Unhappy? Change Your View!


This is a photo I took from my back patio this morning.  Friday, January 11, 2013.


You’ve already formed an opinion about me, my home, my life, all kinds of things based on this picture, but what you see in my back yard isn’t what matters, it’s what I see in my back yard that matters.

I could point out all kinds of things in this picture to be unhappy about:

  1. See the dog with the ball?  She’s way over there in the corner, not bringing it back because it’s not so easy for her to chase the ball anymore, even though she’s not even six yet.  All that time and money wasted on agility and herding.
  2. Those oranges attract rats.  Sometimes in the evening when I’m taking the trash out to the alley, I’ll see one of them on the fence or the utility wires.
  3. The alley.  Ugh!   Our house backs up to an alley, which is sometimes noisy and active with God-knows-who.
  4. Wouldn’t my view be nicer without all those ugly utility lines in it?
  5. This yard is so small and we had to move way out of the city – away from our young, hip friends and all kinds of cool restaurants – just to get it.  Friends in the Midwest have such bigger houses and nicer yards (and no alley…), and they don’t pay anywhere near as much as we do.

Okay, I have to take a break here, because (and I’m not making this up), I started to cry typing that list.  It was such a struggle to be able to come up with those five.  It’s so foreign to me to think that way.  You have to be such an unhappy person to think that way, and I have worked so hard to not be like that that I don’t ever want to go back there.

Want to know what I really see in my back yard?

  1. HOW AWESOME IS THAT DOG??  And, we’ve had her since she was six weeks old, so all her personality flaws are 100% our fault!  She is the most joyful, in-the-moment creature I’ve ever known.  I swear, I could sit for an hour just watching her chew on a ball and it would be the happiest hour of my day.  And despite slowing down a bit, she’s still fiercely protective, so God help the uninvited visitor to our home.  Could we be more lucky to have gotten such a good one?  Plus, she’s freakin’ gorgeous.
  2. We have oranges that grow over our fence!  When I want an orange, or need one for a recipe, I WALK TO MY BACK YARD!
  3. I love love love that our trash and recycling bins are out in an alley, instead of next to the house.  We never have to remember to put the cans out on trash day, and people who make their living “recycling” don’t ever come on our property.
  4. Look at that sky!  It’s January 11th and the sky looks like that.  Could we be more blessed?
  5. We have a yard all to ourselves, and we still live less than half an hour from anywhere we need to get to in LA (or two hours, depending on traffic. :))  The dog has her very own grass to leave her scent on, I can plant a garden, we cook out, there were windchimes gently pealing behind me when I snapped the shot.  This is the crazy, happiest we’ve ever been.

Whew!  I am so much happier now, having typed what I truly feel.

Here’s a fun exercise:  right now, change your view – physically.  If you have the luxury to do so, walk outside right now.  Don’t just look out a window, get up and walk outside.  Take a deep breath.  Look around.  There are the same number of things to be happy about as there are to be unhappy about.  It’s up to you.

Are you unhappy?  Change your view.

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8 thoughts on “Unhappy? Change Your View!

  • David Erickson

    I have to do that sometimes because there is so much ugliness in the world and I’m powerless to do anything about it. Sure, I can have a small effect by sharing my views, but I can’t stop the sectarian violence in Iraq and i can’t stop homegorwn terrorist from taking innocent lives.

    What I can do, when this ugliness brings me down, is like you, weigh in the good things. I’ve got a beautiful home on 3.5 acres overlooking Bull Shoals from a 300 foot cliff with mountains in the background. I’ve got great neighbors, food on the table, clothes on my back, reliable cars generally good health. Sure, the income stream isn’t where I want it to be and this old house is in constant need of repair and moles are tearing up the yard where the dogs can’t get to, but so many people don’t have a home of their own, are living in dangerous places and don’t always know where their next meal is coming from.

    Do I have it great? Matter of perspective, but I have to accept that I’m living better than probably 80 or 90% of the human population.

  • Writer / Mummy

    Ooh snap to the person above, I have also nominated you for the Liebster Award! I think you and your blog are inspirational and I hope to also, one day, learn to speak happiness and change the negativity habit of two lifetimes (mine and my parents!) Even thinking about the amount of work involved makes me feel queasy, but I need to try for my own children…