Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's Your Happiness Level These Days?

I don't know why but on Monday I woke up completely energized and ready to get stuff done. I was at the grocery store by 7:15 and home an hour later. I cleaned my house in record time, got some little "extra" projects out of the way, and then decorated our Christmas tree while listening to Christmas carols. There is nothing like Christmas music to put you in the right mood, especially Baby It's Cold Outside by Dean Martin.

The kids were not happy when they got home and saw the tree all decorated. I thought it might be "magical" for them to come home and see it all done and twinkling. They took offense that I hadn't waited for them but I have to say, it was my most stress-free Christmas tree moment to date. I'm a control freak...we know this about me. And I like to get the lights on just the "right" way and put the ornaments in "just the right" place. You would think with my new, relaxed attitude I would have been able to withstand the family tree decorating process but...not so much. I was excited to do it by myself. Given the reaction I got I will do it with the kids next year but I have to admit, I had a great time doing it myself this year.

Anyways, back to my great day....that night Mimi had her winter concert, in which she played the oboe. I love those concerts, despite the fact that the sound of the instruments can often make ones ears bleed. I love the songs they sing and play off tune. I love how all the kids look in their concert outfits. And I have loved seeing my kids sing and play instruments throughout the years. One caveat to that...because Mimi is so tiny I haven't actually "seen" her many times because she is typcially placed behind a tall kid and she gets blocked out. This year was no different...but in my mind I imagined how cute she looked with her cheeks puffed out playing her oboe.

Later that night Mimi and I were snuggling on the couch and she said "I bet you are going to miss being home when you have to go back to work." I agreed with her and then she said "Why don't you just be an artist in your office and paint all day? I will buy your paintings and then you can stay home." I told her I wouldn't be able to paint for a living and she said "But you can do anything you put your mind to. That's what you always tell me. Why can't you just do it?" Well, at least some of what I say is actually getting through to her. She is so thoughtful and sweet and she melts my heart. It was a great moment and rather than be sad that those moments might not be as often because I'll be going back to work soon, I just wrapped up the memory and put it in my treasure box to remember later, over and over again.

After the kids went to bed I went into obsessed knitting mode and knit for about 2 hours. This summer I couldn't stop reading...well, this fall I can't stop knitting. I love it! It is so relaxing and at the end of it you have something to show for all of your time and effort. 'Course I haven't picked up too many books lately but soon I'll be done with my three piece knitted suit. Can't wait to give Timmy his Christmas present.

I didn't want the day to end...and in fact I didn't go to bed until almost 1 am. I just felt very relaxed, accomplished, and happy all day. I know I haven't done my day justice with my description above but for some reason, this day just felt "perfect". When I got up on Tuesday, it didn't feel as magical, but for no particular reason. I spent a good deal of time thinking about how one day can be so great and the next can be ordinary or not so great...and I wondered why that was. Finally at the end of the day, I came to a conclusion. I chose to make the day great and recognize the special things that happened throughout the day, rather than waiting for great things to find me.

I can only speak for myself but when things don't go right in the day or if I'm cranky, I tend to label the day..."This day stinks". Then everything that doesn't go right during the day falls under that umbrella...and I probably look for things that aren't quite right to include in my list. On Monday, I chose to make it a great day and put all the good things that happened that day under my umbrella instead. Looking back, there were things that happened on Monday that weren't great. For instance, my cats ran away with about 1/2 of my ornaments and squirreled them away throughout the house. I spent a fair amount of time hunting them down. But I chose to look at that as amusing as opposed to being a pain in the neck. Instead of the cats ruining my tree decorating they were "mischievous" and "adorably playful".

I'm a glass half full kind of gal anyways but my days are generally labeled as good/pretty good rather than great. I realized I'm the one with the power to change that though. I can label the day however I want...and quite frankly, how you view the day and the contents within that day can greatly change your outlook on everything that happens. There are some people who are born with way...they have the innate ability to just look at everything as wonderful and happy. My neice Eleanor is like this. At the tender age of 8 she is this happy go lucky, roll with the punches, rose colored glasses kind of kid. She was born that way and just being with her puts you into a great mood. I'm not sure why we weren't all born this would certainly make life more peaceful.

But we can choose to be like Eleanor every day, even if we weren't born with that innate happiness. We can choose to look for happiness throughout the day, or we can choose to look for the not so great things. We can choose to look at the things our kids do as endearing and save as a great memory or we can choose to overlook these moments and forget to file them away. We can choose to title our day as a great day or we can choose to fill our umbrella with the negative things that happened that day. It's all up to us. And yes, many days it will take a great effort to remain positive and look for the little things that make us happy...but we can do it if we want to. What will you choose today and tomorrow?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful thought provoking post. My son Will is like your niece Eleanor. By far the happiest person I know. He is nineteen and still thinks everyday is a blast. He will come home from school or work and say I loved today. He has been saying that since he was six. I am going to choose to have a great day tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that..........