I’ve slowly been reading through this book titled, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As I’ve been reading it I’ve been really trying to focus on what makes me feel happiest in life. As expected it’s really the little things that make me happiest. If I were to rattle off things that have made me feel happy in the last week, you would hear about the quiet one-on-one conversations with the boys, snuggling with my husband without thinking about what we need to get done, sending off a handwritten note to a friend, reading a book in the quiet of my front porch swing, taking a nap, running ten miles, traveling, working on my products, planning a surprise, learning to SUP on the Willamette, having my hair brushed by my boys, holding hands, dancing, singing in the car, flowers picked from the backyard, nature, fresh veggies from my community garden, and the few moments of a spotless house.
If I think about the moments that make me unhappy they usually involve stepping away from this moment. It’s rehashing the past or worrying about the future. It’s chaos, disorganization, and overscheduling. It’s deadlines for stories that don’t inspire me. It’s missing what’s right here right now. It’s yelling instead of laughing when a glass of milk is spilled because I’ve stretched myself too thin. It’s feeling angry that life is where it is right now instead of seeing all the beauty that surrounds me.
Since July 3rd I have been seriously depressed about….wait for it…an F-ing patio table set! Seriously depressed. I walked in to Target on July 3rd and fell in love with a clearanced out patio set. It was perfect. Perfect size, perfect price, perfect colors, perfect perfect perfect! Problem was they only had the floor model and there was no way for me to get it home. I decided I would try the next day to get it home without the kids and if it was still there then it would be my lucky day. Sadly, not only did the table sell but they marked that gorgeous $400 beauty all the way down to $82! My heart still races as I type about this stupid table! Well, since then I have checked every Target between here and Vancouver, BC and every store is sold out. Someone(s) out there sitting outside, relaxing on the best buy EVER and I’m sitting here choosing to be depressed over it.
Yesterday I had enough of my sulking and was honestly really quite shocked at my ability to grieve an inanimate object so deeply. I mean, hell, in the last year I’ve pretty much sold off every piece of furniture I’ve ever loved just to survive this time of unemployment. I even sold my favorite vehicle I’ve ever owned. Yet here I am grieving this table that was never mine in the first place and I’m grieving a ridiculous amount more than I did when I lost my home and all the belongings that went with it. This depression of sorts made me realize that I need to shift my perspective. Because in my opinion perspective is everything and I was allowing my perspective about this patio furniture to steal my happiness.
So yesterday I set out to make two big perspective shifts as my own happiness project. The first was to let go of the patio furniture. I called one last Target and then stopped thinking about the patio set. I am allowing myself to believe that the patio set would not make me any happier. I know that another set will come along and I will be equally as happy. Or it won’t come along and I’ll still be happy. I’m not going to hunt for it or allow myself to become consumed with the perfect set. Eventually the right set will be available. I know this sounds super silly but it’s not to me. The grey and pink set really had it’s grips in me and that is not something I want for myself. It’s the whole reason I avoid malls and clearance sales. I feel dissatisfied with my life when I think there is so much more that I “need”. To let go of the table I took an inventory of all that I already have and was able to sit contentedly in that knowledge. No more focusing on what I can’t have. No more focus on material goods.
Second, I realized that every morning I make a to-do-list and every evening I shake my head that I still have so much more to do. Every evening I feel like a small failure for not being able to do it all. I stress about what needs to get done tomorrow and how I’m going to conquer my list of must do’s. Even though I know that the list never ends. Ever. Last night instead of thinking about what tomorrow will bring, I sat down and wrote a list of what I actually accomplished during the day. I sat there looking over my list of completed items and felt proud instead of defeated. I realized that just because I don’t do it all, doesn’t mean I’m not doing a lot. I’m doing the best I can and that’s good enough. I finished the list by writing two things I was thankful for that day.
Today I’m thankful for the little things like watching my boys work together to wash the RV.
I’m thankful that because I made all these appointments today, tomorrow I can focus on my products.
These two little shifts in my perspective have changed the entire feel of today. I feel accomplished. Today I feel grateful. I feel like I’m focused on what matters. Today I’m noticing the little things. The shift has happened and I’m making today simple. I’m taking steps toward furthering my happiness project by making it a goal to clean one space in the house and maybe two if time allows. The clean spaces will give me some sanctuary from the chaos but they are not so overwhelming as to steal from other things that make me happy. I cleaned my bathroom this morning and gave myself ten minutes to do it. Just ten minutes and now I feel calm every time I step in there. If time allows I’ll give myself 30 minutes to clean my room and add a few flowers from the yard. But no pressure.
I’m hoping that I continue down this path toward simplicity. Toward finding the small ways my life is so abundantly rich. And I hope that my happiness will be contagious.
Happy Tuesday, Readers. May happiness find you in your every day life and may you find ways to make small shifts toward finding the positive perspective.