I've been thinking a great deal lately about the concept of happiness. What is it really, and how does one get it. Is it found? Created? An illusion? Many, many years ago, I asked Big Red if he was truly happy. He comments now that my having asked him this simple question caught him off guard. No one had ever asked him this. At the time, he thought long and hard before he answered. His answer was, "no." It saddened me a little to hear his answer, but then I thought more about it. Consider all that goes into being happy: relationships, work, health, etc. If you can't check one of those off, so to speak, then maybe you can't ring the happy bell.

I was at a Wine & Cheese party this past weekend with some of my friends. One particular friend, a new fabulous one from work, Z, and I found ourselves sipping wine and chatting on the couch about said subject of happiness. I asked Z the following: How do I get to the point, or rewire my brain to be content and happy with what I already have. How do I stop WANTING so much more? Let's take the case of my home. I love our little house. It's perfect for us right now and we've put in endless hours into making it ours. Yet as I drive into work everyday through beautiful neighborhoods, including my dream neighborhood, I can't help but wish that someday I'll be living in one of those incredible houses. And what if that never happens? I will have spent so much time wishing I were there, rather than having had enjoyed here. The same thing goes for cars. I have a car that works, and it's perfectly fine. If I got the same model again, it's still a pretty dang nice car. But what about that Range Rover Sport? Or the 5 series BMW. I want one of those cars, but those cars cost mucho dinero. More dinero than what a humble public school teacher can afford - even with a respectable salary.

So again I arrive at: How do I become okay with having what I have and being okay with perhaps never having more than what I have now? I know there are people out there who think this way. I'd like to know how to do it myself.

Z said that it probably starts with what I just said: enjoying what I have right now. Not dreaming about the future, but staying present. Truth is, life is probably much simpler with fewer things, but dammit I'm an American, and acquiring is an All-American trait! In trying to psychologize myself, I'm forced to think of the environment in which I grew up. My parents always talked about wanting a bigger house, better car, blah, blah, blah. And what was wrong with that? I was a TV kid (still am) who was probably brain-washed by all the commercials. In fact just the other day I posted on Facebook that I never actually received the toy of my dreams: a Power Wheels car. Boo. Hoo.

Is the answer to quit listening to my parents, or turn off the TV? I. Don't. Think. So. Please let that not be the answer. Turning off the TV. What would I do without my Real Housewives of Atlanta, Beverly Hills, New Jersey, New York, Orange County? Don't judge.

If I could just arrive at being content with what I have and not worrying about having more, then I think happiness would be much easier to attain. For the record, I think I'm a pretty happy person. Definitely a positive woman who sees the glass half full - hence the title of this blog.

One thing I have learned recently that may or may not contribute to my happiness, or that of Big Red's, is our ability to sustain a household on a reduced income. Big Red is between jobs and to help carry us for the duration of this betweeness, he has a part-time gig. What has been enlightening is the fact that we can be a functioning household with a lot less money - a lot less than we probably realized...which begs the question again: WHY NEED MORE?

So my new challenge: Enjoy Now, Want Less.

The less complicated things are in life, the fewer distractions to that road of happiness.

ps: My quest to better health has been paying off. I'm now at 164 lbs. The last time I wrote about my weight was on January 8 - I was 168. For the "Biggest Loser" competition at work, I'm actually down 8 lbs. Tomorrow I'm going to switch up my workouts, get a little of that muscle confusion going. For January I was running 2x a week, and using the elliptical 3x. I'm going to keep that 5x/week workout, but I'm going to bump up the elliptical workouts by adding time, and then some strength training. My goal by the end of February is 158 lbs.

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