How to be happy?

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Nothing’s happened for me to write about today, things are calm and quiet, but I have had one thought on what it takes to be happy:

I don’t believe there’s a universal secret to happiness, we’re too varied, one person’s blissful life is another’s miserable cage. So there is no rule book or map to follow, you just have to use trial and error to work out what’s right for you. Experiment, explore, ask questions. And then, when you’ve found the life that gives you peace and meaning, you have to develop the strength of mind to ignore all the people telling you you’re wrong about it.

Hopefully tomorrow there’ll be the usual ridiculousness to write about, I’m not much of a philosopher.

The image is a face sculpted in sand taken next to the Thames.

Questions to Ponder part 3

So continuing the questions to get you thinking, as purloined from Imgur. Previous questions here and here. I wanted to be less cantankerous with these ones, but they are still a little patronising, and let’s face it I am cantankerous, so there’s only so much I can do to avoid that. I’d love to hear your answers also!

  1. Why are you, you?
  1. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
  1. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
  1. What are you most grateful for?
  1. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
  1. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
  1. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
  1. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset
  1. Does it really matter now?
  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?
  1. What makes it so special?

 

  1. Why are you, you?

A mixture of chance, effort and fuck ups.

  1. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

I’ve done my best, although I’m often crap. I’m way better than I used to be, but then my friends are way better too. I could have done with some kind of rule book.

  1. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

I guess the second because it implies a rejection rather than circumstances beyond the friend’s control.

  1. What are you most grateful for?

My best friend. The ideas that fire up my head. Regaining my life after brain injury.

  1. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?

Lose the old memories, it would be heart-breaking, but I could make a new life. If I lost the ability to make new memories, then I wouldn’t be able to function in my current life, only to live in the past.

  1. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

I think our brains are wired to make us believe that we are forming Truths based on careful observation, but actually what we do is assume. Knowing that, I try to over-ride it, but I frequently fail. So, I guess what I’m saying is – we tend to think the answer to the question is no, but without realising, we act as if the answer is yes.

  1. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

Yes. The brain injury and all the surrounding illness was a load of great fears bundled into one. Having my IQ halved and my ability to look after myself lost, seeing my life pass me by without being able to actually live it; I think these things were some of my greatest fears. Now that that is over, I still get a panic it will all happen again – a bad day of being too exhausted is frightening – but I’m also aware that I got through that, I was still living and doing what I could, so I try and focus on that optimism.

  1. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?

Yes, vaguely.

  1. Does it really matter now?

I appreciate there are things that I fret over that aren’t important and I should just ditch them, and that is important to remember. However, I don’t tend to get properly emotional unless something is really wrong, or my brain chemistry is out of wack, either way there isn’t much of an option.

  1. What is your happiest childhood memory?

Creating stories and magical lands with my friends.

  1. What makes it so special?

I got to create stories and magical lands with my friends.

Over to you folks…

Questions to Ponder part 2

Continuing posting up the questions I found on this Imgur post. Sometimes they have touch of smugness in the tone, but they are still good for self-reflection and taking stock. If you have any thoughts or answers of your own, then I’d love to hear about it.

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

My Answers

11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

Argue with them! I’m always happy to argue when I think people are being unfair. However, often I later realise they had a point and I feel stupid (although maybe not in the above case). I don’t know the real rights and wrongs of speaking up – there’s an arrogance in arguing, but if I think something is wrong then my mouth doesn’t ask my brain to intervene, it just carries on.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Assuming they could understand me, remember it and care about a stranger’s advice. Actually I’m not sure. People are so varied that fantastic advice for one person is terrible for another. I’d try: engage with the world; the more effort you make, the happier you will feel.

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

To be honest,  at times I’ve broken the law because I’m bored (I’m not talking big laws here). Without thinking I’d break the law to save any person.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

The two seem fairly different to me, there are cross-overs, but I’m wary of insanity labelled as creativity, because that’s a dangerous romanticising of illness. It’s true insanity can give a different perspective on life, which helps with creativity; but insanity can also destroy time, energy, concentration and communication skills, so it often harms creative ability also.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

The general living my life thing, how I look, what matters to me, the job I do, how I behave, what I own. I’m not good at conforming – it’s not intentional, I’m just crap at it, so I’ve ended up with an odd life; I’m not an impressive renegade or anything, just odd. That can be scary sometimes (am I doing everything wrong?) and people often get angry about it; but my life suits me well, so I’ll stick to that wonky route.

16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?

Because people are varied, it helps makes the world a fascinating place.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?

Visit Madagascar/ Antarctica, have a road trip around the U.S. However, those need to wait, first I’ve got lots of other things that are more important (to me) to do.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?

I tend to obsess about the past, and it isn’t helpful at all. Unfortunately, when I’m feeling down the whiny thoughts circle my head, like an endless march of self-pity. So, yes, I am, but I am trying hard to stop that.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?

Just about anywhere would be exciting, although not helpful right now. Every culture has something I can learn, a new way of thinking, a new climate, new details to life. I get itchy feet, so I don’t keep the possibility too far from me, and sometime soonish, I hope to move away.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

No, and no.

So, now over to you…