|Photo compliment of Robot Island toy store, www.robotisland.com|
I am closing in on my 49th birthday, and I have to say it's a milestone that I never would have imagined hitting when I was a young child. Things were not particularly easy back then and, for reasons that certainly don't matter as pertains to today's blog, I grew up probably a little too serious and somber.
What was the result of that? Simply put, I stepped into adulthood with relief and dove immediately into work and building a life.
I don't regret those years, and I have a wonderful family and comfortable life today because of it. But recently I decided that it was time to smile a little more often.
How, you ask?
That's the trick. It's not the same for any of us.
I know one thing, however: pretending to smile at things because others think you should is not likely the answer. Though there may be something to 'faking it until it's real,' I'd much rather see your smiles come from the heart.
A few minutes after this post, I will walk out of my office, onto a 60-foot porch, and see a hundred ducks waiting for breakfast. I'll smile the whole time I feed them and gaze out onto the brook and pond that sits just fifty feet from my steps.
My three cats and dog also break through any muted moods. Of course, my wife, children, family, and friends all illicit their share of smiles...but today I want to encourage you to fan your happy flames in ways that do not depend on relationships.
Why, you ask again? It's simply because your joy, your happiness should be generated internally, which in turn will allow you to share it with the important people around you.
I'll give you a for instance: I recently started a robot and space toy collection. Lost in Space, Star Trek and dozens of other toys now take up more than half the shelves in my office. They exist for no other reason than every time my eyes pass that way, I smile.
I also keep old episodes of Casper the Ghost ready on Netflix. I have Richie Rich comics on the shelf above my computer, and I'm not afraid to break out old robot movie and TV shows from the 1950s and 60s. You should do everything in your power to rekindle that childhood joy that easily flickers and goes out if we aren't too careful.
I know it sounds awful in such stark terms, but we are all on an inevitable road to death. And we deserve to enjoy as many hours of fun and humor as possible before that final shovelful of earth is thrown on our grave.
You'll notice that I never once talked about how much you should spend on vacations, expensive watches, new cars, etc.... Sure, those things can be wonderful but it's not my goal to fill your life with financial and other stresses that can come from spending gobs of money.
I'd much rather see you buy Barbie dolls, GI Joe action figures, or even old hubcaps. You might pop over to your nearest shelter and get yourself a rabbit, cat, dog or any other pet that will generate endless hours of smiles.
If vacations are a stretch for you right now, take a walk down a woods trail, drive to a nearby beach, spend a few minutes staring at a mountain view. Fill your house with inspiring photos and art work (which you can find at garage sales and flea markets for very little cost).
The important thing is that we all strive to be as internally cheerful as possible. Do that, and you'll provide a gift to those around you as well.
Thanks for popping by, and thanks for the smile :-)