I had a strange epiphany during our recent extended vacation. I discovered something I didn’t know about myself (and that I don’t particularly like) and something tells me you might have this same issue lurking…
We had some less than ideal weather during the 3 weeks we were in Baja.
OK, I won’t sugar coat it. It was COLD. DAMN COLD. We had a little more than a week of sunshine and perfect weather, and the rest of the time, it was cold.
Too cold to go to the beach, too cold to swim in the pool, definitely too cold to swim in the ocean.
And I got cranky.
I also got cranky when the the internet was sketchy (c’mon, it’s Mexico for Pete’s sake, what did I expect?). Not that I spent a ton of time on the internet, because I really didn’t, but when I did, man I wanted to get in, do what I had to do, and get the hell outta there. But you can’t do that with internet in Mexico.
And during the looooooong drive home from Baja, Mexico to Castle Rock, Colorado, I realized something…
I am happy as long as conditions are perfect.
I LOVE driving and I’m always delighted and in a GREAT mood, as long as there’s no traffic, pleasant weather, no long lines, construction, darkness, annoying drivers, cops, etc. etc. etc.
I realized it’s not just true of driving — it’s true of pretty much anything. My work, my social life, my marriage, my kids, cooking, etc.
And I’m thinking I’m not alone in this.
And it’s not like I CAN’T be happy if things aren’t ideal (because really, what percentage of time are conditions actually perfect? <4%?) but it takes effort.
If you’re going to an outdoor event, and it’s really, really hot, it’s pretty easy to notice the heat and complain about it (even if you’re not complaining out loud — so before you get to feeling too smug about NOT complaining, I’ll bet you’re still thinking about how damn hot it is). It takes effort (sometimes only a little, but effort nonetheless) to CHOOSE to be happy despite the heat (or any other less-than-ideal conditions).
Now if you’re generally a VERY happy person, then you probably don’t notice the effort you’re expending in choosing to be happy. And the more you choose it, the easier it gets to choose (How hard is it to go the gym once you’ve gone every day for 2 months? Easy. How hard is it if today is your first trip to the gym in 2 years? Not so easy.)
But you still have to choose it. Because circumstances won’t always make it easy (or natural) to be happy.
You can be happy. You just gotta choose it.
And choose it. And choose it. And choose it. And choose it.
Oh, and when that’s done? Choose it some more.
🙂 Go for it.