The jukebox in my head is playing again. I keep hearing Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through the Night all day. Mostly it was just the first two lines. Take the ribbon from your hair. Shake it loose and let it fall. I see it very vividly in my mind’s eye. It’s like when I hear Autumn Leaves. The autumn leaves drift by my window. The autumn leaves of red and gold. I see the leaves gently floating down.
I think they are beautiful lines that I can use as a mantra to let go of intrusive thoughts. Just singing them in my head relaxes me. It stops the obsessive chatter in my head. I can smile hearing the words and melody playing in my jukebox. I can feel the tension leaving my body. My forehead relaxes and unfurls. I can sit up straight in my chair. My thoughts are loosening. I shake my head. I watch as they fall and drift by my eyes. Music is a great healer.
I had a good sleep last night, thanks to the beer I had in the afternoon. I was so wired from sleeplessness I didn’t feel the beer at all. It must have done something, loosened me from the inside out. At 10 pm I laid down in bed and went to sleep. That was it. No big dramas. Maybe I could make beer my sleeping pill of choice from now on. I remembered a coworker telling me she has a beer in the morning after working a night shift. Then she slept like a lamb.
Sleep deprivation is the worse thing ever. To think that I lived like that for over 30 years. I didn’t know how bad I felt till after I’ve retired and caught up on sleep. I still have those nights of sleeplessness once in awhile as I am telling you. That’s how I know how disfunctional I was in my personal life. I’m still learning from it all.
I kind of tanked out yesterday. It takes awhile to recover. From previous research, I remember that it would take me 7 years to recover from 30+ years of shiftwork sleep deprivation. I’ve been retired for 5 years. Haven’t fully recouped and have added to my deficit by my bouts of sleeplessness.
I’ve been a no show for a few more days. Looks like I can’t easily recoup what sleep I’ve lost. I have to let it go and pick up the threads of daily life from here. It’s a sizzling hot one today. My body does not like what it brings. I felt it screaming even in the coolness of this morning. I took a tylenol to give it some relief. My goals are minimal. No pain or strain. Relax. Just keep cool. If only I can remember that for always. Sometimes I strive and strain too much for too much. I always suffer the consequences.
It is now 34 degrees Celius, 36 on the deck. The blooms on my newly bought Gerbera Daisy plant are suffering and drooping out there on the table. One is bent beyond rescue. It is now in a little vase. It’s quite fetching on its own.
The heat has drained all thoughts from my head. We’ve been out picking raspberries, Sheba and I. She is getting lazy. She used to pick her own on the lower branches. Now she waits for me to feed them to her. It was good picking. They’ll be good with the gelato later on. Now it’s time to sit back with a chilled beer. It’ll cool me from the inside out.
If I was able to come up with a one-fit-all post/formula for happiness, I bet I would get a lot of traffic and maybe money. Alas! This dummy does not have that ability. I’m just barely scratching the surface of it for myself – like a frustrated old hen.
How does one define happiness anyways? Is it just the absence of sadness, a full belly, clothes on the back and a roof over the head? I have it all except maybe I’m a tad sad now and then. I have bouts of dissatisfaction, anger, disappointment, pain, mental anguish….I am not sure if there is an end to my list. Does this disqualify me from the happy crowd? Then there’s my childlessness and, of course, grandchildrenless. And lack of a husband most of my life. Not that I have one now. I have what is called a ‘companion.’ Somehow I feel I lack the legitimacy and respect of being a mother or wife.
There are so many things that could exclude me from the happiness club. But I feel oddly at ease and peace with myself today doing the mundane business of living amid the chaos of clutter, dog hair and a dog padding behind me wherever I went. I feel almost like I was happy. I AM happy, come to think of it. I enjoy the simpleness and slowness of my life. I have no one to answer to or impress – except myself now that I am an adult, a senior citizen on a pension. Once upon a time, that alone commands respect.
- I guess the number one in my Happiness Manual would be to respect myself.
- Be responsible for myself. It’s not possible for someone else to make me feel ‘happy’ or unhappy. They could give me some help but I would only accept the help that lift me up. I would turn down the others.
- My favourite is from Regina Brett’s God Never Blinks. No matter how I feel, get up, dress up and show up.
- I have a Sheba/pet/plant/something living. I take good loving care of them.
- Bake bread, make soup, and maybe learn how to cook like Jamie Oliver. I haven’t got that kind of patience – yet.
- Make art, music, sew, knit, crochet…I continue to learn something new creatively.
- I joined an aerobics/exercise class. I do yoga and qigong sometimes.
- I learnt how to swim and ride a bicyle. I did both when I was well passed adulthood. I started in the Absolute Terrified swim class. Took me a whole summer to learn how to float. I was in a bad depression, too. The other morning I swam 10 lengths in 15 minutes and then went to my step aerobics class. I can ride a bike but I still need more practice to feel comfortable.
- Read crime thrillers and scary books. They calm me and take me out of myself into a different world.
- I could go on and on. There are so many ways for us dummies to be happy if we give it some thought. Above all else, we can always love ourselves more. We don’t have to go shopping or a spa to do it. I just hug myself and the fur baby.
- Oh, one more. I try always to speak in the first person singular. It’s all about me.
How does your manual read?
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Tagged a full belly, absence of sadness, clothes on the back, definition, how to be happy for dummies, legitimacy, life, loving oneself, my manual for happiness, respect, roof overhead, what is happiness, writing
It is Tuesday morning, a day off. Funny how I still think of days off when I’m retired. Those words have been a part of my vocabulary for so many years. You get two nurses together, the conversation mostly sounds like this: Are you on days off? Did you sleep? Of course that was in my days. I’m not sure about the young nurses talk nowadays.
So, I’m on a day off. I don’t have to head off to aerobics or swimming. I have no MUSTS to do, except….I have been saying for days I MUST get my shit together, tidy up, dust up and file up. Now that the day is here that I could do all these things, I just want to sit here, in my beautiful room and languish. Both big windows are opened. The sun is streaming in. It’s early enough for a cool breeze. A bird is chirping. I wonder if it’s the one nesting in the grape vines.
It’s been awhile since I’ve just sat in peace, not wanting to do. I relax the furrows between my eyes. How wonderful to feel the release of tension. I do not mind the clutter and bit of dust on my desk. I sip my tumeric tea as I gaze at the sun dancing on the magnolia and amaryllis. They need some water soon. Out the window, I can see Sheba laying in her hollowed out dirt bed beside the potted avocado. She is happy and cool, watching and listening to the birds in the yard. I will finish my tea and head out to weed a little. I’m getting back to the rhythm of ‘doing little blocks’. They add up like drops filling a bucket.
It is now 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I spent 2 hours in the yard and garden, weeding and harvesting. Perhaps I overdid. Now I am not only languishing but wilting a bit. It is warm but I’m still getting a breeze through the windows. The birds are still chirping back and forth to each other. Sheba is languishing in the diningroom. She threw up twice today so maybe a light supper.
Can’t say I have climbed any mountains or vanquished any villains today. Haven’t even had time for any crime reading. Nothing much to show except some rhubarb stalks on the kitchen island and fewer weeds in the garden. Oh, yes, I’ve filled the raised beds in the back with rainwater. A good day. Now back to languish with my cup of tea.
Sometimes All the time I feel self possessed. I’m consumed with me, I and myself. It’s all about me. I wonder if it is a bad thing. Is it a selfish thing? Am I a narcissist? By definition it is “a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.” I think I’m disqualified because most of the time, I find myself lacking. I feel relieved. Yet I wonder why I’m not worthy of self admiration. Why do I feel ashamed or embarrassed to express the satisfaction with myself?
These are interesting times for me, entering the last stage of my life. You would think that after all this time, I would be more grown up, more confident, more knowing. But the only more I have lately are stuff, disappointment, anger and dissatisfaction with how I and life are. That’s not good at all, at all. I hate waking up in the morning with this sour taste in my mouth and my body heavy as lead. I plod through my days very efficiently nonetheless, almost with a smile on my face.
My saving grace is that I love a challenge. It is difficult for me to lie down for long and say uncle. I eventually rise, however slowly, like the Phoenix and is born again. I am tenacious, stubborn and obnoxious – but only to myself these days. I have learned a bit of wisdom through my addiction with self-help. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. What others think of me is none of my business. I got that now. I do take myself personally though. I have regard for my well being. I am learning to take care of myself first. I have to save myself first before I can help someone else. It’s just like they teach you on the airplane. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. I MATTER. Darn tooting.
I’m feeling pretty fine today, having turned my thoughts around a bit. I woke up with an unusual spring to my step. I try not to let things get under my skin. I’m trying to grow a thicker layer. I’m trying not to be so serious all the time. But the thing is I like my serious side. I like to ponder on serious stuff. I stopped at the used book store on the way home from my aerobics class. It is my candy store. I bought Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can by Caroline Myss. I am a serious case and a self-help addict. But I am earnestly working on having fun. Really I am – even if it’s just on paper.
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Tagged anger, challenge, disappointment, dissatisfaction, I, it's all about me, lacking self worth, life, like the phoenix, me, my saving grace, myself, narcissist, self-help addict, self-obsessed, serious person, writing