Sunday, October 7, 2012

Philosophy Under Fire

It's easy to say "Que sera, sera," when you're sitting on a beach, contemplating a second or third lime slushie, watching the birds fight over the bread crumbs from your picnic.

It's a bit harder to be philosophical when the earth is shaking and you hear bullets whizzing overhead and you'd like to relocate to a more pleasant location, but just now you're committed to this battle in this place.

If life is like going canoing, then my normal state of mind is a peaceful lake full of interesting water birds and breathtaking clouds and colors painted across the sky.

This week I left the lake and went through some rapids. Very bumpy, exciting rapids, for someone who lives most of her life on the flat lake. And while the canoe never actually overturned, I was hanging on tight.

I don't want to go into more detail, because this post is about happiness, not about all the reasons why my life isn't perfect.

A few weeks ago I said that you can train yourself to be happier, in the same way an athlete can train their body to be stronger.

This week, all I have to say is this:

No matter where you are in your life, whether you're already riding the rapids or whether you're becalmed on the calm lake, at some point in the future, it's going to get harder. And that's probably sooner rather than later.

(And people say I'm an optimist.)

My point is that if you can't be happy or at least cheerful when everything's going pretty well, you're probably not going to survive when everything stops being so easy.

So load up on life preservers and be ready for the rapids. If you're prepared to be happy under any circumstances, there's very little that can hurt you.