Searching for Happy

When I heard today the Steve Jobs had died, I thought to myself that he must have been much sicker than he let on. And I also thought about how much he must have loved his job to keep going back to it everyday while still sick. I had a similar thought several years ago when I watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. How lovely it must be to go do something everyday but not measure it against every other thing you could be doing with your life and find it wanting.

At the time of Pausch’s lecture, I was going through some huge Changes in my life and dealing with it poorly. I searched desperately for advice of finding happiness. I found that I wasn’t the only one out there struggling with the idea of “happiness.” I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project, which has since become a book. I found David Nettle’s book, Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile, which studied what makes people happy and came up with some surprising answers. There was Happiness: A History, by Darrin M. McMahon, which took a look at what “happy” even means given a time and a culture.  Then there was the surprising article in the Atlantic, about the Grant Study,  a 72 year study of 268 men.

This is just a small selection of what I found.  There were literally hundreds of blog posts from people all wondering the same thing, “How can I be happy?  I’m not happy?”

Twistedly, it seems we are all searching for a moving target.  The definition and measurements are different for every person.  Yet we can’t help but contrast our lives against those of others.  We desperately want a map, but really all we get is a wave toward a vague direction.

If anything, Jobs’ Commencement address and Pausch’s Lecture, remind us that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The willingness of Jobs and Pausch to be open about where they struggled and lost and where they struggled and won, gives us all a chance to see how a vague direction will still get you to where you need to go.  By sharing, not a road map, but some possible landmarks, Jobs and Pausch remind us that in the end we alone sit in judgement of our lives.

In his Commencement address, Jobs said an now frequently quoted line, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  And all I can say in response is “I’m trying.  Thanks for the landmark.”

Off the map?

I want to start by apologizing for disappearing. The start-up to the semester has been busier than I expected. Also, I have been obsessing mulling over a couple of big T truths in my life. When I do that, I have tendency to withdraw a bit. Unfortunately that has meant that I can also get caught in myself, all whirling dervish and no perspective. Yet I am happy to report that I and have finally come to resting point with them. No answers yet, mind you, but at least a resting place.

I cannot wait to catch you up on some of the stuff that has been going on. But for now I must hurry into Costco. The tires need rotating and the three cups
of coffee have hit never-recovered-from-pregnancy bladder pretty hard.

Isness

A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming. Being does mean becoming, but we run so fast that is only when we seem to stop–a sitting on the rock at the brook–that we are aware of our own isness, of being. But eventually this is not static, for this awareness of being is always a way of moving from selfish self–the self image–towards the real.

Who am I , then? Who are you?
~Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle or Quiet, 1972.

I can’t decide if this idea scares me or relieves me.

I’m not a fan of change. I don’t like moving. (Hush Joe. Just because I have moved a lot doesn’t mean I like it.) The older I get the harder I find having everything in chaos. It feels like the edges of my self are blurred when nothing is in its place; when I don’t know the multiple ways around and through a town. And yet that seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Absurd that I would be so defined by the kin, if you will, of my environment.

On the other hand, thank goodness my “isness” is changing. There are so many versions of my self out there that I would prefer to never visit. How relieving it is to know that I don’t have to be the same, always.

How scary, though, the thought that neither does anyone else.

Face the Music Monday

So my official weigh in today has me at 210.4! 5lbs from where I was at the beginning of last week and a total of 7.2 down from where I was in the beginning. Not bad. 7.2 in five weeks. We’ve got some challenging weeks ahead to be sub-200 by the first 5k of my running season but I think it’s doable.

That number isn’t the only music I’m facing right now. We recently took our house off of the market and it would seem that now is the time for everything to break For example, the water of Bean’s bath was yellow, which could be that the were working somewhere on the line but could also mean that my pipes/hotwater heater are in rough shape. Also, I would give you some measurements to compare with ones from a couple of weeks ago, but my electrical panel is attempting to melt itself so I have access to limited electrical power right now. That, and I think JD would be mildly irritated if I woke him up to hold the flashlight while I did it.

Hrm. I think the dogs will be cooler outside tonight. Heck, I might be cooler outside tonight. (Pause for a moment to weigh my discomfort inside against the potential for bugs to crawl into places outside.). Or maybe not.

Condolences

I would like to offer my condelences to the parents and loved ones of Amy Winehouse. As the mother of a
beautiful, independent and fantastic four year old, I imagine that the hardest lesson we parents learn is that the most awful monsters we try to protect them from are the ones they find inside themselves.

We wish you all the strength in the world.

Yours,
Alice, JD, & Bean