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Can You Make Yourself Happy?

Last month I was reading an article about an app that comes with exercises meant to make you happier. Perhaps not happy but happier than you are overall.

It piqued my interest because… well… don’t we all want to be happier?  I mean, who would turn down something like happiness?  (“Oh, no, thanks.  I’d rather be miserable.”)  And at the same time, I don’t know if making oneself happy is actually possible.  I think there are things we can do that bring us toward or farther away from that emotion, but actually making happiness happen?  That seems outside our control.

Right?

I mean, I can’t make myself sad.  I can read sad books and watch sad movies and listen to sad stories and feel something akin to sad.  But once I move away from the stimuli, I’m usually not sad for very long.  In all of those cases, I’m sad for.  I’m sad for the character or the other person, but I’m not sad for myself.  So I can’t really make myself sad.  It’s like I can only go and stand next to sad, but I can’t actually become sad.

I can recognize that: That the sad I feel when I watch the sad movie is not the same kind of sad I feel when I’m really grieving a loss.  They are both sad, but one feels real and vivid and the other feels like I’m viewing sad through a window.  It is outside, and I am inside.  I can look at it, but I don’t have to get close to it.

So wouldn’t the opposite be true, too?  Can we really make ourselves happy?  I can do the exercises on that app and feel like it was time well spent, but does that actually mean that I’m happier?  So much of my happiness is a combination of how I’m viewing the world at the moment coupled with what is happening in my day-to-day world.  Content with work, getting some me-time, feeling like I’m doing a good job on the parenting front: All of that equals happiness.  When things are not great with work, I’m not getting me-time, or I’m feeling like a failure in parenting: I’m not feeling happiness.

Can we really make ourselves happier if those facets of life (whichever ones you use to determine your happiness levels) are out of whack?  Can I be miserable with work and forget to do stuff for the kids and balance it with a few exercises on an app and restore happiness?

Because if we all agree that we can’t make ourselves be sad, why do we believe the idea that we can make ourselves be happy?

August 28, 2016   11 Comments

609th Friday Blog Roundup

The twins now have a locker.  Well, they each have their own locker.  This is a big step up from elementary school when all they had was a desk and a cubby.  Both have a few issues opening said lockers.

But that’s not the point.  The point is that it is very important that we decorate said locker within an inch of its life.  I’ve been tucking away comic books and ripping pictures from People magazine all summer that they can use to wallpaper the walls.  And I’m getting each a dry erase board so they can write themselves important notes.  (But which I know they’ll use to write song lyrics and ridiculous things from autocorrect.)

Here’s the memory I have from middle school/high school, and I’m not sure kids still do this: Did you decorate your friends’ lockers for their birthday?  I remember that after you left school the day before your birthday, your friends stayed behind and filled your locker with streamers and balloons and candy.  If you had a summer birthday, people usually did it during your half-birthday.  Was this a thing where you lived?

I told the kids I needed their locker combo so I could surprise them with something like that one day because I wasn’t sure kids did that anymore.  And it was always the best feeling to open that metal door and have tiny balloons fall out on you.  Though they pointed out that if no one did this anymore, it would look a little weird.  Are kids still doing this these days?

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Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

  • None… sniff

Okay, now my choices this week.

Res Cogitatae has a post about worrying that struck close to home.  She worries about a potential non-problem (she just doesn’t know yet) because it’s a situation that has a solution, and it distracts her from the very real problems that currently exist that do not have solutions.  It’s also a post about what it’s like to parent a second child.  Just a really really good read about how we’re all individuals, but there are clearly commonalities, too.

Dear Noah has a post about the fact that had Noah lived, he would have been starting preschool.  She writes, “Owen’s school is incredibly full.  There are wait lists for every class but one.  The one that Noah would have been in.  His spot is there.  But he isn’t.”  Please go over and give her a hug.

Lastly, Riding the IVF Roller Coaster is back with an update.  She muses about whether she should change the title now that she’s not doing IVF, but IVF is still a lens through which she sees the world.  She writes, “I think I’ve been living less deliberately than I should. I’ve been trying to keep my head above water for so long that I’ve come to consider treading water OK.”  As a fellow water treader, I want to start swimming again, too.

The roundup to the Roundup: Did people decorate your locker for your birthday?  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between August 19th and 26th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

August 26, 2016   9 Comments

The Cursed Child Questions (Spoilers Abound) Part 4

Last time (I think), you have been warned. There are absolutely, definitely huge spoilers in this post for JK Rowling’s The Cursed Child. Look away if you don’t want the play ruined.

I mean it.

This is your last warning…

Okay, coast is clear.

So Voldemort and Bellatrix had a child: Delphi, otherwise known as the Augurey.  She was born right before the Battle of Hogwarts (page 287) at Malfoy Manor.  So… when we saw Bellatrix at Malfoy Manor in Book 7, it was late March.  And the Battle of Hogwarts started May 1st.  So… lets give the woman a few days to recover from giving birth so she can dive into fighting at Hogwarts and assume she delivered in late April.  Which means that she was 8 months pregnant when the trio was caught by Snatchers and Dobby died.  But no one noticed her enormous, pregnant belly?

Fine, fine, so maybe Delphi was a preemie.  But still — belly, right?

Getting that fact out of the way, here’s the thing with this plot twist: It is completely out-of-character for both Bellatrix AND Voldemort.  Neither would seek “immortality” through children; Bellatrix is set up to be the antithesis of her light-haired sister who is obsessed with her child and continuing the Malfoy line.  So she certainly wouldn’t suggest a baby.

And Voldemort?  The man who spent years tearing apart his soul to become immortal?  He certainly isn’t muddying his ultimate plan with children.  It’s even implied that Voldemort didn’t know that he had a daughter since Delphi had to introduce the idea to him on page 286.  So… are we to assume that Voldemort took time out of his busy killing and torturing schedule for a quickie with Bellatrix whenever the itch arose?  Again, doesn’t really sound in character.

At least, not the Bellatrix and Voldemort I know.

And yet the girl clearly can fly.

Anyone else totally thrown off by this plot twist?  Did you find it believable, or were you shaking your head and wishing Rowling had tried something else?

August 24, 2016   5 Comments

The Cursed Child Questions (Spoilers Abound) Part 3

I am telling you once again, you have been warned. There are absolutely, definitely spoilers in this post for JK Rowling’s The Cursed Child. Look away if you don’t want the play ruined.

I mean it.

This is your last warning…

Okay, coast is clear.

My favourite moment in the original series came in book 7 when you learn that Aberforth has been there the entire time.  That Rowling began dropping clues in book 1.  I don’t know why that meant so much to me, but it did.  Best reveal ever.

The trolley witch was sort of that reveal in this book.  Bit character that you’ve barely noticed becomes an immortal witch (hey, why didn’t Voldemort do whatever the trolley witch did to live indefinitely?) hell-bent on getting the kids to Hogwarts.  I’ll never read the Hogwarts Express scenes in the rest of the books in the same way.

BUT.

When they brought up the Triwizard Tournament early in the play, I thought that we were going to find out that Albus and Scorpius were the ones that use the Imperius curse on Krum in the maze.  Wouldn’t that have been brilliant?  Again, something in front of our face the entire time, and we’d finally have an explanation that it was Albus and not Barty Crouch controlling that moment.

But that plot point never happened.  Instead the moments where they went back in time were my least favourite in the play.  Ludo Bagman didn’t sound like himself at all — and why did we never hear him say anything remotely like those introductions in book 4?  The interaction in the maze was unsatisfying.  I didn’t feel like I was going back to the same events from book 4, but rather some messed up memory of those events.  It feel less like time travel and more like a flimsy re-creation.

I really wanted Rowling to use the play to address the story holes that fans have found over the years, but there were few Aberforth-like reveals.  Please don’t misunderstand me; I enjoyed the book, more than I’ve enjoyed a lot of other stories recently.  But at the same time, I don’t think we’ll keep it on the bookshelf in the kitchen with the rest of the series.  It feels a little bit like Pottermore; a fun revisit but ultimately a different beast.

What were your thoughts about returning to events from book 4 inside this play?  Did you enjoy seeing them from a new angle, or do you wish she had left those moments alone?

August 23, 2016   3 Comments

#Microblog Mondays 104: End of Summer Blues

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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We’re nearing the end of summer.  Soon the twins will be back in school, and I’ll be expected to buckle down and accomplish things.  No more beach, no more pool.

I always have a hard time with endings, even when I know that summer — barring the apocalypse — will roll around again in about 9 months.  Plus we have at least two beach trips planned over winter, so it’s not even like I need to wait 9 months to get back to the sand.  But still.  You know.  Summer is almost done.

I am admittedly a cold weather person.  But I’m a beach person, too.  It doesn’t really match up, but I make it work.

Are you more a summer person or a winter person?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Stew & Stories – Nom Nom With Naba 14. Missing Noah 27. Jess
2. Kind & And All Things Nice – Random Thoughts Naba 15. Isabelle 28. Virgí nia
3. Just Heather 16. Empty Arms, Broken Heart 29. Tas IVFer
4. Persnickety 17. Baby Blue Sunday 30. Raven
5. Lori Holden 18. the OCD infertile 31. Mali (No Kidding)
6. Traci York, Writer 19. Failing at Haiku 32. Mali (A Separate Life)
7. Middle Girl 20. torthú il 33. Birds, Bees, and Medicine
8. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable 21. Cyn K 34. Delenn
9. Unpregnant Chicken 22. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 35. Mom Pharm D
10. Kimberly @ Infertility Unfiltered 23. Journeywoman 36. Shail
11. No Baby Ruth 24. Daryl 37. illustr8d
12. IF Pom 25. Upside of IF
13. Cristy 26. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)

August 22, 2016   27 Comments

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