Check Happy Light Caleb Thiess

Happiness. Why doesn’t it come easy? Why is it so hard to simply just be happy all the time? Why do we go through so much negativity and drama instead of feelings of happiness? I have no clue. I myself struggle with being happy all the time. The only thing I know is that happiness comes and goes, and when you have it, it’s nice, but when you don’t, it sucks. I like to relate this whole happiness thing to something… my cruise control in my car. Now hold on, just hear me out for a second. My car is great. It’s damaged just a little bit, but runs well, and I totally love it for what it is. The only thing I hate is that my cruise control sometimes doesn’t turn on and it bothers me. I do a lot of driving back and forth from Eau Claire to Menomonie and it’s the one thing I look forward to on the road. When I have cruise control, it’s great, but when I don’t, it sucks and it’s holding me back from a really cool road trip I planned. Similar to happiness, my cruise control comes and goes at random times.

This whole idea of what makes us happy is funny if you think about it. The things that make us happy can vary. Family members are usually (even though we may fight) they’re always there for us through the good and the bad and try to always make us feel loved and happy. Sometimes they don’t, but more than not, they usually make us feel good. Our friendships we build with the people around us make us feel happy. Going out to lunch with a friend or going out on the weekend with friends makes us happy. Having a girlfriend or boyfriend that we truly love makes us happy. There is a lot out there that makes us happy… so let me ask you something. Are you happy? Like right now at this very moment you are reading my sentences word for word, are you actually happy? If you are, then you would be the one out of three adults in the United States that are happy ( I know, the statistics surprised me as well at first. But this is the norm now.

With everything that affects our day to day lives, I wasn’t all that surprised when I thought about it. Let’s look at it this way quick. There are two guys. One is named Adam and the other’s name is Jack. Adam and Jack are both 30 years old. Jack is married to a lovely lady named Jill and Adam is married to a lovely lady named Eve. Both men live in the same city in a suburb that is similar to the other’s. Both have a great job at an insurance company earning a six figure salary every year. Sounds like they are pretty similar huh? What if I told you that Adam was a miserable wreck and Jack was as happy as can be? You’d probably begin to wonder why Adam was sad while Jack was happy considering how similar their lives seem. Two guys, same age, similar residence, similar job. From what we can gather, everything they have attained in life seems to be the same. Based on this information, maybe something in their past is affecting their happiness. Maybe their family life is different. Maybe the reason Adam is sad is because he grew up with a dad who had a drinking problem which led to his dad being a horribly abusive father until Adam was 18, scarring him mentally and physically for life. That would probably be something that could affect someone’s happiness. But what if I told you Jack had the same family problem. Now we are back to the drawing board once again…or are we? The fact that both these two men had a similar past with abuse isn’t relevant, what is relevant is how they both handled their past, how they deal with what happened, and how they moved on with their lives and chose the happiness or sadness that influences their current and future lives.

A lot can be said about a person who handles situations a certain way. Look at job interviews for example. Employers will ask someone interviewing for a job a bunch of questions and try to get a feel for how this potential future employee of theirs will react and handle the questions they throw at them. They usually ask that one question we all love (hate) to answer, “Describe a difficult situation in either work or life that you’ve had to deal with. Tell me how you went about dealing with that situation and how you overcame it.” If you’ve never had to answer this question in an interview, then I really envy you because I’ve had it asked on every interview of mine. Why this question? Employers ask this because it tells a lot about a person. Whether they make their answer up or provide some mediocre story, the employer wants the same answer. They want you to tell them how you had to overcome an obstacle so they can judge how you will overcome obstacles with their company. They also want to know how you overcame whatever it is you overcame because it shows the employer who you are as a person. Let’s put it this way. If you answer the question saying how your obstacle was, “Well one time I was walking out of the grocery store with all my things, when I noticed someone had double parked me in my spot leading to me not being able to get out. Frustrated, I decided the only way to get out of my spot was to call the cops and have it be towed away. By the time the cops came with the tow truck, the elderly lady who owned the vehicle came out (as the car was about to be towed) begging me to not tow the car because she couldn’t afford it. So I just started laughing at her and said you caused this inconvenience for me so I have no choice but to make you pay for what you did.” Could you imagine the look on the employer’s face after you follow up their question with that? Instead of that story, the employer would probably want to hear something about how instead of calling the cops, you walked into the grocery store and asked them to announce over the speaker if the owner of the car would kindly move it so you could get out. This would not only make you come off like you handled the situation in a mature manner, but you also are considerate of the other person.

Just like the grocery store parking lot story, there are two ways we can handle everything that we come across in our lives. We can either take the easy way out and call the cops, or we can make an unexpected U-turn back into the grocery store to actively and maturely fix the situation that we have come upon. Let’s go back to Adam and Jack. Both men have very similar lives but one handles situations differently than the other. Can you guess who? Jack is someone who has a great life with a wife who loves him. Even though he had a rocky past with his father, he works every day to become a better person and move on in a healthy and mature way from the cards he’s been dealt in his past. He works extra hard on being someone who is happy. He realizes the past he was given with his father, forgives and lets go of what happened, and leaves the past in the past. He focuses on the present with his wife Jill, and looks forward to having children of his own. He is extremely excited for the day he becomes a father because he knows the last thing he will ever do is turn into his father. Instead, he will be the best father and husband he can possibly be. He took a hard look at the wrongs his father made leading up to his abusive behavior and is cautious when he drinks because of it. Adam on the other hand has a hard time letting go of the past. He struggles with being able to forgive his father for what he did. He believes that no matter what he does in his life, his life will never be what it could have been had his father not abused him. He drinks to forget the pain and it has been affecting his relationship with Eve. She’s afraid that if his drinking continues, he will end up being abusive like his father and because of this, she is second guessing having kids with him. Adam sees the stress in Eve’s eyes. He knows that their marriage won’t last if he doesn’t change, but all this talk of change just pushes him to drink more. The thought of him not drinking scares him because at this point in his life, it’s the only escape from the harsh reality that he knows and is afraid to deal with.

While Jack is sitting on top of the mountain, enjoying the view with his wife Jill, Adam is stuck at the base of the mountain in the trees. Blocking the sunlight, the trees hold venomous serpents that won’t let Adam break through and climb the mountain to find his happiness. The saddest thing is, he’s keeping Eve down there with him. He knows if he can’t break through, they will never be happy together. Eve tries and tries to get Adam to climb the mountain with her but every time he does, he gets scared and falls back to what he knows…what he’s known for his whole life. Convinced that he belongs in the trees, Adam completely gives up trying. He gives up on Eve, he gives up on happiness, and most importantly he gives up on himself.

Two men, same life, different outlooks. How you view your life is up to you. There will always be two sides to everything. What you choose is on you. Jack decided to actively break through the barrier he was given so he could find his happiness. He looked into what the problem was and how to solve it and did his best to continue that thought process throughout his entire life in hopes of one day being able to see the happiness that is out there. Jack chose to look at things on the bright side. He stayed positive and stayed away from the negative. Adam on the other hand chose differently. Adam decided to leave the barrier and try to jump over it instead of breaking through it. He knew what the problem was the entire time but couldn’t quite figure out how to fix it. He knew that drinking was his father’s problem and instead of staying away from it, he used it in his own way to cope with things.

Happiness comes and goes. There will be days you have happiness and there will be days you don’t have it. The days you have it are nice but the days you don’t suck. Back to what I originally said with my car; there are some days where my cruise control works and some days where it doesn’t. But I can’t keep hoping that it will work when I need it most. I have to find the problem, figure out how to fix it, and fix it. Prolonging taking my car to the shop will only take me away from taking that road trip I’ve been planning. Take care of your life and fix what needs to be fixed, even though it may be hard. Don’t be afraid of fixing what’s wrong because while you are waiting on fixing your life and seeing the potential for happiness, the miles will keep adding up and soon your life will be over.

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