Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

October 2, 2013

Things that make you happy

By Samantha Stroube-Daviss
CNHI

Corsicana — I read the most amazing blog recently in the Huffington Post. It talked about having flatter abs and a better sex life will make you a happier more self-fulfilled person, in a cynical manner. We all subscribe to the mindset of “If I only looked like that person on the cover of the magazine, then I would be so happy; and my life would be just as I want it to be.”

Take from someone who has been rail thin (I fondly joke of it as being the “Oh so faithful divorce diet”) and when I was rail thin, I didn’t even realize it or appreciate it at that time. Granted I was a little distracted by other goings on in my life, like where my child and I were going to live, where I was going to work — you know, the minor things like that. But my point is when you look a certain way, or drive a certain car, or live in a certain house — your life dreams and aspirations aren’t fulfilled. And deep down you know it to be true.

Right now I am working extremely hard to shed the pounds after having two babies back to back, and much later in life than I had my first child. But you know what? I am appreciate every effort I make and all the lumps and bumps I obtain. Because those lumps and bumps meant that I found happiness again after my divorce, my life went on, and I got re-married to the most wonderful man in the world; in addition to creating a healthy, safe environment for my oldest child and myself, not to mention adding two high spirited and joyful little “curtain climbers” to our brood.

Looking at all those magazines and watching $100K+ cars whiz down the highway, in my mind doesn’t equal self-fulfillment; in fact it is just the opposite, it is self-deprecating — to myself, not the owner of the car. Envy can be an ugly green monster that rears its head every so often.

My thoughts are, if you are able to read this column then your life has reached its all time peak. You are either able to afford payment to have the paper delivered to your home, you are able to afford that cup of coffee you’re enjoying in the coffee house you are sitting in as you read this, or if you are online then you are able to not only afford Internet service but electricity as well.

A few tips on how to enjoy your flabbier self and domestically built automobile that gets you and your family from Point A to Point B safely, all the while you are able to afford the gasoline in it:

1 — Stop chasing the idea of “I’ll be happy when…” Give up the ghost, man! And realize that all your happiness is right in front of you. You’re alive, aren’t you? Then it’s time to start enjoying what you have been given, instead of pouting over what you don’t have. Stop trying to “Keep up with the Joneses!” Who in the heck are the Joneses anyway? Some family that lives on Martha’s Vineyard? Escapes from the chaotic lifestyle of the city on the weekends, only to enjoy a few fleeting moments of peace and serenity in a beach house that they get to stay in a total of 36 hours every other weekend, because they are too busy working and missing out on what is really important in life? Who cares who the Joneses are.

2 — Understand that the world revolves around the sun, not you. Our problems and stresses seem so large to us sometimes, but in reality they are so infinitesimally small that we are all just one small piece to an amazing puzzle.

3 — It’s OK to say I’m sorry. Rudeness will get you no where. You don’t have to apologize in a self-deprecating manner, as if you are apologizing for the pure existence of yourself. But if you bump into someone, or change plans last minute, or just change your mind, think about how it might affect the feelings of the other person standing in the room with you. It’s not all about you. Say I’m sorry. It really isn’t that painful — let’s try it: “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you standing there, are you OK?” or “I’m sorry I changed my mind, I really don’t want to do that any more, I hope that doesn’t upset you.” See there, that didn’t hurt a bit.

4 — Be kind. Ellen DeGeneres signs off every show with “Be kind to one another.” And every time I hear her say that I just want to jump up on my couch and scream “Amen.” Is everyone just that wrapped up in their own lives or just that completely oblivious to their surroundings that we have forgotten how to be kind to one another? Being nice is freem and there aren’t too many free things worth any value left in this world.

We are creatures of habit, for the most part — we will always want what we can’t have. But if you think about it, you already have most every thing people want. The ability to read, which means you’re educated; the ability to process this column and decide whether or not you agree, which means you are a strong independent person that is able to make up your own mind; the ability to drive to the coffee shop and read this column, which means you can pay for gas, pay for food; and you are a healthy human being that has all your limbs that allow you to pick up the paper or your iPad to read this column.

Now to me, all this is way more important that a super fast car or a tight little tush.

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Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a Daily Sun columnist. Her column appears on Thursdays. She may be reached by e-mail at columnwriter98@hotmail.com. Read her blog at samantha-daviss.blogspot.com, and follow her on Twitter @SamanthaDaviss1. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? E-mail: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com