Simple shifts in attitudes and daily practices are the basis of Gretchen Rubin’s books The Happiness Project, Happier At Home and Better Than Before – all of which I have read and enjoyed. They all chronicle her path to daily joy. I have such tremendous optimism about 2016 and the many gifts to be discovered, I figured there was no better time than NOW to start my own Happiness Project!
I spent the last five years making huge changes in my life. As a happy byproduct, I have come to know myself very well. The benefit of the time and effort is that now I can focus on smaller projects. It is time to tweak things a little to make space for ease, comfort and order in my every day.
Sometimes simple shifts require big changes in attitude and a thorough re-write of the stories we tell ourselves.
To start, I focused on three things – though I really wanted to focus on one. These three tweaks need to be addressed in conjunction with each other in order for the rest of the plan over the next eleven months to work! Honestly, I think a couple of these issues are going to be ongoing, so I’d best deal with them first and see if I can carry through.
- Me First
- Hire Help
- Let Go
As with most mums, I tend to put the wants and needs of my children ahead of my own. Sometimes, well, most times, it is exhausting! I don’t know that resolutions work but I know I want to focus more on putting myself on the top of my list going forward. The past five years was spent putting myself on the list – in pencil, at the bottom – so moving up a few spots, in pen, shouldn’t be that difficult! Instead of concerning myself with the demands of others, when offered any form of opportunity – whether it comes in the form of an invitation or of guilt – I ask myself: “is this opportunity in my highest good” which always provides a simple yes or no answer. From there I move forward. The plan is to no longer fret about the reaction of others or the urge to second guess myself.
It turns out I can’t do it all. Shocker! The DVt (blood clot) of December left me flat on my ass. The medication was almost worse than the cause and the frustration of bed rest was numbing. Now I’m under orders to move more but I am not allowed to strain myself by lifting anything heavy or expose myself to emotional stress. In an effort to follow doctor’s orders, I have conceded I need help with the heavy lifting around the house. It is still a work in progress but I think we’re getting somewhere. Instead of a team of ladies coming over once every-other-week, I have a lady come over once a day for 2.5 hours to do projects and still have the team do the heavy lifting. After two full weeks of this, I am torn between feelings of acute joy and painful discomfort.
“Release” or “Let Go” was very close to being my One Little Word for this year. There is simply so much I need to release to the Universe and not be connected to the outcome. I believe to my core that 2016 holds only good things for me. Not my normal “thing” as I don’t usually assign expectations for the New Year – though this year just feels different, in such a positive and uplifting way. Starting the year under doctor’s orders is a downer. I’m forever thinking about take this pill, walk for 15 minutes, drink this amount, sleep this amount. So, the really hard thing was letting go of the resentment that my body has failed me. This remarkable body that has done so much as an elite tennis player, as a model, as a swimmer, as a volleyball player, as a wild child dancing to “It’s Raining Men” on tables at Wiechec’s bar in Buffalo, as a deal closer and many years later (and long ago) brought four beautiful babies into the world. This body has not failed. This body is SPECTACULAR. Every stretch mark, wrinkle and gray hair has a story – and those stories make me who I am. Asthma, thyroid disease and blood clot be damned.
All month, and going forward, I let go of a number of things: a sense of privacy when someone else is in my home and things are not folded or put away the way I would do it; the meds force me to concede to a nap every day; that my dad still thinks I’m six years old; my kids will bicker and argue and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I keep the fervent belief that life is good. Breathe – 1 – 2 – 3.
Worth it? Absolutely.