Posts Filed Under Ramblings

How to Be Happy

posted by Momo Fali on August 17, 2015

Be happy.

That sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? It’s not.

Life has a cruel way of putting roadblocks along your path to happiness, and it doesn’t have to be a major life event, either. You plan a day at the pool with your kids, it rains. You buy ingredients for a delicious dinner with friends, everyone cancels. You get excited for an out of town trip and your car breaks down.

For the first part of my divorce journey I had to force myself to find happiness. As a matter of fact, there really wasn’t any. There were other periods of time like this in my life, too. When my son was a baby and constantly in and out of the hospital or when I’ve lost people dear to me.

The point is, those were awful times when it felt like nothing would make me happy again. I spent MONTHS of last year wailing in the shower in such pain I never thought it would end, but through a series of stages I have found myself smiling again. A lot. This is not to say life is perfect, because it isn’t. I still suffer heartbreak. I still ache sometimes. Daily, even.

FullSizeRender(4)

I have learned, however, how to climb over the roadblocks instead of being stopped by them. Here’s how:

1. Hang out with happy people.

When you are searching for happiness, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to friends and family. Let them make you laugh. I have close friends who have a running joke about me sitting at their kitchen table for days on end. They would come home from work and I’d be waiting for them. That table, that family, the conversations we had; they saved me and made me happy again – even if was just for a couple of hours.

2. Read.

Read humorous books or blogs that friends recommend as laugh-out-loud funny. Join Goodreads and find the reviews that speak to you and your funny bone. This is not to say I haven’t thrown in a book or two on anxiety and co-dependency, but for the most part, I have stuck to hilarious reading material.

3. Exercise.

Hike, run, do squats in your living room. The best thing I’ve ever done for my happiness and mental health is to physically exhaust myself. Trust me. It works.

4. Take care of the little things.

Do you have a hangnail? A splinter? A nagging plantar fasciitis injury that feels like your heel is pounding itself into a rock with every step you take? Hypothetically. Get it fixed. There is nothing like a toothache or mosquito bite, or some tiny, grating, physical ailment to make you be on edge and grumpy

5. Do fun things.

This summer, I have been to concerts, amusement parks, Cirque de Soleil, and more cities than I can count. You don’t have to spend a fortune to do fun things, either. Some of the happiest times I’ve had were playing in the pool with my kids or a card game with friends. Nighttime Tackle Beach Frisbee, anyone?

6. Stop feeling guilty about your happiness.

Finding happiness can be scary. We have friends battling cancer or parents with health issues, so we feel guilty being happy. We don’t want to allow it because life isn’t fair. But, guess what? Your friends and family WANT you to smile. That will make THEM happy. Full circle bonus!

7. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.

A friend told me that her divorce has made her learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I couldn’t have said it better. There is an aching emptiness that came with the loss of my marriage and it’s still there every day. I had an entire family and life that was ripped out from under me. What I lost is never far from my mind and that’s okay because it helps me put my new life in perspective and reminds me that I deserve to be happy. You don’t have to pretend the pain isn’t there.

8. But, don’t let the pain own you.

Your feelings do not define you, your actions do. If you hurt, that’s normal. If the hurt keeps you in bed all day, it’s not.

9. Find a support group.

Whether it’s in person or online, there are support groups for everyone. And I mean everyone. Are you a cheese-eating golfer who only plays on Wednesdays when the temperature is 72 degrees? There’s probably a Facebook group for you. Find a safe place to vent, even if you have to do it anonymously.

10. Smile.

The act of smiling can actually make you happier. It’s science.

Happiness doesn’t have to be something that only happens to other people. Jump over the roadblocks and YOU can find it, too.

May’s a Jerk and Steak is Life

posted by Momo Fali on May 28, 2015

I have no explanation for my absence other than the fact that May is kind of a jerk.

It rolled in with me crossing a half marathon off my life-list on a beautiful morning, then the sun appeared and flowers bloomed, there were weekend getaways, fresh air, laughter, and friends started coming out of their homes like spring-struck zombies carrying grilled hamburgers and coolers of beer. See? May is a jerk because it makes all the other months look bad.

IMG_8939

There are a lot of things going on my life that I can’t discuss here; like, my bangs for instance. We really shouldn’t talk about my bangs. They are in that awkward, growing-out stage where I have to apologize for them a lot. I’m sorry for my bangs.

IMG_8744

My whole life is like my bangs, really. Everything is in that awkward, growing stage where you aren’t sure of your footing or where your next step will lead. That is why I almost packed a bag and flew out to Utah on a whim to hike in Zion National Park (another life-list item). Because I’ve heard there’s no better time to walk up the side of a cliff than when you aren’t sure of your footing. Wait…maybe it was my estranged husband who told me that.

But, despite being unsure of the road ahead, I am eager to see where it leads. Facing so many unknowns – facing fears I never thought I would need to face…EVER – well, it’s resulted in me being a lot more fearLESS. I guess some people would call it an awakening. Either that, or stupid. Whatever you call it, I think it’s pretty grand.

IMG_9083

Let me see if I can break it down into something everyone can understand. Beef.

Let’s say you always order chicken. Occasionally, when you’re feeling a little crazy, you get yourself a piece of salmon, but most of the time it’s just chicken. You always get chicken, because you don’t like steak. Plus, steak is expensive.

But, everyone keeps telling you how delicious steak is and you’re really missing out by not ordering it. So, one day you think I’m going to try this ONE MORE TIME and you order a ribeye that’s been marinating for, what tastes like, a million years. It’s tender, it’s delicious, it melts in your mouth. You really have been missing out. You hate it when your friends are right!

It turns out that all this time you were just ordering the wrong cut of meat. And, this is not a metaphor for my relationship, it’s really about steak. And, life. Steak IS life. Take that, chicken.

FullSizeRender

So, that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying all the steaks. I’m noticing how blue the sky is, how beautiful the music sounds, how joyous my children are, how cold the beer is, how soft my bed feels, and I’m letting it all marinate and enjoying it on a big, fat, life platter.

And May has been a LOT of that. I guess she’s not so bad after all.

Seize the Radish

posted by Momo Fali on March 18, 2015

When I was young my mom used to tell me to taste every kind of food I was offered; if I didn’t like it I would never have to eat it again. It turned out that that only thing I didn’t like were radishes. For nearly four decades I ate everything but radishes, because radishes tasted like dirt.

Until a few days ago.

Last week I ate a delicious radish. I had a radish awakening, if you will. And, if you won’t, please pass the radish over here.

radish

© Alexey Lisovoy | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I’m actually not speaking metaphorically – or maybe I am – it doesn’t matter. What I’m saying is that you should never stop trying new things. Ever. Even if the new things are old things. You might suddenly find that they are the perfect blend of spicy goodness.

Never shut down possibilities, because sometimes there is just enough evolution within you, or a radish, to change your perception. Unless we’re talking about liking the current country music landscape, because there aren’t enough days left on earth to make me evolve that much.

But, what if there are other things I’ve put off that I might enjoy? Maybe I’ll wear bright colors instead of black, sit at the bars in restaurants and drink a different kind of beer every time I do, learn to play guitar, sing out loud even though I can’t carry a tune, and stop being afraid.

Maybe I’ll eat more radishes.

My Tribe

posted by Momo Fali on March 9, 2015

I was going to sit down and write thank-you notes this weekend to the hundreds (really, that sounds crazy, but it’s truly hundreds) of people who have reached out to me in the last couple of months; cards, emails, gifts, texts, wine, food…so much food…phone calls, visits from old friends and time spent with family. I have a LOT of people to thank. It’s a little overwhelming. Also, my pants are tight.

food

Instead I drank wine with my sisters, reconnected with an old friend from high school, played games at an arcade, enjoyed a full day of sunshine and laughter with some of my best friends, went to church, took a gaggle of teenage girls to the mall, went for a run, and ate tater tots.

I did manage to buy my neighbor some flowers, but that was only because I really needed to return the mountain of containers in which she presented me with dish after dish of Egyptian cuisine. If you are what you eat, I AM FLAN.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about the people who have been closely surrounding me lately and I’ve come to the realization that most of my best friends – the people who are always there for me, surround me with love and laughter, hold my hand when I cry, listen to me, advise me, and cheer me on – are some of the most screwed up people I’ve ever known.

I take that back, they are not screwed up, their lives have been. They have personally dealt with abandonment, drug abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, physical illness, death, disability, infidelity, and more. Over the last few days, looking around at some of them, I have marveled at their strength and resilience.

I have come to see that these people, who can go through hell and come out the other side still laughing and enjoying what life has to offer? Well, these are my people. They are my tribe and there is a great force that has brought us together. And, despite what we’ve been through, we’re awfully lucky.

I am a firm believer that anything worthwhile is only worthwhile if you have to fight for it. I don’t think anything comes easy and if it did, how could you truly savor the results? It’s like having a helicopter drop you off on the top of a mountain instead of climbing up the side. You know the view would be much sweeter if you got there yourself.

And, that’s what my friends have done. They’ve fought and clawed through life to find there is still a sweet view; that we can high-five each other for making it to the top without dying, then head back to base camp and grab a beer.

Yep, these are my people. I’m so fortunate to have them climbing through life with me.