It’s not every day when I have a moment of revelation on something profound or deep. Sure, I might have that moment where I think “Oh, so that’s why the HTML code won’t work!” or “Wow, this really tastes better with a little bit of Thyme added.” But figuring out something profound that helps explain my life? Hardly.
I’ve been reading The Happiness Project, a book I picked up last fall when I was moving toward my latest round of drug treatment for depression. I started reading it on a plane ride and almost immediately pushed it aside. You know how they say you don’t really listen to something until you’re ready? I think that’s what happened with this book. I wasn’t ready to listen to what the author was saying until fairly recently when I started reading it again. And I’ve been inspired.
The concept of the book is the author is taking a year to focus on making her life more happy. Each month she devotes herself to certain aspects of her life to try to make them more pleasant, but herself in a better mood. In some ways it’s like my own project positive. I’ve gotten to April so far.
She doesn’t write about depression or mental health. She is just focusing on making her life happier. But it’s still inspiring and brought me to a point of revelation.
I’ve really been trying to work on myself and making my life, well, happier, which is why I picked up this book to read. But she, like me, had a moment of revelation on what it is about being happy. It’s about feeling right. Is your happiness and unhappiness in a proper balance so you feel right?
And that was my moment of revelation about my own life (though I wasn’t on the subway when I had the eureka moment like the author). I look at my life and it’s not about if things make me happy or unhappy, really. It’s if there’s a proper balance between the two and I feel right about them. If it gets out of whack and teeters too far in one direction, especially unhappiness and depression, I just don’t feel right.
And it got me to thinking about some of the changes that have happened in my life in the last year and a half. I made one change because I didn’t feel right about the rest of the things in my life. The puzzle pieces were not fitting right together with some aspects of my life. So I changed something, which seemed to be out of balance with the rest of my life. Now the rest of my life feels more in balance except the thing I’ve changed. It was an interesting revelation about my own jigsaw puzzle of a life and made me want to consider how I can make everything feel right again.
Reading the book makes me want to start my own happiness project of sorts, though that’s what I’ve been doing for months now. I cut out people who were not positive influences on my life. I embraced things that were important to me and gave good, positive outcomes. But perhaps I need something more orderly. I don’t think I’m in the boat where I need to focus a month on one aspect of my life and work on it, but I do think I need to set goals and figure out progress on it. How can I make myself get to a better place, a more balanced place, the right place.
I already have taken some steps by writing down a long list of things that make me happy. It ranges from activities like writing and photography to just random things to why certain people make me happy. It can be incredibly personal. In some cases, I started to explore why those things made me happy, like working out and losing weight makes me feel better physically. I feel stronger and in better health. And feeling good goes a long way in making yourself happy.
What’s next in terms of goals? I haven’t figured that out yet. There might be things like “workout X number of days per week” or “write one hour every day,” but some might be much more hard to develop.