While searching for an image for a quarterly power point presentation at work, I stumbled across the picture you see below: “1. Move to the Beach 2. Don’t worry, be Happy.” Even though it wasn’t what I needed for the presentation, I saved the image because it struck me as odd.
Why would a person delay being happy? Especially in today’s world where delayed gratification is about as rare as a non-partisan political discussion.
Don’t wait for some external event, someone else’s permission, or an arbitrary date on the calendar to start being happy. Make the decision to be happy and get started today. Right now. Start small. If you’re the person who happened to post the picture, I’m using, start by moving the beach to you. Why not find your own piece of happy and bring it into your existing life.
My friend Marvin lives about 600 miles away from a beach. But he didn’t let that stop him from enjoying the beach. He decided to add a little of the beach to his own backyard and he spent a few weekends converting a small section of his yard into an Oklahoma Tiki Bar, adding elements that brought the “beach” to him. He also added a border around it, making it a “kid-free” zone. His three young daughters are only allowed “in” with permission. It’s become an area where both he and his wife retreat to in order to relax and unwind, sometimes even if it’s only for five minutes.
While creating it he added small touches and specific items that mentally represented beach or vacation or relax to he and his wife (Laney). The small tiki bar is crafted out of pieces resembling barnwood, some handpicked and others contributed by loved ones encouraging the project. A collection of old license plates is tacked all over the structure. Among the obvious and subtle pieces there is a bold red sign at the entrance of the bar which spells out “STOP.” I’m sure some days it serves as a reminder to stop and enjoy this place they created (and sometimes it means get your ass out from behind my bar). But the net effect is that when he crosses into that border, his state of mind changes, he relaxes, and he chooses to be happy.
This is just one example. Marvin and Laney have incorporated multiple areas of happy into their lives. But none of it happened by accident. It happened by choice.
The Bride and I have done the same thing, though ours isn’t a tiki bar. Starting small, with just a cheap grill from Lowe’s years ago and gradually adding to that. Over time we slowly added elements here and there until about one year ago (to the date almost) we were able to build the deck of our dreams that includes multiple levels, a complete outdoor kitchen, and a hot tub. While it’s wonderful and we love it, the basic level of happy is the same as when it was a $99 grill, two patio chairs, and a small table to place our drinks on. The most important part – more important than the hot tub, or the kitchen, or the grill – was the decision.
Don’t wait. Don’t wait for that day twenty years from now that is circled on the calendar to be happy. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission. Don’t wait until you have the money to do it exactly right. Start today. Start now.
Be happy first. Move to the beach whenever.