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Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Joy of Living

On lesson I learned early on in parenting was that if it's not hurting anyone, the answer is not automatically "No!".  Yes, you can wear your bathing suit to the dinner table.  Yes, you can roll your Play-Doh together.  No, you cannot paint your brother blue.

See?  It's remarkably easy, and not only that, it's liberating to both parent and child.

I remember when my eldest was just learning to walk and I wanted to take a quick walk up to the corner store to get some milk.  He wanted to stop and contemplate the lady bugs in the hedges, the day lily blooming in the crack of a sidewalk, the ants crossing the sidewalk.  I was in a hurry.  I kept trying to hurry him along, but he was stubborn and would stop and look and try to get me to see what he was seeing.  So finally I gave in and looked. I'd stopped looking at the wonders of nature years before.  It was at that moment that I rediscovered this world and the joy that brought me.

Ever after I always stopped to see what my children would show me and I've never been sorry for it.

Many people think that I am angry and unhappy.  I am the least of those as one person can get. For the most part I enjoy life and living because I do what I feel I am meant to be doing and it is, for the most part, immensely satisfying.  Traffic and shopping are the two things guaranteed to sour my mood.  Since I am a misanthrope I do try to avoid people as much as possible and this makes me very happy.

Joy does not come from things without.  Happiness never will come in the form of something else for it is within us to be able to feel joy and happiness.  It is very true that you cannot be happy with anything unless you are, first, happy with yourself.  You can chisel that in stone, Bub.  People think that if only they had that job or that car or that house, then they would be happy.  They would still be unhappy with those things because they are not, firstly, happy with themselves.  Things may make you happy for a short while, but in the long run, you really have to like yourself.

The one thing everyone realizes is that most people don't like it when other people are happy.  Human beings are jealous idiots, desiring to ruin for others what they themselves do not possess.  They honestly believe that in that ruination they will then possess what they envy.  Mental alchemy of that sort is beyond me.  And knowing that my happiness, my joy in life, is truly a thorn in their side, I do not let their envy begrudge me my joy. In other words, I really enjoy sticking it to them by enjoying my life.  But that is not the reason for my joy, it's just a serendipitous effect.

Live your life full of joy in a world that has little use for it.

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