November 2012: The Road to Happy

All Rights Reserved by CherieJPhotography 2010
My name is Guichard Cadet, and I’m going on seventeen years ‘happy’. Though I use that as an arbitrary marker, I do know that my arrival to a mindset of happiness did not occur before 1995. Don’t get me wrong, before then, I had many, many happy moments where I visited that happy place or reveled in bliss. Yet, I honestly can say that I did not know what it meant to be happy, the majority of the time.

As a young idealist, I saw big problems all around me and that made me angry. Idealists are into changing things, being active – activists! This, in a nutshell, put me diametrically opposed to happiness. At least that is what I thought.

It took me over a decade to learn that angry is not the antonym of happy. In fact, both states exist on the same plane and side of life. The key difference is that you have to actively seek out happiness.

The road to happy started out with sad songs: Tracy Chapman’s debut album to Mary J. Blije’s “My Life”. Though I listened to many other albums and songs in between, I remember how over this six- to seven-year period, I dealt with life straight on because of messages relayed in these two albums. Understanding their complete range, whenever something happened in my life, I took ownership of it, by stating that, at least, half of it was my fault.

Another aspect of this mind shift: I became a complainer about little things – pet peeves, if you may. Whereas I once found comfort in wanting to change life and the world’s major challenges, I realized that it was just “fake hustle” on my part. Why waste all that energy when I simply could explain to someone close to me why they should not squeeze the toothpaste from the middle?

Do you really get what I’m saying? In a nutshell: take action, ownership, change yourself and the things closest to you. It might snowball and start a movement.

This month, I bring you two friends I hold in high regard for their ideals and how they influence me.

A writer and the Editor-in-Chief of the Fahari campus newspaper during my early years on the SUNY, New Paltz campus. Arthur is an amazing poet and I am still learning from him. Check out his amazing poetry collection: My Name Is New Orleans: 40 Years of Poetry and Other Jazz (on amazon or your favoritebookstore).

Through the magic of Facebook, I reconnected with high school friend Cheryl. Since then I have come to learn more about her work in broadcast journalism and on behalf of animals. She is the Publisher-Editor of Four PawsMagazine