5 rules for happy living

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I know I have not written any lunar new year greetings to you but that's because I had been thinking about what to write. From the length of this post, you can see that I'd put in much thought. I wanted to write something meaningful and from my heart.

We go around wishing everyone a happy and prosperous lunar new year. But for some, it has neither been a happy nor prosperous one so far. People have lost their jobs, more are likely to get retrenched. For me, the situation isn't ideal: the economy is in recession, I'm far from financial freedom and I don't have a boyfriend or even a date for Valentine's day. I am not writing this post to preach or wallow in self-pity but rather to remind myself to be happy and to share with you some of my thoughts. On the whole, I am happy. Here are my 5 personal rules for happy living:

1. Look after #1
By #1, I mean me, myself and I. I look after myself physically and emotionally. The physical part is easy to understand: I make sure I eat well and exercise regularly. The emotional part is something that not everyone may agree with - it involves being "selfish" to a certain extent, eliminating or staying away from irritants, such as certain people who drain my energy and have no positive benefit to me. I think about "what's in it for me" before I do certain things that I don't feel like doing. For example, if you asked me to walk naked in Holland Village, I'll ask "what's in it for me"? If you don't have a good answer, then you know what my response is going to be. This is my opinion: I don't think anybody will do something for nothing. What one receives in return may not be something tangible; it may just be to win the favour of a supernatural being or for self-satisfaction.

2. Live right today and tomorrow will take care of itself
I believe that if I do the right things today, I don't have to worry too much about living in regret or not being prepared for tomorrow. Reflecting too much on the past or being overly concerned about the future makes me feel regretful and gives me a sense of unaccomplishment. I prefer to take with me the lessons from the past and move on to the present; I take the goals of tomorrow and live or work towards them today. I don't want to get too caught up in yesterday and tomorrow that I forget to live today. I try to appreciate the people who are with me today rather than worry about whether they will be here tomorrow.

There are so many books about planning for the future that I sometimes feel somewhat insecure about not know exactly what my goals, according to common standards, are. I'm sure I'm not alone in not that. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read my goals.) Every time I feel like I don't know what my goals are or the purpose of my existence, I find a place where I'm surrounded by nature. I take in my surroundings with all my 5 senses and know that I don't need to be anything more than a human being. It is nice to just "be" - enjoying my one-ness with nature and knowing that I exist.

3. Live in unity and peace with people and the environment
I believe that every action has a reaction (not necessarily equal and opposite... haha), sometimes greater than what I can imagine it to be. For example, having sex may lead to pregnancy which may lead to the birth of a child who may grow up to be a scientist who invents weapons that lead to the destruction of human-kind.

I want to live in peace and not in fear of what someone else might to do me because I'd done something bad to them. However, I acknowledge that conflict and retaliation may be necessary in the quest for survival, unity and equilibrium. 10 years ago, I was stalked by a guy. I was so terrified that I didn't want to go to school. When he was finally caught, my parents did not want to press charges. I was angry with them at that time. Now that I reflect on it, maybe it was for the best. If he was charged, his mother would be sad and he might have lost his job. On the other hand, he might have gone off to do something worse to someone else. One good deed may not necessarily lead to another good deed. In some cases, a good deed with the best of intentions may lead to catastrophic events. The causal effect of one event on another is undeniable. How do I decide which is the right thing to do? I don't think there is an easy answer but I just have to try to do what is logically right and feels right given the situation and information that I have.

4. Be true to myself
It matters more what I think of myself rather than what people think of me. Who and what kind of person do I want to be? Is the sexy image really me? Do I really need to carry a Louis Vuitton bag? Deceiving people may be bad but deceiving oneself is worse. It is important for me to be true to myself. Of course I don't go around telling people in their face that I don't like their attitude - there's a difference between being tactful and hypocritical. Some guys think I'm anti-social just because I refuse to go out with them. Others may think I'm easy to bed because I'm open-minded enough to discuss my views about sex. Everyone is entitled to their own views; I can't stop them from thinking what they want. Is the purpose of my existence to please people or influence what they think of me? Definitely not! (If I want to keep my job of course I have to make sure people think I'm good for the job but it does not mean I have to compromise who I am or my values).

5. Don't compare
"There is always someone greater or lesser than oneself." - The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck.
I know I'm not the prettiest. I know I'm not the smartest. I am who I am; I have what I have. Of course I have friends who are happily married with children, friends who look more attractive than me, friends who are smarter, friends who are richer, friends who never had a bf/gf, friends who don't look attractive, friends who couldn't pass their "O" levels, friends who earn less than me. So what's the point of comparing? [When it comes to salary in comparison to people in the same field, of course it makes sense to compare.]

There's always a trade-off or a price to pay for everything. Taking the standard of living / lifestyle as an example, what's the use of earning lots of money if one does not have the time or good health to spend it? I don't want to be so caught up with earning a living that I forget to live. I enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Sitting in a park ($0) can be more pleasurable to me than watching a movie ($9). You've heard the saying: The best things in life are free. And even if one is "born" with certain things, there's a trade-off. Some people are born with silver spoons in their mouths but I think they would have certain restrictions and obligations that come along with that. Some people may be born beautiful but perhaps the superficial beauty prevents other people from looking beyond that to truly understand and love the person within. (Ok, these 2 examples may seem like small problems but I'm just saying there are problems.)

I have written my goals in the present tense to remind myself to live them today. I may have achieved some of my goals already but they are kept there so that I remember to keep living them. Of course, not everything goes according to plan. Goals are meant to be re-written from time to time after all. Here are some of mine (not all achieved yet):
- I exercise regularly.
- I look great and feel great.
- I love my home.
- I am at peace with myself and people.
- I have a loving relationship with my family.
- I inspire people.
- I have courage to follow my dreams.
- I can afford to maintain my current standard of living even if I have no income for 5 years.
- I have alternative sources of income of at least $1000 per month.

Why not write your goals in the present tense and live them today? I hope I have inspired you somehow. Happiness is a choice. Have a happy lunar new year! :)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow..u wrote such a long story...great..anyway..i was here...

Darren

TrainMan said...

nice entry!

i believe everyone have different opinion on how to be happy..
but yours have a more of a ZEN feel to it..which is great!