Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts From The Mat On My Birthday

First of all, I have to say that this was one of my better birthdays. Can't be sure as to why, but mentally, I am buzzing with contentment. (37 just feels better than 36).

Secondly, this little blog post is dedicated to Jenna. This is just in case she forgot a recent late evening conversation.

First some background, of which Jenna is already familiar. I am an amateur philosopher, always seeking and thinking to discover truths in life. Back in college, I came up with a life strategy I nicknamed the ISR Theory - the Individually Socially Responsible Theory. It was based on my discoveries at the time, which was something like this - you should do what makes you happy, it feels good to help others, it's each person's duty to be civic minded. I thought the key to life was to live a  life based on making yourself happy by doing for other individuals as well as the greater good. I still believe in this, and try to live my life this way, but my amateur outlook has been replaced by/updated with all sorts of experts and authors I've found/read that word all this much better and more eloquently than I can. This theory was very much based on present happiness.

Fast forward to now.

This past year, I learned a little trick that has helped me make better decisions, a mental "tweak" if you will. I started to do things not only to make myself happy, but more with the goal that I wanted to make my Future Self happy. Whether it be the choice not to have that extra glass of wine in the evening (that makes my future self happy even if doesn't make my present self happy) to preparing the coffee maker to go off with the alarm in the morning. This mindset has spilled over into all sorts of areas in my life, monetary decisions, work decisions, dietary and exercise decisions, and so on.

As the year went on, I've adjusted this. Not only do I strive to make my Future Self happy, I want to make my Future Self Proud. Oh yes.... Proud. This attitude has kicked things up a notch in a BIG way. What can I DO today (and in some cases, not do) to make the Valerie of tomorrow Proud?

Pretty powerful.
It rocks.
As does this song...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Indeed, if you think about it, this idea of happiness as a natural state creates a curious problem. What if I'm not happy? Does that mean that I’m unnatural? Am I ill, or bad, or deficient? Is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with the society in which I live? These are all symptoms of a condition that I call the unhappiness of not being happy, and it is a peculiarly modern condition.

To cure this condition, we might focus less on our own personal happiness and instead on the happiness of those around us, for relentless focus on one's own happiness has the potential to be self-defeating. The 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill once said, "Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so." Whether that is really true or not, I don't know. But given that we live in a world that asks this question of us every day, it is a paradox worth pondering."