Quality of Life

Some people like to say, "Eat well, do good, get exercise, and die anyway," as some sort of excuse for partying, being unhealthy and/or being inconsiderate. This logic has no place in a happy, fulfilling and successful life. Regardless of when you die, you want the life you live today, and tomorrow to be the best life you can possibly have. There is no excuse for not doing the best for yourself and the best you can for those you love. Even if I were going to die in six months, I still would continue my diet exactly as I do (if not do even better) because I want the highest quality for my life. The quantity is quite irrelevant.

~Raederle Phoenix Jacot

"Are you really sure that a floor can't also be a ceiling?" ~ M. C. Escher

Friday, June 11, 2010

How To Love Your Life

An old friend from high school asked me if I was still living where I grew up. I replied;

"No, I've moved actually. I'm near San Fransisco in Northern California. I might be in Buffalo, NY for a while again sometime in the next year. It might just be for two weeks while I gather the rest of my stuff for when my fiance and I move to Boston, or it might be for six months or so while we save up some more money for the move to Boston."

(I promise I'm going somewhere with this, otherwise I wouldn't post it.) She said;

"Wow, I wish I had that much excitement in my life :(
"If I had full custody of my son (and the extra cash) we'd move south.
"Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Buffalo?"

I frowned as I read this response, for several reasons. But the most unexpected reason I frowned was because I dislike when people are down on my home city. It's a negative attitude that just seems to spread and doesn't help anything. I replied;

Buffalo isn't the issue. I actually miss the city a lot.

It's all about the network of people you associate with. I just stopped talking to anyone who had 'drama' in their life. I wasn't mean about it, but I just stopped going out of my way to talk to anyone who was constantly making trouble or attracting trouble.

Then I went to meetup.com and found groups on yoga, writing, meditation, nutrition and went out and met people completely unconnected to the people I knew before and started a new life. It's the best thing I ever did for myself.

I gained a new perspective. I discovered that Buffalo is full of wonderful people. It's just that when you're hanging around people who party all weekend, smoke pot all week, steal from their friends and stab each other in the back, then you just keep meeting more of the same kind of people.

The networks of people who are kind, level-headed, educated and interesting don't generally associate with the networks of people who do drugs and party all the time. It's sad, but it's true.

Buffalo is pretty awesome when you get into the networks of college students, yogi-folk, and nutrition-driven people. Plus, there is so much to see around there that there just isn't in so many other places in the country. There are so many free festivals and events all summer long it's hard to keep up with them all, just from memory; The Infringement Festival, Taste of Buffalo, Shakespeare In The Park, Juneteenth, Alan Town Art Festival, Dance Alive put on monthly by the Blood Thirsty Vegans, Urban Epiphany yearly at the UU church, and there are more but that's just off the top of my head.

I've been on two road-trips (one for 23 days when I was 17, and one for six weeks less than a year ago) all around the US with my father. (This is expensive, but not as expensive as you'd imagine. I used couch-surfing for a lot of the places we stopped to rest on the six-week trip in February/March 2010, and both trips we stayed with several of my online friends as well as family members and spent a lot of nights sleeping in the car as well. A lot of couch-surfing hosts, family members and friends are willing to provide food, so that can cut down on expense a lot as well. That leaves the only unavoidable expense being gas for the car and any car maintenance that may need doing. If you have an old honda that's good on gas like my parents do, it's a big help.)

We saw Sedona, Arizona, we saw Atlanta, Georgia. We saw Cary and Asheville, North Carolina. We've been lost in Oregon's massive national parks (where people have died from getting lost, no kidding), and wandered through the massive corn fields of Kansas and Iowa. We've been through Texas, and Alabama, and went 'shopping' in New Orleans (I bought an awesome trench coat). We spent a couple days in South Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada, a few days in Oklahoma City, and in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I'll tell you, Buffalo is an awesome city. It's not perfect, but no place is. You'll have the same problems anywhere you live if you hang out with the sort of people you and I used to hang out with back in high school.

Some of them are nice people, some of them have good intentions, some of them are intelligent; but it's just not worth it when missing money, broken beer bottles, and drunken arguing is a part of one's life. I really wish I could go back and help the better people who are still stuck in that place I used to be stuck in. I reflect on it often and am often left feeling very sad for quite a period of time.

~Raederle Phoenix

As a side note, it was during the first road trip when I was seventeen that I got so drunk I vomited all night. I was in Iowa. I have not drank since, except for a few sips of wine that didn't even get me tipsy, although they did upset my stomach a little. (2007)

I quit smoking weed around six months before the second road trip. As an ex-smoker I can testify that the drug is very enjoyable when used infrequently and when used with very good company. When random people get together who are mostly bad news to smoke together, it can be a very bad experience. I'd also like to state that I think it would be handled more responsibly if it were legalized. (2009/2010)

I stopped hanging out with my so-called high school friends mostly before I even left high-school in my Senior year. (2006)

At seventeen I had a rush of parties shortly before the first road trip because I had been feeling lonely and wanted to see if I could become popular. I became 'popular' with a large crowd of flunkies and realized that I didn't like it and started being as boring and un-fun as possible. (2007)

I started focusing on things I really care about such as art and writing, as well as love (of course) when I was eighteen and nineteen, and began to discover what my real priorities were, especially as I lost weight due to my change in diet. I became happy for the first time in my life during those years. (2008)

I took up yoga, and renewed my interest in meditation and positive thinking when I was nineteen and twenty. I started attending events with positive-thinking people. I hosted board-game parties and attending many as well. I joined a writer's group with bi-weekly meetings that renewed my interest in novel writing. I joined a Raw Food group and met a wealth of friendly, healthy and positive people. And overall, my horizons broadened and my priorities and goals became more defined. (2009)

And now, I can honestly say that I've never been more healthy in my life, that I've never been more happy in my life, and that everyone I know and communicate with is a positive light in my life. Sure, I still have days when I'm down, but generally those days are caused by eating something that doesn't agree with me - no kidding. (2010)

There are a lot of aspects of happiness. Some of them are temporary, external influences such as a death, or a pay raise. To get a lasting change in your happiness you need a lasting change in your understanding of life that results in a lasting change to your lifestyle.

If you're not happy, you have to admit that there is something wrong with the way you're living your life. You can blame it on others all you want, but there are people out there who have less than you do, who are very happy and satisfied. Why are they happy, and you're not?

One possible reason is that they recognize that being happy is the deepest meaning of life. That being becoming happy and staying that way is all they need to do.

Another possible reason that people with "less" are happier than you is because they recognize that helping others makes them happier than helping themselves.

Here are some further entries of mine that will help grow your understanding towards becoming happy (listed from very relevant, to the only somewhat relevant):

Keys To Happiness

Poisons: Things That Will Make You Miserable

Oxytocin: The Natural Chemical Reaction Creating Love

The Power of your Imagination

Changing Your Negative Habits

Drinking: It Affects More Than Your Health

The Cage You're In

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