Tag Archives: happiness

When is it OK to do NOTHING?

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Feeling superrrrr unproductive lately. As in…I’m FORCING myself to write this blog post simply to feel that relief of “Yay, I checked ‘blogging’ off the list!” It’s bad, y’all.

My next novel, my lovely WIP, is sitting at the saddest ONE chapter halt, just eyeing me with pure hate, daring me to wait another week and then another and then another…

In fact, I actually did my taxes in order to avoid writing. Gross.

I’ve been traipsing around Austin like some sort of Hilton brat…pretending I have loads of cash to throw away on mimosas and sushi. This past weekend, I laid in Zilker Park with the boy and let dogs come up to lick my face—when I could’ve been writing. We went to a freakin’ improv show that was downright terrible—when I could’ve been writing. I went to brunch TWICE. I even took a damn nap. I hate naps. I could’ve been writing.

Decided: Happiness gets in the way of getting shit done. And I think that’s OK?

I typed my first novel so furiously, post-break-up. I was like, “I hate you, I HATE YOU, I hate me, typetypetype, BOOM- NOVEL! WHAT NOW, BITCH?”

When you’re super happy, you’re usually also super busy…with, ya’ know, happy-life-things like kissing and snuggling and park-lounging. And then WHOA before you know it, another weekend has flown by in a whirlwind of pancakes and sunshine. Your gut is kinda like, “Um, excuse me, ma’am, remember when you used to go to the gym and WRITE and schedule haircuts and WRITE and read and WRITE and stuff…?”

Heart: stfu I’m having fun.

Head: Don’t worry, I’m sure things will get crappy soon and then we’ll have all the time in the world, like we used to.

Heart: BUT WHAT IF WE’RE HAPPY FOREVER?

Head: lolz

Gut: omg you’re both so effing annoying. We’ll find a balance, chill.

Life gets crazy. Busy as hell (seriously though, taxes? Who thought of that, the Brits? Didn’t we gain our independence?) and superrrrrr happy-insane sometimes. It’s OK to do nothing for a while, especially if you’re like me and you’ve been some sort of psycho Energizer Bunny since birth.

Decided: Be productive when you can, learn to adapt, evolve, whatever…find a balance and chill, like Gut says. Don’t let go of your passions, but don’t freak out and hold them so close that you lose creative control.

Heart: k!

Head: sigh, k.

Gut: kduh.

And then there’s this ^ …

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Uncomplicate

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This past weekend was one of those happy-exhausting blurs of laughter that you don’t want to end yet simultaneously can’t wait for it to be over so you can sleep!

It was a much-needed celebration—officially off of work for 2 weeks YAASSSSS. But also…and more importantly believe it or not, it was a celebration of living in the present.

Let me explain: I feel like I’ve lived my whole life living in the future—planning and plotting and manipulating every situation to best fit the needs of my impending blueprint. I will definitely shy away from some of the blame and say that my parents have always been quite…pressuring. However, I’ve placed a lot of that pressure on myself and as a result, there have really only been small windows in which I’ve let myself enjoy the moment—without thinking about the next 5 minutes, 5 weeks, or 5 years.

When I travel, I live for the present—I eat without thinking about carbs and I breathe in the sunsets without thinking about writing my next novel. When I graduated from UH, I lived for the present—I decided to skip commencement entirely and drink beer on the beach without thinking about the sand on my borrowed robe or getting my PhD. These are the happiest moments of my life and yet…it takes extreme effort to be able to shut my mind off and live that way. To think about what I want NOW instead of what my family/friends/future-self want down the road… It sounds absurd.

Saturday morning, I treated my best friend’s little brother to brunch for his 21st and around mimosa #3, he said something so funny and wise that I had to write it down before the champagne made me forget: “Alysha, you remind me of the rabbit fwhiterabbitrom Alice in Wonderland. Never has anywhere to go but always in a hurry.” I laughed my ass off—he’s right! I am on constant GO-GO-GO! mode and there’s just no reason for it…

It would be foolish to say, “So I’m done with that way of thinking. I’m going to live in the present from now on.” No. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m Type A. I’m an ENTJ. I know that I can’t change the way I am—I love planning! I love list-making! I love bossing people around and making decisions and getting things to go my way. BUT. I also love when someone or something slows all of that down and just, simply: Makes. Me. Happy.

Sometimes you have to take a breath and choose to uncomplicate your life—choose the path that makes you feel free. Light-hearted. Giddy. Happy—the most basic form of happy—not “Oh my goodness this will fit so well into my 5-year plan” kind of happy. NOT the “My parents will love this” kind of happy. NOT the “WWFAS: What would future Alysha say?” kind of happy. I’m talkin’ the right here, right now, I’m smiling and all I want to do is keep smiling kind of happy…I want to be this kind of happy always.

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So yes, “live in the present” and “do what makes you happy” and blah blah blah. But also…realize that you can’t change who you are, but you can change how you think about your happiness… I caught myself choosing what my future thought it wanted. If that makes any sense. I caught myself and I turned it around. I feel like I can breathe. I feel like I’m traveling. I feel like I’m drinking beer in Kailua, wearing my sandy, borrowed robe. I feel so simple-happy.

 

Salt Water

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“The cure for anything is salt water: tears, sweat, or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen

Previous experiments that have resulted in favor of this quote:

#1 Hated my job and craved a worthwhile, impacting career change. Needed to get away from the 30 mile radius that I’d spent my whole life in. Just went through a horrible break-up. Solution? Move to an island, surrounded by the sea. Spend days melting into sand, floating over waves, and working on my tan. Did it work? Hell yeah!

#2 Shitty day. Solution? Go to the gym and sweat profusely on an elliptical while watching The Voice, The Soup, or really anything that starts with The. Did it work? Hell yeah!

#3 I used to cry a LOT when my feelings were hurt. Mainly, crying helped when I cried so much that my body literally couldn’t produce any more salty water. That’s when I’d pick myself up, take a shower, make a snack, and move the fuck on. Did it work? Hell yeah!

Future ways I shall test this theory:

1. Next time my students are really grinding my gears, I’m going to throw my hands up, give the lesson plan to the nearest and dearest teacher’s pet, and book it to North Shore.

2. Things that make you sweat: hiking, lying on the roof in summer, street fighting, sex. Try it all, man. One of them’s bound to work.

3. Ok so I have to be honest, I haven’t cried in a LONG time, which is awesome and also sad (I’ve become a wee bit cold and heartless, it’s fine). But I’m sure if I need to shed a tear or two, I’ll do it and it’ll work. Fresh idea—start crying out of happiness. This sounds much more pleasant.

4. Somehow combine all three? Would EVERYTHING then be cured? Example: go skinny dipping in Lanikai, then climb Stairway, then cry at the sheer beauty of the sunrise?

 

Here’s another question. I see the power of this quote. But how far could it go? Can we cure world hunger with salt water? Gang violence? Animal abuse? Racism? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. Send the rapists to Maui, create a new viral TV show called “Sweat Out Your Murderous Streak,” and play The Notebook on repeat until pedophiles weep the pedophilia right out.

Seriously though, I am a firm believer in this whole thing. Salt water. It’s genius. What a perfect day—being near the sea, feeling super accomplished because you’re sweating (don’t you always feel accomplished whilst sweating, even if it’s disgusting?), and something happens that makes you SO incredibly happy that you cry, just a little bit. Puttin’ this on the Hawaii bucket list.

Happiness=Groceries(x) ?

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The grocery store seems to be the only place where one can feel completely alone, yet completely free at the same time.

I look at the boy, my age, carrying a bowl of poke in one hand and a 7-Up in the other. Two hands; two items. His skateboard is tucked under an arm like an afterthought. If he is a boy, I am undoubtedly a girl.

I look down into my basket, hoping to see something more respectable, anything that doesn’t scream, “I AM SINGLE AND POOR AND I AM GOING TO GO EAT THIS RAW FISH AND DRINK THIS 7-UP IN FRONT OF THE TV PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ALL NIGHT.” I see a gallon of milk, three apples, and a carton of eggs. I am no better. I am single, I am poor. These are the only items that ever seem to need refilling in my lonely, clean kitchen. It’s a big day when my cart holds slick chicken breasts, a rain stick of spaghetti noodles, or an icy bag of broccoli. It’s sad how big those days are.

Today I wheel toward the check-out line, mulling over the boy and his purchase. How amazing. To go into Foodland every single day maybe, just to buy that night’s dinner. Tomorrow, maybe he’ll go with bagel bites and a water. I could see that. The point is, it’s beautiful—to be careless, to be selfish.

I won’t always have this kind of choice (well, maybe I will, but most likely and hopefully no). There will be a day when grocery shopping means thinking of someone else’s wants, needs, and allergies ha! One day, cooking won’t mean leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Maybe I won’t be able to avoid meatloaf, sauerkraut, or olives. Maybe I won’t be able to add mushrooms and tomatoes to every single dish I create. The truth is, it’s nice, cooking for someone—seeing a familiar smile after that first bite, feeling mischievous arms around your hips as you stir.

There will be a day in which my grocery cart may in fact hold another human being. Scary thought, makes me cringe currently. But it’s true.

However, at the moment, I am incredibly, undeniably free. If I wanted, for a month straight I could live off the year-old Ramen and oatmeal packages that are cowering in the corner of my pantry. This is a time in my life that I should soak up and photograph, rejoice in its liberty.

And yet…I see the family in front of me, their basket overflowing with oddities I’ve never given a glance (diapers, dinosaur shaped macaroni, formula). I see their teeth, their glow, their hands squeezing. I could reach out and touch the happiness if I wanted.

I can’t help but wonder: is bliss inversely related to the emptiness of a grocery cart?

I look again at my milk, sweating onto the green plastic bottom of my basket. Perhaps.

Then the baby starts wailing, simultaneously causing 20+ magazines to crash to the tiled floor with one sweep of her miniature leg. I head to the Express Checkout, biting my lip to keep from laughing in relief. Perhaps not.