Saturday, 21 April 2012

Happiness is Hard Work

It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I just finished re-organzing my pantry.  Eventhough it's just me who lives here, I do a lot of cooking and baking so things tend to accumulate.  I hauled out almost two full garbage bags of expired and never-going-to-use-again items.  

Recently it dawned on me that happiness isn't necessarily easy.  Maybe it's just me, but I had been going about my life thinking that keeping a clean house, getting up extra early to get to the office by 7 AM and consistently eating clean were, like, such a drag.

Have you ever said or heard someone say "I'd love to be that organized/healthy/productive, but I just can't be bothered to put in the effort"?  That was me, spending hours doing housework just wasn't my style, I'd let things pile up until I could no longer stand it.  I hated waking up early for work and thought the people who came in before 7 o'clock were keeners who had nothing better to do with their time.  I didn't like to let healthy eating get in the way of fun.  I avoided all of the things I loathed in the name of happiness.  I went with what felt right at the time.  And then I realized, while I did experience instant gratification, that amazing feeling of drifting back into sleep after pressing snooze for the third time, the after-effects were starting to make me anxious. 

How could doing what I thought made me "happy" make me feel so shitty?

First, I had to figure out what doesn't make me happy.  For example, coming home to a disaster of a house makes me miserable.  Sleeping in during the week causes me to rush and makes me paranoid that my coworkers are going to think I'm lazy.  Binging on unhealthy food not only makes me feel like a complete failure, it negates my hard work, messes with my system and takes me days to recover.

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.  Knowing that the "effort" is contributing to your overall life satisfaction makes it a little bit less of an effort.  At least it does for me.

My freshly organized pantry

To haul my sleepy ass out of bed at 6 am, to spend a Saturday afternoon organizing my pantry, to NOT eat that nanaimo bar sitting out in the office kitchen... now that's happiness.

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