Thanks for all the support for Ang and Ali at home and for me on the road. I'm in the guest house at my dear friends Bob and Lynne's home in Phoenix. You may recall that this was Ang, Ali, and my final stop on our trip back home from MN. Bob and Lynne are like family. I always feel safe with them, and this was the PERFECT layover for tomorrow. It's like a little respite between the unbelievably hectic day today of trying to pack, take Ali to the doctor, get the oil changed on Ang's car, have two coaching calls with clients, and vacuum the house, fly to Phoenix, etc, and tomorrow... flying to NY / JFK where we have a 7 hour layover followed by one long flight to Cairo... in coach. Pray for an empty seat in first class! LOL.
Anyhow, so far so good. As for the political climate there, today's protests were scheduled and sanctioned. Tomorrow will be more telling than today as to how things are going. I got an email from our tour host, letting us know that we have an armed guard with us everywhere we go... now I am definitely not a gun guy, but that DOES sound cool.
In other news, Ali got into pre-school! I say it that way because at mid year, it is not always the case that a space opens up, but lo and behold, there is one! She'll start when we get back from Minnesota. I am so excited for her. She is going to LOVE her new school. It is literally right across the main street from our condo complex at Santiago Canyon College. They have a Child Development Center there that came highly recommended to us. What's great is that it is a 10 minute walk from door to door, so we'll get to walk Ali to school again, just like we did in MN! When she heads off to kindergarten in the fall, we walk 10 minutes in a different direction through our neighborhood park and we are at her elementary school! LOVE the ability to NOT NEED a car in southern California to do something! YAY!
Lastly for today, I want to share about an article on happiness I read on the flight here in the Southwest Magazine. The article is written by Christopher Peterson, PhD, the author of A Primer in Positive Psychology, and a regular blogger for Psychology Today. I think this is so important, I'm going to go into extreme detail with this. I sincerely hope this next conversation contributes something to you. If so, PLEASE comment on the blog so we can all be a part of this conversation...
In the article, they post a survey that ascertains your happiness. Okay. Fill it out, add up the numbers, and you find out where you rank on a happiness scale. There are 8 questions. Your answer is a number from one to five, one meaning it's not you at all, up to five where it is very much like you. Add up your answers from the 8 questions and we'll see how you do! Consider your past 30 days when answering:
(Remember, 1=very much NOT like you, 2=not like you, 3=somewhat like you, 4=like you, 5=very much like you)
I have had more good days than bad days. (1-2-3-4-5)
I enjoyed things every day. (1-2-3-4-5)
II. INVOLVEMENT AND ENGAGEMENT
I was so involved with what I did at work or school that time seemed to stand still. (1-2-3-4-5)
I took time to pursue hobbies and leisure activities. (1-2-3-4-5)
III. GOOD RELATIONSHIPS
I felt loved. (1-2-3-4-5)
I mattered to other people. (1-2-3-4-5)
I felt connected to something larger than myself. (1-2-3-4-5)
What I did made a difference in the world. (1-2-3-4-5)
WHAT'S YOUR TOTAL?
If you scored at least 25, you are usually a happy person.
If you scored at least 30, you are usually a very happy person.
If you scored above 35, wow!
[If you scored below 25, essentially you need to have more fun.]
Now, given that the past 30 days represented only month number 3 since Bella died, it would be reasonable for me to put up a low number, right?
What number do you think I got?
I believe that happiness is a state you reach when you are living to your full potential. That is my definition, not the article's. This score is great feedback for me to see that I am living FULL OUT right now, and for me, THAT is a great source of happiness.
My dear friend, Jim Hornaday, wrote on his facebook info a long time ago that people always ask him why he's smiling or what he's smiling at. He answers that he believes happiness is a choice.
Funny, before Bella, I didn't feel the same way. I wished I did, but I struggled with depression and addictive tendencies, always a little irritable, restless, and discontent.
Ironic. After experiencing the life and death of Bella as her daddy, I now understand that Jim was right all along.
The best part? I don't have to wish I feel the same way, my score tells me I already do.
How 'bout you? Is your happiness dependent upon circumstances INSIDE YOU, or OUTSIDE YOU?