Lots of year end articles, lists, and posts are circulating and it moved me to create my own. Its really just a personal stock of my own life, what I’ve experienced, and a few notes on what I have learned. My hope in writing this is that I will be more aware of what I’ve been getting on about, where I’m headed, and what I’m thankful for.
Highlights from the past include:
Making it to the Sweet 16 with Santa Monica Rugby Club
Making life long friends and winning a Bronze Medal at the Maccabi Games
Restoring a Hobie Cat sailboat
Getting a bicycle that is built for tall people
This is a partial list of books I’ve read:
The Four Agreements (again)
I browse the following blogs and news aggregators for interesting and compelling articles and posts nearly every day:
Of course I use my blog and Facebook to share my life, but over the past year I have found these mediums to be a wealth of knowledge and advice as well. More times than I can count, I have posed a question to my social networks to be completely blown away from the responses. Thank you for that!
I sit here on new years eve morning, thinking back on yet another most interesting year of my life.
2013 brought about incredible victories and crippling disappointments. I am a better man having lived to tell the tale.
I am so grateful for my life.
A friend said to me just the other day that they remember to check if they are still breathing when they wake up. If so, yay! What a good reason to be happy! One is still alive and that is the most important thing about life – life itself!
It got me thinking about not only what i have to be thankful for, but ways to increase happiness and decrease unhappiness.
First, allow me to address a few thoughts on unhappiness and what causes it for me.
1) Not keeping promises to myself. This is a big one. When I have failed to keep a promise that I made to myself, it causes me to acknowledge my own lack of self control, and being out of control is a big reason for worry and stress.
Solution – Be realistic and honest with myself regarding the specificity and difficulty plans, tasks and promises I make to others, and more importantly to myself. Inasmuch, keeping said promises becomes easier and more enjoyable. Its also worth mentioning that understanding “why” I am making the promise in the first place is probably more crucial to the success in keeping them than actually what the promise is. I am well aware of the fact that if the “why” is strong enough, rationalizing the follow through, or lack there of, becomes much easier to act upon.
2) Not listening to my gut. Honest to goodness, I am not aware of a single time in my life where listening to my gut has sent me in the wrong direction. The other side of that rusted coin is just as consistent. I don’t know of a single occurrence when I wavered from the voice in my gut that didn’t leave me with feelings of guilt, remorse, regret.
Solution – Slow down for a moment. Think. Back in the days of selling real estate there was an old rule of thumb regarding disclosing a particular item during the transfer of a piece of property – If you are questing whether or not to disclose something, you probably should. I think the rule can be applied here as well. If I am having a mental dialogue with my higher self about whether or not to do something, and my gut has strong feelings one way or another, that is reason enough to listen…and act accordingly. Empirical evidence tells me it will be the right choice.
Distilled down to a simple directive action – Understand “Why” something is important and make sure my actions are in alignment. Simply asking myself why I might be doing something is enough to help myself live better.
With underlying reasons for unpleasantness aside, its important to recognize that what makes me happy, what I have learned, and just how grateful I am.
1) Deep personal relationships are the most important thing in life. Who with doesn’t matter. The depth does. People are weird and quirky and selfish and have their own agenda and make mistakes. We all have these qualities. That much we know. What is important to recognize is that despite of these things, our deep personal relationships attribute to our most profound and lasting levels of happiness. Period. Deep personal relationships at their core come from communication, consistency, honesty, trust, patience, giving, and fortitude. When veering from these tenants, I have always found myself hung from the rungs of the items listed above. When I am true to what I know mixes to make wonderful connections with my family and friends, I always…ALWAYS come away from the experience lifted up and better equipped to move through the disappointments of life.
2) Good health is a lifelong process, not a goal. There is no end point one is trying to reach, as no one makes it out alive. So, I am reminded that in the spirit of being healthy, its important to embrace and enjoy all of what being healthy entails. Living a healthy lifestyle makes me feel good.
– Deep personal relationships
– Mindfulness and meditation
– Regular exercise
– Lots of water
– Green vegetables
– Plenty of sleep
– Laughing a lot
– Honoring myself
– Vice in moderation
– Being kind to myself
3) Learning and growth is essential for me. It is the catalyst for creativity in areas of interest that have no relation whatsoever to the topic I might be studying. Learning new things allows me to contribute more. Growing permits me to have a bit more of the good stuff and helps to subdue a bit more of the bad stuff. Expanding my mind to new ideas is just important to my overall happiness as oxygen is to my ability to breathe.
I love life! I love the experiences, good and bad, that life brings to me every day. I make mistakes and generally make an ass of myself with regular frequency. I’m ok with that. It doesn’t stop me from striving to grow and push forward in spite of those missteps and I am thankful for the good and bad that come as a result, just the same. The amalgamation of the up and the down make me, me. To play it safe, is but for losers. To challenge life and to win and to lose. That is to live.
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” ~ William Shedd
I am so grateful for those in my life, look forward to the possibilities of 2014, and hope this next year brings you happiness of all stripes 🙂
Aaron Loring Davis
Aaron Loring Davis