“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.”
While scrolling through my facebook newsfeed tonight, I came across a photo of a beautiful, smiling woman. The caption told a small snippet of her life story and the rules she lived by. Among those words was this quote and as I read it I couldn’t help but feel absolutely blown away. I mean really blown away. Like a-tumbling-beach-umbrella-that-wasn’t-properly-situated-in-the-sand blown away… This tied in with everything I’d been learning over the course of a couple weeks.
You see, being a negative person is, admittedly, as natural to me as breathing. And only recently did I notice that not only do I NEED to change, I WANT to change. I am improving a lot, I must say, and I’m quite pleased with the results so far. Because unless you’re Winnie the Pooh, being a little black rain cloud is kind of, well, yucky and not as carefree and fun as he made it out to be when he attempted to retrieve honey from that bee hive. His mud-covered, red-baloon-traveling, sing-song-y attempt at tricking the short-tempered bees eventually got him a sweet reward. But I’m not so sure being dark and gloomy is as rewarding for those of us living in reality.
Have you ever experienced joint pain or headaches when a weather front moves in and it’s about to rain cats and dogs? Well, you can thank Barometric Pressure for that bout of discomfort. (He’s a total jerk.) Changes in pressure can cause joints to ache and heads to throb. I always get a splitting headache before a good rainstorm. Why I am I giving you this 10-second science lesson? Honestly, I’m trying to sound smart. Okay, honestly, honestly I’m celebrating because I still have some elementary level knowledge stored up here in the good ol’ noggin and I didn’t have to google “why does my knee hurt before it rains” to make my point. But aside from that, I wanted to give you something to think about. If those rain clouds rolling in are causing people pain and I walk around being the human equivalent of that, I’m pretty sure I’d cause them pain, too. Maybe not so much joint pain as headaches but it would be discomforting and unbearable all the same. I don’t want to be that way…
Last week was a tough week. A very wonderful week. But still… so tough. As this Monday morning rolled around, I was reflecting on everything from those seven days that had caused me emotional trauma, stress, anxiety, and anger. Most of it seemed so trivial while some had justified my actions. (Or at least I thought they did. Really, I didn’t need to worry as much but only later did I find that out.) When I went to work this morning, I was feeling pretty good. That is until I was fussed at by both my boss and the dock lead for things that concerned me but were not my fault. Even after trying to explain why these mistakes were made and why I couldn’t control them, I was micromanaged all morning long and it seemed like nothing I did made it better. Anyone who knows me knows I hate being micromanaged and I work better when you just let me get things done and in the order I see fit. Everything gets done. If it isn’t a drop-everything-and-do-this-now kind of project, I will get to it when I get to it. So don’t worry about telling me a thousand times or freaking out when I haven’t done the fifth thing you’ve just told me to do because I’m working on the first thing you assigned to me two minutes prior… Seriously.
Despite feeling like I wasn’t good enough, I stuck to my guns. I knew I was here for a reason and this must be a test of patience. I tried to do everything I was told to do and with a good attitude. While checking off the tasks at hand rather quickly, I pretty much failed at the “good attitude” part. Those first few hours were met with mumbling under my breath, complaining in my head, and a LOT of eye rolling to myself when bugged with another assumption that I was slacking. Yikes. I needed to do better. But it wasn’t until lunch time rolled around that I really started to change my crappy outlook on the day back to the pleasant one I had when I woke up.
How? Two words. Fortune Cookie. Yes, I totally had Chinese food for lunch and it was delish, however, it was the fortune cookie that made me smile and though it sounds silly, it was really kind of spectacular. I’m not the type of person to live my life according to a slip of paper inside a popular, not-so-Chinese, after-meal-confection. (Fun fact, the fortune cookie is said to have made its debut in Benkyodo, a San Fransisco bakery. However, David Jung of Los Angeles, founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, would love to disagree as he claims to be the first to make one in 1918. Others believe it was brought over by Japanese immigrants sometime before the 20th century. I guess we will never know. But what we do know is that they are not of Chinese tradition, their rise to fame began somewhere in California, and they originally didn’t contain your “lucky numbers.”
I always try to save my fortunes whether they make sense to me or not. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, fueled by my artistic side. And today, the one inside my cookie was extra special. Though I’d attempted blocking out the stress of last week, some unfinished business and anxiety lurked in the back of my mind. Add the crap morning I’d been having and I was becoming that little black rain cloud. But… its words were so simple and paved the way for me to make a complete 180.
“You should let go of negative things today.”
A smile crept up on my face. A smile so wide the Chesire Cat would have turned green with envy. (Actually, picturing that big of a smile on my face gives me the heebie jeebies… Let’s just say I smiled a perfectly proportioned amount for both my face and the moment.) Let go of negative things. How absolutely true and simple. It was so beautiful I almost cried! …Almost.
On my way back to work I began listing all the wonderful things about today. I counted 10 great things and though I’m sure I could find more, those 10 things were enough to change my whole mood around. The rest of my day was great, to say the least, and it just kept getting better. I know not all days will be like this but I want to strive to make them this way. It feels so much better!!
I know God-given joy is better than any man-made happiness. And I know it was His will for me to have that encouragement today even in the form of a little, cookie-covered aphorism. He can use anything to bless us and that’s how I know it was really from Him. I’m very thankful for it. I so much enjoy being optimistic and sunshine-y!
Today I let go of the negative. I counted the good things. I CHOSE to be happy. And because of it my heart is so full. Thanks for letting me share this with y’all tonight. I hope it encourages you and you begin to find the silver lining in every day. Remember that you matter and you are loved. Pass it on. 🙂
I’m finding myself unable to come to a close with this one and, as someone who loves grammar and writing equally, it’s making me nauseous… I need a proper ending but MY BRAIN IS DONE FORMING GOOD SENTENCE STRUCTURE. Therefore, I have no decent conclusion and it is so painful that I’d like to direct your attention to the title of this entry. Aside from the Chinese cuisine I devoured, the title is completely irrelevant and was the first thing that came to mind so I just went with it. 😉 Tadaaaaa!
… Now I want Hibachi…
Joie de vivre, my blossoming rays of optimistic sunshine. Go be wonderful. ❤