What Happiness is Not

I’m sorry, y’all. I’ve been sick and cooped up the last couple of days with the common flu. It was hard to read a book let alone think of a topic to type out on the small screen. At any rate, I apologize for the absence. 

But during my convalescence, I did watch a lot of Netflix and I got inspired. A particular favorite of mine was the documentary “happy” which takes a look at people around the world and speaks to psychologists about why certain populations are happier than others. 

I’m in a time where I’m looking for my own happiness, so it struck a definite chord with me. Really, I was watching it to see if I could apply any strategies to my own life. 

But I had heard it all before: be around your loved ones, don’t worry about money, try to meditate, write down things you’re grateful for. I know all of these things, and yes, when I do them, they do make me consistently happier. 

So, I wondered if maybe my problem is that I know what happiness is but I forget what it isn’t. For example, buying new clothes is a fleeting pleasure but it does not satisfy. So why do I keep going on “retail therapy” trips when I’m in need of a pick me up? Why can’t I figure out that more clothing does not mean less hole in heart? 

And I wondered if maybe other people have this problem too.

So, let’s talk about what happiness isn’t. Because the more we talk about happiness, the more it seems obvious to pursue, and frankly, makes me feel a little guilty that I haven’t figured it out yet. 

But if we learn what it isn’t, we won’t go chasing that high time after time, and can convince ourselves to find it some other way. 

Happiness is not: 

  • Buying material possessions 
  • Making that much money (a dollop will do ya) 
  • Realizing your dream (as hard as that is to say)
  • In another person
  • A number on a scale
  • An expensive getaway
  • A life event

And that last one is important. Just because you think something is an accomplishment in life, does not mean it will be the fountain of your happiness (aka getting married, getting your doctorate, etc.). 

There. Now you know what happiness isn’t. Essentially, it’s not a state you get to like climbing a flight of stairs. Happiness should be a muscle you flex with intention. 

I Wasn’t Going To

I wasn’t going to post tonight.

And as is the case with all kinds of excuses, they just seem to multiply.

I’ve been really busy and…

You know, it was just an average day and I didn’t think…

Well…does anyone even READ this???

You see? I had more than enough reasons not to post. And yet, here we are.

But do you know what I realized? I could just get away with it. I could get away with not posting. I could do something else instead, and a handful of people would notice, but they would understand. Or they would get over it. It’s certainly not the end of the world if one more post doesn’t get published on this blog.

And yet it is. Because do you know what happens once you tell yourself that it’s okay that you don’t do something? You start to not do other things. And you break your promises to yourself. And you stop holding yourself as a responsible member of this organization called life. Like, I’m not going to the gym tonight. And then, I’m not going to the gym this month. And finally, I’ve cancelled my gym membership for the rest of the year. 

And sure, okay. I may be suffering from slippery slope syndrome (SSS), but the name of the blog isn’t Bailey Sometimes Monthly. It’s Bailey Dailey. And I’ll admit it, not every thing I post is a gem (okay, I’m sugar coating things). But you have to be prepared to go out there and get what you want. And you absolutely have to be tenacious in your pursuit of it. Allowing yourself to not work as hard as you were going to simply defeats you before you can even start.

So, go do that thing you’ve been talking about and be fulfilled. I’ll be here, posting alongside you.

Bad Love Poems

I love Valentine’s Day. Unabashedly and without remorse. 

But the chocolates and teddy bears aren’t the reason. 

It’s the bad love poems. The punny heart jokes. The corny movies. I just love when people put their heart into something, even if it comes out bad. 

So, here’s some short poems that I’ve come up with for fun. No judgments here, I hope. But if you feel so inclined to outdo me, feel free to leave it in the comments. 
Your love for me is like a bad haircut. It isn’t what I asked for but I’m living with it. 

Your love for me is like French fries. A little salty and usually bad for me. But I crave you anyway. 

My love for you is like a cold. My chest is full and it’s hard to breathe. 

Your love for me is like the sun. Sort of blinding and it makes me sweaty. 

My love for you is like a little black dress in the back of my closet. Always waiting for a special occasion and not fitting like I remembered. 

Our love is a wrinkled curtain. It doesn’t look good, but it does the job.

My love for you is like lip balm. I’m always losing it before it’s quite done. 

My love for you is a different language. You don’t understand it. 

Our love is a pickle. A little sour, but served on every plate. 

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Looking for relationships in all the wrong places 

I have an important announcement to make: 

You don’t have to be friends with the people who are in the closest proximity to you. 

(I know, I know. In other obvious news, your waitress doesn’t actually care how you’re doing today.)

But seriously. Just because you’re rubbing shoulders with your classmates, roommates, coworkers, or clients, all the time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be friends. And you don’t have to be. 

I mean, is it nice? Yeah, of course it is. It’s great to have a support system wherever you are. It’s so wonderful to have a “work wife” and a “bff” as your roommate. But some people aren’t going to check off every box for you, and that’s okay. 

Take me, for example. I’m very, very blessed to have a loving and supportive and tight knit family. But I know people whose family doesn’t fill the love needs that they have and they need to go outside that unit. They need to go to their friend groups or their coworkers or what have you. Because sometimes, the people that you’re supposed to “be friends” with don’t always work out. 

And while it’s a little less convenient to go out and throw all of your personality traits outside of your immediate area (sometimes literally) and see which of your acquaintances “sticks” (aka, “who sticks around”), these friendships will be more meaningful when you have more in common than that you share a house or a cubicle or a classroom with them. 

Be unafraid to look past the obvious to find a true friend. You’ll be surprised at whose looking for you too. 

A Do Nothing Night

When all of your plans get cancelled, normal people usually allow themselves the excuse of doing nothing. 

When my plans get cancelled…

“Okay, so we’ve been to all of the grocery stores and picked up everything we need and we’ve taken a walk and there’s no wedding stuff to take care of right now and we’ve just eaten dinner and I finished the chapters for my book club, so we can probably just sit on the couch—OH, let’s bake cookies!”

To which my loving fiancée so sweetly replies: “you know, you don’t have to do something every night.”

And he’s right. Sometimes it’s okay to just come home from work and stop. And it’s also okay to just exist sometimes.  And most times, I totally forget that sometimes it’s okay to not to be completely productive. (Ugh, that even hurt to say.)

But he’s still right. So, I’m passing that onto you. 

Don’t do anything else tonight. Don’t even read this blog. 

Okay, you little rebel. NOW, go do nothing for the rest of the night. Thank me later. 

Refusing Help

Two juxtaposing scenes that both happened to me today:

Two separate gentlemen (not conjoined twins) offered to give me their seat on the  train. Even when I refused vehemently, one of these men got up anyway. 

An older woman stopped me to ask where the “hilton” was but she didn’t know the street name or where it was exactly. In a humongous city. (It dawned on me waaay too late that I could have looked it up on my smart phone.) 

Two completely different situations. Two times I completely refused to be helped or (accidentally) refused to help. 

The moral of these two stories is the same though: let them and let yourself.

Let them help you. Sit in a seat when someone offers it to you in earnest. (Not any of that “let me offer this but not actually get up” shenanigans). 

And stop and let yourself help someone else. (especially if it’s an old lady. But don’t help someone who has bad vibes to you. You need to stay sexy and not get murdered, ok? Karen and Georgia from My Favorite Murder say so.) 

The point is that you should let yourself be helped and pay it forward sometimes. Don’t get too proud. Because the world needs more nice in it, and you definitely shouldn’t refuse it when it appears. 

The “W” Word

My sister was describing a friend of hers to me, and she used me as a reference point. 

“She’s just like you,” she said, “just not as unique.”

To which I replied, “you mean not as weird.” 

She pulled a face and kept talking. 

But I knew I was right. And I know I’ve been throwing around the “w” word a lot lately on this blog but I can’t help it. It strikes me and fascinates me so much that people see being weird as a bad thing. That they sort of unconsciously or consciously avoid it. I know people don’t like to be called weird to their face, and I know my sister was just trying to be as diplomatic (and honest) as possible, but what’s wrong with being weird? 

Isn’t it a good thing to not be like anyone else? To be different? 

But that’s not enough anymore, is it? You can be different but still fit in pretty well. Still be in the in crowd. 

What we need is weird people. That make you see something in a new light because you’ve never thought of it that way before because it’s so out there. People who scare you (but don’t terrify you). People who are unafraid of themselves. 

I love being unique and different and quirky. But I also claim my weirdness. I like having opinions and beliefs that are unlike anything that I’ve ever come across. (And I like coming across other opinions and beliefs too.) But I fully recognize that I’m weird. And that not everyone is going to enjoy that aspect of me. 

So, whatever you are, just make sure you own it. Which, I think, will inevitably make you weird too. 

Almost

Close only counts when it comes to horseshoes and hand grenades.

Which is harsh, I’ll admit. But it’s true. 

Like I did really well with my diet today. I ate the right things and didn’t eat too much of anything. And I felt good. 

Until I got home and put everything that even remotely looked like food in my mouth. 

Now, you might say now, “well, at least you tried.” Or “there’s always tomorrow.” 

But that’s not always the right attitude when it comes to goals and dreams. It can be important to stick to your guns when there’s something you really want. In my case, I want to be fitter and healthier. But apparently, my brain just wants chocolate and peanut butter.  

And yes, I will try again tomorrow. But I’m tired of starting over. So I’m not going to try. I’m going to do. 

So that’s why getting closer is not always getting better. And it’s worth it to hold yourself to a higher standard than just almost

Life Isn’t A Poetry Reading

This is what normal small talk is like:

“Nice weather we’re having.”

“Yes, but I heard there will be thunderstorms on Thursday.”

“No? Well, I knew it couldn’t stay this hot.” 

And this is what small talk is like when you talk to me:

“Change either upsets me or thrills me. I cried when my childhood swing set was taken down, but have dyed my hair blue, black, blonde, and red at different times in my life.” 

“But I’m not afraid of change. I’m afraid of being here, being alive, for years and years but then realizing that my life hasn’t really been worth anything.”

As you can see, I’m pretty comfortable talking about anything with anyone. (This blog is evidence of that). I wouldn’t really consider myself an open book because I’m still fairly shy, but I do let it all out there when I feel safe. 

I mean, I’ve been reading my own poetry to crowds ever since I can remember. I’ve been revealing some of my innermost thoughts to a live audience for most of my adult life. 

So, why shouldn’t it be any different in my everyday life? 

Oh yeah. Because it 100% weirds people out. 

My mom has always said that I “speak my own truth.” That is, I like to tell you what I think about something. But not in a Simon Cowell way. Just in a “and that’s my take” kind of way. And I can’t really be any different. 

But like I said, people find that weird if it’s not in blog format. 

But do you know what I say? I say let’s cut  to the chase. Let’s be brave. And say what we really feel. Let’s tell our own truths. 

So, when someone starts talking about the weather…

Don’t say “isn’t it nice out?”

Say, “isn’t the sky so blue and beautiful today?” 

The Difference 

Look, I’m me and you are you. 

And I love thunderstorms, and flowers, and vegetables, and cider, and incense, and black clothing. 

And you? You may like sunny weather, and grass, and fruit, and beer, and candles, and bright floral prints. 

And that’s totally and absolutely okay. Because this is a gentle reminder that diversity is not only okay but necessary. 

We need different things, different opinions, different beliefs, different people. We need difference. We need it to challenge the status quo. 

What we don’t need is hate. What we don’t need is ignorance. 

What we need is different things, but we need acceptance too. 

So if there is someone different than you in your workplace, your school, or even in your family, get to know their differences before you make a final conclusion. Before you treat them the same as others you’ve met. I promise that you’ll enjoy that your world has gotten bigger because you learned something new. 

And us different people? We’ll appreciate it too. Because even though we’re different than you, we’re still human. We still love and wish and hope and dream that someone will see us for what we are: different. 

Laughing to Myself

I’m really into podcasts. I love listening to learn new things or to hear a new story. 

But what’s my favorite reason to listen to podcasts? It’s to laugh. There are some extremely funny people out there doing really hilarious podcasts. And as is the case with all of my favorite activities, I love being taken away and being distracted from reality and getting to laugh along the way. 

However, have you ever tried to keep in your laughter? I mean, have you ever tried to stifle it? It looks totally crazy. 

When I was listening to a podcast just today, I was sitting on the train trying hard to keep my lips buttoned and trying to look only a little bit weird while smiling stupidly to myself. I snorted out loud a few times, but for the most part, I stayed in character: a bored commuter trying to get home. 

But do you know what the best part is about not trying to laugh out loud? It’s that it only makes you laugh harder. All I wanted to do when I was trying to hold it all in was to laugh and laugh, no matter who was looking. 

I think the point is that no matter how hard you try to hold it back, restrain yourself from something, the more you’ll be drawn to it. And you should never keep yourself back from fully enjoying something. 

So, next time I’m on the train, I’m going to burst out laughing. Because I love laughing, and I want the world to know.