Wednesday, October 05, 2022

A Happiness Manifesto

I'm joining up with Kwizgiver this month for some of the questions she's doing daily.

Today's prompt is to write a happiness manifesto.

Before I started on this, I looked up manifesto (a big, long statement), and happiness.

Most of the sites on happiness conclude that doing is key to happiness. Little is said about simply being. Since we are human beings, not human doings, I consider this to be a greatly overlooked area, and indicative of where we are culturally. If people aren't constantly doing something (that someone else considers important), then there is little justification for their existence.

I don't think a person has to be doing something all the time to justify living. Besides, most of the sites are touting personal accomplishments, not contributions to the general societal welfare, as the necessary requirement for happiness, although doing stuff for other people allegedly is a great contributor to happiness.

Some of the sites move on into law of attraction theory, which is something I find relatively abhorrent. I do think in some instances like begets like, but when one takes that theory to the point where an airplane crashes because everyone on board has a secret death wish, so they were all attracted to this particular flight, I consider this theory one of collections of thoughts that has gone off the rails. Sure, people who like to bowl are going to find one another in a bowling alley. But life is full of randomness, and that needs to be accounted for.

Happiness is not something I aim for, anyway. I aim for content and enough. We have enough, and I am generally content, if not a little unsettled because I haven't any specificity that I feel pushed toward by society. I have already done my time contributing to society - I worked up until I couldn't, I volunteered for multiple organizations, I have donated to charities and supported worthy causes. I have done and the time for doing is over. I'm content simply being, and if I do some things with whatever remains of my life, that's ok, too.

So how does one find this content? Let's take a look.

I have found that it not the vacations that are the big deal in our life. It's the everyday stuff that matters the most. Getting the laundry done, making meals, doing the dishes. Looking out the window. Holding hands with my husband when we are watching TV matters more to me than most anything else.

One key to contentment that I am not well versed in is self-care. Taking care of one's self, physically and mentally, is necessary and important to wellbeing. Exercising, eating well, reading and learning, and physical touch are simple yet key elements of living a good life. This is a lesson I wish I had conquered when I was much younger; it's easier to keep a body healthy than to take one that's about used up and make it stronger. It's not impossible, but it is harder. Sometimes things are hard, but with time it gets easier.

So, feeling well helps with the happiness/content quotient. If the body habitus is unhealthy, it's hard to focus. Not impossible, but it makes things more difficult, and difficult things become a slog sometimes. Slogs do not lead to contentment; that way frequently leads to frustration. 

Sometimes, though, one must slog to find the contentment at the end.

Acceptance is another key to contentment. It is easy to rage against the night, but accepting the darkness sometimes leads to much better sleep. Maybe things aren't going so well at various times; there's not enough time, not enough money, health isn't good, whatever. Sometimes we have to accept these limitations - this year, we won't take a vacation. This year, I won't write a novel. This year, I will deal with chronic pain. The key is not to become the obstacle. For example, I am not chronic pain (even though it feels like it some days). I accept that I have chronic pain and that has limited me. I am accepting those limitations and learning to live a good life within them. That's not an easy thing to do, but I think acceptance of life's myriad of circumstances is needed if one is to be content. Or happy.

Contentment and happiness are personal things, but many people think they should judge others based on their perceptions of what happiness is. If a person is happy working on a railroad, who am I to judge? If another is happy playing golf, what difference does it make to me? I mind my own business and find this is another key to happiness. Not worrying about what others think is huge when it comes to finding contentment. If others judge, that's on them.

Having said all that, I have never thought of myself as one of those marvelously happy people that one occasionally runs across. I've had too difficult a life for that.

But I am ok with being content.

Monday, October 03, 2022

Colonel William Preston Memorial

Botetourt County in July, 2022 (this year), dedicated a memorial to Colonel William Preston (1729-1783) next to the Botetourt County Administration Building at the Botetourt Center at Greenfield. (Isn't that a lot of "Botetourts" in that sentence? Whew.)

Colonel Preston once owned the property that is now the county's premiere industrial park, as well as home to its governing center.

Preston was an American Revolutionary War hero and local surveyor. He laid out the Town of Fincastle, which was named and still is the county seat, and many other properties as this part of Virginia began to be taken over by Europeans who forced out the Native Americans and took their land. (And I don't care who thinks that's "woke" because that is what happened.)

He also served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and held many enslaved persons.

He was a founding member of Augusta Hall, which is now known as Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.

One of his sons, James Preston, served as Virginia Governor from 1816-1819.

After he left Greenfield, William Preston moved to Smithfield, which is on the National Historic Register of Places. He is buried there. Smithfield is located near Virginia Tech University and has connections with that school.

The memorial in Botetourt took about 20 years to finally come to fruition; I remember writing about in the newspaper as far back as 2002. The memorial is shaped a bit like a sundial, with concrete points that have information about Preston's life on them.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Sunday Stealing

1. Fave fall Holiday: Halloween.

2. Best thing about fall walks: kicking at the leaves

3. Favorite fall chore: no chores are fun.

4. Least favorite fall chore: cutting back the dying flowers.

5. Best change in the home: the electricity bill drops for a little while.

6. Best tree in the fall: maple.

7. Fall ritual: I don't really have one.

8. Most frustrating thing about fall: it leads to winter.

9. Favorite fall decorations: I like anything witchy or to do with the moon.

10. Favorite clothing: sweaters.

11. Traditional fall candy: chocolate.

12. Favorite sound: the swish of deer as they walk through the fallen leaves in the forest.

13. When does fall begin for you? When the leaves begin to turn.

14. What is your favorite aspect of fall? Looking at the different colors on the Autumn leaves.

15. What is your favorite fall memories? Going back to school.

16. What do you like to drink in the fall? Hot chocolate.

17. What's your favorite fall food? It isn't pumpkin, that's for sure.

18. What color is fall? Fall is a rainbow of colors until it's very end, at which time it is mostly brown.

19. What does fall smell like? Earth.

20. If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go? I would go to the more northern states to see the leaves turn color.


I encourage you to visit other participants in Sunday Stealing posts and leave a comment. Cheers to all us thieves who love memes, however we come by them.

Saturday, October 01, 2022

Saturday 9: Forever Your Girl

1) In this song, Paula Abdul tells her boyfriend he's got to remember, she's forever his girl. How's your memory? Do you remember things easily or do you leave yourself notes and reminders?

A. I make notes. I also leave reminders on Alexa. (I use her for a nag, too, for my husband, so I don't have to do it.)

2) Paula reassures her lover that she can't be swayed by another man, even if he gave her diamonds or pearls. Tell us about a piece of jewelry that means something to you.

A. My wedding ring means the most to me because it signifies my relationship with my husband.
3) Paula is best known as one of the original judges of American Idol. Without looking it up, can you recall the men who sat on either side of her?

A. I never watched American Idol, so I have no idea.

4) Paula has been dancing since age 8 and moves very well in heels. Tell us about your favorite shoes.

A. I wear sneakers almost always, so they are my favorite.
5) A lifelong dancer, Paula admits she's not a trained singer. For this record, she worked with producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, who won accolades for his work with singers including Madonna, Kelly Clarkson, Toni Braxton and Janet Jackson. Who is your all-time favorite female singer?

A. I don't have just one. Stevie Nicks, Melissa Etheridge, and Sheryl Crow would be my top 3. But then there's also Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Barbra Streisand, Ann Wilson, and Dolly Parton.
6) She advises young girls to "keep the faith and don't lose your gut instinct." How about you? Are you more logical or instinctive?

A. I hope I am more logical, but I suspect I am more instinctive.
7) Paula is excited that Richard Branson has chosen her song, "Straight Up" as the theme for his Virgin Galactic Spaceflight company. Would you like to orbit above the earth?

A. If I were 40 years younger, I'd go for it.

8) In 1989, when this song was a hit, the Sears Holiday Wish Book was big on bathrobes. Men and women alike were tempted with brightly colored, belted robes with hoods and patch pockets. Tell us about your bathrobe.

A. My bathrobe is white, long, and fairly heavy. I wear it year-round. It came from JC Penny.

9) Random question: What do you consider your best quality?

A. This is a hard question. I shall say my curiosity. But it could be my loyalty. I'm very loyal until someone no longer deserves my loyalty.

I encourage you to visit the posts of other participants in Saturday 9 and leave a comment. Because there are no rules, it is your choice. Saturday 9 players hate rules. We love memes, however.  

Friday, September 30, 2022

A Sunset


The interesting weather we've had most of the summer has given us amazing sunsets. The sunrises have been glorious, too, but we have trees in the backyard, and I get better shots of the sunsets.

Today is simply overcast with a breeze, as we await the remanants of Ian, the hurricane that devastated Ft. Myers and other parts of Florida.