Ancient Wisdom for Happiness
Average female life expectancy in the US is about 81 years old. Let’s just say I’m well past the halfway mark. Which I figure makes me wise (look, you either gotta go with old or wise and I’m going with wise). And I’m pretty darn happy, so I’m going to offer all you young whippersnappers some happiness tips:
EXERCISE! I just got back from a physical and my cholesterol and blood pressure rock! And it’s not because of my diet – Little Debbie is my girl! You want to sleep better, have more energy, be happier? Move. All I do is walk – do it too.
You definitely want to eat better than I do, but I’d rather go out at 80 eating Reese’s Cups than at 82 eating broccoli. But we’ll revisit when I’m 79.5.
Live beneath your means. I just calculated how much I’m going to need to retire and I’m on track. I’m also not counting on Social Security. And you shouldn’t either, at least not at current levels. It’s set to run out of money in 2033. Spend less than you earn and you’ll be happier. Or just be really, really nice to me, and I’ll put you in my will.
Let go of bad relationships to create space for good ones. There are so many awesome people in the world, don’t waste another second with those who bring you down. Everyone should have one friend who makes you laugh so hard you cry; one who is so smart it makes you want to be smarter; one who would spend the night with you in the hospital; and one who tells you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. If you don’t have those friends, keep looking!
Kindness is vastly underrated. It doesn’t take any huge effort, but every time I’m the recipient of it, I feel so uplifted. Kindness ranges from simply holding the door for someone to letting your spouse watch their crappy TV shows. Kindness is holding someone’s hand when they’re scared instead of filming them for YouTube. We’ve all been both kind and unkind, and I can say for myself, I wish I’d been kinder. It costs so little.
Take responsibility. Here’s my old age rant – I feel we’re becoming a society of victims. If you want to be happy and successful and everything else that is good, own your life. If there’s anything in your life that’s not working, it’s up to you to fix it. Don’t get me wrong, you can ask for help, but you’ve got to ask. Note – you’ve just been empowered.
Be grateful. Stop right now. Who are you grateful for? Who shows up for you? Tell them. Tell your employees, tell your co-workers, tell your loved ones. Call, send them an e-mail or a text. Do it now. I don’t care if they think you’re weird. Do you feel better? Pretty awesome, huh? They feel better too.
Tell your parents you love them. My Mom died suddenly several years ago, and there are many things I feel guilty about. But I’m so glad I got to tell her how grateful I was for all the sacrifices she made for me. She was one strong lady and did so much for my brother and me. Your parents aren’t going to be around forever and I promise you, you don’t want to mess this one up. Tell them.
Make peace with yourself. We war with our bodies, we beat ourselves up for our mistakes, we hold ourselves to impossible standards. Our lives are so brief – we should celebrate who we are and embrace the messiness. We get wrinkles, we make mistakes, we get crabby. But we also bring joy, have great ideas, and can eat chocolate chip cookies.
And when in doubt, ask WWBWD? (What would Betty White do?)