Saturday, July 18, 2015

100 Things to Make You a Little Happier, Part 3

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I instead went to the movies and a wedding reception. But here it is, a continuation of the series on happiness. The real question is, what makes you happy? And what can you do to spread this noble disease?

21. Try new things- This does not mean you need to go try cocaine or do body shots off a homeless person. New experiences are great and teach us much, but some things should be left alone always and forever. But be open and willing to try new hobbies. You never know what might become a new life-long passion, or what obscure activity might bring you and another soul together. Try curling, watch a Danish film, eat something squirmy, maybe even learn how to play Bridge.

22. Serve people- It sounds like an obvious part of being a good person, but it is so easy to get caught up in your infinitesimally small world. Sylvia Plath said it best in her published collection of journals. She wrote of the rain and how it seemed to enclose her tiny world, "Closing in your pitifully small radius of activity." Young Sylvia was right. Our minuscule circle of people and activities is so limited. Look outside your world, past your immediate radius and help someone. Reach an arm across that invisible line that separates your world with the rest of humanity. And serve.

23. Look for silver linings- Life is full of disappointment and terrible folly. But what good comes from seeking out the dark matter? In awful situations try to find a parcel of goodness, or a nugget of experience. Those who seem to always be happy are looking for reasons to be happy, they aren't looking for reasons to murmur and cry.

24. Don't be a hoarder of culture- If you have discovered some great new song, or have just read a book that shifted the way you view life, why keep it to yourself? Maybe you feel cooler for having seen films no one has ever hear of, or perhaps you feel especially hipster purchasing records from bands no one has ever heard of. But this is selfish. If you are lucky enough or supremely cultured enough to enjoy certain beautiful, but rare commodities of art, share them with the people you enjoy and care about.

25. Share your goals with people- It is much easier to realize a dream if you have others pushing you and reminding you that you aren't that far off. The easiest thing to do however is keep quite. Tell no one your goals or wild aspirations, that way no one will be let down if you don't achieve them, right? Poppycock. Hold yourself accountable and share your wildest dreams with people you trust, with people that motivate you. Some will scoff, but let the scoffers scoff. A dream untold is usually a dream unrealized.

26. Take night walks- This probably isn't for everyone. If you live in a dicey neighborhood, or it is below zero outside this probably sound quite daft. But for me, in the warmer months of the year, an occasional stroll of solitude in the hushed streets of the night is quite soothing and rejuvenating for me. It clears my head, and gives me a few moments of clarity that I cannot seem to find while the sun is up and the world around me is awake and shaking.

27. Hold babies- This is self explanatory. Just do it as much as you can. It is hard to not be happy when you frequently behold innocence in its purest form.

28. Care less about celebrities- There are too many relevant relationships around you to waste time in concerning yourself with the trends and gossip of celebrities. It is one thing to study them, to find inspiration from their success, and to emulate their work ethic or innovation to their craft. But to spend precious energy on "celebrity crushes," to waste time reading asinine articles about their latest purchases or divorces does you little good.

29. Travel even if you can't afford it- If you can afford it, great. If you have a little extra pocket change, go see the world. Understand new cultures and take in new corners of the earth that were always foreign to you. But if you are strapped for cash, start small. Visit states you have never been to, or even go to nearby cities or towns that your feet have never entered. Much can be gained from discovery. Even going to an old library or new restaurant in your hometown can be a micro form of travelling. But regardless of your budget, go see what you have never seen.

30. If you have a crush, tell them- If there is a human out there that rattles your fancy and shakes your nerves, tell them. Otherwise it is just a romantic notion void of any real meaning.

Stay tuned for the fourth segment here in two days. And let me know which ones have been your favorites, or what you would add to the list.