I don’t buy single ply toilet paper. I buy the cushioned stuff with cherubs and fluffy teddy bears and puppies on the package. I know I could save money by purchasing low-grade T.P. or even snagging a roll from work every few weeks, but I don’t. I am 28 years old. I work hard and have paid taxes for half of my life. No matter the income bracket in which I found myself over the years, I’ve always ensured my ass received more luxurious toilet paper than the stuff of gas stations, public restrooms and cheap motels.
In building upon our existence, we are constantly making quality of life choices. We prioritize, define our thresholds and draw lines in the sands of acceptable circumstances. I’ve seen many of these choices manifest themselves in my own life and the lives of my friends. While quality of life has always been a hot topic, lately things have gotten a little bit hotter.
Almost everyone I know is in some point of crisis. We are miserable in our jobs or miserable in our love lives. We are on the brink of greatness or the brink of failure. We are leaping blindly into a new and unknown career or holding on to our “starter job” for dear life . We are chosing to have babies or choosing to go back to school. We are chosing to marry, divorce or take a vow of celibacy. We are on spiritual pilgrimages and in rifts of spiritual depravity. We know better, but we are making the same mistakes over and over again. We’re young. We’re older every day. We’re growing. Growing can hurt.
Not to brag, but I’ve navigated some pretty extreme crises in my 28 years. While I haven’t always done so with grace, poise or a shred of dignity, I’ve somehow made it through. Many people ask me about my *usually* cheerful disposition (Lord knows, I can throw a pity party with the best of them). Some people sneer at me, like I’m only happy because I’m too simple-minded to fully comprehend the misery I should feel by the nature of my existence. Some are carefree and ask me about my “secret” to happiness as if we’re swapping our grandmothers’ recipes for cornbread. Some marvel at me like I am a mental anomaly and ask out of pure curiosity, “How do you do it?”
Well, I’d like to answer all of those people with a short guide to my happy life. Here are the top 10 things that make me a generally happy and cheerful person:
*Disclaimer: This is not a guide for happiness in your life. This is just what works for me. You gotta do your own thing, sweetheart.
1. My brain is chemically in balance.
Growing up the child of a shrink, I understand the importance of having all of the brain juices in their right proportions. If they aren’t, you need to re-establish your baseline. Period. I wish our society was more comfortable talking about mental health. I wish we were better at asking for help. I hope people with balanced brain chemistry understand it as a blessing and a delicate gift which could easily be thrown off-balance. I hope for people with imbalanced brain chemistry to have access to the help they need and the desire/empowerment to seek that help. I promised a short guide, so I’ll stop there.
2. I have a bad memory for details.
This is a blessing and a curse. Trust me.
3. I never ask myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
It is easy to talk yourself out of amazing opportunities if you think about all the worst case scenarios. The only question I ever ask myself is, “Are you willing to accept the potentially negative consequences for this decision.” If the answer is yes, I do it. I almost always answer yes.
4. I escape.
I get out of negative situations as soon as I can. Stagnating in a toxic mire only makes you sick. You can’t infect an environment with your “healthy.”
5. I honor my commitments.
Although escape is my coping mechanism of choice, I also stick through my commitments. In work and personal relationships alike, I go down swinging. I keep my promises. This makes me feel like a good person. Feeling like a good person makes me happy.
6. I forgive myself.
I expect to make mistakes. I delight in having imperfections because it releases so much pressure to strive for perfection. I have learned to discuss my imperfections in a non-self-depreciating way. I’m still working on not comparing myself to others.
7. I forgive other people.
They don’t have to be perfect either. I look for intentions rather than end results. I remind myself, “People are just trying to help. Even if they suck at it.”
8. I emote like a champ.
I throw my head back and laugh until it causes me physical pain, I cry like the only person who has ever been hurt, I love deeply and heal slowly. I feel everything around me. I don’t sink into numbness.
9. I exhaust myself with hard work and sleep like a champ.
Never underestimate the power of a good night sleep.
10. I eat delicious foods, I exercise, I drink good wine, I moisturize and floss. I talk to strangers. I hold doors for people. I return books to the library on time. I splurge on Chanel perfume, high thread count bed sheets and Organic Honeycrisp apples. I drink between 64-100 ounces of water a day. I send post cards. I recycle. I take time to be alone and I take time to reach out to others. I do NOT buy single ply toilet paper.