Happy Birthday to Me … and Here’s to What’s Next

7 Jun

Photo credit: Diapicard / Pixabay

I was watching CBS Sunday Morning the other day, just like I do every weekend, and there was a great segment about three Hollywood comedy legends: Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, and Norman Lear.

Towards the end of the interview, Lear and Reiner shared their perspectives on the secret to a long and happy life.

“I think there are two little words we don’t think enough about: ‘over’ and ‘next,’” Lear said. “When something is over, it’s over. We’re on to next. I mean, this is the moment.”

Then Reiner added: “If you have something to get up for, you’ll get up. You won’t die in the middle of the night if you have something in the morning you gotta do.”

These were good sentiments to hear a few days before my birthday — and not just because they helped inspire this blog post.

Making every day worth getting up for

For a lot of people, being motivated to get up in the morning is easier said than done. But like Carl Reiner, I try to make every day worth getting up for. And if I don’t have a purpose for getting up initially, then at the end of the day, I try to find something that made the day worth celebrating. Essentially, that’s the concept behind my Happiness Project, which I brought back this year after a successful run in 2015: To find something every day that made me smile and that made the day worth living, no matter how small that thing might be.

Admittedly, not everything in my life right now makes me happy. For example, I haven’t made much progress on some of my 2017 goals. My job is less than fulfilling. I’m still single, and haven’t wanted to date anyone for some time. I lost two friends at the beginning of this year. My apartment is a perpetual cluttered mess. I was sick three times this year (and may have had a minor case of pneumonia). I spend more time on my own than I probably should. My dad’s health is getting worse. And I find myself going down unproductive rabbit holes too often. Plus, there’s all that mishegas going on down in Washington.

Perhaps these are some of the reasons why I hit the snooze button for about an hour every day before I actually get out of bed.

But on the flip side, as I look back on my “42” year, things were actually quite good: I went to Austin, Florida, and Chicago. (Fine. And Poughkeepsie too.) I had a fun sleepover with my niece and nephews in my apartment. I ate, if not always well, then at the very least, I ate delicious things. Good friends have visited Boston. I had a fun time playing tourist in New York City over the recent Memorial Day weekend. My job, while not inspiring, is largely stress-free and lucrative. I saw good concerts, shows, and movies, and attended fun events. The Cubs won the World Series and the Patriots won the Super Bowl. I have good friends and people who like spending time with me. I laugh a lot. Generally, and all things considered, I’m very lucky.

As I begin another lap around the sun, reminding myself of those good, positive things that make me happy keeps me going and prevents me from getting sucked into the complacency and meh that often tries to derail me.

Sure, I’m not always successful. But having that self-prescribed “obligation” every day to find or remember something good — no matter how small — and be grateful for it, is a blessing I don’t take for granted. Especially with so much else in the world causing so much angst. And especially with the self-doubt that challenges me to self-motivate and change those things about myself that make me unhappy.

What’s next

And, as Norman Lear said, focusing on what’s next helps too. Already, I’m looking forward to attending a conference this month; celebrating my cousin’s wedding; traveling to Nashville, Chicago, and Florida later this year; having a whole bunch of friends visiting Boston in August for a #socialroadtrip meetup; zip-lining over the Rose Kennedy Greenway; seeing Coldplay live; earning a retention bonus because I’ve stayed at my current job for a certain period of time; another sleepover with my nephews; and much more that I haven’t even planned yet. I’m also hopeful that I’ll finally find the motivation to achieve my other 2017 goals.

My “42” year wasn’t always fun, but I have a lot to look back on and smile about, and a lot to look forward to in the next year. These things give me the incentive to get out of bed every day and move forward.

Besides, balance is a good thing. It helps provide the perspective that helps you appreciate the good things. If everything was always positive, you’d never appreciate the things you should appreciate. Right?

Today I turn 43, and generally, I’m happy, busy, and content. Could things be better? Always. Those things will improve when they do. And some things may get worse.

For now, let’s stick to the positive: My “42” year is over. Happy 43rd birthday to me. Here’s to what’s next!

Want to wish me happy birthday in a tweet? Go ahead!

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7 Responses to “Happy Birthday to Me … and Here’s to What’s Next”

  1. Joy Varley June 7, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    Happy birthday!!!!! Enjoy your day and the year ahead!

  2. Rebecca Smith June 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Happy Birthday, Marty! So glad you liked the CBS Sunday morning segment. They’re doing press for the new HBO Documentary, “If You’re Not In The Obits, Eat Breakfast”. You should watch!
    http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/if-youre-not-in-the-obit-eat-breakfast

    • Martin Lieberman June 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

      Thank you! Yes, I need to watch that and meant to do so on Monday when it was on. Will catch it On Demand as soon as I finish S5 of “House of Cards.”

  3. Liz June 8, 2017 at 6:08 am #

    Happy Birthday !! Wishing you a fulfilling year ahead !!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The 2017 Happiness Project | Martin's Musings - June 7, 2017

    […] FaceTime conversations, a decorated desk, singing, a pen pal letter from Abby, and a well received blog post. Now, on to what’s […]

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