I wrote this guest post a while back for another blogger. I decided upon this topic because I could tell by some of her posts she was having some of the same struggles I had when I was her age. I am so thankful that I did not grow up in the era of social media. While I love it today, back then I would be prone to post about every peak and valley I hit, which could not have been good in the long run. Plus I got to be embarrassed of all my tragic mistakes in private! We did not even have cell phone photos as proof, thank goodness!!
I know this is off my normal topic, I just decided to post it to CCtoMB, so I hope you enjoy it anyway!
Chasing Happiness – A guest post by Stephanie Daigneault
My name is Stephanie and I have a little blog over at From Conference Calls to Meat Balls. When Laney first asked for someone to guest post for her and after having read her blog for a few months I thought I might not have anything to contribute to her or her readers. My blog is about food, family and local adventures out in Arizona. The second reason is that I am not a Christian but was raised as such and I was not sure how that would be received. I am not much of a label person, but if you wanted to pin one on me, Agnostic would probably be the closest one. I accept people of all religion, race, background and sexual orientation, it is just in my nature to be that way. I did not grow up in the perfect atmosphere, it was riddled with challenges, but I survived, so there is no need to go into all that. The reason I decided to go ahead and post is that I do feel I have a very human experience to share, that no matter who you are can relate to, if happiness was not something you were naturally both with.
I can give a brief description of what these decades looked like for me, in order to map out how I got where I am now while chasing happiness.
Teens: Emotional, Lacked control, All about fun, all about me, wild, insecure, painful and not consistent whatsoever. Pretty typical I think.
20’s: I was crazy ambitious, I wanted everything and I wanted it now. I wanted to live my own life as fast as humanly possible. I wanted to live a “happy” life so I wanted to accumulate all the things I thought (or was told) would bring me happiness, I wanted to get married, buy a house, have kids and be successful in my career. I worked all the time to hit these goals, sometimes going weeks without real sleep or decent meals. I also was very dedicated to having fun regardless of what I needed to get done. Everything went at a lighting fast pace. I developed new friendships and started to drift further away from some of my childhood friends. I had a hot temper and very little tolerance for anyone in my life who “crossed me” and would swiftly cut them out of my life; often not even taking the time to listen to their side of the story. I often felt lonely, like I was the only one feeling the way that I was and that no one could understand the burdens of my life. But never giving anyone the chance to try either. As I met the middle of my 20’s and had darn near everything I wanted, it all started to unravel, in both good and bad ways. I had my daughter at 26 and for the first time in my life understood what love really was and what it was supposed to be like. As I focused on her, my driven spirit tuned into worry and concern for just about everything in life. The first marriage and house were already long gone.
30’s: This was the age of worry, I literally lost sleep over everything, bills, diet, kids, money, schools, relationships, friendships, happiness, sadness. It seemed my mind wanted total control so it could ponder everything to the 10th degree. I remember thinking out conversations in every possible scenario before they happened and getting worked up about outcomes that had not even happened yet. I also had a few very rough years. My Father and Best Friend died within a few months of each other, making me question everything even more. While this was a very devastating time, after a while it changed my perception of life in a very new way. It felt like my heart had been destroyed by fire and all of the sudden regrowth started to form, and soon it was thriving better than before. I started to slowly find happiness and joy in the smallest of interactions. I became fascinated with sunsets, the stars, and the shared human experiences. I started to enjoy looking people in the face and smiling big just to get their reactions, even total strangers. Towards the end of my 30’s I began to focus far less on me and more on others my environment, and my family in an extremely fascinated sense. When I was not looking, love and happiness started to creep into my every day life in very unexpected ways. I had also had two more kids, boys and our life was always a fun adventure.
40’s: Well in all fairness I am only one year in, well I am almost 42 so a little more than that. But I can honestly say that, so far, these are the happiest years of my life. If you read my blog you will know I left a lucrative corporate career to start up the blog and spend more time with my kids. Through these actions I have met some of the most wonderful and amazing people. I have also started to reconnect with some old friends, that I did not even realize I was missing until I saw them again. I keep finding fun and happiness all over the place and my hotheadedness is pretty much a thing of my past. I am way more tolerant when issues arise and I honestly want to understand where they are coming from and how I can help. I am not as skinny or beautiful as I once was, but I have more confidence than I ever have. Life is not perfect, and I no longer expect it to be, I know problems will arise, I will still make mistakes and so will people in my life, but I expect that now and accept it.
My advise to those younger than I and going through some of my same struggles is as follows:
1. Worrying never fixed anything, only actions can.
2. You have no idea what someone has gone through in their life, cut people some slack.
3. Go ahead and give people more kindness, love, friendship, smiles and laughs then they give you; you are not going to run out and they just might surprise you.
4. Anger, hate, grudges only hurt you in the long run, find a way to let it go before it does.
5. Smile at random people, it will either make you feel good or make you laugh, or both.
6. Laugh, laugh, laugh and then just laugh some more. Especially at yourself!
I am very lucky to have all the blessings I have in my life and I like to remind myself and my family of this as often as possible.