No Wrapping Paper, Bows, or Credit Card Required

Give up to be happy…

Tired of a holiday ruled by holiday marketing blitzes, this year’s must haves, and 20.35% interest? Instead of mass produced fleeting happiness, why not try for lasting joy this year by giving up the things that can lead to unhappiness? No wrapping paper, bows, or credit card required.


  • Fears: I ask myself, “Will the world end if (insert newest fearful predicament)? If the answer is NO, why waste time wrestling fear? If the answer is YES, grab a light saber and lend a hand to stop the world from ending.
  • Control: Realize that the only thing you can control is your reaction to things. Let life happen because it will. You decide how to react. Don’t try to control people either. When they figure out what you’re doing to them, they might not like you as much as they thought they did.
  • Negativity: I know a person who can find the negative in a room full of puppies. Give her a gold bar, she’d say, “Is that all?” Offer her a warm cinnamon bun and she’d curse the stickiness. Don’t make people want to lock you out of the house at night during a blizzard. Be a light in the darkness instead.
  • Other Peoples’ Expectations: A friend was always on the lookout for jobs she thought would be a good fit for me. Why don’t you teach art, clean houses, work in a cafeteria, start a gardening business, and on and on, she’d go. She’d become angry if I deflected her choices. I did some of the things on her list and was good at many of them, but in my heart, I’m a writer. Though I’m still learning, I’ll never have the chance to become who I was meant to be if I trade myself for who she thinks I should be. You can’t be a brick layer if inside of you dwells the Dali Lama. Nor should you become a doctor if carpentry calls your name. Don’t let someone kill the “you” that you were sent here to become. Even if I never sell a book, I’ll know I did what was in my heart. For me, that is priceless.
  • Resistance to Change: Think: What if you never changed your underwear? Change can be good for you. Quit resisting change. It might make you happy. In the instance of underwear, change will make everyone around you happy too.
  • Limiting Beliefs: At yet another dead end job, I stood soaking wet, covered in mud, looked to the sky, and asked, “Is this what I’m supposed to do with my life?” I distinctly heard a voice say, “I want you to write.” Despite the thunder, I countered, “Don’t you mean artist? I have all the brushes and paint?” (I’d had a small degree of success with my painting skills.) “No, I said write.” Came the reply. Delusional or not, I began a writer’s journey. I had no degree in English, actually no college degree of any kind. If I hadn’t erased the words can’t and impossible, I wouldn’t have found the degree of happiness writing brings to my life and the lives of others. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.” Said Henry Ford.

Stick with me here. There’s a prize at the end.

  • Labels: You may look at someone as being a weirdo, but maybe they’re a nice weirdo. By labeling them, you may miss the opportunity for a lifetime full of happy experiences, adventures, and memories. You might miss the chance for a best friend.
  • Complaining: Do you have a roof over your head? Enough food? Clean water? Yes? Then be quiet. No? Do something about it. Or ask for help, complaining makes people want to hide from you.
  • The Need to Impress: For a period of time, I worked for a cleaning company.Every week,I cleaned a huge seventeen room house. The woman’s other house was situated on a lakefront with a boat. The woman didn’t know my name. I also cleaned the home of an elderly woman. She made our cleaning crew sit down to a breakfast, cooked with her own hands, before we cleaned her home. She asked after us by name, if we were sick. Guess which woman left me with a beautiful impression?
  • The Past: I know a woman that remembered the one time in her 80 plus year history of the one time a certain person wronged her. And that person is dead. Think: if you’re 80 years old, do you really want to waste time on that one unhappy thought? Why would it be different at 40 years old? Move on. Live today.
  • The Need to Always Be Right: Do you always want to be right or loved?
  • Excuses: If you disregard everything on the list, please take this one to heart. You want to know why life isn’t all it can be?  EXCUSES! Do you know why I have the privilege to write full time? For years, I awoke at 4am to write and study before working a full time job. I did this in life’s second act while raising a family. I paid off debt, spent less, and never used excuses, “I don’t have a college degree” or “I’m too old” or… Now while caring for aging parents, I sit my butt in a chair while the world falls apart around me at times. I don’t make excuses.I send out stories and sell some of them. Do you know why you make excuses? Because most everything worth anything in this life can be hard. You make excuse so you don’t have to do hard stuff. So no more bullshit excuses. The easiest person to lie to is yourself.

You can do anything you make up your mind to do.

            If you’ve made it this far on the list, you’ll have already given up one thing, rushing. We flit from one thing to the next like minnows darting around in a pond. All we have as a guarantee in this life is death. Don’t be so anxious to get there. Slow down and enjoy the wonderful gifts each day drops at our feet. Don’t move so fast as to walk right past them.

Your prize? By reading to the end, you now know that you can give up any number of the things listed.

Thanks for your valuable time.

Wishing you self made happiness. Because that’s the only kind there is.

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