May 8, 2013

Getting Happy with Horses

Getting Happy on a day-to-day basis is fairly basic. It starts in the morning with being grateful for the little things we all tend to take for granted. But that’s also a basic level of getting happy.

Like everybody, I am actually seeking something better than just being happy for good health and a place to sleep. I’ll come back to this idea in a second…

Last week, I interviewed for a position on a horse farm. Coincidentally, the position is basic, too. 🙂  The job is to walk 11 horses out to the paddocks, clean their stalls, and bring them back in. It’s 6 days a week – Monday through Saturday. Pretty basic, right?

Well, it turns out that – out of more than two dozen people who applied – I’m the only one who demonstrated horse sense. I should since I grew up on a horse farm. But it was still surprising how pleased they were that I could put a halter on a horse!

I went back out Sunday to work with them for a couple of hours. Tammy and Pete (the owners of the farm) wanted to see me handle a few horses, make sure I can muck a stall, and “basically” have some time to get to know each other. All went well, and I now have a job.

A really cool part is that it includes an apartment right on the farm. As you might imagine, I like being in the country. And the work is pretty much done by about 1pm, and the rest of the day is mine to write.

It’s nice because there are people coming and going for riding lessons and riding their horses every day. So it gives me an opportunity to speak to people. Writing is, obviously, quite solitary so I’m looking forward to mixing with people every day. And being with the horses already brings back a lot of fond memories of time with Aunt Geri and Uncle Harold on their horse farm.

So let’s get back to the idea of wanting something more than being grateful for good health and a place to sleep.

Taking a job – any job – means balancing the work of writing and publishing a book with the demands of that job. Plus, I want this book to become a movement, an uprising of people who start getting happy and enjoying their lives. Maybe even picking up some dreams or goals they set down at some point, and making them happen.

That means there are going to be speaking gigs to do, and some travelling. So we’re going to have to find a balance for that eventually, too. Can you see a point about “balance” coming? 🙂

Sometimes I think people expect getting happy should just happen, and then stay in place. It doesn’t work like that. It’s more a use-or-lose-it thing than it is a once-and-done situation.

So I get to go work with horses. That gives me some money coming in, and other benefits from being around people and having a regular schedule. That moves me up to another level of getting happy from just being glad to have a place to live.

When Getting Happy is a success, that’s going to make for another level of being happy. Do you see how it’s a process of building one thing on top of another?

And the balance comes in being willing to change. Right now, it’s nice to be downtown and close to everything. Going out to the farm changes that at the same time that it brings added benefits. As success comes and people ask me to speak, or coach, or travel, then the situation changes again.

Every time there’s a change, I’ll be looking for a new balance point. What am I getting, and what am I giving up? Does it move me toward getting happy, or away from it?

I think one of the reasons why we sometimes get unhappy is that we give up something we really like doing. You know how it goes…You get busy and so you cut out something you enjoy because it’s “just for you” after all. Keeping it feels selfish.

It would be easy to just say “Hey, be a little selfish sometimes.” But maybe finding your point of balance takes a little more effort than that. Right now, I can give up being downtown for the pleasure of being with horses, and the social environment of the farm. Later, I’ll probably turn down some opportunities to keep those things a while longer.

Something I already have in mind is having someone “on tap” for when I have an opportunity to travel. They can fill in for me for three or four days at a time. They’re happy to do it, it lets me advance my career, and my employer is happy, too. See how things get balanced? And it all comes from me being able to get more happy being with horses. 🙂

Well, maybe it’s not quite that self-centered.

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