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Thinking out loud

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Today–Thursday–is my birthday. For as long as I can remember it’s something I have not looked forward to, mostly because I’ve always lived in colder climates. 

As a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) sufferer, the thought of my birthday only exacerbated the seasonal depression I fought. Moving to Florida has helped both–there’s more sunlight here, and instead of the three or four months of doldrums I once had, it’s usually only a couple weeks now.

But I digress.

My birthday. The only day that’s all about me. I like it.  Perhaps because of my birthday, for the last couple weeks, I’ve been mulling about life–my life in particular.

Overall my life has been, still is good–and happy.

Sure there are facets of it that I would like to change, but all in all, it’s good. I am indeed blessed.

Working with the public, as we do in the newspaper business, we encounter so many different people from so many different walks of life.

I think aside from enjoying writing, I chose this profession because I enjoy people. 

I study them. In fact, if I had my life to live over, I might study anthropology.

But since I can’t have a re-do, I study people on a day-to-day basis, and I really believe most people are not happy.

That saddens me.

So many people get caught up in the temporary problems of their existence that they forget to to enjoy the moment–even the most minute moments.

I gauge people’s happiness by their countenance and the inflections in their voice. It’s nothing scientific, just something I’ve honed over the years. Most people put up a façade that fools others and I believe most people fool themselves.

Now who would you rather hang out with–a grumpy gus or someone who radiates true happiness? Of course you would choose the person who is joyful, unless of course you’re misery looking for company.

And I believe we choose whether we are happy or not. We alone are responsible for happiness. 

It is not something that someone can create in you, or something you can buy. It truly has to generate from within and spill out.

Birthdays are a good time to get introspective–to remember where you’ve come from and assess where you are going.

This year that introspection has deepened, as I have suddenly become nostalgic for my childhood home, people who have passed on and the girl I once was–and still am in my mind.

However, the nostalgia does not sadden me, but lifts my spirits as I remember again and again, how blessed I am. And that makes me happy.

*****

 

Well, I am a woman of my word. 

Several months ago, I wrote that I was going to declutter my life, one keepsake at a time.

It took a while to find the proper motivation, but once I did, the momentum kicked in and every day, I participate in the process.

Somedays that means I just throw out the previous day’s junk mail, but it’s something.

I patted myself on the back last weekend, as I went through my closet and readied a lot of it for Goodwill. I even took a picture and put it on Facebook. I didn’t know how severe my clutter was until friend, Michelle said, “Carolyn, you are a clothes horse.”

I never thought I was, but when she actually said it, I knew it was true. After all, how many pairs of black dress pants does one woman need?

I even have six pairs of shoes in the giveaway pile.

And that says it all.

*****

 

One of my favorite parts of the work week is when some local dignitaries drop by my office just to chat.

I am not a name dropper, but let’s just say one’s a mayor and the other is the police chief.

We don’t talk about work–too much–it’s mostly about growing up, travel, food, history, just stuff.

I really appreciate the break to my routine and there’s a lot of laughter when we get together. 

They also serve as a reminder that when my job gets tough, the rewards outweigh the bad things and developing relationships with the people I meet through the job makes it worthwhile.

 

******

 

If you don’t think you influence someone, guess again.