Sunday, May 3, 2009

On being happy, and a biologist moment

An incident that just happened got me thinking about exactly how normal I am... I had just had my shower and was gathering up my towl, when I noticed a small creature running toward my big toe. So I bent down to take a closer look. Now no normal (well at least, not many) female would have done that. But what was so cool about it (or at least, I thought so) was that it was a very small earwig! Not the 2-2.5cm ones that normally come running around, but this one was maybe 5mm! And what really got me laughing was that my immediate reaction was "aaaaah, that's so cute!!!". This lead to a memory from my recent trip to Sodwana, where a small snake was slithering around the braai area, no doubt a little lost. I have absolutely no idea what it was, maybe black, maybe very dark grey, with a stripe down its' back, but it was very small, maybe about 20cm long. There were more than just a few people hanging around, and my "oh, thats so cool!" reaction was lost on them. There were shrieks of "get it out of here before it kills me" and "GAAAH! It's going to bite me!" and just "GAAAH!". Then just as the clamour was dying down, I noticed a guy carrying a spade with a very sharp edge going toward the snake, which was trying very hard to escape (although in the wrong direction - into the base of the braai (a large sqaure structure, raised roughly 1.5m above the ground). I had a bit of a "if you kill the snake I will kill you" moment, then a "please please please don't hurt the snake" moment, then when it turned out that they guy was actually trying to get the snake onto the flat part of the spade in order to rescue it, I breathed a sigh of relief. Wow. The people must have thought that I was off my rocker.

All of this lead to another thought: what am I actually going to do with my life once I am finished my masters? I know that I am jumping the gun a bit, since I will only be done in roughly two years time, but still...... So I had a bit of a freak out moment. Then my brother asked my why I was happy. A while ago, I was decidedly unhappy, but I have taken a turn, and this is basically what I told him.

I told him that I had simply decided to be happy, and then acted on that descision. I had gotten tired of being unhappy and down in the dumps. I realised a long time ago that I was responsible for my own happiness, and thus it was up to me to create my own happiness (The realisation came many many years ago, when I was in high school, but I never fully appreciated it until now). To me, an object, occupation or a relationship can never sustain happiness, and thus, it needs to be innate. For me, that means that when I start thinking negative thoughts, I need to stop, and focus my attention on something that I love and makes me happy. Yes, there are good days and bad days, but mostly, for the past week, I have been more happy than I have for a very long time. There have been times when I have needed those good old endorphins (from that awesome raw south american jungle chocolate, but I can see that those are the times when I have lost sight of  how many fantastic friends I have, how many things I have to look forward to, and generally how good my life actually is!! Yes, there will be times that I will be down, but overall, I now know that I can pull myself out of the doldrums, pull myself together and just be happy!

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