Today had a lot of thoughts to me about happiness and life. I guess it's because I'm trying to work out those little things that add up to a great mental state. Some hours, some whole days, sometimes for even longer, I have my hands on what it is to be really happy, but then it seems to slip away.
Why think about this today?
I was in a great mood the last two days, and even part of today. A good part of it has to deal with letting go of the situations that I am not allowed to improve. Then, while on a phone call with a recruiter, who was looking at my resume for project management roles; the only positions she was willing to talk about with me were QA positions. This is after asking me what I wanted to do and me saying I wanted to pursue formal project management (which was why I obtained my PMP certification), not just another role in "QA management who, oh by the way, has to baby-sit the big picture too". I didn't even quite twig to why this bothered me until I hung up the phone, which is when I realized that I wasn't as confident and happy as I had been the last week. Suddenly this person who doesn't know me except for a piece of paper in front of them is somehow eroding my confidence in myself. How odd. Even knowing that it's illogical, it's been an uphill battle to rebuild that confidence / comfort / happiness in me, and in knowing that I will attain a better position in a reasonable time frame.
So what did I do or find?
Well, I tried some standard things - looking at stuff that makes me laugh, etc; and while that helped detach me from the situation, it didn't ultimately change my mental state. Then I tripped over an article hosted by the Times Onlinewhere they talk about the actual science behind happiness. It's actually fascinating reading if you are up for the whole thing. Somehow that's what did the trick. The "ah hah" moment for me was realizing that "Of course I'm going to take it poorly - I think it actually reflects me and I'm hardwired to try and then be better than said poor reflection. How silly." Suddenly it was ok, I could completely let it go and know that it doesn't matter. I don't HAVE to let that set of events put me in a mental tailspin. Nor am I required to go to interviews / take a position just because the recruiter doesn't want to work with me for a fit that makes both of us happy. While empirically I know that their job is merely to place people so they get their retainer; I'm not actually convinced that they wouldn't be better served trying to get a truly great fit between employees and employers. As the research proves, happy people are more productive and help companies be more competitive, which would probably benefit EVERYBODY more long term. However, since we live in the world as it is, I'm perfectly capable of determining my own fate. :-) I just have to remember that.
Where does that leave me?
Just after the ah hah moment, I ran across this quote and it sums up the reminder that I guess we all need on a regular basis. Also, I think I'm going to revive my Tuesday Gratitude list for myself, because I DO have so much to be grateful for; and I'd hate to really deaden myself to the daily wonders I'm exposed to.
Didion's powerful commencement remarks at U.C. Riverside: "I'm not telling you to make the world better, because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package," she said. "I'm just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that's what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it."