Choose Happiness

26 May

I am a born and bred introvert. It’s a trait that runs deep through my genes on both sides of my family. I have spent the majority of my life paralyzed by shyness. Over the course of the last seven years I have carefully cultivated an outgoing personality mostly for the sake of my job. Kids who visit the library are shy, too, but it’s my responsibility to reach out to them.

But those who know me quite well also know the introvert. Reluctant to share. Shy and awkward.

I think that’s part of my frustration. The newer, more outgoing part of my personality is just as valid and authentic as the introvert. The introvert doesn’t get to spread her wings as often as she needs to.

After that long talk with Anthony I realized that I can deal with my frustrations either by being self-destructive or by finding another way to express myself. I choose the latter.

I’m tired of cleaning up my messes.

I’ve decided to reach out to happiness. Happiness in the little things is always my goal but now it’s my central focus. I’m letting things slide to be happy. I’m choosing to be happy in little moments.

For example–it’s the end of a long day. A day that started at 5:30 in the morning and hit the ground running. A day of managing the inventory of my library, the graduation preparation of my husband, and a fussy, teething daughter. I’m tired and I need to take my Crohn’s medicine. The house is a wreck and piles of folded laundry festoon the living room. My daughter requires all my attention.

I am frustrated but I have a choice: do I clean the living room and struggle to accomplish all the daily tasks on my to do list, or do I blow raspberries with my daughter? I choose happiness. I choose raspberries. It’s worth it.

I may be compulsively neat but you know what? I’m letting that go. Just for now. Just for this moment. For happiness.

It’s not always easy to choose happiness, but it is necessary.

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18 Responses to “Choose Happiness”

  1. Carl Okuyama May 26, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    My wife is a librarian too. Your shyness is not your fault, you’re a beautiful and wonderful person. God bless you. Aloha … Carl and Amy

  2. jenn May 26, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    my introverted perfectionist self is trying to choose happiness these days too. it’s hard but worth it, you’re right 🙂

    i need to play the piano more. when i do, i remember why it’s such a good outlet for me. when we were in high school, i think making music was that outlet that we needed. the older we get, it’s harder to find the same type of release. an orchestrated chaos of sorts.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 11:05 am #

      My god but I would have been a lost soul without that music.

      Get thee to a peeana bench, POST HASTE!

  3. Chicken May 26, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    I have always been amazed at how clean your house looks. I don’t know how you have the time! David has really helped me to learn to let go. The house looks like crap – so what? There is laundry to be put away? Oh well. It will get put away some day. There are piles of paper all over the table and desk? Who gives a fuck? If our kiddos don’t care (and they certainly don’t), then let us enjoy them. Big hug to you, mama!

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

      Honestly part of why my house is so clean is that is love to get rid of things. Donate, sell, giveaway, toss, whatever, I just can’t stand clutter. Add to that I’m a perfectionist and oh yeah, I love to organize and (pre-baby, anyway) I worked my butt off keeping it clean. Or at least picked up. I’m not so in love with mopping. But I’m trying to relax on that. Letting it go in favor of happiness and sanity is worth it!

  4. AmandaStretch May 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Yes! I have to do this too, for my own introverted sanity. Last night, after a long and wonderful day, I really wanted to watch last night’s episode of Glee. It was 11:30 and I was ready to pass out, and I knew staying up even later wouldn’t make this morning any easier, but I did it. I stayed up, and it was worth it.

    The laundry I did on Saturday? I’ll probably fold it tonight.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

      I’m so glad you did something you loved instead of fold laundry on your BIRTHDAY! 😀

      • AmandaStretch May 26, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

        Hehe! Me too! And thanks again for the b-day love!

  5. Bonnie May 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    I’m trying to choose happiness as much as possible too. My masters and living in the city was making me so depressed. Like, needing antidepressants and seeing a therapist. I came home to help my parents one weekend though and just… stayed. A masters would maybe get me a better job and more money, but… I’ve chosen a simpler life. Not necessarily easy, but… I don’t know. I think it’ll be what makes me happiest. The stress of designing our house right now and trying to figure out wedding stuff and still living with and dealing with my mom has almost brought me to tears lately, but hopefully things will settle down a bit soon.

    Unlike you though, I’m not very good at organizing and cleaning, especially after having my whole apartment packed into one room right now. I had too much stuff in that apartment though, and my inability to deal with it helped lead to the depression. I don’t want to have that much stuff in my new house, but at the same time it’s hard to let things go. I need to think if things are going to make me happy or if things would be simpler without it.

    Marc’s been really good at helping me keep things pretty simple. I really don’t think I could have found a better guy for me.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

      It sounds like Marc is a totally great guy. I’m so happy for you. 😀 Keep choosing happiness, a lot of both of our stress is situational and if we just hang on things will change and the stress will shift.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      And by the way, I’m totally close with my mom but when I lived with her right before I got married we drove each other NUTS.

  6. gigi May 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    You choose well.

    • LittleBig May 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      Aw, thanks Gigi! I want to favorite this comment.

  7. Alicia May 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    Happiness all the way! Blowing raspberries w/baby is much better than folding laundry and cleaning. That crap will always be there and will get done eventually. For now, be happy, live in the moment and blow raspberries!

    • LittleBig May 27, 2010 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks for the encouragement, lady. 🙂

  8. Jose May 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    I was going to say, “why did you write about me?!”

    Like a quote I always say “You can choose to be happy or unhappy. Choose happiness, because although it’s not always easy, it’s also not as difficult as you think.”

    But seriously, much of what you wrote is what I’ve had tucked away in journals since high school.

    • LittleBig May 27, 2010 at 7:46 am #

      You have always been wise beyond your years, Joes. 🙂

  9. LittleBig May 27, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    After thinking about this I wanted to come back here and add a general note: I am in no way suggesting that depression can be ‘cured’ by positive thinking. That’s bullshit.

    Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression. I did a long time ago. I take medication and, when we can afford it, I see a therapist.

    ‘Choosing happiness’ is another weapon in my arsenal against depression but by no means is it my only one.

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