What’s happiness to you?


Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the fine line between realism and optimism. I mean, I believe that I am an inherently positive person, but where do we have to surrender to the fact that real life isn’t always magical and fair and fairytale-ish, and when are you just being sour grapes about life because you have a complaint or negative stress?

I see my blog as a place where I talk about the things I like and the thoughts, encouragement and ideas I want to share with friends, family and readers (who often become friends). While it is true that a web page, comprised of words, images and other media can never totally represent a person’s heart, personality and REALNESS (to steal a quote from my friend Linzie) I’d like to think that mine really does. I’m a person, I am not perfect, I have good days and bad days, complex emotions and sometimes episodes of silliness (okay, lots of those) but in the end, it is all me. If/when you meet me, I think you’ll find exactly what you think.

So, what’s with all the words and ponderings today? Well, here it is: I have simple goals in life and one is to be happy.

Right now, there are things that make me happy:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Running
  • Disney
  • Baking
  • Writing
  • Talking/blogging/tweeting about any of the above things

And there are things that do not make me happy:

  • My job.
  • The town I live in.
  • The way that the two items above affect my attitude.
  • The lack of control I have over these things.

I am SO thankful to have people in my life that I can share this with and not feel guilty about it (because, yes, I realize it is silly to be stressed about things that are seemingly change-able in life when others have it “much worse off” – but that doesn’t change my negative feelings about it).

Do you ever feel like a broken record? Or that your stresses are stressing someone else out? I know the feeling. And I might be stressing someone else out right now by stating this, but it is okay. Unless we’ve LEGITIMATELY walked in someone else’s shoes, we will NEVER (repeat NEVER) fully understand what it’s like to be someone other than ourselves. NO JUDGEMENT. Feelings, emotions and worries are all part of each of us. It’s okay.

It’s okay to be unhappy. There is NOTHING wrong with you.

But – if you are unhappy, what are you doing to change that? That’s where it gets sticky – but it doesn’t have to be. Say it out loud, what are you doing in your life TODAY to make it better than yesterday? Work hard at tasks that will change where you are? Look for those small happy ‘pockets’ of your day? Take a step back and think about what you would do, if time, circumstances or money were out of the picture – to make your life the happiest – then think: how bad do you want it?

Life is too short to be unhappy, but life is also real. What is your happy? And how will you make that your reality?



  1. When it comes to the things that make you unhappy, start a list of things that will help that. About a year ago I was at a boring conference and I took my “idea book” with me. While there I started a list of cities that I would seriously consider moving to, which led to me narrowing my job search to see if there were any positions there I’d be interested in. For someone who loves writing, I think this could be a big help to get rid of those things that make you unhappy.

  2. I love this post. There are things in life that I can’t change, that do make me unhappy. But the things that I can change? You know I’m doing my best to make that happen.

  3. At 45 years old, I have come to realize that happiness is kind of choice. Life is full of ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, but in those moments when life is dragging you down, you must ride the wave of pain and then let it go, sometimes letting it go has been difficult for me, it takes a level of maturity to let it go, the bigger the wave the more mature you must be and well, you see, I don’t always like being so grown up, but I see that when I hang on, there is only one person this hurts… me. So you see, I understand what it’s like to not like a town (being a military spouse has brought us many places) I understand not enjoying your job, it takes up most of your day and when it sucks that’s long ass day. I am so sorry about these waves that you must ride these days, I’ve got a few that I’m riding as well, but were in this together, we can be there encouraging each other along the way, like a two running buddies… an invisible rope between you and I. Hang in there, you’ve got this, just a few more steps and the wave will be gone and you can rest, but another will come again and I will be here when the next one arrives. Thanks for listening to my ramblings. xoxo

    • Lisa! Thank you so much for your insight, you know I always love hearing from you 😀 It means a lot to hear your life experiences and advice as it really does put things into perspective ❤ In a way then, life is about that balance, and I sure am glad to have people like you in my life to help get through the hard stuff, and to celebrate the good stuff, too!!

  4. Preach it sister! I am in the same boat and doing what I can to change it – every once in a while I feel like I stress out so much that it affects those things that make me happy unfortunately – it’s so hard to balance and be patient with wanting those things that make me unhappy to go away… ((virtual hug))

  5. I dislike all of the same things that you are right now too. Especially the job and the town I live in. Hate both. Hate them a lot. Makes me angry I hate them so much. UGH.

    I currently love lots of things though so I try to keep a positive outlook on everything. Life is too short. I am trying to be proactive in saying one positive thing to myself everyday. I miss some days, but for the most part I have been good.

  6. Very well put! In so many ways I could have written this – happiness is a choice and there are things that are outside of your control that can affect you. I like how you said it is okay to be unhappy but what are you going to do about it. Love this!

  7. Sometimes it is hard for me separate my attitude from the things in my life – because while things certainly aren’t awful, there are things out of my control that make me upset.I try to live without feeling that way, but sometimes it gets the best of me. It’s hard being an adult 😉

    • “because while things certainly aren’t awful, there are things out of my control that make me upset”

      THIS THIS THIS so much!! This is something I struggle with!!

  8. I changed what was making me really unhappy, which meant leaving a phd program and moving out of the Midwest (which, oddly enough, was something I thought would make me happy). I figure realizing I’m unhappy and what I’m unhappy about is where you have to go before you can change anything, right?

    • Agreed, we all need to figure out what is the root of the issue. I am glad you were able to make those changes in your life and wish you nothing but happiness in your new path 🙂

  9. Having friends to unload grievances with is amazingly helpful. During my most stressful period of life to date, I actually felt really happy because I had great friends to talk to. Even if it’s just for an hour or two a week, it makes a huge difference.

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