Saturday, October 4, 2008

Are You Happy?

Several of the bloggers I read have been pondering happiness this week. At Friday Night Playdate, Susan's son got her thinking about it. At Notes from the Trenches, Chris wonders, "Is This a Mid-Life Crisis?" With my background as a Psychologist, I find these issues riveting. What makes us happy? or not?

Our circumstances do play a role in our happiness. But the way we view life is one of the biggest pieces in determining happiness. As humans, we have a tendency to be expecting/hoping/waiting for the next thing to make us happy. For example, "When I get that raise next month, then I will be happy", or "When we go to Bermuda, then I will be happy."

Personally, I have grown into my happiness. As I have gotten older I have become happier. I am more accepting of others' flaws, a bit more laid back, and I am more comfortable with who I am every year. (Though I would like to be thinner, much thinner.) How did I become happy? I was a very mixed up, directionless young lady until my mid-twenties. Three things turned me around, helped me get my life on a purposeful track. The support of my husband. He believed in me beyond anything I had ever known. The birth of my first child: Yea, I know this is a magical event for everyone on the planet, but it had a special significance for me. It told me who I would become. When I became a mother, it was like bells and a light show went off. I knew what I was supposed to do with my life: be a mother, and more broadly, a nurturer. Ok, I admit I didn't know at the time that this would translate into farming, but it did. That brings me to the third thing that has made my life the happy one it is today. Discovering alpacas. These creatures were a perfect fit for me. I was able to take my earth shattering calling to be a mother, and channel that energy towards a business with lovely, fabulous animals I can nurture. The fact that the alpacas have babies every year is what keeps me from having 15 children of my own. I can sublimate that urge and enjoy the alpaca babies. (They go through way fewer diapers and don't talk back so it works pretty well for me.)
Career choice and satisfaction with that choice affect our happiness significantly. Before I was an alpaca breeder, I had a sadistic boss who made my daily life challenging. Today I have trials and disappointments to be sure, but I find myself reveling in the day so much more as I operate my own business. Things are not always rosy and I can never get everything done. I don't spend much time on guilt. I don't get bogged down in worrying if I'm a good enough mother, just because I don't think it helps. We do the best we can, try to keep communication lines open, pray, and occasionally pull out the old psychology tricks. (That doesn't work, it just gives me a false sense of power over these little people who are growing and changing at an alarming pace.) Being there, being present, for the kids is what I think benefits them the most. (In psychology we would call it "providing a holding environment". There's your 2 cent psych term of the day) And I think the farm and the alpacas help with that. It keeps us grounded. Nothing like birth and death to keep things real.

Often, we find happy lives when we step back and look at ourselves, but we may not feel happy on a daily basis. Don't settle for that. Take the time to "stop and smell the roses". Make a point to enjoy yourself in the moment. Stop and remind yourself of the people and things you love and why. Renew your commitment to love and take care of yourself. And if you aren't happy in your career choice, rethink it. Life's too short. Find your bliss!
I would love to hear your comments on happiness!


CharlieMac said...

I seem to realize how true the saying, "Most people are as happy as they want to be", actually is more and more each day.
Today I will be happy and share that happiness by demonstrating spinning at a 'LYS' with Mary by my side.
Maybe, just maybe, we will be a blessing to someone and they can pass it on, and that person can pass it on, ad infinitum?
Speaking of blessings, you are a blessing to us. Sharing your joy and knowledge and stories of Alpacas is a real blessing. Thank you.
Charlie Mac

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Thanks for your astute observations Mac! You and Mary bring a smile to all you meet. You are a blessing and an inspiration. I guess we should all "Pay It Forward!" Have a great day! - AFG

Just Pure Lovely said...

Contentment for me also has come with age. With each year, I am more comfortable in my own skin (not necessarily my literal skin, goodness, I'm not there yet!). I'm getting more and more fine with my likes and dislikes, talents and UNtalents, and I'm getting more sure of myself and what I want.

My blog is named Just Pure Lovely because of a choice I made to focus on the, well, just, pure, lovely things in life after going through a hard time. Here's the post:

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

great post...I like what you said, "I have grown into my happiness" that really resonated with me.
I love my ranch- my kids, homeschooling, and my Bible, I love Jesus, my horses, soapmaking, and my goats...I really am happy.

I don't think we can be happy until we are grateful.
Thanks for the visit to my blog, I have sure enjoyed yours!

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Dalyn, Excellent point about gratitude. Thanks! Love your blog.