Day 90 vs 107- Happiness is … flamingo impersonations

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In order to combat the staggering out-of-dateness of my blog, I shall be writing two happiness tasks per blog. My present day task along side the next task I should be writing about. Eventually I’ll be up-to-date 🙂

tada

tada

Sell Myself Day 90 – “Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.”
– Henry Ford

Have you ever taken a balance test? Me either; so I made one up. While at a business promotion fair, I administered my test to countless children and a few brave adults. It involved one leg and closed eyes and was complete unscientific fun.

Once again, the task I set aside for happiness (in this case, promoting my business), brought some satisfaction, but it was the by-products that made me smile. My children helping to set up the display table and being actively involved in recruiting participants, networking with fellow business owners,  meeting the people who wanted to stand on one leg with their eyes closed.

It should be noted that children far, far outnumbered the adults in their willingness to try to test and possibly fail or look foolish. Children laugh 150-300 times per day. The average adult? A whopping 4-5 times. Children also tend to cry out loud when they are upset, but I’ll bet this openness to emotions of the moment is healthy.

So fall to the floor laughing or fall flat on your face while trying something new and failing. Either way, you’ll be happier.

My ‘take at your own risk’ balance test:

Eyes open – hold each stance for 15 seconds:

  • one leg
  • one leg & move arms around
  • one leg and get closer to the floor (reach hands down or squat)
  • switch legs
  • other leg & move arms around
  • other leg and get closer to the floor
  • switch back to original leg and CLOSE EYES
  • move arms around
  • get closer to the floor
  • switch legs EYES STILL CLOSED
  • move arms around
  • get closer to the floor

Tada! Laughter or failure or both = happiness in under 3 minutes. Bonus if performed in public.

Skiing Day 107 – “Money doesn’t buy happiness? Well it buys a jet ski. Have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski? It’s impossible to be sad on a jet ski.” ~ unknown

winter ski fantasies

winter ski fantasies

Every 16 years I try downhill skiing.

The first time I tried it I hit a bus. The bus was parked and, of the two of us, I’m fairly certain I was more embarrassed.

The second time I tried it, I fell in love. Don’t get me wrong… I still believe winter is a complete waste of summer but if you can’t beat ’em… well you know. I hit the slopes, (literally), three times last year and even did my first accidental black run.

It was deep snow and moguls and every turn involved lifting one ski higher than my head while waving my arms and eventually falling on my face. (Tried my balance test yet?) I cried at one point because I thought I might actually die and laughed hysterically when I started aiming for small trees like they were buses.

This year I have decided 16 years is too long to wait for that kind of fun. Unfortunately, my day for skiing got postponed and so I Biebered this happiness task.

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So…it has come to this !

“The problem with winter sports is that – follow me closely here – they generally take place in winter.”  ~ Dave Barry

Rating:  Sell Myself Day (6 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (I’m shy)
  • Twitch – I could sell tickets for the freak show
  • Happy hour –  3 out of 5 (Marketing is not my favourite thing)

Rating:  Skiing Day (7 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 5 out of 5 (Ticket was prepaid, friends were lined up, I was excited)
  • Twitch – if I could only discover a cure…
  • Happy hour –  2 out of 5 (Thoroughly disappointed it didn’t work out)

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Voyeurism and Panto.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

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Day 89 vs 106- Happiness is … discovering time travel

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In order to combat the staggering out-of-dateness of my blog, I shall be writing two happiness tasks per blog. My present day task along side the next task I should be writing about. Eventually I’ll be up-to-date 🙂

tada

tada

Reading Day 89 – “Reading is bliss… Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ~ Nora Ephron

The problem with reading a good book is that you read – and don’t do dishes… you read – and forget to pick up the kids from school… you read – and neglect work.

The problem with reading a bad book is that you end up not reading – and doing dishes… not reading – and becoming an unpaid chauffeur… not reading – and working.

It’s a classic catch 22. Long stretches without reading more than a magazine article or a facebook status enables more time for productivity but reduces the will to live. Reading books adds meaning to life but reduces the time available for facebook. A girl just can’t win!

In an attempt to have it all, I decided to read books in stolen moments. Reading texts at traffic lights is apparently illegal so I can only assume books are off limits as well. However, keeping a good book next to my cell phone means no more 2 year old magazines at the doctor’s office, no more boredom while waiting outside the school for the right child to appear, no more watching the pot for the water to boil.

time warp

time warp

While waiting at my daughter’s physiotherapists office (sans book) and reading 2 year old magazine headlines, I saw a shelf  that said, “free books’. I saw “The Time Travellers Wife’. I started reading.

It’s a good book; good enough that dinner keeps getting burned while I’m not watching the pot. That’s ok though because the kids hardly ever get home in time for dinner now that they have to walk…

Discover Day 106 – “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.” ~ Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

If necessity is the mother of invention, avoidance is the mother of discovery.

Habit and routine happen. Habit and routine are comfortable. Change is uncomfortable so we avoid it. The only reason we change a habit or routine is if something causes them to become more uncomfortable than change. Because above all, people avoid feeling uncomfortable.

Avoiding people I didn’t want to see caused me to duck into a store I’ve never been into before. It turned out to be a hippyish coffee shop. Ironically I’ve been avoiding coffee shops in an attempt to not see certain people. But this was a coffee shop I felt sure the people I was avoiding would not frequent. So I stayed.

I discovered a great place for quiche. I discovered I do not like cinnamon on my chai latte. I discovered a shelf full of free books to read and a cozy couch hidden in the back. I discovered private curtained rooms with picnic table benches and mismatched cushions for tucked away chitchats with friends.

I discovered I’m uncomfortable with avoiding certain people but changing that habit isn’t necessary yet. In the meantime, I’m quite happy with the discovery of my new hideout 🙂

one of my favourite hideouts

one of my favourite hideouts

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So…it has come to this !

Didn’t Bill and Ted use a phone box for time travel…

Rating:  Reading Day (7 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (serious concerns about being sucked into a good book and losing time)
  • Twitch – Read all about it!
  • Happy hour –  4 out of 5 (I love a good book)

Rating:  Discovery Day (6 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 2 out of 5 (the pressure of trying to discover something daunted me)
  • Twitch – if I could only discover a cure…
  • Happy hour –  4 out of 5 (I like the old coffee shop better but braving something new on my own made me happy)

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Sell Myself & Ski.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

Day 88 vs 105- Happiness is … shopping in heaven

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In order to combat the staggering out-of-dateness of my blog, I shall be writing two happiness tasks per blog. My present day task along side the next task I should be writing about. Eventually I’ll be up-to-date 🙂

Tada!

Tada!

Window Shopping Day 88 – “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.  ~Bo Derek

My teenage daughter has been teaching me patience… and a few other things…

A vintage used clothing store is where I learned my teenage daughter  has great taste.

A new age store with fortune tellers waiting to pounce in the doorway is where I learned she wants to create her own future.

An eclectic brick-a-brack is where I learned she makes me laugh.

Stop ,listen and donate to the street artists… my teenage daughter is compassionate.

A coffee shop break is where I learned she can turn heads.

An antique store is where I discovered she knows how to learn from the past.

Window shopping with my teenage daughter is when I learned we are still great friends.

Have Faith Day 105 – “Optimist: person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness.” ~ Mark Twain

It did cross my mind that the end of the world would simplify my Christmas shopping, but when Australia made it to the 22nd I decided not to eat a whole cheesecake and spend my savings on a Boooosailboat. I did have a paper bag handy to put over my head just in case.

Technically the world should have ended 7 months ago as the Mayans did not take leap year into account (apparently), so in a leap of faith I went ahead and bought Christmas presents. It did make me rethink the whole concept of ‘live like there’s no tomorrow’, but in the end I decided it’s all fine and dandy until there is a tomorrow and you don’t know your port from your starboard.

With resolution season coming up, however, I have decided there are some bucket list items that need attention. Sign language. Playing the piano. Australia may have to wait but a different ocean shore and a polar bear swim doesn’t. Next apocalypse I’m definitely getting a sailboat.

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So…it has come to this !

Just like Goldman Sachs, I love the Muppets. 

Rating:  Window shopping Day (9 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 4 out of 5
  • Twitch – sticks with me like it was bought and paid for
  • Happy hour –  5 out of 5

Rating:  Have faith Day (7 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (last minute Christmas shopping is not on my list of fun
  • Twitch – would the twitch end if the world ended?
  • Happy hour –  4 out of 5 (excited about my sailboat)

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Read & Discover.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

Day 87 – Happiness is … a 5am wake up call

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“Whoever has tasted the breath of morning knows that the most invigorating and most delightful hours of then day are commonly spent in bed; though it is the evident intention of nature that we should enjoy and profit by them.”” – Robert Southey

One of the most romantic moments of my life was a gentle nudging and a whispered coaxing on a summer morning… “if we hurry we can get to the top of the hill and watch the sunrise.”

Leaving the warm sheets did not make me happy. Catching the sunrise on the other hand was bliss.

Early bird gets the worm

Early bird gets the worm

I think the air is different at 5am. Any veteran early bird will agree that getting up early sucks; it’s the being up early that is magical.

It’s the muted sounds of a fresh snowfall no matter the time of year…  it’s the calm air of the world stopping for a moment so you can breathe… it’s the unique smugness that comes with being energized for the day at 7am while others are just starting a tango with their snooze button.

Study after study reveals that people who get up early are happier.

You may believe the wee hours have morning breath worse than a robin fresh fron the worm fields, but facts are facts.

Dr Joerg Huber of Roehampton University says, “There are morning people and evening people, and morning people tend to be healthier and happier as well as having lower body mass indices.”

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” claims that her resolution to get up earlier boosted her happiness.

On this day my wake up call was as romantic as a worm belch, but, none-the-less, I struggled unhappily out of the sheets at 5am for a 6am boot camp class. Just like starting a workout, I never want to do it until I’m done. Then I wonder why everyone doesn’t do it… and I breath in some magic as the world turns its face gently toward the sun with the promise of potential that only early morning can provide.

IMG_0236

 Why is it so hard to start something we know will result in happiness?

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So…it has come to this !

The early worm gets eaten. True, but at least he died happy 🙂

Rating:  Get Up Early Day (8 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (seemed like a great idea when I went to bed)
  • Twitch – it is not calm and still like the morning air
  • Happy hour –  5 out of 5 (I admit it…I’m a morning person)

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Shop.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

Day 86 – Happiness is … like King Kong, but cuter

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“Don’t waste a minute being unhappy. If one window closes – run to the next window- or break down a door.” – unknown

I didn’t know doors had a preference but it made me smile…like King Kong, but cuter.

Johari’s Window – a simple model for improving self-awareness. Created by two guys named Joe and Harry. Joe + Harry = Johari.

Excuse me while I take a tangent detour… BHAG*, (pronounced BEE-hag), or Big Hairy Audacious Goal. (Gold star if have you followed the path my brain took to reach this detour.)

I enjoy acronyms in general, and while this one initially annoyed me because a ‘b’ and an ‘h’ should not be put together like that in the English language, I love the word ‘audacious’ and I double love the intention of the thing.

snoopy

BHAG’s – Big Hairy Audacious Goals – like King Kong, but cuter

Not only do you have a goal – that’s a pretty cool thing in itself – but you have a BIG goal. Because if you’re going to have a goal, you might as well make it a big one. And if you have a big goal, it will no doubt be audacious when you achieve it – not just awesome or merely amazing – frickin’ AUDACIOUS. But let’s be honest – the doing of it is no doubt going to get HAIRY – do it anyway.

So there it is… a perfectly summed up zip file of life. Just hearing the phrase makes me want to have one (a life and a bhag), makes me romanticize the tear spilling, knee scraping, OMG stop the world I want to get off journey, makes me start the list of thank you’s for the acceptance speech I will give when I’m as shiny as a survivor jury member, makes me want to fling the glasses from my face & rip the buttons from my shirt to reveal the Superwoman lurking under the normal human being facade…

…and fly out a window or break down a door to battle my obstacles. Aaaand we’re back –

Johari’s window provides 56 adjectives and asks you to pick 5 or 6 that describe you. You then ask your friends to do the same. The results highlight the qualities you hide from the world, the ones that you wear like a badge of honour, and the ones you are blind to but others see. So far, some of my Johari window blind spots are bold, brave and powerful – like Superwoman?

Life is a BHAG. Suit up.

My avatar alter ego

My bold, brave and powerful avatar alter ego… like King Kong, but cuter.

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So…it has come to this !

STPC – Friends and I have come up with a few things this acronym could stand for in relation to personal training. What can you come up with?

*BHAG, like Johari’s window, was also created by two guys – Jim and Jerry. Joe and Harry created the window thing. Three J names and a rhyme…must mean absolutely nothing.

Rating:  Johari Window Day (8 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 4 out of 5 (love these silly analysis things)
  • Twitch – the twitch is in the arena…everyone can see it
  • Happy hour –  4 out of 5 (had to do the Johari as an add on to the day as I was too busy enjoying the company of the people who think I’m bold, brave* and powerful  – *being told I was brave made me cry , but in a cute way 🙂

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Get Up Early.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

Day 85 – Happiness is … moving like a herd of turtles

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“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

And so begins another catch up blog. One minute fixes are all the rage – one minute meditation, one minute makeover, one minute wonders, one minute how-to’s.  So here is my one minute to read happiness blog post. You’ve got 6.67 seconds per happiness task. Ready, set, GO!

turtle

Buy a Poppy – Listened to some radio programs on the origins of the poppy, the debate between the red and the white poppy funds, and the veterans the poppy funds help. Talked to the lady who sold me the poppy. Wore my poppy. I learned things and gained some new insights. 7/10

Take a Nap – Ohhhh ya. Study after study reports that humans should nap. Before 4pm for 20-90 minutes and even at night. Different studies tote varying positive effects of the nap but ALL include more and better sex. I love a good nap around 1 -2 pm and I indulged. 8/10 – love my sleep but the amazing sex partner still hasn’t popped out of my dreams…

Walk in Nature – Ok, I jogged. It was November and I got mud on my shoes :). I jogged to a view. I enjoyed the view. I explored a new trail. I raised my heart rate thinking about bears. I chatted with a fellow jogger. Outside is a happy place. 9/10 (only because convincing myself to sweat is always a bit of a challenge)

Learn a New Skill – I think I Beibered this one. Procrastination is not a new skill for me.

Unpack – The original goal was to unpack one box a day. I unpacked one box. A week later I put the stuff away. The next week the 10 boxes of Christmas decorations came of the closet. I think a maid would make me happy. 8/10 – even though it’s 2 steps forward and 10 back, there is a sense of accomplishment in that one unpacking.

 Buy Someone Else Flowers –  With a lightened conscience I admit a cheat day as I actually did this earlier in the year. Bought and hand delivered flowers to two wonderful friends while they were at work. Wish I could do it everyday. It truly is fun to surprise people with ‘just because’ gifts. 9/10

Test a Theory – Can men and women be friends? A theory I’ve been testing for a few months now has, at this point, lead me to the conclusion that men and women cannot be friends. I will continue to try and disprove this as I am not happy with the results thus far. 6/10

spider

Do It Anyway – Face your fear and do it anyway. At the risk of being reported to the SPCA, I have successfully killed two spiders now without screaming, 10 foot poles, or reviewing my fire insurance policy. I think that’s progress people. Can’t honestly say it’s added to my happiness. 5/10

Victory Log – Write a list of accomplishments, big or small, to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Hmmmm, had trouble with this one because most of the things i want to add to the list are still mid-project. I view most things as a work in progress at the best of times so to write anything down as being finished was an issue. I did write down ‘breakfast‘ but even that is hard to swallow because technically I will have to start again tomorrow… Love breakfast though 🙂 The activity on the whole was frustrating. 6/10

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So…it has come to this !

For the life of me I can think of nothing sarcastic, witty, or remotely interesting to write here. 

Rating:  Catch Up Day (7/10 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (today was not an itchy feet for life day but some friends fixed that)
  • Twitch – it goes faster everyday…I’ll never catch it!
  • Happy hour –  4 out of 5 (writing 6.67 second blurbs takes so much time )

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Johari’s Window.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.

Day 83 – Happiness is … wielding a pen

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“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of  The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ― Dorothy Parker

I attended the Surrey International Writer’s Conference two years ago and heard history.

“Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

Ok…that’s not the speech I heard. You can hear what I heard here… “This Day We Write!” (Start listening at 1:25)

This Day We Write

I returned this year and found a cult of ‘This Day We Write’ paraphernalia and I wondered… Is the pen mightier than the sword?…

“He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing, He does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance.  In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground. He cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.” Job 39:22

A writer needs to write… he wakes in a frenzy tormented by sheathed words, quill & ink flashing across the white space of his imagination, and yet afraid to eat up the page… afraid that what he has to say has already been said.

History is never written, but rewritten, yet only originality makes history. Few can pull it off. Less try.

But then the muse calls and history leaves no choices.

When greatness is outclassed, when impossible reveals itself a fraud, when the world shifts to make room, time must pause, demanding the rest of us stand aside in silence.

History runs through the story that cannot be stilled; the writer reworking a finite combination of  letters in a way that the world will recognize when it sees them for the first time. Few can pull it off. But we try.

Because when the audacity of succeeding rattles against his consciousness, the writer sits still, and the pen is mightier than the fear.

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So…it has come to this !

History once rode the wings of a big red horse who could not stand still when the trumpets sounded. A reworked  Aragorn speech may not be as audacious as Secretariat winning the Belmont Stakes but it was pretty cool in my writing world.

PS ~ Cloud Atlas … an impossible storyline. Go see it 🙂

Rating:  Writing day (10 out of 10)

  • Itchy feet – 5 out of 5 (love stepping into a world where I feel like a writer)
  • Twitch – one day I’ll write about it
  • Happy hour –  5 out of 5 (love writing. hate writing. period. )

What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.

Tomorrow: Buy a Poppy.  Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it. Go back to see Day 84…