Monthly Archives: February 2015

Happiness is not money in the bank, it’s a per diem you have to earn and spend every day

I was doing laundry and feeling grateful to own a washing machine.  It’s such a luxury.  So I tell myself, hey Caren, here’s something to be happy about. And Caren says, I know, we’ve discussed this before, why are you telling me this again?  That’s when I had a revelation.  All the gratitude and happiness I have ever felt prior to this moment doesn’t matter.  I can’t save it, I can’t get it back.  In fact, since all I can do is lose it, it quickly morphs from a source of joy to a potential devastating loss.  Yuck!

I was doing the exact right thing in pointing out to Caren, who is so easily annoyed by everything, that this really is awesome, that today, right now, we have a washing machine.  I should tell her this every time we use it and she should graciously act like it’s the first time she is hearing such good news.  If our happiness is a daily per diem that I either spend or lose, I best spend it.

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Later, in the early evening, Caren and I go to hot yoga and stop talking to each other, which is why we do it.  After class the parking lot valet can’t find our car key.  The valet is looking in other cars for our key while our sweat soaked body cools in the night air.  Nobody thought to bring a coverup.  Actually I did think of it but Caren told me to not worry about it because it only takes 3 minutes to get home.  See!  You can never be too careful Caren!

In the 30 minute search for the missing keys, Caren does not freak out and she doesn’t discuss it with me either, she stays calm.  It’s weird, her calm, cool and collected persona.  Personally I would like to see more of it inside the home, not just outside of it. But whatever.  Like that’s gonna happen.

The valet lets us drive his red mini cooper back to our house to get our husbands key.  Can I just say I really dislike the mini cooper driving experience?  You can not see well behind you, it doesn’t feel safe.  The two back seat headrests severely block the rear view window.

Finally at home and eating dinner, Caren and I pick up were we left off. She says, I don’t think the quality of the past is irrelevant. If my memories were horrible I would be miserable so there must be some value to positive memories.  Simply by not burdening us with despair, a happy yesterday contributes to today’s pleasure.  Doesn’t that discount your argument from earlier?  I’m about to counter when our daughter interrupts by saying she likes dinner and asking if I like it. How am I supposed to think about happiness in the midst of this mindless chit chat!  Yes, I love the pasta, now let me tell Caren why she’s wrong, again.  I know I am missing something important here.  Don’t worry, I’ll add it to the list of things I need to get a grip on.

What’s our takeaway from all this contradictory mental rambling Caren? What are we actually going to do?  Caren says, Sit down and I’ll pour us a stiff Do What We Always Do, serve it with a splash of bitters and a tiny twist of Striving For Self Improvement.  Now leave me alone.  I want to watch television.

The next day I call the the yoga studio and they already know about it.  The key had been left in the backseat of another practitioners car and she thoughtfully returned them to the studio.  That lack of red tape will definitely make things better in days to come!  No going to the car dealership, no multiple calls to the parking agency trying to get reimbursement. So much to be grateful for.  I gotta go tell Caren.

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True vs. Aspirational, aka Has Been True in the Past vs. Could Be True in the Future

I was preparing my daily smoothie and this happened.  The song lyrics “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” started going through my head.  I haven’t heard this song in ages.  I don’t own it or seek it out.  No idea why this was happening.  But as I frequently do, I had to analyze the lyrics for truthfulness.  My mind says to me, is that true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?  Doesn’t seem true.  Sometimes it leaves you permanently disfigured.  But, I countered, what if believing that phrase helps you buck up in the face of adversity.  If that’s the case, believing the phrase might make it come true.

I am often at mental war between my rational side and my intuitive side.  In this case, I think the lyrics are helpful for personal aid but crap when it comes to social policy.

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Ah!!! I just understood why I was thinking of those lyrics.  I had used my little finger to wipe off the rim of the yogurt container after I poured some yogurt into the blender and I was wondering if I had washed my hands after I had come in from walking the dog. If by chance I hadn’t, I was trying to remember what I might have touched outside and if it was likely to be infected with the flu or measles. To comfort myself in case I had touched something AND not washed my hands, I was telling myself that maybe getting more germs would make me stronger.  Then the song lyrics flooded in.

This is what happens when I don’t distract myself with podcasts.

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