My name is Randy Scott Hyde, and I’m a miserable fuck. Coming from a long line of depressed people, I’ve done a pretty decent job in fighting the happiness fight. Until two years ago when my grandmother died. This was no ordinary grandmother. She was MawMaw Hyde—the Jesus of grandmothers, the savior of mankind, the Saint of Orphans. Having raised me since the age of nine, she was always the central figure in my life—a calming, loving figure in an otherwise brutal childhood. Her passing meant the end of family for me and left in its place a giant emptiness in the soul, or what I like to call a “soul hole.”
Since then, depression has not only been kicking my ass, it has had me in a 1980s Hulk Hogan vice grip that will kill you if you move. I stopped taking care of myself, began to avoid people completely, developed a wine problem, and gained 30 pounds (or for perspective, 3 ten-pound babies). My soul hole was turning into a Florida sinkhole of black hole-ian proportions threatening to swallow my soul, whole.
Sick of having nothing nice to say and tired of hating myself and everyone else, I recently decided to make my grandmother a promise—I will take care of myself in her place. The question is, though, how does one do that? (Especially since a bottle of wine a day had been doing it so well. OK, minus the giant gut, and the constant hangover, and the sluggishness, and the hives. Yes, there have been hives.)
During one evening’s wine drinking, about to start on bottle number two, I hit pause on whatever mindless Bravo show I was watching and decided to watch inspiring Ted Talks – might as well watch others win at life. After a few, I started to feel mildly optimistic, but not enough to put the glass and the pepperoni pizza down. But then I saw Shawn Achor’s piece on happiness. Commence mind blowing and pizza dropping. The path to happiness distilled into five daily tasks.
- Identify 3 new things you’re grateful for
- One random act of kindness
- Journal about one good thing that happened
According to Mr. Achor, doing those 5 things every day would train the mind to see the world differently. And you’d notice a difference in 21 days. I love a plan. Especially when someone else does the planning. And especially-especially when it doesn’t take money or years.
But depression and carrying around triplets all day can make you lazy, so I need some help in keeping it honest. If 21 days will turn the black tide of doom, I’ll do Shawn one better. I’ll give it 30, all Morgan Spurlock style. And I’ll do it publicly so that I’m accountable to everyone who reads this.
So in honor of my grandmother, I ask you to officially join me on Randy’s quest to fill his soul hole with something other than alcohol, saturated fat, and the “Real Housewives of (insert any city).”
Here are the rules:
- For the entire month of September, I will do each of those 5 tasks everyday.
- I will write about it every day.
- There will be stick figures.
- I will not judge the project as working or not working until the end of 30 days at which I will decide whether or not to continue or look for a new way.
- I will not give up.
I welcome any thoughts, encouragement, ass kicking, ass kissing, or any other outside contribution on this walk up a steep hill, and I thank you for it. Now let’s go fill this hole!