Chasing happiness will be an ongoing effort if you approach happiness in terms of what you achieve. Because no matter what your circumstance, your position, your thoughts… you already have the ability to be happy within yourself. As long as you are happy with yourself, everything else is a bonus. But if you have those external happiness makers – the perfect job, tons of money, a beautiful life – without having internal happiness, you don’t really have long-lasting happiness. The only way to true happiness is in accepting yourself for who you are and being happy with the person you see reflected in the mirror. The rest is a bonus.
Our high-functioning society tells us to push forward. Achieve more, faster. Do more. Do better. Good is not good enough. And once we achieve the pinnacle of success we will also achieve… happiness.
But it doesn’t matter what you have, how much of it you have, what you’ve done, where you’ve been… You could have all the money in the world or none of it. You could have the best job in the world or no job at all. You could be married or single. You could have family and friends or no one. All of this doesn’t matter. Our outward circumstances are just that, outward.
Our inner turmoil doesn’t always show on the surface. In the post-Anthony Bourdain world, we remember that his life was met with laughter, fun, food, and continuously flowing drinks. His show has been a staple in our household. Every show with Anthony left me and my partner with a burning passion for life, the discovery of new places and an appreciate for new foods. We long to travel the streets in his footsteps. He was always very open about his past, his struggles with addiction, and his laissez-faire attitude. He had come a long way since his boisterous younger years – going from a bus boy to a successful entertainer. He gave us all hope that we may one day better ourselves and have a life full of adventure, travels, and good eats.
Mental illness is our modern day plague. We truly don’t know how many are affected and to what extent. Most don’t seek the help of therapists. I know first-hand that it took me a while to finally go see my first therapist. Since then I’ve had dozens of sessions.
Depression doesn’t have a face. It is an internal struggle, of which, few outsiders know the half of. Sometimes it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sometimes it is triggered by a life event. For others, it just always is.
Having everything you’ve ever wanted doesn’t get rid of depression. Achieving external victories don’t resolve internal battles. Success isn’t some mile-marker where sadness ends and happiness begins. Long-term satisfaction with oneself can only be achieved by confronting those inner demons. Bringing the battle inward is the only way out.
Depression can be a smile. Depression can be jokes in the office-place. Depression can be happiness. Depression can be laughter. Depression can be living out your dream job.
It is a cloud that looms overhead, always watching and waiting.
My podcast Pod for One has a new episode out now on dead zones. Dead zones are found throughout our oceans and there are currently 500 of them. These areas pose a huge environmental problem that affects our economy. To find out more, listen here: apple.co/2KFsFXF
Pride month is important to me because at one period in my life, which last about 18 years, I did not accept who I was. I was ashamed of who I was. I hid it so well that I buried it far in the back of my mind. I denied it everyday. And to make sure that people didn’t know that I was a lesbian, I was outwardly homophobic. I remember specific things I would say to friends and am appalled at the ease in which I said it. I was hiding behind those homophobic words. I wasn’t scared of everyone who was gay, I was scared of myself. I didn’t know how to process my feelings. Later on, I was pushed out of the closet after telling a few close individuals. Rumors spread, except these rumors were true. I wasn’t ready to face my life as a lesbian in the world. So I went back in the closet for two years. Again I hid from myself. And I did it pretty well. Until I got to be close to some LGBTQ+ individuals living their lives without fear and with complete love of themselves, I too felt at ease being around these individuals. They taught me how to love myself. They taught me that it is normal to be gay. Over time I learned that I deserve love. Love from others, but most importantly, I deserve my own self love.
Even though we are in 2018 and even though there are more progressive areas, discrimination still happens today. It is important to remember to be kind to everyone. Society needs to be more accepting of things they “don’t understand” because I think everyone can understand the concept of love.
I have been harassed both online and in person. I can remember every single encounter with those faceless strangers. I remember the heckling, laughter, pointing, nasty and lewd comments – I remember it all. I remember the fear I felt in every situation. I remember wanting to crawl in a hole. But I didn’t. I stood my ground and got better and better at handling every situation thrown at me. All because I was holding the hand of a woman I love or because I was wearing some type of rainbow pride article of clothing. Those strangers who harassed me identified me as gay and proceeded to tell me how they really feel, completely unprovoked. I’m minding my own business and am verbally harassed by homophobic individuals. I know it well, yet I am still unclear as to why these random people felt the need to harass me. I chalk it up to, “it’s their problem, not mine.”
My mom was worried that life would be hard for me. Sometimes it is. But life is hard for everyone for various reasons. I know one thing for sure, life would be even harder trying to live as something I am not.
I am no longer ashamed of who I am. I embrace myself and my life. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. My dream is that homophobia is just a term used in history books to explain a mindset that certain people had in a distant time. That’s why I celebrate Pride Month every single day of the year.
Just wanted to share that this is my 100th post. This blog has really evolved over the past three years since I started it in March 2015. It’s been really interesting looking back on my posts and reflecting on thoughts I’ve had. Sometimes I seem to rant and rave, other times I’m very compassionate and understanding. Life is much like this. We aren’t always in good moods and we aren’t always in bad moods. Life is a constant ebb and flow of different emotions. Imagine having monotonic emotions all the time? You’d be very bored, plus it just isn’t human. Allow yourself to feel all the feelings. It’s OK. Just don’t lash out at the one’s you love most when you are feeling down and negative.
I’ve gotten lots of feedback from a bunch of different people. It’s been great bouncing ideas off of one another. I hope to continue to cultivate an open environment where you can freely express your opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Thanks guys and I hope you continue to read!
The difference between being content and being complacent is a subtle one. Being content means being in a state of happiness. When you are content, you are satisfied with your current circumstances. Being a complacent person is something a little bit different. When someone is complacent, they are living in their own static world where everything is fine and they will continue to keep the status quo. Being a complacent person can mean being blind to things that need to change. They don’t feel the need to further educate, inform, or innovate. Complacency can breed laziness, because a complacent person refuses to improve upon themselves.
If you are living complacently, you can be content. However, improving upon oneself, one’s circumstances, and one’s openness to change will breed long-term happiness. Continue to learn, improve upon yourself, and keep moving. Stepping out of your comfort zone will help you grow as a person and experience more things. We all want to do more cool stuff, right?
Pressure is put on “Millennials” to choose a career and to design their life all during one of the most confusing times of their lives- right when they enter those critical years post-high school. Many students graduate high school and enter college or university eagerly trying to choose their right career path based off of a perceived passion for a certain subject or field.
Pressuring themselves to find their passion and to follow that passion makes some young people anxious and fearful of choosing the wrong major and then the wrong career path. This creates undo stress and anxiety stemming from trying to figure out what their calling is. While young people often question their purpose in life, finding peace in their uncertainty is the only way to charge on. In time, things will make sense and fall into place as long as you follow your little curiosities. Pursue the things that seem to excite you and you will find that when reflecting on your life, it will make sense. Remember that hindsight is 20-20.
And really, it isn’t a matter of what you do, but how you do it. You could be a cashier at a grocery store or a landscaper or a software engineer or an accountant…and you can either be happy about it or indifferent towards it. Life may not be about figuring out what you are passionate about, but about bringing your passion into everything that you do. Think about if you bring passion to what you do or are you allowing your mind to be lost in the clouds wondering when your passion will fall from the sky, hit you on the head, and make you happy and successful. The secret is that there is no secret to happiness and success because the capacity to be happy is within you already. Change your mindset and you may come to find that your outcomes will start to change too.
I was on the brink of something even better happening….
Every seemingly bad thing that has ever happened to me was actually good. Either a door was shut to push me through a better door or something bad ended so something good could begin. I used to think that bad things happened to the seemingly good things in my life BUT, the bad thing that happened to the good thing was actually a good thing that happened to the bad thing.
An event is not inherently good or bad; this is determined by our perception of the thing.
At a certain point we need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as for our inactions. We need to recognize that hindsight is 20/20. If we had perfect information, we still would make mistakes. Knowing the right thing to do can be hard, especially because there is no “right” path to take. We can follow out passions, but if we don’t have any then what do we do?
I went right into graduate school after college, not because I wanted to, nor was it even required for the job market, but because I thought I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a free education. I got a full ride and was able to teach a college class and get paid to do it. But, I still consider myself in massive debt from my education. My debt has nothing to do with money. I indebted myself with my time.
I don’t regret taking that opportunity to attend graduate school, but after that first year I knew it wasn’t what I wanted at all. I planned on getting out but “only had one more year.” That one more year turned into a 2-year long thesis revision-headache-mental breakdown- extravaganza. I knew when I should have exited, after that first year when I knew it wasn’t right for me. But I kept going. After that, I was plunged into despair and depression and anxiety and bad habits. I blamed the world for my choices. My choices led to my problems. My problems led me spiraling. I felt like I wasn’t in control when the only thing I had was control.
I cannot get those 3 torturous years back. I received my Master’s degree and did a completely obscure thesis because I had to make a choice, if I didn’t I’d be delayed even further. My degree has not helped me in the least. It is not the typical engineering, accounting, computer science, etc, so no one knows what I am qualified to do. Neither do I. Yet again, I opted for degrees instead of experience. I have no real relate-able work experience in anything. I have no skills except curiosity and laziness. This is still my own fault.
It’s about time I take responsibility for it all. At this point I am just scared of making decisions. Ironically, my only way to happiness is to make the difficult ones.