but just hear me out for a second. When there are things happening in your life or in your day that are beyond your control, just think of the famous quote by the late Dr. Maya Angelou, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” Even though, I’m not complaining, this “scratching my head” moment is driving me up the wall. Maybe it’s just the way the stars are aligning this week, my horoscope did say this would happen (yes, I’m one of those people). But then timely as always, the message was clear, I received an email newsletter from The Muse about “9 Habits Happy People Ditched A Long Time Ago” and it was really thoughtful. So I decided to tweak it and share some habits that I’ve adopted in my life, that I often have to remind myself of that keeps me on the happy and carefree path.
My Journey is Not Your Journey is Not My Journey
No matter which way you look at it the story doesn’t change. Often times our source of worry and unhappiness comes from the need to keep up with whatever someone else has going on in their life. I have friends getting married, friends having children, friends traveling the world and I’m just not there yet. There are times when I yearn for those things because they are basic human wants/needs, but the more I look at someone else’s life and hope and wish and pray for those things, the more stress and pressure I put on myself and the more time and attention I take away from developing myself so that I can get those things. So whenever I get in one of those “woe is me” funks, I quickly remind myself of all the things I’ve accomplished and where they’re taking me and for goodness sakes, I’m only 26! No rush, no worry Dej.
Don’t Make it Work, Work, Work, Work, Work
Is it just me or does anybody else find that song annoying as heck, except for Drake’s part? But anyway, there was a point in my life where it was just ALLLL work and hardly any play, but now that I’ve gotten a little taste of the fun and carefree life I want it all the time. I find it in the little things and the big things. There’s always a reason for some good ol innocent fun. If it’s a sunny day, and the weather is nice, put on your headphones and an upbeat song and take a walk and imagine yourself in a music video. If the local library is having an open mic night or the community center has a free class, join them. If you feel like taking an early day from work to catch that sale, do it. I promise you’ll feel good about it. Don’t ignore the little things that make life fun just because it’s not some extravagant vacation abroad or front row seats at a concerts.
And I don’t mean in a drama-filled, asshole type of way, but in a fun-loving and silly way. When you take life too seriously and everything is to the T, that makes for one boring lifestyle. Laugh a little, be silly, skip to your lou and swing from the jungle gyms at the neighborhood playground. Think of all those things you did in high school that was completely pointless, but you still find yourself laughing at years later. I will be the first to say that I am a big kid. I do big kid things and I am completely okay with that. It keeps me happy and entertained.
Celebrate Happy Moments No Matter How Small or Large
As an adult, I think we’ve all waited for that moment where we don’t need an excuse to pop open that bottle of Merlot at 1 in the afternoon. I think we’ve all at some point walked into a bakery and bought a birthday cake even though it was no one’s birthday, but just because we had a craving (no? just me, oh). So celebrate those little things for yourself and your friends. If you got a $2 raise at work, hell you are two dollars richer, pop that cork! Your friend has reached their goal weight, celebrate with a shot or two (remember, waistline portions). The point is you have to celebrate those small successes just as you would the larger ones.
No matter how weird, panties in a bunch uptight, square, circle, rhombus you are, be that and never apologize for it. I’m 26 years old, I hate 9-5 jobs, I loath business attire, anything that feels remotely like shoes, I like to read children’s books because they are colorful, sometimes I randomly find myself researching things that pertain to astronomy for no apparent reason just simply because I wanted to know and I hate raisins, but I like cinnamon raisin bagels, bread and Raisin Bran cereal and pick the raisins out because buying just regular cinnamon swirl bagels and bread and regular bran cereals don’t have the same level of sweetness that the raisins give. That was a mouthful, but that’s Dej. Be who you are and people will have no choice, but to like you. It takes too much work and back stories to be someone else and keep up with that persona.
That’s it in a nutshell. They sound so simple when you spell it out, but let’s be honest it’s not. You’re going to always find yourself comparing your journey to that of other’s. You’re going to always find yourself tweaking who you are under the idea that you’re just being adaptable, you’re going to always find yourself measuring your success. That’s just life, but the important thing in all of this is that you are able to identify when you’re doing it, so that you can stop it and work on creating healthier habits.
****Check out the original 9 Habits Happy People Ditched A Long Time Ago here.