Thursday, November 5, 2009

Revealed! The Secret to a Happy Life

In keeping with the theme of my new YA novel THE SECRET KEEPER, I'm going to reveal a secret: the secret to a happy life.

The Yankees beat the Phillies in the World Series this year. The Phillies beat Tampa Bay last year. Que sera sera, obladi obladi, life really does goes on, my friends.

It's fun to root for the home team or your favorite team or the National or American League team. While the game's being played, it should be played full-out with passion, skill, determination - like a child bursting with enthusiasm - and always with the undying belief you can win. You should absolutely stretch yourself farther than you thought possible.

But, at the end of the day, it's just a game.

This holds true for most pursuits in life, at least pursuits of the career or hobby kind. You can throw your hat (heart) over the fence and promise to do anything and everything in your power to follow that hat and one day wear it again with pride, perhaps in a more transformed version (a beret, perhaps?). But, if you never again place that cap upon your head, it's okay. Why? Because you gave it your all and it's just a game. A game very much worth playing, but a game all the same.

And while you're playing full out, don't forget to give yourself an invisible high five.

What games are you playing in life? Do they bring you joy or heartbreak? If you "lost" (i.e. didn't achieve the goal or success you want) would you feel like a failure? How do the ups and downs effect your quality of life? The key is not to let the game wholly define you while giving it everything you've got!

If playing the game is impacting your life in a negative way, you may want to re-think your game plan. Life is short and we should treat ourselves and others with tenderness and kindness. That may mean soul-searching to determine if the game you're playing is the best one for you. If you choose to play, however, play full out! But always remember, it's a game, not a matter of life and death. (Unless your "game" is skydiving or climbing Mt. Everest!)

I'm going through an exciting time in my life. I'm playing the game of writing full out. The danger of playing full out is that, along with extreme highs/successes, there can be extreme lows/failures. But knowing you're playing that kind of game at that level is exhilarating, life-confirming, and soul-manifesting. Right now, there's no other game I'd rather play.

When I look back one day, I'll be able to say I went for it. The "success" or "failure" will be a secondary part of the story and will pale in comparison to the fact that I threw my hat over the proverbial fence and did everything I could to retrieve it.

Play the game you're playing AS IF your life depended on it. Then pat yourself on the back and treat yourself to a long, hot bubble bath, a small shopping spree, or a big-ass slice of chocolate cake.

Challenge yourself to step out on the clouds without knowing where you will land or what the end result will be.

Be in the glorious mystery that is "possibility." This is the secret to a happy life.

36 comments:

Sandra Leigh said...

Applause! Applause! This is wonderful advice, Debra - and just what I need to hear right now.

Somehow I've missed the World Series altogether, this year - except for following it on Twitter. I was very conflicted anyway, because I have sentimental ties to both New York and Philadelphia. On the bright side, that meant I could be happy, no matter who won. Go Yankees!

DebraLSchubert said...

Sandra, I'm a native New Yorker living the suburbs of Philly, so yeah, tough call! I'm glad this is "just what you needed to hear" right now. ;-))

The Vegetable Assassin said...

I'm a longtime Yankees fan so I was delighted to be able to rub it in the faces of all those smug sports guys who were loudly saying the Phillies were going to win it in five. HA! Besides it's been 9 years, we were due. And it makes you feel sort of good even if it is only a game. :)

Kaela said...

Beautifully said. I've been thinking about the possibility of "failing" at writing now that I'm getting into writing my first book, and have been freaking out a little thinking about how hard it is to get published. But I realized that even if I DON'T ever publish a thing, as long as I take the time to really make it the best I can and do everything in my power to try to get it published, I can't consider myself a failure - because at least I went after my dream. If I stopped writing and decided it was too scary to pursue, then I would be a failure.

Kaela said...

Oh yeah, and I didn't need another reminder about the Yankee's winning, missy. :)

Julie said...

Lovely post. You are both wise and good. :)

DebraLSchubert said...

VA, Since you're a Yankees fan, I'm happy for you. It really is all just a game and we all have our favorite teams. The Yankees were the better team this year. It was a great series and they deserved to win. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kaela, Thanks so much for stopping by! Good for you for diving into the novel-writing sea. There are beautiful creatures there, along with a few scary ones. Please know I'm here to support you along your journey. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Julie, And this is why you're one of my dearest friends. ;-)

Broke But Still Drinking said...

I'm thinking about becoming a talent agent for actors. I don't know much about the business but how hard can it be?

I think it would make me happy.

AM said...

I love possibility and chocolate cake! Great post.

DebraLSchubert said...

BBSD, I have a feeling you'd be wildly successful at anything you set out to do. Agenting actors? Sure, why not!! I'm pretty sure you could still drink beer.

DebraLSchubert said...

AM, Possibility and cake. YUMMY!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Nicely said! I'm reading Jeff VanderMeer's BookLife right now, and just came across the same idea:

Make choices in your writing that allow for amazing discovery and for the chance of failure. Being careful or striving to be perfect will keep your writing tame. It's only in risking failure we truly soar (and maybe take a nosedive...but then we can get right up and try again, right??).

DebraLSchubert said...

Caroline, Exactly! You have to take risks in order to soar to the next level. Still can't wait to hear more about your good news!!

Elise said...

what a gorgeous post, thank you

DebraLSchubert said...

Elise, Thank you and you're welcome. ;-)

Jenni said...

How lovely. :)

Jenny Gardiner said...

great advice! And as a longtime Pittsburgh fan, I had to root for the Phillies over the Giants...But oh well! Next year...

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Wonderful advice that's (honestly) rather tricky to follow; or it is for me at any rate. I'm still stuck looking at my WIP and trying to judge whether it really is good, or whether I'm just fooling myself!

I'm a typical actor (who no longer acts) huge ego; tiny self-esteem. Fun combination!

Elspeth

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I just had to come back and thank you for your kind words on my blog. We're in this thing together! It's so good to have others on this journey, too.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great post! I'm motivated now.

Kelly said...

Great post, Debra! And I'll take a big ass piece of chocolate cake, too! :)
High five!!

Stephen Tremp said...

All good advice. I'm definately going to have a piece of choclate cake this afternoon.

Stephen Tremp

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wonderful advice, Debra--and very inspirational. We all need that little kick in the rear sometimes to remind us not to get caught up in the little everyday issues--to continue aspiring to do our best!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Kelly H-Y said...

Awesome post ... fabulous advice!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

Yes!! Awesome post Debra - love the image/quote at the top of the post. It's so true. I try to live it all to the fullest - I just need a few more hours in the day to live them :)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Fantastic post, Deb! I am playing the self-published author's game and am hell-bent on proving to the world that not everything that's self-published is a piece of crap (although admittedly most is). But not my masterpiece!

Hey, I'm meeting with a comic friend tonight to further discuss the idea of making Bastard Husband: A Love Story into a one-woman show! He's letting me use his showroom off the Strip across from the Hard Rock--very exciting. And you can bet I'll be into it 100 percent!

Love your writing--you will make it.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I threw my hat over the proverbial fence and did everything I could to retrieve it"

You go, girl. Good things will happen for you. And will you add some words to my Nanowrimo project - like 15,000 or so? Not going as quickly as I planned.

DebraLSchubert said...

Dear Everybody, I'm SO sorry that I've fallen behind in my usual pattern of responding to each and every comment. Your words continue to humble me and blow me away. I'm reading them all and I greatly appreciate your thoughts. Hugs, D

Karen Walker said...

Boy, did I need to hear this today. Thanks so much, Debra. You are so right. Going for it is what it's all about--forget about winning or losing.
Blessings,
karen

jedlight said...

Thank you. You are awesome! and wise!

Anita said...

I saw the cake and couldn't think about any of your wise words. I'm still just thinking CAKE, CAKE, CAKE. :)

Cynthia Schuerr said...

I love your blog, Debra. So inspirational and I agree with your outlook on life. Anyone can be happy if they just choose to be.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Faey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Faey said...

I remember another term that my theater friends always share to each other whenever they are about to perform: 100% energy level. The concept is the same: give your all and perform as if it's your last. You have less regrets if you live like that, they further add. And they know that they were not just talking about their theatrical performances, but with life in general.

I was always a reserved person in my previous years--and I somehow got criticized by it from my friends. I didn't know if it was a conscious choice--it seemed like it was--or I haven't really found that something that would make me give my all in everything. As I get older, I learned that things like that don't matter---you won't know how most things would affect you if you won't try it out and give your all. And ever since I've done that, I notice that every little thing I do exhilarates me. All the time.

You are a wonderful person for sharing such an important thing like this to the rest of the world. On my end, I want to give you my heartfelt thanks! Keep living your life! :-)

-Faey

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