The Passionate Pursuit of Happiness

July 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm (Personal, Uncategorized)

Long has been the time during which I’ve envied those around me and their passion for something. How some people are capable of being just that passionate to pursue something that makes them completely consumed by happiness to continue doing it over and over again, is beyond my abilities.

I’ve debated why this is for as long as I can remember. Friends have always had hobbies that I am interested in but far to lazy to get beyond trying but once. Colleagues have always shown a drive and desire for their roles; whereas I have made it a career to succeed and excel with as little effort as possible, yet never feeling truly motivated by what it is I am doing.

Not everyone is so passionate or motivated, I am aware of that. However, at 31 and counting, not having really finished anything I’ve begun (including a marriage – though I tried), and not sure what I want to be when I grow up… passion has been on my mind a lot.

There are many things I enjoy doing. Besides the occaisonal long walk on the beach and romantic dinner by candlelight, I enjoy a few short-lived hobbies and the idea that one day, if I play my cards right, I too can be an educator. It’s that kick-in-the-ass ability several of my close friends have that I feel I lack. However, I talk a good show – I have always been a firm believer that if you truly want to do something, you’re the only one who can make it happen.

Self-advice however is the hardest to swallow. I assume that’s why so many people are in therapy. I’ve considered seeing one myself lately but I haven’t been able to make that leap for a couple of reasons: 1) I feel I know myself well enough to see myself through tough times, 2) A good friend is often as good as a $150/hour therapy session, and 3) I want to define more why I feel I would need to see a therapist.

Reason #3 is my latest mental debate. I have begun to recognize that the majority of why I feel unhappy or unmotivated from time to time is simply because I am not doing something that makes me happy or motivated! That simple realization – though seemingly obvious and often felt – is only just now really sinking in. It’s one thing to hear… another to listen. Now, I feel if I’m going to seek guidance from a therapist, it’s going to be one who specializes in career development.

As for hobbies, I have had several and enjoyed them each to a good degree. Crocheting, sewing, painting, jewelry making, baking, etc. Each has been something I wish to pursue further yet I find myself too lazy – too unmotivated – to take the hobby box out of the closet, open it up, make a space on the table, pull everything out… blah blah blah. Cuz then – then! – I’ll have to actually clean it all up later! Oh, and let’s not forget if I am unable to be productive to the degree I envision myself doing. I mean, if it’s not perfect at the end – why even bother?

Though I have always valued my ability to think through – at least fairly well – the course of a project and its possible risks, I am beginning to believe that it’s consuming me. It is a very uptight and lazy way to live. If I constantly put the end before the beginning, how do I expect to truly get anywhere? It’s the fear of the unknown. Of failure. Why bother to do something if I can’t do it the way I envision and then will have to deal with the mess of later?

Driving home from my workout yesterday, I had a bit of an epiphany regarding this situation. It occurred to me that I need to do two things to be a happier person:

  • Let something consume me at least once in my life.
  • Completely fall head over heels in love with something.

If I achieve at these two goals I believe I will have experienced that same passion and motivation – desire if you will – that I witness in those with whom I am close and envy. Letting myself just enjoy the moment… letting myself release my inner tensions. To stop hiding the fear of failure… that I what I believe will make me happy. At least until the next stage of my life.

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Getting to know you

April 20, 2006 at 1:46 am (Personal)

Lately my life has been one huge example of Mark Twain's famous comment, "Familiarity breeds contempt."

Last summer it was my marriage that suffered those damming words. My then husband decided he just didn't want to be with me any longer. Though I had been expecting this for some years I still held out hope that we could see things through. However, it's as though the longer he was with me the less happy he was with me.

About a month ago a close friend of mine called me crying hysterically. She was driving and said she needed a friend at the moment; apparently she and her husband had just hit the skids themselves. I got her over to my apartment and let her sit and talk for a few minutes. I said all the wrong things, of course, but it worked out well because I was so focused on the big D that she denied it was going that far. They're going to do their best to work it out, and I hope they do – they're really great people – but if she's just not into it (she's like where my ex was in our relationship) then it's hard to make it desirable. Her hubby just isn't where she would like him to be and it's frustrating her to no end. Again, it's as though the longer she's gotten to know him, the less she wants to be around him.

Just yesterday my mother called me to give me an update of my older brother's situation. He's divorced twice but has been married for the last 10 years. He has two children with his current wife and a teenage son with his first wife who lives several states away. He and his wife have had some rough moments over the years – mostly financial – and within the last few weeks the ugliest has come to a head. Neither one of them is good at managing a budget; neither one of them is good at telling the other about issues. My brother hides bills from his wife; my sister-in-law demands she manages the budget but then gets irritated and drops it when she can't figure it out. He's got ADD and a gaming addiction. She likes to go out and play Sex in the City with her girlfriends, leaving him at home with the kiddos. It's just not a great situation. Yesterday was the last straw… sis-in-law demanded a divorce and threatened to take the kids. In the few times I've seen them together since they married I've rarely seen anything but demeaning behavior from her towards him (calling him stupid, etc.) while he dotes upon her – like he has with every girlfriend he's had in his life (he's truly a romantic). Why does sis-in-law hate him so?

So I wonder… how does any couple last through the decades? What makes two people stay familiar yet not grow contemptuous towards one another?

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Old Fart, at Only 31

April 17, 2006 at 4:09 am (Personal)

It's funny how things occur to you in an order that end up screwing you in the end. You know, like when something falls into your lap and all you can think of are the good reasons to accept it, ignoring all the glaringly obvious bad reasons to not? Case in point…

My apartment.

Of the six apartments I've rented the current one is the only one that was available with a pool view. For some reason, I've always thought, "Hey, it would be awesome to have a pool view." Actually, not for just some reason – there are a few: 1) Be closer to the pool so I might actually USE it; 2) Have a view of something other than a parking lot; 3) Enjoy a bit of people watching from the comfort of my own patio.

When the apartment came available – two bedroom, 2nd story, attached garage, POOL VIEW – it's like I was in heaven. How could I – the queen of never getting to be part of the IN crowd – possibly be awarded an apartment with everything I wanted – including a POOL VIEW?

Six months into my lease – if you do the math you'll note my move-in date around early FALL – I've realized that the gods were not in fact awarding me anything. Instead, it was the devil of societal stereotypes infringing on my weakness for all things good. "Think good thoughts – all the FUN you'll have with that pool. Laying out… a quick sit in the hot tub… gardens of lush unkempt greenery to stare at… yeaaah, that's the stuff, aint it?"

F that.

What's wrong with a pool view? By asking that question, you've either a) never lived in an apartment with a pool view, or b) are the type of person that I'm about to complain about.

With a pool view on a warm spring or summer evening you quickly learn whether you give a shit about sleeping. See, the types of buildings apartments are – at least in North Texas – are not exactly the variety that absorb sound. No, they are built of some wonderful material that actually CONDUCTS sound right into the homes of those who work normal hours. Like, say, ME.

It's not fun at 2 a.m. on a Thursday morning to be awoken by giggling coeds and their volleyballs. No, not fun. NOT FUN AT ALL. It's not fun to feel intimidated by said partygoers and have to call the "Courtesy Officer" – TWICE – to get them kicked out.

I ask, why? Why can't I think of all the BAD things that balance out the GOOD when they come around? Why must I be sucked into a utopian image of what greatness may come of my arrival into the cool crowd? Why must I be made to feel, at only 31 that I am an old fart who just can't let it go? 

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How “Wife Swap” could change me…

March 28, 2006 at 2:47 am (Personal)

Maybe it's just the monthly female hormones talking. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for a sad child's face. Whatever the reason, it was as if a Hallmark moment occurred in my apartment this evening as I watched the reality television show, Wife Swap. (Yes, I just admitted to watching a reality show. I swear it was a one-time thing. Nothing else was on. Really!)

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In Memory of Grandma

March 24, 2006 at 4:31 am (Personal)

On Tuesday, my last surviving grandparent – my mother’s 90 year old mother – died. She survived her husband by over twenty years and for a while there we were certain she’d survive most everyone else in our family. As unfortunate as any death is, hers though, was bittersweet.

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