Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are you happy?

A few months ago I found this picture on some random website:

And I'd gotten to this point in my life, where I could really say that, if you were to add everything together, the answer would be, "Yes, I'm happy. Probably happier than I ever thought I could be."

This is a good thing.

Not everything in our lives will always be perfect, and I get that. For example, I wasn't happy in my job. I spent a year and a half going back to school, finally getting the college degree that I quit working on so many years ago. Then I ended up right back in retail. I went back to school to get out of retail, and there I was again, just as miserable at work as I'd ever been. But I found a new job, and I'm much happier, less of the whole overworked-and-underpaid thing going on, and things are pretty good.

If you're unhappy, you should really analyze why you're unhappy. Dig deep. Don't settle for easy excuses. I was unhappy at work because I will never really enjoy retail, plain and simple. No matter how good the company is or isn't, retail isn't my game. Long term? I'd like to teach or to train, or to work on creating programs to educate or train people. I'd like to think that if I practice enough, I might eventually make a few dollars putting words down on paper. Retail doesn't really come into any of those plans, though. So I found a way to change something.

And then the other day I read this article online talking about the 10 things that Americans don't know about America. I always click on these stupid "Top 10 Things" lists despite the fact that most of them aren't all that good. This one, though, buried somewhere in the list, had this perfect little gem. 

"Most Americans mistake comfort for happiness."

Now, I'm a 35 year old male. I spend my days sitting at a desk, and my nights sitting on a couch or staring at my laptop at the kitchen table. I am, at the risk of repeating myself, hopelessly out of shape. My back hurts from the weight of my belly. I couldn't do a pushup if you promised me a bacon cheeseburger, and I get winded just starting the lawnmower. 

My clothes don't fit like they used to. I swore I would never buy 36-inch-waist pants, and those 36-inch pants that I bought anyway are now starting to feel tight. 

I am in a surprising amount of discomfort all the time.

Somewhere in between my teen years -- when I played basketball every day, hiked whenever I got a chance, played baseball with the neighbors, and ran a respectable mile -- and now, I've become a slob, and I don't even know how it happened. One day, I was pretty proud of my jump shot and my lung capacity, and the next day I found myself going back for thirds of that weird chicken-and-rice-and-gooey-cheddar-cheese dish.

At the risk of improperly tying together the concepts of comfort and happiness, I'm going to say that I'd be happier if the discomfort I'm bound to feel every day left me with some sense of accomplishment and well-being.

Yes. I'm talking about exercise. I'm talking about food that only on very rare occasions involves bacon and cheeseburgers.

It's time to take the picture I posted above to heart. It's time to change something.

I don't always plan on writing about my own personal physical fitness hell. But for now, it'll do.