Posts Tagged ‘Optimism’

Make a choice, change your life. I dare you.

I have been advised by my daily horoscope to take a break. Not that I needed an Oracle to tell me that. And not that I much believe in Star Signs either, but due to a complete lack of any personal wisdom I thought I’d seek outside help.

I’ve never been a believer in fate, I think we make our own decisions, and the relevant outcomes are ones we inadvertently chose. That being said, I’ve been hoping that perhaps (for maybe the first time ever) I might be wrong.

If someone could convince me that everything happens for a reason, then I wouldn’t have to worry so much, about all the choices I have miscalculated. Wouldn’t it be nice, if instead of regretting the things which go wrong, we can just assume that if they were meant to be, they would.

I’d definitely sleep better at night if I could just conclude that things happen because they’re meant to, and I have no actual control, just the illusion of it. Because the alternative, that things aren’t all tied up in fate, and that we make our own luck, involves a lot more bravery than I think I can summon. If life is, as I had originally thought, unplanned, unscripted and just plain messy, then every tiny thing you or I do, effects the way we’ll end up.

Think about it.

Leaving 2 minutes later for work, can be the difference between a collision, and a morning spent listening to mediocre breakfast music. Smoking that cigarette can be the difference between living till 40 and living till 85. Applying for that job might be the line between survival and success. Going to this bar instead of that one is the difference between meeting someone, and never even knowing they existed. And telling someone how you feel could be the difference between being happy, and not.

If this doesn’t scare you, then maybe you could share some insight, because it sure as hell scares me.

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Not Quite Resolutions

Image From http://therichkidwannabe.blogspot.com/2011/01/resolutions-for-new-year.htmlI’ve never much believed in New Years Resolutions, mainly because the turning of the year is no more likely to get me on a treadmill than bikini season or my gym instructor’s scornful “I haven’t seen you here in months” eyes. So just to be clear these are not resolutions. It’s two weeks into 2012, so we can agree that I’ve definitely missed the resolution making portion of the year.

These are not so much ways to improve myself, and lets face it why would I want to (don’t answer that) but instead, more ways to ensure I don’t reach 2013 without a single thing to show for myself aside from that increasing Jack Daniels dependency. And shoes, far, far too many shoes.

1. Get a job, one which pays more than the most minimum of wages. As much as I love my mum, I can’t spend the next 27 years living at home, which incidentally is how long it would take me to put a deposit on the very shittiest of flats with my current salary.

2. Sky dive, or bungee jump, or take up aerobatic flying lessons or pretty much anything in this general category that is guaranteed to make me pee my pants a little bit. You’re never going to be amazed in life, unless you do some things, which are a little bit amazing.

3. Succeed in getting George Michaels “Faith” out of my head. It’s been stuck there for approximately 3 years, and whilst before it was bad, now it also comes with the accompanying dance moves compliments of J.D. No not the liquor, the character, in Scrubs.

4. Visit a county, where the rain is warm. Or perhaps before I get ahead of myself, I should aim to visit a country which is not Cypriot, Greek, Greek-Cypriot or any other variation which results in me eating Feta in the village tavern owned by Stelios.

5. Slow dance. Not jokingly. Not with my God-sister while drunk. Not with my dog (who for the record does an excellent Waltz) and not with my fingers on the steering wheel whilst bored in traffic.

The list could go on. A result of a very unproductive 2011 no doubt, I am left with a million and one things I was always meant to, but never quite got around to doing. I guess I could add teaching my dad how to text to the list and losing that last pound that just won’t budge from my thighs, but like I said these’s aren’t resolutions, and I am not a miracle worker.

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Image from: http://longwood-house.co.ukSmile. No a little bit wider. Show me some teeth. Thatttts it. Feeling better
already are you? What do you mean ‘no’? You mean to tell me that grinning and bearing it doesn’t make all your troubles go away? Well there goes my theory out the window.

So what exactly does make us happy? Bucket of chicken? Sometimes. Glass of wine, or in my case make that seven. That usually works. Falling in love? Unlikely to be honest, you spend half the time extatic and the other half suicidally depressed. Or maybe that’s just me again. Watching your team win a match? Though I’m not sure if that’s so much happiness as it is momentary elation.

Money might help. I know they say it doesn’t, but perhaps whoever these ‘they’ are have never owned an Audi R8. Don’t be under any illusion that I have, but take it from me I’d find it pretty hard to be depressed in one of those babies. Maybe I’m just more shallow than your average person (or more honest, I’m not sure).

Expensive cars aside however, I think we’ve got this happiness business all wrong. Most people seem to think we have to be happy all the time, well I personally can’t think of anything more exhausting. See what you’ve actually got to do is make sure you have enough good moments in life to out-balance the incredibly (excuse my language but it’s needed) shit ones.

These days everyone thinks to be happy we need to prove how great our lives are all the time. Its common knowledge if your facebook, twitter, bbm and linkedin statuses don’t indicate what a blast you’re having, the chances are you’re probably at home bored. And if you’re not, well everyone else thinks you are, so you might as well be.

Now call me crazy but maybe, just maybe if everyone spent a little more time living life instead of updating about it, we’d start noticing how great we’ve all really got it.

And what really makes me happy? The little things. Going to buy a pair of shoes and my debit card not being declined. A guy I like texting when he says he will. McDonald’s accidentally forgetting to charge me for my chips. Making my friends laugh, (with me, not at me). And of course, eating half the contents of my fridge and still being able to wear skinny jeans without it being ironic.

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How To Be Happy.

I took an online optimism quiz the other day which informed me I am a pessimist (as if I needed a quiz to tell me that).

What threw me off was the little encouraging note at the bottom of the page saying “don’t worry you can change!” Never a good sign when you’re computer starts giving you life advice is it? I am only left to wonder if the subsequent pop up I received 30 seconds later entitled “stress management” was a coincidence.

I remembered someone once told me, if you smile for one minute every morning, it tricks your body into releasing happy endorphins into your body and in turn makes you happier.

Having been struck down with a momentary bout of optimism (and wanting to put my computer in its place) I decided to attempt a one-week trial. And it seemed to work well enough until one morning I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, un-brushed teeth, frizzy hair, pink fluffy bathrobe and a Cheshire cat smile. I looked insane (a look I’ll admit I’m not totally unfamiliar with, but not one I’d ever want to be optionally submitted to again).

In fact I’m convinced the person who came up with this theory worked as a secret spy for crème-de-la-mer or Olay and whose job is to provoke the production of deep-set wrinkles. The only thing better than unhappy women, are unhappy women wanting to spend a fortune in eradicating their new smile lines.

Someone else once informed me eating a chocolate bar a day helps with inner happiness. Their explanation involved something or other about neurotransmitters and mood levels influenced by chocolate, I phased out almost immediately, they’d sold me at ‘chocolate’. Come on now, using chocolate as a mood elevator, yes please, what next, fudge cake for toothache? Because you can sign me up for that trial too.

And while the Mars bar solution to life made me happy for a while, the subsequent £100 gym fee I had to pay so I could fit into my jeans again did not make me happy at all. In fact the opposite, I wanted to find the person whose great idea this was and ram an airport sized Toblerone down their throat. Somehow, I refrained.

Then, upon my quest for permanent happiness, I stumbled upon this thing called optimism; rumour has it, it does wonders for the heart. So if you happen to be a glass half empty kind of person, take note:

If someone knocks off your wing mirror on the way to work, the world isn’t against you, you just happened to cross the path of moron. You go on a bad date… you’re not going to end up a spinster and this isn’t a sign that you should stop wearing makeup and shaving your legs- you simply need to think of it as one frog closer to your prince. You’re best friend hasn’t returned your call in three days and your convinced he’s found someone less mentally imbalanced to watch Match of the Day with? No, he just has the memory of a goldfish.

Why none of this had ever occurred to me before, I’m not quite sure. Forget mood elevators and Jack Daniels, the solution to all of life’s problems is a lot of optimism with a pinch of denial.

However before we get too ahead of ourselves with all this glass-half-full business, I’d like to make a point that a little cynicism never did go completely amiss. Floating away on a little bubble of optimism just sets you up for disappointment: and that if you ask me (which I think you should), is the worst kind of unhappiness.

The best way to live is with a lot of ambition, and not too many expectations. And while apparently money can’t buy you happiness, as a lover of high shoes and fast cars, I’d tend to disagree. But for those less materialistic seekers of joy I suggest you wake up every day, and aim to do at least one thing that is guaranteed to make you happy; be it eating 4 custard doughnuts in a row or listening to David Guetta’s new tune twenty times in row – because everyone knows butchering is a song is the only way to show your love for it.

But whatever it is you do that makes you happy, for goodness sake don’t smile too much, because those wrinkle creams do not work at all.

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