What Makes One Happy? Part 4

Feel the Rain

What Makes One Happy? Part 4

Happiness, is it fleeting or can it be real and sustainable? Over the past week or so, I wrote a series of articles on happiness. When I started on the project, I wanted to refer to more generalities. Yet, as I started writing my first article I discovered that I could not write about happiness in general terms but as it referred to me. I didn’t know how else to say it.

Earlier in the week, someone wrote me, asking the question, “What is Love without Color?” Perhaps you received a similar question from this person. I answered back, “Color attracts but distorts, lack of color reveals one’s true self and is sustainable.” I could ask the same question regarding happiness.

“What is happiness without color?” What do you think?

Upon reflection, color, as it applies to love or happiness, could have many good answers. My answer was just one. I had given my answer much thought before I replied. Answers I could have sent were “Color reveals and attenuates love,” or “Color shouts love to the world to see and share.” Several other answers come to mind.

Substitute happiness for love, and I dare say, the answers remain the same or at least similar.

But my articles go deeper than that. I really believe in the difference between short-term and long-term happiness. I think that everyone needs and yearns for both. Single night encounters with someone that gets your rocks off is beautiful and delicious. However, it’s not the same as sharing years with someone who knows you inside and out and feeds your needs in bed and in everyday life.

A child is thrilled when he or she opens a present on his birthday or at a holiday. They squeal with joy in finding a treasure in the form of a doll or toy truck. It’s a short-term happiness for sure. Their real happiness, long and sustaining happiness comes from the love and care of their parents, mentor, caregiver or siblings. An adult does the same thing. Flipping a property for profit versus the years satisfying a desire or need to succeed in their chosen career as a building contractor are examples of short-term and long-term happiness.

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” Bob Marley

Feel the Rain

How astute is Bob’s quote. I think he captured some of what I feel in just nine words. To me, happiness come from enjoying life, participating in life, interacting with all life, and appreciating all life. If you haven’t guessed, when I use the word life, I refer not to just all people, but life in general. From the worm in the ground to the plants we walk on or appreciate from afar, to the pets and wildlife who enrich our lives, and to people around the world, who help us with our car registrations to the ones that we come home to, everyday. They all have something to enhance our individual lives. Acceptance is crucial or we can never be happy either in the short-term or the long-term.

Some people find happiness in loving others, caring for others, or abusing others. I don’t understand the last, but I accept that it is real. We all know that there are monsters out there. I even write about them in some of my novels. I just can’t relate to them.

I firmly believe in the concept of ‘doing whatever makes you happy.’ What I would like to wish for this world we live in is ‘Doing whatever makes you happy as long as it does not hurt or harm another.’

I dare say, there are some out there, perhaps even some who read this article, who won’t agree with my clarification.

So, I ask you. Do you feel the rain or do you just get wet? What do you think? Do you agree? Write me and let me know. I welcome your thoughts. In the meantime, I trust you’ll have a good day and a better tomorrow.

What Makes One Happy? Part 3

Happiness Meter

What Makes One Happy? Part 3

In my last two articles, I wrote about what makes me happy, both in the short-term and long-term. I spent very little time on my short-term happiness, and I plan to keep it that way in this article. It’s my long-term happiness that I will focus on in this article.

happiness is finding a parking meter with time on itWhen I think about what makes me happy in the short-term, I can’t help but think about listening to one of my favorite songs on my audio system. Be it on my smartphone, my home audio system, or in my awesome care with seven thunderous speakers that make my pants-leg move to the beat of the song. Wow. I also love hanging out with my friends, sharing food & drink over a meal. They are the most terrific friends in the world, and you know who you are. I’m looking forward to our next get together. Plus there are all the little things that happen each day, such as the feeling of completion of a job well done. All sorts of little things that make life fun and exciting.

Still, in the big picture, all of these little happiness’ do not measure up or compare to sharing these moments with an extraordinary woman. I’m fortunate enough to have found such a woman. There was a time, lasting for more than a decade where I feared I would not.

Now, I know that there are people out there, that do not need another person in their life. They hook up with someone and move on after a short while. That’s alright. It’s their life, and they are free to live it as they like.

However, for me, I can’t do that. In the short-term, sure. When I’m single and available, everything is game-on. From one night stands to hanging out for a couple of months is fine. But I’ve always known since I was a young adult, I needed someone to share my life with in profound and meaningful ways. I need a woman in my life. She has to be extraordinary, beautiful, and kind. I need a woman who will return my love, as I am, faults and all. Besides, I look upon the lady of my love with rosy glasses anyway, so she will be perfect in my eyes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have my faults and plenty of them. Yet, one thing I have learned in all my years is that in order to survive and thrive; I must be who I am. For too many years, I wore a mask hiding my true self and trying to be the person I thought she wanted me to be. What a mistake that was. I lost decades of happiness as a result.

Thankfully, I have rectified that error. I speak my mind, unforgiving in standing up for my beliefs. If you don’t like them, or can’t deal with them, well that’s on you. I am who I am and you can either accept it or not. Fortunately, my lady-love does accept me for who I am. I know that there are parts that she does not like but I must have more than enough to overcome those as she professes her love for me in return.

She makes me happy. Ecstatic in fact. Here’s how. In my everyday life, I have to leave the house and go to work, just as most of us have to. I’m functional and happy when I am away. I’m stable and even keel even when we’re apart.

The closer I get to her physically, the happier I get. When we’re in close proximity, my happiness scale jumps radically. And when we touch each other, physically touch and just about anywhere on each others body, my soul sings. Happiness MeterTake when we’re sleeping. I am overjoyed when we spoon up to each other; one arm draped over the other. My happiness meter jumps into the red-zone. As we sleep, I can sense when we roll over and are apart. That meter dips down and out of the red-zone. In my semi-conscious state, I’ll reach out and touch whatever part of her I can, just to connect and move that meter up. If for whatever reason, she rolls over to face me and in her sleep reaches out and holds me, I feel that meter explodes well above the red-zone.

The thing that surprises me is that her touch doesn’t have to be sexual at all. It’s the simple connection of skin to skin that excites me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I live for the sexual kinds of touch, but I tend to include those in the short-term happiness column. The long-term, red-zone touches are what make me happiest.

Touching is just one of the must haves on my short list in a long-term relationship. Yes, there are a few more, and in total are less than ten. She and I have shared that list with each other. There are lots more on the ‘it would be nice if she …’ list, but if some are missing, that’s alright. It’s the must-have list that is most important to me. I’ve already written about two of those on the list. I won’t list them all or otherwise; this article could become a novel, short as the list is. I am fortunate to have found a girl, no, a woman, who satisfies every one of those items.

We have our pet names for each other. Mine for her has changed over the years. The last couple of years, I’ve referred to her as ‘My Love.’ I use it everywhere. I call her that at the checkout counter of the grocery store or when I am answering a private question about which type of beans I prefer. I love saying that. “Yes, my love.” “No my love.” “Hey, love, want to go to a movie?” I hope she smiles every time she hears me say it. I certainly do.

I am thankful to her for everything she gives me. I suppose that at times, she doesn’t recognize it, but when things quiet down, I am positive that she does. I think about her every day, no, just about every minute of the day. I regularly review what she would think and do in this situation or that. What would she think about a decision I am contemplating? Or just simply, picture her in my mind and smile.

One time, I feared I would never find the love of my life. Well, that’s not quite true. I was confident I would. I would search forever if need be to find her. I found her in the most extraordinary way and on our first date, we talked for hours over dinner which included some of the most bizarre topics. Topics that included how we would like to be buried when we died. How odd is that on a first date?

So, I have found her, the love of my life. The one that makes me happy in the long-term. She’s the one. Love, don’t you ever die on me. You hear me, love? I’ve got too much loving to do and much more happiness to explore.

Evil Meter

What Makes One Happy, part 2

coffee latte

What Makes One Happy, part 2

Last time I wrote about my short-term vs. long-term happiness. Another short-term happiness is coffee. I love coffee. Sixteen years ago when I rejoined the dating scene, I had my first cup of vanilla latte. coffee latteWhile I liked coffee then, I fell in love with vanilla lattes. Today, exiting the dating scene with my long-term girlfriend, I drink several cups of coffee daily, laced with vanilla sugar-free creamer.

Which brings me to my second item in my long-term happiness list, alone time for painting, drawing, and writing. I drink coffee as I paint, draw, or write.

However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up, shall we?

As a child, I drew all sorts of spaceships and ground vehicles, making up stories as they developed. I also tended to write stories in my head that incorporated these doodles or were fresh and not related to them. I even wrote a couple down which were lost to the hands of time. As a young adult, I forgot about them and proceeded to be caught up in photography and girls. Girls turned out to be my main obsessive behaviors and I was awkward around them. It took a lot of trial and effort that lasted for decades, despite getting married and having a child in the meantime.

Sixteen years ago, I revisited my creative talents a couple of years after my marriage died and I lived alone. I loved it and I began drawing and painting in earnest. Living alone like that for all those years trained my adult mind to disappear into my creative world, feeling and living the lives of the characters I created. Later, branching out and revisiting my creative writing, I fell into the same pattern. In some ways, it was easier to disappear into my creative world as I could sit in a comfortable chair and write; all the while, my girlfriend watched her favorite shows on television.

I have to admit, I prefer my alone quiet time, apart from life and in my creative space (my office or my studio) in order to draw, write or paint. Sailing into the sunsetIt’s important to me, no question about it, and being there makes me happy. I’m free to be myself, unbeholden to anyone or anything else. Feeling what my characters feel and experience, I can develop story lines that flow. I can feel the pain and joy, torment and pleasure that they feel. It hurts at times but I am able to leave a bit of me in my creations. As I have said before, my heart and soul is embedded in each work I create, be it visual or written. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To be honest though, it is difficult at times to separate myself from the real world, where my girlfriend is such an important part, and spend time in my creative space where I immerse myself in my fictional realities. I can recall a numerous occasions when I had to stop and ask her to wait until I finished a particular section of the story. I didn’t want to lose track of the flow of the story, extricate myself from the pretend world in order so that I could interact with her on whatever she wanted to say. Sometimes she’d acquiesce and other times, she’d fume. I can’t say I blame her. I do the same to her.

Last November, consumed with writing my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’, she really became bothered at the time I spent writing the story and disappearing into this fictional world, even when I was sitting right next to her. The Trafficking ConsortiumI took every spare moment to write, moments that she had felt were hers. I agree. Most times they were but during November, nope. It was as if I had a barking dog scratching at the door to be let out and relieve itself. Just as you can’t tell a dog to wait, else it would piss on your carpet, I couldn’t tell the story to wait. Frankly, it hurt to keep it inside instead of being let out. So, every available moment was taken to write, and write, and write some more.

My girlfriend and I are still negotiating these rules of engagement, so that I can create undisturbed and uninterrupted with time I allocate to her. Since she is very important to me, I walk a delicate line between the two worlds. In the meantime, I keep at it. I thank the universe that lately, she is okay with me blocking out significant blocks of time to create. I wonder what she will think when she figures out that some of my best creative time is well after dark and can last into the wee hours of the morning. I don’t think it is a problem though as my body can’t take it anymore. For some reason, it insists upon a decent night’s sleep.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great day and a better tomorrow.