Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day Five

Today, I am thankful for the advances in modern technology and pharmacology. Of which inventions do I speak, you ask? Why, of the heating pad and painkillers!

Yesterday I thought I would be a King Kong-ette and lift some stuff rather beyond my strength. I did it (I obviously have a promising career in store as a mule) but I woke up this morning feeling rather stiff. As the day went by and I went to work, it got worse and worse until I was walking around shaped like a horseshoe. The unlucky kind, you know, where the ends are pointed down and the luck drains out? But then my wonderful, kind and beautiful mother handed me the heating pad and I found some lovely painkillers in the medicine cabinet, and now I am happily ensconced in a cocoon of blankets on my bed with my dog and the first season of ER, since I'm caught up on Supernatural until the next season comes out next week. And man, that was a long sentence and I'm kinda wondering if it was a run-on, but I'm too loopy to go back and re-read it to find out.

So. Yeah. (Fragments! Horrors!)

How was YOUR day? Yes, you. I'm talking to you! What were you grateful for today?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day Four (I think)

As of today, I am grateful for predictability. That's a rather...mundane thing to be thankful for, but it grants me my super power. What I can do is quite frankly awesome. The only thing I would trade it in for would be flying.

I can predict the outcome of almost any movie.

Yes, you read that right. Cool, huh?

Seriously, it's mind boggling. I can watch a tv show and usually guess who the killer is or who's going to kiss who. You have no idea the self-esteem high this can cause, to have this power in your hands to know the future. It's totally like being Alice.

Tell me in comment form what your super power is!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day Three: A Tribute to the Union Jack

All right, mates? I decided that today's blog post should be in honor of all my British readers out there (*cough cough* Natalie!) who are so deserving of praise and gratitude. So I'm going to make a list of all the British things that I treasure in my life, things for which I am exceedingly grateful. And happy about. And stuff. Bollocks, now I'm getting carried away! And I ended a sentence with a preposition! Bloody hell!

Okay, I'm stopping now. And so it begins, the countdown!

10th place: The English language

While I am extraordinarily thankful for my mother tongue, it's kinda boring, so it made the tenth slot on my list. Honorable mentions go to the Germans and the French for their contributions towards the creation one of the most insane languages ever. Any language that creates a snobbish distinction between "pig" and "pork" is just....interesting.

9th place: Fish and Chips

Arguably one of the finest meals ever, and a stereotype to boot. Too bad the Brits were too busy to send some over to their Irish cousins at a crucial time...still and all, I enjoy it, especially during the winter.

8th Place: The Accent

What can I say? The many different varieties of the British accent amuse people the world over, and many of us enjoy mangling them in our attempts to imitate. I hope y'all are all flattered by this. Pip pip and cheerio and all that!

7th Place: Tea

Tea. Early Grey. Hot. 'Nough said. It is truly one of the most awesome beverages ever and comes in enough flavors to give St. Peter a headache. And then he fixes it by drinking some chamomile.

6th Place: Mary Poppins

Nannies around here almost never come riding in on the wind or are capable of twittering along with birds. I find this to be a gut-wrenching deficiency of our land.

5th Place: Castles

I seriously doubt that Brits truly appreciate how awesome it is to have castles and/or the ruins of castles all over the place. It's like having Cair Paravel at your doorstep. Here in Memphis, we have Prince Mongo's Castle. It's not quite the same thing.... ( suppose we do have Graceland, but since I'm not a huge Elvis fan, it doesn't have much appeal for me.

4th Place: The Slang

I can get away with a lot more dirtiness with British slang simply because it doesn't translate here. But I giggle inside. A lot. Because I know what it means. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

3rd Place: The Royal Family

Because who else would you gossip about?

2nd Place: The Beatles

This is kind of a no-brainer, but I freaking love the Beatles. No doubt this why I don't appreciate Elvis overmuch. The Beatles, with the exception of the trippy "Yellow Submarine," are talented musicians and lyricists. Their contribution to music can never be overcome or forgotten. And now I'm getting maudlin, so I'll move on.

1st Place: Harry Potter

Another no-brainer. I'm still convinced that I'm going to Hogwarts -- my letter is just late. Very late. DON'T THREATEN ME WITH LOGIC! PROTEGO!

And with that, I'll say, ta, everyone! This post really takes the biscuit, yeah?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 2.5

I'm going to have a longer post tonight, but I just had to share this. In the on-going gratitude experiment, I find that this right here makes me happy:

Very very very very happy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day Two

Today, the happiness came in the form of peanut butter m&m's. (I wish I were awake enough tonight to be clever and make my sister laugh, but ladies and gentlemen, I am about as pooped as a dog park. So, I'll just be straightforward and try to be extra endearingly funny tomorrow. Deal? Deal. Thanks for the obedience.)

This was the second day of my new job. I still really like it, which is a source of unending surprise to me, but I gotta say that some of the stuff that the lowest person on the totem pole has to do can be exhausting. Today I had to go through a gajillion and one account numbers and match them up to trades. The print on said gajillion and one account numbers was maybe five point, so I had to lean really super close to the paper to make out the numbers. I'm sure the paper was thrilled beyond words that it was not an ant, particularly when I had to use a magnifying glass to even make out whether that squiggle there was an eight or a zero. In any case, this job took me about three and a half hours. I never got up from my chair and the only breaks I got were when the phone rang, so you can imagine how sore/cranky/exhausted/perilously close to tears I was by the time I FINALLY reached the end. But since I am the lowest critter on the totem pole (what does that make me, anyway, on said totem pole? A squirrel? Or perhaps an ant under a magnifying glass?), I maintained a professional attitude and blandly remarked to one of my coworkers (that still sounds cool to me) that I would probably need a masseuse after work. She then did one of the nicest things ever by saying, "Hey, we've got some chocolate over here. Do you want some?"

Are baboons butts blue?

So I walk over and she has a bag of peanut butter m&m's. I've had the peanut kind before, but never peanut butter. Can I just tell you that it was an orgasmic symphony of flavors, textures and happiness hormones?

I guess the lesson is that sometimes happiness is chemically based in your brain. But what delicious chemicals they are!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day One

So I decided to begin today's happiness experiment right. I woke up earlier than I needed to -- today was the first day of my new job at a financial planning company. It was TOTALLY outside of my comfort zone. Anything with numbers immediately begins an assault of the heeby-jeebies and I start looking for a flea collar or something. But I dutifully got up, took care of my dogs, ate some oatmeal, read my Bible. Geez, I even made my bed, and usually that takes something major for me to do. Like, the pope running his cassock along my floorboards.

In any case, I'm all dolled up, fed properly, and ready to face the day. I bounce out to my car and am all the way at the end of the street before I realize I've forgotten something vital. Like, say, my contacts. I hightailed it back to the house, dashed upstairs, put in my contacts (doing this WITHOUT damaging your eye make-up is a highly undervalued skill, folks) and got back on the road again. I was almost out of the neighborhood when I realize that I've forgotten my lunch. Same thing, rinse and repeat, just without the fear of mascara runnage.

In the end, I found that I loved my job. The numbers make my eyes glaze, but my co-workers are top notch. I'm serious, it's insane how nice they are. One of them, Jamie, is a British lady who moved to California in the eighties and actually worked with the writing and broadcasting of such small items of pop culture as "E.R.", "Fraiser," Seinfeld," and "Friends." Holy crap. It also turns out that she's a huge fantasy fan -- we spent half an hour discussing Miyazaki's interpretation of "Howl's Moving Castle." Needless to say, we bonded.

I wish I had some huge revelation to go with my first day of the happiness/gratitude experiment, but let's keep in mind that this is, in fact, only the first day. I did notice that I was a lot more content today. It was nice to be out of the house, working with people, learning new things, being stimulated. I also learned that I sound really professional when I say, "Good morning, Waddell and Associates. This is Katie. How may I help you?" Go me.

I guess finding contentment in the workplace is built up of a lot of little things, like learning to transfer a call to someone's voice mail, a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, and the truly AWESOME shoes that Kay was wearing. We'll see if this all holds up tomorrow. Day two of the experiment and of Katie's introduction into the wild world of finance continues!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Gratitude Experiment

I was recently reading an article in Reader's Digest about people and the benefits of gratitude and happiness in their lives. Even though "happiness studies" and positive psychology are all the new rage in today's climate, I was struck by a couple of facts. Did you know that people in their early twenties are the unhappiest age category? I didn't, but it makes sense.

Even though there is a lot of exciting stuff happening at this age -- the establishing of careers, finding life partners, spreading those dadgummed wings and flying high or whatever is on the latest motivational poster, all of this can be equally bloodcurdling. People my age are learning about the less pleasant bits of being adults, like taxes and insurance (and all the crap that happens when you DON'T have insurance) and being terrified that they'll fly too high and plunge to the ground in a fashion that would make Icarus proudly wipe a tear. Or they're experiencing social problems, like learning to deal with the realities that they might not be married by the time they're twenty-five or they'll be stuck in a cubicle rather than rescuing orphans in Africa or signing autographs.

Reality, my friends, suck.

But as I was reading this article, I realized something. I, a young twenty-something, am not happy. I am not happy that I am not happy. So I decided to conduct an experiment, which while being by no means an original undertaking, is something that could prove to be fairly eye-opening.

Okay. So I'd decided to conduct this experiment and post my thoughts on it daily on my blog. But for how long should I do this? My first instinct was thirty days. You're always told that habits take twenty-one days to form, but I've always been a bit of a slow learner. Okay, you can stop laughing now. I know that's an understatement. But then I decided to do some research and came across this article. The author states that psychologists actually believe forming a new habit can take up to sixty-six days.

Phew. This is gonna be a lot of gratitude. I find myself becoming faintly ill at the thought of all the approaching Pollyanna-ness, but maybe this is my grumbly young twenty-something self talking. I smash down the contemplation of wading in a pool of sticky-sweetness and continue on with my plans.

So now I'm left with deciding the parameters of this gratitude experiment thingy. I think it should be more than just counting my blessings, although this will undoubtedly be a huge part of the upcoming (weep, weep!) sixty-six days. I think I shall decide on a specific small goal every day to see if it improves my happiness level, such as smiling at every person I see or singing in the shower or playing my piano. I'll also decide on larger goals once a week, like learning a new piece, writing a chapter of my book, or dropping a bad food habit. This all seems very reachable to me. And maybe by the end of these sixty-six days, I'll be happier with me and you'll be happier with me.

Let the sticky-sweetness commence.