Ramblings: Losing Your Temper

I’ll admit it.  I lost my temper.  I cursed the driver’s name (although I don’t know it), her family, her car, her life, everything.  I feel like the next part of this post is my holy confession.  Hopefully my sins can be absolved.  (Sorry, I grew up Catholic, so bad attempts at Catholic humor are occasionally going to exist here.)

She cut me off going slower than me, sped up when I tried to go around her, slowed down again when she forced me to get behind her, and then slammed on her brakes.  So I laid on my horn and flipped her off.  In the heat of the moment I wished I could tell her exactly what her crimes were and how horrible of a human being she was for committing them.  I imagined every hateful thing I would say to her.  What was her problem?  It took me a while to cool down.

Now, I think that this is an excellent topic for one engaged in a Happiness Project.  Because while losing my temper and having my fit of rage made me feel better in the moment, I think that tendencies towards anger make people less happy and not more.  After I finally cooled down, I felt rotten to the core, like I had made myself a worse human being for getting so angry about this driver.

It’s so easy to become angry.  It’s difficult to stay calm.  But this is one of those places where the difficult path would probably cause a lot more happiness if followed.  I tried this morning.  It was so frustrating, thinking about putting aside my anger.  I couldn’t do it.  This might be something to consider working on during my happiness project.

Ramblings: Reading Autobiography

benfranklinduplessis

I have all of my areas made and ready to go, and now we wait.  March is in just one week and one day, so I’ll be making arrangements – buying a water bottle, finding a gym, and on and on.  But now that I’m waiting, I feel like I’m kind of in limbo.  Anyway, why wait until March to try finding happiness?  I’ll be starting my targeted efforts then, but in the meantime, I can still write on things that make me happy or that I’d like to try.

So here’s something I’ll do in the week leading up to March.  I’ve always wanted to read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography because he’s so interesting.  He accomplished so much in just one lifetime, and I would love to emulate that productivity.  The theme of this coming week will be sharing insights that I gain from his autobiography.  I’ll let you know how this goes.

Ramblings: 2016

2016-neues-jahr

We all know about that number. Experts seem to agree, it was a shitshow of a year. I can’t deny that fact either, but when I look back at 2016, even though things in the world at large sucked, I can’t help but think that that was such a small part of my experience.

2015 was the worst year of my life, hands down. I took a difficult job in a city I hated, I left all of my friends behind and had trouble making new ones, I dumped my asshole of a fiancé (which while being a positive change, definitely hurt more than anything I’ve felt), I lost almost 30 pounds by basically starving myself while I sank into depression.

And then 2016 happened.

I started dating my current boyfriend, who by contrast with my ex – fiancé, shows no signs of being an asshole. I made the decision to move back home to Tucson and followed through, moved in with a close friend, rekindled my friendships with my classmates, and began teaching for a school I love.

So I’m hesitant to say I hate 2016 (sorry, John Oliver). But I will readily admit that the news over the last few months gives me great concern. I’m afraid of living in a country where half the people are saying don’t trust the government and the party in charge (which is normal), and the other half are saying don’t trust the media (less normal, but probably true on some level). Who do we trust?

But that’s beside the point. My point is, how much does one’s political climate affect happiness? I look at the news and feel hopeless. I read about families of people killed halfway across the world in bombings and cry. My personal 2016 was nice, and that allows me to escape into my own life (which feels so much more real), but there’s no denying that 2016 was a hard year for the world, and that must affect happiness in some way.

That’s it. I wish I had more answers. Maybe I’ll find them.

Ramblings: Leaving One Task Behind

The other day, I was running late while I was getting ready for work.  I’ve been making a point of keeping my room orderly, and it has been doing wonders for my general happiness.  I feel less stressed when I know exactly where everything is and exactly where everything goes.  That’s why I worried about the scarf I hadn’t put away as I walked out the door.  I left it on my bedroom floor.  I was worried that that scarf, along with the jacket next to it and my unmade bed, would nag at me for the rest of the day until I came home from work and put it away, the same way that unfinished tasks weigh on my mind when I go to bed.

Surprisingly enough, it didn’t bother me at all for the rest of the day.  And in fact, when I was feeling particularly stress out on my way home from work, as I tend to do in the evenings and at night, I got home to find the scarf and jacket and unmade bed waiting for me, completely forgotten until I walked in on them.  And even then, they didn’t stress me out further.  Instead, I calmly walked across my room and gently placed my belongings back where they belonged and made my bed.  This took one minute.  It was one minute to catch my breath before I dove back into my busy life, and one minute to complete a small task that brought me a feeling of small triumph.

Sometimes we need that small victory, and I realized that by allowing a couple of tasks to go undone at the start of my day, I was able to give myself that victory at the time that I needed it.  Maybe this is a new strategy to deal with stress.  If there is no urgency to a task – no deadline or consequence for putting it off – it might be best to just leave tiny things for times when I need a victory in my life.  In any case, it was relaxing and satisfying to that task just at that time.