5 Steps to Happiness in 2011.

January 6, 2011

Alright, I’ll admit it. The 2000s were kind of lame. So far the 21st century hasn’t been the cool, flying-car utopia we were all hoping. But to be honest, I’ve actually become more optimistic over the last few years, because I was able to find some happiness in the little things. My goal is to appreciate those little things more in the upcoming year. Personally I’m not a fan of resolutions. Too much responsibility. Plus, even if you do break them, you couldn’t care less to fix them, so why make them in the first place? These simple five steps are just things to put in your brain.

Only 695 days until armageddon. Make 'em count.

But man. 2011, what do you have in store for us? Technology, endless movie sequels, shitty Top 40 music, more political arguing, eleven books by James Patterson (truth), etc. The list goes on. Well.  Look no further for salvation, dear reader.  Time to enjoy life more! We’re all gonna die in 2012 anyway, right, John Cusack? Let’s make our last full year the best ever!

1.)  Shuffle

Yes, damn it, shuffle.  Most of you probably own iPods or some kind of mp3 player with a shuffle feature, and I would like to encourage you to shuffle.  If you claim to love every song on your iPod, then prove it!  Whether you’re in your car or walking with your headphones plugged in, shuffle your music and enjoy the randomness of life.  Try not to pick and choose what fate throws you; don’t skip, skip, skip until you find a song you want to listen to.  Just let it happen.  How many songs on your iPod have you just skipped over because you’ve never even heard them before?  Thought so.  If you come across something you just NEED to skip over, delete it later from your iPod.  There’s too much good music out there for you to own that crap. In other words there is no room for Ke$ha in your musical arsenal, so get rid of it.

2.)  Limit Your Texting

Most conversations aren’t worth more than a few lines, so find other ways to get your message across.  Texting has made us impatient.  I’m so guilty of this.  If we arrive at Restaurant A at noon, and our friends are supposed to be there too, how often do we text something stupid like “I’m here”?  Ten years ago people would wait for their friends or call if they would be late.  Other useless overused text messages: “What’s up?”  “LOL”  “Ok”  “Bye”  You may have unlimited texts on your phone plan but that doesn’t mean you have to overdo it.  Try to avoid asking questions in your texts.  Conversations shouldn’t be tapped out with your thumbs, especially if it’s possible to talk to that person face to face.  Remember what it was like to communicate without a phone in your hand, and you won’t feel so fracking lonely, idiot.

3.)  Support Creativity

Even if you’re not a creative person yourself, acknowledge the original things that people produce. Hollywood is suffering because more people are dishing out money to see comic book movies and vampire chick flicks (and their endless sequels) rather than watching original films. Supply and demand, folks. Demand original movies by spending money on those films other than “Iron Man 2” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”. Oh look, “Black Swan” is not based on a previous film or book! It has an original screenplay! Also, attend local art openings and meet interesting people.  READ MORE BOOKS. Stop watching “Deal or No Deal” and realize that the path to happiness is not your sterile television set. It lies in the millions of sources around you that you’re just too lazy to experience. You have a library card. Use it!

4.)  Write

I don’t care if you’re a creative writer or not.  But remember to write.  Whether you’re recounting something of your life, or you’re inventing something new, put it down on paper.  Don’t overwork yourself and try tackling a full journal on day one, but try and write a sentence a day.  Just one.  “Josie, my labradoodle, took me for a walk rather than me taking her.”  “There’s never enough money in my bank account.”  Whatever you want.  Don’t write it on Facebook or Twitter, but put pen to paper and jot it down.  Keep your sentences in a notebook or something.  Date them, or don’t.  Just write.  As long as you write a sentence a day, you will never have a day when nothing was accomplished.  Even if it’s the most boring day of your life, you’ll still have that one sentence that says so.

5.) Make Your Own Meals!

I’ve learned this recently, as I’ve recently taken on a new eating regiment in order to lose weight. (Okay okay, there’s ONE resolution I’ll admit to. Jesus.) But realize that most food you eat at restaurants is loaded with fat, salt and sugar, especially at fast food restaurants. I challenge you to buy a cookbook (or just crack it open if you have one), find a simple entrée and make it for yourself and a friend. Cooking and eating are such sociable activities that if you have someone around to cook with or for, you’ll find it much easier to get in the habit of cooking at home. Invite friends! Have a movie night! Just stop ordering things through your car window, because, despite your desire for it, fast food is designed to have you coming back for more. Instead, buy a box of pasta ($1.19), a jar of Prego ($2.49), cook it up, eat it at home and save the leftovers! A Big Mac alone is $3.80, and 98% of the population would not reheat a Big Mac even if you did have some leftover.

“Life is too short,” say the old people, and I’m beginning to take it to heart. I’m an unabashed conspiracy theorist, (Did you hear about the massive bird suicides in the south?!?! Total coincidence, right?! I THINK NOT!) but I’m not one to truly believe in a 2012 epidemic. Although that’s not to say I’m not hopeful something will happen just so doubters will say, “Well, damn” before they’re submerged in lava and I am laughing from the bow of my impervious, steel Noah’s Ark 2.0.

Bon voyage and godspeed, 2011.



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