Tag Archives: lifestyle

How to be happy – a sidenote (via Today I’m happy…)

One of my goals this year is finding happiness in every day, and as part of that, I’m also providing some research, articles, thoughts, etc, on how to be happy on my other blog, DelightfullyHappy. Here is a post from yesterday, a recap of the Oprah show on happiness.

How to be happy - a sidenote What does it take to be happy?  Love?  Kids?  A good job?  Money?  Does what you do for a living make a difference?  What about where you live? This blog was started as a way to recognize happiness in every day, but I also intended to share snippets of wisdom, articles, and book reviews.  Today is the first of those “sidenotes.” Today, Oprah had Goldie Hawn on the show, and they were talking happiness.  It turned out to be a good all-around happi … Read More

via Today I’m happy…

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Social Problems, The Middle, and Popeye’s Chicken

While you’re in school, certain classes, certain lessons, stick with you.  You remember a particular person in history, or a particular formula or math equation, a certain poem you can still recite.  I don’t know why one thing sticks while so many others are forgotten – something about it sparks a flame inside your mind, and it stays lit for years.

One such lesson for me came in a community college course I took called “Social Problems.”  In that class, we studied sociological, economic, political, and environmental issues that we face, some of us daily.  I had a great professor, and I think that’s key in lessons sticking with you.  He was intelligent, personable – he was very much “one of us.”  He was young, and cute, come to think of it…maybe that’s why I remember him.  😉

Anyway, the one thing that stuck with me in this class was a film we watched.  In it, this couple, very poor, could not afford to feed their three kids and themselves.  They would periodically give up one or two kids to the foster system, so that they would be taken better care of, so that they could eat.  I thought that was very noble of them…until I found out that both parents were two-pack-a-day smokers.

You know what?  IF YOU QUIT SMOKING YOU COULD AFFORD TO FEED YOUR KIDS!

People struggle.  I can bitch and moan all day that I’m struggling, being unemployed, but I know that others struggle much, much more than I do.  I know that I don’t know what poor is.  I don’t know what struggle is.  I think most people who “struggle” also have no real concept of the word.

The Middle

 

ABC’s The Middle is about a middle class family in the Midwest.  It’s a cute little show, with the working parents, the academically challenged child, the socially awkward child, and the bright but quirky child.  They are the typical middle-class family, struggling to raise good kids, keep their marriage together, pay bills, work their jobs, and get dinner on the table.

In this week’s episode, the mother accidentally buys a $200 jar of eye cream, thinking it cost $20, which she already thought of as exorbitant.  She knows her husband will be upset, and he is, but, we find out, not because she made the mistake she made.  He’s upset because a $200 mistake means they both have to take a second job.  He’s upset because he doesn’t want to be in a position where that small of an amount, $200, makes that big of a difference to their finances.  He thinks they should be old enough, have learned enough and saved enough and be making enough, that $200 isn’t a big deal.

It was a great episode, and I think a lot of people, especially these days, are in the same boat, where a $200 mistake is a big deal.

But here’s where I tie all this together:  Being the “typical middle class family,” their dinner regularly consists of fast food.  The mother very rarely cooks, because, like the typical middle class mother, she doesn’t have the time or energy after a long day of work.  And I just flash back to that video of the smoking parents, and I think, Maybe if you didn’t buy fast food all the time, a $200 mistake wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

Of course, the fact that they were eating Popeye’s Chicken at the end of this episode, making me incredibly jealous because I can’t get Popeye’s Chicken where I live, has nothing to do with my angst.  🙂

Let it go

let it go...

Image by Norma Desmond via Flickr

 

I’ve been working on getting rid of a lot of clutter from my condo.  Cleaning out.  What I’ve done so far has helped me breathe easier – I wonder how I’ll feel when it’s done.

My friend loaned me a book that helped her out:  Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston.  I’ve been skimming it, mostly, and I’m about halfway through, and this one part jumped out at me.  I even wrote it down.

Life is constant change.  So when something comes into your life enjoy it, use it well, and when it is time, let it go.  It is that simple.  Just because you own something, it doesn’t mean that you have to keep it forever.  You are just a temporary custodian of many things as they pass through your life.

For some reason, I immediately, without thought, applied this not to my home, my material posessions, but to my personal life, to the things I’ve been holding onto mentally.  Of course, this is kind of the point – you clear out the physical clutter, it helps you clear out the mental clutter. 

But this quote literally stopped me in my tracks.  I reread it several times, thought about it, read it a few more times.     “When something comes into your life enjoy it, use it well, and when it is time, let it go.”

Enjoy it.

Use it well (or, learn from it).

Let it go.

Let it go.

Today I happened upon this article on CNN about de-cluttering.  The author suggests evaluating everything you own as if you are moving overseas – what would you take with you in the limited space available?

Again, certain things jumped out at me, because I unconsciously applied them to my mental clutter, not material possesions. 

  • “Is this thing worth hauling 6,000 miles across an ocean and in to a new home? Is it providing that much meaning and value to my life? If not, why bother having it now?”  Is this mental baggage I’m carrying worth carrying it around with me, is it adding meaning or value to my life?
  • “It’s just stuff. You think you’ll miss [it]…but once it’s gone, you really don’t. Getting rid of something isn’t just saying no, it’s saying yes to what you’re gaining — more space, more visual clarity…”  Get rid of the mental anguish, gain clarity.
  • “It’s about everything in your life having value. It’s looking at all your belongings and knowing that you’ve given that thing permission to be there, that the item is truly adding value and beauty to your life.”  It’s about looking at all of your thoughts and knowing that they are truly adding value and beauty to your life.

It’s not easy, de-cluttering your life, or your mind.  It’s really difficult to let go of some things.  But I’m working harder at it.