Being in an unknown city with few acquaintances and ample time away from work and school is good for reminiscing. I've realized that with all the recent disappointments in my life with school, uncertain work as well as a horribly failed relationship, some how I'm not entirely 'unhappy' now.
I felt very sad for a few days, disoriented for the next few and now I'm in a ' oh well I guess that's how things are going to be' phase ...but not entirely unhappy. I used to go through extreme highs and lows in my teens, then for a period in my undergrad years I was extremely unhappy where I did some pretty stupid things that made me realize I am tired of being unhappy. I tried to rid my life of situations as well people that made me unhappy and not be so hard on myself to be good. I've been happy with my life since then.
I don't know if I have some formulae now that will keep me moderately happy with life in the future, but I try to analyze what works (friends, family, pets, children, books, organized workspace etc ) or doesn't work (unkind people, risk taking, running away, hard work without results) for me and try different things (healthier eating habits, exercise, facing fears) every year to add the list of things that work.
This woman has came up with a somewhat simile formulae to happiness in a Happiness Project that she is composing for a book. According to her, "to think about your happiness, you must think about FEELING GOOD, FEELING BAD, and FEELING RIGHT (or, in fancier language, positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction.) To boost your happiness, you have to think about all three elements and figure out how to increase your good feelings, decrease your bad feelings, and make sure you’re feeling right. "
So I tested to see if its actually true and are there things that I did recently that fall into these categories.
-Going to watch a movie that I've been meaning to on the big screen (Pan's Labyrinth).
-Planning a break. This time, a visit to see Simica in San Francisco.
-Buying pretty but inexpensive jewellery about once a month.
-Talking to people with whom I can always be myself.
-Not calling people I love more often and not receiving calls from people I thought who cared about me, always makes me feel either guilty or I start to question my worth. Eventually I give in and make that call or email to reach the person even if they haven't made any effort. It pays off as I do hear back (from some) and it makes the day brighter even when the phone rings at 5 in the morning, as it did today from a close friend from mine from Kuwait.
-My parent's nagging makes me really mad and then upset. But I try to pick my fights and laugh off the rest. Keeps me sane.
-A while ago, the emotional distance from my sister who has been my best friend all my life, was very distressing. She was changing and so was I. The more time went by after she got married, the more difficult it became to reconnect to the point we could barely be in the same room. We finally had a big blowup one day last summer and brought out all the different issues we had with each other. It still took months after that to improve our relationship, catch up with what was going on in our lives and we made very conscious efforts to do so. It has been a very positive change and we are now close as ever and have a better appreciation for each other.
- About the time when I started to feel more like a Canadian, I thought it fitting to learn French. It was language I was completely ignorant of as it was not a part of my school curriculum like Bengali, Arabic and Hindi were in Bangladesh and Kuwait. This felt strange because French was all around me. So in 2003 I took a 2 month Introductory French course with the 'Alliance Française' to familiarize myself with some part of this language. I still know little French, speak even less, but when I see French words its not completely alien to me and it gave me a sense of accomplishment. I do wish I stayed onto the next level to drill it into me better. Maybe I'll do that once I'm back.
- I have always felt more like tomboy/geek and all my life I dreamt of having the poise, sophistication and grace of some girls I know. I'm still far from achieving all that but I took up Salsa two years ago to discover if I had a feminine side to me. Turns out- I do. I also used to think being feminine is equal being somewhat weak, but salsa taught me there is strength in it and it felt right to embrace it. And apparently, I'm not entirely bad at Salsa either! :D
- Sports is not my strength. I have hated any physical exercise or activity. But even with years of dieting, interspersed with giving up, I had not managed to keep off the weight I lost for long. I finally had enough and joined a gym for the second time, by myself, a year and half ago. This time the aim was not to lose weight but to be healthy. My genetics will lead to some major health issues in the future and I know this. I tried my best to go regularly at least for 6 months and not think about the weight I lost- which was not much. I am still not at my ideal weight and I get lazy and avoid the gym for months. But what did happen was my apprehension about physical exercise disappeared. I now understand my own body better and feel like I control it more than it controls me. I actually like working out when I get around to dragging my lazy ass to the gym.
So this turned into a longer and more candid post than I had imagined and I don't know if this means the 'Happiness Project' formula works or not. You can judge for yourself.
But listing things is a very Taurus side of me and I helps me to move forward...a small step at a time.
So thanks for listening eh? :)