Thursday, September 12, 2013

Go-To-Gay: Happiness

Introduction by Tracey Meyers

For a long time, the word "happy" was considered a four letter word in my world.  I didn't believe that "happiness" was possible for me.  Then, one day I made a conscious decision to pursue things that I was passionate about and brought me joy.

One of those things that I am passionate about and brings me joy is running races.  Last weekend, I completed a half marathon.  As I went into the last two (or so) miles of the race, I promised myself that I would never, I mean NEVER-EVER, attempt such a thing again.  At that moment, my friends, this was going to be a one time only event as far as I was concerned.  My feet were killing me, my legs were getting tired and I was starting to get hungry.  I began to question what about this experience could ever bring someone (including myself) joy.  As I approached the finish line, my spirit changed and as I crossed it the overwhelming joy could be seen by all looking at me.  As I received my finishers medal I felt an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment.  So much so that as I was sitting on the shuttle to head home I began to cry tears of joy.  Something I couldn't ever recall doing before.

More than anything I wish there was some magic formula to achieving happiness.  It would be a hell of a lot easier than some of the paths we have to travel to get there.  However, when we do get there I feel we appreciate the moment of realization that much more.

This month, we at Chick Lit Central have been asking authors to share with readers things that brings them happiness and CLC's Go-To-Gay, Wade Rouse is no exception.


"Happiness" is a loaded word. It sounds so sunnily simple (I always think of the Peanuts cartoons … "Happiness is … "), but it can be a deceptively difficult thing to achieve. We are all told, "Be happy!” but fully embracing, and embodying, happiness is a long process built mostly by achieving the internal rather than the external.

The top 5 things that make me happy? Here goes:

1) Writing

I don't just love to write, I live to write. Writing is how I make sense of the world. It is a way for me to teach, entertain and change the world through words. Writing humorous memoir allows me to bring deeply personal issues to the table, and make readers laugh and learn, giggle and grow, while uniting, no matter how different we may be. Writing fiction allows me to take deeply personal themes and issues, and bring those to light via my characters' viewpoints.
Writing is hard work, but it also my passion. I was not truly, deeply, achingly happy until I began to write full time. And I don't think most of us achieve true, lasting happiness unless our work becomes our passion.

2) Risk

Inherent to happiness is risk. Great risk. It's easier to take the path of least resistance, but it's also less rewarding. It's not until we get off the path, and choose our own, do we find happiness. But that is filled with incredible risk, and many fear the unknown.

For me, writing as a career was filled with risk: Could I get published? Could I earn a living? Would readers like my work? And the daily job of writing – sitting alone for hours on end, filling those blank pages – is filled with even greater risk.

But, every day, I race for my laptop. My heart races as I write. Every day is filled with risk – on micro- and macro-levels – but I cannot imagine living this short, blip of a journey we call life without taking a risk every single day.

3) Gary

My partner, Gary, is largely the reason I write and take risk. He is the yin to my yang. The hot fudge to my sundae. The Captain to my Tennille. He is my happiness.

When I said I could not write for a living, Gary asked, "Why not?"

When I said we could not reinvent our lives, Gary asked, "Why not?"

I am happy because I fought long and hard to find my one, true love. Sounds corny, I know, but Gary and I endured incredible sadness, grief, loneliness and rejection until we found each other. We fought to find love: Not just love, but the right love. We knew what we were looking for, and we wouldn’t compromise until we found it.
We base our relationship on those of our parents and grandparents, all of whom were married for 50-plus years: We respect one another. We laugh with one another. We support one another. We complete one another. As a result, we are happy.

4) Running

At one point in my life, I weighed nearly 260 pounds. I wasn't just unhappy, I was miserable. I didn't like myself. I felt as if I were trapped in someone else's body, living someone else's life.

When I began to write in earnest, I also began to run in earnest. I started slowly with both. But over time, my mile walk became a mile jog, which turned into a three-mile run. Eventually, I lost over 100 pounds and completed a marathon.

Happiness is intricately tied to all components of our lives being in synch: The emotional, the spiritual, the creative, the physical must all be in balance. When they are, happiness sings.

Running is my release: After sitting at a laptop for hours on end, I need a physical release to center me. As I run, I unwind. I work through what I've written and focus on what is to come. Often, along mile four or five, I begin to tire, and my mind frees: That's when the best ideas come. When I finish a long run, I'm rarely tired. I'm usually exhilarated. I am whole.

5) Coffee/Wine

Happiness in life requires a few sins, right?

Mine tend to center around great coffee and wine.

Over the years, I have become obsessed with kickass caffeine and wonderful wine, and have learned the subtle nuances of what makes a memorable sip. My mornings require a truly terrific cup of coffee (the town in which we live has one of the best coffee houses, which roasts its own amazing beans) or an expertly-crafted latte (I prefer a quad shot white chocolate latte).

Most weekends and great meals require a wonderful white or robust red.

A dash of decadence is required for my happy life, and I will always love a buzz, whether it comes via coffee or wine.

The writings of bestselling humorist Wade Rouse – called “wise, witty and wicked” by USA Today and the lovechild of Erma Bombeck and David Sedaris – have been featured multiple times on NBC’s Today Show as well as on Chelsea Lately on E! and His latest memoir, It’s All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine (reviewed here) launched in paperback February 1st from Broadway, and he is creator and editor of the humorous dog anthology, I’m Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales about Man’s Best from America’s Favorite Humorists (NAL). The book features a Foreword by Chelsea Handler’s dog, Chunk, essays by such beloved chick lit authors as Jane Green, and 50 percent of the book’s net royalties go to the Humane Society of the United States. His first memoir, America's Boy, has been re-published by Magnus Books for paperback and Kindle. For more, visit his website, or friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

1 comment:

Nova said...

Thanks so much for sharing your 5 things that make you happy. Much luck to you in the future!!!