On the back side of a meltdown, I always feel better and worse.  In that way that a good cry makes you feel better but also leaves you with an epic headache.  I feel kind of purged.  There's a quote from today's Daily Good article that really sums up how I try to live "If you run out of hope at the end of the day,...rise in the morning and put it on again with your shoes."

As much as I logically know how the world works (I am, after all, a recovering cynic and realist), I have to dissociate myself from this truth (as said truths are the kind of thing that send people walking out in front of buses) and rebuild my armor of hope and positivity, reaffirm my purpose, my goals, and the things that are actually within my control.  So even though my armor feels a mite brittle today, I'm carrying on anyway and having faith that it will get better.

One of the things that I have noodled on in the context of this whole quest for positivity and optimism is the idea of satisfaction.  We live in an AMAZINGLY materialistic society where we are constantly bombarded with messages on all sides of more, better, newer, faster, that engenders a culture of WANT WANT WANT WANT.  Such a culture, in conjunction with our socialized and reinforced desire for instant gratification leads to either excesses of all kinds (obesity, debt, alcoholism, to name a few) or to a state of rampant dissatisfaction because we are focused exclusively on those things we don't have.  

This is not a recipe for happiness, folks.

I declare that this is another area where people need to change their focus, alter their thinking.  Instead of noting what you don't have, note what you do.  Practice gratitude for those things.  There's no rule in life, no fairness committee that declares it is our inalienable right to have lots of stuff (stuff that, I might add, really does nothing to enhance our personal happiness beyond a superficial level of keeping up with the Joneses).  This is NOT what life is about.  And Lord knows, you can't take it with you when you go.

I'm not saying it's easy.  It requires a certain level of self awareness, of stopping to really look at where you are that is totally counter to our anywhere but right here, right now culture, of living in the present instead of some amorphous future where you tell yourself, "But I'll be happy when I have x, y, z" (where you really WON'T be happy because there will always be another, different, distant x, y, z). There is a certain kind of freedom in being content with what you already have.  In realizing you have what you need (and probably a lot of things you don't) and being free of the vicissitudes of commercialism.  

So I make this challenge to you.  Go for a month without giving in to those wants.  Don't buy anything except the things you actually need.  And see if you can focus on the things you already have and be grateful for them.  Come back after and let me know if your attitude changed any and whether you find yourself less often saying "I want X."  Satisfaction is within your grasp.  I promise.  You just have to make a little mental effort.
So this is my inaugural post.  Welcome.  I've already talked about what this blog is intended to be over here, so it doesn't seem to bear repeating.  In a nutshell, I am striving to become a more positive person, abandoning my natural cynicism on a desert island with a pistol and a single shot.  

I've already made strides to cut negative, toxic people out of my life, as much as I can.  And I'm seeking out more of the naturally positive people who make me smile just by popping up in a chat window to say "Hi".  The people who enrich and enhance my life just by being in it.  I want to be that naturally positive person for someone else.  

So here I am, on a journey to turn myself into an optimist.  Not the kind who turns a blind eye to problems, but the kind of person who adheres to the philosophy that it will all turn out all right in the end--and if everything is not all right, it is not the end.  

My roadmap to this end goal is to strive to find the positive in the everyday.  So that if somebody asks me, "How was your day?" I can recount something awesome instead of the annoying thing my boss did or this disappointment or that rude remark someone made.  Life is full of stress.  That's a constant that isn't going to change as long as I'm breathing.  The trick is learning to manage it and focusing on the positive.  

I'm not making any claims toward having all the answers.  I'm DEFINITELY not claiming all my posts will be interesting to other people.  But maybe I'll have a few gems pop up from time to time.  And I hope to pick up some more of those positive people along the way.  

Welcome to my positivity safari.