I am up REALLY early this morning!! I think my body and I are finally starting to work together!!! I take my tired self to bed earlier, and my body can then get me out of bed with my first alarm that goes off at 5:30 am. AAAH!! That feels GREAT!! What a novel concept! If I take care of my body, it will take care of me!!
So, here it is, 6am, and I am dressed and ready to go to work! I have stopped to take a mental check of how I am feeling this morning, and I have to confess, I am happy! Like consciously, in the know happy! What a FABULOUS feeling!
This morning, I thought I would start something different for me. I would LOVE to post an interview once a week from someone who interests me. Just to get the ball rolling, and really because I am still yet a big chicken, I decided that just to break the ice, I would interview MYSELF first!!
Interview: Christina Basso-Lenz.
Christinaville: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Christina: I always feel absolutely rejuvenated after getting together with family and friends. It doesn’t matter if we are getting together for a cup of coffee, the holidays, or just a random Tuesday! When we get together, we re-energize each other through laughter! You can’t help but leave their company feeling happy!!! I love my peeps!! 😉
What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
I don’t think I gave any thought to happiness whatsoever when I was 18, I just assumed I always would be happy. Not that I was happy all the time, I was plagued with insecurities and doubt, but I assumed happiness was something that I deserved – like it was going to be given to me.
Now that I am 35, I am much more comfortable in my skin. I now realize that happiness isn’t something that I am entitled to, happiness is an active choice. Barring anything catastrophic, I will be happy if I choose to do/be/have the things that I deem make me happy. I am the deciding factor in my own happiness, and if I want it, I have to go out there and get it. No one is going to give it to me.
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Dreaming big and then not taking action. This has been something that I consciously struggle with. I have this little bubble of fear that has a tendency to hang over my head, and I worry about being a failure or disappointing the ones I love. I have to constantly remind myself that this is the only life I ever get, and if I am going to get out there and do it, now is the time!
Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful?
I have a strong foundation of faith and I like to remind myself that God has a bigger dream waiting in the wings for me then what I can see right in front of me. Whatever troubles or struggles are going on right now they will pass. It is up to me to look for the lesson in whatever it is that is going on in my life at any given time so that I am ready for the bigger blessings heading my way.
Has there been a book that has been particularly useful?
A helpful book for me is any great fiction that can whisk my thoughts away to distraction. My favorite for that is probably something like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, or The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I love the idea that I get to step into other women’s lives, and get to share some of their adventures with them. I have become infatuated with the idea of the southern belles.
If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Do you have a comfort activity? (like reading children’s books).
There are a few things that do this for me. Purchasing a new journal, or a good quality pen – I love writing my thoughts down on paper. There is something about fine paper, a smooth-writing, heavy pen, and large swirly penmanship that are immediately calming to me.
I also love getting creative whether that is doing some interior design, creating jewelry, or handcrafting a little something for a friend. I love seeing the joy that something I can make can bring to someone else!
Do you have a comfort food that adds to your happiness?
I do have a few of comfort foods that I love to partake in when I am feeling blue – all of them from my memories of my mamma’s kitchen; her fried chicken, baked pork chops, lasagna, those are all foods that can whisk me right back to being a happy little kid in her kitchen!! YUM!
Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
My husband and I have been married almost 16 years, and because we don’t have children of our own, I really notice peoples’ parenting skills, or lack thereof. In my observations there are so many parents who don’t actually take the time to raise their children. They seem to think that great adults just happen all on their own. It makes me sad knowing that those parents will miss out on knowing what great adults their children could have become with some healthy and consistent guidance.
Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy – if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
I have always generally been a happy person, but there have definitely been dark periods in my life. My darkest times have been during those periods where I have lost loved ones, but the most difficult was when I lost my mamma, 11 years ago. I have been able to get through those times by surrounding myself with a bunch FABULOUS family and friends – the ultimate support team. They remind me why I work so hard at living my life to it’s fullest; because life is short and yet so very precious!
Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
Yes, I try to live consciously, to be in the moment. One of my hobbies is photography, and sometimes I have to remind myself to get out from behind the camera and see what is going on in real life, not just through my lense. I have a tendency to live my entire life that way – through a lense, as if all of this is make believe and I will get another chance to live my real life.
Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t – or vice versa?
Yes! Growing up in a family who really didn’t have much materialistically, I was sure that if I acquired this certain thing or that particular object, then I would be happy. I have since learned that is an American myth. Matter of fact, the more stuff that you own, the more bogged down your life can feel. Happiness is all about the people you surround yourself with and the experiences that you choose to partake of. All of this other stuff is just fluff.
Anything else to add?
Get out there and go find your ladybugs! (Under the Tuscan Sun movie reference: “Listen, when I was a little girl I used to spend hours looking for ladybugs. Finally, I’d just give up and fall asleep in the grass. When I woke up, they were crawling all over me.”)
Have a FABULOUS morning!!! 😉