I don’t normally post about self-help-esque topics or existential musings. In fact I have a slew of post ideas in my head dealing with DIY patio fun and Raleigh development. But today I’m feeling inspired to write about the drivers of happiness which is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. People often struggle when they are advised on how to “be happy”.
What does being happy mean? (Aside from cherishing the obvious friends, family, Quailford, and not counting relishing in life’s niceties like flowers on the table or a $20 hidden in a winter coat pocket). The things that make me happy can all be summed up in something called The Core Value System. A dear (and wise) friend of mine defines “core values” to be the things in life on which one is not willing to compromise. These are the things that cultivate the most happiness for us as independent human beings of society. Being happy means making choices. I choose to hold fast to these core values because I know they make me happy.
Hilgs’ Core Values
- Yoga: This is an obvious core value of mine because I sacrifice SLEEP for yoga. I’ve been going to Early Bird Yoga at Blue Lotus since late September. Twice a week. Every week. At 6:30am. The evening classes were too difficult for me to commit to (because of things like the next core value). It took me a few weeks to forgo the “snooze” button, get out of bed, and groggily travel the .6 mile to get to the studio. I would set my alarm clock but never make it. Now, when I wake up on Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is like my body is craving the mat even though my head is saying “whyyyy!!!!”. My body knows what it needs to do before my brain does. Yoga has not only given me strength and flexibility, but confidence and of course happiness.
- Book Club: For the past four years, I have been a member of a book club. I think I have missed one meeting. I think it was when I was on my honeymoon (tropical vacations should be a core value of mine). Growing up, I wasn’t an avid reader. My mom is probably the most proud of me for joining a book club out of all of the things I’ve done. I consider the monthly book club meeting a sacred time for me. Who doesn’t love drinking wine, great books, and meeting up with new and old friends?! Perhaps most special part of all is that we are able to discuss our opinions freely without judgement. I am so grateful to the other ladies in the book club that are dedicated to keep meeting throughout moving houses, getting married, and even having babies!
- Food: Duh, we all need to eat. But I’m not talking about the necessities of life – food, shelter, water. And I don’t think I’m considered a foodie either. I just need to know when and what I’m going to eat next. I am infamous for being hangry. Hence, food = happiness. Plus, if food is involved, there’s a chance that a party is happening. Food = maybe a party.
- Breaking Bad: I will not compromise on the fact that Breaking Bad is the best show ever. Breaking Bad is incomparable. You can’t find a more beloved underdog than Jesse Pinkman nor a more conniving anti-hero than Walter White. I sought out to find another BB fanatical coworker at my new place of employment to confirm that this was the right career path. Thankfully, yes, this is the right career path for me. The other night, we had a few friends over for an impromptu Memorial Day cookout. As many conversations do, the topic turned to television. Everyone at the table watches Game of Thrones except for me so that show naturally took precedence. After a while, someone apologized to me for talking too much about it since they know I don’t care about GoT. Even though I was a little bored of the topic, I just thought of how much I love Breaking Bad, and if my friends at the table love GoT as much as I love Breaking Bad, than this discussion must be amazing.
- Raleigh: Sometimes I experience a brief moment of sadness about how I have not really lived anywhere else because I have already found the place I want to live forever. (Sans my stint in NYC). It’s a very fleeting moment until I quickly realize how good I have it here.
- Being Accommodating to Guests: When it comes to hosting guests, there are certain rules I live by. I don’t have the most modern or fancy guest accommodations. None of my towels match. I only have a pull-out sofa. But it is important to me that despite these pitfalls, guests have what they need to feel at home. These self-made, self-followed rules are:
- toilet paper that is readily available in an intuitive location should the guest be faced with the inevitable last square
- an outlet (granted it might not be grounded) in the guest room that is easily accessible for device charging
- snacks that meet the dietary needs of the guest (see core value: food)
- enough wine
Rule #4 is obviously the most important. If I live by rule #4, then the first three matter less. Popular advice tells us that we need to put our own oxygen mask on before we help others, but doing these little things for my guest makes me happy. Hopefully these practices make my guest happy, too!
- Outdoor Seating: There are restaurants that I frequent yet rarely have been inside: Mellow Mushroom, Boylan Bridge Brewpub, Village Drafthouse, MoJoe’s, to name a few in Raleigh. I will not eat at these places if there is no outdoor seating available. Even during the winter months, I don’t go inside MoJoe’s. Part of this core value is derived from my preference of dog-friendly establishments. The fresh city air is just as important to the flavor of my Magical Mystery Tour pizza as is the side of ranch (which could also be a core value of mine). I am one of those crazy North Carolinians who loves the heat and humidity and will always choose outdoor seating over indoor when given the option.
- Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read more about my passion for this peppy punctuation mark here.
I encourage you to create your own Core Value System. Maybe your list will include sleep, ability to travel, achieving 100% attendance at NC State football games, alone time, not wearing pants, etc… It’s a system that is unique to you, and will help prevent straying from happiness when making decisions.