25 Jun Sometimes you gotta just choose happiness
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. And definitely none of that “new year, new me” twaddle. According to polls, the average American abandons their NY resolutions around February 1st. But this is not to say that change is impossible. One of my little weird rebellions against both NY resolutions and the summer months is to write a letter to myself about goals and changes I’d like to make. I do this on the Summer Solstice because my excitement to head into the dark half of the year is palpable. In a similar irony, the Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year but after that, mercifully, we start to lose a bit of daylight each day. An end to the heat and humidity and the bugs is at least edging closer.
In writing this year’s letter, I thought about John Parkin’s book F**k It and Dr. Phil’s observation about being right or being happy: “You can choose to be right…or you can choose to be happy. I vote for the latter—but hey, it’s your call.” (https://www.oprah.com/spirit/dr-phil-hows-that-working-for-you_1/all)
A few things had been gnawing at me that day:
+ There’s a person who reads my content, nibbles at the edges of plagiarism, and never credits me. This was making me hot under the collar.
+ A project I was working on went belly up out of nowhere after assurances were given that the company was doing just fine. In fact, the phrase “We have a blank check” was used. So when the plug got pulled and I wasn’t even offered a “Sorry this happened” or “Thanks for your help,” I was hot under the collar.
+ After the tornado and subsequent power outage, the house felt like the devil’s backside. In that scenario, I was literally hot under the collar.
As I sat down, read last year’s letter, and prepared to write a new one, I thought, “None of this is gonna matter in 2024. I will have forgotten about who these people even are.” Although I suspect I’ll remember how hot and miserable we were without AC for a while. Looking at the blank page, it occurred to me: I just want to be happy.
An uncomfortable truth is that sometimes when you freelance, clients won’t always treat you like gold. Likewise, in a W2 job, there will be times you bust your butt and the boss won’t even notice. There will be times when some online troll annoys you or some idea thief will use you as a springboard and never acknowledge it. As the bumper sticker observed: sh*t happens. I was talking one day with a mentor and I was ranting about how I didn’t care about a particular topic. He listened and then observed, “You know, if you didn’t really care, if you were truly neutral, you wouldn’t be this fired up about it. Think about something you truly don’t give a damn about. Does it raise your ire?” 💡
In the book Unoffendable, Einzelgänger has a flow chart about insults and it looks something like this:
Someone insults you. Is it true? If yes, then why be offended by the truth? If no, then why be offended by a lie?
He also talks about healthy detachment and how clinging is the opposite of detachment. The funny this is – the more we seem to cling to something and try to dig our claws into it, the more it fights to get away from us.
Chapter 1 of Einzelgänger’s book is titled, “A World Full of Jerks,” which made me truly laugh out loud. Unfortunately, there will be people we encounter in life that we flat-out don’t like and vice versa. Sometimes you gotta just choose happiness.