Two Weeks In: The Beginning Of A Vegetarian Life?

So, a little over two weeks ago I stated that I was going to try and remove meat from my diet. I was reluctant to say the word vegetarian, however. I couldn’t even say it to my boyfriend, or my family. I told them “I want to eat as little meat as possible.” Yeah, that’s why I went out on payday and bought all of the veggies I could get my hands on. Seriously. I never used to buy so many veggies, and if I did chances are they were frozen. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, let me start there. But this time around, instead of my frozen corn and brussel sprouts, I got all sorts of lettuces that I’ve never tried, broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green onions, cilantro and that’s just the few that come to the top of my head. I’ve never really had room in my budget for fresh produce because I was saving most of my money for meat.

That’s the first thing I noticed, more money for the things that make me feel good, that until now were a luxury. Really. Artihcokes were a luxury. I couldn’t condone spending a whole dollar on the worlds smallest artichoke, when you only get such a tiny amount to eat from them. I bought two, and it didn’t even hurt. I couldn’t condone spending so much on herbs that I could just grow, so I’ve rarely bought herbs from a store unless they were dried. (And I still think growing them is the preferred method.) I even spent the extra dollar to buy dried beans because you get more in a bag than you do in a can. I’ve never even had a reason to do so until now. But beans are soon to be my main course in at least a few meals, I have the reason to get all fancy with my beans.

Why does it all feel so fancy? Buying fresh produce feels freakin’ fancy right now. And that’s not even considering the food I’ve made with it. Walking out of the super market with a paper bag (one paper bag, already less waste!) full of produce is kind of fancy. That’s what you see in comercials on prime time tv. It feels fancy because meat was always my mian course, meat is expensive, I never had the extra money for the produce to go with the meat, unless it was potatoes and an onion.

So, that’s my shopping experience. Filling up my cart with produce as my boyfriend shops for the biggest piece of meat that he can find that won’t break his wallet and will feed him for a week, I’ve got the whole top part of the cart full and he’s got just one measly package of meat and some cheese in his (and eventually he grabbed greenbeans to make stew). Onto the kitchen. I spent that afternoon cooking.I made myself some sesame noodles, which turned into a few lunches last week. I also made some rice and bean concoction, mixing crushed tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion and carrots into it. This became the stuffing for some tortilla burritos, which became the other half of my lunches for the week. I had already been having overnight oats for breakfast in the mornings, so that was a quick and easy thing to make up every couple of nights. Then I had to figure out something for dinners, which wasn’t terribly hard. One of the nights I went out with my dad and his girlfriend, and I decided to try a veggie calzone with mushrooms, olives and broccoli. That turned out to be delicious, and I have no regrets. I had the two artichokes another night, stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, sesame noodles and carrots another night. My favorite by far however was this recipe for roasted four cheese spaghetti squash. I could eat that every day, and I only had to make on change to it. Instead of using chicken boullion, I simply used a few spices I would put on a chicken myself, only because I’m not sure what “chicken powder” is, and that was the main ingredient in the boullion cube.

I’ve found, within the first two weeks, the most important tips a new vegetarian could find. Prep your meals. Always. Prep them, and also, shop for certain recipes. Make sure you’re buying what you need, rather than random things that you’ll throw together later in the week. Make sure what you’re buying can go together, or you risk having to go out again in the week for more ingredients, or whole meals. The second tip I’ve found is to not worry about your label. I feel odd calling myself vegetarian, I am afterall a very very new vegetarian. So am I really a vegetarian? I’m not a seasoned vegetarian anyway, so the word still leaves something of an aftertaste in my mouth. Forget labels. You’re not a vegetarian, you’re not anything. Just a human trying to eat, which happens to be humanities favorite past time, we even do it while experiencing our other favorite past times. When addressing my family, and my new diet, I left out the world vegetarian. They were the first to call me anything, and it was okay. No weird after taste, just pure conversation as I explained the things that turned me onto this new life style.

Turns out, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not finding many difficulties with it, and I’m already seeing good side effects. The most obvious was the money situation. I’m not struggling to keep my cart below a certain amount, in fact I’m struggling to spend everything in the budget. But I’m also mostly headache free, I’ve had one over the past two weeks, which is like  an all time low. I’m regular in the bathroom (sorry if that’s tmi, but it’s important even if we don’t talk about it.) I find that I have more energy already, I don’t get tired until sun down, where before I was yawning as early as noon. I’m finding that I’m fuller longer, and when I am full it’s not uncomfortable. I think these are all good things, and I’ll keep you updated on whatever else I notice.

The first two weeks have been successful, and I think this week I’ll be trying a new recipe. Something comforting as we fall into the fall season, litearlly. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

A Little Something Special For You

Sometimes I get that feeling that I am boring. I’m not very special, and there are other people that are far more interesting than me. I don’t get that feeling just when I’m depressed though, I get it randomly. Weather or not I’m trying to progress in life or just sitting there watching the cat’s sleep. I get it.

I realized something though. No matter how many other people can write better than me. No matter how many other people have the exact same hair style or taste in music, no matter how many people like chocolate and vanilla ice cream but do not like them in a twist ice cream, I will be the only me. There will never be another combination of human traits quite like me. That of the 7.5 Billion people on this plant, I am the only one that ever is, was, or ever will be.

I think that’s something special, don’t you? I think that each and every one of us is as special as the next person because we are rare. As a species, not really so rare, at least not on Earth. But individually we are so rare that we are all on the endangered list. We are all a protected life form, because we are so rare. And that is why we have to treat each person that we bump into with love and respect.

That is why you have to treat yourself with love and respect, undoubtedly. 

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The Road to Self Love

My apologies. I’ve not been writing for a while. I’ve started this new job of mine and been busy trying to balance the work life, my health and my time off. That is the main thing. Balance. 

 

What comes first in your life? Is it your health? Your job? Happiness? Family or friends? To some, the answer is obvious. Their image means most to them and they will do all that they can to make sure that their image is not damaged. This is usually very bad for their health, and for the relationships that they have in their life. Then there are those who put their health first. These are the people who tend to be happiest, even if they don’t have everything worked out yet, their mental and physical health is taken care of and they are fully capable of handling what life throws at them. And then there are those who put everyone else first. Neither their image or their health matters most, and these kind souls are usually the ones that burn out. They take care of others as long as possible and then burn right out, like a candle that ran out of wick. I used to be, and sometimes still can be, this type of person. I would sacrifice my happiness to make someone else happy and it wasn’t until my last friendship failure that I realized what I really needed to do. I needed to focus less on others, and more on myself because you simply cannot pour from a pot that is empty. And trust me, I’d love to share all that I have.

These days, I come first. At first, I felt selfish. Very selfish. I don’t like turning people down because of my ‘health issues’. I don’t like making them feel like they don’t matter to me but even if I were to try and help another while I’m in a bad state of mind, I wouldn’t be giving them my all. In the back of my mind, I would be thinking of myself. I would be  halfheartedly listening to their problems or questions. How would that help them? It wouldn’t help either of us, and a real friend would want to help, to really help. Sometimes help comes in the form of just an ear, open and willing to hear. Other times, that help comes out in what you can do for them. You have to be working at full capacity to be there for another.

Luckily, self care isn’t hard to do. It’s not tedious, it’s not terribly time consuming. At first, though, it can feel overwhelming. And lots of people might not understand the sudden changes you are making. You might not even fully understand them. I will give you a few tips, things that I’ve learned, but of course you must know that I’m no expert. I’m just journeying on this path, wandering more like. I too have been lost, and at times I still am lost. All that I can do is give you tidbits of knowledge that I have found through my own experiences. I can’t make you see the truth or feel any kind of way. I can pour you the cup of tea but I cannot make you drink it and I cannot make it heal you. That is what you can do for yourself.

So I ask you this, with this post and all posts you will come across in my blog, I ask you to be open. You won’t agree with everything that I say and that’s okay. I ask that you also do not judge. Take what you need and leave the rest. I won’t be offended or hurt. You’re you, not me. Everything that works for me won’t work for you. But most of all, I ask that you take a moment, now or later, to be honest with yourself. To give yourself a moment to just feel. To just love yourself. You can do so in many ways, and I’ll tell you a few now.

The first thing I learned about self love was that I have to love myself. This has always been hard for me. I grew up being told I was a bad child because I threw fits, I was defiant, and I stole from my mom and stores. I did so because I was battling for control of my own life and I was losing simply because I was the ‘child’. My mom has the mental capacity of a child, and once I surpassed her, the problems really began. Things got worse when I needed more, new clothes or personal hygiene items. I began craving real food, rather than the fake cheap stuff she would buy for me. There were many battles, and because I started defying her and stealing money from her to buy the things I needed (or just stealing them from the store), I was known as the bad child. And because I wasn’t getting the healthy food that I was craving, I began to gain weight. Thank you puberty. My hormones made me become insulin resistant (a side effect of PCOS) and I gained weight but have never lost it, regardless of how much I’ve tried. So here I sit, 240 pounds. I’m technically overweight. Everything makes me look bad, I think. So the first step to self love was hard. Still is hard. I’ve got it in my head that all I do is fuck up, and that I’m gross. But I sit here telling you, no matter your size, color, hair style, income or mental status, you are god damn beautiful. You are a masterpiece. You own you, and you own it well. Lift up your head, walk with your chin up, and make eye contact with those around you. Smile. Even if it feels weird at first, I promise it begins to feel good. When you walk into a room with your head held high, there will be a sense of confidence about you that others wish they had. This isn’t to make anyone jealous, it’s to create that confidence in yourself. Holding your head high is the first thing you can do to promote self love.

Secondly, get enough sleep. Please. Calculate when you should go to bed, get at least 6 hours of sleep, but if it’s possible get 8. Fall asleep in your comfiest clothes (or lack of). Hug your pillow. Make friends with the bed. You need sleep to survive. You have to dream to be healthy. There have been many studies done on the topic, I even did a paper in school about the effect of dreams on health. Did you know that people who don’t get enough REM sleep have lowered immune systems and are more susceptible to stress, depression and mental illness? So go to sleep. Take a nap! If you’re yawning and you have time, take a nap instead of make another cup of coffee.

Third, eat something good. I don’t mean brownies with peanut butter frosting. I mean go to the store, buy a pomegranate and some kale. Snack on the pomegranate seeds, put the kale on your hamburgers or ham sandwiches. Make salads. Drink tea. Use almond milk, or cage free eggs. Real cheese instead of processed cheese. Real meat instead of processed meat. Drink water. Eat something that is good for your body. Start small, make it a habit. Have an apple a day. Use almond milk creamer in your coffee. Snack on nuts instead of chips. Start small and add to it. Don’t just overwhelm yourself with foods that you have no idea how to even use. And yes, they can be more expensive. That’s where my next tip will come in handy.

Guess what, kale is super cheap. So is spinach. And peppers. But do you want to know what’s cheaper? Seeds. Grow something. Even if you start with easy herbs. Cilantro, chives, mint, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, ect. Use those super fresh herbs in your food. You’ll come back later and thank me. Once you’ve mastered growing those, go grab some pepper or tomato seeds. Those tend to be easy to grow. Spinach, kale and cabbage, onions, garlic, cucumbers, squash and carrots are also easy. All of these can be grown in pots too, so you can grow them on a balcony. And you’ll have fresh food to eat, that costed you less than a dollar. The dirt and pots can cost a little more money that one would want. Get the dirt on sale, or in bulk, and pots are sold at dollar trees, and can be made out of many things as well. Herbs and small plants can be grown in anything. Cups, bowls, bottles, coffee cans ect. Be inventive. 🙂

The next two can fall into the same category. They are also the two that I would stand on a box and yell out to everyone. Meditate or do yoga. (Or both.) I know, a lot of people feel that yoga is a fad, and I can’t blame them. It seems that there are many going around, like the gluten free diet that possibly has no positive effect on people who aren’t gluten intolerant and is expensive just because it’s a fad. Yoga is not that kind of fad. Yoga has many many benefits, proven benefits. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need a yoga mat to do it, just something you won’t slip on. However, if you can afford it, do get one. It makes yoga life easier. And there are thousands of yoga videos on youtube. The one I started out with was Yoga with Adriene. Branch out and find what works for you. Adriene has many many other videos, but I like her because she encourages you to not be perfect. Take breaks when you need to. If you can’t do a pose, don’t freak out because before you know it you’ll be doing it like a pro. As for meditation, I’ve been told many excuses as to why someone can’t do it. “My mind won’t quiet down enough.” “I tried it and it didn’t have an effect.” Well, meditation’s effects aren’t seen as quickly as something like yoga. Meditation can take a month or so for you to actually see an effect. Stick with it. It will help, but it takes time to form the habit and to change your brain (and yes, meditation can alter your brain.) When you meditate, and your mind won’t stay quiet, just keep sitting there. You are a mountain. Imagine yourself as such. Your thoughts are clouds, and they are passing by. Meditation is not about clearing your mind, it is about living in that moment. Know that the thought is there, and just let it be. Don’t think on it, don’t try to force it out, and don’t give up. It will pass. Focus on your breathing. In, out. In, out. Deeply, using your stomach, not your chest. Slowly, deeply. In, out. If it helps to light a candle and focus on the flame, or an incense and focus on the smoke, do that. Your mind might never be completely quiet, but that’s okay because you’re human.

The last tip I’m going to give you today is to be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself or try to convince yourself of anything. You feel what you feel, you think what you think and that won’t change if you give yourself the illusion that it has. If you want something to change, work on it, but don’t convince yourself that it has already changed. The same goes for weather or not it should change. As long as you harm no-one, then you are okay. Believe what you want, feel what you feel. Be solid in what you feel and believe, and explore everything else. Be open minded, and if your mind is changed about something, accept it. Don’t fight it, you are progressing. When we refuse to change, we refuse to grow. And when we force ourselves to feel or think another way, we do more self harm. Things have to happen naturally, and when you’re ready, so live in there here and now and let things happen.

Self love takes a while to get used to. Self love isn’t something you can learn, it’s not something you can teach. All that you can do is be open to receive the message that those around you send out, and that your body sends you. Above all else, listen to yourself. Do what feels right to you, step out of your comfort zone at your own pace. Don’t let anyone force you.

Mercury Retrograde

It’s at this point that many of you might turn and run. Mercury is in Retrograde, as of yesterday (31st). I’ve been seeing it’s effect since the 26th though.  I remember the first time I was aware of it too, I had just become really good friends with (a still good friend) who enlightened me to the idea that the planets could mess with us. Yeah, I didn’t believe it 100% at the time, I chalked it all up to superstition. But then, I believe that the moon has an effect on us, on a small level. I had believed that was all the placebo effect though, something I chose to believe so that each month I would have a day to renew and rejuvenate. That month however, I learned the ugly truth. Mercury fucks us when it goes retrograde. That month both my boyfriend and best friend went crazy. My boyfriend, who is highly emotional as it is, had a sort of break down, at the same time that we were discovering that my best friend was back into heroin. Not a good night. At all. I’m pretty sure that my work life was shit at that time too.

Anyway, I’ve tried to tread carefully during these times and since that one month last year, I’ve managed to handle the retrogrades well. Until now. Having just moved to a new state, I’m still learning the ropes and I have a job interview (today actually) and I’m helping my dad around the house and what not. As you might know, the Mercury retrograde tends to mess with communication, decisions, deals and travel. Travel is what’s being messed with here. My dad’s jeep died on the 26th of this month. Dead. Gone. Transmission locked up, missed two days of work. So he spends all day trying to get a loan to fix the stupid thing, and nobody is willing to help due to his bad credit (that his soon to be ex wife had the pleasure of ruining for him). So, he does the only thing he can. Trades in the broken jeep for less than a fourth of it’s value, puts that towards paying off the little that he owed, and signs his name in blood for a new car at the same dealership. So all is well we think. He’s gotta save up some money and it’ll be tight for a few weeks, probably for a month, but we will get through this. He won’t lose his job, he won’t miss any work and yay! Things are great now!

Don’t fool yourself. This morning he finds that there is a coolant leak in the car. OF COURSE! Now we are kind of back to square one, still waiting on some phone calls. He can borrow his dad’s truck for work, but now he’s got this laying neatly right back on his shoulders, and I feel just as stuck as him because I’m in no position to help. Hopefully (knock on wood) I get this job. I’ll let you guys know.

So, what can you do during a Retrograde?

Suggestion. Pray. Pull your tarot cards out. Cleanse your crystals. Meditate. Do yoga. Give up sugar. Drink massive amounts of tea. Smoke wacky-tobaccy. Put your coffee in a leak proof mug. Take precaution, and don’t make any big decisions. Don’t lock yourself into any big deals, like buying a car or a house unless you have to. Even then, double check everything.

I for one have started my day off with ultra creamy pumpkin spice coffee, took the black cat out on the leash (he loves the leash, and I gotta keep the black cat happy just in case). I sat in the fall-ish type weather and soaked up a bit of sun being thankful that the humidity has finally let up some for the rest of the week. I helped my dad get insurance on his new car, and (*update*) got the job. I feel like my luck is charged with positive energy right now and I’m going to cling to that energy without fear that it will leave. That’s it right there, try to bounce back quickly. When Mercury is in retrograde, it is not the time to worry. If you do, you run the high risk of attracting all that you are worried about. Attract that which you want and need, and know that this is only a hiccup in life and like anything else, it will pass in time.

What are some of the things that you can do during a retrograde to get life on the right track? Well, now is a good time to save money, just in case. Put some extra money into savings, and wait until after the retrograde is over to spend it, or use it for the things that go wrong during the retrograde. Go ahead and get some work done, make sure your car is working in proper order (wish I had known this before hand) or fix the leak under the sink. Don’t begin a serious relationship, but revitalize any current relationships you have, even if it’s not a romantic relationship. It’s important to keep clear and open communication during these times, as the Mercury retrograde effects communication and relationships. Most importantly, begin self work, or amp it up. Now is a good time to do so because believe it or not, the positive energy is stronger during this time, if you can focus on that instead of the negative.

Above all else, keep your head in the game, breath deep, and know that this too shall pass. 

What is happiness anyway?

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Mahatma Gandhi

 

Happiness is something that I’ve always struggled to recognize. Having come from a troubled childhood, I was hardly shown the path to true happiness. In fact, the happiest times that I can remember were when I could go off and do my own thing (usually in the woods) far away from the people I lived with. During the times that I had my dad in my life, I also was happy, because he understood me. Unfortunately, relying on another to bring you happiness doesn’t work. I can’t always have my dad around, I know that one day he will pass away and what then? Will I live the rest of my life in a dark and lonely place? Will I refuse to turn on the lights or open a book? Luckily, I learned from my dad that happiness isn’t something you can seek out in others. It’s something you find, and it can come from anywhere.

When I was young, I lived in North Carolina. (Sunnyview NC I think.) Behind our house, which was on a hill, there was a beautiful wood. I would find myself wandering around by myself, and I couldn’t help but to get lost. I don’t mean that I got lost literally, I mean that hours would go by and yet I craved for more time to spend with the trees. This is a place that I still dream of, so much so that I had to write something to get my mind back to that place. I long for those trees, specifically the one that has the hump that I used to sit on. I have yet to find a tree that grew just for me to nap upon. I remember that as being the first place that I was truly happy, and that’s including the massive sunflower patch behind our townhouse in (Hendersonville) North Carolina. For the first time, I was alone and happy. Whatever happened to that?

What is happiness, anyway? Is it a feeling or a state of mind? Is it something that you can find or is it something that you create? I think it might differ between each person. For me, for a long time, it was something I chased and dreamed about. It was something that I might never get if I were to stay in my mom’s house. It was something that I didn’t deserve because according to her I was a bad child. I was made to feel as if I didn’t deserve the things that a normal child deserves. I was the reason I was so miserable. At such a young age, how could I have known that this was untrue? It wasn’t until my teen years that I began to realize how wrong my mother was, and how much I did deserve. Even now I have a problem accepting gifts from people. I still have that lingering feeling that I don’t deserve what they have to give. I think this is where happiness is vital in the quest to repair the damage done to me as a kid. It’s something I rarely experienced.

I find now that I usually catch myself being happy. (Oh no! I’m happy again!) It’s still a strange feeling to me, and to some that might make them sad. It might take away a little of their own happiness, but it doesn’t need to. I’m happy that I can actually feel this feeling. I can actually be in this state of mind. For so long I was afraid to be happy. I resisted the thought, which made it worse. Whenever someone told me that I was afraid to be happy I would laugh at them. Of course I’m not afraid to be happy, I long for it, so why would I be afraid of it? Silly me right? Of course I was afraid of it, because every ounce of happiness I had ever had would be stolen away from me by my own mother through my entire childhood. Even today she tries to whittle a little away at a time, but I’m wise to her games now. The unfortunate thing about it is that she isn’t aware of her own state of mind. She’s unaware that those little bombs that she plants are designed to steal the other person’s happiness away. That’s how she’s always gotten her happiness because her mom was worse than she.

Which means that happiness can’t be gained. It can’t be stolen or taken thus it cannot be fought for. We are all fighting for this thing, this elusive thing. If only we could catch it, but it can’t be caught either. It can’t be obtained in any way because (and listen closely, this is important) it’s already there. 

The entire time I lived with my mom I had happiness. Lets set the scene. I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing, say reading. My mom comes in and asks a question and I respond without looking at her (I can’t lose my spot on the page after all) and she then gets angry. Suddenly she’s slamming my door closed and bitching up a storm in the hallway. I keep myself occupied with my book which pisses her off further, but I know if I confront the situation it’ll get worse anyway. So I keep on reading. What happens next is where I learned my lesson. If I wouldn’t bring the fight to her, she would bring it to me. Her source of false happiness was to take mine from me, and since I am clearly happy in my room reading, she has no choice but to try to take it. So in comes my mom with her bitch storm and allegations. Fight. Always a fight, no matter how long I try to withhold myself from it, she would pick and pick until I couldn’t hold out anymore. My stone walls were only so thick. That’s all fine and dandy, we are only human after-all and sometimes our tops blow. But had I known back then that even then she couldn’t take my happiness from me, maybe things might have effected me less. We’d fight, and I’d come back to my room, to my book that lay face down and waiting, but my temperature was too high. I couldn’t calm down after the blow out, and so I didn’t pick that book back up for a while. I would roll the fight over in my mind, re-play and try to figure out what I had done so wrong to piss my mother off. She had won. She was now sitting in her bedroom watching Wheel of Fortune and I was hot headed on my bed trying to make sense of the world and berating myself for reacting to her crap. Had I known that if I had just picked that book back up and not let her negativity take over, I would have been happy yet again, like I originally was while reading the book in the first place.

There’s no sense in berating myself about all of this now, I can’t change it. But I can still learn from it, and I have. I’ve learned when to recognize when my mom is fishing for feelings she can play off of, and I’ve learned to not care. That’s the trick. 

You’re in the drive through and someone behind you honks at you even though you can’t move up in line, and then you get the wrong order and you’ve already had a bad day so all you wanted were some God damn’d french fries. You storm into the place with bag in hand, and yell that you need the proper order and your fries are cold. God damn it the fries are cold!!! You’re head’s so hot that the employees can see the steam rising, but you’ve just treated them like garbage so they take their sweet time which only makes you more angry. You see this cycle that’s forming? Rewind.

You’re in line after having a horrible day and you want some french fried goodness in your tummy. So you pull into the McDanks and ask for a large fry. The guy behind you is also impatient about getting his fries. (Damnit all you need in life is a bunch of fries!) But what can you do, really? Not that much. But you’re having quite a shit day and the fella behind you might be as well. You pull up to pay for those delicious potato sticks and decide to pay for the poor fella behind you who is too anxious to get his fries. Instead of giving you the wrong order, you end up with extra fries because you were nice enough to pay for the asshat that’s in the car behind you. The McDanks thanks you because they get to deliver good news, the guy behind you is happy because he saved a buck, you’ve got extra fries and your day has turned around a little. Maybe it’ll be a good day after all. I’ve seen this happen many times actually. I worked in a Dunkin Donuts, and almost every Friday there was a pay it forward in our drive through. People pull up with frowns and leave with a smile having paid for someone else’s coffee.

Now, I’m not saying that when you’re having a bad day you should go buy someone else’s fries. That can get to be expensive and there’s not guarantee that the employee will give you that extra fry. But happiness, and love, are actually free. Say you’re in line this time, inside the restaurant, and you’re having a horrible day and the kid with his mother behind you is just screaming. He also wants his french fries but he hates standing in line. What can you do? Turn and yell back? Bottle it in and get progressively more and more pissed off? Or maybe turn to the kid and say what everyone in line is thinking. “Hey, I want my fries too. Aren’t they so good?” He’ll probably be taken aback (most kids would be anyway) and stop crying long enough to evaluate the situation. During that time we can throw another question his way. “So, have you ever tried dipping them in barbecue sauce, like you do with your nuggets? It’s actually really good.”  At this point, you’ve probably stopped the melt down that was about to happen, and he’s probably going to answer you (provided he’s not actually a spoiled brat, In which case run to the nearest bar and grab a shot of whiskey). Mom’s happy, the employees are happy, you’re happy and the kid is happy and probably talking your ear off (or hiding behind mom because he’s actually shy. Go figure!) That was free and it ate up enough time that you’re now next in line! Hurrah!

My point is that happiness is always there, it’s just hidden in your perspective. You can choose to react negatively, or you can choose to react in a positive manner. I promise that if you make the latter the habit, you’ll find happiness in everything that you do. But don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. They happen to everyone and nobody can do it 100% of the time. I’m over here just going on and on about being happy and how to do it but I’m going to be the first to tell you that the negative reaction is what you’re likely to get from me if you’re honking at me in a drive through. But I’ll carry that on, and I’ve done so in the past. I’m angry about this guy being an ass in the drive through, I decide I don’t care and later on when I am in the grocery store and see someone wandering up the aisle looking miserable, I shoot them a genuine smile. Most people will give me one back, and if I happen to see them later in the store, they are still wearing it.

Happiness begins with a smile.

So what is happiness to you?

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Just a small bit of happiness I found yesterday at the Indianapolis Canal