On Monday, I asked the question of what makes you happy—and when are you the happiest. My first answer was that spending time with family, often on vacation when I am completely relaxed and decompressed, certainly ranks high on my list of when I am most happy. Do you feel the same?
But there are other things that can push the happy meter into the 10 range (with, of course, 10 being the highest). Watching my children grow into good people and do well in their respective studies and activities makes me happy—and proud. Even more so, watching my children try hard at anything, whether they achieve greatness in that endeavor or not, makes me happy. I’m always going to feel joy when I know they are giving something all they’ve got. As my husband and I always say, it’s less about results and more about effort. If something wonderful comes their way because of a terrific effort, well then, more power to them. I’m happy knowing they tried their best.
To be perfectly honest with you, today I felt a little grumpy when I woke up, clearly not a good habit to get into if you are striving to be as happy as you can be. But sometimes things get us down. For me, it’s the book promotion of my third novel. While I am merely an independent author going it alone in this world of publishing, I still relish the challenge. That doesn’t mean it isn’t without its struggles. Trying to get people to pay attention to a book you’ve worked on for years isn’t the easiest thing to do. People are busy. They have lives to live. Reading a little book I published is not high on their ranking order of things to accomplish. I get it. That said, it doesn’t make it any less daunting to continue on the promotional track of public relations, marketing, and advertising the book.
Does this mean writing a book doesn’t make me happy? It’s quite the contrary, my friends. Writing a book makes me very happy. It’s a solitary venture I do on my own, and then ask others for help reviewing, editing, and offering suggestions. I actually love the entire process of novel writing. It’s challenging, makes me think, and beckons me to put all my skills to work.
Book promotion, however, is another story.
But guess what? You can’t have one without the other, not if you want readers. So you take the happy with the challenging and realize it’s all still worth it.
We tend to become involved in things that make us feel good, whether it’s eating right, working out at the gym, going to concerts or Broadway shows, going to church, or volunteering at an organization, just to name a few. This isn’t to say that things we do to make ourselves useful or to feel good about ourselves doesn’t make us feel another way, too. For example, when I was at the Orioles, one of my favorite days of the year was when we took the team as a whole to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and visited the children who were recovering from all types of serious illnesses and situations. Seeing the children interact with the players—the way their faces lit up—was magical. I was happy we could provide this service. When I got into my car to drive home, I would often cry my eyes out remembering the children without hair and scars along their scalps; children with arms and legs in casts, or even some children without arms and legs; and children who couldn’t move a muscle, only their eyes to say hello to the players. Doing things for the betterment of others can make us feel happy, but it can also tug strongly at our heartstrings.
I guess what I’m trying to say in today’s installment is that sometimes happiness does come with a little bit of strife; life can’t always be easy, as has been proven again and again. But sometimes we can make others happy, and that’s a win-win situation.
Moreover, that’s just the reason why we have to continue to pursue happiness as a goal. We have to savor every moment, for sometimes those moments last a long time, and sometimes they are fleeting.
There are varying degrees of happiness, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that making someone else feel good about themselves, offering friendship, love and support, and giving our own kids the courage to pursue their favorite activities and dreams, has the power to move mountains.