by Judy Dykstra-Brown
When Matt Estes asked me to write a guest blog about finding happiness in life, I wondered what I could say that wouldn’t appear to be trite. Then I decided that all truths of life are in their essence trite—because at heart they are what everyone eventually discovers if they choose to examine life as it occurs. They are also at the heart of most writing. It is only the words chosen to convey them that change from teller to teller. Here are some truths I have discovered as I get older.
I think I like writing because it teaches me what I’ve learned but might otherwise forget.
I guess we can’t really own beauty, but I’m enjoying it while it is possible!!!
I don’t really know what I think until I write about it.
Dogs adore us and expect things from us but probably don’t appreciate us that much. I think it is one doggie treat and then on to the next. Out of jaws, out of mind!!!
We have to be glad for what happens in our lives, not sad about what ceases to happen.
Life experiences are often like presents under a tree. Although we have not chosen them and though they are not what we expected, if we choose to unwrap them, we might find some wonderful surprises.
Even the terrible things in life have the seeds of some happiness in them. Many times this is our only consolation; and if you refuse to believe this, life is likely to be a terrible disappointment.
There are many friends who will seek to tell us the truth about ourselves, but a truly good friend will make us laugh in the telling.
In my friends, I seek my copies and my opposites. One reassures me that I am not alone in this world. The other shows me alternative possibilities.
Although I am not religious, I can’t deny that there is a huge creative force in the universe. The way I have discovered this is through finding it within myself.
I have a limited amount of patience for a limitless number of children. In a way this is the opposite of motherhood, although I think it makes for a very good schoolteacher.
My 4-year-old stepson called me his “wicker stepmother.” In spite of the fact that I had a huge basket collection, I don’t think he saw the pun; although I’m sure he saw the humor as he grinned wickedly every time he said it.
I was made strong by the most terrible things that happened to me in my life. I was rewarded by the good ones. I don’t think there is a scorekeeper evening out the game. I think we ourselves choose to find the rewards in what is offered to us. One man’s prize may be another man’s punishment. Point of view is everything.
It is much easier to spout philosophy of life from comfort than from pain. I know this and acknowledge that in any crisis situations I was not thinking about the significance of the experience. Flight or fight is one thing. Reflection about fight or flight is another.
About Me: I am a 68-year-old woman who has lived on the shores of Lake Chapala in Mexico for the past 14 years. I grew up in South Dakota, received my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and Creative Writing at the U. of Wyoming and immediately emigrated to Australia. After teaching there for a year and a half, I traveled through Timor, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Kenya before coming to roost in Ethiopia, where I lived for another year and a half and taught school.When the revolution that deposed Selassie made it necessary to leave Ethiopia, I taught high school English in Cheyenne Wyoming for seven years before a very persuasive dream caused me to resign my job, sell my house and move to California to write full time. I studied screenwriting and film production at U.C.L.A. and apprenticed at a Hollywood agency, then worked for a TV production company for three years before marrying and moving to Northern California where I studied metalsmithing and papermaking and sold my jewelry as well as art lamps made in collaboration with my husband at arts and crafts shows across the nation. I was also the curator of the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center for three years. In 2001, I moved to Mexico where I have continued to create mixed media assemblages and retablos, to publish three books and to write for several online and print magazines. You can find my blog lifelessons at judydykstrabrown.com, and Matt’s guest post on my blog is at this link.
From Matt: I wanted to say thank you, Judy, for contributing a guest post to Mars Gone Mad! I love the insights you bring to the table, as it’s always good to read thoughts from someone who’s wiser and more traveled than I’ll probably ever be. I also wanted to say thanks for liking and commenting on many of my blog posts. You help me keep writing, everyday!