Chasing Your Happy

Dear Readers,

(Vivienne is chasing her happy in artificial snow, that’s right, it was 72 degrees out, hence the lack of coat!)

This past weekend was my birthday and I also consider it a “new year”.

That concept is a lot easier to sell in January, but I digress.

In general, I am a pretty happy person and “chase my happy” on the regular but of late, given the aforementioned tsunami of stress and setbacks, I have been having a hard time “finding my happy” and then this past weekend while observing a friend eat her nachos with “dancing fingers” heard her say, “I should get a napkin”, another friend, observing this said, “chase your happy” and it just struck me as such a great phrase so it’s sticking with me as I cast about to consider what to write about this week.

Me “chasing my happy” means asking friends and family to “bring kindness back on my birthday”

My goal is to make acts of kindness commonplace, not random- Professor Haston

On my birthday, my sweet husband made it possible for me to experience something I didn’t even know I wanted…

I am now a bonafide Disney Princess!!!

Any princess worth her salt, has birds that land on her hand, right?

It was a super fun time and watching Viv chase “her happy” with ALL the fish was pretty cool. “Finding Dory” is a frequently watched movie in our house.

So as we hit the midway mark to the week (tomorrow), I have this to ask…

What are you doing to “chase your happy”?

Think About It.

Why Don’t We Talk About How Hard Marriage Is…?

Dear Readers,

Last week I referred to people having problems in their marriage.

With permission, I have gained from my partner, I have this to say. I am “people”

These pictures make it look like we are the perfect couple and always smiling but that’s only half the story, friends.

It’s not as if I have a picture of us fighting that I could show you… but trust me, they exist.

We work hard at this marriage thing.

It’s HARD. Way harder than anyone talks about. Why is that? Do we think if we don’t talk about it, that it will somehow be less real or stressful? Well, I don’t think so. There is nothing so gratifying as when talking to a friend that you hear those words, “oh you too?” and you feel that innate sense of connection.

My partner and I have been together for the better part of 11 years and married for 8 of those years. We have weathered the storms of getting out of debt, miscarriage, and several other tsunamis of stress and complex and intimate details I won’t share here, maybe ever.

We all have chapters we would rather leave unpublished.

So the thought I had recently is “why is it so hard?”- I mean, I love him, he loves me. We laugh together, we dance, we cry and we even sing together sometimes.

We also do not agree and get loud and emotional when we don’t. In other words, we fight.

I have heard it said, It’s okay to fight in front of your child, but also be sure that they see you make up or resolve it. I think for the most part we do that well.

I used to think that didn’t make too much sense, after all, won’t it scar them for life to see their parents fighting? Well, my guess is that like everything else, unless you model behavior for them, how else do they learn?

I sure didn’t learn how to fight from my parents. They fought and never resolved anything.

My father did a lot of avoiding fighting and so when it comes to our marriage, I definitely do not want to repeat those mistakes, so instead started making all new ones. But seriously, we have help, we take advice and we choose every day, every hour, every minute, every second to be married, and we choose each other.

It’s a hard thing for me to be so selfless for someone else and I am glad to say, he returns the favor and we definitely do the dance of healthy compromise and we find our way down now paths every day.

It’s not easy, AND it is worth it.

Think About It.

“Me Time” For The Win!

Dear Readers,

How often do you take “YOU” time? A lot of folks call it self-care but I prefer to call it “ME TIME”

Whatever words you use to describe it, let me ask you again, how often do you take it?

My guess is it’s not something you prioritize and I want to challenge you to do something about that.

You can’t give to others if you are empty, so keep finding ways to care for YOU and you will be happier.- Professor Haston

It’s the beginning of the year, so a great time to focus on a new goal, or maybe an old goal that you haven’t quite gotten off the ground.

Approximately, 3 years ago, I was bemoaning the levels of stress that come from marriage and parenthood and really just life getting me down and out, when a dear friend, and fellow artist suggested I try mediation. I really didn’t expect it work for me, because I despise yoga and it’s yoga-adjacent, but 821 days later, I can honestly say it does work.

A big part of why it works is that streak.

I am competitive (sometimes to a fault, I will admit) even with myself so in this case it really spurred me on to keep at it, and even when I didn’t “feel like it” that streak would spur me on to be consistent about it.

Just yesterday, I noticed how much calmer I have become in general, and how it takes more to rattle me. Note, that I said “it takes more to rattle me” not that I am no longer rattled. Yesterday, was one of those days that things just didn’t pan out the way I wanted them to and instead of just noticing “oh there’s a feeling of frustration, that’s what’s going on right now”

I got really mad (as humans do) and super stressed, and did my best to run around and move in 17 directions to preserve my plans in the face of “life happening” which in retrospect seems very silly and all of those feels were valid, they just weren’t very productive in solving the deeper issue which was the loss of my “ME TIME”

It’s amazing what a good heart to heart with your family and some chocolate milk will do to help you to right your ship/world.

Chocolate milk is not always the answer, AND sometimes it’s good to comfort that 5 year old who is stamping her foot and no longer 5, so giving in to her now, is actually an act of self-care.

****Vivienne, do not get any ideas! *****

But this post is about you, dear readers, and how you take care of you, or put another way “fill up”- this is anything that helps you connect to your truest self.

Maybe it’s carving out a block of m time to be an artist,

or writing a blog post.

It might be taking a walk outside

or insisting on leaving the office on time and even taking a planned day off, or half day, (see above, that doesn’t always work out) and it’s important to try)

It might be (bliss) seeing a movie all by yourself!

Whatever it might be, and you get to define what self-care means to you.

I strongly encourage you to figure it out and start by scheduling an hour a week to do something you really want to do but don’t, because of — insert household chore or life obligation here– then make a conscious effort to make a plan to do that thing and actually put it on your calendar as an appointment.

I know it feels silly to plan “self-care” and if you didn’t forget to do it, you wouldn’t need to schedule it, now would you?

We schedule appointments for everything else, why not for YOU TIME? Don’t You Deserve That?

Think About It.

Now go update your calendar!

A year in review…or- Byeeeeeee 2019!

Dear Readers,

For the last two years I have been collecting microcosms of my days.

The first year I did it was last year and when our family was hit hard with health issues in June, I dropped it for a while, maybe 3 months but this year, from Day 1 to Day 365, I have made an entry about the following three things. In and of itself, I am really proud of that.

The double meaning of (Age) / The time is going by, so I am aging and also

A

G

E

ing-

A- Accomplished

G- Grateful

E- Enjoyed

In this jar, there are 365 small scraps of paper telling my story of 2019.

There have been ups

and downs

and while I try my best to keep things positive, I am going to go on record for the first time EVER with fervent farewell wishes to 2019. This year has really sucked and been full of struggle and loss. Not just for me, several of my friends have indicated a similar sentiment.

But you know what? That’s life and sometimes it’s more up than down and this year has been way more down than up, so take note and look into the face of 2020 with hope, my dear reader!

So why am I telling you this? Simple, because this daily ritual has FORCED me to find that good, and feel gratitude, and take an account of what I accomplished. It can be very easy to get bogged down by the rut of life and think things are ALWAYS going to suck and to paint things a lot darker than they truly are, so the ritual of looking back through my notes on the last day of the year, helps me find themes and commonalities to my year. It’s a great exercise and I recommend it to all.

There is no wrong way to do it either. If you want to use a box, go for it! If you like the jar but want to decorate it with polka dots, more power to you! Ooh, I might have to do that now. If you prefer to “go digital” and put it on your phone? Type away. However you do it, it’s bound to provide an impact to you and your life, trust me!

How about you, what rituals will you start or drop in 2020?

Think About It.