New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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Totally Together

Permission Granted

January 28, 2011 by · 9 Comments 

I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking lately about the meaning of life. It’s a deep topic, I know.

I’m not sure that there IS a universal meaning of life or a one-size-fits-all version, but I am beginning to have a clearer view on what it means to me, and to my family.

and it’s pretty simple:

BE HAPPY.

That’s it. It’s terribly simple and ridiculously simplified, but at the end of the day, that’s what really matters to me.

Everyone chooses their own happiness—my happiness is not the same as yours. While I love reveling in a great drama showdown between the Real Housewives on Bravo, I do not want to live drama in my own neighborhood or circle of friends, and therefore change the subject when a girlfriend starts gossiping. While it’s a conversation starter to bring up the weather, I’d rather focus on the GOOD parts of the weather, not the bad. Rain brings flowers, sun gives us Vitamin D., etc.

Does that mean that I’m living in denial about certain things? That I’m acting like a PollyAnna?

maybe.

I recently met (super briefly) Steven Fogel, the author of “My Mind is Not Always My Friend“.

I listened intently as Steven explained that the voices in your head should be treated as a cabinet of advisers, similar to the President’s advisers. YOU are the commander-in-chief of these voices, and YOU get decide what to do with them. Do you take their advice to gossip, or get annoyed and lash out when someone takes your parking space, or do you take the time to step back and look at the entire situation?

Do you immediately get upset when the bag of flour gets dumped all over the kitchen floor, or do you take a step back and realize the flour got dumped because your 4-year-old was trying to make cookies all by himself? For you.

It’s a constant choice, and we’re all works in progress. No one is perfect, and I’m certainly not trying to make it seem as if I act appropriately at all times, because I most certainly don’t. There are days when I both rant and rave.

But I’m working on it. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I’ve tried my hardest, the kids are warm, dry, fed, & loved, and Adam feels supported. All the other stuff is trivial.

fluff.

nonsense.

So what’s with the title?

I’ve titled this “permission granted” because I think it’s time that permission IS granted to just be happy. To be thankful. To count the blessings. We’ve had a really hard few years—all of us. Our country is at war, the economy has tanked, millions are out of work, education is plummeting, and people don’t feel safe in large crowds.

it sucks.

But this suckitude (sucky attitude?) is like a virus that spreads, and if you (I) dwell in it, it just spreads and gets worse.

and that’s not good for anyone.

January is practically over. Most people I know started the year feeling FANTASTIC. This was it. 2011 was the year that could do no wrong.

If you find that you’re having a hard time getting this FANTASTIC feeling back, make a change. Distance yourself from negative news/thoughts/feelings/people.

You are in charge. YOU are the commander-in-chief.

related:

how to be blissfully happy

I’m not going to be “that kind” of grown-up

how to make a (non-cheesy) vision board

Remember the WoMom!

I’ve started a Gluten Free TV segment and my very first guest is Shirley Braden, from Gluten Free Easily! click on over to stephanieodea.com to check it out.