Monday, January 21, 2013

Why should I follow my Bliss?

It is often said that happy people live longer. They seam to have an inner glow about them that radiates out those around them.  They move with a purpose through life and seek out others with similar interest and similar goals.  They motivate others to find their own inner happiness.  Be that a job they love, a partner who is their equal or even just following a dream to accomplish something in this world that is bigger than themselves.

They don't wallow around in self pity and say woo is me and they don't wait for a diagnosis of dying in order to start living.  People who follow their bliss don't ask those questions like "why are we here", or "what does it all mean" because they already have those answers.  Why are we all here and what does it all mean is simple.  We were created to live a life well lived. If that means becoming the great artist that in our souls we already know we are, or if that means simply doing something you are really passionate about at every given opportunity.

I have read that you shouldn't follow your bliss, that it is a unrealistic dream set in place by those who want to lead you down the yellow brick road. That is it an unattainable state of mind that in reality only leaves you broken and destroyed because so few actually get to that place in their lives where they are doing what truly makes them happy and often times once they obtain it they learn it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

I say that those who do not support your decision to be happy are so miserable in their own lives they are threatened by your determination to be happy.  Misery loves company and why should you be happy when they cannot or will not find a way to be happy themselves. Many people are content to merely exist instead of taking the bull by the horns and doing something to make their lives better.

If you are in the self examination phase of finding your bliss, or taking baby steps to make it a reality, or even just exploring options regarding things you have wanted to try but have never done so for a wide variety of reasons, there will always be haters.  There will be those folks who believe that life is about hard work and dedication. About following the rules and doing what you are told. Never bumping the system or even questioning the rules.  There are more haters than there are supporters of your dreams.

Sometimes haters can become supporters with time and patience on your part. Sometimes they cannot, they simply cannot put their own ideals aside long enough to see the forest for the trees.  They feel that although others have found their bliss and are living a life they truly enjoy that you will always be amongst the number of folks who don't.

When I decided about a decade ago to get my CDL's my loving father whom I adored and trusted had a running bet with my husband at the time that I would not finish school much less get my CDL's.  I spent 3 months 5 days a week going to school to learn to drive a tractor trailer.  I worked a full time job after school to support my family while attending school, and for every snide remark and every doubt they voiced it simply made me more determined to get license and more determined to do well.  My loving father lost his bet and in the end actually said he was proud of me for following my own path and doing what made me happy.  After that he learned if I wanted something bad enough it didn't matter what mountain I had to move to make it happen, even if I had to do it at a teaspoon every trip I would make it happen.  His doubt in me made me into a stronger person by letting me learn my own strengths and his sarcasm actually gave me the determination to make my dreams a reality.

I do not drive a truck anymore.  I have actually retired my commercial drivers license but it in no way was because of his thoughts regarding female truck drivers or his doubts in my ability to drive.  I drove a truck for 5 years, got myself out of debt and got out of a marriage that didn't make me happy.  I have always been a rebel of sorts, doing what was best for me and my family regardless of having or not having a support system in place regarding the decisions I make and the life choices I choose.

I know that not everyone is that headstrong or determined to live life by their own rules and to follow their own path.  I was simply because I had more at stake than just following my bliss.  I knew if I didn't take action I would never be able to provide my family with the things they needed in order to just survive must less thrive.

Every dream and every goal has a life span. Sometimes those lifespans reach across an entire lifetime, sometimes they are means to an end.  I know that at times you think you will always want something or that your situation will never change, but the only thing that is inevitable in this lifetime is death, taxes, and change.  Things change, people change, and what makes you happy can change.  Don't lock yourself into a dream if that isn't the dream or goal that is in your gut.  You may want something so bad you can taste it but at some time in the future that dream may change or that goal may alter into something else.  Go with the flow.

Many times I have pursued things that I thought would make me happy.  And in the end they didn't live up the reality I had created in my head, that is ok. That is the nature of the beast.  You change, your life changes, your dreams can change as well.  Now if you have always dreamed of painting and you start painting only to discover that you are not as talented as you thought you were, you may have to take a step back and do one of two things. You can either say OK tried that not for me and walk away from it. Or you can practice and practice and then practice some more until it is second nature to you and suddenly your creativity takes over and you find yourself getting better and better.

I often try new things just to challenge myself.  I may not have a burning desire in my gut to make something a reality but a mild curiosity to see where it will lead me.  I am always trying to learn new skills and learn new things. I enjoy the whole learning process. Going from the have no clue to I have heard of that and it didn't work for me phase.  I felt that way about school and probably why my major has changed 3 times during my academic career.  But the truth of the matter is I am a better person for trying on all three hats until I found one that fit and that I enjoyed wearing.

I began my educational goal of being management so my associates is in administration.  Upon finishing that degree I decided that management wasn't the right path for me so during my bachelors degree I concentrated on electronic communications, which I thoroughly enjoy but the idea of sitting in a room typing out memos or even dealing with the whole communications aspect wasn't a great fit for me.  I finally decided on accounting because I met taxes and fell in love with that field.  I love advising others as to how save money. How to fill out their initial tax forms with their employer to ensure they aren't paying taxes at the end of the year but also to ensure that Uncle Sam isn't getting to play with their money.  I just enjoy helping others. I also adore the financial aspect of it. Numbers to me always make sense, be that a spread sheet, a balance sheet or just keeping books for a company or private individual. 

I find myself in my spare time creating excel graphics to help my darling husband understand where we need to trim our household budget or why we cannot afford to buy that expensive toy he has been drooling over.  I like numbers, I also enjoy writing and creating art with my camera.  I am a very multi dimensional person.  I doubt I will ever make a living at taking pictures, but it is something that brings me joy.  I enjoy writing and so I blog, to exercise those muscles. Once upon a time I had a dream of writing books, preferably fiction because I could create the world in which I wanted my characters to live. But I also know that my writing is not good enough to make a living doing that either. Now I might make some extra cash on the side with my camera or even make a check as a freelance writer but I lack the dedication and the passion to make those my career of choice.  Who knows my path may change and I might end up as a photographer or a writer before my journey reaches its end but if not I will still enjoy taxes and bookkeeping.

Life is to short to lock yourself into a role that doesn't fit, and at times we all find ourselves living a life we never envisioned for ourselves. But finding your bliss is about so much more than just loving the job you do or finding your version of paradise on earth.  It is about being happy with the life you live and learning to have that happy place to escape to when the rest of your life gets out of control.  It is about loving yourself enough to make your own happiness a priority and not just working so hard to make others happy in your life.

Finding your bliss is important because when you find your bliss and it changes you are more able to make the adjustments in your life and do what makes you happy instead of staying on a path that no longer works for you.  It is about caring enough about yourself to do what is important to you and for you and to survive the hard times by having those positive memories and positive thoughts already firmly in place and the ability to adapt and survive the tough times.

We all need something that gives us comfort. Some find that comfort in a the bottom of a bottle which down the line causes more issues than it cures.  Some of us find it in a loyal friend (either two or four legged) but those things are fleeting and won't be around always.  Some of us find in our gardens, or in our paintings, or in our photography or even in the love of our significant others.  But many things in life are fleeting whether we realize it or not.  Friends may come and go, partners may change or leave, and things that you once found happiness in may longer bring you the happiness they once did.

Life changes and in order to stay happy you have to learn to change with it.  You have to learn to roll with the punches that life throws and as someone who has followed their bliss it is much easier to adapt and change and follow a path that may be unfamiliar or even foreign to you.  Change isn't easy, and many people cannot adapt.  Did you know that men often die shortly after retiring because suddenly their self value plummets when they are no longer active within the economy.  Many men actually identify their value as human beings with their ability to provide for their families. If they do not cultivate activities and interest to follow after retirement many simply feel that there is no reason to continue on.

Women often go through a mourning period when their last child grows up and moves out. They refer to that as the empty nest syndrome. Suddenly for the first time they have nothing pressing in their lives.  They have spend the majority of their adult lives caring for others and have no clue how to care for themselves.  Change is not easy regardless of your gender, age, ethnic background or cultural differences.  It affects everyone in different ways. Some people it makes mad, others it may make depressed, some it may put you off your food or make you take a long hard look at your life. But the one constant is bliss.

If you can find something that sparks your passion that no matter what is going to be there regardless if for 5 years or 50 it gives you something to channel that energy into, to lose yourself in and to escape to during those changes. It gives you something to focus on so that you aren't sitting around going woo is me.  It will give you a distraction while the dust settles and life continues you.  It will give you a firm foundation that you can build the next chapter of your life on.

You may never "find" your bliss, but finding your bliss isn't about living the perfect life. It is about living a life well lived.  It is about finding purpose and something that motivates you to lead you where you were born to go.  It is about being happy no matter what may changes in your life and learning to accept change as part of life.

With a dream or goal in the works you have that stability to help absorb the pain of change and give you a focus for the life you want to create. It gives you something to fall back on and a sense of peace you wouldn't have without it.  It gives you something to say ok this has gone to hell in a handbasket but it is ok because I still have this.  Be that losing your job, losing your spouse, losing your home, losing a parent, or losing your dog.  It gives you something to be happy about, even when you don't want to be happy at all.

I hope my blog today gives you hope. I hope it helps others realize how important it is to follow your bliss.  That regardless if others feel your dreams or goals are silly or a waste of your time or resources this is something you need to do for yourself.  That without it you will be lost in a sea of despair when those life altering things happen.  Will you ever make a living doing what you love, who knows.  But you will never know if you do not follow your bliss and create a life worth living.

Until tomorrow blog buddies, be safe, be sane and be happy.

Winter is the season when the whole world seems to go to sleep. The weather is cold, the ground is hard, and the trees and plants seem to be dead. Since there is little else to do, it is a time that is conducive to working hard. There isn't much else to do, and the weather else seems to suggest that we must buckle down and do the things that we have been avoiding. This is not a bad thing. It can very satisfying to work hard and be creative. Creativity is part of our makeup. Without a purpose in our lives, depression would quickly set in.

These are not my words but this is my photo taken with my point and shoot camera, taking baby steps towards my goals and dreams make my life worth living.  I am still saving for my dream camera and although some medical and financial issues have taken their toil on my fund I am still hopeful and confidant that when the time is right this too shall be a reality.

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