Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thoughts over a holiday weekend...

It is day 3 of my 4-day holiday weekend, and I have had more time than usual to think.  As I was leaving work, I wished John Maly (owner at Mirabella) a Happy 4th of July.  He immediately corrected me saying, "It is Happy Independence Day.  We are not celebrating the 4th of July."  His statement kept playing in my mind, so on Independence Day, I decided to test it out.  It was a crazy Vegas-like party at my apartment complex pool, so as I passed a couple of neighbors, I wished them a Happy Independence Day.  Both did a double-take, like they had a difficult time processing that statement and replied with "Happy 4th".  Then I read an editorial online article on The Washington Post where the writer was of the opinion that  America would be better off without the revolution!  I was shocked.  As I continued to read, it stated that the United States tied for 14th as a country in a "life-satisfaction" survey...that Americans work longer hours with fewer benefits, etc, etc.  Paul Pirie writes, "The U.S. performance should also be assessed against the ideals the new country set for itself — namely, advancing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  He then claims that Americans fail to live up to these ideals.   I am not usually very political, but I strongly disliked this article.  It brought to mind something Mirabella's PR agent told me awhile back.  His French friends said something like "the only difference between me (a French citizen) and you (an American) is that you can live your dream".  This statement really resonated with him enough to share it with me, and I think about it often.

With all that being said, I wanted to take a minute to state that I am really grateful for the freedoms we have in the United States.  I have been able to live my dream!  I have loved Mirabella for almost 12 years and put every effort toward its growth.  We sell millions of $$$ of makeup that I designed internationally!!  Thinking back to our dreams of having a cosmetic line for our salon, I can't believe that I am where I am today.  As I mingled amongst my friends during fireworks, I asked them what they appreciated about living in the United States.  Answers completely varied...but I found them all interesting.  So here are my Top 5...

  1. I love that we were able to start a small business and grow it into something bigger just from hard work, belief and opportunity.
  2. I truly appreciate freedom of religion.  My faith provides me with direction, community, happiness, and love...which have all played an important part in my success.
  3. Whenever I return from traveling abroad, I always think, "that was the hardest thing I have ever done!"  I love that it is easy to accomplish things in the United States.  It is so efficient here!
  4. I am thankful that I feel safe to live by myself here.  I live in a wonderful city that is clean, beautiful and safe.
  5. I specifically appreciate the cleanliness and hygiene standards in the United States.  It may seem silly, but I always appreciate clean bathrooms, toilet seat covers, hand soap, etc...when I return from traveling abroad.
I will admit there are times that I take things for granted.  We all do it.  We are so blessed that it becomes the norm and is sometimes not appreciated correctly.  There are times when I feel tired and sad...especially without my family.  But this weekend was another reminder that we can all pursue happiness.  It is something I intend to put more effort toward.  A friend recently said that there are 3 things we can do everyday to be happy.

  1. Perform a random act of kindness daily.
  2. Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day.
  3. Write down 1 thing that you have learned that day.
At first I thought this would be easy.  Not so much.  Sometimes you have to work at being happy.  Anyway I do because I get lost in the craziness of life and negativity around me.  However, I realized that I don't want to be a statistic that proves our freedoms as archaic.  So I have to actually do something about that.  If everyone tried a little harder to be kinder and more appreciative, maybe we could turn that statistic around pretty quickly.  Just some food for thought...