“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be” Marcel Pagnol
I like to write, different styles of writing, doesn't matter I can be journaling, blogging, working on a story I may never finish, jotting down a list... it does not matter what I'm writing it makes me happy to write. It would be gratifying if someday I could make some money on this, and I have recently gotten discouraged because I simply don't know how to make that happen, but after reading a few of the blogs on the happiness project the thought crossed my mind - why do I write? Did I begin writing to make a buck? No, I write because I love it. I might not even be good at it, so I have to get back to the core reason I write and leave the rest of it behind. You see, by getting bogged down in the "new reason" to write i.e. to figure out if I can make some money, I have opened up a door of frustration which was then linked to my writing. I was not enjoying it as much.
Being creative makes me happy. I love pictures, and photography. I love working with my hands, drawing, beading, cooking. But all of these things can become tedious, and I need to use my creativity to come up with a solution.
For instance - I love working with photos, but for me to work with scrapbooking makes it frustrating, because my house and children are not organized in such a way that I can leave it out and come back to it later. Each time I have to pack it away and then bring it back out. Solution: digital scrapbooking. There are any number of free sites on the net that allow you to use digital photos and elements to come up with beautiful, stunning, funny, or exciting scrapbook pages. Most of the sites will even print them out in book form for you - for a fee of course.
Another example would be cooking. I really do love to cook, but when it comes to cooking dinner I usually revert to old standbys and am in a hurry. My solution: a friend recently reminded me about once a month cooking. So I'm thinking that if I set a day aside, gather everything I need and start with a clean, organized kitchen cooking could be fun again. Now to some people cooking for an entire day would be a nightmare, but what makes this a good solution is that I set aside the time, so it isn't like I'm just fitting it in because I have to.
I hate cleaning. Not because I don't like a clean house, but because with 6 or 7 people in the house I always felt like I would get one room done and go to the next only to find the first room a mess when I came back in. Solution: We've started a chore book. Each kid, including the 2 year old, have chores to do on a daily basis. They do not do them perfectly, however, I find that if they are doing their chores while I do mine it keeps them busy cleaning instead of messing. My house is still not perfect, we have clutter (which I now have a little more time to try and deal with) but things are going a little more smoothly.
Another bit of happiness making that I have run into lately is this. Things do not change overnight. I have done chore charts before and they have failed. Why? Because before I expected things to change immediately, because of course I had given the kids a set of tools. This time however, I had been listening to a friend who had done the same thing, and I learned that not only was she giving her kids the tools, but she was being patient while they learned how to use them. Imagine that... they needed time to change their ways... hmm. I have found that if I acknowledge that things are not perfect just as long as it takes to tweak things a bit, but mostly focus on the progress we are making it gives me a good feeling.
So that was a lot of information for one blog, but these solutions have been coming a little at a time over a long period of time but I was sparked by some of Gretchen Rubin's blogs on her happiness project that kind of brought it all together for me. I'm 42 years old, a mom of 5 (with a baby on the way), and about to celebrate my 23rd wedding anniversary (tomorrow). For all this to come in to place now is awesome. Why, well because I have a lot of years ahead of me to put it all into action and I can see that the next part of my life is going to be, in a lot of ways, so much better than before. The time before wasn't all that bad, so the prospect of better yet - THAT MAKES ME HAPPY!
For a look at Gretchen Rubin's happiness project please see her blog HERE.