in the past two days i've had two different friends tell me i'm the happiest person they know. what a compliment! i don't think there is anything i'd rather be known for, to be honest. people ask why i'm always so happy, or how i stay so optimistic, every so often, so here it is. lindsay's secret to being happy... no gimmick, no infomercial 2-for-1 deal, no saving your soul, no books to buy or chants to chant...
gratitude is my secret to being happy. honest! (notice i say "my" secret, not "the" secret. this may not be a one-size-fits-all straight route to happiness.) i had never heard of practicing gratitude until a few years ago, when jason mraz started talking and blogging about it and i was all "well DUH, i gotta try me some gratitude!" this is not to say that i wasn't happy before then, but the happiness i've experienced since starting to be conscious of and grateful for my blessings every day is a bigger, fuller, deeper happiness than ever before. disclaimer: i am not happy all the time! but i am grateful for the sad times, the angry times, the emotionally "off" times. the human experience would be pretty boring if i, or anyone, was happy all the time.
the practice of gratitude can look different for everyone. it doesn't have to be opening your window every morning and yelling "I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS DAY!" but it can be (remember to be grateful for your neighbors, though.) i don't have a set routine for my gratitude. sometimes i write things i am grateful for in a list. sometimes i think of as many things i was grateful for in a given day before i fall asleep. sometimes something happens and i just take a minute to consciously feel gratitude. i say "thank you" as often as i can. (it's especially enjoyable to say it in spanish. grrrrrracias! rolled "r"s are a thrill.) it's the recognition of whatever you are grateful for that counts, anything else is just a tangible, visible, audible expression of your gratitude.
right now, on a bolt bus somewhere between new york city and boston, at 3:30pm on friday september 10th, i am grateful for:
- my apartment and roommates. i am able to live in an incredible city that makes me feel exuberantly alive, in a completely adorable apartment with the best roommates a girl could dream up.
- the mild weather. it's that temperature where you could wear just about anything and be comfortable. lovely.
- my invisible children family. i was able to see my friend koji play music a couple of nights ago, and to spend time with two more members of the fam. i am spending this weekend with yet another. i met them all because they had the passion for a cause to jump on a bus with a bunch of strangers in april 2009, and they completely amaze me.
- bolt bus! this blog post is brought to you by the good people at bolt bus, who kindly provide free wi-fi. my bus driver's name is flash, and he introduced himself as a "people relocation specialist". you're a good man, flash, thanks for driving me.
- school. really! i started my last year of being a full time student yesterday, and i am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and to earn this degree that is going to help me to help other people reach their own happiness. i am going to be (i already am!) a joyologist-social worker. i am grateful for tricia huffman's inspiration!
- dried mango. i picked some up at duane reade before getting on the bus and they're delicious! way more sugar than i expected, but it's like eating candy!
- this weekend. i am going to the life is good festival to hear good music with happy people (jason mraz! brett dennen! guster! color me stoked.) it's my last hurrah of the summer and it's going to be great. LIFE IS GOOD!
what are you grateful for?