I think I’ve figured out the recipe for my personal happiness.
I have heard that having a sense of purpose is the common denominator of happy people. I think this is probably true. I also acknowledge that all my springs are in God and without him there would be no reason for living and no happiness. But when I say I’ve figured out the recipe for my own happiness, what I mean is that I have pinpointed the blessings that God gives to his children that I particularly enjoy and fill me with a sense of pleasure. So here they are:
- Time to think and also write, if I have the urge.
- Freedom to get up and go when I have the urge. (I am very independent.)
- Something interesting to read.
- Good food to eat.
- A little sprinkling of random adventures and experiences.
- Connecting with a few good friends a few times a week (including my husband, who is by far my closest friend, and my kids).
Generally I am an eternal optimist. In fact, Kevin has nicknamed me "Pollyanna" and calls me that when I am especially obnoxious in my optimistic observations.
But I confess, I have been a tad down lately. And here is why: the little time I have to carve out for myself to think/write, get up and go, read interesting things, make good food, seek out random adventures, and connect with friends, has been completely sucked up by an overwhelming need to sleep (it’s my third trimester of pregnancy and I’m paying my dues) and just the general busyness of life with a young family. While I wouldn't trade my family for anything, and I would choose to have four children all over again if I had the chance, it’s still just plain hard some days. And I acknowledge that I have had the attitude of biding my time lately.
When Sophia cups my face in her hands and says, “I love you soooooo much.” Or Clara asks, “Mom, someday can you take me to that state (country) that has the kangaroos? I really want to go there with you someday.” Or Meredith surprises me with a homemade card telling me I’m the best mom, those are all rays of happiness pouring into my life that I will miss someday. So right now I’m trying to capitalize on those really happy times, that are so fleeting because kids grow so fast, and not focus on the fact that the things that generally make me happy are rather elusive right now.
Have you noticed that the things that are the most worthwhile and the most valuable in life are the usually the things that involve the most work and the most sacrifice? For example: a good marriage, transparent friendships, a deeper walk with Christ, successful child-rearing, etc.
This weekend I am particularly reminded about how much I love the freedom to flit around and eating good food and having time to write because I have been given those things. Kevin took all three kids camping with some neighbors and I have the next two days all to myself. Yes, he is a very brave man! But this will also be a great memory for all of them (or at least the kids, haha!). Sophia, who is only two-and-a-half, was so excited that “we going camping!” She doesn’t even know what camping is but she is excited.
So far, I am only four hours into my “weekend off.” I have run some errands. I particularly enjoyed leisurely strolling the aisles at Trader Joes and choosing some fun chocolate and cheese for the weekend. Then I went to a Greek restaurant that I have wanted to try for months and ordered a gyro to-go. It was worth the wait! And now I am sitting here listening to the Jason Mraz station on Pandora, eating chocolate from Trader Joes, and uploading photos while I write.
What shall I do tomorrow? There are so many options but I think I shall go Christmas shopping. This baby is due in December, after all. If Christmas happens this year, it won’t be because I procrastinated.
Maybe happiness is ultimately seeing the blessings in every day life? Maybe that’s harder to do when you are tired and overwhelmed. But one thing I do know: I am a very blessed lady.
Now I need to go refill my chocolate.
Oh, and here is a picture of Sophia "helping" me get ready for their camping excursion today. Isn't she the cutest thing? Ever?