When I lived in NC, I considered myself a joyful person. I would wake up my children by singing to them….much to their chagrin. I would turn up the music and vacuum with happiness. I loved to take a blanket outside and lie in the shade of the trees and read aloud to my kids. I took pleasure in grocery shopping and cooking. Life wasn’t perfect; but even when I wasn’t happy, I was joyful. I was a bit of a snob about it. And I took it for granted that it would always be so. It was something that came naturally to me. I didn’t have to WORK at it.
I have waited for the past 5+ years for my joy to return. I’ve managed to be happy for short periods of time, but my joy? AWOL! I’ve tried anti-depressants (NEVER again), praying, pretending (both that I was joyful AND that it didn’t really matter), and wine. I’ve begged my husband to look for another job….in the SOUTH. When he refused—because he wants to wait until our son is out of school—I thought about divorce. My brain is functioning well enough to realize that would only make me more miserable…..if only I didn’t really love that man.
So….I’ve decided that if I want to be truly happy—for my joy to return—I’m going to have to do the work. I really started during the summer. I knew it would be easier if I started during my favorite season. At some point, I read about Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project”. I thought about ordering the books, but I decided to start by reading her blog. It has some good information for getting you started on your own happiness project. However, for some reason, her writing style just really bugged me. I decided NOT to read the books. That is until I found them both available on my public library’s e-book catalog. I finished them both last night. Let’s just say that I found it ironic when I came to her writing that she longer felt obligated to finish books that she truly didn’t enjoy. Yes, her books had some helpful info, BUT you can find most (all?) of it on her site and much of it is just reminding you of stuff that you already know….you just forgot that you knew it….The greatest irony? I think if I met Gretchen in real life, I would really like her. If nothing else, I did come to realize that I need to put forth more formal effort toward increasing my joy/happiness. I need to set goals….make resolutions….and do the work!
What about you? What do you do when you feel the joy slipping away? What is YOUR secret to happiness?
Until next time,