Tag Archives: happy

Beware The Attack Of The Joy Suckers

My husband taught me the phrase “psychic vampire.” (I thought it was his own but I just Googled it and apparently it garners a spot in the Urban Dictionary) It refers to the people in your life who need constant reassurance and validation. They’re never satisfied. They feed on your self-confidence and security. It wears you down. You’re exhausted after an encounter with them. You know the type. I see you nodding your heads out there.

Well, I have been slowly eliminating psychic vampires from my life. And I’ve been pretty successful.

The ones I will never be able to eliminate from my life, because they’re less sinister and less predictable, are the “joy suckers.” (Now, I thought I had created that phrase. But upon Googling it I discovered there are quite a few people using it. Either I acquired it so long ago, from an unknown source, that I don’t remember first hearing it OR, trend setter that I am, I did create it and the world has embraced my phrase. I’d like to think it’s the latter definition and not the former.)

My definition of a joy sucker is quite simple. They simply suck the joy right out of life. Not all the time. That would be a psychic vampire. And because they’re so unpredictable you don’t see them coming. No, a joy sucker comes along when you least expect it.

You’re bouncing along one day, you smile and say, “What a beautiful, sunny day!” and they say, “Sure, if you like skin cancer.” Or, while enjoying a delicious icy cold Coca-Cola and someone reminds you, “You do know sugar is like rocket fuel for that cold you’re struggling with?” Or, you’re having a wonderful holiday treat, one that you made from scratch and the joy sucker says, “If I ate that (wink, wink) it would go straight to my ass.”

Joy suckers.

Sucking the joy right out of the moment one sentence at a time.

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Filed under Observations

Everything’s Amazing, Nobody’s Happy

Evidently this has been around for about 7 months. But it’s late night tv and I don’t do late night tv. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just can’t keep my eyes open past 10:30pm. And TiVo or DVR? Our DVR is already 91% full with junk we haven’t watched yet but think we’re actually going to make time for. So, no room for late night tv on our DVR.

Comedian Louis C.K. shares his take on our skewed sense of reality. Amazing things are going on all around us and we take them for granted. Along these lines I’m reading a great book called “Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression.” little heathens

And now that I’m reading this book it annoys me even more when people try to compare the times we’re living in now, this “great” recession, to the Great Depression. I realize times are very tough now. Tougher than we’ve seen it in a very, very long time. But our great country is still, even in these “hard” times, so incredibly blessed. I recently listened to a story on the BBC World News commenting on a woman trying to feed her family in a small village in India. All they had to eat were lentils with water. Every meal. Every day. A segment on 60 Minutes years ago interviewed America’s poor. They interviewed the poor of NYC. America’s poor didn’t have their own health insurance – but they had Medicaid. They couldn’t afford to go out to eat – but they had food stamps. They lived in NY City and they didn’t have a car, but they had cable. Before I’m blasted for my comments let me say I am very aware that people are struggling every day in this country. I’m just saying that maybe, just maybe, there are some of us out there that need to readjust our perception. What IS poor? What IS tragic?

And so you can blast me armed with a little background knowledge let me put it out there that both my husband and I are college educated. But we worked for our education, paying for it through student loans and part-time jobs.  My husband makes enough money so that I can stay home with our children. We have a nice home and two cars. But it wasn’t always this way. And for a while, I was a single mother, teaching at a private school, making just above poverty level. In fact, if my car had been 2 years older I would have qualified for food stamps. But I didn’t feel poor. When I was very young I grew up in a home where all four of us kids slept in the only bedroom and my parents slept on a pull out couch in the living room. We rotated four meals throughout the week: spaghetti, mac and cheese, spanish rice and hotdogs and beans. My grandparents had to help us out periodically and I remember so looking forward to going to their house to be able to eat something different and have fresh fruit! Even then, I didn’t feel poor.  

It’s our perception. The reality hides in Zimbabwe, Somalia, the ghettos of India. What most of us enjoy today many in the world view as a luxury: fresh fruit and vegetables, more than three outfits, two pairs of shoes. A book to read. A television to watch. A refrigerator to keep things fresh.

What we enjoy today IS amazing!

Go here (on YouTube) to see this very funny video. Evidently, if I post it here I’m violating some copyright laws. Oops! (And here I display a Blog With Integrity badge……slinking off very quietly now. Sorry!)

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Filed under Soapbox, Uncategorized

Dancing with Mrs. Happy and Mr. Right

In my younger days my mother would say to me, “Would you rather be happy or right?” and I would reply, “I’m happiest when I’m right!” I was young. Ready to take on the world. I thought I knew what was what. I wanted to go to law school. I could certainly hold my own in an argument.

But it took me until now to really understand what she meant.

And some people? They never get it.

I was at a neighborhood get-together and I met the elderly mother of one of my friends. She was visiting from out of state. We were chatting about her grandchildren, her visit and then moved to the innocuous topic of the weather. “The weather man said today that we’ve had 8 straight days with no sunshine,” I told her. “Well we had four days of no sun,” she replied. I thought she hadn’t heard me. I smiled and said, “Yes, but we’ve had more than a week without sun…unusual for this area.” I was trying to be more clear using the term “week” instead of 8 days. She said, “But we had 4 straight days of rain!” I just nodded as I tried to figure out if week or eight somehow rhymed with one, two or three and that she still just misunderstood. But she hadn’t.  Every topic of conversation continued in the same vein. She had worse allergies, better seat at the event, worse meal on the plane. The draft we were feeling was stronger where she was standing – not 6 inches from me. I kept hearing my mother’s voice in my head, “happy or right? happy or right?” I nodded, smiling dumbly. I was going to be happy.

I would probably never see her again. With some people it’s easy to just smile and nod. Let them be right. With the people you love? Not so much.

And that’s what I struggle with. My husband knows a lot. About lots of things. Even when he doesn’t. My teenager knows everything, too. All the time. In her mind. These moments become defining moments where I pick my battles. The “happy or right?” mantra playing over and over in my head until I can choose what is needed for that situation. Sometimes, I can be happy that the movie we just saw was PG-13 (it was R rated) and wasn’t it pretty violent for PG-13? (really, it was R) I can smile and nod and be happy. “But you said I could go to Sara’s after the concert!” Ahhh, no, I didn’t. Your grandparents are visiting. “But you promised.” I wouldn’t have promised with out of town relatives visiting. You’re lucky you’re going to the concert. Any more discussion about this and you won’t be going to any concert.

Recently, while at a nice restaurant, a server brought two plates of the appetizer we ordered. “Oh,” I said, “We just ordered one.” She got very defensive and told us that our waiter had written down two. Our waiter, was standing just behind her and smiled. “No,’ he said, “It was two soups,” which he had in his hands. He set the soup in front of my husband and I. “No it wasn’t!” She wanted a fight. He just smiled. And I could faintly hear: happy or right? happy or right? I believed him. You know how you can just tell when someone is right? He had proven to be a very experienced waiter so far. I don’t believe he made the mistake. And he wasn’t going to engage with her- not in front of the customers, anyway. But I think he was choosing to be happy.

Knowing when to Pick Your Battles and the Smile and Nod. It’s a dance I do every day. And I’m getter better and better. Pretty soon, I’ll be good enough to try out for So You Think You Can Dance. And I bet I’ll win!

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Filed under family, Growing Up, How We Roll, Problems