Thursday, July 7, 2011

Roadtrip to Happiness: All the Small Things

OK. So I don't have this all figured out just yet, but I sat the other day and actually had a good cry over how thankful I am for my life at the moment. I'm still working my way toward living a happier, more meaningful life, but I can at least share with you the things I think I've already figured out.

And then, you know, later I can just post about how wrong I was. Again. (Hee.)

I remember, not even a year ago, someone asking me what I needed to be happy. I couldn't even answer the question. I had no idea.

The truth was I was stuck. I kept wracking my brain, trying to find things that would make my current situation better. I was hoping to find the right combination of stuff that would turn my miserable life around and make it happier...make it better...fix it.

It took me a long long LONG time to realize that I wasn't ever going to be happy in the situation I was in. Deciding to split from my husband was a very hard decision for me to make, but once I made it? It was like a weight had been lifted.

But back in those days when I had no idea what I wanted or needed out of my life, I knew that there were still little bits of happiness I could focus on every day. I mean, these were days when I did nothing but work and take care of my kids alone...I had no time to myself and very little to look forward to. I had no one to laugh with or even complain to about the events of my day. I was stagnant -- stuck in the mire of this life I had thought I wanted for so long.

I didn't want to spend my life just bitching and complaining about all of this, and the truth of it was, that's all I was doing. Any time I got a chance to see a friend or talk to someone on the phone I unloaded about how frustrating this was, or how angry that made me. After months and months of this I somehow got an aerial view of my life and thought, "My GOD -- what in the HELL am I doing?!?"

So I started to make mental lists. What have I got to be thankful for today?

And the bullet points I started to make included things like taking a coffee break with a friend at work. Taking a walk by myself over the lunch hour. Downloading an app for my phone that takes cool retro-looking photos. My four-year-old telling me a crazy story. Picking up a new book from the library.

Small potatoes, right? But they made ME feel good.

Then someone suggested I write them down. (duh) Writing things down makes them feel more real, at least to me, and if you write them in a pretty notebook with a pretty pen, well then they even LOOK better, right?

I started to realize there were lots of small things that I already had in my life every day that made me happy.

And the accumulation of days worth of pages of tiny happy thoughts? Only fueled me further and allowed me to see that I can do this. I can be a happy person, too.

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