On Not Out-Thinking Fun (55 of 90)

The post-South by Southwest blues have set in as they do each year. It’s hard to exist in that caldron of excitement and energy for 11 days and not get caught up in it.

Now that I’m home, I need to re-orient myself. To place myself back in a physical reality, away from the fantastical.

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. – Hugh Downs

One piece of advice I routinely give is this: don’t out-think happiness.

We spend much of our lives beholden to expectations, convinced we can bend the nature of the world around the wants we have. I’ve found that , at least in my case, to be a futile effort.

I see it in others as well. In the students who sit in my office, near their breaking point, talking with me about their expectations of life. In the friends, kicked around by life, who have lost varying degrees of optimism and hope about the world.

It’s heart-breaking. It’s a story with only one ending, this race to reach our expectations and hunt for the picture we’ve created in our heads.

Expectations seem to be the true plague of humanity.

Everything is ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end. – Unknown

I need timelines and benchmarks.

This is how progress happens. For me anyway. You set goals, you work towards those goals, those goals are achieved.

It’s simple and straight-forward.

I’m trying to put them aside more these days, these timelines. It’s not easy. It’s a re-ordering of my expectations about life. A re-training how I see myself.

The hardest re-training comes with people. Because they are out of my control. Which leaves me exposed.

I have to remind myself its better to risk being repeatedly hurt than to make it so that I never can be.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. – Dr. Seuss

When I had nightmares as a child, my mother would come sit in my room.

I still recall feeling badly that she did that because I could feel the tired in her as she sat on the edge of my bed. But I couldn’t quite let her get back to sleep.

Always, though, she would eventually offer my this one small piece of advice. Advice that I’ve kept with me through some of the awful nightmares of my actual life.

Nothing cures a bad day like a good night’s sleep. No matter how bad it is right now, tomorrow is a brand new start.

Whoever is happy will make others happy, too. – Mark Twain

I see the importance of remembering these lessons every day despite the emotional energy it takes.

We never know who is watching. We never know who needs something we can give. We simply never know.

That’s been a revelation for me, although some of you dear readers may have figured that out years ago. I’m amazed each day (as I have been amazed each day this week) that as I teetered on the brink of depression, there appeared people in my life who needed me not to be.

Some were happy and needed to share. Some were upset and needed my experience. Some just needed an ear that wasn’t attached to a mouth.

But they all needed something.

And I was reminded, yet again, that when my expectations begin to weigh me down, I risk missing those moments when the people around me need something. That if it’s not okay just yet there is still time to fix it. That today is good and tomorrow will be as well.

So I’m going to stop thinking for a bit and just enjoy the world. I hope you”ll join me.

You may also like

Leave a comment

Sign Up, Download A Free eBook
This newsletter is the outgrowth of The Downtown Writers Jam podcast. What that means is I will collect information about the authors I interview, book happenings around the Web, and other literary events that I find interesting. Without you, I'm just a crazy guy sitting in his office furiously screaming on the page for no reason.
Never display this again