Category : Featured
On February 13th, I started that day just like many of the others for the past year or so. I have been on a soul-searching journey. Contemplating what I really wanted to do with my life. As I was sitting at the beach getting ready for my morning meditation (mock me if you like…the shit really works) and just before I put my phone into airplane mode, I received this incredible gift from my wife, Barbara. “I love you you are my everything”. Facebook is good for at least a couple of things… My response back was typical. Herbie is my dog and yes I have two wives…and yes it is legal in MA to have a dog as a wife…
I played this video 4 times and sat there looking out over the ocean just thanking God and the Universe and my wife for giving me this most welcomed and unexpected gift of happiness. So why am I sharing this with you. Because in that moment I figured out what I needed to do. I wanted to help other’s discover this warm, calming and indescribable feeling that I experienced this morning….And no my wife is not going to be sending you love text messages with awesome music videos from the 70’s. These are only for me. Go find your own king or queen…
Well what led me to this point is what happened to me a couple of days prior
I had been freaking stuck for almost a year. Sure, I used every excuse in the book to keep myself safe in a place where I didn’t have to really commit to anything or anyone. I am taking a trip, I have to do this and that. Why…Because I was afraid…Afraid of what you may ask. I guess, life in general.
Honestly, I think I was afraid because I didn’t want to make the wrong decision. But in not making a decision, I was making a decision and my decision was to try a bunch of little things but not really commit. Not do things that would make me uncomfortable and stretch myself beyond what I believed I was capable of. But the biggest problem I had was that I was doing things that didn’t bring me what I really wanted, which was happiness.
We all have these fears in life that keep us stuck in the manure of life. The manure can be anything from doing a job we don’t enjoy to spending time with people we really don’t like. We have all been there and if you say you haven’t you lie about other things as well. If you want to share your vulnerability with me, please comment below on what you currently do out of habit, being on auto-pilot or just the feeling of being trapped that makes you unhappy. While we are going from one thing to another we seem to fill our lives with things, tasks and just stuff that not only complicates our lives but don’t give us the feeling of happiness. Which in the end leaves us feeling as though we have been swept up in a shit storm of chaos that we call life.
Which leads me to mine. We lost our son Richie 3 ½ years ago. He was 27 years old. When this happened to our family I could never even imagine smiling or laughing and experiencing happiness again. It would elude me for the rest my life and would be banished from my valuable vault of emotions. During the worst times on my journey in grief I tried to find happiness with alcohol and anti-depressants. I knew happiness was not at the bottom of a bottle. However, at the bottom of the bottle and those pills provided me with seclusion from the world and reality. I found myself running as fast as I could away from my reality because the expectation of facing it was more than my mind could handle and I was in survival mode.
My sense of reality was the fear of never finding happiness again. Which was my biggest problem. There are so many emotions that accompany grief but what I found was that the thought of never being happy again was the most difficult one for me to comprehend. Therefore, burying my emotions, numbing my world and curling up in the fetal position of depression provided me with the relief I needed to survive.
Struggling with grief is a battle of keeping your head above water by all means until you come across something or someone that is going to throw you a life preserve from the deck of the USS Hope. Once hope is lost there is not much else to live for. The question that always surfaces is “for what”. Why should I get out of bed? Why should I go to the doctor? Why should I exercise? Why should I bother trying to be happy? FOR WHAT? I am going to die anyway? I am not going to achieve happiness or fulfill my dreams? That is what it all comes down to is surviving long enough that you can find that small glimmer of hope and a pursuit to answer your question, For what? A tiny light in all the darkness that you can move towards in order to get through the grief and other challenges in life and get yourself on the other end of the what seems like an endless battle of living a life of hopelessness. Find that one, for what, because in that answer is the glimmer of hope that is required to get you to the place that you know and need to be.
Because to confront the thought of living out the rest of my life being tortured without happiness was more than I had signed up for. How can one even envision a life without happiness. It is so hard to comprehend but in all honestly according to the world health organization depression is going to be one of the top diseases in the world in the next couple of years. But needless to say, when we flip on the auto-pilot to steer us through life we miss out on all those small little glimmers of happiness that are around us 24 hours a day that can be used to combat depression, grief, sadness, and hopelessness in order to see the world around us in a different light.
During my journey of grief I really disliked happy people. If you smiled, laughed or was enjoying yourself, you were on my shit list. Prior to my son’s passing I loved to laugh, smile, do foolish things and tell outrageous stories to make people happy. However, after the loss of Richie I did everything in my powers to fulfill some secret code of ethics that stated. “I should eliminate happiness from my life”. Eradicate the word from my memory. There were times that I felt like smiling and laughing but I didn’t. Why, because I was afraid I was going to dishonor my son in some crazy way and others would judge me and say that I didn’t love him. In the end I was dishonoring my own self and Richie’s memory by not being Richie. Oh I really don’t enjoy talking about myself in the third person, but it makes me happy to joke about it.
I felt as though I was dishonoring my family, friends and loved ones because these people looked to me because I was always able to put a smile on their face…Especially asking Barbara if she wanted to see my abs when she was feeling down. The punch line is that the last person that saw my abs was the doctor that pulled me out of my mom’s womb back in the fall of 67… I am have to say I am happy to be 51 and abless. Shit…that isn’t even a word.. I mean how much work is it to have abs anyway?
Can someone comment and let me know. I guess if doing seven thousand crunches or eating 1,000 pounds of kale each day will get you abs and it makes you happy then go for it. Who am I too judge. I spent a lot of money and time when I was in my 20’s trying to find my abs. 20 minute abs. 10 minute beers were better. I had more fun with the beer in my 20’s and God made shirts to cover up our little imperfections of life. So beer made me happier than abs would ever. Therefore, I chose Beer. I didn’t really want to go on a rant about abs but felt as though I needed to get the point across. Sorry all you ab lovers out there. I am getting to the point..
Remember, the experience of happiness is in the journey not the end result. Honestly, how long do you think you are going to keep those abs anyway? And who wants to see an 85 year old guy with a six pack. That is just plain creepy…I guess unless you are married to him! The only old dude that I would let in my house with a six pack is if he is carrying one in his hands of the alcoholic beverage variety and has his shirt on. Sorry, my happiness is having fun with the things most people take so seriously in life. Article of Happiness, Article #2, lighten up. Taking life seriously will create more unhappiness. Are you wrapped so tight that any type of little interruption of your day creates turmoil in your life? Please comment below. I lived in that world for many years. You cannot control that much in life and if you think you can you are setting yourself up for big bouts of unhappiness. You can make all the plans you want. However, life always seems to be working from a different playbook. Take it from me, I had it all planned out and then LIFE HAPPENED. SO…Let your hair down and LIVE. If you are bald, grow it out and do an awesome comb over or get a wild hair piece. Not sure if I gave you Article #1. But there is enough here that should be starting to formulate some type of opinion on this. If not, you probably stopped reading six hours ago or at least after I put the picture above in this article.
Ok, I hate to leave you hanging, but curiosity is healthy. So that is it for part #1. Stay tuned for part number #2 where I will share a lot more of the Articles of happiness and my new purpose in life and details on how you can help not only yourself discover more happiness, but help others and me make happiness contagious. If not, that is ok as well. You must have a sufficient supply of happiness in your life and that makes me even happier.
If you would like to comment please comment below and let me know where you discover happiness in life.
If you are offended by the abs guy, I may redeem myself in part 2. Probably not. But some people find happiness in complaining about everything and that makes you happy then that is the goal. However, you are going to have major issues with happiness challenge #1. More on that in the next article and I would love to discuss yelp reviewers here but that would impede on my happiness in this moment. I hope I see you in the next article.
All my Love and Support and just smile.
P.S. The picture of the dog drinking the beer was my dog Toby. He was amazing and he brought me so much happiness as does this picture.
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