The Secret to Happiness

 sunrise over Boston
I’m just sitting here in  Boston airport waiting to catch the bus to Rhode Island. For some reason,  the WordPress app on my iPad doesn’t want to upload the images I downloaded from my phone. This is the sort of thing I would often get upset about. I also have several emails to answer already and it’s not even 5 am at home.Landing here is a bit of travel down Memory Lane because my daughter, Ronda, lived here for a few years while training for the Olympics and my other daughter, Maria, lived here with her for family for a few years, right after she had her first child. 

Coming back to places always makes me reflect on what has happened in the time intervening. Life has been a rush lately – startup incubator, doing a seed round, making games, hiring – all of the things that go into moving from being a small business to a big one in a short period of time. 

Everyone I know spends a lot of time worrying. When Ronda lived here, she was unhappy being away from home but convinced in her own mind that she needed to be here to develop further in judo. She did improve a lot, but did she really need to stay as long as she did? Who knows? When Maria lived here, they bought their first house, which they liked a lot, but then her husband decided to change jobs and they moved in rapid succession to Silicon Valley and then to Santa Monica (Silicon Beach). She worried a lot about how they were going to pay the bills and find a house big enough for three kids. As for me, I worried about all of my kids all the time, about Jenn living in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the country, and trying to find a job with a history degree.

So … what happened? Well, Ronda went into mixed martial arts and movies, Maria and her husband started two businesses between them, Maria and Ronda wrote a book that has been on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks, Jenn got a teaching credential and masters degree from USC, got a job, married and moved into a house in the valley. Just as a random fact, Julia was on the Homecoming Court for her high school yesterday.

So, what did I worry about and what good did it do?

I want everything to be perfect all of the time. I do. This may explain some of my successes, but it also results in not being nearly as happy and relaxed as I could be.

Why CAN’T everything be perfect all of the time?

When I was about 10 years old, I asked my grandmother this exact question. She stopped cleaning the house and answered me very seriously.

Do you know what you get when the sun shines all of the  time? A desert. There is a saying, ‘Into every life a little rain must fall.’ If you don’t have bad times, you won’t appreciate the good ones.

That’s definitely true for me. When I was younger, I had to make weight for judo tournaments, and that sometimes meant going without eating for a couple of days before weigh-ins. Ice cream has never tasted as good as it did right after weighing in. One reason I appreciate sleeping until 10 am – or I did before we started ramping up 7 Generation Games – is that there were years when I was going to school full-time and working full-time or working 3 jobs when my husband was sick and I had a family to support, that I never got enough sleep. So, just getting 8 hours sleep is something I appreciate every time it happens (and I assume will appreciate even more when I get back to the point where I can do it again).

It’s also true, that just like my grandmother pointed out that the rain makes the flowers grow, the stresses and difficulties make us better and stronger. Ronda learned judo, Jenn learned history, Maria learned marketing and I have learned more about financing and scaling up than I thought possible in such a short period of time.

Quit looking at what you haven’t got and start looking at where you’re going.

That, my dears, is the secret to happiness.

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One Comment

  1. As I sit in RDU airport reading this blog post AnnMaria with a smile, I think the same thing…

    Whilst sometimes difficult to do when running a company, taking time to stop and reflect makes the journey more rewarding and indeed happy.

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