HTT: How to Happiness

If you're anything like me, you get sad a lot.

You get really angry and frustrated too, but mostly sad.

And, if you're anything like me, you can see sadness coming the way animals can hear an earthquake on the way. You have a list of things that start happening, sleeping too much, eating too much, barking at your loved ones, procrastinating, television, tossing and turning because of something stupid you did in your mid-twenties, you know, all those kinds of things. Some of it is chemical, both biological and, well, alcohol. Some of it is situational, broken heart, broken dreams, bad things happen, good things fail to happen. All of it is life.

And if you're anything like me, you've been told a hundred, possibly a million times to think of things that make you happy and then do those things. Or, for the glass-is-half-empty crowd, think of the things that make you sad, and don't do those things.

Sounds like super simple stuff when written out like that, huh?

But in practice, and I've had a lot, not typically all that easy is it?

You know there are really good drugs available, just a psychiatrist's phone call away, but that's a life long commitment and requires good health insurance.

There's also sex. Super quick fix. But that requires either a willing partner or a well paid one. Both of which are expensive and unavailable on weekends and holidays.

There's escapism. For me it's rereading old books, but it can just as easily be trolling the internet or a midnight run to Disneyland. Escapism is actually pretty effective, but just like Penn&Teller will tell you, it's not magic, it's an illusion.

So anyway, I thought I'd rock today's "How to Tuesday" with a little guide session on "How to Happiness" This is in fact a joint effort, considering it's a list of things that Joann tells me to do when she starts to notice I've been pacing in circles around the coffee table while she's trying to concentrate on another season if CSI.

First and Foremost; Clean stuff.
Not just dishes and laundry. I'm talking bathrooms, garages, floor mats in your car. If you have a particular space where you do things, organize the hell out of it and then paint the walls. Throw shit out. I learned this because I always seem to get crazy irritable around the holidays which I used to attribute to retail stress, but I've discovered it's because when there is shit everywhere, I can't think straight. Clean stuff. Step one.

Step Two:
Fix things. It's amazing how fresh and alive you feel when you spend that ten minutes tightening the screw on that wobbly cabinet door. It's like the world is alive and you've actually accomplished something. For ten minutes, your life mattered, and that's a feeling that can last all week. The list I've got going now includes replacing the air filters on all the vents in the house and organizing all of my internet ID's and passcodes so that I'm not constantly having to wait for the site to email me. A simple solution that will save me hours every week. Hours.

Step Three: Make someone else happy.
If you can't fix you, then try and fix someone else. I used to tell my retail staff that when you get the absolute worst, meanest, unrelenting retarded customers, instead of balling up that hate, try and see if you could get them to laugh, or get them to smile, or learn their name, or connect with them on any human level you can think of. Find out what car they drive, or where they got those shoes, or find the thing they're most proud of. Don't pander, don't kiss ass, don't give them free shit just to hustle them out the door, just identify them as frail inadequate humans (kinda like you and me) and see what kind of difference you can make. Pro Tip: You can do the same in the reverse to the people behind the counter.  We don't have a caste system in the US, but we try really hard to treat servers like inferiors. See what happens when you treat your watress like someone special. That's not illusion, that's bonafide magic.

Now the last step I'm going challenge you with requires a master class in human development, because there are some dangerous steps that can spiral you down back to or even below the point you were at previously, but if you walk tall and know the pitfalls ahead of time, you might just get through this alive.

Step Four: Learn something new.
It's dangerous because the unknown is terrifying, yet maybe you can get past that particular point and just muscle yourself into the unknown. But there are stages you HAVE to be conscience of. The first stage of learning something new is the Stupid/Excited stage. You know nothing but are just jazzed to be dreaming again. This stage does not last long. Soon you will find yourself in Stage Two. The "I know nothing and I suck at everything" stage. This is where you want to give up so badly that you almost consider moving back in with your parents and avoid human contact until your heart gives out. This is the stage where we all quit because it's too hard, and we were so stupid to dream in the first place.

Man up at this point. It will not last forever.

Stage three is dependant on how quickly you recognized that the only way to be good at something is to absolutely suck at it first. Stage three is when you actually learned something but you have zero, I repeat, zero confidence in yourself.

Keep going man, you got this.

Stage four; You wake up one day, and you realize, you got this. You are now better. You are now good. you are now capable of something. You are now a shining example of success and are ready to spread the word.

You are now happy.

Fleeting though it may be.

You are now a better and more capable human being than you were at the other end of this spiral.

If after all that, you feel the earthquake of sadness again,

Just rinse and repeat.

Alway repeat.

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